Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Top Outdoor Activities In The UK


Do you spend a lot of time outdoors? I much prefer to be doing something outside than stuck indoors. My favorite outdoor activities are walking, camping and gardening, in fact you will often hear me saying to people that I'd rather be gardening than doing housework and my garden is usually tidier than inside my house. I love the fresh air and feel so invigorated after a good gardening session or long walk along the river.

As an avid gardener I wasn't surprised to hear that gardening ranked the top choice for keeping active in the UK, and is way more popular than any sports. New research conducted by First Utility, the largest independent gas and electricity supplier shows almost two-fifths (37.5%) of people have a passion for pottering in their gardens, while other popular ways of enjoying the outdoors are shopping and dog walking. Just 4% said they took part in competitive sports, which does surprise me as I would have expected the number to be much higher than that, and the most popular sporting activity was cycling (12.1%). Running was an activity shared by 7.5% and going to the gym 7.4%.


I was also really surprised to discover that there is just 1% separating men and women in their interest in gardening. To be honest I always assumed that men tend to enjoy it much more than women. How wrong was I. 

Energy supplier First Utility put all their energy into offering the lowest gas and electricity prices for consumers. Customers switching their energy to First Utility save an average of £296 on their gas and electricity prices a year. That is a lot of money and a huge saving. A chunk of Christmas, a purse full of cash towards a holiday, new shoes, handbags or just think how many new plants that could buy for the garden. I'm really impressed with that figure.

Ed Kamm, Chief Customer Officer at First Utility, said: 
We put our energy into lowering prices so that the UK can spend more on enjoying the things they put theirs into.  Whether running the London marathon, or enjoying a box set marathon, we make sure energy prices are one less thing to worry about.” 

About First Utility
First Utility is the UK’s fastest growing and largest independent energy supplier. It supplies gas and electricity to more than 780,000 customers throughout the UK and is committed to helping them reduce their energy bills by offering cheaper tariffs, helping customers use less energy through the use of innovative technology and campaigning for industry change. 

First Utility also donates 1% of its profits each year to the First Utility Foundation, an independent charitable organisation with a goal to improve the lives of vulnerable families and individuals across the UK. 





What Do You Put Your Energy Into? 
Gardening, Sports, Walking? 
Or Do you prefer more indoor activities?






*The research for First Utility was carried out by Opinium between: 04 / 03 / 2015 and 09 / 03 / 2015 surveyed 2,051 UK adults.

*Collaborated Post

Friday, 26 June 2015

Things To Do On A Budget - Free Kids Travel Game Printables


We do love a good train journey here at the Syders, so much so that my dream holiday is to one day travel around the USA by train, which includes some journeys that are 72 hours long. I would say we are experts when it comes to travelling by train with a shed load of kids in tow, we have always embraced public transport for long journeys.

Packing light and keeping the kids entertained are our top priorities and we always welcome budget ideas for things to do on the train. My Granddaughters favorite game is to pretend that she is a ticket lady and we have spent hours passing time with this game. I keep all my old train tickets in my bag and every time we travel out they come to entertain us. 


TransPennine Express have created some fab free travel games that parents can print off at home before they travel to give to their kids once on the train. Games include noughts and crosses, window bingo (my personal favorite), a maze game and a couple more. All you need to do to get your free games is to pop over to TransPennine Express website and download the games. Easy Peasy!




Have you any suggestions for keeping the kids entertained on the train?



Thursday, 25 June 2015

Mini Chou Chou Birdies


Have you seen the new Mini Chou Chou Birdies Mini dolls from Zapf Creation? They are so cute! They are available in two different assortments, each with six mini characters and every mini doll comes with it's own Mini Chou Chou Birdie Friend. So adorable! 

What I like about the dolls is that each of their funky little outfits is interchangeable, so if you have more than one doll they can swap clothes.  The mini dolls also have a really gorgeous cuckoo clock house that they can live inside. It is so pretty and I love the design and the story behind these super cute dolls makes me want to climb inside. Rumour has it that the mini chou chou dolls live in a magical forest and when the cuckoo clock strikes ten they begin their journey into fairytale land.




Mini Chou Chou Mini dolls are priced at £7.99 each and are suitable for children aged 3 years and upwards. The Cuckoo Clock is priced at £29.99. In the Autumn there will be a new addition to the Birdies set as Zapf will be launching their Mini Chou Chou Fox Pet Friends and Fox playsets. I can't wait to see those! For more information visit www.minichouchou.com





*We were sent a mini chou chou birdie doll and cuckoo clock free of charge for the purpose of this article. Our opinions are entirely our own and unbiased.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Fathers Day Gift Ideas On A Budget

With Father's Day fast approaching I thought I would share some ideas for gifts on a budget from Truprint. As you know I love photo gifts and I'm rather partial to a montage so I can display my family with pride around my home. Hubby loves photo's too, so I decided to make him a 'manly' collage using our surname for a Father's Day surprise. It is really easy to make and all you need is an old frame, some paint and photo's.

Get Up To £30 off by using the code LOVEMYDAD at the the Truprint checkout. Last orders for Fathers Day is Monday June 15th 2015.



Create A Photo Collage
Step By Step Guide




1 - Find an old frame. I used an old picture that has not been used for about six years and I had it hidden away in the shed, but if you pop down to your local charity shop they always have a box of old frames.

