Parenting & lifestyle Blog

Welcome to my new series, I'm glad you're here, in my opinion, mental health isn't spoken about enough, it affects a lot of pare...

Parenting And Mental Health: What It Feels Like

Welcome to my new series, I'm glad you're here, in my opinion, mental health isn't spoken about enough, it affects a lot of parents and new mothers too! Mental health and parenting can be a mission in itself so along this series we're going to speak to some parents for their story to see what it feels like.

mental health

So we're gonna start with me, some of you may know me, some of you may not so ill introduce myself briefly, I'm Vicki, I'm 27 and a mother of 2 and I have 2 stepchildren too, I suffer from depression that stemmed off postnatal depression, I live in the East of England in a little town called Great Yarmouth and I run a blog and I'm also a virtual assistant.

1) When did you realize you had a mental health problem?
After I had my first child things were very hard for me, we still lived with my  (now ex) partners mum and dad, we were in 1 small room and it was hell! we soon moved into our own home and I thought I would feel better but I soon realized that it was mental health and not just being unhappy.

2) How did you deal with it?
As soon as I realize I had problems I went straight to a doctor, I was put on meds and spent the next 3 years trying new ones that worked for me.

3)How does your mental health affect your parenting?
Honestly some days I'm awful, I get angry, I scream, I shout and I can't wait till bedtime, other days I'm so happy, proud and all I want to do is play and make them happy! I do have more good days than bad now, but it really depends on how the kids act too! 

4)Do your children notice when you have a bad day?
Sometimes yes, Lilli gets very worried if I'm crying or sad she can sense it! 

- How does that make you feel? 
Honestly, I hate it but I am proud of her for knowing the signs that someone is upset/sad she will make a brilliant best friend someday.

 -How do you deal with it?
I try to comfort Lilli and let her know I'm ok but its okay to be sad sometimes and everyone has bad days.

5)How does your mental health affect your daily life?
Now I'm taking the right medication and it works for me I feel great, don't get me wrong I have to kick myself up the arse every now and then but I have a job I love and I volunteer at my local library and it really makes me feel like I have a worth! 

6)If you have, how did you get over your mental health problems?
I wouldn't say I'm over them because without meds I am a wreck, but I now have control over it and I'm making changes in my life for the better.

I really hope you enjoyed reading this and watch out for the next installment of the series.

Much Love

Image source If you’re struggling with mental ill health, helping out someone who is, or even if you are currently not experiencing any ...

Lifestyle Factors That Can Hit Mental Health Hard

If you’re struggling with mental ill health, helping out someone who is, or even if you are currently not experiencing any mental health issues at all. There are a number of lifestyle factors that can make your mental health much worse, and by knowing about them, although you will need to keep seeing your doctor and taking your medication (if that’s what you are doing), you can take more control back over your life.

I know it’s not always going to be easy to tackle this stuff when you’re in the depths of mental illness, but when you’re feeling well enough, if you can avoid these negative lifestyle factors, chances are you will feel at least a little bit better. So, without further ado, here are the lifestyle factors that can hit mental health hard: 

Lack of Activity 
Exercise can be seriously impossible to do when you’re feeling really unwell, but a lack of activity can make things feel much worse because you may gain weight and you won’t be getting the benefits of endorphins coursing through your body. So, whenever you feel able, move around more, even if that just means walking around the block with a friend. 

Again, it’s difficult because a lot of people who struggle with mental illness naturally tend to isolate themselves from everything and everyone, but all that does is make matters worse. Being able to talk to someone, get a hug when you need one and just feel like you are part of someone else’s life and they yours is so good for mental and physical health. That’s why we are seeing more stay at home mums and lonely old people become depressed - something that having care at home or family and friends visiting more frequently can help with. It is also why, calling a friend, even if only for a few minutes, or even better getting out and about seeing people you love, whenever you feel up to it, will undoubtedly have a positive effect on your mental health. 

