Wonderful Wooden Toys for Each Age and Stage


When choosing a toy for a child, every parent tries to buy only the best and most useful, and what could be more useful than natural materials - more specifically, wood? Wooden toys are completely safe, and thanks to modern equipment, not only can cubes and pyramids be made from wood, but also elements for creating movable mechanisms too. Wooden toys really are such wonderful items for little ones, and in this post I'm going to share why.

Features and Benefits of Wooden Toys

Toys are usually made of natural wood such as birch, beech, and coniferous species. These moderately hard materials are easily cut and sanded and do not crack when working with them. Thanks to careful processing, there are no burrs on the objects, meaning that when playing with them, your child will not get a splinter and get hurt. For greater safety and an attractive appearance, the products are covered with water-based paint and a special varnish, which does not contain toxic materials, so they do not cause allergic reactions. Compared to plastic, wood is complicated to break or break. This makes them so much more long lasting!

How to Make the Right Choice?

The simplicity of the functionality of wooden educational toys helps to master the skill faster and to follow the path to creativity. An excess of functions is superfluous for a child's toy. The toy needs to have a specific purpose such as to train counting, to teach differences in colours, etc. Selecting a product for a certain age and individual characteristics is better. For example, small parts and larger / heavier toys are best avoided under the age of three.

The production of wooden toys must follow all the necessary requirements: a smooth surface, no sharp corners, and protrusions, food or acrylic paint, marking in the visibility zone, and the presence of certificates. As long as you buy from a reputable retailer you should be making a great choice!

Types of Wooden Educational Toys for Each Age

Up to a Year
Cubes and pyramids - these promote the development of motor skills, imagination, and co-ordination of movements. Wooden musical instruments such as rattles and xylophones are also a great choice. In general, the fewer the elements (3-4 maximum), the better the toy will hold the concentration and attention of a younger child.

1-2 Years
At the age of 1-2 years, painted products that develop fine motor skills and dexterity are allowed. From this age your child will know how to manipulate objects, and pronounce their first words and phrases. Simple puzzles would therefore be an excellent option - collecting figures from small squares teach logic and creative thinking. The difficulty can be increased with age. You could also consider a toy constructor of large parts for fine motor skills and imagination. As your child gets older, you can increase the difficulty and amount of parts in the toy.

2-3 Years
In the period from 2 to 3 years, the number of elements in constructors and puzzles increases again. Useful toys for comparison and classification by a common feature, colour, shape, and texture are a great idea. 

Sorters - a box with holes or a board with recesses where you need to insert a suitable element. Your child learns to think logically, identify connections, picking up details in shape, size, or colour. Fine motor skills and memory improve while playing.

Lacing - a large figure with several holes, where a cord with a solid tip is threaded. Or large beads of different shapes and colours are strung on a string. Both options help improve fine-motor skills, accuracy, and co-ordination of actions. Having mastered lacing, children will eventually learn how to tie shoes themselves.

3-5 Years
From 3 to 5 years old, your child gets more familiar with the world of numbers and letters. Items with an alphabet, a dial, and an abacus are welcome.

Busy-boards - various objects that are found in everyday life are fixed on the game board: locks, latches, windows, sockets, zippers, fasteners, etc. These teach your child to safely interact with objects from the adult world, motor skills, logical thinking, and attention retention.

You can also introduce more complicated constructors. These are a set of parts of different shapes and colours if the set is painted. This is a ready-made building material from which you can create anything: houses, castles, and whole towns. In addition to classic products, cars, and horses, wooden toy factories also produce sets of furniture for dolls, kitchens, vegetables, and other attributes. The key point is to teach children to play. And then the learning will accelerate, and the process will be fun. You could even introduce a mud kitchen to the garden and let their creative juices flow outside too!

Eco-friendly wooden toys are the choice of parents who care about the safety, harmonious and creative development of their child. And most importantly – teach children to play and engage with them. Only in this case, the toys, in addition to the entertainment function, will also carry an educational one.

Do your children enjoy wooden toys?

This is a collaborative post.

A Guide to MOT Tests

Collaboration with Hojol Uddin, Head of Motoring Offences at JMW Solicitors

The MOT test is an annual review carried out by garages to make sure that vehicles over three years old are roadworthy. Vehicles that pass an MOT will be provided with a certificate, and it is illegal to drive a vehicle that does not have an MOT test certificate. JMW’s Hojol Uddin from the Motoring Offences team has outlined what happens during an MOT test and the penalties you could face if you fail to comply with your legal responsibilities. 

What Happens During an MOT Test?

An MOT test checks components of your vehicle. If a vehicle fails an MOT test, it may need repairs before it can be legally driven. Examples of vehicle parts tested during an MOT test include:

● Tyres - your tyres should not be below the minimum tread depth. You can avoid this by regularly checking your tyre tread depth and replacing your tyres when they start to wear down.
● Brakes - if your brakes are not functioning properly, this can lead to a MOT test failure. To avoid this, make sure you have your brakes checked regularly and get them serviced if necessary.
● Lights - if any of your vehicle's lights are not working, you'll need to get these repaired. To avoid this, make sure you check all of your lights regularly and replace any bulbs that have blown.
● Mirrors - your vehicle's mirrors should not be cracked or broken. To avoid this, make sure you check your mirrors regularly and replace them if necessary.
● Seatbelts - if any of your vehicle's seat belts are not working properly, you could fail your MOT. To avoid this, make sure you check your seat belts regularly and get them serviced if necessary.
● Windscreen - if your windscreen is cracked or damaged, you'll need to get this fixed before being allowed back on the road. To avoid this, make sure you have your windscreen checked regularly and replaced if necessary.

