Wednesday, 23 August 2017

5 Tips to Brighten Up Your Kitchen

We spend a lot of time in the kitchen and it's often the hub of the home. Whether you kitchen is big or small, trendy or old fashioned it's always nice to find ways to make the area brighter and more cheerful. Here are my five tips to brighten up your kitchen.

1. Add Colour

Okay, it might be fashionable to have startling white kitchens these days, although personally I'm not a fan. My kitchen gets way to messy to cope with all white! My kitchen is fairly old fashioned with wooden cupboard doors and black worktops. But whether you like your kitchen stark white or not a touch of colour always brightens things up. I love this worktop saver from Red Candy. I have plenty of chopping boards but I wanted something to protect my worktop where I make my tea and coffee. This saver is perfect and the colour and style is a big hit with my family.


2. Add a picture

My old kitchen was really small and the only place I had pictures would be stuck on my fridge door. Now, I have plenty of wall space and I like to add pictures to break it up. In the dining area I have a board where I pin the kids pictures but in my kitchen I have a few pictures, including a foodie style print, a photo collage and this lovely original piece by my daughter Star which she did when she was 9 yrs old.

3. Update Something Practical

The draining board is officially the most dreaded place in the kitchen. Who likes washing up? Of course having a gorgeous drainer like this one from Red Candy will brighten up your sink area and make washing up more bearable.


4. Add a Rug

Over the years I've had all sorts of flooring in my kitchen from, tiles, to vinyl, wood to carpet. I have to admit, my feet are always more accustomed to a carpet beneath my feet but this is not always practical in the kitchen. So how about adding a rug!


5. Add Something Different


There are lots of unusual kitchen gadgets you can get for the kitchen, from bottle openers to spiralizers. It doesn't have to be something big or expensive to brighten things up and make you smile. Look at this gorgeous little hedgehog zester from Red Candy. I love it! (Although I wouldn't use it to zest a hedgehog.)



In fact Red Candy have plenty of funky, good looking and even practical items for every room in the home.

In what ways do you brighten up your kitchen, do you like a splash of colour?


Disclosure: I was sent some items from Red Candy for the purpose of this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday, 21 August 2017

One In A Million

I've just finished reading One In a Million by Jaqui Atkinson


I read it in two days, it was really difficult to put down.

Here is the 'blurb'

Imagine all of your muscles going into spasm, and being unable to move a single part of your body. Imagine being in excruciating pain. Then imagine how it feels when the doctors tell you they don't know what's wrong. And they don't even believe you... It took six years before Jacqui Atkinson was diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome, a very rare neurological disorder which affects just one in a million people. This is a remarkable story of courage, of faith, and most of all a story of love. This is Jacqui's story. She is one in a million.



I too am One in a Million.

I'm not as bad as Jacqui, she has a very bad case of Jerking Stiff Person Syndrome with PERM.
I do have PERM though so I know that my condition will get worse.

PERM - progressive encephamyelitis with rigidity and myeclonus

It was fascinating reading someone else's story, scary at times, emotional at others. In the end though I felt uplifted. This lovely woman has been through so much but still holds on to life and appreciates every day. She also has a very loving and caring family, despite their own difficulties at times.

I can relate to a lot, I too have painful spasms, but mostly in my legs and lower back. Only recently have I been getting them in my arms hands and upper torso.

I can relate to her ability to sit with her feet straight out. She holds a competition with her doctor and her husband to see how long they can hold their legs up and feet in the air while sitting on a chair. Try it yourself, see how long  you can do it for. When my legs spasm I can do this for up to half an hour.
woman in chair with legs stretched out straight


I think Jacqui's book explains a lot about Stiff Person Syndrome, how difficult it is to get a diagnosis, how people don't believe you about the pain, how people don't understand why you can't move, how people think you are 'putting it on." I think I was lucky, although I did look back in my diary and find a page where I was obviously very upset after visiting my GP as I'd been experiencing pain for quite a while and he didn't believe me. In fact he referred me to a mental health centre. Yes, he thought it was all in my head. However, when I went into hospital and had a paralysing attack right in front of them they did give me thorough testing and keep me in for a couple of weeks until I could walk a little again. I was given a diagnosis of Transverse Myelitis which actually fitted what I was experiencing. It was a year later and after further testing (EMG, NCS and bloods) that I was diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome. Most people have to wait a lot longer for a diagnosis.