We all know that smoking is really bad for us for so many reasons - cancer, heart disease, etc. - but did you know that it can also have a negative effect on mental health? Nearly 50 percent of people with mental health issues smoke and many say they do so because it helps to ‘take the edge off’ their symptoms, but research has shown that those who are able to kick the habit, despite some initial problems, almost always experience a boost to their mental health as a result. So, if you smoke, you might want to see a smoking cessation expert. It couldn’t hurt to try! 

Poor Diet
Eating a poor diet, we also know is bad for our waistline and physical health, but again, it is also bad for mental health too. If you eat lots of processed with little nutritional value, not only are you likely to gain weight, which can affect low self-esteem all on its own, but you probably won’t get enough healthy brain Omega-3 and six fatty acids, which feed the brain and help to boost mood. 

If you can eliminate (or at least minimize) these habits from your life, you are likely to feel a whole lot better - just check with your doctor before making any serious changes!

Whatever changes you make, make sure you are making them for yourself and make yourself happy!

Much Love

*This Is A Collaborative Post*

Primo recently contacted me and asked if I could sit down with my daughter Lilli and ask her a few questions, these questions are related t...

Coding Girls Blogger Challenge

Primo recently contacted me and asked if I could sit down with my daughter Lilli and ask her a few questions, these questions are related to inspiring children and teaching them STEM skills such as coding.

coding, girls, challenge

In case you didn't know STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, And Mathematics.
Here is a snippet from STEM'S website:
  • young people from all backgrounds have the aspiration, knowledge, and skills to thrive, with more progressing into STEM-related careers
  • employers can gain access to knowledgeable, talented people with strong STEM skills, increasing productivity, competitiveness, and diversity
  • teachers of STEM subjects continually develop their STEM knowledge and experience, maximizing their impact and own job satisfaction
  • families and communities recognize the value of STEM to young people, encouraging and supporting them in STEM-related studies and careers
Primo has asked as part of international women's day that we spread the word of STEM activities for young girls, it's important that young girls get to try these activities because only 24% of females actually end up in the STEM workforce and that needs to change!

Some families don't have females with any STEM roles and that's okay but with today's ethics all roles are now gender neutral, we want all girls to be able to try something new and starting them off young is the perfect chance.  

So, I sat down with Lilli and we had a look through the Primo E-book, We talked about the different activities she could try and how we could try them too, then went through the questions below together, Here are her answers.

  • What do you enjoy about being a girl?
    My hair, My pretty clothes and when I'm older I can wear makeup! - Lilli then got very excited and started telling me all her plans for when she's a 'big girl'
  • Have you ever been told you can’t do anything because you’re a girl?
    No...she was very blunt to this question and too right the girl can do anything she wants!
  • What do you want to be when you grow up?
    'I want to be a cooker (chef) like you mummy and make yummy cakes' - I didn't have the heart to tell her I'm actually not a chef!!
  • Which woman/girl inspires you the most and why?
    'Meghan Trainer because she's good at singing and dancing, and Barbie cause she has lots of cool jobs'
  • what do you know about computer programming/coding?
    'Whats coding mummy? I like computers'
  • What activity did you enjoy the most in our guide to coding for kids book and why? (Activities for parents to do with their child)
' I liked Simon says it was funny' - We tried out the activity from the guide to coding ebook and although we play it a lot at our local community children's groups it never gets old and I always end up catching her out!

Me and Lilli had fun playing and it's always great for me to see her learning without her realizing it, Our favorite STEAM activity (the A is for arts-for preschool ages) is lego, I run a Lego club every fortnight and we have loads at home, I set challenges to see who can build the tallest tower or a house with a roof or if they can make a self-portrait, its so much fun and with lego anything is possible.

I really hope that you have enjoyed reading this and make sure you go and download the E-book it's FREE! and full of brilliant ideas :D 

Let me know what your favorite activity was from the e-book in the comments below :D

Much Love

*This is a collaborative post*

Having the right lighting design in the home is very important to set the mood, and in some rooms, a standard light shade just isn't goi...

Lighting Design in the home ft. Studio Arntzen

Having the right lighting design in the home is very important to set the mood, and in some rooms, a standard light shade just isn't going to cut it! 
Studio Arntzen has created beautiful artistic lighting to really help set the mood or be a feature in any home.

