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5 Christmas Advent Calendars for Girls


We all know that Christmas will feel different this year, but the well-loved tradition of counting down the days doesn’t have to! With just over two weeks until you open that first door, I thought I'd share with you 5 Advent Calendars for girls and even better they are all available online!



LEGO Friends Advent Calendar 2020 Kids will find a new build able surprise hiding behind each door. The Calendar is filled with super-cute Christmas characters, all of which belong to three themes: Emma’s room, Santa’s toy workshop and a winter wonderland.
 



Lindt Teddy Advent Calendar Containing d Gold-wrapped Reindeer and Lindt Teddies, Milk with White Chocolate Snowdrops, Lindor Mini Truffles, Swiss Milk Napolitains and a full-size Lindt Teddy. What's not to like about Lindt chocolate!
 


Swizzels Christmas Advent Calendar bright, cheery and a change to the traditional chocolate ones. The advent has favourites such as Refresher bars, Drumstick Squashies, Love Hearts and Parma Violets to enjoy each day.
 

 

Disney Minnie Mouse 12 Days Advent Calendar Cute bath and body treats, boosting vanilla and cranberry bath fizzers, lotions, lip balms and bath salt and best of all it is only £5. 
 

 

Smiggle advent calendar is filled with 25 days of limited edition Smiggle stationery surprises. There is also the chance to find a lucky ticket. There are thirty tickets to find. These lucky ticket winners will win a £500 Smiggle shopping spree voucher. This year the calendar is now reduced to £25.

If you are looking for something a little different, how about making a Christmas book advent calendarIt’s so simple and yet so fun. And best of all, it’s the perfect way to incorporate read-aloud time into your family’s holiday traditions.

All advent calendars were brought by myself to review

The 7 Best Things About Being in Your Thirties*


It’s a phenomenon that all 29 year-olds know all-too-well. The feeling of dread, nay, impending doom that come with those ominous numbers. The big 3-0. We’re conditioned to believe that the end of our twenties is the end of our youth. That by the time we turn 30, we should have our loves all figured out. Or at least be on some sort of personal or career path. And if we fail to have made all of our life choices by the time this dreaded date comes around we’ve fundamentally failed as adults. But, of course, after we get to the other side of 30, we realise that we’ve gotten ourselves all worked up over nothing. We’ve let needless anxiety into our lives and imposed an arbitrary deadline on ourselves that benefits nobody. Least of all us.


Image by Pexels via Pixabay


It doesn’t matter if you have yet to score the job of your dreams, or even know for sure where you want your career path to lead. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had kids yet, or even if you’re in a relationship. The Bridget Jones series lied to you! Stop measuring your life by other people’s expectations. Especially when they bear absolutely no relation to the realities that you live with every day.


Besides, living in this state of anxiety and paranoia can not only be bad for your health, it can distract you from the fact that your thirties are arguably the best decade of your life.


You have your own personality
It’s okay to admit it. In our twenties, we still cling to a lot of the same behaviours that we had in our teens. We can tend to define ourselves by our relationships to others and our friendship groups. We can get into the habit of letting others influence everything from the kind of language we use to the products we buy. If you thought peer pressure was something that you’d leave behind when you left school, college or uni… think again!

But with your thirties comes a newfound sense of reassurance and self-certainty. You have a wealth of experiences that have rounded out your personality. You’re more assured in your beliefs and your personal taste. You have the gift of knowing who you are in ways that eluded you in your younger years.

And that can enable you to make positive changed in your life on your own terms. Which brings us to...

You’re comfortable enough to shake things up with your look
Remember those years when you defined your personal style pretty much exclusively by what your friends were wearing? Remember how you’d agonise over the minutiae of your appearance and how something as simple as a few stray hairs out of place or (heaven forbid) a puddle splashing on your immaculate new shoes would send you into paroxysms of anxiety?

Your thirties lend you a great sense of perspective.
No longer do you link your self-worth quite so intrinsically with your appearance. Of course, that doesn’t mean you’ve stopped caring about how you look. But you have a much clearer idea of your own personal style. What’s more, you have the confidence to make changes, take risks and reinvent yourself in ways that you may not have felt comfortable in your younger years.

