Devonshire Woman

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5 Random Monday Musings

It’s time I dusted off my keyboard and wrote a proper blog post! So I’ll keep it short and sweet for now with 5 random Monday musings for this wet (in Devon anyway) Monday evening…

1. Don’t underestimate your worth if you are a stay at home Mum…

I became a stay at home mum back in 2011 when I had my eldest son (my work basically said come back full time or beat it…) so I said ‘laters’ and off I went! In fact, it was awful, but that’s a whole other blog post! Other than doing general admin for my husband’s business, I felt like I wasn’t contributing and felt frustrated being the house cleaner and cook. In January, when a work at home job came my way,  i was overjoyed to get it. It was nice to be doing something different. I enjoyed the job but unfortunately, I couldn’t dedicate the time to it with still having my littlest at home 2.5 days a week and my husband needing more help with the admin side of the business. So I recently handed in my notice. I was sad that it didn’t work out but it did make me realise that I love my role as a stay at home Mum. When I was working my second job, it was cutting into my time with my boys, something I have invested the past 7 years of my life to. I am going to fully embrace my role as Homemaker, it’s a job I love and should never have underestimated myself and my value to my family.

2 How freaking amazing is The Greatest Showman?…

The film is amazing, the songs make me want to dance like the albino twin in ‘From Now On’! I’m thinking of making it my summer goal to learn the dance routine but let’s keep that between you and I shhhh!

3. I have a slight obsession with watching people clean on Instagram…

I love a good bit of house cleaning and nothing motivates me more to clean than watching others on Instagram clean their sinks/bins/toilets 🙂

4. I’ve always said that I will never EVER watch Love Island…

That was until I flicked over to Itv+1 last night and got sucked in… god damn you Love Island. It felt like watching Big Brother but when it didn’t use to be shite. I have a few questions though, do people in their early 20’s not eat much? I don’t think I have ever looked like the girls on there! ‘Ya know what i mean?…’

5. It’s time to start blogging more consistently…

One thing I did take from my little job (as discussed in musing numero 1), is how hard working I am. I dedicated more time than needed for my work to ensure it was perfect and met my client’s briefs. I kept thinking that if I had been so dedicated to my blog with my time and effort, I could actually make something of it (maybe?) So that is what i am going to do. I have 2.5 days child free a week, 1 day will be dedicated to my home, 1 day to my blog and half a day for everything else.

 

So that’s all that is in my head out on the interweb! Happy Monday everyone x

 

Choosing Your New Home Gym

Life is a busy old thing, isn’t it? We work, we commute, we socialise with friends, we spend time with family, we pay bills, we buy food shopping – there doesn’t ever seem to be time for health and fitness. It’s easy to find it too hard to get out of the house to the gym, because of the lack of time in the day to get there. The other thing is that we all seem to live to a budget these days, and when this has to be cut back, the gym membership is usually the first thing to go.

So, what do you do when you need to look after yourself, but you just can’t find the time of the day to do it? Well, you decide to build your own home gym, instead. You can choose to transform the spare bedroom, empty the basement of all the boxes into self storage or even renovate the garage to customise a gym that’s going to be what you want rather than be something that others want instead. There are so many benefits to working out at home, and you can do so much more than just buying one treadmill and popping it in the corner of the room. You can do an entire transformation for your home gym, including replacing the floor and installing spotlights across the ceiling. The question is where you should start? The answers are below.

Pick Your Favourites.

If you enjoy running, then a treadmill of the highest calibre with the right inclines and the gadgets that you need for it. If you are a lover of gymnastics, instead, and aerobics, then installing wall to wall mirrors and padded mats for the floor is the best idea here. You have to choose what your ideal workout would be and model your gym around this. You could install a large television and DVD player to play your favourite workouts if you’re not a fan of machinery, too.

Weigh In.

Free weights are ideal for training if you just want a simple daily workout. You can look here for the best kind of weights for your needs, which often means buying a range of weights and sizes to allow you to progress.

Climb New Heights.

If you have the ceiling height, think about installing a climbing wall. It’s fun, the kids can get involved and it’s a great way to burn calories and tone up. If you don’t have the space, think about a machine like the Treadwall M4. It fits into any space, which means that you can continue to climb even if you can’t get to the space you’ve always done it.

Dance Party.

Those keen dancers and Zumba lovers among you will adore a home gym space with a sound system for dancing the calories away. Dancing releases endorphins, meaning that you will thoroughly enjoy your workout! Dress the space up in your favourite dancing theme and enjoy every second in there!

