christmas jumper family shot

We are well on the run up to Christmas in our house, I baked my Christmas cake at the weekend and I’m pleased to say, for the first year – I didn’t singe the top. It is now relaxing in an airtight box having been fed it’s first dose of Vecchia Romagna, a delicious brandy from Italy that was in my Ciao Gusto hamper.

At the office we are already talking about the Christmas party, who is wearing what and of course getting plans in place for Christmas Jumper day on the 16th December.

The children will also be allowed to wear their Christmas jumpers into school and take along a donation for the Save the Children fund too.

christmas jumper collage

Matalan have a fabulous selection of Christmas jumpers this year and we were invited to browse them and kit out the whole family for a Christmas Card photo, oh what fun!

Oana and I chose some lovely jumpers with fun images on them, hers a Christmas tree and mine a sequinned dog with a crown. For the children they have some great jumpers with flashing lights on, like the penguin one Bessie is wearing and the Santa stuck in the chimney jumper that Evan has on.

christmas jumper

Sophie has a very cute red jumper with a couple of owls having fun and Alice has a lovely reindeer upside down shot which has ‘Oh deer!’ written on the back.

We decided to have a family shot taken together, putting the camera on countdown so Oana could run into the shot on time. We had a lot of fun but the lighting in the room was very poor – storm Angus is to blame this time.

However, Oana is going to play around with photoshop and brighten it up so we can make a family Christmas Card to send our love ones this year. Here’s a lovely family photo of the four of them celebrating their first ever Christmas Jumper event.

christmas jumpers family shot

For dad we decided on a retro number with ‘Let it snow’ running through it.

Look even Baxter joined in, mind you he wanted to play with his ‘jumper’ rather than wear it. In case you are worrying, it attaches very easily with velcro around the neck and waist, only someone’s waist was a bit too thick and we had to let it dangle. A diet on the cards for Baxter this year.

christmas jumpers for dogs

Disclosure: Matalan kindly invited us to choose some Christmas jumpers from their extensive range and have some fun with them in return for this post, all opinions are our own.

national-speed-awareness-course

If you are anything like me then when my letter arrived from Kent Police to say the speed camera on Valley Drive had caught me going 37mph in a 30mph limit area I groaned. ‘What? That’s only 2 mph over!’ I yelled at the piece of paper. (Some counties allow a 10% + 2mph, so 30mph zone would be 33+2=35mph)

To top the injustice, I happened to get that fine on the very day Everything Was Going Wrong.

I had my parents coming for lunch bringing the girls back after a few days down at the caravan. My morning was to be a busy one but I was well organised, I needed to shop, fill the car with petrol and get back in time to get lunch on the table. Normally this would be easy BUT as I leapt out of my car at the petrol pump with just my debit card in my hand to pay for the fuel, my car locked me out – I had taken the keys out of the ignition and left them on the passenger seat for safe keeping. That was the first domino falling on a series of others throughout that day.

A couple of weeks later the letter arrived and I realised that day had proven to be even worse.

The letter offers a couple of options for first time offenders, pay £100 fine and accept 3 points on your license or pay £87 and complete a National Speed Awareness Course.

I begrudgingly chose the latter moaning about wasting my time and of course the money.

Today I am returned from my National Speed Awareness Course and I have to say it wasn’t that bad at all.

I had to be there at 8.15, it was raining and the roads were completely blocked up so I screeched (last) into the room just in time before the 8.30am cut off. I sat down in a room of about 20 offenders of all ages, both sexes and various walks of life and we listened to John and Dave take turns in running through the presentation.

The presentation is very well thought out and you are invited to participate in joint activities with the people at your table.

I have learnt loads, for example, ‘Only two miles above the speed limit.’ can actually mean life or death to a person you hit. I didn’t know that the major stopping part of slamming on the brakes comes at the final bit of the car screeching to a halt, therefore it takes the car longer to break at a higher speed plus it will travel further.

Travelling at 30 mph you will brake in time and come to a halt before hitting the person/car in front of you

Travelling at 35 mph you will hit that person/car at 18mph and cause a lot of damage.

Travelling at 40 mph you will hit that person or car at 26 mph and will most likely kill or cause life changing injuries.

stopping-distances-and-kinetic-energy

Did you know road facts

  1. Speed is one of the main factors in fatal road accidents
  2. In 2013, 3,064 people were killed or seriously injured in crashes where speed was a factor
  3. The risk of death is approximately four times higher when a pedestrian is hit at 40mph than at 30mph
  4. Fatal accidents are four times as likely on rural “A” roads as urban “A” roads
  5. Each camera placed on the roadside is an exact spot where someone has lost their life from a driving related accident.

How can I tell what the speed limit is?

The easiest and quickest way is to look for street lights along the road, if there are lights then the speed limit will be 30 mph unless there are signs stating otherwise. if there are no street lights then the road will be a national speed limit unless signs dictate differently.