Whether you want to change the shape of your face with some high quality designer glasses or make a bold statement with a new hair style. Whether you want to try dressing in bolder tones or simply step a little further outside your comfort zone when you go shopping. They say every time you step out you should make one purchase that scares you just a little. They end up being your favourites. And while you may have thought such a prospect unthinkable in your less secure years, you now find it kind of exciting.

You’re not on the bottom rung of the career ladder anymore
The first few rungs on the career ladder are a frustrating nightmare. And if you’re in your late 20s or early 30s you’ve probably spent more time on the bottom rung than your older peers. This has been a decade of economic stagnation and wage repression where corporate employers have deliberately kep wages low in order to supplement their own profit margins. Opportunities have been few and far between and we learned early on that if we want them, we need to be prepared to create our own.

Nonetheless, through sheer determination, elbow grease and a little lateral thinking, by the time we hit our 30s many of us have cleared the bottom rung. Meaning that not only are we earning (slightly) better money, we’re afforded something even more important...the respect of our peers.

No longer are we underestimated at work. No longer do we have to put up with all and sundry stopping by our desks to ask for favours. We have respect that matches our professional pride. And that feels pretty great.

You’re better at your job than ever
Not only are you afforded more respect and professional courtesy at work in your thirties, the chances are you’re actually better at your job! Believe it or not, when we reach this decade we’re at our cognitive peak according to numerous studies. Not only do we have experience, knowledge and understanding that eluded us at the start of our careers, we also have a wealth of skills that are sharper when we reach the big 3-0. Problem solving, abstract thinking, determination and strategy all come into their own. Which is why it’s suspected that chess grand masters peak in their early 30s.

And when we’re good at things, that’s when we tend to enjoy them the most. Of course, that doesn’t mean that stressful days are a thing of the past. But it does mean that your enjoyment to stress ratios are drastically improved, and we experience the right kind of stress at work. The stress that comes from knowing that our skills are being tested and that we have an opportunity to show what we’re made of. As opposed to the terror that comes from feeling woefully out of our depth.

You know what you’re worth on the dating scene
There was a time when you were paralysed with fear at the thought of being a thirty-something singleton. Again, Bridget Jones has not done the world many favours in that regard, nor has it aged particularly well. But dating in your thirties has much less sense of urgency. You might even be able to have some (dare we say it) fun on the dating scene (COVID-awfulness notwithstanding, of course). Gone is this sense that we have to have secured the love of our lives, tied the knot (or at least gotten them to put a ring on it) and started turning the spare room into a nursery by the time we wave goodbye to 29.

No longer do we expect to find fulfilment in our lives exclusively through our relationship with somebody else. We’re secure enough in ourselves to know who we are and what we want. And we’re infinitely less likely to put up with some of the nonsense that we had to wade through when dating in our teens and twenties. We know an idiot when we see one and have no compunctions about cutting them out of our lives when they reveal their true colours.

We know that we’d rather be single than shackle ourselves to someone who doesn’t deserve us because we hold out a glimmer of hope that we might be the one to change them.

You’ll actually be happier than ever before
This may seem difficult to believe. Especially given the anxiety that typically hangs over our late 20s like a raincloud. But while we may dread this decade, when it arrives we not only realise that we’ve been worried over nothing… we actually start to enjoy ourselves.

Studies show that our peak age for happiness is 33. This is the age at which we typically have hit the sweet spot between having enough disposable income to live well, having fewer stressors and anxieties, feeling more confident and self-assured and learned to care less about the things that really don’t matter. We also stop comparing ourselves to others (the ultimate lost cause) and start thinking about how we’re going to out-perform ourselves.

You realise you’re actually not going to become your parents
Finally, one thing that tends to worry us about getting older is that we’ll turn into our parents. We worry that we’ll either make the same mistakes as them or that we’ll have a lifestyle that’s as pedestrian as theirs appeared to us when we were living under their roof in our teens.