I related so much to Jacqui's first story of how she felt when she came home from hospital the first time. It's such an emotional period which people don't really understand.

Jacqui has been through a whole range of treatment and finally, after 15 years, she is living her life much better with pain management that suits her and keeps her most severe attacks from happening so frequently. It was really interesting for me to read about the treatments and their affects on her. I know I will face many of these treatments myself at some time. If the money is available and my consultant is understanding. I really hope I can find a treatment that improves my quality of life sooner rather than later. I know there is no cure but I long for days that are free of pain and my being able to walk again, even if it is only between treatments.

I managed to get through to my consultants secretary this week with the help of the hospital's patient liaison team. I got my appointment brought forward by a month, so now I only have a month to wait rather than two. Thanks to reading Jacqui's book I have some questions to ask about treatments. I really want to try IVIG again, but it didn't really make that much improvement apart from give me a little more energy and releasing a little of the stiffness. I do think that with more treatments I might get more relief from my condition, but I've accepted that it's not the miracle I was hoping for before I had my first treatment. I know that's the reason I got so low afterwards, I'd built myself up thinking that I'd be able to walk again afterwards but it didn't happen.

Now, I will face whatever there is to come. There are some fantastic treatments out there, I just need to find the one that suits me best.

If you would like to know more about Stiff Person Syndrome then please visit The Tin Man.

Or please take a look at Jacqui's book on Amazon.




Mummy Times Two

Saturday, 19 August 2017

My Sunday Photo 20th August 2017

two stones from Hanbury hall which look like they have been carved


Yesterday I was sat in my pyjamas at almost noon and I thought...I don't want to stay in today, I want to go out. This is very unusual for me, usually going out involves lots and lots of planning and we hadn't planned anything. But I was feeling okayish and I wanted to do something, to go somewhere. The kids were not so eager though, stuck on their screens, the girls playing Undertales and the boy Minecraft, they were happy were they were, also in their pj's.

I got dressed and had an idea. It was lunch time, lets go out for lunch. I asked the kids were they would like to go and they cried Mc Donalds. Hubby wasn't happy but I wanted to go out and anywhere would do. While in Mc Donalds I decided that I didn't want to go home. I told hubby that I wanted to go somewhere else, in fact, I was quite determined that I wanted to go to Hanbury Hall a National Trust Property. It was only a thirty minute drive away. He agreed but the kids wanted to go home, probably keen to get back on their computer games. I was adamant though, it's not often I feel up to going out and I wasn't going to sit in the house today, so off we went. Star complained bitterly, but after about ten minutes driving she was chatting away with her sister and the complaining forgotten.

We had a lovely afternoon and the kids got to run around in the fresh air. I loved taking it all in and will tell you all about it soon. For now I'm sharing this photo of a rather unusual pair of stones that caught my eye.

I'm so glad I was impulsive, it's something I'm really not these days.


I pin My Sunday Photo pics I visit on my Pinterest Board. Please let me know if you wish your photo to be removed.



Photalife

Sunday Snap

Friday, 18 August 2017

Word of the Week - Blurry




This week seems to have passed in a blur, you know, one of those weeks when you have no idea what day of the week it actually is. I didn't even realise it was Friday this morning, so I'm writing this post last minute.

Monday we did the food shopping with the kids in tow. Not one of my brightest ideas I admit. I find shopping totally exhausting and the kids find it boring, so it was a recipe for disaster. However, I'd already done half the shopping online so we could skip several aisles and I had reward vouchers that I gave to the kids to spend.

So we set off to our local huge supermarket. The kids chose their gifts pretty quickly, and then we were off. I just wanted to select the fresh produce myself for a change, so our aim was fruit and veg, meat and fish and fresh bread. Of course the kids had to have cakes too. We didn't do too badly, until I came to the checkout. I had a budget, seeing as I'd already done half the shopping online. I nearly died when the tiller asked for nearly twice as much as my budget!! I'm not going to the supermarket again!

My hubby Graham has been spending a couple of days this week helping my brother and sister-in-law with their house move so he's not been around so much. The kids have spent more time on screens that I would like, but I've not had the energy to do much with them. I guess that's why one day has blurred into another.

