Enjoying More Water Starts With Me.

I don’t know about you but I suck at drinking water. I can drink coffee all day, without a problem but when it comes to water, I’m rubbish. I’ve always prefered a little sweetness or flavour in my water, not just juice but slices of lemon, cucumber or apples. I am a huge fan of fruit water but sometimes it’s a pain in the bum to prepare.

Something else is when you are on the go you don’t always want to be paying so much money for fizzy drinks or flavoured waters. We tend to bring our own bottles of water or pick up a couple on the go. I think that is why Squash’d appeals to me so much. The bottles are so small, they are easy to shove in a handbag or a rucksack.

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Once the bottles arrived I knew that there would be a flavour that everyone liked. We have pretty mixed preferences so that made it really easy for everyone to try the flavours, and find one they liked best. I am a firm fan of the passion fruit and mango, whereas my daughters all love different ones. P likes Summer Fruits, L liked Apple & Blackcurrant and Ivy was a fan of Lemon & Lime.

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The two big kids are loving the Lemon & Lime here, while Ivy is having Apple & Blackcurrant in her little green cup. Because they can add their own flavours to the water, it’s like that can now join in with breakfast prep!

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While it’s been hot I’ve been making fruity drinks, this one has wizzed up watermelon, water and some Passion Fruit & Mango Squash’d for a tropical tasting drink. It got me thinking about how the girls watch me drink coffee all day, while they have water but really I should up my own water intake and set an example to them. So I have been, I realised that enjoying more water starts with me.

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I was recently at Britmums Live, and I was delighted to find Squash’d on the tables, I was drinking water all day long because of it.

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I have noticed a huge improvement for me in terms of how my skin looks, how I feel, my dark circle eye bags, and how long I can concentrate for. I think due to the fact it’s been upped now, when I don’t drink enough water I can actually feel an adverse effect pretty quick.

So my top tip for keeping your kids hydrated is this:
Let them see you drink more water too

This post is an entry for BritMums #EnjoyMoreWater Challenge, sponsored by Robinsons

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Not moving to Melbourne

Do you ever do that thing, where you decide you might want to relocate You chose a place that is pretty much the other side of the planet. You might even choose a city. I get really detailed, I look at crime rates, schools, and the serious one – house prices.

My last one was Australia. Well, actually this one was not so much a hypothetical situation, we had an offer that really needed some consideration my partner had a few really interesting communications with some Aussie companies.

We took to the internet to find out as much as could about both locations. Sydney and Melbourne were both on the cards at that point, we decided in the end that Melbourne seemed like more our thing. I began the process I had done a thousand times before only this time I was looking at Melbourne crimes rates, Melbourne schools, and Melbourne house prices. When you are trying to narrow all that down, it takes a while, you need to look at transport from the office location to your intended new house, you have to reach out to real-estate agents to get really detailed information about the houses for sale in Melbourne, you have to work out the conversion rate, the wages and the cost of living. I think what really stood out to us about Melbourne was it seemed to be a more relaxed pace of life in comparison to Sydney, we have friends currently living in Sydney who advised us that it was, in their experience, more focused on couples and careers, the pace of life to them seemed faster, and although that sounds amazing, the more relaxed atmosphere and family focused things we’d heard about Melbourne really swung it.

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But you know something? It was something that I loved doing, I loved being able to get so much information, so easily about what our life could be like if we made the leap. I loved hearing how many bathrooms a place had, the size of the garden, how many bedrooms and the proximity to parks, the beach or local shops.

In the end, we didn’t, sometimes I daydream about what it would have been like if we had made that jump. If we had just took a risk that big. The truth is, though, that although it was something we really did seriously consider in the end, it wasn’t the right time for us.

But, one day I think we will make the move because we fell in love with it all. Just not right now.

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Is Your Bathroom Ready for a Revamp? Top Bathroom Redecoration Tips

Summer’s here and it’s time to get your bathroom into shape and looking fresh and inviting. Wondering where to start with redecorating? Here are a few ideas to help you on your way to a great looking bathroom with minimal spend and little effort.

Refresh Your Sealants

When we’re looking for wear and tear in our bathrooms, usually the first thing we notice is mouldy or peeling sealants around shower cubicles, sinks, and baths. First of all, you’ll have to remove the old sealant to make way for the new. This little detail makes such a difference.

Silicone sealant will need to be manually removed with a chisel or sharp knife before you get new materials in there. Choose good quality PVC strips from somewhere like Barrier Components to prolong the life of your sealant.

Revamp Your Tiles

If you want to make a low-effort but high-impact change in the design and look of your bathroom, experimenting with tiling is a great place to start. Tiling is great not only because it’s practical and easy to clean, but because there is so much variety in the type, style, shape and arrangement of tiling that it caters for all tastes.

