5 tips for admissions into UK primary schools

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Earlier in the week, I received an email notifying me that our son had gotten a place at our first choice school. Actually, that isn’t very correct- I was so anxious I couldn’t wait for the email to arrive- the instructions said it would arrive sometime in the evening however, I was online on the admissions portal since 3pm on the day refreshing the portal intermittently. My husband was very convinced he would get an offer on our first choice but I still had some doubts. It wasn’t until 5:05pm when I saw the link to ‘Check offer’. I was so happy our son got our first school choice. The email and text message from the local authority admissions team only arrived later at 6:15pm 🙂

From September to December last year, my hubby and I just went through the daunting admission process into the state schools in the UK for our older son into the primary school Reception classes. We did our research thoroughly and it paid off in the end so its safe to say we are now experts on this process. The decision to pick a particular school was a tough and stressful one so we hope and pray we made the right choice and that our son would be happy in the offered school. Here are some tips and advice based on my experiences.

#1 Buy a house near a chosen school
When we bought a house and moved to the Bexley borough of London over 5 years ago, one of the catch for us was that there was a primary school rated “Outstanding” by ofsted just 5 minutes walk away. The area also boosted a few good grammar schools. A close friend of mine had to buy another house in another area just be near the catchment area for a good school. My advice for newly weds with the hopes of raising a family is good schools should be a top consideration in deciding where to live or buy a house. Another thing to note is that the school ratings can change very quickly so I wouldn’t get too stuck on ofsted ratings. A mum on our local mum’s group chose a school which was rated ‘good’ as their second choice, got accepted into the school however the school’s rating dropped in January from ‘good’ to ‘requires improvement’.

#2 Focus on schools closest to your house
Schools generally select pupils according to distance, so concentrate on schools reasonably near your home unless you’re applying under any other criteria such as faith, health or social needs. If you apply for a faith school, on top of the supplementary form which has to be completed and sign by a priest, it must be your first choice to be considered at all- we were told this fact during the open days by the head teachers for the Catholic and Church of England school. Church schools will usually give priority to those that demonstrate practice of the respective faith.

#3 Do your research
Make sure you study the admission criteria to find out if your could is likely to be offered a place and look at the previous year’s intakes. Speak to parents of children already attending the schools you’re interested in as they may offer a different perspective to Ofsted. Ask advice from families in the area. I spoke to my neighbours for advice and tips to find out first hand their experiences and feedback about the local schools. I asked parents with older children and siblings in my son’s nursery for feedback and tips.

#4 Attend the open days for the schools being considered
Read the Ofsted reports and information on the school websites, and arrange a visit. We both attended 7 open days for the 7 schools we considered infact my husband had to attend one of the open days by himself as I couldn’t attend because of work commitments. The open days offers you a real feel of the school environment, facilities, the mix of children, how the classes are setup etc. Its so funny how something as little as the bathroom layout can put you off choosing a school 🙂

#5 Be Realistic
The local authorities do not have to give you a place in a school on your list. You are allowed to express preference for up to 6 schools but you do not get a choice hence gauge your chances of getting a place according to the admissions criteria, choose one school as a backup- make sure it is a school that you are actually likely to get a place at. Always choose 6 schools- this is even more important for first children as children that have siblings in a school usually get preferences. If you don’t do this and your other choices are over subscribed, the local education authority may offer you a school which you like less. Also, don’t choose only one school because if that school does not admit your child under their admissions criteria, you won’t get a place and will be allocated a ‘leftover’ place which is usually the school that most people didn’t want.

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Here are some useful websites I used to research school performances and Ofsted reports etc.

https://www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk/
https://www.schoolguide.co.uk/
https://www.gov.uk/school-performance-tables

Do you have children starting primary school in September or have children that gone through the admission process? Do share any useful tips and experiences below.

 

Holiday Inspiration:Crete

The love of a family is life’s greatest blessing

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Last summer we went on a family holiday to Crete, Greece. Whilst myself and my husband have been to Greece previously, it was my younger son’s (DS2) first flight and travel experience at just 5 months old. The journey to Crete was the most stressful trip I have ever embarked on as we missed our flights from Stansted airport and had to re route from Gatwick airport to Heraklion via Prague 🙁 However, we quickly put that horrid experience behind us on arrival.