We did venture out again on Wednesday, to the clinic for Star. We watched a rather informative You Tube video called 'The Poo In You," go on, check it out if you have five minutes. Anyway, the bad news is that Star still has a big problem and we still have a program to stick to, which we are hoping will help.

That's two days out this week, so Thursday left me exhausted and I also felt ill. The smallest illness can have the most drastic effect on my body and the kids have had colds this week so I guess they've passed the germs on to me. Yesterday I spent a lot of time in bed.

Last night was the worst I've had in a long time for spasms but thankfully I didn't fall out of bed. I'm just glad that I finally got through to my consultants secretary this week and managed to get an earlier appointment. My appointment was in October, now it's in September.

Also, this week, I've managed to spruce up my kitchen with some new items, including a new toaster which is much nicer than the last, and I've read a book. My week may seem a little tame in comparison with others but I think I've achieved a lot despite being ill. (More than usual) It's the illness that's blurred one day into the other.


The Reading Residence

Monday, 14 August 2017

The Perfect Outfit for My Man

My husband is also my carer, he has to do so much for me and our small children. I really don't know what I'd do without him. He has to help me with everything from the housework to cooking. I can't do half as much as I used to. He also has to help me by bathing the kids and putting them to bed. I try to help as much as I can but it's really hard for me, especially if it involves going up and down the stairs. He doesn't get much time off to go out so he has converted our shed into his man cave. He has his stereo, guitars and even our old settee in there. He's made it proper cosy and it's where he goes for some time out, and he's still only a shout away if I need him.

Every now and then I like to treat him and this week I had the opportunity to treat him with some new clothes from Jacamo. Here he is posing in front of his man cave...aka the shed!



I chose for him a denim look shirt which I knew he would like. I really like the contrast around the collar and the sleeves. I also chose some blue chinos. He likes the smart casual look. To go even more casual he also has a new polo shirt he can wear with his chinos.

He's always been a big fan of Jacamo, the clothes fit really well and come in a large range of sizes which is perfect if you are extra tall or overweight. The prices are really competitive too and there is lots of choice.

So what do you think of his look?

I think he's happy anyway, the only thing that would make him happier is if someone offered me a guitar to review... as if!

Disclosure: I was sent the clothing in return for my review, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Not Today, Today I'm Feeling Blue

Our Summer holiday is half way through, we still have another four weeks to go of this extended holiday. So far we have, had a birthday party, visited relatives by the sea side for a weekend, had another, quieter, birthday lunch and have been out to the shops three times. It doesn't really sound a lot for four weeks does it?
For me it's been exhausting.
It seems that every time I leave the house I need at least two days to recover. Also, we are still having major problems with Star and it's so difficult to get her out.
This is not the summer holiday I wanted. I wanted to make it one they would remember. A really good happy time with lots of fun. I don't know what sort of condition I'll be in next summer as I feel myself getting worse day by day.

I got really upset this last weekend, simply by reading other blogs. It seems that everyone is off on days out, going to festivals, enjoying holidays. Doing the normal things you do during the summer holidays. Doing the sort of things I wanted to do. But my stupid body won't let me.

We had a lovely weekend in Dorset, I really enjoyed the break from routine, the sunshine, the change of scenery and the fact that the kids had a good time. What I didn't enjoy was not being able to get to places, the fair was a nightmare for my wheelchair. I couldn't get on the beach and play with my kids. I wanted to sit in the sand and paddle in the sea. I wanted to run around and play with my kids. I wanted to go over the rocks hunting for  fossils.  Instead I was often left behind on the promenade. I love being by the sea, just taking in the air and the scenery was lovely, but I felt I was kidding myself because I wanted to join in too.

Two people hugging with the text, sometimes when I say I'm okay I need someone to look me in the eyes, hold me tight and say, I know you're not


Every time we plan to go out we have to take into consideration my wheelchair. Will I be able to get around, will there be parking close by for me? If it's outdoors I have to consider the weather, it's an electric chair, too much rain is not good for it. (or me)

Even a simple shopping trip can be difficult. What if there is a missing drop kerb? We went to a shop the other day, the disabled bays outside were full so we had to park in the regular car park. There was no drop kerb so I had to drive along the busy road to a zebra crossing before I could mount the pavement.

We bought a National Trust membership this year, which is great, I've a long list of places to visit. But National Trust properties don't have lifts so I'll never be able to see upstairs. Also, I can't take my powered wheelchair into the properties at all, so I only get to see as much as I can walk with my sticks, which is usually not a lot. If it's a nice day I can get around most of the gardens, until you come to steps. And most gardens have steps.

