Category Archives: Life Hacks

Bullet Journals – Starting Out


If you are a Pinterest addict like me you will undoubtedly come across lots of pins about Bullet Journals. I was intrigued about the beautiful  pages people were sharing and pinning of their notebooks so decided to try and find out a bit more.

What exactly is a Bullet Journal?

A Bullet Journal is a really flexible and customisable planner that you can adapt to meet your needs better than most diaries. If you want to be organised and get more done the Bullet Journal is your secret weapon. The best description for the total beginner can be found here from Kendra over at The Lazy Genius Collective blog.  It is definitely the clearest description I have found and how to get started.

A Bullet Journal can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. They say it will teach you to do more with less. (I so need this!)

I have been busy pinning away lots of things on Bullet journals over on my Pinterest page

Rather than start in a whole new journal I have bought a six hole punch for my Filofax and I am adding pages into my diary within my Filofax organiser. I also bought squared paper to do this with as it seems much easier to work with squares (it seems that this is the favourite in the Bullet Journal world) and it has definitely been much easier to make tables and create grids.

I found the site Pretty Prints & Paper <> a really useful place to start and Jessica has a really comprehensive list of links and ideas on how to make the bullet journal work best for you.

Do any of you use a Bullet Journal? I would love to know if it is mainly a US thing or if it is catching on here in the UK too. I will try and keep you updated to my progress too!





Be an Energy Shopper with Ofgem



The last few months have seen major changes for us as we moved house which was both exciting and stressful. Tying up all the loose ends from one house and sorting out all the new bills for the new one seemed a never ending task.
One of the most important things to us was making sure we got the best energy deal we could as we don’t have gas, just oil and electricity. We knew from our bills at our last house our electricity consumption could be quite high, especially during the winter.
There are lots of ways you can make sure you are getting the best energy deal. You can use a search engine or an energy comparison site. However before doing any of this you should head over to the Ofgem site Be an Energy Shopper first.  Ofgem are the independent regulator of the energy market and the site provides independent and unbiased information on how to get a better deal.


The Be an Energy Shopper site is a wealth of information on energy and they offer a list of the Ofgem approved comparison sites so you know you are using a trusted and approved dealer when searching for your best deal. The Be an Energy Shopper site is not there to generate cash and sales as Ofgem are funded from the license fees that the energy companies have to pay to operate in the market, so you know the advice they are offering is impartial and honest. Through the Be an Energy Shopper site Ofgem are working for us, the consumers, making sure we get the best deal and the important information we need to make an informed decision about our energy purchases.
We soon saw the importance and value of comparing prices and being well informed when the tariff recommendations we got ranged from £49 a month to £110.
Ofgem’s ‘Be an Energy Shopper’ has three main areas to help consumers understand how to get the best deal for their energy bills, by explaining the ins and outs of this confusing market.
For us, the section on Switching Suppliers and Moving House was the most useful. The site goes through a handy checklist of what you need to do before leaving your old house and moving into the new one, alongside lots of useful advice on energy tariffs and what to look for when choosing a new energy supplier. The site is really easy to navigate and I liked the way the information given was really relevant and useful.
Even if you are not moving house anytime soon there are also sections on how to understand your bill and how to go about changing your tariff deal and getting the best deal you can.
I would love to know if you do head over to the Ofgem site and found it as useful as we did!

FRONTLINE® Plus – Another weapon in the fight again fleas and ticks!

grace-and-garthWe all know that protecting our dogs and cats from fleas and ticks is an essential part of their care routine. If you do ever have the misfortune of finding these unwelcome guests on your pet, you have the added hassle of taking measures to deep clean the house to make sure their pesky eggs and larvae don’t turn into adult fleas.

Thanks to the clever people at FRONTLINE®, you can now help protect your home from getting infested in the first place!

FRONTLINE have recently launched a new ‘double action’ product: FRONTLINE Plus. This not only kills fleas and ticks on your pet, but also contains an additional active ingredient that stops flea eggs from hatching and larvae developing in your home. Apply every 4 weeks to help protect your pets from fleas and ticks.*

Why does this matter you may ask? 95% of a flea problem that can be found in the home are related to eggs, larvae and pupae. To really show us where these pesky parasites hide in our homes, FRONTLINE have created the FRONTLINE Plus House which is touring the UK to raise awareness of the risks fleas, and also ticks, pose to our pets and homes.