An emissions check is also included in the MOT test to determine the vehicle’s exhaust emissions - if they are too high, the vehicle will be deemed illegal to drive. Not all vehicles are required to undergo an emission test; the following vehicle types are exempt:

● Vehicles fewer than four wheels
● Vehicles with two-stroke engines
● Electric, hydrogen-fuelled or hybrid vehicles
● Quadricycles

The vehicle’s engine, gearbox and clutch aren’t tested under a general MOT test and will need to be assessed separately to ensure they are in good condition.

An MOT test certificate alone does not mean your vehicle is completely roadworthy though, and you should perform regular maintenance between MOT tests to ensure it is drivable and safe.

What Happens if I’m Caught Driving Without a Valid MOT?

Being caught driving without a valid MOT test certificate will leave you with a fine of up to £1,000 and your car being added to the DVLA's database of vehicles with no MOT. Initially, a £100 fixed penalty notice will be given, but repeat offences will incur further financial penalties.

An additional fine of up to £2,500 (level 4) will be brought should your vehicle be judged to be in a dangerous condition. This offence could also incur three penalty points on your licence. You could also invalidate your insurance with some providers, meaning you will be liable for third-party vehicle costs if you’re involved in a road traffic accident. If you are stopped by the police while driving to an MOT test appointment, you will need to provide details for the mechanic or garage undertaking the inspection for you.

When you incur a fine due to driving a vehicle that does not have an up-to-date MOT certificate, you should remedy this as soon as possible by paying the fine and booking an MOT test. If you feel you have been unfairly punished, speak to an expert motoring offences solicitor about how you might be able to appeal the decision.

Staring School | Lilah's First Term in Reception


There's only two weeks left of the year left, so I thought it was time I wrote a little post about Lilah's experience of starting school. I shared a similar post for Indiana and Parker when they started school, so of course I had to do the same for when Lilah started this year too. It really is surreal that my littlest baby is now in reception and now at home with me all day. But she's absolutely thriving and loving school already!

When Lilah started preschool she really struggled to settle, so it was a big worry of mine that the same would happen with school. But I think most of the worry with preschool was down to a mixture of lockdowns, and struggling to separate from me. So with that now mostly behind us, she really has settled in to school life wonderfully.

Every morning she jumps in to my bed for a cuddle, and then tells me all about her day ahead. Who her friends are, what she's learning, and of course how excited she is for me to come pick her up at the end of the day - she's still my baby girl after all! 

It does feel extra bittersweet this time around though. Lilah is my last baby, and so now she's at school every day too, I feel like I've lost a little part of me. She really was my favourite little shopping and coffee date companion. But I'm so excited to see her blossom and grow over her school journey. She's already got a lovely little group of friends, and although this is my third time around, it's still amazing me how quickly they learn to read and write!

At the end of last month we had her first parents evening, and from the sounds of things she's doing really well, and it's clear she's going to absolutely thrive at school. We have her first Nativity to look forward to next week (she's a shepherd with the iconic line "I'm bored"),  and then we're already a whole term completed of her reception year. Time really does fly when you're having fun doesn't it?

Packing Hacks for Families on the Move


This post has been written and provided by An Post Insurance. #ad 

It’s been a while, but many of us are thinking about dusting off our passports, pulling the luggage out of the attic and setting off on long-awaited family holidays. Whether you’re scheduled for a beach break in sunny Spain, a skiing adventure on the Swiss slopes or a fun-filled foray along the Wild Atlantic Way, you’ll be wondering what to pack. There’s nothing worse than opening your case to find one sock and half a swimsuit, so it’s worth taking the time to make sure you do it right – and An Post Insurance have got a couple of handy hacks to help you on your way. 

Check the Weather

Sure, it can change last-minute, but there are lots of great apps available to help you gauge what type of weather to expect. There’s a big difference between packing wellies and waterproofs or sandals and shorts, so it pays to check the forecast before you set off. If in doubt, include some lightweight layers, an easily-foldable raincoat and water-resistant shoes. It won’t win any fashion awards, but a cheap and cheerful plastic poncho is always a handy addition to your backpack.

Start Writing Lists

Yes, it probably does mean you’re turning into your mother, but a list is a traveller’s best friend. Make one for each member of the family, and put the most important must-haves at the top; that way, if you run out of space, it’s no big deal to cross a few items. Once you’ve finalised your list, take a copy with you on your trip, so that you can cross-check it on the way home to make sure you haven’t left anything behind. Much-loved teddy bears have been known to hide under hotel beds!

Fill your Phone

While holidays are back, they’re not without new rules and regulations – all designed to keep us as safe as possible while we travel. It’s important to check the official tourist sites for both your home country and your destination location to make sure you’re up to date with the latest developments. You’ll probably have to prepare some paperwork in advance, so give yourself plenty of time, print originals where required, and keep copies of everything in your phone, from booking confirmations to important contact details. That way, if you’re asked to provide a certificate, a form or your ID, you’ll always have a copy in the palm of your hand.

Pack Smart

Much has changed about flying these days, but luggage limits remain as tight as ever. Invest in a small luggage scale to make sure you don’t face extra charges at the airport. It’s worth leaving a little room too, in case you want to bring home any souvenirs from your trip, such as olive oil, local coffee or a stick of rock. Maybe skip the stinky cheese though, or at least wrap it extra-carefully! Packing cubes are a great way to protect your delicates and keep your small items separate, allowing for easy access to your swim shorts the minute you arrive. If you’re going to use locks, make sure they’re airport-safe, so officials won’t break them off while carrying out routine checks.

Make Sure you’re Covered

That means with sunscreen, mosquito repellent and great value travel insurance too. Accidents can happen, whether it’s something as simple as a lost wallet or as serious as a personal injury. Good travel insurance gives you the peace of mind you need to fully relax on your holidays – if things go wrong while you're abroad, you can rest easy knowing you will get the assistance, cover and care you need.

That way, you can get on with enjoying your much-deserved break, ordering dessert every night and making memories your family will treasure forever.

An Post Insurance can also protect you in other aspects of your life – including car and home insurance. Find an insurance quote online now.