Give Your Garden A Head Start This Spring

If you find that your garden always seems to be lacking compared to what you would want from it, then you might want to look at some of the ways in which you can give it a head start. As it happens, this can be easier than you might think, and the good news is that there is no such thing as a lost cause when it comes to your garden. But whether or not you consider yourself a competent gardener, it’s worth looking at some of the things you can do to help your garden along this spring. Consider the following if you want your garden to really flourish well this year, and you’re not entirely sure where to begin.

Plant Seeds Early

If you are planning to have plenty of flowers and plants in your garden, then it is always best to start planting those seeds as early as you can. You can of course alternatively choose to buy plants already matured, but it is much more pleasing to do it from seed, and if you are careful you can even make it more successful than ones you might buy in the garden nursery. However, you will want to make sure that you buy and plant those seeds nice and early, which means being well prepared and happy to get out in the garden, come rain or shine. What actual time of year to plant seeds depends from plant to plant. For some brassicas, you can wait until late May, while for leafy greens and many flowers you want to do it in April. Regardless, make sure you are planting your seeds as early as is recommended on the packet, and you will be giving your garden a better chance of flourishing in the summer.

Use A Greenhouse

As well as planting the seeds early, you also want to make sure that you are creating the best possible conditions for them to grow. In general, seeds need a lot of light, heat and moisture in order to germinate and ge sprouting. If you live in a climate where this is unlikely to happen in April and May, then you might want to consider using a greenhouse. This can be a literal greenhouse, if you have one – or you are happy to build one. Or if you don’t have the space, time or inclination, you might instead choose to create the greenhouse effect some other way. If you have been considering building a conservatory, now might be the time to leaf through https://creativeviewclacton.co.uk/ and get building. Or for a simpler approach, you can create the greenhouse effect just by putting your seeds in a shop-bought windowsill propagator, or by putting them in pots and covering with cling film until germinated. Any of these methods will ensure you have much more growing even sooner in your garden, so it’s well worth considering them.

Mulch Out The Beds

If you are to plant out lots of plants later in the Spring, then you will want to make sure that you have properly prepared the garden as best as you can. When it comes to getting the flower beds ready, this is a simple case of mixing in some mulch, such as manure or just compost, and sprinkling in some fertilizer as well. As long as you do this, you are providing your flower beds with the necessary sustenance to grow flowers and plants properly, and you will absolutely notice a profound difference in the beauty of the garden on the whole. It is actually ideal to mulch out and prepare the soil in the previous winter, but doing it now will also produce some great results and still be extremely beneficial for your garden on the whole. With well-prepared soil, you can be sure that your garden has a much better start this year, so make sure you don’t overlook this step. Take a look at https://www.thespruce.com/flowerbed-mulching-1315835 for advice on mulching out.

Attract Pollinators

Your garden needs pollinators if the flowers are to grow and in particular if you are trying to grow vegetables. The easiest way to ensure that you attract pollinators into your garden is to buy a seed mix of wildflowers which are bee-friendly, and plant them around your borders in your lower beds. This will attract the bees, but also help to distract other insects from your other plants once they are fully grown. Get the pollinators, and your garden will flourish much more easily and look much more beautiful on the whole.

Indigo Nutrition Chocolate Starter Kit Review

Indigo Chocolate Making Kit www.devonshirewoman.co.uk

Who doesn’t love chocolate, right?

And if you’re like me, I adore dark, good quality chocolate. When Indigo Herbs asked me to review their Chocolate Starter Kit, they had me at ‘chocolate’! Seriously, I thought how cool it would be to make chocolate from scratch. Everything that you need (apart from the chocolate moulds) arrives in lovely looking purple packaging. Once you open the bag, the pure scent of chocolate heaven hits you.

What’s to love about Indigo Chocolate Making Kit…

  • All ingredients are organic.
  • All ingredients are raw.
  • All ingredients are dairy free.
  • All ingredients are vegan.
  • 100% pure botanical ingredients, absolutely nothing added.

What’s inside the bag…

  • Organic Cacao Butter
  • Organic Raw Agave Syrup
  • Organic Cacao Powder
  • Organic Raw Vanilla Powder
  • Easy to follow recipe instructions.

Indigo Chocolate Making Kit www.devonshirewoman.co.uk

Although I felt a bit out of my comfort zone when the kits arrived the instructions couldn’t be easier. All the ingredients are measured out it was just a case of mixing them all together! First, you need to make a bain marie, this is easilly done using a large saucepan full of simmering water and then a smaller saucepan to mix the ingredients in.

The first ingredient to go in was the Cacao Butter, it comes in a big block so I chopped it up a little before adding to the bain marie so it would melt quicker.