Lighting is such an important aspect of the home so why not make it a feature?! A few small lights dotted around the kitchen, a large feature light in the hall, a few wall lamps in the dining room? Its what gives your home character and style.
There are some really beautiful lighting designs on the market but Studio Arntzen's are some of my favorites, From simplistic Trias - the small pendant light to the Grand Trianon with a length of 71cm!! 

art, light, lighting

Studio Arntzen complete dynamic projects from concept to final production for individuals, businesses, design labels, and for events interested in engaging with unique environments.
Imagine these lights at a wedding reception I think they'd look absolutely amazing!

The Design light shop was created by Dutch designer Paula Arntzen, Arntzen specializes in concept development, lighting, and spatial design, besides her interest in lighting design she has a strong fascination with furniture design too.
Arntzen mixes her craft and design skills with a delicate use of technology as communicative components of wonder, she loves to push the boundaries of her design and stylistic research and through experimentation with materials and techniques, she creates experiences with their own distinctive theatrical identity. 
art, lights, lighting

After Paula's constant study and observation, she managed to obtain a deep knowledge and understanding of paper and its special characteristics. Through this knowledge and her love for paper, Paula’s Paper Process was established. PPP exists of a series of installations and a collection of lights and consists of paper and powder coated steel.

lights, art, lighting

So having feature lighting is brilliant but you also need to know what works best wherein the home so here' some tips to help you out:

  • Ambient Lighting is best for Bedrooms, Living rooms, Dining rooms, Kitchens and Outdoor, Ambient lighting is the general lighting but also soothing, dimmer wall lights seem to be brilliant for this.

  • Task lighting is best for Kitchen, Bathroom, Scullery, Laundry, Linen, Pantry, Store, Study, its more focused light used for directional brightness, spotlights under a kitchen cupboard are a prime example of this.
And that brings us back to decorative lighting, it makes you want to look at the light itself as a feature so its perfect for a large hallway or a conservatory.
art, light, lighting
So now you know the background of Studio Arntzen go and check it out for yourself, and if you are looking to spruce up your home definitely keep these in mind and let me know your favorite piece in the comments below :)

Much Love

*This is a collaborative post*

If you are thinking of giving your kitchen a new lease on life , one of the best and most popular ways to do so is to completely renovate i...

Renovating Your Kitchen? It's All In The Details

If you are thinking of giving your kitchen a new lease on life, one of the best and most popular ways to do so is to completely renovate it. A renovation can be a minor or a major undertaking, depending on what you actually want to achieve, but either way it is not something that you will want to do lightly. However, once you have decided to renovate, it can be a particularly exciting time, and you will probably want to make sure that you are doing everything in your power to make it as successful as possible. Part of making that happen when it comes to any renovation, but in particular the kitchen, is ensuring that you are focused at least in part on the details. The devil’s in them, as they say, and when you get those right, you improve the overall look of the room as well.


Most kitchens will have at least some kind of tiling to consider, and you will want to make sure that you have got this right if you are keen for the renovation to go as well as possible. Tiling can sometimes be surprisingly frustrating to get right, in part because choosing the colors can take a long time to get it right with the rest of the room. Even once you have chosen the tiles, you will need to make sure that you have got the right Trade Tile Trim as well, otherwise the whole tiled section of the kitchen won’t look quite finished. Moreover, be sure to pay careful attention and focus on getting the grouting just right - if you don’t, it can drastically undermine the look of the whole area, and what you are trying to achieve with your kitchen on the whole.


The cabinets themselves are a relatively big choice, of course, but in so choosing, you also need to focus on some particularly small things. Even the style of the handles can make a big difference to how the cabinets and cupboards look, and you will want to try out a few different styles to make sure you are not rushing any decisions. As long as you get that right, the cabinets will look much more a part of the kitchen, and you will be able to be much more satisfied with how the kitchen itself is progressing in style. These tiny details really do add up to make a big difference, so it is worth paying attention to them as much as you can.


You have a couple of major choices when it comes to the appliances. Do you want them all to match, or are you going to go for a more eclectic look of some kind? Mostly, this a matter of choosing colors well, which is not too hard, but even that can affect how the kitchen looks and feels on the whole. As well as color, you should think about style - even the shape of the toaster and the kettle can make a marked difference to the kitchen’s overall style, and the kind of sense you get from it as you enter the room.