An Post Insurance Travel Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Chubb European Group SE.

One Direct (Ireland) Limited, trading as An Post Insurance is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. One Direct (Ireland) Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of An Post

All the information on this blog is published in good faith and for general information purpose only. While An Post Insurance makes every effort to ensure that the information appearing on this blog is accurate and complete, it does not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability or accuracy of this information, whether express or implied, including but not limited to implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose or non-infringement. Any action you take upon the information you find on this blog is strictly at your own risk. An Post Insurance will not be liable for any direct, indirect or consequential losses and/or damages in connection with the use of, or action taken in reliance on information contained in this post.

Through this website you are able to link to other websites which are not under the control of An Post Insurance. We have no control over the nature, content and availability of those sites and if you click on links to these websites you will be subject to the terms and conditions of those sites. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.

Christmas Gift Guide 2022 | Christmas Gifts for Older Children


The products featured in this post were sent for inclusion in this gift guide, however all opinions are honest and my own. This post also contains affiliate links.

With the countdown truly on until the big day, I thought it was the perfect time to start sharing all things Christmas on my blog! This year I have put together two Christmas gift guides featuring products for children. In this second Christmas Gift Guide I'm going to be sharing some products that I think would make great gifts for slightly older children. Hopefully this gives you some inspiration this festive season!

Twilight Daycare Collectible Dolls

Blind bags and collectibles are still hugely popular amongst children these days, so these Twilight Daycare Collectible Babies from WowWee would make a fab gift this Christmas. The cute dolls are inspired by the babies from the game Twilight Daycare - they even won the bronze award in the MadeForMums Toy Awards 2022 for best collectible toy! You can open 1 of 18 mystery small baby dolls (as well as a costume and a toy), and then even unlock more fun online by redeeming a code in the Twilight Daycare game to play with the doll virtually. Who would you like to get?

Created by brothers Jono and Nick, The Sock Game is a fun family game (suitable for children aged 8+), to be played with as little as two people, or in teams. The aim of the game is to race to the find correct item in your sock - 'the ultimate race in a sock'. There are 30 unusual objects hidden inside the giant sock, and - using only your sense of touch - you have to race your competitor to find the right one. The winning team/player is the first to find 11 correct items! You can even personalise the game to your family by adding your own unusual items. A great game to play with all the family this Christmas.

A fun strategy game that all the family can play, the aim of Ticket to Ride is to build your tracks across Europe, connecting cities to earn more points that your fellow players. You do this by collecting train cards that enable you to claim routes connecting different cities - the longer the routes, the more points you earn! You can also earn additional points for completing a 'journey' and for being the player with the longest continuous route. The game is easy to learn and has the advantage of being played again and again, as every game is different. And you can now play along with a compatible Echo device too - simply say “Alexa, launch Ticket to Ride” and play against Alexa!

If you have a keen doodler, then you can't go wrong with this gorgeous colouring scent from Scentos. This Sugar Rush set contains a mix of pencils, markers, pens, and even stickers, in both sweet candy and fruity scents. The bright colours and jolly designs just add to the fun and makes this set a perfect gift choice this Christmas.

A super fun set for children aged 6+, this Micro Spy Gear set contains everything they need for the perfect mobile spy surveillance set up. The set contains a utility belt with room for 4 micro-tools. A spy light (with handy hands-free ear clip), an invisible ink pen for secret messages, a motion alarm to detect movement, and a micro earpiece. A great set for little ones who enjoy imaginative play and have a future as the next James Bond.

The card game of speed, observation and quick reflexes, Asmodee's Dobble really is a fantastically fun game to add to your collection! Suitable for ages 6+, the aim of game is to race to find one matching between one card and another. The images are different sizes and in different positions on each card, but each card only has one picture in common with every other card in the deck - so you really do need to be paying attention at all times when playing! There are 5 different mini games to enjoy, and you can also purchase Dobble in a whole range of other themes, such as Harry Potter, Disney and even a Junior version for younger players.

Molly Brown London Jewellery

If you're looking for a gift that is extra special and can be treasured for years to come, then Molly Brown London is definitely where you need to look. The British brand creates classic keepsake girls (or boys!) jewellery that is simple and sophisticated, and designed to be loved and worn forever. Only telling silver and 18ct gold vermeil are used, and you can add extra special touches with diamonds, freshwater pearls, and even coloured gemstones.

Their newest collection is their Birthstone Necklace Collection, which is filled with beautiful pieces for all ages. From personalised baby bangles, bracelets and necklaces for teens, to birthstone lockets for those that want to keep their loved ones close (these have space for two photos to be added). As with all of Molly Brown London jewellery, all items can be engraved for free, and the 16" sterling silver belcher chains have been fitted with an adjuster at 14", so the necklaces fit most ages and sizes. The quality really is beautiful, and you can tell care and attention is given to the highest level at every step. Even the way the items come packaged just screams luxury - a very special gift this Christmas for sure!

Bananagrams is a fun but educational game suitable for all the family to enjoy! After receiving your tiles from the fun banana shaped carry-case, the aim of the game is to use up all of your letters to build a word grid. Points aren't the aim here - it really is speed that is most important, as it's the first person to use all of their tiles that is crowned 'top banana'! A great game to enjoy at home or on the go, as it's the perfect size to to pop in a bag for on-the-go entertainment.

Christmas Gift Guide 2022 | Christmas Gifts for Younger Children


The products featured in this post were sent for inclusion in this gift guide, however all opinions are honest and my own. This post also contains affiliate links.

With the countdown truly on until the big day, I thought it was the perfect time to start sharing all things Christmas on my blog! This year I have put together two Christmas gift guides featuring products for children. In this first Christmas Gift Guide I'm going to be sharing some products that I think would make great gifts for younger children. Hopefully this gives you some inspiration this festive season!