But as we get older, we realise that we’re not going to turn into our parents… we just turn into us with a different set of priorities. And that might mean that we enjoy a long bath a little more and feel a little (or a lot) more alienated by nightclubs.

But by no means is any of that a bad thing!

Why It’s Perfectly Acceptable That You’re Not Ready for Children Yet*

 




Societal pressure can make us do a lot of crazy things. These days, people are starting to wake up to the responsibilities of starting a family and are more likely to avoid rushing into it. Whether it’s due to financial obligations or because they’re a busy working parent, starting a family is usually a bad idea unless you’re fully prepared for the responsibilities involved. However, societal pressure can often push us into starting a family at a much early age. Perhaps all of our friends and relatives are starting their families already, or maybe you feel like you’re going to be too old to start a family soon. Whatever the case is, it’s normal to feel like you’re being pressured into it.


However, we’re going to explain in this article that it’s perfectly fine if you don’t want to start a family just yet. We’ll be offering some comforting advice to anyone that doesn’t feel ready for the responsibility just yet.




Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/6-5V_eVG2SU (CC0)


You’re not ready to hang up your aspirations just yet


One of the biggest concerns with starting a family is that it usually eats up a lot of your time. After all, you’ve got a responsibility to look after a child and that means watching them for almost every hour of the day. Your work is going to be disrupted, your chances of promotion are going to drop and you may even need to sacrifice your work depending on how you try to balance the two. Unfortunately, there’s very little you can do in this situation. Even if you hire a carer to look after your child for most of the week, you’ll be sacrificing valuable time that you could be spending with them during their formative years. As any parent should know, spending one-to-one time with your child is incredibly important and should be something you sacrifice your free time for.


However, for some of this, giving up our time or career for a child can sound like a horrible idea. What if you’ve still got aspirations to reach for? What if you feel like you have so much more to achieve in life? What if your business is thriving and you don’t want to give it up to raise a family? These are all completely valid concerns that you can’t ignore.


For some families, this is often solved by having one of the parents look after the child while the other continues working and building up their career. Unfortunately, this still creates an imbalance due to the lack of time spent as a family. It’s important to grow your bond together as a family. If your child only sees one parent more than the other, it can cause problems later in the future. Parental guilt may also catch up to you later in the future, and you may regret pursuing your career goals and sacrificing time you could’ve spent with your children.


It’s important to consider your own passions and goals before you decide to have a child. You’ll only be making things more difficult for yourself if you have to balance two difficult choices. That’s why many professionals these days avoid starting a family when they’re at the height of their career. They want to continue reaching for their goals and growing their wealth before they decide to settle down. That’s a perfectly valid reason to put off starting a family and no one should feel guilty or bad because of it.


You and your partner still have much to explore together


You and your partner may still have a lot that you want to explore before you decide to start a family. If you’re both adventurous people, then there may be lots of countries that you want to visit, experiences that you want to share and goals that you want to reach. This is usually true for couples that have recently met and are still getting to know each other. After all, starting a family means sticking to a single partner for the rest of your life, so it’s completely normal to wait it out before you commit.


If you and your partner are still on the fence because you have a lot left in life to experience, then you shouldn’t feel pressured into starting a family just yet. For instance, some couples may want to avoid the possibility of conceiving a child while still exploring their intimate time together. As such, you may be looking at different contraceptive options and buying supplies to last a while. But is it effective? There are actually many different types of contraceptives and they’re usually split into emergency and proactive types. For example, a contraceptive implant can last up to 3 years or an intrauterine device (IUD) can last up to 5 or even 10 years. If you’re looking at options like this because you’re worried about conceiving a child, then it’s perfectly fine to just accept that you and your partner have a lot more to explore before you decide to settle down.




Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/2uFwjoJHUNU (CC0)


You’re not financially prepared for a child


Another common thing that stops parents from having a child is due to their financial circumstances. Parents can raise a child on a low income with help from the government and their friends and family members. However, that doesn’t help when it comes to giving your child a secure and stable lifestyle or preparing them for a successful future. For example, do you think you’ll have enough money to pay for their college fees? What about helping them afford their first car or paying for their medical fees? There are lots of responsibilities to think about when it comes to money.


