Medway English Festival 2017

We attended the Medway English Festival with Martyn who invited us to join him & the boys. None of us could wait, having had a look through photo’s of previous years. We also found a list of what will be going on before going we were all quite excited. Before we even got there it sounded like an amazing day out for all the family. With Cars, kids rides, medieval acts, a petting farm and so much more advertised we couldn’t wait to look around.

Backseat selfie

 

Sudzz bathbomb

 

Although we arrived a little late we turned up just as the rain eased and the sun decided to shine! Luckily it lasted the rest of the day too. We had a wander around first lot of stalls and knowing how much my girls love their bath bombs & soaps we stopped at Sudzz. We picked up this lovely raspberry heart bath bomb straight away.

 

Wandering around a few more stalls Martyn stopped at Mr Green’s Barbershop to chat about some products having met them before. Meanwhile I was eyeing up the motorbike parked up in the tent & cheekily asked if I could get a picture. We all know my beard is fine as it is but I love motorbikes (if you hadn’t noticed).

Mr Greens Barbershop Motorbike

 

After walking around quite a few stalls in the first area we move on to the second area. I spotted this gorgeous vintage ice-cream van actually serving ice cream! I’m quite a fan of vintage vehicles and this Ice-cream van was just gorgeous.

Belle vintage ice-cream van

Then the  Mr got chatting to Ashley from Goody Ales. The Mr is a great fan of ales & craft beers which he wants to start reviewing on the blog occasionally. Across the day the Mr returned a few times, trying different ales each time. The Good Knight was definitely our favourite & perfect for the lovely warm sunny day we ended up having.

Goody Ales

The second area was also full of inflatable slides, a hay maze, sweet stalls & a helter skelter for the kids along with a Punch & Judy show. Izzy absolutely loved the show and giggled all the way through! The George & the dragon show was next to the Punch and Judy show which we returned to watch later in the day.

 

We also came across the Delboy Robin Reliant which of course I had to take some picture’s of having watched only fools & horses growing up! I was quite pleased to find a fair few different vehicles throughout the Medway English Festival to take pictures of.

 

Next to the Delboy motor was a display of Victorian Actors who were brilliant too. The kids seemed quite interested in them too & they drew quite a crowd at times.

Victorian Actors

 

We then passed the Mini Owners club & the Classic cars which of course I had to get a few pictures of since the Mr & I love classic & vintage cars. There were some lovely, well-kept examples on show. I wish I had got a bit closer and got a few shots of the interiors too!

Medway English Festival 2017

Moving on to the 3rd area we came across a blacksmiths, sheep shearing & a petting farm. The girls loved petting the cows & sheep & wandering over to meet the huge Shire horses who were impeccably behaved especially having kids keep wandering near their back ends which most people know is a dangerous move & likely to get you kicked across the field.

Petting farm animals

As lunchtime had passed we decided to stop off at Giggly Pig for some food and a quick rest. Martyn & the boys are great fans of Giggle Pig so I had to give it a go and whilst I’m extremely fussy with sausages theirs really weren’t bad at all!

Ford Tractors

We passed the Ford tractors where I caught this shot of Martyn trying to get the kids to pose for a photo haha!

#bloggerslife

There were Donkeys too but they were resting so we moved on to the Medway Sports where Eva & the boys had a go of a bow & arrow. William was pretty good & James had a good try too! The Mr helped Eva & I tried too but the bow was a bit too big and heavy for her . Unfortunately she managed to walk away with a tiny bump on her face, I think we will stick to Nerf bows & arrows for now 😉 haha.

Moving on so the kids could go on the rides Eva & James decided to go on the swings & Izzy wanted a go on the merry-go-round & chose to sit at the top of the red bus which you may have seen in my latest #MySundayPhoto.

Medway Sport

Medway Sport

Martyn grabbed a bottle of water from this awesome vintage horsebox bar Fizz & Frolics which I loved the look of.

Fizz and frolics

Stopping at the Medway Bee Keeping stall all the kids rolled their own sheets of coloured bees-wax into candles to take home, at just 80p for one colour it was a brilliant, quick, easy & cheap activity for the kids to do. Even Izzy was able to have a go! The guy helping her was absolutely fantastic, moving the candle closer when it was too far for her to roll. The girls absolutely love bees-wax candles!