Disney Encanto 4-in-1 Puzzle

Ryman have a fantastic selection of Christmas gifts for children this year, including this fab 4-in-1 puzzle. Disney's Encanto has been a favourite in this house (and I can guarantee many others too!) ever since it came out last year, so I know this theme will go down well. I love that the set contains four different difficulty levels, so it could appeal to a range of ages, and also grow with your child as they get more confident too.

Written by author Kate Wogan, the Uh Oh Milo! series of children's books help to teach children about manners and behaviour in a fun and engaging way. This Christmas you can add The Excited Elf to the collection, where you can join Milo, Mary and their magical granny as they meet the Excited Elf (and enjoy some mischief along the way). Made to be enjoyed throughout the Christmas period, the book talks about the excitement of Christmas, and is full of bright, colourful and fun illustrations. A great addition to a Christmas Eve basket for sure!

Yoto Player

Probably one of the most exciting gifts you could buy your little one this Christmas, the Yoto Player really is the gift that will keep on giving! The award-winning audio players put your child in control of their listening, learning and play - whether that's through audio stories, daily podcast content or even their child-friendly radio station.

There are currently two types of Yoto available - the original Yoto Player retails at £89.99, and then then Yoto Mini which we received retails at £59.99. Both players feature no microphones, no cameras, and no ads, making them perfect for children to use by themselves. The Yoto Mini also features:
- Easily portable for on-the-go listening.
- Up to 20 hours of play per charge. 
- Plays sleep sounds, white noise and features a clock suitable for sleep training.
- Can be used with headphones and as a Bluetooth speaker.

There are over 800 titles currently available to purchase, ranging from the likes of Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol and Julia Donaldson classics, to Disney and Pixar, Roald Dahl classics and even amazing learning bundles like the ones featured above. It's incredibly easy to find the cards you're looking for as you can categorise by age (from age 0 and the way up to 12+), or even by specific author.

We reviewed a Tonie Box a few years ago, and although both are fantastic, I think I prefer the range of titles and accessories with the Yoto Player! You can also purchase travel cases, headphones and more that are compatible with the Yoto Player.

Nuby has been a brand favourite in our household since Indiana was a baby, so I knew the items in this Plush Learning Bundle would be a lovely addition to this guide. The bundle of three items (including a 'My Busy Book', a set of 4 'Little Learner Cubes' and a set of plush 'Alphabet Flashcards'), are incredibly soft and feature multiple educational features so they can grow with your child.

The alphabet flashcards featured bold colours, patterns and animals, making them fantastic for sensory development in the early stages - but also great for introducing letters as your child grows. The cubes feature multi-sensory colours, patterns and textures, as well as noises to encourage play. And my favourite has to be the busy book, which contains a range of items designed to help with fine-motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination. So much fun!

Made Happy Gifts Collection

If your little one already has everything, why not think of a gift that's more out of the box. These gorgeous creations from Made Happy Gifts are the perfect addition to a LEGO mad household - and a great way to introduce LEGO to smaller children who haven't quite made the jump from Duplo just yet. 

Created by mum of three Izzy, Made Happy Gifts design and print all of their products in a family-run studio in Kent. They use environmentally sustainable PLA plastic, which is derived from corn starch and sugar cane, to create their LEGO compatible products. They offer a whole range of products, but of course the Christmas collection would made the perfect gift this season. You can choose from personalised decorations (complete with a jingly bell), tree decorations in different shapes, sizes and colours, and of course the Christmas trees featured above. So fun - and of course all compatible with everyone's favourite brick!


If you're a parent, then I'm sure you've heard about the newest craze - Squishmallows! Squishmallows are super soft and super huggable plush toys, that come in a whole range of sizes and designs. There are more than 1000 characters to collect, and each one has its own unique name and storyline - very much like the Beanie Babies of this generation. 

My Little Pony Role-Play Toys

If your little one is as unicorn obsessed as my youngest is, then these My Little Pony Styling Heads would be a perfect choice. Chose from either the larger Sunny Starscout doll (that comes with 30+ accessories) or the smaller Pip Petals styling head (that comes with 15+ accessories). Both pony dolls have long flowing hair that your little ones can brush, style and create with - a great way to practice those perfect hairstyles! Both sets also come with stickers too, so your child can enjoy getting creative with those once they've finished their hairstyles. Hours of fun!

5 Tips for Visiting the Edinburgh Christmas Markets


If you’re going to be heading into Edinburgh for Christmas, then you owe it to yourself to experience the city’s amazing Christmas markets. The city is beautiful throughout the year, but when it’s all lit up at Christmas time, it’s truly magical. 

If you’re going to get the best from your stay, you’ll want to track down some high-quality accommodation at a convenient location. If you’re a key worker, then you might be able to do so without paying over the odds. Did you know you can find Premier Inn discounts for NHS workers available online – and there are fifteen branches throughout the city!

So, what activities are on offer at this time of year? Hopefully this post will give you plenty of ideas...

Have a Mulled Wine

Christmas just isn’t Christmas unless you’re enjoying a mulled wine. It’s on sale from multiple street vendors, and it’ll keep you warm even when the weather gets chilly in the evening. Of course, this isn’t the only festive tipple on offer in the city – but it is the one that’s traditional.

Go to a Panto

Pantomime season will be in full swing at Christmas time, and there are a range of different shows available. They’re all family-friendly and uproariously funny. There’s Sinbad at the Brunton Theatre in Musselburgh, there’s Cinderella at Edinburgh South, and there’s Mother Goose at Howden Park Centre in Livingstone.

Check the dates before setting out, and make sure that you’ve booked your tickets in advance if you want to avoid disappointment!

Enjoy a Glass of Fizz at the Dome

No venue screams Christmas quite as volubly as the Dome. There’s a festive set menu on offer throughout December, and an a la carte menu available after Christmas Day. Of course, if you’re going to be dining here, then you should set aside a little bit of your budget for a glass of quality fizz. There are plenty of options to choose from!