Yes, I'm feeling sorry for myself today. I have been all weekend. I hate that this has happened to me. It doesn't make me feel any better thinking that there are people worse off than me. In fact I feel even worse because I feel so bad for them too.

I'm lucky that I have my lovely, understanding family. But, I don't want their lives restricted just because mine is.

My hopes of a fun filled, memory making summer are slowly drifting away.

But it's not over yet, I need to fight this, I need to turn it around and make things even better. Stop feeling sorry for myself and let my kids enjoy the experiences even if I can't join in.

Just not today.

Dark blue image of man and the sea and the text, Today I'm feeling Blue



Mummy Times Two

Saturday, 12 August 2017

My Sunday Photo

beach huts under an ominous dark cloud.

This photo was taken last Saturday at Charmouth Beach in Dorset. The kids were busy hunting for fossils on the beach and I was on the promenade, unable to get on the beach in my wheelchair.
In front of me was a lovely blue sky and twinkling sunlight on the sea. Then I turned and saw these lovely beach huts. It wasn't until after I'd taken the photo that I noticed the dark clouds, but I think they add even more atmosphere to my photo. 

Thankfully the clouds passed sideways and didn't go over the beach. They also didn't cause any rain where we were.

This next photo is what was in front of me, taken seconds before the one above.

the sea on the Dorset coastline under a blue sky


I pin My Sunday Photo pics I visit on my Pinterest Board. Please let me know if you wish your photo to be removed.



Photalife

Sunday Snap

Friday, 11 August 2017

Our Weekend Away in Broadchurch AKA Briport, Dorset

Did you watch Broadchurch? I loved it but I never really thought about where it was filmed.
Then, last weekend we went to visit relatives in Bridport, Dorset and stayed a couple of nights.
On the first day my Brother-in-law took us to West Bay which is less than a mile away from his home and instantly I recognised it from Broadchurch. It was quite amusing seeing lots of people stop and take photos of 'Wessex' police station. Of course I had to sneak one in myself.

a photo of the police station that appeared in the drama Broadchurch


And here's one I took of the Jurassic Coastline at West Bay.

the sea, beach and cliff side at West Bay in dorset


The next day the kids went fossil hunting at nearby Charmouth Beach. The beach was too rocky for me so I had to be content with sitting on the promenade being calmed by the sea and enjoying the sunshine.  It was a real strange day weather wise. When we arrived it was raining so hard we couldn't get out of the car, but once the rain cloud passed we had lovely sunshine! A couple more dark clouds passed by but we didn't have anymore rain.

The sea lapping against a sandy beach and lots of big rocks


After lunch we went to visit Lyme Regis, a seaside town I'd not visited before. It turned out to be a beautiful day and the kids quickly changed into their costumes and went paddling in the sea and were building sandcastle on the beach.

The beach full of holiday makers, the sea and a lovely blue summer sky


Once again I was stranded on the promenade but my longing to tip my toes in the sea got the better of me and it was so close I thought I could make it. I asked my hubby to hold me and I hobbled barefoot across the sand to the water and paddled. It was amazing! It was also very cold and sent my feet and legs into spasm so walking back was incredibly painful and I couldn't get back up the step to the promenade and hubby had to ask a stranger to help lift me. It was so worth it though.

On the evening we had a lovely BBQ in our relatives back garden while the kids played on the trampoline. It was such a lovely weekend and our relatives were amazing hosts.

The next day we made our way home and decided to stop off at Weston-Super-Mare for lunch at a beach side cafe.

We love Dorset so much we are planning on returning next year for a whole week.








Country Kids

Word of the Week - Growing




This week we had the second of our little ones birthday's.
My Little Man, my baby, turned seven years old!
My babies are all growing up. In just two weeks it will be Star's 12th birthday. So I will have a seven, a ten and a twelve year old. Definitely not babies!

I talked with the Little Man earlier this year and he said he was happy not to have a birthday party. After Boo's manic day I was really happy we'd come to this decision. I still wanted to make the day special for him though so I invited my friend and her two children over for a party type lunch. We had sandwiches and chicken dippers, crisps and chocolate bars. (Totally unhealthy which is how birthday spreads should be.)