Indigo Chocolate Making Kit www.devonshirewoman.co.uk

Next to be added was the organic raw vanilla powder. I have only ever used liquid vanilla (& if I am completely honest, it is usually the cheap supermarket kind), what a difference the powder makes. The vanilla scent was so much richer and tastes 100% better too.

Indigo Chocolate Making Kit www.devonshirewoman.co.uk

Next to be added was the big bag of organic cacao powder, this is when my taste buds really started to zing and the house smelled amazing. It was a good job I made the chocolate when I was home alone, otherwise my boys would have been begging me for chocolate.

Indigo Chocolate Making Kit www.devonshirewoman.co.uk

The mix was started to look rich and indulgent. I did have a sneaky try but it was very bitter at this point as no sweetener had been added.

Indigo Chocolate Making Kit www.devonshirewoman.co.uk

To sweeten the chocolate, instead of cheap, refined sugar that is added to everyday chocolate bars, this chocolate was sweetened with organic agave syrup. It seemed a bit extreme when it said to add the whole bottle, but then it put it into perspective just how much refined sugar is in a chocolate bar… I would much rather have the better organic agave syrup any day!

Indigo Chocolate Making Kit www.devonshirewoman.co.uk

Once all the ingredients were mixed together and the mixture was glossy, it was time for the fun bit, adding it to the moulds. I had a cute heart silicone mould and a rectangle mould. In total, I made 25 small chocolates and one large slab of chocolate (which I later used to make brownies!)

Indigo Chocolate Making Kit www.devonshirewoman.co.uk

I placed them in the freezer to chill as I could not wait to try them. I also had the task of licking the spatula out of the bowl so I knew what I had to come.

I ended up with the most indulgent dark chocolate that I have ever tried. The chocolate was smooth, silky and rich. You wouldn’t want to eat too many in one sitting. After trying this chocolate and tasting how different it tastes when it’s made with good quality ingredients has really made me realise that cheaper chocolate is just not that great. I would choose quality chocolate over quantity that’s for sure.

Indigo Chocolate Making Kit www.devonshirewoman.co.uk

Making my own chocolate was a lot easier and quicker than i imagined. This kit would make a lovely gift (either to make or as made up chocolate). It would also be fun to make with the girls over a couple of glasses of wine, it’s just something different.

If you would like to purchase an Indigo Chocolate Making Kit, you can find them here.

 

I was offered an Indigo Chocolate Starter Kit in return for an honest review. I take full responsibility for the number of calories I consumed following this review… every single one of them was worth it!

Giving Your Home a Seaside Vibe

Seaside décor has always been popular. Especially in bathrooms. For some reason people like their bathroom to be filled with seaside or nautical themes. It must be the water. But, it can be hard to find the right balance. You might want to add some seaside vibes without turning your home into a tacky seafront store or filling it with every naff beach ornament going. Well, here’s how you can add some cool beachy vibes, without going totally over the top.

Blinds

There’s something about Venetian blinds that just screams summer. They’re easy, a great way to get more natural light into your home and fantastically simple to keep clean. A set of light coloured Venetian blinds are certainly much beachier than thick blackout curtains or the dreaded nets.

Beachy Scents

The smell of your home goes a long way to creating an atmosphere, and it’s important to remember that vibe isn’t just about what it looks like. All of your senses play a part. Thick musky scents and deep florals are great, but they don’t smell like the beach. For a seaside atmosphere, aim for softer fragrances such as fresh linen, cut grass, and delicate flowers. Use scented candles, air fresheners, and oil burners to make sure the smells lasts.

Another great way to make your home smell more like the beach is opening your windows and letting some fresh air in. This won’t be as effective if you live in the middle of a busy pollution-filled city, but if you are out in the countryside, it could help.

White Space

White walls, furniture, floors and accessories can give any room a beachy feel. Add bursts of colour to highlight and add personality and use light dove grey and cream for accents to help your rooms to feel light and airy, like a long sandy beach.

Add Fun Beach Features

You don’t have to be over the top to add a beachy vibe. You can easily do it with subtle touches and small changes. But, if you want to make a bold statement, adding a few obvious features can help. You could add a hammock if you’ve got the room for the ultimate in beach luxury. If not, think about wicker picnic baskets for storage, nautical prints on cushions and rugs, or even a large feature wall in a fun seaside print.

Artwork

Do you have a favourite seaside location? Somewhere you went on holiday as a kid, or take your own children now? Somewhere that makes you smile? Adding this to your home is an excellent way to give it a seaside vibe while adding a burst of your personality.