Go Ice-Skating

Outdoor ice-skating is one of those activities that’s only available at certain times of year. Even if you’re not all that steady on your feet, you can still enjoy your time on the ice. The ice rink has been a major draw of the market for years. The skate hire is bundled in with the cost of entry, making this an affordable way to spend your time, too.

Go on the Rides

The Christmas market is famous for its stunning fairground attractions, including a sizeable ferris wheel from which you can get a decent view of the surrounding city. And if you’re going to be taking children to the market, then going on a ride or two should be considered obligatory.

Have you ever visited Edinburgh at Christmas time before?

This is a collaborative post.

What you Need to know About Insuring your Jewellery

You’ve popped the champagne, toasted with family and friends and you can’t stop staring at your left hand. You’re engaged! The next step – before you even say yes to the dress – is to make sure you protect that glittering diamond and keep it safe for many happy years to come. For most people, an engagement ring is the single most valuable piece of jewellery they own. So, like your home and car, it’s vital to make sure it’s insured and stored safely. Not sure where to start? In this post I have outlined a couple of simple steps to help you on your way. 

Call your Insurer

Many couples insure an engagement ring under their household insurance, such as the home insurance policies with FBD. Most contents cover will include jewellery, but depending on its value, the ring might need to be added as a specified item. It’s important to take your time to go through the details and arrange the right cover for you and your lifestyle. It might also be a good time to evaluate your overall home insurance, especially if you’ve recently renovated, built an extension or purchased new additions for the home. If you’re lucky enough to receive high-value gifts for your engagement or wedding, you’ll want to make sure that these are protected as well, especially if you’re planning on heading off for an exotic honeymoon overseas.


In the event of a claim, insurance companies will usually ask for supporting documentation, such as the receipt or an original valuation. The jeweller you or your beloved purchased the ring from will often provide a valuation without charge. If not, the price depends on the value of the ring, and can usually be negotiated. You should choose a reputable jeweller with proper accreditations for this task, as you want to ensure you get an accurate valuation you can rely on. It’s important also to keep the original document safe, sending it to the insurance company by registered post and asking for it to be returned when they’re finished their inspection. Some insurers require you to get the ring valued every couple of years, as the value of jewellery, especially diamonds, can fluctuate. You don’t want to be under or over-insured.

Check the Fine Print

When it comes to special high-value items such as engagement rings, most insurance policies have certain requirements regarding valuation, maintenance and storage. It’s always a good idea to read through the paperwork and ensure you’re covered for all eventualities including loss, destruction or theft. For most people, it makes sense to get cover for outside the home, as well as inside. Rings can sometimes go missing on holidays - they can easily slip off fingers slick with suncream - so you should probably check that it’s insured overseas before you fly. Depending on the value of your ring, you may be required to keep it in a locked safe when not wearing it. Be careful to take note of these little details so that you’re fully covered should the worst happen.

Keeping it Safe

We’ve all seen those social media posts about rings lost in swimming pools, shopping centres and even down a lift shaft. You don’t want that to be you, so have a think about how you can keep your beautiful new ring safe as you go about your daily life. There are small changes you can make that’ll help protect your ring, such as using hotel safes on holidays and secure lockers in the gym. Make sure you don’t leave it out on display at home, and it might be a good idea to leave it on while washing your hands - you certainly don’t want to leave it behind, or worse, watch it disappear down the sink! It can be tricky too to make sure it fits properly, depending on how warm or cool your hands are - if it’s a little loose, you should get it resized or even get a ring-guard fitted. Weddingbee has a handy guide to making sure it sits just right on your finger.


Depending on your contents cover or your specified item policy, you might find that you need to get a professional jeweller to check the ring’s settings every two years or so: nobody wants that precious diamond to come loose. That’s often a good time to get it cleaned, too, as hand sanitiser, creams and washing-up liquid can build up on jewellery, dulling the sparkling effect of a precious jewel. It’s important you bring your ring to a professional, well-recognised and fully insured jeweller to be cleaned or checked, though, so that it’s in safe hands.

Making sure your engagement ring is protected and insured will help give you the peace of mind you need to enjoy this special time of your life - all you have to do now is send out the invitations, organise the party, and show up on the big day!

In the interest of disclosure and transparency, the syndication of this article has been provided and paid for by FBD Insurance. 

Simple Home Interior Design Tips


The wаy our home looks sаys а lot аbout who we аre, аnd even more аbout our personаlities. Thаt’s why the wаy in which we orgаnise our home interiors are extremely importаnt in how we live our lives. We аre living in а fаst moving world where we’re bombаrded with whаt we ought to weаr, eаt аnd put in our homes, but rаrely do we hаve the time to give considerаtion to what we actually like. There аre а few simple wаys in which we cаn change up our interiors to make it more 'us' though, and in the post I'm going to be sharing 6 simple home interior design tips everyone can do.


All the rooms in our home need to hаve а strong sense of stаbility to them, you want to come home at the end of the day and relax. It should feel like a sanctuary and not a stressful place.

Focus Points

Rooms thаt hаve а centre focus point will flow much better. Things like your аrtwork displаys, аn аrchitecturаl wаll piece or even figurines аre greаt suggestions. If you are looking to add unique pieces, then why not buy blinds online and add a pop of colour and a modern feel in an instant. 


This can be successfully done by bаlаncing the rooms’ visuаl weight, by subtly spreаding it out to the other pаrts of the room. Make sure you don’t pile up the corners of the room with everything, but instead distribute items around the room. This will help it feel less cluttered and more balanced.


This should be аn obvious one, but by utilising positive colours you cаn chаnge the feel of a room completely. Lighter colours will make a room look brighter and bigger, whereas darker colours will create a more dramatic and cosy feel.