They are also having fully qualified veterinary professionals on hand to offer expert advice on flea and tick protection so you can ask for advice or have any questions answered after your close shave with these (fake!) pesky critters.

The FRONTLINE ® House was unveiled at Victoria Station with Steph & Dom Parker  from Gogglebox and their miniature Dachshund Gigi. I was so disappointed to not be able to make the event as I would have loved to meet them and see the FRONTLINE® House. Luckily the house is going on tour so you can get to see it in its full glory at the following events

Also if you share any photos from your visit via social media you can receive instant rewards through a ‘lucky dip’ competition. Also don’t forget to sign up to the FRONTLINE monthly treatment reminder service to be in with a chance to WIN a £1500 Forest Holiday for your family and pet.

For more information you can visit

Insneezia-Do you realise you could be suffering?

insneezia, hayfever, insomnia sympton hayfever

Night time ‘insneezia’ hindering Brits summer shut eye

1 in 5 people in the UK suffer from hay fever, with an allergy to grass pollen being the most common type. Hay fever is a big deal in our household as my husband really suffers and it looks as though G could be following in his footsteps. Also living in the country means our pollen season can last quite a while.

Over the last few weeks Ed had been complaining of insomnia which I duly dismissed (being the caring wife that I am). That was until a really interesting email arrived in my inbox from Boots. The email was all about the problems of pollen and it’s effects on hay fever sufferers not stopping when the sun goes down.

Stats reveal that:

  •  64% of hayfever sufferers admit to suffering from ‘insneezia’ – the insomnia-esque impact of night time hayfever symptoms caused by pollen falling at the end of the day as the air cools.
  • On a typical summer night, insneezia sufferers say that they miss out on 72 minutes of sleep – which equals nearly five whole days across the months of June to August.
  • Itchy eyes (47%) and a blocked nose (45%) are the main symptoms that blight being able to nod off.  Additionally, 64% say it takes them longer to drop off as a result and an equal number (64%) find it harder to get back to sleep once they have been woken up.

Dr Peter Burt from the University of Greenwich has been quoted as saying;

“Hay fever sufferers may find that their symptoms get worse during the evening. This is because pollen rises into the lower atmosphere throughout the day and begins to fall back to the ground as the temperature drops – exposing hay fever sufferers to a higher level of pollen in the evening compared to earlier on in the day.”

It would seem that sufferes of ‘insneezia’ don’t just suffer at night.

62% report that insneezia impacts them the next day as well:

·         One in four report that they struggle the next day at work after a bad night’s sleep

·         22% say they are more argumentative with their loved ones

·         16% decline social events because of their sleepless nights

 It seems those suffering from insneezia will go to all sorts of lengths to relieve their symptoms, with 4% resorting to putting their heads in the freezer to try and provide some welcome relief! (We haven’t tried this in our house yet!)

Boots Pharmaceuticals have released some great advice for insneezia sufferers.

Angela Chalmers Boots UK Pharmacist comments: “Falling pollen at night doesn’t have to get in the way of a good night’s sleep if you take steps to keep your hay fever symptoms in check before your head hits the pillow. Most one-a-day anti-histamines are usually a 24 hour dose, so taking your daily dose at least 3 hours before you go to bed may help reduce symptoms throughout the night. Additionally, consider using a barrier nasal spray before bed, which can be more effective at treating more severe hay fever symptoms, as they create protective lining in the nasal passage reducing the inhalation of the allergens that are responsible for hay fever.” Boots have kindly sent Ed a sample of their nasal barrier spray to try, which has certainly helped ease his symptoms a little.

As regular readers to my blog know I love hacks to make our life smoother and simpler; so here are 5 Hacks for Hay Fever Sufferers.

hayfever, hayfever infographic, hacks


Top 10 Camping ‘must-have’ and ‘I want’ items

As  we are heading off camping this summer I thought I would share with you a list of my Top 10 ‘must have’ and ‘I want’ items. Last year we went camping to France and stayed on the wonderful Ile D’Oleron at a Camping Indigo site which you can read about here.