Bees-wax candle making

 

We are very aware bees are hugely important for pollination which helps the planet in many ways. Spotting this sign we decided it needed sharing. If you do have space to keep bees please do get in touch with them! Unfortunately being in a flat we just don’t quite have the space ourselves!

 

The kids wanted to play in the park for a bit before leaving so we stopped there for a bit. Just before the stalls shut we took a wander back to the stalls for a few treats to take home.

Buying Jam from Joannes Preserves

All the kids had stopped earlier in the day to try a spoonful of delicious Jam by Joannes preserves and the girls loved it! So of course we had to pop by again on our way out. Izzy bought a jar of strawberry jam to bring home. I have to say I do agree with them, it really is delicious!

Joannes Preserves

The girls had some lovely cookies from Thomas Cookie Co when we got home. The cookies are obviously delicious as they really didn’t last long at all. Plus the girls were full of smiles!

Thomas Cookie Co

 

The Mr made me buy a delicious treat for myself from The Chocolate Hut ! I know you’re jealous, aren’t you!?

The Chocolate Hut

 

I spotted a stall, SimplyTrue Jewellery before leaving & decided to let the girls try the £1 Lucky dip. Lucky dips we’ve tried previously have been quite poor quality & break quickly. The girls opened their envelopes to find matching heart necklaces. Izzy had a very light blue & Eva a dark blue (yay no arguing!) and they asked to wear them home. I’m so impressed to see the catches & closures didn’t instantly snap or come loose as they are strong & closed so neatly!

 

On our way out we grabbed some strawberries to take home too, Kent strawberries have always tasted amazing to me & they are always so BIG!


All in all we had a fantastic day out with Martyn & the boys meeting some lovely stall holders & trying some brilliant products too. We will definitely be going back to the Medway English festival next year.

Did you attend an English Festival this weekend? Have you ever attended the Medway English Festival? If so what did you think?

 

 

My Top 10 WordPress Plugins

There are literally thousands of different plugins out there that do all sorts of things so I thought it may be useful to list my top 10 WordPress plugins. Any blogger will know plugins are essential to help them get what they want out of their blog. . When setting up your site for the first time there are a few must have plugins & a few extras that will just help make blogging easier for you & user friendly for your visitors too!

My Top 10 WordPress Plugins

  1. Jetpack by WordPress.com

    Jetpack connects your blog with wordpress.com it has  ton of useful features such as showing Stats, providing security & spam protection, automatic plugin updater, as well as boosting image loading speeds. That’s just the free version too!

  2. Yoast SEO

    Most bloggers have heard of SEO and how important it is when writing posts, Yoast helps you by analysing what you write and giving tips to improve your writing & use of keywords to boost your posts and make them easily searchable.

  3. Word Fence Security

    Another security app which provides an anti-virus, firewall & malware scans to help keep your blog protected. It also allows you to view real time traffic and hack attempts.

  4. Akismet Anti-spam

    Another security feature to prevent spam comments getting through to your blog, it catches anything it considers to be spam and allows you to review it and either approve or delete the comments.

  5. Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

    Google Analytics gives Real-Time Statistics on your WordPress Dashboard by automatically tracking the code in every page of your website.

  6. Cookie Bar

    You must display a cookie warning on your site to let your visitors know  that your website uses cookies. Cookie bar makes it nice & easy!

  7. CommentLuv

    This plugin lets your visitors link up their most recent post by selecting CommentLuv when commenting. This helps increase comments & community spirit. It makes it much easier for me when someone comments to return the favour!

  8. Broken Link Checker

    This plugin is extremely helpful, it detects any broken links and images and notifies you via the dashboard so you can either update or delete them.

  9. Addtoany Share Buttons

    This app allows you to add as many different social media share buttons as you like to display on your blog to help you visitors share your content on pretty much any platform! There are over 100 different social share buttons available with share counts which are also integrated with Google Analytics to track shares.

  10. No-Bot Registration

    After recently being hacked by bots I was told about this plugin which helps prevent bots getting through. It works by blacklisting emails and presenting people with a security question when registering or posting a comment.