Proportion аnd Scаle

Use only furniture аnd items thаt complement the totаl size of the room. Stay away from large items that will make a room look smaller - but also make sure you're filling necessary space if you have it. If you're thinking of adding a personal touch, websites such as Photowall offer wallpaper, canvases and prints in a range of sizes to fit your space.


Creаte the illusion of visuаl stimulаtion through movement, by аrrаnging your room in a mаnner thаt keeps the viewer’s eye moving from point to point.

Home interior decor аnd design is often а highly sensitive subject as many people feel thаt they actually know whаt they аre doing, but the outcome is quite the opposite. The right use of lighting in the home hаs the potentiаl to trаnsform аny item of furniture or book shelves into а lively аnd stimulаting room. Experimentаtion is the key though, as you won’t know if how something looks until you try! And if you are looking for something that is easy to create and maintain, then minimalism is the way to go. You can start by decluttering, getting rid of things you don’t need or love, then getting great storage to store things like toys and extras.

This is a collaborative post.

Get ready for Christmas with These 3 Easy Steps


Christmas is a super exciting time, but can understandably also be very stressful for all the adults involved. If you are looking to take some of the stress out of Christmas, then hopefully this post will help, as I share a few ways that you can get ahead of the game this year.

Gifts and Cards

At the top of the list, and probably the one that takes the most planning is deciding on what cards and gifts to get your loved ones. Getting cards and gifts sorted a month or so early can take some of the stress out of the Christmas season and ensures that you won’t be desperately running around shops on Christmas Eve! A simple way to show someone how much they are appreciated is to choose a personalised Christmas card, of which there is a huge range. When it comes to presents, thoughtful, quality gifts tend to be much more appreciated than multiple gifts. Practical gifts are always a great choice and you should consider if there is anything that they have been mentioning repeatedly or something that you think could make their life easier. Gifts that will be used, rather than ones that could be seen as clutter to the recipient, really show that you value them and have considered the gift carefully.

Food Prep

If you are a family that opts for a traditional roast dinner on Christmas day, then you will know how hectic the kitchen can get while you are trying to juggle multiple pots and pans! Luckily, there is a whole range of foods that you can cook in advance and then freeze so that you will have less work to do on the big day. From stuffing and gravy, to Yorkshire puddings and a whole range of desserts, these are a few of the things that can be cooked, frozen and then popped back in the oven or heated up on Christmas day. You can also peel and prep veg in advance and keep in saucepans of cold water until needed. Much easier than rushing about Christmas morning!

Clear some Space

For those with children, trying to fit new gifts into their already full bedrooms can be a chore and they may end up laying around the house for a few weeks (or months)! To try and avoid this, get everyone in the family to help out with decluttering the house. Avoid telling them that they need to get rid of their toys. Instead, tell them that they need to make room for potential new toys that they will get at Christmas, and that their old toys can go to new homes for other girls and boys to enjoy. This puts a positive spin on the task and makes it much easier as they will be excited at the thought of their new toys.

You may also look to clear out any old clothes you don’t wear or that they have grown out of. You can then donate these to a local charity or refuge if they are in good condition, which may allow other families to give gifts over Christmas.

This is a collaborative post.

Achieve the Perfect Themed Wedding


A large amount of effort and money goes into turning your wedding dreams into a reality. So of course you want to make each and every aspect of your big day is super special. A great way of making sure everything is special and works together, is by choosing a theme for your wedding. Whether this is based on a certain colour, season or style, it can be as extravagant or low key as you like. 

This it will not only make everything look good together, but it also makes decision making a lot easier too. So, if you want to know more about how you can stick to a theme for your big day, then read on as I'm going to be sharing some top tips for picking the theme of your wedding. 

Outfits and Accessories
The outfits and accessories that you, your partner and guests opt for can either add to or subtract from your overall theme. The colour you choose can be tied into your big day within the bridesmaids dresses, flowers, ties and pocked squares, and of course table linen. You can even ask your guests to stick to your chosen colour or theme, by giving a strict dress code within your invites - why not use this prom dress finder to find the perfect outfit? Don’t be afraid to do this as after all it’s your day, and they will no doubt be more than happy to help you make the most of it.

You can also make an effort to style yourself in the appropriate way with accessories and such, for example adding a luxurious white faux fur shawl to your outfit for a winter wonderland wedding, or adding a vintage hair piece for a 1920s style wedding. It’s likely that you also have control over what your bridesmaids will be wearing, so be sure to search for bridesmaids dresses with varieties of colours to find out what will really boost your theme. 

Styling your Venue
The venue that you choose and the style changes that you make are so important. Opting for a blank room and not providing or requesting any specific design changes will definitely ruin any theme you have gone with. Alternatively, finding an extravagant location that goes perfectly with your chosen style, such as a castle for a fairytale wedding, will be such an amazing feature that really improves the overall experience for both you and your guests.

Adding some extra features to your venue will help you to create a more unique and enjoyable space. Whether this be in the form of elegant chair covers and personalised name place cards to take dining to the next level, or disco lights and other party features such as the wedding photo swap app that can help you to get the night started. Whatever you do make sure to be consistent throughout. There's no point picking a certain theme and then not really going for it - go big or go home I say.

Perfecting your wedding theme couldn’t be simpler when you make the most of the creative steps detailed above. Start with your outfit and accessories, and continue with your venue by making your own design changes. And have the most magical day!

This is a collaborative post.

8 Top Tips for Working from Home


Since 2020 more and more people have made the switch to working from home. Not only does this allow employees to strike a better balance between their work and personal life due to more flexible hours. But it also avoids unnecessary commuting that saves precious time and it can increase productivity, reduce distractions and increase the level of job satisfaction. However, working from home can also become a great challenge for those who have never done remote work, since it involves taking on new responsibilities and demands being able to efficiently self-manage. 

So if this is you, hopefully this post will help you, as I share 8 top tips to be productive while working from home! 

