Author: Jen

Gardening Minus the Green Fingers…

I am not a natural gardener.  Indeed, I kill things.  Unintentionally yet nevertheless determinedly and resolutely.  My mother’s day plant from my children withered and died within days; every herb I’ve ever owned and valiantly attempted to cultivate has darkened and dried up with alarming speed; even flowers wilt almost as soon as they enter the vicinity of my home.  When Sonny brought home a bean from school earlier this year, I was adamant that I would nurture this thing until it grew big and strong.  I watered it gently every single morning and found new and ingenious ways of propping it up until it grew strong enough to support its own height.  Alas, it never did, despite the chopsticks rammed with unfailing optimism into its soil.  Granted, it still looks green at the moment but it is collapsing in on itself and of no use to anyone.  Yep, I did it again. I should stick to cacti. So, how does one so completely useless at gardening maintain such a space?  Artificial grass is an …

At Home Date Ideas for Busy Parents

When family life gets busy, often it’s hard to find time to spend alone with your partner. Going out on date nights may seem like a good idea, however, sometimes organising a babysitter, booking somewhere to go and then taking the babysitter home when you get back makes it all quite hard work. After all, the whole point of your evening together should be to enjoy each other’s company and relax. Instead of going out why not choose some fun things you can do at home to experience a special date night together? Here are a few ideas to inspire you.  Romantic table for two  Having a romantic dinner at home is possible, even if older children haven’t yet gone to bed. One thing you can try on a convenient evening is to arrange to have dinner with your partner at home, while the children are occupied with a film. Weekends seem to work best, and with a bit of planning everyone will be content. Select a film for the children to watch and allow them (just this once) to have an easy to prepare TV dinner such as pizza. Use a small table beside them and set up another in the kitchen for the adults. A nice glass of wine and …

3 Birthday Gift Ideas for 10 Year Olds

This year sees Jasmine turn 10, somewhat unbelievably.  The day itself may not be until December but I have already started thinking about how to make it special.  Ten feels huge; double figures.  A milestone.  Inching closer to high school and greater independence. We have started talking about a party – a disco to share with all her friends and most likely the last big party she will have until she turns 16 (a scary prospect) – and she has some firm ideas about the gifts that she would like.  The last time we spoke about it, these included a Garmin child’s activity tracker, a Polaroid camera and vlogging equipment.  Yeah, she’s not a cheap date these days! I have been toying with the idea of saving the gift ideas for Christmas or farming them out to family and instead buying her something a little different; some kind of experience day that she won’t forget for a long time.  Or a puppy.  No, let’s stick with the experiences for now… The first to catch my …

3 Times In My Life When I’ve Needed Money… Fast!

It’s fair to say that life does not always follow the path we choose and, inevitably, we can quickly find ourselves caught short in the finance stakes.  For example, ten years ago I discovered I was 20 weeks pregnant completely out of the blue and was still living at home whilst my boyfriend was living in a bedsit that barely accommodated one person, let alone 2 and a bit!  We needed to find somewhere to live as a family (including my then 9 year old stepson) almost immediately, which is never without its problems. Firstly, we needed somewhere with 3 bedrooms that was local to my stepson’s school and, vitally, affordable.  After weeks of searching, we found somewhere suitable but still needed to source the deposit and first month’s rent.  Our little bundle of joy being something of a surprise (albeit a wonderful one), we were not financially prepared for this at all and were forced to resort to borrowing money from family to tide us over before it was too late.  As it was, we …

Gift Guide for Motorcycle Moms

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and you know what that means—it’s time to spoil Mom rotten! From staying up with you until all hours of the morning when you were an infant to putting up with your teenager sass for years, your mother has done more for you than you will ever know. Show your gratitude with more than just the cliché flowers. Show her that you appreciate her and all she continues to do for you with a new women’s motorcycle jacket, a sleek new helmet or something as equally cool as the woman herself.   Head Gear  Let your mom know that none of her safety advice went unheeded by presenting her with the very item you gave her heck about when she suggested you wear one: a brand-new motorcycle helmet. Off-brand isn’t good enough for your mom. She needs something stylish, durable and just as classy as she is. Check out the motorcycle helmets for women from Shoei, Fly Racing and O’Neal. Present her with a quality helmet and you …