And of course we had cake!


He went for Minecraft again, last years cake had a minecraft sword in it. This one was quite therapeutic to make. I'll have to invest in a roller cutter though, I cut out all those pieces individually!

For anyone not knowing about Minecraft, this is Stampy Longnose one of the characters and he's made up of pixels, which is why he is made with squares.

After the party lunch the children played lovely together for over an hour. Then on the evening the Little Man's grown up brother and sister played Mario Party with him which made him so happy. 

Before he went to bed I said to him,
"I'm sure you've grown bigger today" and he replied,
"yes, I've grown bigger which means my brain has got bigger too and I'm more intelligent."

I love my Little Man.
I love all my children and it scares me how quick they grow, but on the other hand, I'm so happy to have this time with them and I really hope and pray that I have long enough to see them grow even bigger.



The Reading Residence

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Five Tip Tips for Outdoor Fun with the Entertainer

Do your kids play outside enough?
I do worry that mine spend too much time indoors, especially my illness not allowing us to go out to places as frequently as I would like. We do have a back garden though and I've tried to make it as fun as possible for the kids. We had a swing set that we've had for ages but the kids still love it. We also have a slide which they play on..who needs to go to the park? We also like outdoor toys like bats and balls to play rounders. We received a Phlat Ball from The Entertainer and it's really good fun.



The Phlat Ball is like a Frisbee but when you throw it, it turns into a ball. It can pop open at any time so there are many games to play. The kids think it's great fun.




Here are some top tips that Katie Gritt from the Entertainer has put together to entice children to play outside.


Make Outdoor Games a Hit

Make it ‘sound’ fun!
‘Going for a walk’ can feel like more of a chore to kids but telling them it’s an ‘adventure walk’ can be more enticing.  Take a ball or Frisbee with you so you can stop along the way for a game or make a nature treasure hunt map before heading out.

On your bike!
Give your bike or scooter ride a purpose and make the destination more fun – heading to the park for a session on the swings or stopping for an ice cream makes the cycle more rewarding!

Set them a challenge.
Help give them something to work towards and test themselves.  See how many laps they can do on their bike or scooter, how many times can they catch the ball in one minute or set up a target for water blasters.

Let them play on their own.
While it’s good to play with your children, it’s also beneficial for them to learn how to have fun independently.  Give them an idea to get them started if they need it, such as ‘what can you build in the sand’ or asking them to make up a story about the toy they are playing with and you’ll be amazed at what they manage to come up with. 

Invite their friends.
Older children in particular will be much more excited about playing outside if their friends are there.  Set up games such as Frisbee or Snap It or for those really hot days – have a water fight!  
Whether you’re out in the garden, heading off to the park or camping for the weekend, The Entertainer has a huge range of toys for all ages that will have them riding and splashing around and are guaranteed to keep the kids happy and entertained this summer. 



We love going for walks in Autumn to collect leaves and pine cones to make decorations. Even now the kids are older they have a passion for collecting things while out walking, sticks in particular.

My kids love to play with the neighbourhood kids on their bikes and scooters. Thankfully we live in a small cul-de-sac so there are not many cars around.

I often let them play alone, they have amazing imaginations and make up some fantastic games that keep them occupied for hours. There is no need to plan everything.

It's guaranteed that as soon as any friends turn up then they are off into the garden!

The slightest bit of sunshine and they are wanting their paddling pool filled up, we even add a little bubble bath to keep them clean, haha!



Have you any good tips to get the kids outside?








Disclosure: tips provided by The Entertainer.



  

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

The Spray Mop for Floors and Windows - with Discount Code

I always argue with my hubby over mops, that might sound daft but the truth is I can't stand the smell of wet mops or buckets. It doesn't matter if you clean them well they always have a certain smell to them. I've even tried soaking them in sweet smelling liquid, but still they smell like mops, dirty and damp and I hate them. Also, lugging a bucket around with you will mopping is a definite no no for me.

My hubby hates my steam mop, he thinks it's too much effort to set up, he doesn't like being restricted by the cord and he can't get into the corners properly with it.I have to agree with him, but, when it's dirty I can rip off the pad and throw it in the washing machine...no smell!

I was asked if I'd like to try a Spray Mop. I've used micro fibre mops before and although you can take the pad off and throw it in the washing machine, I've found that they don't last very long, or clean the floor properly.

