Good morning! I hope you are having a great week so far. If you’re week is not going so great then not to worry! Today I’m going to share with you my favourite hobby right now for relaxing and getting a bit of “me time”; mindfulness colouring. “Colouring for Grown Ups” burst onto the scene early last year and became the latest gift-giving craze. I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of these books are currently tucked up safely in a drawer or under a pile of papers somewhere. After all – who has time for colouring in alongside work, blogging, family, friends, exercise, hobbies, reading and everything else that we are trying to fit into our lives?!

If this is you I would urge you to dig out said book and start colouring in! Trust me. It’s such a good way to de-stress and unwind after the working day. I generally do a short burst of about fifteen minutes every day when I get in to help me to switch off my work head and get ready to enjoy my evening.  It’s also great because it doesn’t take much concentration and you can really let yourself get lost in it. I even find it takes less “brain power” than curling up with a book.

And the range of colouring books you can get on the market is insane! There are literally stacks of stunningly designs; my examples below are from the Under the Sea version but I’ve seen ones with Woodlands, Fairytale and Seasonal themes. For my designs I choose to keep them quite intricate and use a mixture of colouring pencil, fine liner pens and thin felt tips – but that’s the beauty of it; it’s yours so you can make it however you want. So get creative! I honestly believe that a bit of creativity every day is seriously good for us. Drawing isn’t for everyone but literally anyone can colour in (and you’re not in school anymore so you don’t even have to stay in the lines if you don’t want to!)

Here are some examples of my colouring. To see Waterstone’s range of colouring books for Grown Ups click here.

What’s your opinion of adult colouring? What’s your favourite activity for relaxing?

I love updating my home interior now and again and I am 100% on board with this metallic trend right now! I love it. There is no such thing as too much metallic for me! I particularly like the copper and gold accents.  I am not really in a position to overhaul all my furniture at the moment, and also it’s mainly white and neutral so it goes with any soft furnishings I decide to throw at it! Here are some of the metallic homeware pieces I’ve been lusting over lately and just might have to purchase in 2017:

Brushed Copper Lined Lamp – £45 from QUIRK @ notonthehighstreet

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 Mixed Metallic Wine Glass Set – £32 from Oliver Bonas

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Antique Mantle Clock – £6 from Matalan

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Gold Honeycomb Vase – £28 from Oliver Bonas

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Copper Foil Poster – £13.50 from Sarah & Bendrix @ notonthehighstreet

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Glass Terranium – £15 from Home Essentials

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Copper Lantern – £12 from Wilko

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Grey & Copper Storage Trunk – £40 from Habitat

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‘Nottingham’ Copper Floor Lamp – £195 from Habitat

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What do you think of my choices? Can you see any of them in your living room? I’d love to know your thoughts.

Until next time,

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Everyone knows that being a teacher requires you to be super organised, and I would argue that being a student teacher requires this even more! Not only have you got to stay on top of the planning, marking and assessment for your class but you’ve also got regular university assignments, exams, tests and essays to contend with! It’s a pretty intense year.

As I’m now a term into my teacher training year I thought I would share a few of my top stationary picks to help keep organised and on top of that huge pile of work that you’ve got to do (sorry!!).

Teacher planner – Amazon £8.95

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This planner is fantastic because it doubles up as a weekly lesson planner and an academic diary. I fill mine with literally everything; from my in-school lesson plans, reflections and evaluations, essay deadline, lecture and seminar rooms, mentor meetings and everything else in between! It’s great to have all your ‘teaching stuff’ in one place and be able to plan your lessons within that same place too. You may think the black design is a little boring, but I like to keep it professional! There are many other colours and more jazzy designs available.

Fine-lined coloured pens – WH Smiths £7.99

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Anyone who is as obsessed with colour coding their revision notes as me then you will most likely already have a set of these babies! If not – you need them in your life! Completing a teacher training year is A LOT of paperwork, much of which refers to other paperwork which links to other documents which is connected back to yet more (you guessed it) paperwork. Using these to write plans and notes in different colours to code and sort them will be a game changer for you. And at the end of a stressful day they are also really good for those stress-busting ‘adult colouring books’! My favourite are the Stabilo brand as I find they last a long time and the colours are bright and vivid.

Rollbound ring-binders & lever-arch files – WH Smiths

(ring-binders £2.99/ lever -arch files £3.99)

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You will 100% need ring-binders and lever -arch files while completing your course. I’m only one term in and I’ve completely filled two already!  The ‘rollbound’ spine of these folders is something I have come across fairly recently and have found to be brilliant. The spines are basically rounded rather than straight, giving the folder much more flexibility and making it less vulnerable to breakage when it gets a little full! These are a fantastic price in WH Smiths and they do them in a range of brightly coloured prints and designs so stock up now! You’ll need them.

Highlighter pen wheel – Paperchase £8

Clearly, there will be lots that will need to be highlighted when you are a teacher! I like having a range of colours on one ‘wheel’ as a space saver and to have lots of colours at my fingertips rather than having to scrabble around and locate them all in my drawer (which is not organised by the way!) I love this ’emoji’ highlighter wheel from Paperchase, and the children will love it too! Instant cool points.

‘To do today’ list notepad – Etsy £3.25

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As well as having a diary I also think it’s helpful to have a separate To-Do list to write on a daily/weekly basis. I always find it a really productive exercise to physically write down everything I’ve got to do that day in order of priority and then leave it somewhere where I will keep seeing it! I really like this cute list from SiouxAlice on Etsy.

