Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Win a Year Family Membership to National Trust

One of my aims for 2017 is to enter more competitions and I have earnestly entered a selection every day!  I am feeling quietly optimistic and am excited to see what my first win might be.

I am especially keen to win trips, days out and holidays as I think they really enrich our life, as we get to try new experiences and see more of the world.  I have just spotted a competition over on Sunnybank Forestry to win a 12 month National Trust Family Membership, so I have just entered myself; it was very quick and easy to do.  A visit to the Sunnybank Forestry facebook page, follow them on twitter and then a simple tweet and I was in the draw.

A year membership would certainly take the strain away from deciding what to do to entertain the boys.  At 7 and 9 they need lots of physical activity and fresh air or they get a bit stir crazy – and wrestle and wind each other up!!!

I have so many more places I would love to visit with a National Trust Membership.  We have been to incredible castles, beautiful gardens and done lots of activities during our visits of old.  The boys have built dens, discovered newts in ponds, learnt sword-fighting techniques and played giant outdoor games.

Eldest enjoyed all the medieval costumes and weapons, as you can see in the picture below of him getting into character.

Apart from newts we have also spotted lots of different birds. 

National Trust properties really are a haven for wildlife, whether you want to bird watch or hunt for bugs.  The National Trust provide the binoculars, jars and other information you might need depending on which activity you would like to try.  When your child has attempted something you can tick it off the list of “50 things to do before you’re 11¾”.  We have done much of the list already including cooking on a campfire.

I would like to go to Plas Newydd, Anglesey to see the red squirrels where you can find the largest population in Wales.

We have been to special events like the Easter egg trails they do.  The chocolate prize at the end is perfect to encourage children to take part and it was an ideal way to discover more of the attraction as the questions led us around.  So even if you think you have been somewhere do go back if they have something special planned in their calendars, you never know quite what you might get to see or do.

Good luck in the competition.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

How To Manage Stress

My husband has a high-pressure job, a blog of his own and commitments with the children and the house to fit in everyday.  On top of that he has occasional meetings for a charitable organisation he helps with.  Sometimes he worries he won’t fit everything in, it can all seem too much.  You don’t know if you’re coming or going with everything you’re trying to juggle.

We all have our ways with coping with stress; there are different strategies we can try to help manage it:

Do something you enjoy

Take time to relax.  For me its putting on the kettle and having a slice cake with my cup of tea, instantly my mood perks up, even when I am tacking quite tight deadlines!  

Others might prefer to get outside, have a nice walk and clear their heads.   Patting my dog helps, she is so receptive to love and cuddles and her tail wags non-stop it’s hard to feel stressed when you have a bundle of fur to cheer you up.  Hubbie used to smoke and I really don’t want him returning to that particular habit to control his stress.  If he really had to do something like that I would prefer he picked an e-cigarette like those from Go Vype, just because they seem a better alternative and are considered less dangerous than cigarettes.

Say No

We are all guilty of taking on too much, worried about offending someone by saying no.  But its something we need to do, set boundaries, don’t take on extra when you already feel you’re at breaking point your health is more important.  In the workplace you might worry about the consequences of saying no, but if you fail to deliver on something in the longer term then it’s going to look much worse according to Suzy Greaves Life Coach (NHS article).  Set realistic objectives.

Ask for Help

Most of us have some kind of support network so don’t be afraid to lean on them when you need too, whether its to pick up the children so you can work a bit longer or share out some more responsibilities at work.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Refocusing on Renovations

I have got a little disheartened about our house.  It’s not that I don’t want to do renovations anymore; it’s just that holidays are calling to me instead.  I think its because my husband has started a travel blog and I want to explore more of the world again.  Once I get an idea in my head I find it very hard to concentrate on anything else.  Sometimes I can lose my way, it can be hard continually do jobs on the house and seeing little in the way of improvements.  We have had so much outside work done, the inside is still craving serious attention.

I think I need to re-focus my attention on the jobs I need to do on the house so I stop daydreaming about sandy beaches, clear waters and sunny climates.  I do get a little carried away at times – in my head I even know which cocktail I am drinking!  

Now it’s a five-year travel plan instead of prioritising what needs doing to the house.  I seem to have lost track of what paint I should be buying, what tools we need and which workmen to use.  I have stopped looking at mood boards and seeking out inspiration for designs we could incorporate.

Before getting so distracted I was all for the dining room being re-plastered, painted and new flooring added.  After we hacked away at the old stone fireplace the room looks a bit of a mess.  The danger is I have started to get a bit relaxed about the state of the house; I have lived like this so long what difference does a little longer make.  But people that visit really notice, they take it all in and some even pass comment.

Then upstairs we need ceilings for two rooms – well three if you count my eldest’s son room, which needs to be redone!  It didn’t look too bad to begin with but it now has a noticeable sag… so bad I panic slightly one day it might fall down.  SO you see I really do need to find my renovating mojo again!

Whilst his room is being revamped I would need to get him a new window.  He had one when we moved in but it’s the frame I don’t like, its wooden and I prefer plastic, which lasts longer in my opinion.  The site is one possibility if we do replace the window, I would never pick wood again though.  When we moved in hubbie had to spray the whole house with a spray that eradicated woodworm – I don’t really want to tempt them back again by having too much tasty wood for them to nibble on.  It would be PVC every time.

Fingers crossed I can get the renovation memento moving again, but seeing as I have about three or four tabs also open with holiday ideas its going to be tough!  Back in May 2014 we hit the DIY hard, so hopefully we can start to crack on again without getting sidetracked.