About Crete
Crete has been one of Europe’s most popular and hottest holiday destination for several decades now.  Crete is the largest island in Greece and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is located in the southern part of the Aegean Sea separating the Aegean from the Libyan Sea. It has a population of approximately 650,000, is known for its varied terrain, which ranges from fine-sand beaches at Elafonisi to the White Mountains. Mount Ida, the tallest of the range, is home to the Ideon Cave, which was the birthplace of Zeus, according to Greek mythology. The capital, Heraklion, is home to the renowned Heraklion Archaeological Museum, housing Minoan artifacts, and Knossos, a Bronze Age settlement. With its beautiful beaches, clear crystal waters and ancient history, Crete is definitely the place to be this summer.

How to get there
The main airports in Crete is Chania or Heraklion and its approximately 4 hours flight from the main airports in London which is still quite bearable for most babies and toddlers. My DS2 was fine on the Ryanair flight, infact he slept almost throughout. We made use of the airport shuttle bus service as we had 2 suitcases, a buggy and a car seat. The trip to the hotel was approximately 75 minutes by car as we came through Heraklion airport, however from Chania airport it is approximately 30 minutes.

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Hubby slept like a baby 🙂

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See those under eye bags.. i need a concealer to hide the fact that I have been tired since 2013:-)

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Beautiful mountain views on the shuttle ride

Where to stay
We stayed at the Porto Platanias beach resort and spa a five star hotel located directly on the beach and such a perfect location right at the town centre. The resort is located in one of the most cosmopolitan regions of Crete, Plataniás, 9 kilometres west of the town of Chaniá and 20 kilometres away from the airport of Chaniá. Built in a sublime area of 30,000sq.m. by the sea, the hotel features all modern amenities that can offer the pampered luxury that you deserve during your holidays. Nestled in a lush green environment and offers a spectacular view of the Cretan Sea and the island of Àgii Theódori (Thodoroú).

Moreover, the hotel is super family friendly, the kids were each handed a toy on arrival. Our room was an interconnecting family maisonette suite with a private pool. The room was of a very high standard, very beautiful with a nice balcony overlooking our private pool. I particularly liked that the spacious bathroom had both a bath tub, glass-wall showers and a separate toilet area. We were welcomed with sandwiches, fruits and wine on arrival in our suite.

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Things to do
We booked the all-inclusive package at the hotel as we didn’t want the hassle of going far to look for food. But it turned out that wouldn’t have been an issue as the hotel was centrally located and very close to good restaurants, bars, shops etc. The hotel also had a kids club where they had daily activities for kids.

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Food tastes better when you eat it with your family

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Incase you’re planning a family holiday this summer, Crete is definitely another top destination to enjoy the 3S- sea, sun and sand.

Have you been too Crete or anywhere in Greece? Share your experiences below.

If you enjoyed reading this post why not show it some love by leaving a comment or sharing with some friends? 

Thanks for reading x

Holiday Inspiration- The Algrave

Time spent with family is worth every second

I can’t believe that spring is finally here however I am super ready for some official summer fun! So I thought to do a post on holiday destinations particularly for young families with babies and toddlers generally focusing on the countries I have visited with great places to stay, play, eat, explore- where the restaurants provide high chairs, decent changing facilities and the area is reasonably accessible for pushing strollers or buggy.

Portugal was the first country my older son visited few years ago when he was a little over 5 months and its proved to be very memorable for us because he grew out his first 2 tooth whilst there. The Algrave has always been a natural choice for UK families, it was a top destination on trip advisor and was highly recommended by our neighbours and colleagues. Besides, I observed the UK prime minster David Cameron at the time usually visit the Algrave on holiday almost every year which is probably another reason why its popular for UK families.

Although we didn’t bump into David Cameron during our visit, the weather was really nice with the sea still very warm but not too hot. One thing i noted was it was very child friendly, we saw children everywhere- in strollers, on foot, in restaurants even bars and it was obvious the Portuguese are very accommodating towards children. There are also several beautiful beaches and caves which proved to be very safe

How to get there
The main airport is Faro and its approximately 3 hours flight from the UK which is not too far away and most babies and toddlers can survive the flight time. We were glad the hotel we stayed had an airport pick up service which was very efficient. The trip to the hotel was approximately 39 minutes by car.

 

 

Where to stay
We stayed at the Crowne plaza Vilamoura located on the beach and very close to the marina. The hotel is very lovely, clean and modern. The room was of a high standard, very beautiful with a nice balcony overlooking the beach, i particularly liked the glass-wall showers


Things to do

The hotel we stayed had babysitting facilities but we didn’t take advantage of it since my son was still very young to be left with anyone. We managed to do a boat cruise along the sea which my son really seem to enjoy and took long walks along the beaches, parks and marina. Besides, the hotel which was an all inclusive package, had daily entertainment provided hence we didn’t need to go too far for entertainment.