SLOW written on the road

Another interesting fact I came away with was seeing SLOW written on the road as you drive along, often on a red blanket to make it stand out more and accompanied by signs with hi vis surrounds on them. the letters stand for

S – Speed

L – Low

O – Observe

W – Warnings

The course invites you to look at yourself and the decisions you take on the road. I went over the speed limit as I was having a bad day, got distracted and decided to take the chance that I wouldn’t be caught.

How can I change this in future?

It’s so simple, you just have to slow down and respect the rules.

Why should I?

There are three levels of luck in this particular process.

  1. You get away with it but are likely to do the same again another time.
  2. You get caught and are invited to a NSAC if it’s a first time. You can only attend one course in three years, should you get caught again within that 3 year bracket you’ll be charged £100 and given 3 points minimum – it could be more depending on the speed you were at.
  3. You could seriously hurt someone or worse kill them.

 

JD wiliams coat and boots

People will stare, make it worth their while – Harry Winston

Autumn time, it’s getting colder!

We haven’t turned our heating on yet but I know it’s only a question of days until we flick the switch and move into winter mode, the evenings are darker, the nights colder and it’s time to pack away the summer gear.

This is the time of year when I look forward to getting out my warmer gear, old coats I have grown fond of and can count how long they’ve been in my wardrobe on both hands. The problem lies when you have to come to terms with the fact that they have had their day and it’s time to give it to charity and treat yourself to a new coat.

I’m also in need of new winter boots this year as mine are looking incredibly tatty.

JD Williams have recently got in touch and asked me to choose a couple of items from their website and I struggled to come to a decision as there were so many gorgeous pieces. It’s a very easy website to navigate and the collections are fashionable and reasonably priced. I realised, as I was browsing that, I seem to always go for the same styles and colours. I find this comforting as I seem to have guessed what looks good on me and stay clear of items that just won’t look right. It’s also a great way of replacing a piece that you have loved so much but had to get rid of.

Winter coats

JD Williams winter coats

In my winter wardrobe I like to have a selection to choose from but my winter coat staples are

Anorak  – which is short and warm, this is perfect for walking the dog and ambling through parks, beaches and around town.

Long padded winter coat – Just the coat for the winter school run when I could get caught in rain, sleet or even snow. This is my favourite and warmest coat

Going out coat – This is my fancy pants coat, the one I wear when we go out, my smart coat if you like.

This year I have a new addition to add to my coat collection a work coat! I drive in the car to and from work so it needs to be comfortable, I walk at lunchtime with colleagues so it needs to be warm and of course it must also be fashionable, after all I am wearing it to work. PS It can also double up as a going out coat ;)

I found this beauty in the JD Williams Womens Winter Coats selection and I tested it out last weekend at Centre Parcs. Much to my delight it was perfect on all the above points

Winter boots

JD Williams boots

I love boots, they are like slippers to me and I spend the best part of winter in them. As I was browsing the JD Williams site I came across these beauties with Lorraine Kelly’s signature on them, a woman I admire greatly. I was so pleased when JD Williams said I could have them as they are breaking away from my normal flat boot and are perfect for work.

They have a tortoise coloured heel and are quite high for me so I shall use them for going out and special occasions as I’m not good in heels – my feet ache after a while in them.

My only concern is when I have to go and make the tea for the team … will I mange carrying a tray of 8 mugs in those heels?

Disclosure: I was sent the items mentioned for the purpose of this post, all opinions are my own.

washing on line

Ecoegg. Have you heard of it yet? I hadn’t before being approached by them asking me if I’d like to review their product. I read the email, checked out the website and was curious, very curious indeed.

Ecoegg is so simple and is such a clever design that if it does what it says it does, it will change the way we wash clothes forever.

The fact is current laundry detergents that we use, are packed with harsh chemicals that frequently have adverse effects on our skin and our environment. However, this doesn’t mean that we just have to use them and get on with it. We now have a choice, a very good choice too.

Ecoegg is set to revolutionise our laundry habits. The Egg contains two types of pellets, mineral pellets and tourmaline pellets which work together to clean clothes. The idea is you fill up your washing machine with either a white or a coloured wash and then you add the appropriate egg (white wash or coloured wash) and switch on the machine. You can add softener if you wish but I haven’t tried that yet.

Ecoegg

Ecoegg – how does it work?

Before I started to use my Ecoegg I did one wash on 90C on the longest programme with the Ultimate Detox Tablet. I am hoping this cleared a lot of the residue that tends to collect in the tubes and places we can’t see. Giving the washing machine a good clean every now and then is a habit we should all get into.

I filled up my sparkling washing machine drum with my whites and popped the Ecoegg on the top, I chose a 50C programme and pressed start.

On taking the clothes out of the machine, they all looked clean but there was no heavy scent that usually accompanies my washes.

I hung it all out to dry on the line and later on, ironed it all. There were a few chocolate marks on one of the twins t shirts that hadn’t been washed so I made a mental note to use their stain remover next time.

