5 Ways To Keep Yourself Busy During Lockdown


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As we enter our third month of lockdown you may be scrambling for ideas on how to keep yourself occupied and entertained. My world revolves around my children so between all the homeschooling, games, arts and crafts, walking the dog, none stop cooking - there's little time left over for just me. I know that a lot of people are in the same boat, not just parents so I thought I would put together a list of different ideas to keep us busy and entertained during lock down.


1. Take up a new hobby
I don't know about you but my hobbies are a little bog-standard really; reading, writing, gaming, photography, entering competitions and that's pretty much it. For a few years I've wanted to take up a new hobby and revisit a passion I had many moons ago - painting! Watching Skin Wars on Netflix has also ignited that interest - the painters are so creative and talented! I'll be sticking to paper as my canvas though, not bodies, haha.

2. Learn a new skill
This can go hand in hand with a new hobby - there's certainly a crossover there. A few of my friends have taught themselves to crochet lately and I have to say that I'm tempted to do the same! I've watched a few YouTube tutorials and well, it looks like rocket science to me, but I'm willing to give it a go! Imagine the satisfaction of wrapping up warm in a blanket you've made.

3. Make new connections
Social distancing is something I'm sure most of us take seriously - I haven't seen some of my loved ones for over 9 weeks. It's difficult and although I've not physically seen them for so long I'd say we are more connected than ever - often speaking on the phone, face timing, and sending each other ridiculous gifs. I have a few single friends who haven't let making a new love connection take a back seat by speed dating online - planning numerous dates once things are back to normal. It's good to have something to look forward to once this is all over.

4. Become a DIY master
I've written about this many times but my house has been a work in progress for over six years now - there's always more DIY that needs doing. With the extra time we've had lately we made a list of all the loose ends which needed tackling. We've already done quite a lot - we've repainted the dining room, the hallway, washed our carpets, and so much more.

5. Take time to relax
The world is in slow motion at the moment, we have to stay home, stay away from others but if you are anything like me then you will be finding the silver linings to all this. Rest more, have a bubble bath, an extra glass of wine, treat yourself to that new dress, just be kind to yourself, and stay safe.

Do you have any ideas that you would like to share?

Living Arrows - March 2020



March 2020 - what a month it's been. It started off on the right track with Ava's 3rd birthday which I'm still to write about. It was lovely and I'm still coming to terms with the fact that she's three! The month then took a turn as I had a health scare and then, of course, COVID-19 and the lockdown. It's been a whirlwind of a month and I don't think April is going to be any better. That said, we are all in the same boat and if anything it's time to slow down, enjoy the family time and appreciate the little things in life - like the sun shining, the birds singing and still being able to enjoy one family walk a day. Stay safe and be well.


Living Arrows

The Benefits Of Working From Home


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Working from home is now more common than it ever has been. With today’s advances in technology and communication, many job roles can be carried out without having to commute to a place of work. This offers many advantages for many different people. Some of the biggest benefits include more time with your family and saving money. These are just a few of the pros of working from home:

Rush Hour
I think everyone can agree that the daily commute to work in rush hour traffic can be an absolute nightmare. How many times have you been stuck in traffic after a long day at work when all you want to do is get home and relax. Not only does working from saving you from the stress of the daily commute, but it also saves you a sizeable chunk of change in travel costs.

Childcare
One of the biggest expenses for working parents is childcare costs. Having to send your children to nursery can cost an absolute fortune, sometimes even more than you earn. Working from home eliminates this entirely, not only good for your bank balance but for your relationship with your kids too by allowing you more time with your family.

Less Stress
Being in your own home is where you are most comfortable. Not having to work in a noisy, busy crowded workplace is much better for your own mental well-being as there is less stress, less distraction and you are in your own space with your own belongings. A lot of people actually find they are able to get a lot more done at home than they do at the workplace.

Time
You no longer have to wake up long before your day starts. There is no rushing to get ready which in turn allows you to be able to sleep for longer and again with there being no commute, you can totally eradicate the travel time.

Work/life balance
Working from home allows flexibility. For example, things like doctor and dentist appointments don’t require you to miss any work time. You can make it up later. You can pick the kids up from school or run any errands you need to do.

Less illness
There is nothing worse than being in a place of work where lots of people are sick. Germs and bacteria spread easily in work environments where there are lots of people to come into contact with. With nobody to spread the germs, you won’t get ill as often.