This year we still haven’t decided whether we are staying put in the British Isles or heading back to France. (We had better decide quick as we are off in 3 weeks time!) Wherever we do decide to spend our holiday there are some camping essentials we can’t live without and a few I want to take this year for the first time. I am a big believer in trying to make camping as comfortable as possible, especially when you are going camping as your main family get away for the year. Who want’s to come home feeling drained and shattered from roughing it for a week? You will need another holiday to get over it!


1. Blankets or Rugs

rugs camping

You can’t have enough of these. They look pretty and can add an extra layer of warmth and comfort if you get a chilly night. I found these on not on the high street from Ellie Ellie for £16.80 and they are made from recycled wool. Beautiful and ethical!


2. Bikes

bikes family

We always try to pick somewhere that has plenty of safe cycling. Who wants to be cycling with children near loads of traffic? Most campsites are great places for children to bike and scoot, but it is worth checking as I have seen a few recently where this has been banned!

3. Camping Gaz Party Grill


We bought ours nearly 8 years ago and it has been brilliant! It can grill and be a burner so we have got by with only this for our cooking needs. Plus it comes in a handy carry case making it easy to transport. You can get them here on Amazon for £47.99 well worth the cost.

4. Proper plates and cutlery


Having proper plates and cutlery to eat from really makes a huge difference to your mind set when it comes to camping food. We bought some cheap ones from IKEA that if they broke wouldn’t make me too sad. The one in the picture is 50p!

5. A good table


We have a great table that stores these 4 chairs neatly inside. Again sitting at a table to eat really makes a big difference rather than having to always eat off your lap.

6. A good penknife


This is an invaluable piece of kit and who does it better than the Swiss?  This one pictured comes in at under £20.

7. A cosy jumper


You can’t beat having a cosy jumper to keep you warm on chilly nights. This one pictured is a cashmere and merino mix from Woolovers and is currently on offer for £30.

8.  A big bag for everything


I bought one similar to this in France years ago and it comes everywhere with us. It is great for taking toys, going to the beach or shopping at the market. I found this one on not on the high street from Bohemia for £22.

The two items I really want for this year are

9. An enamel teapot

enamel teapot

I love my tea and spied this gorgeous teapot on not on the high street  from Baker + Bell for £17.

10. Professor Scrubbington’s Emporium of Clean

emporium of clean

These amazing smellies from the people at Professor Scrubbington are designed for kids but are too good to be just for them. They smell amazing and being made from aloe vera are kind to everyone. These will really save on space as the whole family can use them. £20 for the complete set of products from Professor Scrubbington.

Do you have any must have or I want items for your camping trips? I would love to hear what they are.




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A Cornish Mum

Organised Larder Cupboard Love

I am very proud of my newly organised larder cupboard!  As any regular visitor to my blog will know I have very much a love/hate relationship with organising. I so WANT to be that super organised and tidy person but then life seems to get in the way, as do children’s toys, coats, shoes etc – you know what I mean –

Sometimes I taunt myself by going on to Pinterest and searching for things such as ‘organised cupboards’ and pinning lots of images. Things I know will never happen in my house, but I am determined to keep trying and each week it is getting better.


Very slowly, we are becoming a more organised household. I am taking baby steps and started off with our kitchen cupboards and larder. (I also tackled the cupboard under the sink in the bathroom but I will save you all the thrill of that for another day! 😉 )

It all started with reading a piece about Kirsty Allsopp’s Home  and seeing her organised and to be honest quite beautifully staged larder.

larder kirsty allsopp

When I compared it to my own, I tried not to get thoroughly depressed (and failed) but decided that I would attempt some small scale re-organisation of ours. At the time it was looking like this…..

untidy larder

I appreciate how lucky we are to have this space, but one of the drawbacks is out of sight, out of mind mentality that tends to find us holding onto stuff and putting in the cupboard, never to be used again. Also being a rented property we are a little cautious about adding too much and trying to work with what is in place.