2. Remove the backing. Unclip the backing from the frame and usually you will find some card or you could use the back of the original picture to begin creating your montage.

3. Write the name. I decided to make a montage using our surname, but you could use any words you want like 'DAD' 'FATHER' or his christian name, whatever you want. Begin by pencilling in the words in big bubble letters then cut out the letters. 

4. Paint. I wanted black paint but use whatever you have, or buy some tester pots from the DIY shop to paint your frame and the card that you have just cut out with your name on. I used satin and it worked really well.

5. Assemble. Leave to dry for a few days then carefully position your photos to fit in nicely behind the cut out letters, secure photo's in place with tape. It takes a bit of fiddling around at this stage to position the photo's perfectly. Then put the back of the frame on and you are finished. 

If you do not feel you have time to make a photo collage in a frame then you could easily create a giant poster collage like I have. I decided to make Hubby a collage of our time in North Devon, which I know he will love. It is basically just like a giant photo and cost £19.99 for a 40" x 30" poster. It is huge and really easy to do. I also purchased personalised Father's Day cards and a keyring for only £2.99 and the cards were under £3.00 each.



Up to £30 off your order

  1. Code LOVEMYDAD gives £10 discount on order £20-£49.99 and £30 discount on orders £50 or more
  2. Minimum spend does not include P&P charges
  3. Offer is valid until midnight 15th June 2015.
  4. Offer is valid for single use during the promotional period and to customers residing in the UK on Truprint.co.uk only.
  5. P&P charges will apply
  6. Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or on pre-paid prints.
  7. Please allow an additional 1-2 delivery days during this promotional period.



*Disclaimer: I was given £50 credit to spend at Truprint for the purpose of this post, all opinions are my own and unbiased. 

Monday, 8 June 2015

Thrifty Home Hacks From Bisselll




Mouldy Dishwasher:
If your dishwasher needs a clean, place a cup of vinegar on the top shelf and wash on the hottest cycle to kill mould, mildew and fungus.

Cleaning Make Up Brushes:
To clean make up brushes without spending money on pricey cleaners, swirl them in a solution of olive oil and dishwashing liquid to remove grime.

Dirty Kids Toys:
Put them in the dishwasher for a thorough clean.

Oven Cleaning:
Spray a solution of baking soda and water on built up oven grime. Wipe down when oven is still slightly warm for an organic oven cleaning solution.

Remove Marmite Stains:
To remove Marmite stains do not rub the area with a dry paper towel. Instead, dilute the stain with water to loosen the paste and colour. Absorb the excess water with a dish cloth. 

Broken Glass:
Use slices of bread to clean up the shards. Press the slices into the area to help pick up fragments of glass.

Dusty Lampshades:
If you have dusty lampshades, use a lint roller to remove excess dust and fibre particles.

Stainless Steel Surfaces: 
To keep your stainless steel surfaces in good nick, rub a cotton cloth in one direction at a time. Moving in the direction of the grain can help remove light marks. Finish in a straight line for a mark free finish.

Bissell have some great on-going 3 for 2 offers on their long-lasting cleaning formulations and to test how good they are, they sent me some 'wash and protect carpet cleaning formula' which we used with our Vax carpet cleaner to was our downstairs carpets. We have two cats and a dog so I was keen to get rid of any animal pongs. It worked really well and cleaned the carpets beautifully. We will be swapping our regular carpet cleaner for this one.



*Bissell is a family owned corporation and has developed and created the world’s best cleaning tools. From the deep down microscopic source of your family’s wheezing and sneezing to the stains, dirt and animal dander that wreak havoc on your home life. Bissell have redefined the concept of clean with a family of innovative floor care products such as vacuums, carpet sweepers etc.  

Monday, 1 June 2015

Shop Locally - Cherry Wine Summer Fruit Punch Recipe


Today is the start of the East of England Co-op Sourced Locally Fortnight (1st-14th June), and it is the ideal time to sample some of the fantastic goods from East Anglia’s finest producers. The Sourced Locally campaign aims to show people just how excellent your local farmers, butchers, brewers and bakers are and the East of England Co-op want to make sure that buying local food and drink is as easy as possible. Buying local is a great way to help your local producers and economy grow.

I popped along to my East of England Co-op to see what local produce they had on offer for a family BBQ that I will be hosting next week and I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of choice I had and the very reasonable prices. I must admit I was expecting to pay a lot more for sourced locally products when I walked into the shop, and I half expected to not get as much for my money. However, I ended up getting great value for money and I am delighted with the products.

I managed to get fresh burgers, sausages, diced pork, ribs, ketchup, BBQ sauce, cider and some cherry wine that I plan on using to make a scrummy summer punch. I picked up some great locally produced products for our summer BBQ for under £40. I'm so pleased and I will definitely be buying these local products again.



  • Want to Get involved?
    Try swapping at least one of your everyday items for a fresher, tastier local one over the next two weeks to help co-op celebrate your local producers. Stay up-to-date on the East of England Co-op’s Twitter account @EoECoop and follow the #iheartlocal hashtag.


*We were sent co-op vouchers for the purpose of sampling locally produced products for this blog post. Our opinions are entirely our own and unbiased.

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