Of course, to be able to work from home you do need the correct setup. This would generally include; Computers/laptops, phones, printers, and consumables, stationery and more. These can be incredibly costly and be a huge hindrance for anyone who wants to start working in their own office space. While investing in a laptop to be able to work from home can be an expensive purchase, it's possible to more evenly distribute the cost over months/weeks using buy now pay later catalogues or other payment option plans.

To summarise, once you are set up and have everything you need, working from home can be extremely beneficial to you and your family. Saving you time, money, stress and more daylight hours with your family. 

Join us on our Easter Egg Hunt with Learning Resources


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We are on lockdown and #StayingIndoors this Easter, teaming up with Learning Resources, one of our favorite brands ever, for an eggciting online Easter egg hunt. It's going to be so much fun and you have the chance to win an Easter-themed prize bundle and a mystery discount!

Make sure to set a reminder for the 6th of April, then hop along to Learning Resources’ Facebook or Instagram pages to look out for all the clues. Follow the clues to find one of their favourite blogs, where you’ll need to hunt for an Easter egg to crack. Hidden inside each Easter Egg you’ll discover a letter - make sure to make note of all the letters because you’ll need them to spell out the answer to a question at the end of the hunt to enter the competition.


Learning Resources are giving away a bumper Alternative Easter Gift prize bundle to once lucky winner; 1x Coding Critters Bopper, Hip and Hop the bunnies, 1x Coding Critters Pair-A-Pets, 1x Hoppy Floppy's Happy Hunt Game, 1x Yumology! Sweets Lab, 1x Playfoam Pluffle 2-pack and 1x Playfoam Pals 2-pack. Everyone who enters the Egg Hunt will also receive a surprise discount of between 10-50% off a Learning Resources purchase on their website. Read more details here.

Are you here to find the letter in our Easter Egg? Well done - you've found it!





Interior Design Tips for Your Rental Property


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Making a house into a home can be pretty difficult at the best of times - but it’s a real challenge with rented accommodation, especially when you have a limited budget. Usually, with rental homes, you get a basic, blank slate - magnolia walls, brown or floral carpets, curtains that look like they came from the ‘70s - yikes. We lived in numerous rental properties before buying our first property and I can confirm that it was true for us. Each property on entering felt like we were stepping back in time and they didn't feel homely at all - avocado coloured bathrooms, green floral wallpaper, bright red kitchens - we've really seen it all. 

Over the years we came to the conclusion that it doesn’t take much to brighten up a plain or outdated home and that it's quite easy to add your own personal touch - even if you aren't able to paint or put anything up on the walls. Whether you’re the sort of person who’ll throw a lot at it and see what sticks or you’ll change one little thing at a time until your house is perfect - some of these tips below might be of some use to you.


Have a dream.
Having a clear idea for what you want a room before starting can help. Whether it’s a colour scheme, theme or an exact idea, planning can save you time and money. Plan colours so everything you buy goes together or compliment one another. Using mostly neutral colours ensures a coherent aesthetic, and you can still add pops of colour to every room without worrying about clashes. I find Instagram and Pinterest great for inspiration - I'm forever saving or pinning images for later.

Devil’s in the details.
Whilst you may not be able to do much about the walls and carpets, little details can go a long way. Items such as; rugs, blankets, cushions, house plants, ornaments, knick-knacks, and paintings. You don't even have to buy new items for this - you can find great accent pieces at charity and second-hand shops.

Make a change.
If your landlord agrees, you can always make some bigger changes. Many landlords won’t mind what you do as long as the property is returned to them looking at how it did when you moved in - sometimes these small changes can improve the properties' overall aesthetic. You could repaint, put up new curtains, and shelves.

Use what you’ve got
If you can’t repaint or put up shelves, use what you’ve got. Pick furniture that maximises your space - like a sofa instead of armchairs, or a desk that retracts when not in use. It also makes a different to switch the rooms about a little - bring the houseplant downstairs - take the living room lamp upstairs. 