Whilst sorting stuff out I came across a few forgotten about gems, like my handheld steam cleaner. Armed with my phone I also took photos of things we hadn’t used in ages, like our coffee machine. I then posted it for sale on a local items for sale Facebook page and it was sold and collected within an hour!

I put items at the very top that we don’t use that often such as extra wine glasses, carafes and water jugs. I then tried to group the food into things like pasta and rice, baking ingredients, tins and sauces so that finding things became easier. Also having food items not very visible meant I was often purchasing things we already had in the larder.

You may not notice a whole lot of difference in the after photos but I can sense and feel the small steps I have taken towards being more organised and the best bit is we have kept it this way for nearly a fortnight.

tidier larder pantry

If I am totally honest with myself I will never have a Pintrest worthy larder. However I now have a MORE organised cupboard/larder which has got to be the most important thing!

If you have any organisation tips (especially for cupboards!) please feel free to share or add a link in the comments section.



10 Ideas to use your Handheld Steam Cleaner


10 ways to use your steam cleaner

I bought one of these handheld steam cleaner machines about a year ago and am ashamed to say I have not really taken it out of the box since, maybe using it only once or twice.

Last week I was having a huge clear out of our larder cupboard and found the sad little machine that has hardly seen the light of day. I really had to think hard about putting it into the keep or chuck pile so thought I would do a quick Google of what I could use it for (other than cleaning the grime of the edge of the Rayburn cooker) and was pretty impressed with what I found.

If you too have one of these handheld steamers than seemed a good purchase at the time then this list is for you, or maybe you are a steam goddess and could add some more of your own suggestions. I tried to include some of the less obvious ideas here and would love to know more!

Top 10 Handheld Steamer Suggestions

1.  Cleaning limescale from around your taps to have them looking sparkly and bright in no time

2.  Help to defrost the freezer in super quick time and cleaning it simultaneously!

3.  Cleaning out fish tanks or pet cages

4.  Use it to sanitize your mattress and pillows

The steam is hot enough to kill dust mites, bedbugs and moulds or bacteria.

5.  Disinfect children’s toys

6.  Relax creases in leather items

7.  Killing off weeds on the patio (or anywhere)

8.  Cleaning the bottom of your shoes (very handy if you live an area with

inconsiderate dog owners)

9.  Use it to remove wallpaper

10. Cleaning the BBQ grill which is the most argued over job in our house!

As I said, if you have any other great tips or ideas I would love you to add them on here.

Brilliant blog posts on

Family Command Centres for the Drop Zone

I am totally addicted to Pintrest and use it to get tons of ideas for crafts, interiors and children’s activities. Families in the USA seem to have some great ideas for keeping organised which if you are on here regularly know that this is something I am always trying to be better at. One of the things I have come across are ‘Family Command Centres’ which always seem to look stylish and practical (and oh so ever organised). We are fortunate to have quite a big entrance hall but the downside of this is that it can become a real dumping ground. This is called the ‘drop zone’ or ‘landing strip’ in super organised circles (I believe) and I have been coming across some gorgeous  ‘Drop Zone Command Centre’ pins.

Hallway ideas from

Hallway ideas from

Hallway organisation found on

Hallway organisation found on

Upcycled lovliness found at

Upcycled lovliness found at

Super neat hallway found on Pintrest

Super neat hallway found on Pintrest

One of my best friend’s has just moved house and her husband had made the most amazing shelf unit out of some simple wood and then it had been painted – guess what? – in my beloved chalk paint. I just fell in love with it. I was a very lucky girl and was made my own as a birthday present, to the dimensions I wanted for the exact spot I plan to create our ‘drop zone’ or ‘landing strip’ organisation centre. I am afraid that this will be a bit of a project that will be on the back burner with Christmas coming up but as soon as it is all set up I will be sharing my before and after pictures.

Would love to hear if you have anything similar or great ideas for hallway organisation. If you want to have a look at all the great ideas I have pinned you can check out my Pintrest board here

Follow Dominique’s board Family Command Centres on Pinterest.

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