 

 

 

Incase you’re planning a family holiday this summer, the Algrave is definitely a top destination to enjoy the 3S- sea, sun and sand.

What is your best holiday destination in Europe?

If you enjoyed reading this post why not show it some love by leaving a comment or sharing with some friends? 

Thanks for reading x

5 tips for a new business analyst

Acknowledge the perspectives of others before asserting your viewpoint

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I remember my first role in the city of London over 6 years ago as a business analyst just like yesterday. I was changing role from an application developer to a business analyst hence i was already working in that organisation and had done some formal Business Analyst training at that time. My new BA role involved taking over from 2 senior consultants working on building new functionality and improvements to a global credit risk application for an investment bank. The application had over 3000 global users, besides most of my key stakeholders were based in New York, Frankfurt and London. Like any new experience, I had so much anxiety and nervousness regarding this new role given it was my first major role engaging directly with senior stakeholders.

Business Analyst jobs are pretty hard to get into, so once you’ve landed one it’s key to impress. Here are some tips for success as a new Business Analyst from someone who has gone through the experience.

#1 Understand the Role
Spend time upfront figuring out your role as a  Business Analyst in the context of the work environment that you are about to join. One thing to always bear in mind is that is no universally accepted definition for the Business Analyst role. Some industry experts view the Business Analyst as a formal role inheriting several project management-type responsibilities while others view the Business Analyst as formal or informal way of steering people in a common direction. There is no consensus.

Spend some time with the manager who assigned you to the role usually a Project Manager, Programme Manager or Business Analyst Manager to understand their expectations, your responsibilities, their interpretation of the role. Ask the question “What is your definition of success for this role?”

#2 Build interpersonal relationships
As well as looking at the role as the chance to find out about a new system, business area or technology make sure you grasp the opportunity to get to know people as well. Although analysis skills are essential, your recommendations and reports are likely to meet with resistance if you are not able to connect with a wide variety of people. Spend time with other assigned resources on your team such as other BAs, testers, developers to reach a common understanding of roles and responsibilities. Capture the shared understanding of a team discussion to provide a reference point to keep the team in harmony going forward. One useful tip that worked for me in building interpersonal relationships with colleagues is doing the coffee rounds in the morning- i went round asking team members if they wanted coffee.

#3 Build rapport with the key stakeholder
It’s great to be able to convince a group of people, but pointless if the one person you need to convince isn’t in that group. As a result it’s important to find out who that person is and to bring them into the process as early on as possible to make sure they are getting all the information they need to help you make your points. Within the first week of starting the role, i scheduled a meeting with my key stakeholder, it was a conference call over the phone as they were based in New York. I introduced myself and ask what their expectations are for the projects etc. I managed to build some rapport with her by highlighting some key places i have been to near her office.

#4 Provide regular feedback
Big chunks of information are hard to digest, so it’s important to make sure you provide regular feedback to ensure what you’re saying can be taken in and considered. Going off and producing in depth reports and documentation can also leave you open to propagating mistakes for example it is very easy to produce too much or the wrong type of business requirement documentation or user guides without regularly consulting with the stakeholders and users who are going to approve or use it. Ask your key stakeholders and managers for their reporting preferences- whether they prefer it daily, weekly, fortnightly and what format. Ask if there is an existing template you can follow.

#5 Be flexible and willing to learn
Since you’re new to the role always listen first, know when to keep silent and ask questions when you’re unsure. Acknowledge the perspectives of others before asserting your viewpoint. Get help and ask for assistance when you’re stuck. Accept that as a new Business Analyst you will not be perfect. You will not get everything right at first and will make mistakes along the way. Your success on the project is dependent on how you handle mistakes and failures.

The 5 tips above are certainly not exhaustive but can be an effective start towards meeting success in your new role. Have you worked or working as a business analyst? Please share your tips below.

Thank you for reading.

5 simple ways to be happier

Surround yourself with people who make you happy

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A few years ago, a morning like any other, on my south eastern train journey to my rather demanding job in the city of London, I had a sudden realization: I was in danger of losing my vibrant and happy self if I didn’t make some serious changes to my life.

I already had so many reasons to be happy. A good husband, a delightful son, I just returned back from a 1 year maternity leave after I had my first son to my city job as a business analyst, I was living and working in one of my favourite cities in the world. I had some good friends. I was in good health. However for several reasons, I was still often unhappy.

