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Framing your Instagram images with Inkifi

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Did I tell you I went to Paris last month? I didn’t? Are you sure….!?

Anyway. I did. And while I was there I took a million and one photos on my phone, which, were of course, uploaded to Instagram. Because I am addicted to Instagram, which I’m also sure you’ve noticed! So when I was given the chance to look at the Inkifi range of products I was all over it! Unlike some companies, they don’t just offer standard square prints, they print cards, posters, books and framed or unframed photos. I picked a framed print (in white) and decided to make a collage of my favourite photographs from Paris.

The site is really easy to use, and they also have an app. The hardest part for me was deciding how many images to include in my print (you can choose from 1, 4, 9 or 16 images) and which images to use! I would normally go for photos of the kids but I wanted something remember Paris with, that was special to me and the man.

The way the print turned out was fab, they emailed me a proof so I could check it over (this is an optional extra, you don’t need to do that) and I just made one tiny adjustment, moving the Eiffel Tower out from the centre and putting us in there, and it was good to go. The quality of the images is amazing, I’ve had some instagram prints that have looked grainy but these are perfect. I love the site, and I think next on my list of products will be the square prints and the greetings cards, the square prints will look perfect lined up on my photo shelf.

Inkifi offer free UK shipping and the delivery is quick! If you’re an Insta-Addict, this website could be dangerous!

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Watching me, watching him.

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I was a very very lucky girl this for my birthday, amongst lots of presents, I got a gorgeous new Michael Kors, silver watch. I also own a chocolate brown one, but (first world problems I know) the face was so dark, and the hands were the same colour so it was practically impossible to tell the time on it! It also stopped working about 3 weeks before my birthday, so I was watch-less for ages, which is really annoying let me tell you! The amount of times I looked at my naked wrist to find out the time wasn’t even funny. I know, serious issues in the AG household during the month of March.

My MK watches are the only two I own. I mean, let’s face it, I don’t need to own more than one! I’m not the type of person who changes their jewellery daily, I wear my watch, bracelet and rings all day everyday. I occasionally add a necklace which will be big and bright, but the classic stuff stays on me all the time. The husband on the other hand is a serial watch addict, and would happily spend a bloody age looking at them. Let him visit The Watch Shop and that’s it, it’s like his drug. He will wander between Swatch to Swatch, Casio to G-Shock and he will be indecisive for days. We even managed to find ourselves inside a watch shop in Paris, because, you know, they’re different over there…!

Apparently I’m buying him a watch for his birthday, but I’m not. I will give him money and time to go and pick his own watch because I tell you, he’s worse than a woman when it comes to shopping and I’m not buying the wrong thing! They always say women will go back to the first shop they visited and buy the first thing they had seen, but my Husband will sometimes debate with himself for days over whether he bought the right thing. Days!

He’s always been a bit of a watch addict, I remember when we first got together, those and baseball caps were his ‘thing’. Could have been worse eh! The problem is, we differ SO much on style. I like classic, metal strapped watches, not too big but I do like them chunky, not dainty. He, on the other hand is off the wall crazy when it comes to his wrist wear. The bigger the face, the better. Almost always plastic straps, usually with the mechanics showing in the face and bright colours. We’ve been through yellow, blue, white, orange and I think the next one on his list is going to be a coloured one too. Which is why I would never in a million years be able to pick the right one for him!

If we were millionaires I would probably still stick with my Michael Kors watch, but I know the bloke would go for something like Breitling or TAG (which also happens to be his initials) and I’m pretty sure they don’t come in luminous plastic, so it’s strange that his taste changes the more expensive the watch gets! Although to be honest, he would probably be out buying a new one each month if we were that loaded, and I’d let him have all the time he liked to decide, because I’d be out buying new handbags! I always wonder which one of us GG would be shopping with because she is a watch person like her Dad, so I have a feeling I’d lose out there. Wonder if I could take The Boy handbag shopping without too many complaints?!

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So, 2014…..

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You know when you have a post planned for, oh, say January, but then you lose track of all time and before you know it, it’s April and you’re wondering what the hell happened during the last four months!?

OK, so I know what happened, steroid injections going wrong, trips to Paris, hand operations, broken elbows, BAM, I’m now 33 and still trying to get organised!

The whole post was going to be around Self Improvement. Each year, I make this big list (mental or otherwise) of all the things I want to change about myself in the next New Year, then the following NYE rolls around and I haven’t completed any of them. It’s almost like setting yourself up for a fall. So, this year I decided to just make general improvements to my life, better health (not a weight loss goal!) more organised, more relaxed, more time to chiiiiiill and most importantly, self improvement. Through travel, experiences and study. I was given a challenge by Debt Free Direct, inspired by their #ImProving2014 campaign that they’ve been writing a lot about on their blog and was sent a whole load of goodies to make it happen.