Remember to ask your landlord
Last, but not least. A good relationship with your landlord is super important, especially if you want to make big changes. They’re probably a busy person, but they’ll still want the best for you and their property, so often they won’t mind positive changes being made to the house. As long as you’re not detracting from the value of the property there's not normally a problem, but make sure you ask first! They might have a day job, a couple of properties, or be represented by an estate agent, but they’ll almost definitely be covered by an insurance plan, like a comprehensive building policy or a landlord insurance policy, which you can buy through a broker like CIA Landlord Insurance -although don’t use this as an excuse to go crazy as it’ll come out of your deposit!

Dragon Ball Toys from Bandai - Review


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Calling all Dragon Ball fans - the cult classic and one of the most popular manga and anime series of all time has released its own range of toys courtesy of Bandai. Kids and grown-ups (no judgment here) are now able to create their very own battle scenes and Super Saiyan action with these realistic and articulated action figures.



For the purpose of this review, we received a bunch of different items from the range; x2 Dragon Ball Dragon Stars, x1 Dragon Ball Limit Breaker, and x2 Dragon Ball Super Collectible Figures. Each toy is presented so well and to such high quality - it didn't take Noah long before he was trying to get into the blind bags.


The Limit Breaker figures are Super-Saiyan sized - perfect for packing a punch! Characters available are Vegeta, Goku, Gohan and Frieza, each standing at 30cm tall and each with 5 points of articulation. I often see Noah dashing about the house with him underarm - creating different scenarios with his new Super-Saiyan friend. Suitable for children from 4 years they retail at a respectable £14.99 each.

Last, but certainly not least are the two Dragon Stars figures which are suitable for children from 4 years old and retail at £19.99. They look amazing in their boxes, almost too good to open - they are highly detailed, poseable figures that are 17cm high. They are the elite when it comes to figures, with an incredible 17 or more points of articulation and can be posed in over 9,000 positions. There are more characters in the Dragon Stars range; Goku, Vegeta, Gogeta, Gohan, Bardock, Piccolo, Broly, and Krillin. Each figure comes with a second set of hands or accessories - they are very impressive!


Noah hadn't heard of Dragon Ball until receiving the toys this weekend and now he's obsessed - tuning in to the show on and insisting we collect the rest of the range. 
As a fan of the franchise as a child, it's great to see these licensed toys available here in the UK for the very first time! The toys start as little as £2.99 through to £19.99 - a price point for every budget or occasion whether it's a birthday present or pocket money treat. The Dragon Ball range is available now at Smyths, Argos, B&M, and Game.


Finding The Perfect Cottage Flooring


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Floors can be the victim of heavy foot traffic especially in areas such as the kitchen or living area. If you are renovating or designing a country cottage home, you require specific styles and functions. To start with, the overall theme of the design should exuberate warmth and homily features that are inviting to guests. A good way to set the tone for your new country cottage design is to start is with your flooring. Here are some handy tips for the perfect cottage flooring with many added bonuses.



Textures
The go-to material for cottage flooring is oak and there is a good reason why. Oak does not have to be just golden or brown, it can be red, purple, or even black in tone. You can even base each room according to the type of ambiance or function of that room, the options are limitless! However, if you find yourself looking for a new style of flooring for your cottage, why not try slate? It will contrast beautifully with the current oak touches, such as beams or furniture which may already exist in your cottage. Furthermore, it offers a sleek and modern touch to an already classic style.

Colours
As we have previously discussed, there are plenty of colour options available. However, sometimes going back to basics can work just as well. Try white woods to create the illusion of a bigger space, which you want to make stylish, but keep comfortable for yourself and guests.

Functions
If you occupy your cottage during winter, then underfloor heating is a necessity. In cases like this, you need flooring which will not warp or be damaged by features such as this. The easiest method for installation is to lay your underfloor heating before your flooring.

Patterns and layering
The option with choosing flooring is that modern technology means planks can come in all shapes and sizes which leaves you with the ability to pattern and layer your flooring to your preferences. Parquet or Herringbone patterns mean that you can compile 2 or 3 colours of flooring and make up a design that is completely unique to your home.

Oaks for all designers
Whether interior design is your profession or your hobby, everyone involved will be happy with your choice of luxury vinyl flooring. Amtico offers oak and slate flooring in shades which are perfect for cottages. Feeling adventurous? Luvanto offers a high-quality luxury vinyl flooring which centres more around pattern creation throughout their top rages; Endure Pro, Design, and Click and Herringbone. It’s time to bring the country cottage look into the 21st Century, with luxury vinyl flooring.