I liked the idea that the spray mop cleaned windows too. My steam mop cleans windows but I really do find it a pain to get it set up and the cord is really restrictive when it comes to windows.

(read on for a 15% discount on this mop especially for my readers!)

So, what did I think of this 2-in-1 Spray Mop?

About the Product



  •    2 in 1 Mop - You get both a spray mop and a window cleaner attachment in your kit.
  •    600 ML Bottle - The bottle can be easily removed from the holder to fill the floor cleaner of your choice - remember to keep it clean and to empty it after use.
  •    Microfiber Pad - The Pad can be reused for up to 100 washes.
  •   The Spray Handle - Remember the red spray button will remain loose till the time you fix it to the bottom handle.
  •   The Click -Only when both the handles are properly fixed will you be able to use the spray mop - Listen for the "Click" when you assemble the mop.

What's in the Box?

You get the mop and it's handle. A water bottle which is already attached to the mop, two micro fibre mop heads and a window cleaning attachment.

Testing it Out

I put the mop together quite easily, although hubby had to help me get it to click into place as I  don't have much strength. The I filled the mop, which again was easy once I'd actually worked it out. The only instructions were on the box and they said to remove cap and fill. I couldn't find the cap, I guess I was thinking it was more like my steam mop where you fill it without removing the container, but it wasn't. You had to remove the container from the mop to find the red cap...mine was black. It was pretty simple to take off, fill and return to the mop. 
I started mopping my kitchen. The micro fibre head took a little while to work, you have to get it wet first but once it did, well, wow, I was truly impressed. 

Cleaning Ability

The micro fibre head is quite big and cleans big places quickly. My kitchen floor is quite big, over 7 metres long and it was really clean in just minutes. I sprayed from the handle and swept the mop over the floor. No buckets, no wringing out, it was quick and easy. BUT, most impressive was how the mop got right into the corners and edges of my kitchen. It reached parts that my steam mop doesn't and I was impressed. It even goes under your appliances to give the floor a clean under there. I can't reach under there with my steam mop or a regular mop. The floor was not soaking wet when finished. I'd only used half the bottle of water. A wet slippy floor is something I don't want with my poor balance and three little ones running around.

As I still had half a bottle I also cleaned my hallway, also 7 metres long but not as wide. Then I cleaned my downstairs bathroom and here I was really impressed on how the mop cleaned the hardest to reach places. It's quite a wide mop but it rotates really easily and using it sideways you can get into small places like behind the toilet. 

I was really, really happy with the cleaning ability.

Care of Mop.

Once finished you have to make sure that the water bottle is empty and remove the microfiber cloth head if it is dirty. The cloth comes off easily, but it's also quite secure when mopping. I've had some micro fibre mops which were velcro set and once wet they start moving around and loose their stick. This mop sticks to a plastic spike setting and it is really secure until you rip it off.


The micro fibre pad was not that dirty so I didn't throw it in the washing machine just yet, I rinsed it out in the bathroom sink and it came up clean. I left it to dry naturally for the next use. It looks like it will last a long time, it's much thicker than any micro fibre mop cloth I've used before.

Window Cleaning.


It was really easy to attach the window cleaner to the mop. I sprayed the window and rubbed it clean with the micro fibre cloth head. Then I turned it around to make sure it was dry and smear free with the rubber squeegee which works really well. It made cleaning my patio doors really easy and that's generally a job I hate.

Pros and Cons

The mop is lightweight and easy to use. 
You can use your own cleaner, you don't have to buy anything special. I bought a litre of Cif for just £1 and it worked great and I only had to use a little. 
The bottle of cleaner lasts for ages so you don't need to keep refilling it, with one bottle I cleaned my kitchen, my hallway and two bathrooms. I changed to window cleaner to clean my patio doors and I remembered to only half fill the bottle. 
The micro fibre cloths clean really well and are easy to clean in the washing machine when dirty.
The mop gets into hard to reach places with ease because of it's shape and manoeuvrability, but it 's still big enough to clean large spaces quickly. 
It cleans all sorts of floors, from wood to lino.
The squeegee on the window cleaner works better than any I've used before. 


The instructions are not exceptionally clear. It took me a while to work out how to remove and fill the water bottle. 
It's a bit stiff clicking the mop together in the first place, but it's not something you have to do again once it's done. 