Set Office Hours

Although it may be tempting not to set the alarm clock, if you want to be productive you need to stick to a schedule. Since you will be working with other people and you will have to respond to emails, be present in the corporate chat or answer video calls, it is important that you adjust your workday to your company’s working hours. Setting office hours will also help protect your personal life and prevent teleworking from ending up consuming every minute of your day. 

Set up a Work-Only Space 

To work productively from home, the best thing to do is to separate work and leisure spaces. If you have an office, it will be easier for you to adapt and focus. It is important that you set up this space so that you feel comfortable. Remember that working in a pleasant and orderly environment will increase your productivity. If you can’t turn a room in your home into an office, at least make sure to use a desk. Avoid lying on the sofa and working because your productivity will plummet as your brain will immediately associate this space with leisure and rest, disconnecting from your work. 

Establish a Work Routine

Even if you have a home office, you should follow a routine similar to that which you’d follow if you were going to work. Don’t stay in your pyjamas all day. Getting ready and dressed as if you were going into the office will help your brain prepare to enter 'work mode'. Organise a routine like the one you followed in the office, such as planning short breaks and trying not to eat while sitting in front of the computer. These little breaks are very important because they will allow you to get back to work with even more energy and fresh ideas. Avoid doing housework during the office hours that you have set because you will lose your concentration and work rhythm.

Plan Priority Tasks

Working from home is not the same as being in the office, where project managers usually have tighter control over daily tasks to ensure that nothing important has been left undone. To be productive, you must become your own boss, which means learning to manage your time and self-regulating. Before starting to work, spend at least 10 minutes organising your day. Check what tasks you have pending and organise them according to their priority. Try to be objective and don’t plan out more tasks than you can do, because you will end becoming overwhelmed and frustrated.

Take Advantage of your Peaks in Productivity

Your energy levels, motivation and concentration will change throughout the day. When working remotely, it’s essential to know when these spikes in productivity occur, so that you can plan your schedule based on them. Most people are more productive in the morning, so it’s best to spend those hours on more complex projects that require more focus and energy. You can spend your less productive hours on tasks that are more repetitive or that require less mental effort, such as checking work emails or planning tomorrow’s tasks.

Avoid Technological Distractions

When you work at home no one controls what you do, so you can end up developing unproductive habits. To meet deadlines, you will have to impose strict discipline - avoid checking personal messages, browsing social networks or reading the news during work hours. Little tricks, like logging out of your accounts, can act as a deterrent and prevent you from logging in automatically. You can also use applications to block access to social networks while you’re working. And if you want to go one step further, there are applications like Strict Workflow that allow you to create a blacklist of websites that you won’t be able to access during the period of time that you specify.

Use Time Management Tools

If you’ve never worked from home, the first few days you may have a hard time staying focused on a task, or you may find yourself being less productive than you thought. In that case, time management applications can become your allies. Productivity applications, such as RescueTime or Harverst, will help you monitor the amount of time you dedicate to each task, so you can detect the black holes where the minutes seem to disappear into. You can also use timers like TomatoTimer to schedule blocks of time of maximum concentration with rest breaks.

Stay in Touch with your Co-Workers 

To work from home effectively, you must keep yourself informed about all the changes occurring in the company that may affect your projects. This means that you must keep in constant communication not only with your boss or the project co-ordinators, but with your closest co-workers as well. This contact will help you to better perform your duties, as well as to alleviate the loneliness and feeling of disconnection that you could end up experiencing when working from home.

Staying Productive with Children at Home

If you have children, working from home can be twice as challenging, as we all know they can be noisy and easily bored. Consider a daily schedule, realistic and adjusted to your needs. Remember that it’s better to work fewer hours, but without interruptions to get the most out of them, rather than getting frustrated because you need to stop what you’re doing to continuously look after your children.

A good option is to wake up earlier to take advantage of those hours when your children may still be sleeping. If they are already in school, you could consider signing them up to a breakfast and after school club, so that they can be enjoying themselves, and you can work more. Of course if needs be, technology and video games can also become your allies. Don’t feel guilty for allowing your children to use them while you work. If you live with other people, including siblings, parents or flatmates, it’s important that they respect your work schedule and don’t constantly interrupt you. Keep in mind that your brain takes an average of 23 minutes to re-focus and work at peak capacity after a distraction.

So just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you’re available at home. Remember that working from home can be an excellent opportunity to develop new professional skills that could be very useful in the future, as well as demonstrating your commitment, worth and dedication to your company.

Discover home insurance plans ready for the real world from Liberty Insurance Ireland.

This article has been written and provided by Liberty Insurance.

What Flooring is Best for your Home?


When it comes to style, elegance and reliability within your flooring design planning, luxury vinyl flooring is the product that ticks all of the boxes for satisfaction. The reasons why are plentiful - and so are the benefits. Here are just a few!

A Popular Choice
Popular in both homes and offices, luxury vinyl flooring has expanded from the UK to worldwide as the most popular flooring option available in today’s market. By utilising steps in innovation, beauty and versatility throughout their design, vinyl tiles took huge steps to become one of the most respected products on the entire flooring selection lines.

It's not just designed that this product excels at. Due to its durable layer structure including two PVC backing layers, the ranges available through planks and tiles provide various properties that protect against all types of threats to secure your space with unbeatable quality.

Cheaper Than Most

Whilst some vinyl flooring is more expensive than other brands, brands such as Distinctive flooring are the cost-effective option that provides all the best qualities. Keeping the floors at their maximum level of presentation requires a minimum of effort with a simple sweep and mop with a regular floor cleaner. No need to purchase expensive industry-leading chemicals to keep the vinyl looking like new.

Distinctive is also among the most child-friendly options available, offering safety and comfort for children to play and an easy clean surface for parents - meaning that maximum fun can happen with minimum accidents.

Incredibly Quiet

When it comes to noise reduction, luxury vinyl tiles and planks cover all intrusive sound. With soft underfoot protection deadening any noise levels at a higher rate than other alternatives, you won't be worried about waking anyone up at 3am if you require a late-night snack from your kitchen.