At that moment on the train ride that morning, I figured out my goal in life is simply “to be happy”.

We all want to be happy. But what is happiness?

Happiness is simply the ability to not want more; to find gratitude and satisfaction in the moment that you have right now. Appreciating what you have right now automatically allows you to get past the dissatisfaction of wanting a better relationship or a bigger house or a better car and enjoy what you have right now. Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for your life to begin and start making the most of the moment you are in.

Here are 6 simple proven ways to be happier:

#1 Prayer and Meditation
Whenever I start day with prayer, I am automatically able to find peace and comfort knowing that I am not responsible for everything that happens in life and I can relinquish my control to a greater being. Mediation on the other hand provides you with the ability to ignore sensations of anxiety which means you wont respond to them as strongly as you might have. If you’re unfamiliar with meditation, download the headspace app which caters meditation to a modern lifestyle.

#2 Exercise
Exercise is one of the most dependable mood boosters, even a simple 10 minute walk outside can easily brighten your outlook so don’t wait till you have time to go to the gym.

#3 Surround yourself with happy people
This quote from Karl Marx summarizes this: “Surround yourself with people who make you happy. People who make you laugh, who help you when you’re in need. People who genuinely care. They are the ones worth keeping in your life. Everyone else is just passing through”

#4 Do things you enjoy
Go through old photos, watch a TV series, eat breakfast, fit in an extra hour of sleep, take a dance class, write a poem, listen to music, volunteer, help others, take a vacation, call an old friend, pour yourself a glass of wine…the list is endless! Also, don’t be afraid to try something new you never know how it may change your life.

#5 Declutter your life
The idea of decluttering your life is to make things more manageable so that you actually enjoy it and don’t end up wondering where the time went. It is important to step back from life every now and then to reflect on your overall satisfaction and happiness. In the areas that bothers you, make changes. Removing a few steps from your daily routine or those that cause you the most personal stress and anxiety may be required. Decluttering your diary can be essential for simplifying your life and giving yourself a bit of headspace. For starters you can reduce your commitments and say no to non-essential things.

If you follow me on Instagram @amnotjustamum you’ll notice I include some of my photos with quotes that inspire me, hoping to inspire you to start living the life of your dreams.

What makes you happy, drop your comments below?

Thank you so much for reading this post.

xx

 

Baby Weaning: Sample Meal Planner

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My littlest man turned 1 last week and has officially graduated from baby to infant, yay! Just like yesterday when we brought him home from the hospital for the first time, where did all that time go?

I started weaning my younger son at 8 months, however just like my older son, he’s also not been a fussy eater; he eats almost anything and everything except of cause when he isn’t feeling too well. He still loved to breastfeed until almost at 11 months when i finally got him off the breast. By 10-12 months of age a baby should be able to manage a range of minced and chopped food and deal with three meals a day as well as having breast milk or about 3 bottles of milk.

 

Planning your infant’s meal in advance is a great way of being organised, saving money and avoiding waste simultaneously. This sample list contains some of my tried and tested infant menu that are easy to prepare, healthy and delicious, most of these meals can be mashed, chopped or pureed. Here are few points to note:

  1. These Infant menus are geared toward a baby like my son who is in good health and does not require a special diet.
  2. This is purely an example and not meant to replace the advice of your health visitor or dietician
  3. Always ensure that foods are appropriate for your infant e.g. not all weaning babies will be able to eat raw veggies or hard fruits
  4. Most infant becomes less and less hungry as the day progresses so don’t worry too much if by dinner time they leave their plate untouched.
  5. Do your shopping weekly/monthly shopping ahead, consider batch cooking and freezing
  6. Using fruits and vegetables when in season can reduce food costs, the important thing is to keep things varied.
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I hope this sample Infant menu planner ideas gives you some ideas and inspiration and show you how easy it is to feed your Infant healthy meals throughout the week!

What is your infant’s favourite meal?

 

A letter to my husband on our 5 year anniversary

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So I’m not one for full blown public display of affections, however I think my husband deserves this appreciation.

MY KK,

Exactly five years ago today, we became husband and wife in the eyes of God and in front of our family and friends. What a journey it has been! Our marriage hasn’t been a walk in the park nor a bed of roses as its definitely had its fair share of ups and downs. They always say the first 2-3 years of a marriage is the hardest…its true. Like most marriages, we’ve faced and endured so much difficulty and challenges- infact on many occasions we’ve felt like giving up, however we’re here today by the grace and mercy of God.