  11. Share drafts publicly

    Ok I lied.. but I had to add in this last plugin as it has been so helpful for me! If you want a second opinion on your post or you are working with a company who wants to see your post before it goes live this plugin allows you to share a private link to your draft!

What are your top 10 WordPress plugins? Have I missed any you think are important when starting up a blog?

A Crafty Easter Half Term – Our Top 3 Makes

We’ve had quite a crafty Easter half term so far!

Our awesome friends Slim & his mum spoilt the girls with a ton of crafty gifts to keep them busy across the half term. I’ve also been building up our stash over the last few months so the girls have had tons of fun deciding what to make. We’ve been using the Bendon Craft project idea book from the giant craft jar, some we have adapted & made a little differently too!

Bendon craft projects idea book

Our Top 3 Makes

Peek-a-boo Puppet

Peek-a-boo puppet

The first craft the girls decided they both wanted to make at the same time was a peek-a-boo puppet from the crafts projects workbook included in the GIANT craft kit the girls received. These are cute little chicks in eggs and so simple to make even Izzy was able to literally get stuck in gluing the pieces on. Izzy mastered using the scissors thanks to this craft and it was finished within minutes.

Simply cut out an egg shape, use wonky scissors to cut it in half & stick each half on the front of the peg making sure the egg joins together. Then cut out & draw/decorate you chick & stick it to the back of the peg. Both girls really enjoyed making these and they are pretty cute too!

 

Owl Mask

Owl Mask

After that the girls decided to do different things, with Eva making necklaces using foam shapes & pipe cleaners (no photo’s please!) and Izzy deciding to make an Owl Mask using one of the templates from the craft kit. Izzy loves owls and was telling me to cut out purple paper for the eyes (yes the dodgy eyes are my doing haha!) and cutting out the eyebrows herself. Whilst Eva was busy cutting all the fluff off a pipe cleaner (I have no idea why I wasn’t allowed to know.. it was a top secret make it seems!) Izzy was stealing it all to add to her mask haha!

 

Pot of Flowers

Tiny bouquets

 

Love this little flower pot Izzy made this morning! 🌸🌵 #crafts #toddlercrafts #flowers #flowerpot #sparklycrafts #eastercrafts #artsandcrafts #kidscrafts

A post shared by Ember (@relentlesslypurple) on

Our absolute favourite make this week, which you may have already spotted over on Instagram, is the Pot of flowers Izzy made (and the monster to hide in them of course!). We adapted the idea using the craft project book and decided it was much easier to use foam flowers, push pipe cleaners through the middle & twisting it to secure the flower. After making several of these we found a metal seasoning pot which already had holes in the top and covered it in Washi tape before popping the flowers in. Izzy then decided it needed a butterfly on the front and eventually even a monster!

Of course Izzy! We were missing a monster hiding in the flowers.. how could I forget.. #toddlers #monster #monsterintheflowers #crafts #toddlercrafts #monstercrafts #monstervflowers #flowercrafts #artsandcrafts

A post shared by Ember (@relentlesslypurple) on

 

These crafts were simple yet fun to do and easy enough for Izzy to do most of the work. We will be using the craft kit & crafting project book again over the Easter half term and see what other makes we can come with!

Will you/are you having a crafty Easter half term? What crafts have you made/will you be making over the Easter half term?

Hiring A Man With A Van With Bidvine

I’ve been searching for a man with a van using Bidvine. Bidvine is a site that helps you hire trusted local service professionals easily. It’s really simple to use, you fill out a form beginning with your postcode and which service you are looking for. You then go on to answering service-specific questions. Bidvine then sends this job request to trusted local professionals to bid on.

Bidvine covers the whole of the UK so you can guarantee they will help find the service you need. They have an IOS app too for the IPhone users looking for services on the go.

Man With a Van

We make hiring local, trusted service professionals ridiculously simple – and help people use the time saved to pursue their passions.

I went through the form and was quite impressed with just how specific the questions were! Perfect for finding exactly what you need, when you need it!