*this is a collaborative post*

So your getting married, or you may have just got married (Congratulations!!) and you're planning your perfect honeymoon? Well, I hav...

Planning The Perfect Honeymoon

honeymoon planning tips

So your getting married, or you may have just got married (Congratulations!!) and you're planning your perfect honeymoon? Well, I have some tips for you, whether you're taking the family, the kids or just going alone as a happy couple I want to help you make sure you have a vacation to remember.

Make a budget: Setting a budget is vital to the planning process, the average honeymoon costs around £2500 but when you plan carefully and use the right agents you can get it for much lower, Just make sure you stick to your budget unless you can really afford to splash out!

Find a trusted agent: Finding the right travel agent is a must, someone who will take care of all your special needs and wishes to try and make sure you have the most magical time possible, I LOVE Holiday Gems - Check Them Out Here.

Picking the perfect destination: France, Spain, Italy, America, there are so many places to choose from, maybe you have one in mind already but maybe you're stuck, do you have somewhere you've been before and loved? is there somewhere you have always wanted to go together? If you still have no idea try putting names in a hat and picking one, you never know it may be amazing!

Choosing The Perfect Hotel: Picking the perfect hotel is such an important step, do you want a nice little beachside resort, do you want to be near a family fun park or a strip of restaurants? 
Make sure that the hotel/resort will have all you will need for your stay or have a bus/tram that can take you to a town close by. 
If you're planning on being all inclusive make sure that the restaurant can cater for any dietary requirements you have or any special food warming facilities you need (if you're taking young children).

Honeymoon with children: If you already have children you'll probably be taking them with you on your honeymoon, now I personally can't think of anything better than spending our honeymoon with our children, we'd have just become a family and it's a fun way for them to celebrate too, but you may also want some alone time as newlyweds so maybe try out the kids club or the babysitting services of the hotel to get the few hours of quality time to yourselves.

With Family/Friends: Going on a honeymoon with family and friends is always fun, I went with my sister and her husband to Disneyland Pairs and it was lovely, but they still wanted their alone time too, so don't forget to just be honest with the people you're with, unless you love the company! 

Travel documents: Make sure that when you book your honeymoon you don't use your married name, most of the time your married name won't match up to whats on your legal documents and you won't be able to travel.

What NOT to forget: There's always something you forget so heres a little checklist just incase:

  • passports/travel docs (EHIC if you're going to Europe)
  • medications
  • Currency (so much cheaper to buy before you get to the airport)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Contraception ;)
  • Adapter plugs
  • Camera
  • Chargers
  • The kids ;)

I really hope these tips help and you have an amazing honeymoon where ever you go!
Let me know in the comments if you have any tips.

Much Love

*This is a collaborative post*

I'm going back to work, it was a hard decision but more financially suitable for our family, Leaving my babies is going to be such a har...

Going Back To Work...How i feel

I'm going back to work, it was a hard decision but more financially suitable for our family, Leaving my babies is going to be such a hard thing, not seeing Olli's 'firsts' or being there for bedtime ect is going to be very emotionally difficult for me but its better than living with crappy benefits and struggling long term.

So I have an interview today, I'm absolutely crapping myself as its been 10 years since my last interview and 6 years since I've had a job! I have sod all to wear and nothing prepared so I'm literally just going to have to wing it!!

Blogging: I'm still going to keep my job as a social media manager and I will keep blogging because its my passion but sadly it just doesn't bring in the income we need to be stable.

Wedding: We're still getting married, its been booked and mostly paid for so there's no going back now and its something we're all really excited about, honestly were gonna be saving our arses off to get this wedding done but its going to be so worth it <3

Lego Club: If you didn't know I run a Lego club every fortnight at my local library, and I'm still going to carry on with it (fingers crossed), its a massive passion for me I love to volunteer and help people in our community so theres no stopping me!!