Ideally, your financial situation should be relatively stable before you have a child. By focusing on your savings and achieving financial freedom as early as possible, you’ll have a much easier time looking after your child and providing for them. However, there’s no magical savings number that you need to reach before you can have a child. Instead, it’s going to depend more on your income and how steady your job is. People with a relatively stable income can think about having children earlier because they’re able to provide for their child. However, if your income is unstable and you’re not sure how long you’ll be at your current job, then it’s best to think twice before you have a child.


Of course, you don’t need to be rich to have a child. That’s a huge misconception that a lot of people unfortunately believe. It’s more important to have a stable income so that you can help pay for things such as supplies and food while keeping your family afloat. Remember that a child can cost a lot of money to raise. You’re going to have another mouth to feed and a body to cloth, so it can get surprisingly expensive if you’re not adopting frugal practices.


There’s also a big spike in expenses as soon as you have your child. For instance, you may need to perform some home renovations or even move house so you have a home that can support a child. You don’t want your child to sleep in your room for too long and it’s best to give them some privacy once they’re old enough. As such, you can’t really raise a child in a single-bedroom house or studio apartment. You’ll also need to buy one-off items such as a new crib, stroller and toys.


If you feel that you’re being pressured into having a child, take a moment to rethink your situation. There are plenty of good reasons why you might want to avoid having a child right now, so don’t feel ashamed or frustrated. After all, your goal is to provide your child with a bright and successful future, and that’s not possible unless you’re ready to fully commit.

My first Virtual Blogging Event - With Moonpig*

Last week I was invited to a virtual blogging event with Moonpig to learn more about their range of Birthday cards, flowers and gifts, as well as learn about their brand new app packed full of loads of user friendly features.

First off we had a App Masterclass from Jasper from Moonpig. We learnt all about the amazing features the app has to offer. Moonpig have a fab feature on their new app which means you can use your own actual handwritten message in any card you send digitally. It's SO clever and so simple to use.

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You can also sync all the birthdays you have in your phone straight to the app and set up to send you reminders, so you never miss a birthday again!


Sadly a few of the new features are only available on iOS at the moment but fingers crossed they will be released on Android soon. If you haven't already make sure you download the Moonpig App and have a look around, there are over 10,000+ cards to pick from for any occasion.

August is a super busy month for me when it comes to birthdays and I have definitely will be ordering a few personalise Moonpig cards and making the most of all the new features the app has to offer.

We then had a flower arranging class with Roxanne – Moonpig’s Chief Flower Officer. Moonpig sent me a huge bouquet called The luxury summer garden. The flowers are stunning and still looking fresh after a week of having them. All Moonpig's flowers come with a step by step care instructions to make sure you are able to keep them fresh as long as possible.



During the flower arranging class we learnt how important the size of a vase is for the flowers and by cutting the stems at a 45 degree angle it helps prevent a vacuum in the vase and make sure all the flowers get the water they need.

Some of the flowers fit through a letterbox, so your recipient doesn’t need to be in to receive them. If you looking for something other than flowers, they have tons of fun items to choose from including gift vouchers if you are unsure what to gift.

Delivery is really easy you can choose to have the gift sent directly to whoever you want to gift to or if you would like to give the gift personally you can also choose to have it sent straight to you also.
We ended the evening with a Cocktail Masterclass with James from Mix & Twist which was lots of fun. Mix and Twist send out cocktail making kits direct to your door which is perfect for those in Lockdown.


We made the following cocktails;

  • Summer Garden – 45ml Vodka, 25ml lime, 25ml sugar syrup, mint leaves, cucumber, 25ml elderflower soda
  • Strawberry Fizz – 45ml Vodka, 25ml lemon, 25ml sugar syrup, soda, strawberries, lemon
  • Passionfruit Martini – 45ml Vodka, 20ml lemon, 25ml passionfruit syrup, 60ml pineapple juice


You can actually send alcoholic treats as gifts directly from Moonpig. Including the vodka we had in our cocktail making masterclass. The next day Darcy and I made the mocktails versions of these and I can tell you they taste jut as good.