I would definitely recommend this mop to my family and friends, it's a big thumbs up from me. At time of publishing this post the mop can be purchased for  £18.95 which is a little more than I'd pay for a regular mop but less than half the price of my steam mop...which may be going into retirement. 

Discount for my Readers 


We would love to offer your readers a 15% flat discount on the Spray Mop.
Coupon Code - 15OFFWIZ (Applicable on Amazon)

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Word of the Week - Escape


sunglasses on the beach
photo credit Ethan Robertson - Unsplash


This weekend we are making our escape and we are off visiting relatives in Dorset.
Our home has felt much like a prison since the break up from school. With Star's problems and my health every attempt at escaping has been thwarted.

Earlier this week we planned on visiting a National Trust property not too far away. We wanted to go on Monday but I had been really poorly all weekend and needed an extra day to recover.

Then on Tuesday it was Star's turn to be unwell. I was so disappointed. I guess we could have re-arranged for later in the week but I knew Star wouldn't be well enough and I wanted us all to be fit and well for this weekend.

Now, I guess all we have to do is hope that the rain gives us a break so we can get down to the beach.

Fingers Crossed x
The Reading Residence

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Back to School Buys and a Give Away

Have you purchased your child's school uniform yet? I used to buy the badged items from the school reception before they broke up, then I'd buy trousers, shirts, blouses and p.e kits during the holiday, leaving the shoes until last!

This year I'm feeling rather nervous and out of control as the school uniform is changing and we can't buy the badged items or p.e. shirts and bags until September...eeek! Talk about cutting it short. A little more reassuring is that the kids have an extra two weeks off in September so I guess it's still plenty of time.

Not only is the uniform changing but so is the school. The younger ones are moving into the Secondary School with Star and it's going to become an all-through school.

I've been looking around for uniforms and to be honest it's a bit of a nightmare, particularly online as everything seems to be sold out already. Also, when you are buying online you have to be careful that the clothes are good quality. So although I may 'top up' on uniform items during the year from supermarkets like Asda and Aldi, I do like to make sure they start the year in smart clothes that I know will last them until they grow.

Last September I bought shoes from Clarke's and they last all school year. A bit of polish and they still look like new. The Little Man's feet are the only ones that have grown much so he will need a size bigger. Although, they will all be getting new shoes in September.

I've been looking through the John Lewis range of School wear and I've been filling up my basket. They have an entire school shop and even provide badged items for certain schools all around the country. You can even download a school uniform checklist to print off and check the items as you get them.

Here is the John Lewis statement about their uniform.

Our school uniform is market-leading thanks to the ingenious designs, extra protection on the fabrics and clever finishing touches.
Each piece is designed to last, look great and make maintenance easy.

What I really like about the site is that you can find everything you need in one place, from clothing to lunch boxes, stationary to name labels, you can even buy lab coats and water bottles. The list goes on.

I've been having trouble finding black joggers for my kid's p.e. kit. They have them at John Lewis in all three sizes and the prices start from £7 for the Little Man, £8 for Boo and only £10 for Star. I've had real trouble finding plain black joggers in Star's size, and most have been over the £10 mark, even at Asda (and they didn't have any in stock!)



Boo has decided she wants to wear a skirt rather than trousers and I love this classic pleated school skirt. It comes in black, blue and grey and fits from 3 years to 16 years. The prices are £10-£16. A little bit more than the supermarket but so nice and you just know they are going to look smart for a long time.



So what about stationary? You'll find everything you need at John Lewis but I've been browsing these pencil cases, I wish I'd had a choice like this when I was at school! But, saying that, I'm glad I didn't because I probably wouldn't be able to choose. Here's one that Boo likes.





Where do you buy your kid's school uniform from? Would you consider John Lewis? Have you bought your uniform already? I'd love to know in the comments.

Give Away - Unicorn Liquid Pencil Case


How would you like to win a little something to help with the Back To School Blues.
I'm giving away a NPW Unicorn Pencil Case.

This cute unicorn pencil case is perfect for storing all your stationery essentials in for school. One side is liquid lined, with unicorns, rainbows and shooting stars floating around the bright blue case.

Fill in the Rafflecopter Widget for your chance to win.





a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

SENSSE Anti-Ageing Facial Cleansing Brush and Exfoliator review

I was sent the Sensse Anti-Ageing Facial Cleansing Brush and Exfoliator to review.