I don’t tell you this as often as I should, but I’m very proud to be your wife. Looking back now, I can easily see how you have grown year after year (and still growing) with your ability to love me selflessly.

Is it how you started making the bed or emptying the bin in our room or replacing the toilet roll in the holder or how you don’t mind waking up early in the morning to drop me at the station or pick me up when you work from home. Or how you call the AA for me anytime I leave my car lights on and the car battery shuts down. Or how you’re so obsessed with making cappuccino for me lately or how you endure watching 2 seasons of Fortitude with me which you absolutely do not enjoy. Or how you make so much effort to share jokes with me, many of which I don’t get the humour but that doesn’t stop you from sharing. Or is it the several attempts you’ve generously made to satisfy my obsession with Jimmy Choos, Christian Louboutins or shoes in general (thanks babe).

You even put up with me for 9 months while I was pregnant two times, I took over approximately 90% of our bed and you were left with a very small space- infact you almost fell off the bed on several occasion. Or is it how you were there throughout in hospital with me 5 nights in a row, around this time last year when I was sick just before we had our second child- holding my hand and for that, you deserve more than a thank you note, you deserve a medal.

Or just how you change your work schedule to stay at home with the kids so I can attend my team drinks or watch a movie with my friends. Or how you just allow me to have some “me time ” so I don’t lose my sanity! For 5 years, you have put up with me and my black girl issues such as my hair falling on the rug or how long it takes me to get ready for church on Sundays or how I can just have unexplained mood swings.

How about how its you that attends night vigil to pray for me and the kids. I can go on and on the list is endless!

I just want to say thank you for everything. I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect but you’re such an amazing husband and a great dad to our boys. Moreover, our marriage is definitely far from being perfect, we are always a work in progress but I honestly believe with God on our side we will work through any issues that could come along and try to stop us.

I look forward to many more happy years with you in love, good health and abundance.

 

Your FM x

5 cheap stylish dresses to wear to the office

Going by how my style posts on my Instagram page @amnotjustamum have proved to be the most popular posts- next to my children’s photos of cause:-), I’ve decided to write atleast 2 style blog posts every month. For this post, I’ve selected 5 cool reasonably priced dresses from high street stores in the UK, all available online that will make you look effortlessly stylish to this office this spring. Note all the items are on sale under £30 hence can be quickly sold out…Keep scrolling x

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#1 Warehouse Lace Shift Dress, available here. (Sale £20)


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#2 Warehouse English Rose wrap dress available here £18 sale.


 

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#3 Mango Fitted dress, available here. (Sale £9.99)


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#4 Mango Fluted hem dress, available here. (Sale £19.99)


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#5 French Connection Lula Stretch dress available here. (Sale £30)

I would love to send you some emails about the latest fashion finds, sales and other great stuff so don’t forget to Subscribe and follow me on Instagram to ensure you don’t miss out.

6 ways to be a kinder person

Be the reason someone believes in the goodness of humanity

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Most people I have had the opportunity to encounter either face-to-face or online through social media are usually very kind. However, if you’re like me, there’s always room for improvement especially in these crazy times with so much happening around the world, plenty of which is usually negative. Being surrounded by negativity and unkind people is not good for anyone. So being kind in essence makes your world a better place in general.

Here are six habits I intend to pay more attention to this year:

#1 Be Grateful
Be grateful for what you have. It’s very easy to take yourself, your life, your family, your health, your job and the people around you for granted. Be thankful for the wonderful people that constantly support and help you especially those that don’t expect anything in return.

#2 Be interested in others
We’ve all encountered people who talk endlessly about themselves, you cant put in a word with people like this. But being genuinely interested in others instead of yourself is a higher level of caring, kindness and compassion. Be a safe place for others to want to share how they’re really doing and how they are feeling. Be the reason someone believes in the goodness of humanity

#3 Give compliments
Replace the habit of criticising or spotting negative things about people with sincere compliment. Everyone loves compliments, so don’t be afraid to say something positive about the other person. It could be their great sense of style when it comes to their dressing- “I love your jumper. Where did you get those?”, or how they have a  great sense of humour. Do not curse! This will make you look rude, vulgar and definitely not nice. If people see you cursing and getting angry, don’t be surprised if they constantly avoid being around you.

