Monthly Archives: April 2018

Meal Planning Monday 30/04/2018

Well it’s been a crazy few weeks which is why I haven’t managed to get involved in this linky, I started a new job, we’ve put our little boy in nursery so we’ve all had to get into a new routine which has been very challenging.   

So this week we have 

Chicken & Bacon puffs with wedges & Beans 

Lasagne & Garlic Bread 

Pan Fried Pork 

Chicken, Bacon & Spinach with tagliatelle in a creamy sauce 

Chilli Con Corne & Mexican style chips 

Homemade fake away Chicken Fried Rice 

Roast Dinner with all the trimmings 

What’s on your plate this week?

Tips for Boosting Workplace Productivity

Whether you run your own business or you work for a large corporate company, productivity can make a big difference in what you achieve both financially and from a career perspective. Being productive isn’t a trait that you are either born with or you just don’t have, it is an art that can be developed through techniques and perseverance.

You probably don’t need a rundown of why productivity is so valuable; you already know that it means that you can get more work done in a shorter amount of time. But perhaps you haven’t quite mastered it yourself, or you often find your mind drifting away from the task at hand. You find social media distracting or you like to have a quick chat with your colleagues throughout the day. Whatever it is that is stopping you from being more productive, you want to get it resolved as soon as possible.

Here are some tried and tested methods of boosting productivity:

Exercise – Going to the gym before you go to work or even having a bit of a power walk on your lunch break can give you an energy boost. What happens when you exercise is that you increase the blood flow to your brain, making you more alert. Some people cannot function in the morning without a strong coffee but exercise can give you that same buzz but a natural one, so it is much better!

Timing tasks – If you are doing a particular task on a regular basis, time how long it takes you to do that task. Don’t let the quality get compromised if you need to make sure it is top quality work. Take the right amount of time but fully concentrate on the task. The next time you perform that same piece of work you should be aiming to hit that same amount of time, so time yourself doing it again. What this does is it makes you concentrate harder and push distractions aside because you have a time target.

Pomodoro Technique – A bit of a variation on the timing element but along the same lines, the Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that people have been using for nearly 40 years. It is based around segmenting your work into 25-minute slots, where you do the work for 25 minutes and then you get up and have a short break from your work. Only a minute or two, just enough to think about something else for a minute. Then you start on the next 25-minute slot of work and repeat.

Rewards – Reward management is an important part of engaging employees and engaged employees are proven to be more productive. If you work in HR then you will probably know a lot about this already and the proven results of providing rewards through pay modelling. You can find out more about that if you visit this website.

Pay isn’t the only way that you can use rewards to improve productivity. Many businesses have sales targets and prizes for those who perform well. Or you can have an employee recognition scheme where productivity is rewarded with a certificate or even just an email that shows recognition to the employee.

Sometimes a simple ‘thank you’ is enough to show someone how much you appreciate their work and that in turn often inspires them to be even more productive afterwards. Always make sure that saying thank you is genuine and personal, i.e. you have noticed how good a job they have done and why, not just a general thanks at the same time every week/day.

Be Your Own Boss With Boost Capital

I would love to be my own boss and work the hours and days I want,  especially since having my little boy. I want to spend every day at home with him watching him grow up and not missing a moment.

Quite a few years ago now I did start up my own small card business called Kim Cooper’s Crafts, which, you can find it here Kim Coopers Crafts . I make and design cards for all occasions. A few months ago, I branched out into wedding stationery but unfortunately it hasn’t taken off properly, as I haven’t had the time or money to put into it whilst being on maternity leave.  I would love to be able to get it up & running properly and with the help of merchant cash advance from Boost Capital I may just get the help I need.

My Top Tips

  1. Write a Business plan – A solid business plan will guide you going forward, even if your plan is to be just a solopreneur or freelancer. It’s also needed for presenting your idea to potential investors. Your business plan should include a mission statement, a company summary, an executive summary, a service or product offerings, a description of a target market, financial projections and the cost of the operation.
  2. Get clients or customers first – Don’t wait until you’ve officially started your business to line these up, because your business can’t survive without them.  Do the networking. Make the contacts. Sell or even give away your products or services. You can’t start marketing too soon.
  3. Never Give up – No matter how hard it may be, there are plenty of people and organisations out there that will be able to help you or put you in the right direction of where to go. Plus with the support from family and friends you can achieve your goals.
  4. Spread the word – Ask companies to put business cards in their shops or leaflets with discount code offers around for people to use.
  5. Establish a budget – Once you determine how much money you’ll have to work with, figure out how much it will take to develop your product or service and create a marketing plan, you don’t want to be out of pocket.

Wheels up! Here’s Your Ultimate Guide to Travelling while in a Wheelchair

When you are in a wheelchair, you’ll understand that this comes with its fair share of obstacles. You have to worry about your luggage getting lost and you may also have to worry about your health in general as well. This doesn’t mean that you can’t go out there and have fun however, and it also doesn’t mean that you have to spend all of your time worrying about your next trip out. It’s more than possible for you to have the travel experience of a lifetime even though you are in a wheelchair, and you can also make your next getaway much easier as well.