I've always had nice skin but the truth is, I haven't looked after it very well. I'm afraid to admit that I will remove make-up with a baby wipe.

I don't wear make up frequently which probably helps my skin, I like my face to feel natural. I often just wash with a little soapy water and then apply a moisturiser. It doesn't matter which type of moisturiser so long as it absorbs quickly, feels good and has a SPF of at least 20.

The thing that attracted me to the Sensse Cleansing Brush was the promise;

AGE DEFYING RESULTS- See amazing, age defying results with consistent daily use.

Yes, I'm aware that I'm getting older and I am consistently looking for 'age defying' products.

I've been trying the brush for a couple of weeks now so here is my review.


The Packaging

I do love to receive something well packaged and the Sensse Cleansing brush comes in a lovely white box with a simple rose gold logo. The brush itself looks elegant, I love the touch of rose gold. In the box you get the brush with a clear plastic lid and the charger which is USB. You do not get a USB adaptor but it works with most phone chargers.


First Impressions

Before using the brush you need to charge it first and it has three lights at the front which tell you when it's fully charged. Then you will get 60 uses of the brush as each use is timed by 60 seconds. 
When charged you use the brush with your chosen cleanser and you are given 20 second timing beeps for you to do different sections of your face. The timing beeper is a great addition although you are given 20 seconds to do both cheeks so you have to make sure they get 10 seconds each. 

The brush itself is incredibly soft and lovely to use. I has three speeds and each speed is activated by the one switch, you hold it down for it come on and then click through to second and third speeds. It stops automatically after 60 seconds but you have to hold down the switch to turn it off. It will turn itself off after two minutes inactivity to save the battery. 

Using the Cleanser

I find using the cleanser really simple and I love that it's not time consuming, just 60 seconds and you're done. You can even use it in the shower. I just use a simple cleanser and and brush it in finishing off with a quick swill with cold water.
The brush is really soft and it feels lovely on  your skin. It oscillates quickly giving you a deep and cleansing experience. The slowest speed is good for sensitive skin and the faster speeds are good for exfoliation and anti ageing treatment. 
The brush slots off easily for cleaning under the tap after each use. You then pop it back on and leave it for next use.

The Claims

The brush is supposed to turn back your beauty clock by stimulating collagen and elastin production to reduce wrinkles and fine lines. It promises age defying results with consistent daily use. It comes with a 60 day money back guarantee if you are not satisfied.

My Results

Having used the brush for just over two weeks I'm thinking that perhaps it's too early for miraculous results and nobody has told me I look any younger yet. However, I'm loving using the brush, not only is it really simple to use but it makes my skin feel so fresh and clean in such a short amount of time. After use I'm left a little red in the face but only for a few moments, this tells me that the brush is stimulating my blood vessels and encouraging my skin to shine with cleanliness. Before using the brush my skin would feel desperate for moisturiser after cleansing, but now it doesn't. Although I still apply it. My skin feels fresher and cleaner like I've spent ages on a cleansing routine, when in fact I've just used this brush for 60 seconds. To be honest, I'd like to use it for more than 60 seconds as it feels so good. I tend to turn it on again just to do my throat area.

I do not have a lot of wrinkles despite my age, but I will continue to use this brush in the hope that my skin will remain wrinkle free in the future. My skin is definitely feeling firmer and looking brighter. 


Would I Recommend the Sensse Facial Cleansing Brush to Family and Friends?

Yes, I would. It's a great cleansing tool and although I've not had many facials in a professional salon (only two and I didn't really enjoy them,) I'd say this would be a great alternative to expensive treatments. It's a little pricey at £59.99 but still cheaper than facial treatments and much quicker and easier. In fact, I'd be happy to try the other Sensse products and already have my eye on the  Sensse Facial Toner Face Massager and Derma Roller. I may not have many wrinkles but I do have saggy jowls. (Now, there is a confession!) 

If I were to change anything about the cleansing brush it would be to have 20 seconds each cheek rather than having to share the 20 seconds between your cheeks. Then maybe another 20 seconds for the jaw area. So I'm asking for a total of 100 seconds rather than 60, but I think it's worth it, it's still less than two minutes.


Disclosure: I was sent the Sensse Anti-Ageing Facial Cleansing Brush and Exfoliator for free in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


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