It’s much easier to make gradual changes and see a difference at the end of the year, than expect something to change overnight. As much as I’d like to wake up 2 stone lighter and a million times fitter, it’s never going to happen. I am so very sick of trying to make these overnight changes and then being annoyed when they don’t happen! I know, I know, I’m an adult, I should know better, but I’m such an impatient adult.

So, my improvements were are going to be make time for yoga each day, try something new each month (not doing too badly) and to get my backside enrolled on a course I have been looking at for almost a year.

I have always loved yoga and pilates. I used to go weekly and always felt amazing after it, relaxed, stretched and clearer. Then, for whatever reasons, I stopped going. And once you stop going, you really don’t get back into it. I have been sent a voucher for a free yoga lesson thanks to Debt Free Direct, so once I’ve had the go ahead from my hand surgeon, I’ll be booking my appointment. I’ve also got a set of 3 DVD’s, my own yoga mat & yoga pants so I can actually do some yoga at home each morning. In an ideal world I would get up before the kids do, do my poses and get on with the day. But I don’t live in an ideal world. I live in a world where my daughter needs next to no sleep, gets up at silly o’clock every morning and is on full speed from the *second* she opens her eyes. Whereas I am a moody biatch for at least 20 minutes once I’ve woken up. Maybe I should add that to my list of SI’s, getting up 10 minutes earlier each day until I’m finally up before GG……

I am determined to make (what’s left of) this year count, by making time to be and making room to improve. I have enrolled on part one of my list of courses, all part of the master plan to graduate in psychosexual therapy (sex therapist) it’s going to take 5 years in total, and ideally, I should have started in my 20′s but I didn’t, but I have now. I cannot wait to get started, studying from home for the first year, then 4 years of part time study with Relate. Again, not rushing, not expecting something to happen overnight. Good things take time, things worth waiting for, take time.

So, all in all, the rest of the year is looking pretty good. If we could just add in some sunshine so I can study in the garden, and a few more magical travel experiences (Paris feels like so long ago, I miss it so much) a meal at the Shard, the hot air balloon trip with my Mum (eeek) I think I will have pretty much made 2014 all about my improvement.

Watch this space.

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(that’s going to be my new tattoo, the Om symbol. Perfect)

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Quiet in the back!

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OK, I admit, I like to do anything I possibly can to keep the kids quiet while they’re in the car. If we’re on a long journey, I want to be able to put the music on loud and enjoy the drive, and if they’re happy in the back then it makes it all a lot less painful.

We’ve done a few long journeys, France and Ireland spring to mind, but we’ve also been to Cornwall, Devon and Wales, and thankfully, it wasn’t too painful. We don’t do things like mini board games or anything like that; they’re good at travelling but not so good at travelling and getting on with each other at the same time! iPads, movies and music are always winners. Top tip though, two sets of headphones, two different movies because I can guarantee that they will NOT want to watch the same film!

I-Spy is always a hit. It’s helpful now The Boy can actually spell, because I tell you, trying to guess a word beginning with T when it’s actually R makes for a really long version of I-Spy…..

Colouring seems to be a good one, but I have no idea how they can do it, I struggle to read and reply to a few text messages when I’m in the car (as a passenger, obviously!) before I start feeling sick, so the thought of colouring, reading or writing is a big no no! They seem to love it though, and you know, anything to keep the little darlings quiet happy. And food. Food is always a good idea. A bit like feeding time at the zoo, if they’ve got something to munch on they’re happy.

Having enough space in the car always helps, I remember one year (pre kids) we all drove down to Cornwall on a bank holiday weekend, hoping to find a B&B when we got down there. Big mistake! We ended up sleeping in our cars one night. Thank god we got a larger car hire for travelling across the UK otherwise we would have been cramped up in the back of a 2 door! As long as kids feel like they have their own space, and there’s enough legroom for adults too, then you don’t feel like you’re on top of each other and need to escape, which is always helpful when you’re on a long journey!

I think we’re quite lucky really, we both enjoy driving, the kids enjoy being in the car, so road trips don’t feel like a chore, at least not to start with! I’m sure if we had a convertible or a massive monster truck they’d feel a lot more fun, but you can’t have it all can you!

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Fish, fish and more fish.