To celebrate the new app Moonpig have a code for 30% off a card and a gift when buying together. Be quick as the promotion is only valid until the 26th August – enter APP30ORDER at checkout!

Thank you Moonpig for being an amazing host!


Have you used Moonpig?

*Post includes gifted items from the event

Ways To Prevent Chub Rub AKA Thigh Chafing

One thing about summer that I dread is chub rub. No matter if you're slim or plus size, chub rub affects us all at some point of our lives. 

Chub rub or as some of us call it chaffing is where the inside of your thighs vigorously rub together. This can cause your inner thighs to form a rash, sting, burn or even bleed. 

So if you don't want to suffer another summer of chub rub, here are some tried and tested solutions for stopping it from happening. 


We all know that coconut oil is basically good for everything. Well here is another magical use for it. Coconut oil is especially great to use for chub rub if you have sensitive skin. I find when I use it my thighs just glide and I love the smell of coconut oil. 

If you are one of those people who do not  like the smell of coconut oil, another alternative to use  is a layer of anti chafing gel.  One of my favourites is Lanacane Anti-Chafing Gel. It is also a perfect size to pop into your handbag/back pack if you need to re apply during the day. 

Comfort shorts are great for reducing chub rub, the only thing is that they can show when you are wearing those lovely summer flowing dresses. I tend to find myself yanking my dress down throughout the day. I normally buy mine from Evans, I have also heard good things about Sang Tights Chub Rub shorts.

If you are a regular reader, you will know how much I looove Lush!. Their Silky Underwear, it is just like a talc powder I also use it under my breast to stop the good ole boob sweat. I also use my Christmas favourite dusting powders, Fair Dust and Mr Sandman. 

Do you suffer from chub rub? What do you use to prevent it? 

Easy Vegan Pancake| How To Make Healthy Pancakes


I have shared a few pancakes recipes on this blog and this time I'm bringing you a simple vegan pancake recipe, hope your going to like it as much as I do!
Ingredients
300ml almond/oat milk
50ml vegetable oil
2tsp vanilla essence
2tbsp caster sugar
2tbsp baking powder
220g plain flour

Method
Add all your wet ingredients into a bowl
Add the baking powder and flour
Give it a good stir
Heat a pan and add the oil of your choice, I like coconut oil
ladle the pancake batter into the pan, spread the mixture out evenly
cook for a few minutes until golden, toss or use a palette knife to flip over the pancake and cook for another minute

It is as simple as that! You can also freeze them if you make too many.If you are looking for topping ideas check out my post here. I also have a yummy banana pancake recipe if you are looking for something different.

























How To Become A Virtual Assistant



These days there are many different jobs you can do from home that allow you to set your own terms and work your own hours. Working as a virtual assistant is one of these and can be a great option for people with admin and customer service experience.

What is a Virtual Assistant?
Briefly speaking a virtual assistant offers businesses admin assistance from a remote location. It can be similar to being a freelancer but rather than working from different offices each day, you tend to work from your same location and offer your services remotely.

What Services Does a Virtual Assistant Offer?
This varies massively on your skill-set and what your client wants. Many virtual assistant services offer help with general admin tasks, email responses and diary management as a minimum. You could also offer services such as social media set-up & increasing growth via social media channels. Blog posts, website content and even taking phone calls when needed are all things that a remote assistant service like this may offer.

How Much Can I Make?
The amount of money you can earn depends on what you’re offering and your experience. Many people start by offering their services at a lower cost to build up their reputation and testimonials on their various social media pages. Once you have done this you’re usually able to charge a bit more as you’ve proved that you’re worth the investment.

Setting Yourself Up
There are websites such as People Per Hour that help you advertise your services to their customer base, but they do take a commission on any jobs you’re paid for you. You can also set your-self up on Facebook and/or with a website and start to advertise your services this way. Using LinkedIn is also a really good way to network & get word out there of your services.