Man With A Van – Service Request Form

Firstly you are asked if you need a few items or furniture moved with an option for other so you can specify yourself. Next you are asked how far you need the item moved in miles. You are then asked how many large items & small items you need moving. The next questions are how many flights of stairs there are when collecting and dropping off the items with the option of service elevator, which we have.

There is also the option for other services needed such as; Packing items into boxes, Boxes, Padded blankets, Large furniture moving (i.e. piano, safe, billiards table) & Storage as well as the option to write in something specific. You can then select when you need a man with a van & if you want to add photo’s to your service request as shown below. Then you are asked if there is anything else you would like to add to the service request and to confirm your postcode. Finally you are given the option to create an account (if you haven’t already) using Email, Facebook or Google to sign up.

Selecting a Pro!

Your service request is instantly sent out to trusted local professionals to bid on, it’s likely you will get several responses! Once you have received bids you can contact the professional you have chosen through Bidvine, by phone or using email.

To help you decide which professional to choose from customers are encourage to leave reviews and Bidvine even have a lit of their Top Removal Drivers as well as a list of Pro’s Perfect for moving your piano!

Top Removal Drivers

 

Bidvine is a brilliant site for finding a range of local services for hire. Whether it’s a Man with a van, Domestic cleaning, Interior Painting, Personal Training or even Piano Lessons there are plenty of services. The company have some brilliant values too helping support both the customers and the professionals providing the services too, something I love to see.

Bidvine Values

Bidvine makes finding the services you need much simpler all round. With such a wide range of services listed Bidvine connects you with the most trusted professionals in your local area to get the job done. I will definitely be using them in the future!

Have you heard of or used Bidvine before? What do you think? If you haven’t do you think Bidvine could help make finding a professional easier for you too?

Our Favourite Audiobooks This Week – With BookBeat

Our favourite audiobooks this week.. That’s right! We are mixing up our favourite books post this week thanks to trying out audio books using BookBeat. A day later than normal as it’s half term. BookBeat is a digital streaming service that allows you to listen to audiobooks on your mobile. There are thousands of audiobooks on BookBeat and for £14.90 per month which you can cancel at any time it’s well worth the cost!

audiobooks - BookBeat

Eva especially was rather impressed with BookBeat, and stealing my phone to listen to them. The menu’s are easy to navigate and it took her no time at all to find her way around the Children’s section. She even worked out how to find audiobooks suited to her age group and added books to ‘My Books’ so she could find them again later. The app is so well laid out and I love that you can click info on a book to find out more about it too.

 

Eva’s favourite Audiobook this week

Syd Hoff’s Danny and the Dinosaur and the girl next door is Eva’s favourite audiobook this week! She loved that she could listen to the story. Eva got distracted at the library but we had planned to pick up a book she wanted to listen to so we can help improve her confidence reading out lout. By enhancing her knowledge of punctuation and how it is implemented in a sentence/paragraph by following the words in a book as well as listening to the audiobook. She sometimes rushes her reading and forgets to use punctuation and I think by doing this it can really benefit her. There are a long list of books saved for her to listen to, I’m sure it won’t be long until she shares another.

Izzy’s Favourite Audiobook this week

With Eva having found the option to search audiobooks by age range we were able to find some nice short audiobooks for Izzy to listen to. She absolutely loved The Tiger who came to tea by Judith Kerr. I was surprised to see Izzy pay attention and listen to the words. Although she didn’t have too much to say about the audiobook she did say she liked the Tiger, haha! I’ll be adding more book suited to her age range & see what she thinks of them.

My Favourite Audiobook this week

Oh yes, we really are mixing things up, Even I’ve joined in & picked my favourite audiobook this week! I don’t really get the time to read more than a blog post here or there these days so it’s been quite nice to be able to download an audiobook to listen to on the bus or whilst out shopping alone. I haven’t had much time to listen so I haven’t finished an audiobook yet myself but I have started listening to Patricia Cornwell’s Depraved heart. I have read most of the Kay Scarpetta series and really enjoyed them so it’s been quite nice getting a chance to hear a new one! I’ve only read up to the Book of the dead before & having got back into the storylines with this audiobook I’ll definitely be catching up on the others too!

 

What have you been reading or listening to this week? What do you think of audiobooks? Are you a fan or do you prefer to flick through pages? Have you heard of BookBeat before?