Worries: I have a few worries, I mean I haven't had a job in 6 years due to having kids and even though I'm self employed now and have been for a while its still different, I haven't had an actually employer for a while and its going to be strange taking orders from someone else.

I'm also really worried about my hair (strange I know) but I have very bright colourful hair and sometimes its really not suitable to some companies, same goes with my piercings which I can take out but don't really like to.

Money: So money is the big issue here, are benefits got cut and I don't make enough being self employed to support us and make up the difference, so a job was the most viable option at the moment and I am excited about it but worried too!

Mental Health: My mental health is a big part of my life, some days I really struggle I get very emotional about silly things and other days I'm as strong as a rock and nothing will break me, I'm worried that work is going to drain me and I will end up having more bad days than good, days where I wont want to get out of bed let alone communicate with the public, but maybe I will be fine and I'm just a worry wart!

My family: Working is gonna be a struggle for my family, Mike will have 4 kids on his own at some point and its bloody terrifying, not that he cant do it cause he can but they are all pains when all together!

Me Time: I'm sceptical about this part, I enjoy my time when I'm at the library volunteering but I don't feel like its work, ill actually be doing something that I don't particularly want to be doing (like who really wants to work right?!) so it may not be as refreshing as I hope.

Anyway, That's all from me I felt like I just needed to get that out!
How did you feel going back to work? Let me know in the comments below :D

Much Love

There’s nothing worse than that feeling when the shrill shriek of the alarm rouses you from your all too brief slumber. Your mouth feels dr...

Why Getting Plenty Of Sleep Makes You A Better Parent

There’s nothing worse than that feeling when the shrill shriek of the alarm rouses you from your all too brief slumber. Your mouth feels dry and sour, your head feels like you’ve had an altercation with a bull elephant and as much as you know that you’re duty bound to throw aside the covers and start your day, your every instinct screams at you to pull the covers back over your head and let the day pass you by.

This feeling is bad enough when you’re unattached, but when you’re a parent, it’s just the worst. Not only can it make it really difficult to feel like you have any real quality of life, it can also seriously impede your ability to be the best parent that you can be. It’s a horrible feeling that can ruin your day before it’s even started, yet it’s how too many of us begin most days. If this all sounds a little too familiar, it’s time to look at the reasons why getting plenty of sleep (7-9 hours is the gold standard for most full grown adults) can make you a better parent as well as some healthy natural solutions to getting your daily dose of shut eye.

Sleep keeps you feeling and looking young and healthy

When you become a parent, it’s easy to see yourself solely as somebody’s Mom or Dad and feel like you’re losing your identity to your parenthood. Getting plenty of sleep not only helps you to better manage your dual roles as a parent and in your day job, it also keeps you looking and feeling young and healthy. When you sleep, your body produces the collagen that your skin needs to stay plump and useful while also ensuring that your skin and hair get the hydration and nourishment that they need to stay healthy, lustrous and glowing. This will do wonders for your self esteem and make you a happier, more confident parent.

Sleep helps you to concentrate

A lack of sleep can seriously impair concentration and cognitive function. This is problematic whatever age your kids, but if you have a baby, infant or toddler you’re essentially playing Russian roulette with your kids’ safety especially if you get behind the wheel of a car with them. Parenthood (especially new parenthood) requires a number of complex cognitive processes and if you’re waking up feeling sluggish and unable to concentrate you’re unlikely to be at your best when it comes to meeting the myriad demands of a modern parent.

Sleep helps you to keep your calm

We’ve all seen those parents who lose their composure with their kids in public places. Those parents that seem, out of nowhere to snap and scream at their kids before storming away with them, fighting back a flood of tears of shame and frustration. Every parent knows that they’re only a few bad nights’ sleep away from being that parent. Nobody wants to be the kind of parent that’s quick to anger, shouting and corporal punishment. We want to be able to deal with our kids calmly, rationally and reasonably… But that’s really hard when we’re sleep deprived. As well as impairing our cognitive faculties and memories a lack of sleep can make us emotionally volatile, making us quicker to anger and far less rational than we’d like to be.