Bulkhead Seating

When you are booking your flight, it is a good idea for you to call the airline so that you can explain to them that you are in a wheelchair. You may also need to let them know that you may require some bulkhead seating as well. Bulkhead is actually the front row of the economy class and the seats are usually way more spacious when compared. This makes it much easier for you to move around when you are boarding. Bulkhead does come at an extra cost but your airline may be willing to sort this out for you so you don’t have to worry when you arrive. You may even want to consider Orange Badge Mobility Hire as they can provide you with all of the mobility equipment you need.

adult, book, business

Arrive Early

When you arrive, you will need to arrive an hour or two earlier than your flight. If you are a wheelchair user then you may want to arrive earlier than this time, because you don’t want to feel rushed to get to your plane. You also can’t exactly walk through security either, so a separate pat down may be required. All of this will take up way more time than you’d like, so prepare for it.


If you are travelling internationally then it helps to check the voltage of the destination you’re going to. The main reason for this is because your powered wheelchair may need some charge from time to time and in the US most plugs are 110 volts. The problem is when you go abroad, some of the standard plugs may be 220 volts or more. If you are in a wheelchair that requires charging then it is a good idea for you to have an adapter that could help you out. You may also want to have a wheelchair battery as well so that you can change it out if you need to. If you plug your electric wheelchair into a plug with the wrong volt, this could cause you some serious and potentially embarrassing issues.

adventure, ball-shaped, blur

So there are many things that you can do to prepare for your travel when you are in a wheelchair, and you’d be surprised at how easy it is for you to really make sure that your next trip is the most enjoyable one yet. After all, trips are always more fun when there’s less stress involved!

Five Water Plants You Should Have in Your Garden Pond

One of the great things about planning a new pond in your garden is deciding which plants you want to include as part of the water feature. There are many beautiful native species to choose from depending on the look you want to create.  

From flowering plants and floating plants, from tall grasses to beautiful foliage, there are many different choices when it comes to selecting the perfect aquatic plants to complement your garden pond.  

We spoke to the team at Aquacadabra who supply a huge variety of pond supplies and they helped us select five of the best aquatic plants to feature in your pond.  

  1. The Water Lily 

This is probably the most famous of garden pond plants and the one that most of us think of when planning a pond. With its large leaves and beautiful flowers it is a really exotic-looking plant for any type of pond.  

Its proper name is Nymphaea alba and with flowers from May to November, a water lily is sure to add a touch of colour to your pond. If your pond is on the small side it might not be ideal however, as this plant needs plenty of space to thrive, although you might like to try one of the dwarf varieties in that case.  

Water lilies bloom in the day and the flowers will close at night and often drop under the water until the morning time. There are many varieties available.  

  1. The Marsh Marigold 

This flowering plant is native to Britain and comes in a variety of yellow and gold shades. It comes in a number of varieties and is an attractive plant which will also help support insect life in your garden as they love its nectar and pollen.  

These beautiful flowers should be planted around the edge of the pond, and it fares well in both shady conditions and sunshine. It tends to grow in clumps but it is easy to separate if it starts to get too unwieldy and take over.  

  1. The Globe  Flower 

A beautiful native plant, this flower used to be seen in gardens across the country and was used in festivals but now it is becoming rarer because of a lack of damp meadow habitats. However, it also grows well in ponds and makes a beautiful addition to any water feature so by planting these you will be supporting our native plants to thrive.  

  1. The Water Forget-Me-Not 

A beautiful variety of the forget-me-not, the aquatic version provides sky blue flowers with bright yellow and white centres making it stand out around any pond.  

They do best in shallow ponds and provide the stunning array of colour from June through to September. The stems of Myosotis scorpioides create perfect landing places for dragon and damselflies. 

  1. The Water Mint 

Mentha aquatic is one of our few native herbs and comes with very dark green foliage, often edged with red, making it very striking to look at. It flowers from July through to October with pink flowers and is very easy to look after.  

It can grow very quickly and take over so it’s best to grow it in a basket to help keep it under control. It can be used in cooking and makes a wonderful tasting mint tea so it’s useful as well as very decorative.  

Those are the top five plants which you should have in your garden pond; however, five is not very many depending on the size of your pond so here are a few bonus plants which also look fantastic in any pond.  

Common Water Crowfoot 

This is a member of the buttercup family of plants and has white flowers and fern-like leaves. It needs a large pond ideally and its leaves live under the water while the flowers pop up on the surface in the summer. It can grow in either sunny or shady conditions.  

Rigid Hornwort 

This plant is ideal for helping to oxygenate small ponds, around a metre deep, as it is a submerged plant. Make sure it is not confused with other non-native species – you need to check the label for its scientific name which is Ceratophyllum demersum. It can survive in either shady or sunny conditions.  