The one request from The Boy for his birthday this year was a fish tank with loads of fish. Which was a bit iffy because, as people who know me, know, I hate fish. They’re really creepy looking, I’d go as far as saying evil. I’m sure if they had the power they’d jump out of the tanks and attack people.

Anyway.

We were in the process of looking for a tank that we all liked when I was contacted by Swell asking if I’d be interested in picking something from their collection. Sometimes this blog gives me fab opportunities and has the best timing! After some serious debating between me and the hubs, we settled on the Fluval Edge Aquarium in white. The plan was to put the tank in The Boys room, so he could watch the fish when he falls asleep, and so I didn’t have to look at them in the living room, so the 23l size was perfect.

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It has a unique 360 degree view, and is the world’s first 3D cube aquarium. I always preferred round, old school tanks but this one has changed my mind! As well as being able to see the fish from all angles, there are some fab lighting effects. The blue, moonlight light is perfect for night time and The Boy thinks it helps the fish know when it’s bedtime. Works for me.

There is lot’s of technical stuff that comes with the tank, it includes the Hagen Aquaclear, a powerful three stage filtration system that includes mechanical, chemical and biological filtration, all of which is hidden by the discrete design. Unfortunately that means nothing to me but the hubs knew what it meant, and apparently, it’s very good.

It’s actually really hard to get good pictures of a fish tank, with 10 speedy little fish flying around inside, and believe me I tried! We have various Danios and guppies in there, you would not believe the names that have been picked! There is: Hulk, One Eye, Bart, Tony (Stark) Mada and Gasca, Silver Surfer, Hal (Jordan) and Plecy. Sadly, two of the fish haven’t stuck around for very long, the original Plec  croaked it within a few days of the other fish joining him, and we found another fish this morning, but The Boy is loving his new tank and pets. If he hadn’t recently broke his elbow, he would be up there in his room playing, as somehow they’re stopping him being nervous about being on a different floor to me now.

Top tip, tell your eager beaver child that he’s not allowed to get up if his fish are swimming fast, it means it’s too early. Works, even if it’s for a day or two. My one cottoned onto my stupid fib and found it hilarious that he fell for it but it stopped the “Mummy, Silver Surfer is swimming really fast….” each morning!

Massive thank you to Swell for sending us the fab tank and for all the fishy advice!

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Easter Egg Competition!

Hands up if you love chocolate? Hands up if you love cracking a perfect Easter egg into a giant tupperware pot and filling your fridge with the smell of pure sugar….? If I wasn’t typing this my hands would be up. Trust me.

So, you’re going to love the competition! For the chance to win ten Easter eggs in time for Easter (I think they think we’d want to give them away, they’re clearly crazy!) all you have to do is visit webloyalty, tell them what your favourite egg is and tweet them using their twitter button. You can also use the #WebloyaltyEgg and follow them on twitter.

I know what my favourite would be from the list on the site, a big, fat, HUGE Thorntons egg, filled with chocolates! My Dad always buys me the *best* Easter eggs, even though I’m 33! And hey, I’m not going to argue with that particular tradition!

If you win, bagsie the Thorntons one! Good luck!

Webloyalty Easter Egg Competition Full

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Ren V-Cense Revitalising Night Cream

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Last month I spent a gorgeous weekend walking round the streets of Paris, popping in and out of all the French Pharmacies, which are nothing like our pharmacies, and I could have spent a FORTUNE on skincare. I was looking for a night cream to use, as I was finding my face was starting to feel a little dry and thirsty in the evenings and I didn’t want to use my facial oil every single night. Luckily, I didn’t know which brand to pick from because when I got home, I was greeted by this little beauty, the V-Cense Revitalising Night Cream from Ren, a luxury skincare brand, that uses only 100% plant and mineral derived products. Perfect for sensitive skin.

It’s been formulated to recharge, revitalise and intensively hydrate the skin overnight, this multi action cream visibly smooths fine lines, evens skin tone and offers antioxidant protection to help combat the signs of premature ageing.

It contains vitamin C and citroflavonoids from calabrian oranges to help reduce free radical damage and boost collagen formation to lift and firm the skin, frankincense and boswellic acid  to relax facial muscles to help smooth expression lines and wrinkles and phytosterols from camellia and wheat germ to boost lipid content. It smells divine. I have never really been one to remember to apply night cream each evening, hence the need to buy one all of a sudden, but since I’ve got this, I’ve used it each night. I’ve also been combining it with the Clarins radiance plus (post coming soon) and it works brilliantly. Hooked!

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Costing £32 for 50ml, available from Ren.

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