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 lockdown.

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. If you're also looking into trying this hobby, make sure to subscribe to Yarnie's needle craft newsletter. This newsletter sends out a variety of free patterns on a weekly basis, and you can easily download free crochet patterns and use them directly. It also offers a lot of tips and inspiration that can help you improve your skills!

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. 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. If you really want to treat yourself then how about investing in a massage chair? I've been looking at them online and my partner and I would really benefit from one - you can get it here.

5. 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.

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.

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.

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 complement 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, paintings, and even perhaps an aerial tv. 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!

How to Style Yourself with Cartilage Hoop Earrings like Early '00s Looks

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Cartilage hoop earrings are earring styles that make a person think of the summer. That's because they offer a versatile appearance to their wearers. Looking to dress up in cutoffs and a white bodysuit? Go for the big gold pair of these earrings. Looking to shift your dressing style? Choose the ones in elliptical shapes. Beachside or pool, one thing for sure is you will not go wrong with the Boho shoulder-dusters. And then there are minis that go with almost anything, specifically the off-shoulder tops girls love these days. Go through the content below and find cartilage hoops earrings to suit your personality.

Box Chain Hoop Earrings for Every Style

Starting from studs featuring cuffs and beads to hoops and spiral barbells, you can find endless designs in this category. Go for the white gold, rose gold, and yellow gold colors but make sure they suit your taste. Cartilage hoop earrings suit every woman, whether a sweet college-going girl, a teenager, a middle-aged lady, or an office executive. The ones in shells, diamonds, pearls, and precious stones on gold and silver are always appealing, both for occasional and everyday use. The handcrafted and customized varieties are also popular will also remain forever mainly because of their subdued beauty. The sculptural earrings in the box chain hoop earring style are also a hot selling product.

Crystal Hoop Earrings that Look Stunning

The crystal hoops have made a major comeback this season. They add to the personality of the wearer and go with almost any kind of appearance. They are simply amazing, and they make the wearer pretty in every way. For the cartilages, you can choose hoop earrings in diamond-covered crystals.

Trendy Asymmetrical Earrings

All the young ladies out there must go for trendy asymmetrical hoops earrings for your cartilage to make you look more beautiful and smart. The tweens and the teens these days are crazy about the bold asymmetrical shapes of these earrings. No, you do not need to worry about matching the style of these earrings with your outfit. Instead, listen to your heart and come up with your very own signature style. These are designs that present great exclusiveness and have a creative touch as well. And you even have the option of styling yourself with two varied hoop earrings in two cartilages. This will offer a fresh and carefree appearance. For instance, a gemstone hoop on one cartilage and a pearl on another will completely justify these earrings' nature.

Embrace Elegant Designs

There are some styles of cartilage hoop earrings that never go off and remain constant throughout the years. One such pattern is the small thin hoop available in some of the most interesting combinations. Pair these earrings with any dress, and they will definitely compliment your attire, and people will also notice you. You can find them in ample sizes, designs, and shapes. Pick the appropriate size and design based on your age, outfit, and occasion to look charming and elegant.


If you think that only offbeat hoop earring designs for the cartilage will make you stand out from the crowd, then you are wrong. Just work on carrying yourself smartly while donning these earrings. Avoid putting on or buying something to be with the trend. Go for designs that you know will enhance your beauty and personality and bring out the best in your look.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Top Tips for Helping Your Child Learn a New Language


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As parents, we hope to help our children perform well at school as best we can, by helping out with homework, encouraging participation in extra-curricular endeavours, and building a good rapport with the school community. However, it’s not easy to help your child with every single one of their subjects, especially if you’re not clued up on it yourself. Languages is one example, as for those of us who are not fluent in multiple languages, it can be difficult to help our children practise them at home. You’ll be pleased to know that it is possible, and a pre-prep school in Hertfordshire has prepared the following tips to help get you started.

You don’t have to be able to speak a foreign language in order to help your child learn one. Allowing them to label items and furniture around the house, like the fridge and front door, is a great place to start. Constant exposure to these nouns will help them develop their vocabulary, which they can eventually incorporate into sentences.

Flash cards are also great. Encourage your child to write the English word on one side and the foreign alternative on the other. Hold up the flashcard for them so that they can only see one side and ask them to tell you what the translation is. If you can’t be there to help your child with this activity due to work or other commitments, perhaps suggest that they invite a study buddy round to do it with them instead.

Another way to support your child with their language learning is to watching a foreign film with them, with English subtitles. Having you there will help them feel supported and it will help them become more familiar with the conversational side of the language. You could also make a music playlist of foreign songs that you can play on car journeys.

Encourage your child to practise their language little and often. If they spend 2 hours revising on a Monday evening, they will have forgotten much of what they learned by the following Monday. 15 minutes a day would be far more productive. Little and often is the best motto!