Fancy a month’s free trial? http://www.bookbeat.com/uk/blogteam

BookBeat.co.uk

 

 

 

Improving My Mental Health & Sleep With S+ By Resmed

To try improving my mental health & sleep I received the S+ by Resumed to test out and review. Anyone with any kind of mental health issues knows just how important getting enough sleep is. Add in Chronic pain & most days are a disaster so I was interested to see how the S+ could help me. The S+ is a sleep tracking device which is COMPLETELY wireless! No wristbands or pad’s to place anywhere. A plus for me as I don’t like wearing wristbands whilst I sleep or having any strange lumps in the bed.

I was interested in seeing how the S+ tracked my sleep and see if there were any ways of improving my sleep routine to help manage my anxiety mainly! It took me a while to remember to set the S+ to Sleep each night due to my medication knocking me out most nights! (Hence disappearing from twitter at random times each night!)

Improving My Mental Health & Sleep

The box contains:

  1. S+ Pod
  2. S+ Frame
  3. 59″ micro USB cable
  4. AC adapter with dual USB ports
  5. User manual

The S+ Pod sits in the S+ frame which allows you to adjust the positioning of the pod. The pod needs to be within arms length of where you sleep, I have a small bedside unit next to my bed so I placed the S+ on there and adjusted the position so that it pointed towards my chest. This allows the S+ to monitor your heartbeat.

S+ App

I downloaded the S+ By Resmed App & synched my phone to the device via Bluetooth. I looked through the S+ Guide to get an idea of how the app & monitor work.

 

Pre-Sleep

The S+ requires you to let it know when you are going to sleep using the app. This then takes you through Pre-Sleep where it asks you questions about your day. Questions include things how many caffeine drinks you’ve had, how much exercise you’ve done, how stressful your day was and a few other’s too. This helps the monitor to work out where improvements can be made to improve your sleep score.

 

Monitoring your sleep

The S+ records how long it takes you to fall asleep each night along with monitoring your sleep across the night. There is also an option to set an alarm to wake you up at an optimal time based on your sleep. Each night you are given a sleep score from 0-100. I started off quite low with a score of 65 on my first night with only 64% REM sleep & 70% Deep Sleep with 9 disturbances across the night.

Using the data from the first 3 nights helps the S+ work out what could help improve your sleep score. This also takes into account the room temperature & lux. My first night the temperature was 25c & lux 0 (light). These are considered good ranges for sleep so I didn’t need to change anything there.

Still tired but less stressed

Seeing all this information the S+ tracks made me realise just how hard I’ve been pushing myself. Even following the tips my sleep only improves by a tiny bit because I’m still waking in pain. It can be tough being a spoonie and always feeling exhausted, it sometimes makes you feel like maybe you are just lazy. Seeing on the chart how frequently I wake and just how much time I spend awake across the night made me realise it was no wonder I still woke up exhausted! My first score has been my highest so far this week!

 

Not being so hard on myself after seeing how little sleep I’ve managed each morning has helped my mood. Now I don’t feel quite as guilty saying I’ve had enough & I’m too tired for the day, especially when I see I’ve had a rough night. It’s one thing knowing you are exhausted it’s another being able to see exactly why. Seeing how many times I wake across the night I realised I wake more than I thought too.

Improving my mental health & sleep

I have actually been a little less anxious since remembering to set the S+ each night. I’ve felt less guilty about dosing up where I can see the pain is waking me regularly & it’s not just in my head. Following tips along the way has been helpful too & keeping track of my caffeine intake as I thought I actually drank more than I do across the day!

I’ve also felt a little less depressed each day as I don’t feel like I am just lazy constantly. I can see I’m not sleeping well  & as shown in the graph above shows timings too. I know I’m going to bed at a decent time & I know I’m at least trying to get more sleep & rest enough each day but I’m still waking which is obviously why I still exhausted every day.

I would definitely recommend the S+ as it shows the information you want to know & provides some really helpful tips too. I’m determined to keep using the monitor and try to improve where I can! I wish I had remembered to try it out much sooner, I may do another post soon to share with you all how continued use has helped!

Would you use the S+ or have you got one already?