#4 Say thank you
Express yourself, don’t hold in what you are grateful for. It may just a small thing such as saying thanks to someone for holding the lift for you. But even such small expressions of gratitude can make your or someone else’s day better. Most importantly remember to SMILE, a smile can go such a long way. One kind word can change someone’s entire day

#5 Be Nice and Helpful
Always make the effort to do the most basic things, like holding doors open for the next person, letting someone into your lane whilst driving or asking people how they’re doing, you’ll be able to create a more pleasant environment for yourself and everyone around you. Help someone with a pram or wheelchair into a bus. Give up your seat for an elderly person or pregnant woman- I was always thankful to the people that offered me their seat on the train when i was pregnant. Offer to make tea for your colleagues. Nice people tend to introduce themselves to others because they are excited about meeting new people. Kindness is the most valuable gift you can ever give someone. No act of kindness is ever wasted.

#6 When they go low, you go high.
There could be people- friends, family, colleagues, social media etc that might choose to be unkind to you or criticise you unnecessarily for no reason and you just want to make them stop or confront them. However, you need to recognise that unnecessary conflicts or confrontations just waste your time and drain your energy. And that some people are so addicted to negativity, drama and conflicts that you will never win or reach an understanding with them. Besides, there are more interesting, fun and positive things and people to spend time on in your life. So try to always take the higher road by being the one to apologise, if they still choose to be nasty then ignoring them is the next step and if it doesn’t work then you need to put them at arms length, remove yourself from getting drawn into their issues. Most times being kind is more important than being right.

What others habits can make you a kinder person?

10 Shades of Romance

Light the scented candles, play the Barry White album

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Valentines is here upon us yet again and for most ladies especially, February 14th is a very big deal. Although it doesn’t have to cost a fortune or be especially elaborate, making it memorable and special is important. Whether you’re going all out on the classic romantic candlelight dinner or getting your sexy out for your other half, now is the time to decide. Whilst Valentines should be personal to your relationship with some couple choosing not to acknowledge the day altogether, here are some ideas that are sure to please this Valentine’s Day if you’re mushy like me:

#1 Romantic candlelight dinner
Make a dinner reservation somewhere nice and make some effort to dress to impress. Dressing up in lovely outfits always makes the occasion feel extra special and you can both have fun looking your best while spending time together eating good food in a nice atmosphere away from home.

#2 Couples Massage
Why not book a full-body couples massage at a favourite spa. A relaxing massage is just the thing to get both of you in the right mood for Valentine’s Day.

#3 Spend the day in bed
You don’t need to leave the house to make Valentine’s Day special especially if you didn’t manage to make any elaborate plans. Think of how great it could be to spend the day in bed together uninterrupted- assuming you manage to get a babysitter. Decorate your bedroom with rose petals and candles to make it feel extra special.

#4 Get another room
Booking a decent hotel room can be a nice change to the day-to-day and can make you both feel instantly relaxed and boost your love life. Nobody would be responsible for cooking dinner or doing the dishes instead you get to focus solely on each other in a different environment.

#5 Night time cinema screening
Incase you decide to see the new 50 shades darker movie which is out this Friday in UK cinemas why not go with a bottle of wine, seat in the back, ignore the film altogether and make out instead. Just a little innocent breaking of the rules #losecontrol.

#6 Romantic Get away
Another idea is to surprise your other half with a fantastic treat and book an impromptu romantic getaway somewhere you can drive to- just imagine how their face would light up as you pull into the drive. If you research properly, you might be able to find some cheap lastminute getaway deals.

#7 Romantic homemade dinner
You must have heard the phrase- Staying home is the new going out. Indeed it is for most parents atleast. So why not light the scented candles, play the Barry White album from Spotify on the Sonos and cook up a nice romantic meal. Don’t forget to set the table beautifully, hopefully you manage to put the kids to bed. Who knows what could happen after the dinner.

#8 Relive your first date
Reliving your first date is a powerful way to ignite some sparks in your marriage that may be missing. Book a table at the same place you both met, this way you can reminisce about how you felt about each other when you first met. Do the same things that first sparked your romance.

#9 Beautiful Viewpoint
Have you seen The Notebook movie? Why not relive your teenage years or the teenage years depicted in those romantic movies. Go to a beautiful high viewpoint in your city e.g. In London- London Eye, The Shard. Nothing better than seeing the lights of the city sprawled in front of you so far away.

#10 Couple Bath
Creating a romantic bath is an opportunity to experience relaxation and intimacy with your other half. You can use items from around the home or from speciality stores such as body shop, Rituals to create passion in your bathroom.

So what shade would you be this Valentines, Naughty or Nice?