Friday, 24 October 2014

Getting organised

These past few weeks I have been working on getting the house a bit more organised. I don't know about you, but I feel much less stressed and worried if everything is organised and in it's place. I hate things being cluttered and just dumped anywhere and everywhere, I feel like my mind is all over the place and I can't focus! That being said, we have minimal storage in our house so it is hard to always find a place for everything.. I know I keep on about it but it's so true! I need to buy a lot more furniture and storage items to help with that, it's just finding bits I like!

I recently got these baskets to store Sienna's toys in (see video here) and the next item on my list is this Corona unit for our living room. I love it and it will be a good bit of storage for Sienna's crafts bits and I can display all my candles and little nick nacks!  

I sorted out Sienna's wardrobe on Monday and that made me feel so much better. It had been in need of it for ages.. I found some items aged 9-12 months and she is nearly 2! I went through and took out everything that was too small and then sorted that pile into things I may want for a future baby and things I want to give to charity. The amount I got rid of was crazy, why did she have all those clothes?! haha! I found a lot of things that were actually still too big and so I have put those up the top ready for next year.

I also put all her boots and shoes in the bottom of her wardrobe instead of downstairs. That made a bit more room in the hallway for all mine and Warren's shoes so that looks a bit tidier too! The one thing I struggle to keep organised though is letters and paperwork.. ugh! Please tell me you have this problem too? We have Chinese menus in the cutlery drawer, a pile of letters on the shoe cabinet and another, even bigger pile on the top of our coat rack that is balancing so carefully if anyone dares go near it, I panic it will all come floating down! 

I have been looking around for some kind of way of organising it without having a million folders and I across this personalised organiser from Jonny's sister. I think they're so cute! You know my obsession with wood ;) I guess it is more meant for an office but I thought if Warren and I both got one, they'd sit next to each other on the shoe cabinet nicely. We can also keep our tablets, iPads and iPhones there too as Warren is notorious for putting his phone down and not being able to find it! 

How/Where do you store your paperwork and bills?

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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Halloween treat bucket!

As it is Sienna's first proper Halloween this year where she will actually be able to trick or treat, I thought it would be fun to make her treat bucket ourselves instead of just buying one. We already had a big old plastic bucket and lid so I just got some glue, black tissue paper and some halloween sequins. I also found some halloween party bags reduced in Morrisons and I cut out the bigger shapes so we could stick those on too. 

It was so much fun for both of us and I'm impressed with how it turned out! It was probably a little more expensive than buying one but it did provide a whole one hour of entertainment and when you have a toddler.. that is very much welcome! 

Only 8 days to go 'til the big night! 

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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Converting old family DVDs to digital files

*Collaboration with Linda Benton. Linda Benton is a scrapbooking aficionado. When not preserving and making moments to remember with family and friends, she enjoys trying out gadgets and new technology for preservation and sharing memories with loved ones.

When DVDs came along, they completely took over VHS cassettes due to their far superior quality and ease of use. You may have built up a large collection of home movies on DVDs since then, knowing that the quality would stay better for longer.

However, DVDs can still become damaged over the years, especially if they get scratched. This can affect the quality of your precious family movies and could even make them impossible to view.

To avoid this scenario, you may want to convert them to digital files. Once your home movies are digital, you can then upload them online and share them with family and friends. Here's a quick guide to converting your movies.

Gather the Hardware

The great thing about converting your DVDs is that it is very easy to do. Firstly, you will need to gather together the correct hardware in the form of a computer and a DVD player. You may be able to connect your DVD player directly into your computer, otherwise you can buy an adaptor to connect the two together.

Choose Your Software

You will need to use some software to capture the footage from your DVD to your computer. There are many options here, from expensive suites to free options. Research some of the available options, and find one that looks suitable for you. Make sure you find one that is compatible with Windows or OS X depending on your operating system.

Choose a Format

You will need to choose a digital format to convert your DVD into, and this will depend on how you plan to use it. If you want to keep the highest quality possible, be aware that this will take longer to covert, and you will also need to have enough space on your hard drive.

If you plan to upload the movie online, you may want to choose a lower quality and a format that is more suitable for this, such as .mov or .mp4.

Convert Your DVD

Once you have chosen the format for your digital file, you can begin the conversion process. This can be very quick, or it can take a very long time. It depends upon the amount of footage, the quality level you have chosen, and the power of your computer.

Edit Your Movie

Once the conversion is complete, you have successfully digitized your DVD. However, don't stop there. You can now play around with the footage and edit it into something more interesting, perhaps by cutting out the boring bits.

You may require different software for this, or the software you used to capture the footage may come with editing software. You can easily find some free software for basic edits, or you may want to buy a more comprehensive editing suite.

Share Your Digital Movies

Once your movie is complete, you should back it up somewhere so that you won't lose it. You may also want to share it now that you have digitized it. One option is to simply upload it to YouTube or another video sharing website and send a link to the people you want to see it.

Alternatively, if it is a large file, you may want to share it as a torrent. Simply download a file sharing client like Vuze and you will be able to share it with loved ones and friends or anyone else for that matter.