Whilst ironing the clothes I noticed they didn’t give off the smell I am so used to and I think going forward I may add a bit of conditioner. I also noticed the towels came out clean but ‘rough’ so another reason to use some conditioner.

I repeated the process with my dark wash and was equally pleased with the results.

I can’t fault the wash. It worked. Our clothes came out clean and fresh, ironed well and you wouldn’t know I had changed product apart from the strong perfume missing.

Why choose Ecoegg?

The first thing you will notice is that by investing in one kit you get 864 washes. That is worth 4 years of laundry and it works out at about 3p per wash.

In the kit you will find two holders for the eggs as they have to be dried out after each wash to ensure top quality. These holders also have a counter on them which makes it easy to record how many times you have used it because after a certain amount of washes you then replace your white mineral pellets with a new batch.

 

If you are curious too, then you can get a great deal on QVC today 29th August (Bank Holiday Monday) as Ecoegg will be the TSV (Todays Special Value) a bundle of the Ecoegg products will be promoted on the channel at the special price of £17.97

Just in case you still need convincing, Ecoegg won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation and they now have around 20 environmentally friendly household products.

Ecoegg

Disclosure: I was sent this product for the purpose of this post. All opinions are my own.

Weekes family timanfaya

The secret to a long life is an ongoing intriguing matter for me. I find the older I get, the more I consider my body and how I use it, after all I only have this one and ideally I’d like it to last me a very long time. I would love to discover the secret to a long life so I have been doing a bit of research and I thought I’d share my findings with you; then you can keep reading Mari’s World for years to come and I can keep writing. You’re happy – I’m happy.

The fact that my great grandmother died a month before her 103rd birthday has always filled me with optimism that I will naturally follow in her footsteps. Her daughter, my grandmother, will be celebrating 96 at the end of the month and her longevity has added to my faith. However, every now and then the fear of not being around for long grips me and I run a quick check over my lifestyle to see if I could be doing better.

The secret to a long life

Broken into six areas, I get the feeling that if you are doing well in each you can give yourself a slap on the back and a big round of applause. Let’s take a look.

Diet

Most of the food we eat is home cooked from scratch. Occasionally I will get something pre-prepared, like on my work days when I come home bushed but we very rarely have take aways and my cooking has been heavily influenced by my years in Italy, so I’m pretty sure we have a healthy diet.

I am a bit overweight and that needs addressing, middle age spread they call it. I think my metabolism has dropped and I’m not burning the calories like I used to. This is really annoying as I still have the appetite that I used to.

My struggle is cutting back and not cutting out all of my favourite indulgences. I am still searching for the perfect diet for me but cutting out a daily chocolate treat sadly, seems to be a great step forward.

My other vice is wine. Yeah I know, my favourite treat in the whole wide world and it would seem I’m drinking pure fat mixed with poison. So, I only drink at the weekends and then in moderation. No more propping up the bars or knocking back shots and cocktails to the early hours these days.

Healthy heart

I was asked to go for a health MOT a few months back which, of course, I sailed through but it did highlight the importance of a healthy heart and a healthy lifestyle.

With some of my birthday money I invested in a Fitbit; a lot of my colleagues have one and the part I love is the community aspect. I can now take part in challenges with friends all over the country. It has inspired me to get up and get walking as I hate days when I have a low step count.

Purpose in life

static caravan

Apparently, having a purpose in life is paramount to living longer. Well I have loads of purposes at the moment, 4 kids and 3 grandkids to start with! A husband I love and we’ve just invested in a static caravan in Birchington.

I also have my job which is no longer shiny and new as I’ll be clocking up a year in October. I love my work and the company I work for, they have given me an extra purpose in life.

I’m not short of purpose for the moment.

Reduce stress levels

I’m not a neurotic, stressed out working mother but I will admit stress can get to me. I notice it most when I have a song on ear worm and on waking during the night I can hear the song over and over again in my head. That’s an annoying indication that I need to step back and relax.

I am very, very good at stepping back and indulging in a lazy day. Only this has been known to bring on indulging in treats which goes against the food point made earlier! Vicious circle, right there.

Be social

That is me! I have a wonderful family who I love to catch up with, I have friends I like to meet up with and of course my immediate family which I love spending time with. When I’m not with them I am online, although I have managed to reduce the amount of time I spend online since starting work which I am very pleased about.

Smoking

Not a problem, I gave up smoking in 2013 and haven’t looked back since. One of the best decisions I ever made. However, I do still worry about any leftover damage I may have caused in my crazier years as I did smoke a lot.

sunlife death clock

For a bit of fun I had a go at the SunLife Death Clock – sounds ominous doesn’t it, but it works out I still have another 48 years to enjoy! I think that’s a great excuse to have a glass of wine don’t you? Oh I can’t it’s a Wednesday!

Disclosure: A collaboration with SunLife