Do this with large framed photographs either that have been taken professionally or that you have taken yourself on a trip. Or, with prints and original works of art. Local artists often use their surroundings as inspiration, so check out galleries around your location of choice.

Adding a seaside vibe to your home can help to keep it bright and open, improve your mood and bring back the most wonderful memories.

Should It Stay or Should It Go? Dealing with Clutter

Clutter is a big problem in the homes of many people. But equally challenging is deciding what to get rid of when you do get round to having a big clear out of your house. Never fear; this guide is here to give you a helping hand when you are trying to determine whether it should stay or it should go.

Is the Item Useful?

The first and most obvious question to ask is whether the item is actually useful. Many of us hold onto stuff under the false assumption that you will one day make use of it. If you have not used the item in the past year, there is every chance that you will never use it again. If you are still afraid that you may need it one day, you could stop it taking up premium space in your home by moving it to a lesser location like an attic or shed.

Do You Have Sentimental Feelings Towards the Item?

We keep some things because we have an emotional attachment to them and not because we actually need them. If it is one of these sentimental items, are you keeping it in good condition? Perhaps it would be better off on display in your home so that it is taking up wall space rather than storage space.

Do You Have Adequate Space for it?

The bigger items in your home provide a particular problem. These are the ones that you really have to make a decision about whether or not it is worth keeping. If you would still like to keep hold of it, you could always look into completing a self-storage price comparison. But you may have to make a difficult choice if you simply can’t justify holding onto it.

Is it Something That You Can Use Up?

The worst thing to do would be to hold onto something that is going to expire or go bad before you even have a chance to use it. If you are not in this habit already, you should look at rotating the items in your kitchen so that you use the ones with the shortest expiry date first. If you don’t do this, it is like throwing money in the bin.

What Need Does the Item Satisfy?

All objects that you own satisfy some sort of need – whether this is aesthetic, status, emotional etc. Be honest with yourself about which one the item is satisfying for you. It is very possible that your mindset is causing you to let clutter get on top of you, so doing a bit of independent analysis can be majorly beneficial.

Once you have answered these five questions, hopefully, you feel in a better place to tackle the clutter in your house. Many people find this to be a very cathartic experience which helps them to live a more minimalist life that is not centred on possessions so much.

3 Luxuries Every Travelling Brit Enjoys

British tourists can be found all around the world. While they all have different tastes and enjoy visiting certain locations, it’s almost certain that many of them share the same travel taste when it comes to luxury. If you’re finding it hard to secure a place to visit in your mind this summer, then consider the following luxuries you might like to experience, and consider heading to a place that ticks them all of the list.

A Good Bar

While Brits are notorious drinkers, the majority of us enjoy a beautiful and premium drink over a large quantities and low qualities of alcohol. Heading to an environment where you can enjoy a beautiful martini, a gorgeous mojito, or a beach cocktail with a tiny umbrella, searching for the most classy bars near Courtyard Bridgetown, the city you have travelled to, or even on the road trip to the destination in question will help you find places to socially relax with the locals and perhaps let loose a little.

Temperature

There are two camps of people. One type of Brit who indulges in the warm weather, heading to new and tropical climates to experience something very rarely enjoyed in the home country. Then, there are those who enjoy the cold landscapes of Northern Europe or Canada, heading to ski or to simply enjoy some of the most beautiful sights imaginable. However, all British folks enjoy the ability to change our temperature well if we’re not comfortable, and immediately.

We’re just not that good at being suited to any one climate that isn’t grey or lukewarm. This might mean heading to a resort that affords you competent care with your skiing trip, or finding the best water parks to mitigate the scorching heat of the Caribbean. You’ll be grateful for this as the temperature forces your inner Brit to come out, usually in the form of a complaint about the weather.

Limited Tourists

Of course, heading to a beautiful location will often mean you find tourists in high number around you. British people often don’t like this, and this is even more insidious when the other tourists are British! Most of us head to new places to see the local country, to absorb the local populace, and not to bring most of the country with us. Of course, this is not to disparage British people, just that meeting them is likely not the reason you have paid thousands on airfare. This means finding the most quaint places can become a fun challenge, as is taking time to absorb the history and local culture of an environment. Staying away from the overly corporatized package deals can lead to a sense of real discovery, as can visiting the small villages and towns along the way. This will lead you to some wonderful places that seem custom made for you to visit and will grant you with excellent memories to share.

If you’re British, you’ve likely nodded in response to each point on this list. With these things in mind, finding a place to entertain your natural tendencies might be easier than ever.