Digitize Your Home Movie Collection

Digitizing your home movies from DVDs is easy to do as well as being inexpensive. So don't take risks with your collection of family movies due to breakages and scratches, and digitize them today.

My pamper essentials

Dermalogica Sebum clearing masque // Soap & Glory flake away scrub //  Crest 3d whitening strips* // Soap & Glory Dr Spot* // Swell Advanced volumizing 3 step system* // Aromatherapy Associates Rose body oil* // Clinique clarifying lotion* //  HJ Manicure 'Red Wine' nail polish*.

I tend to do my pampering on a Thursday evening when Warren is at football training. I ensure to do dinner a little bit earlier, get Sienna in bed and then I can spend a few hours pampering myself.

The Dermalogica masque is an old favourite of mine, I've been using it for about 3 years now and haven't found anything as good; it really works! I pop this on first to do it's thing while I'm getting my scrub done. For a great budget scrub I recommend any of the Soap & Glory scrubs, they are all fab! I'm using the Flake away at the moment and use mine on dry skin to get a good abrasive scrub before rinsing it off in the shower.

For my hair, I have been using the Swell Advanced volumizing set and really seeing a difference. It's perfect for post baby hair loss and thinning as it has a unique root nutrient complex that creates visibly thicker, stronger hair and healthier roots. To moisturise my body I love the Aromatherapy Associates rose oil. It smells absolutely gorgeous and leaves my skin feeling amazing! Even though it is an oil it sinks in well to give the skin some much needed hydration.

No pamper night of mine would be complete without some kind of teeth whitening.. I'm obsessed! I have tried a lot of things but the one that really works are these Crest strips. They do make your teeth quite sensitive so be careful.. I space mine out and do it every other night so it isn't too bad. Apart form that they are brilliant and I will be using them every 6 months or so to keep my teeth nice and white! They are so easy to use and fit into my routine and the best part is they are a lot cheaper than most other teeth whitening treatments.

For my face I keep it quite simple after my masque. I tone/exfoliate with the clarifying lotion which has helped my skin so much lately! It's a chemical exfoliator rather than a manual exfoliator; this means it is just a liquid you rub over the skin rather than anything that has physical beads (AKA 'scrubby bits') in. If you have acne prone skin like me, it's advisable not to use a manual exfoliator as it can spread bacteria, so this is perfect. I also find it helps clear up my acne scarring quicker as it is renewing the skin, I couldn't live without it! After using this I just apply my Dr Spot to any areas I need too; I have already reviewed that so I won't say anymore!

I always try to paint my nails on pamper night as I rarely get time any other day! This new 'red wine' nail polish is my new favourite; I'm a sucker for darker reds in the A/W and these are such a lovely formula, they go on so nicely with no streaking, dry relatively quickly and leave a gorgeous shiny finish. HJ Manicure is also a non-toxic brand meaning the polishes have no Toluene, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, Di-­butyl phthalate (DBP) and Camphor (all preservatives that can be linked to cancer and skin irritations), as well as Animal Derivatives. Win win!

Lastly, we can't forget to de-fuzz, even if it is Autumn! I tend to shave but I have always wanted to get Laser hair removal. I was trained to do IPL when I worked in a previous job and seen amazing results.. it works out cheaper in the long run too! One day I will have to go for it!

What are your favourite pamper night essentials? 

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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Protecting yourself online

I recently read an article about the increasing problem of identity theft and fraud in the UK. As someone who regularly shops online, it’s something that’s always in the back of my mind but I’m never quite sure if I’m doing enough to protect my details.
Suddenly worried that I wasn’t doing enough, or even doing the right things, I looked into it further.
Online identity theft is a growing problem and fraudsters are using ever more advanced techniques to access personal information. Fake websites can be set up that require you to type in your online banking passwords and phising emails appearing to be from your bank can also lead to your details being stolen. Social media sites can also be use to extract a surprising amount of personal information.
To protect yourself against schemes like these, there are a number of simple steps you should take (more details found here):
  • Choose strong passwords
  • Check there is a padlock symbol in the browser window before entering any payment details
  • Never put too much information on social networks
  • Don’t open emails if you don’t know who they’re from
And it’s not just in the online world that we need to protect our details. Fraud and identity theft were an issue long before the internet existed. Your bank details, date of birth, address, NI number, and passwords can all be taken from your bank statements, pay slips. 
There are a number of things you can do to protect your information. The main things to remember are:
  • Redirect your mail when you move house
  • Shred and securely dispose of all sensitive documents
  • If you lose a debit or credit card, or have one stolen, report it immediately!
  • Ensure that you are registered to vote at your current address
It’s also well worth consulting a credit reference agency, such as Experian Credit Expert who can check your current credit history and take measures to protect your rating in the future. If you sign up to their CreditExpert memberships, you will also receive access to a web monitoring service that will ensure you and your personal details stay safe online. And, if you do find yourself a victim of identity fraud or theft, they will help you to protect and restore your rating by adding additional security features and a Notice of Correction to your report. This will explain to future lenders that you have been the victim of identity fraud and that you are not responsible for the credit.

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