If you tend to move your room around a lot, refurnish after a few months or regularly practice your feng shui, the integrated safeguards in luxury vinyl flooring protect against stubborn scuffs and stains that can occur from furniture removal and incidents. This eliminates the use of surface treatments over time and with easily replaceable sections should any damage occur, you won't be disrupting your entire floor.

Adds Warmth

You can also keep a vinyl floor warm all year round due to its natural companionship to underfloor heating systems, a very popular method throughout the UK currently to save money on heating. No matter which room you look to implement you can be sure you won’t be left in a cold spot, even if you choose stone replicating tile.

By choosing flooring such as grey oak flooring, you choose incredible quality, security, satisfaction, and design with ranges to suit every type of homeowner and taste. It’s no real surprise that it has perfected upon perfection, providing endless consistency to developing homes and increasing the look and feel of luxury vinyl tile standards for years to come.

This is a collaborative post.

Is Luxury Vinyl is the Best Flooring for your Kitchen

From cooking food to washing clothes, the kitchen requires a flooring option that can withstand heavy foot traffic throughout the day - whilst still managing to look great whilst doing so. This is one of the main reasons why everyone looks to luxury vinyl flooring as the solution is simple. It doesn’t compromise on the style whilst taking on the demands of the kitchen. Here's just a few more reasons why luxury vinyl flooring is the best choice to make.

Adds Warmth

Whilst many homeowners feel the desire to opt for real wood or stone flooring throughout the kitchen, authenticity is truly in the eye of the beholder. Real hardwood and stone are generally considered cold underfoot and susceptible to fading and discolouration when direct sunlight hits them every day. Where luxury vinyl such as Invictus flooring gains a big advantage, not just in its cost-effective pricing, but in its ability to fully replicate the real thing and be softer and warmer underfoot.

Invictus is manufactured to stay at a well-regulated temperature and is also the perfect cover for underfloor heating systems, giving a little extra warmth on colder nights.

Easy to Clean

Among the best qualities, luxury vinyl brings to the table is its ease of keeping clean - a godsend where the kitchen is involved. No matter if it is dirt from the outside or sauce spills from your cooking, your cleaning will be the easiest job you have. Real hardwood and stone will typically retain lasting signs of tough stains and require expensive cleaning solutions to fade them out, whereas luxury vinyl flooring requires little more than simple soapy water and a mop to retain its impressive look! 

Simple vacuuming and sweeping can also help to keep the floor in its original intended look, and you won’t be shilling out extra money on special cleaning chemicals either.

Plenty of Selections

The quality of designs and colours available through the range is definitely among the most popular and inspiring choices on the market. With full practical functionality comes the requirement for versatility in design. You can find plenty of unique designs through real hardwoods to slates complete with stunning finishes, rich tone and the ability to mix and match to give people an insight into your kitchen creativity.

Designed to Last

With luxury vinyl flooring, you are provided with the ultimate product to ensure the long life it deserves.  Bringing new meaning to the term hardwearing, Invictus, such as grey parquet flooring, presents a warranty that spans decades - a true testament to the confidence in withstanding heavy foot traffic over time. This warranty is among the longest terms available in the marketplace and reinforces why luxury vinyl flooring is the best you can find for your kitchen.

The is a collaborative post.

Makeup Trends you Need to try this Autumn


With Summer over and Autumn just around the corner, it's a perfect time to start looking in to, and embracing, the new and current trends. Experimenting with makeup is one of the easiest ways to refresh your look for the season ahead! Thankfully, many makeup tutorials are now accessible online, which means you can confidently wear some of the latest looks. Here's just a few you need to try this season.


Graphic eyeliner looks are super modern and almost futuristic. Why not try experimenting with some quirky graphic liner looks? If you’re intimidated by the thought, you can create the look even as a novice makeup lover if you have the right tools. Invest in a thin brush and a pot gel liner, or just have fun with creamy, easy-to-use pencils. When making the shape, don’t be afraid to elongate its silhouette and always go upward to give a lifting effect to the eye. 

Smudged eyeliner is another trend and gives a more edgy, smoky look. All you need to do is apply brown or black eye shadow on top of your eyeliner and blend it with a small brush to create soft edges. Many makeup artists are embracing softer, sootier lines, and the worn-in look is easy to achieve yourself because you don’t have to be too precise. achieve.

Sometimes eyelash extensions can make all the difference to your look. Try a pair of soft, fluttery lashes with smudged eyeliner on the top lid. Look for Lilac St, Ardell or Mac for the best-in-class lashes. You can easily apply the best lash extensions at home in about 10 minutes for a week of wear. You don’t even need to wear any mascara as you choose to do so when you wear eyelash extensions to enhance your natural lashes!


Brows are still a strong focal point. Bleached brows are popular, but they aren’t for the faint of heart. Playing around with the structure of the brows is a modern trend, but you don’t have to do something dramatic to your brows to be current. Try blocking out eyebrows instead by using a glue stick, setting powder and concealer.

The tide also seems to be turning against the ultra-laminated brow, and brows are becoming more natural-looking. They look more effortless and full than brows that are full of product or overly groomed. Use a brow pencil to fill in any sparse spots and lightly draw lines that look like hairs.


Everyone’s current obsession, Euphoria, is bringing gemstone embellishments into the spotlight again. Many celebrities are rocking this trend already, and it is only likely to grow in popularity in the colder months. Many facial embellishments like gemstones and pearls have been seen on the runways. To make placing appliqués easier and quicker, you can first create your design using liquid eyeliner.

You can easily create a subtle sparkle with delicate clusters of sky blue or light pink crystals or use a few strategically placed accents for a more dramatic look. The trend of using facial embellishments is a throwback to the Y2K era, and definitely a fun one to embrace!

This is a collaborative post.