Experiment with accent colours, borders or geometric arrangement for a touch of personality. With tiling, you can keep it as minimal or as exciting and colourful as you like.

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Upgrade Your Storage

If you want to make your bathroom look a little less cluttered with cleaning products and cosmetics, the best way forward is to ensure your bathroom storage is up to scratch. If you have little space, invest in units that make use of vertical space and fit into available space.

Use the height in your bathroom – think about shelving for storing towels, and potentially get some bathroom plants like ferns or spider plants to improve air quality and add a fresh, organic touch.

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In With New Fittings

The little details make such a difference; our shower can be improved on the cheap with an upgraded shower head; lime scale build-up can make a bathroom look unloved. Invest in multiple-piece sets for items like soap dispensers, toothbrush holders and soap dishes to avoid things looking mismatched.

Make sure your bathroom design is coherent and flows – use the same shades and keep to your colour scheme for a cohesive look. Stick with one shade of wood or metal for your upgraded fittings.

Fixing up your bathroom needn’t be taxing; with these simple tips you’ll be on your way to a fresh new bathroom look.

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Square Pie Grand Central Birmingham

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Square Pie in Grand Central Birmingham have been serving up tasty treats for some time now, but I had never been in it. When I was asked if I wanted to try something from their new menu I replied ‘I love pie’. I really do. I took my friend along with me and the photo above is her dish. She went for the British Beef, Wonky Veg and Ale (so did I), mashed potato, gravy and a helping of beans. she also had some of the (amazing) coleslaw in a cup on the side.

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I don’t know how you eat your pie but I am a lid peeler. I like to slowly peel the lid off, intact and take a look at the middle. You can see from the photo this one has big mouthfuls of very tender beef. It was melt in your mouth style, very little chewing involved for a big flavour impact. The veg gave sweet soft bites as you went along. I can’t help feeling like the squareness of the pie actually means you could have more filling than a round counterpart. Maybe that is something I need to google?

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Where so I start with this one? With the broccoli – obviously. I absolutely love raw broccoli, and it fits so well in the crunch and texture of the rest of the ‘slaw. I really enjoyed the parsley too. The whole combo is light, creamy, crunchy without being heavy and although you might not think it, goes really well with pie.

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We TRIED to finish it all, we really did. We’d been at an event earlier in the day and hadn’t had anything since breakfast so there was plenty of space for pie.

Anyway, if you are between catching trains, shopping in Grand Central Birmingham, or just in need of a damn fine pie, head to Square Pie!

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Shootings, Bombings and Love

We’ve been dealing with wave after wave of tragedy as humans for the last few months, longer really but lately it just seems heavier. The most recent, no doubt you know about already. I’ve seen the text messages sent to parents as it happened, I’ve read about lovers who took bullets for their partners. I’ve read about people opening their doors where possible to hide victims and those running scared in Paris. I’ve read of people doing everything they can, all that they can possibly do to save the life of another in Brussles. Grabbing the hand of a stranger and pulling them to safety, even if they weren’t sure if they were safe themselves.

Someone that they don’t even know, and in the daily grind of life, would never have met, spoke to or nodded at.

The situations are unstable, they are as volatile as any situation can truly be. They are the violent actions that strip life from this earth. They are brutal in every sense. Yet, some how, people are reaching to each other. They flee, but they take others with them. They wrap limbs of strangers with clothing pulled from their own brutalised bodies, they hide people, they are doing all they can to save someone. In a moment when they could lose their own life.

Currently, there are hundreds of people lining up to give blood after the horrific events in Orlando. Literally giving the life from inside them to another.

A thick, heavy lump fills my throat and my chest is tight. But it is not with fear, it’s with utter love for people.

The thing is, time and again as humans we reach out to others, we try to show – in whatever way that is – that we are here. We wash our Facebook with thoughts, feelings, news pieces, change our profile pictures to show that we are united. We stand together. Twitter trends hashtags for discussions points, for safe spaces, for change. Blogs are filled with thoughts and feelings, some written with beauty and grace, some in the heat of the moment but all of this is valid. All of this is unity.

We all feel the same way.

We are incensed at the sheer destruction of life, the taking of that which is not yours to take, we are crushed mentally and spiritually for the loss of the victims and their families, we are broken at the thought of it happening ‘closer to home’, to people we know, to us. We look to blame, it started with the person holding the smoking gun (metaphorical and literal) and trickles into fear of whole races, whole religions, people we don’t know.

The thing is, though. The voices of hate and fear, however loud, will never be as powerful, as pure and as poignant as the voices of love. If there is one thing, that puts the beat back in my heart, it is hearing and reading about the love, the heroism, the utter selflessness that humans show other humans in the moments it counts. Race, religion, gender, sexuality and age no longer matter – what matters is life.

When it really comes down to it, in those moments, we reach out our hands and (in the words of Bill Hicks) love all the people. 

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