Sturdy backpack – Paperchase £32

Once you’ve got all your fancy new stationary then you need a vessel to carry it all in! I can’t lug everything around on my shoulder – it gives me a neck ache, so I always find a backpack to be more comfortable and practical. I really like this one from the ‘Get Organised’ range from Paperchase.

A few weeks ago now I received the lovely November  gin box from Gin Explorer (read my review here), containing several rather delicious miniature bottles of gin. I was challenged to create my own ‘Christmas Cocktail’ with one of the gins – a challenge, I must admit, I was only too happy to take.

After a bit of experimentation in the kitchen using my shiny new cocktail shaker (an engagement gift) I have come up with the perfect festive drink. I call it: Gin-ger festive fizz. I must confess Paul came up with that name and I think it’s rather clever, what with the main ingredients being gin and ginger ale!

Gin-ger Gin Fizz

What you’ll need (for one drink):

  • Double measure of Herno’s gin (or gin of your choice)
  • Ginger ale
  • An orange
  • A handful of cranberries
  • A dash of orange juice
  • Ice

Equipment

I prepared this drink in a stainless steel cocktail shaker because I am a professional cocktail drinker coinesseur  and because it’s great for getting a good mix of flavours, but it’s by no means essential. The drink could just be thoroughly muddled in a glass instead.

Method

  1. Middle fresh cranberries, a few ribbons of orange and a teaspoon of sugar in the cocktail shaker.

2.  Add a 1 cup of ice, 1 tbsp of orange juice and a double measure of gin.

3. Shake well for 30 seconds.

4. Pour into a tumbler.

5. Top up with ginger ale.

6. Garnish and make it look pretty with some cranberries and a cocktail stick.

7. Enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did! Let me know if you give it a go!

Love from,

Present wise, men can be a challenge. I’m sure many of you will have the same problem as me. Your husband/ boyfriend/ partner already has a watch, a belt, wallet, nice leather man bag. Over the last few years I have resorted to personalised iPad cases, diaries and even a pocket watch. Short of playstation games (which I refuse to buy) and socks I’m out of ideas.

So I thought I’d put together some of my favourite gift ideas for my husband who truly has everything in case any of you guys have a man in your life like this! I think these gifts are all things which my husband would really like and genuinely use as well.

Personalised Bottle Opener £10- notonthehighstreet.com

Brilliant for the beer lovers and socialisers, and also a really cute personalised gift. You can put names, messages or things they like on it for that real personal touch.

Virtual Reality Headset £17.99 – Iwantoneofthose.com

My hubby tried one of these out a few weeks back that belonged to a friend and he raves about it! And I don’t think you need to be a total techy to appreciate these either. Simply link up to your smart phone and get totally emersed in movies/games and the like.

Modern Gents Shaving Kit £20 – The Body Shop

I’m a big fan of The Body Shop’s men’s ranges and I love the smell of the modern gent line. This shaving kit is classy and comes with a traditional brush and wash bag which are both practical and will look suave on your bathroom shelf. Win win.

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Personalised Scrabble Print £29.99 from Getting Personal

A bit soppy yes, but if your guy is a bit of an old romantic, or indeed obsessed with Scrabble (as mine is) this is a really cute gift idea. It may not be something they would buy for themselves, sure, but it will definitely make them go ‘awhh’.

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Bow Tie £20-£40 from Mrs Bow Tie

What man wouldn’t want a groovy bow tie for his collection?! And even if he doesn’t wear it it’s still a lovely, classy thing to own. Mrs Bow Tie are an amazing online supplier who stock every single bow tie you can imagine from plain, rainbow, floral, animal print, union jack and even a Dr Who bow tie collection. My other half bought his wedding bow tie from Mrs Bow Tie and it’s fantastic quality.

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Saint Christopher Leather Bracelet £32.99 from Cherish Us (Etsy Shop)

I actually bought this for my own hubby last year and he really loves it. Saint Christopher is the patron saint of travel and essentially his symbol is supposed to bring safe travel and protection to those who possess it. It’s a lovely sentiment and makes a really nice (but still manly) piece of jewellery.

Gin Explorer Club Monthly Subscription £24.99 per month or £279.99 annually

If your man is a gin fan, or indeed if you are a gin fan, then this really is a fantastic idea. And I can almost guarentee he won’t have thought of it himself! Sign up to the Gin Explorer Club and every month you will have a gorgeously presented gift box delivered each month, containing 4 differently bottles of gin (double measures) from around the world, some mixers and information  about where is the world your gins have come from. It’s a really creative gift for the gent in your life.

Hangry Art Print £8.22 from Etsy

A bit of a joke gift – but if your other half is anything like mine then this will ring true with him! Something to put in the kitchen as a bit of a laugh and a talking point!

A meal at Hawksmoor London from £35 for a meal

I know, I know; a bit of a stereotype. MAN LOVE STEAK. But if it’s the case then this place needs to be tried out by you and your cave man. The best steak in London is a bold claim and I’m determined to find out if it’s true very soon! I haven’t been myself yet, but I’ve heard the food is wonderful and well worth the price tag.

Christmas Indulgence Hamper £80 from Interflora

And finally, if you really want to push the boat out with your Christmas spirit then how about this luxurious hamper for the special person in your life. Packed full of biscuits, snacks, mince pies and wine – there’s no way he could finish it on his own, so you’ll get a look in too! 

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I hope some people will find this helpful, I know how difficult it can be sometimes trying to come up with a creative and cute idea for a gift for my husband, sometimes you’ve just got to think outside the box! 

Happy shopping!

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