Sleep keeps you fun

Parenthood is a serious commitment and a lot of hard work, but let’s not forget that it can (or should be) a lot of fun, too! Getting enough sleep can help you to focus on the positives of parenting, allowing you to take pleasure and enjoyment in spending more time with your kids, making you a happier and more fun person to be around.

So, how can you make sure you’re getting yours?

Hopefully, it’s clear how getting your daily dose of shuteye can make you a better parent, but making sure you’re getting yours can be easier said than done, especially when you’re the parent of a newborn.

Make sure that your bedroom is sparsely decorated and full of natural materials like wood, stone and cotton as these can promote restfulness and relaxation. Avoid the use of laptops and tablets in bed and TV should be kept to a minimum too. If you’ve had the same mattress for more than 10 years it’s time to treat yourself to a browse of some luxury mattresses. Never underestimate the importance of a good mattress for a restful and uninterrupted night’s sleep.

Obviously you should try and cut down on stimulants like caffeine and sugar and make sure you’re getting plenty of green veggies and magnesium rich foods like sweet potatoes and nuts. Make sure you’re getting plenty of water and exposure to fresh air and nature.

By getting healthy natural sleep, you’ll notice both your parenting and your quality of life starting to improve.

Lets hope you get some amazing sleep!

Much Love

*This is a collaborative post*

So Lils (my daughter if you didn't know) is mad, crazy and so hyper 24/7, she's really active and loves PE at school, she watches pe...

Bendy Wendy And Jumping Jack Join Gymnastics - Book Review

So Lils (my daughter if you didn't know) is mad, crazy and so hyper 24/7, she's really active and loves PE at school, she watches people do sports and Gymnastics a lot and then tries to copy them! So when we got asked if we'd review a book all about Gymnastics of course I said yes, I knew Lilli would love it and I was 100% right!

Bendy Wendy And jumping Jack are Gymnasts! -
The story of the book is that 2 children's are joining Gymnastics and they have worries and fears about not fitting In or being good enough! They go through all the Gymnastic moves and poses and find the perfect ones for them and all is right in the world!!

Its simple , but so powerful for little ones and Lilli has really taken a liking to the thought of starting gymnastics lessons too!

gymnastics book written by gemma coles

The book itself is absolutely fantastic! Its Bright, Good Quality and Bold, Lilli was instantly attracted to it, the illustrations are simple yet very child friendly and you can also buy the gymnastics coaching guides with instructions to learn yourself.
There is a DVD and a app for your phone or tablet which are also available online and looks amazing so we will definitely be checking that out! Honestly its a brilliant way to keep children entertained and enjoy learning about Gymnastics at the same time!

So whether your a teacher, parent or just know a child interested in Gymnastics this book would be the perfect little gift for the budding gymnast.

The book, DVD and coaching guides are available on Head Over Heels Gymnastics and the app is of course in the app store for apple and android!

So go take a look and let me know what you think below :D

Much Love

*This is a collaborative post*

If you love chocolate (like who doesn't?!) you'll love Chocolateeha ! It's this new chocolate I've discovered and its sooooo...

Chocolateeha Review

If you love chocolate (like who doesn't?!) you'll love Chocolateeha! It's this new chocolate I've discovered and its soooooo yummy!! It comes in loads of different flavours and it looks beautiful <3

chocolateeha bar
With a beautiful pyramid design and brushed with edible golden glitter its stunning to look at, the bars are easy to snap into the perfect amount, if you can stop yourself from eating the whole bar!

The flavours are very rich and the dark chocolate is not too bitter, we tried the Madagascan Dark Chocolate Infused With Wild Orange and it was the perfect combination.
We also tried the Ecuadorian Dark Chocolate Infused With Peppermint and the Peruvian White Chocolate Infused With Brazilian Ground Coffee.

Me and my daughter both tried these flavours and she loved the orange one the best, she liked the design and the gold dusting on top, My favourite has to be the peppermint one, the mint and dark chocolate complimented each other so well and it was perfect with a cuppa to relax.

If you want to try the Indulgent range from Chocolateeha Click the link above and explore the range, its so worth it.

Much Love

*I was sent this chocolate by Wajeeha from Chocolateeha to review in exchange for a phone interview about my children's confectionary habits *