When planning and creating your first pond you need to think about the type of plants which you want to include within your water feature. Try to aim for native plants wherever possible and some non-native species have now been banned from sale for causing environmental problems in natural waterways.  

Whether you opt for foliage, flowers or grass-like reeds, whether you choose a mixture of floating and underwater-based, there is a huge variety of aquatic plants to choose from so have fun making the best selection for your particular garden conditions and which match the style of pond you have chosen to create.  

How To Get The Most Out of a First Trip to Canada

No-one is doubting the beauty of North America, but it’s also true that many people have been put off from visiting the United States, due to the political climate and the person who’s in charge over there! But that doesn’t mean you have to avoid North America altogether. There’s another country well worth visiting, one that has a super cool leader: Canada! A land of natural wonders and thriving cities, few people visit the country and fail to return home in love. Below, we take a look at how to get the most of your first trip Canada.

Alberta, amazing, attraction

Pick Your Destinations

OK, the first thing to know is that Canada is absolutely massive. It’s one of the biggest countries in the world! And if you’re coming from the UK, you’ll quickly realise that you won’t be able to see everything on one single trip. As such, you’ll want to research your destinations and plan a sensible route, one that won’t have you forever hopping from one destination to the next because you only have limited time. It’s generally best to focus on the east or the west, though it is possible to see both coasts if you’re OK with flying while there.

Hit the Road

But before you book those flights, keep in mind that Canada makes a brilliant road trip. It’s huge, as we said, so it’s not feasible to do an east to west trip (unless you have several weeks to see everything), but it’s still recommended to hire a car (or perhaps a van) and make a smaller trip. The trip to Calgary out to Vancouver, for instance, is breathtaking practically every step of the way. Having a set of wheels will also allow you to experience the natural wonder of the country, too.

The Cities

Canada is home to some pretty awesome cities! There’s Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, just to name a few. If you like the traditional big city vibe, then head to Toronto – it has something of a New York look and feel to it. Vancouver is rightly regarded as one of the world’s best cities, so book your accommodations at Residence Inn Vancouver Downtown and get to exploring. It’s a multicultural, forward-thinking city, with plenty of nature surrounding it, so you could feasibly stay for a week or more and have a jam-packed adventure each day you’re there.

In Nature

You can’t visit Canada and not get into nature. Even if you’re usually more of a city person, we promise that the beauty of Canada is well-worth strapping on some hiking boots and getting into the outdoors! There’s beauty throughout the country, but the most majestic and grand is in the west. Head to Banff and Jasper National Park, and up to Whistler in BC, and you’ll return home with more beautiful photographs and memories than you know what to do with.

That’s going to be your first taste of Canada, but it won’t be your last, of that we are certain!

Our Bathroom Renovation – The final result

A few months ago we decided to embark on a full bathroom renovation. It’s something we’ve wanted to do since we moved in three years ago but as the old bathroom was pretty functional it was always low on the list of priorities.  We got all the quotes and prices we needed and it worked out cheaper to buy the bathroom from one company and get it fitted by another, both who were friends of my dads, so we managed to save a few pounds.

Well finally after 8 long stressful weeks I can finally say it is all complete minus the new flooring as we are still yet to decide on a colour and brand we would like, and want it to be hard-wearing.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the bathroom renovation 5 weeks on. It was great to see the progress made each day but I was so excited to see the finished result.  Now it’s complete I thought I would share our bathroom renovation with you. So here it is.

We swapped our ceiling light for spotlights to make it that little bit more modern not to mention they make the room so much brighter.

We chose to lose the bath and have a decent power shower with a large square head and a smaller flex hose head to bathe Freddie in the shower while sitting down.  We had real trouble with the shower as it was going where the original shower was, so the wall was studded out to hold the bespoke screen.

We even opted for a chrome towel rail supposed to a radiator, again something more modern than a radiator that will still give plenty of heat out, but doesn’t stick out.  I hated the old radiator always looked dirty with it been painted.

Adding a cabinet with light & mirror so my husband can do his hair in the bathroom instead of the bedroom now, and stop messing up my bedside cabinet with all his products.

The whole bathroom feels so much bigger now and we are both so pleased with it.

A massive thank you to all the guys especially Matt & Phil at P B Hughes.  Can’t recommend this company enough.

Just the flooring now to decide on then it is onto the next project that I want to start and it’s a big one…The Kitchen.

Watch this space…

Meal Planning Monday 02/04/18


April Already?! Where has March gone?

This week I am starting my new job on Tuesday so will have to start thinking about lunches and meal ideas for tea all while getting Freddie settled in at nursery.  I am very much looking forward to it and the new adventures it will bring but very apprehensive about leaving Freddie.  Along with that we have got several birthdays to celebrate.

So this weeks meal plan includes:

Lasanga & Garlic Bread

Tuna Pasta Bake

Sausage Casserole

Hunters Chicken with homemade wedges

Pan Fried Pork

Chicken Curry & Chips

Roast Dinner With All The Trimmngs

What’s On Your Plate This Week?