Father’s Day gift ideas for outdoor dads

If you’re anything like me then this week will be spent looking for father’s day gift ideas.

When it’s present time for the Dad in our house we always try to find something that he really wants or might not usually buy for himself.  As funds won’t stretch to a 3D printer here’s a few less expensive ideas for Father’s Day gifts.

1.For outdoor Dads who like camping or like us, boating, there’s always a need for decent reliable torches. This Varta indestructible torch and lantern are ideal for boating and camping. The Torch incorporates a bottle opener, which seems to be essential in the summer outdoor life. The lantern has 4 light settings, a hanging hook and is waterproof so that’s an asset for our summer. This would be great in the garden too. The Dad in our house LOVES torches 😊

truprint personalised cushion

2.Something personalised is always a good idea. Truprint and their #swapsocksforselfies campaign are encouraging us to put extra thought into our gifts. Instead of socks for Dad how about something with a family photo or happy memory on. There are lots of items to choose from. I’d choose a cushion with this photo, the day he took the boat over the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Llangollen.

pontycysllte aqueduct at Llangollen

3.For Dad’s who like activities how about a traditional skill or craft day. Norton Priory have craft days from willow weaving to fruit tree grafting or the very topical Meet the Bees workshops. I’m sure your local National Trust or Conservation Centre will have information.

4.How about a special day out. A boat trip on The Anderton Boat Lift in Cheshire is certainly unusual. Built in 1875 this feat of engineering takes narrowboats from the Trent & Mersey Canal down 50ft to the River Weaver. The visitor centre is also a great family day out.

anderson boat lift

5.This is something I thought of after Dad had been gardening and he was stretching, but it’s also great for any active football, running or even golf Dads too. The Rehab Room for sports massage or rehab, a bit of beneficial relaxing time is not just for professionals. This is definitely a useful present, considering we have pamper days how often do we think of this for the men in our lives.

Hope you find these ideas useful, and although these are Cheshire based there will be similar where you live …but if all else fails the World Cup starts on 14th June so you could always buy him a football shirt.







Inflata Nation – giant inflatables for all ages

When school holidays come around it’s hard trying to keep the kids entertained. The weather has been so mixed recently, so outdoor and indoor activities need to be on the list of fun things to do.

I recently took the teen and his friends somewhere new, and as you know teenagers never usually want to go anywhere with the parents. But this was a bit different.

The new Inflata Nation inflatable theme park has opened in Cheshire. When I asked if they’d like to come along to the preview evening our teen and his friends ‘jumped’ at the chance.

The beauty of Inflata Nation giant inflatables is it’s for all ages. Even adults who never usually get a chance to join in the fun can fly down those giant slides.

What I like about this venue is you can tailor it to your family. As well as the general sessions which have an under 4’s area they are planning to have different sessions. Tailoring them to fitness classes, grown-ups only and disability friendly sessions.

There is a seating area that overlooks the arena if your kids are old enough to bounce without you. You can have a coffee while you watch, as there’s a cafe serving drinks and food. And they can cater for parties, groups and schools. Imagine a school trip to Inflata Nation!


If you’re looking for somewhere for the kids to let off steam, a party venue or even a fun night out with friends then take a look at the new Inflata Nation.







Sunshine and sweet peas in Nightingale Square – book review

Sunshine and sweet peas in Nightingale Square by Heidi Swain

Publication date 31 May 2018

When Kate’s happy ever after marriage falls apart she ups sticks and buys a cottage far away from her ex, her work and her friends. Kate plans to live alone quietly, putting her efforts into renovating the old cottage and gardens. Hoping the move to a place where no one knows her gives her the solitude she craves.

Little did she know the quaint Nightingale Square, a close knit sharing neighbourhood, are determined to include their new neighbour. Wether she likes it or not.

The cottages have a history connected to the old mansion house across the square. When a developers sign goes up the residents fear their little idyll will be destroyed. They soon discover the buyer is far from what they expected.

From nosey neighbours to handsome men, kids, cats, kittens and an unsolved mystery, Kate ends up in the middle of it all.

A heartwarming story of new beginnings and second chances, even when you don’t believe in them.


Firstly I loved the cover of this book, it’s very much the cheery style that attracts me. This is my first Heidi Swain book and I really enjoyed it. A great mix of characters all going through their own issues while weaving their lives together in the square.

You find yourself caring about Kate as she leaves her thriving business to escape from her cheating husband David. You can understand why she’s devastated and  wants to be alone and away from questions about her marriage but she’s quickly drawn in to the lives of her neighbours. When David suddenly reappears it’s more about him than her and Kate’s emotions are once again on a roller coaster.

All of the characters complicated lives are revealed and you find yourself hoping for Kate to find her real happy ever after.

A great read from an author I’m definitely going to read again.

I’m so pleased to be included in this blog tour of Heidi’s latest book, follow the tour below




Welcome to the real world by Carole Matthews – Book Review

book review, welcome to the real world by carole matthews

The sun is shining on my favourite seat, a place I love to sit with a book. So I found my kindle and quickly looked through my recommended reads and wow, I found a treat.

Life, dreams, unrequited love and family drama make this book a great read. Drawing me in and wanting to know what happens next.

Broke barmaid Fern has a regular singing set between bar shifts in the London pub where she works. Singing her heart out to drunken chatting customers night after night.

Always trying to help her family. Fern supports her fed up Mum, selfish Dad and single brother who’s raising a poorly child.  As her best friend and music partner Carl says, never taking time to care for herself.

Living in a shabby flat over an Indian restaurant dreaming of being a singing star while constantly trying to earn extra money. This story takes Fern to a random job as a PA for a renowned opera singer where she sees how the other half live.

Opera singer Evan David has a tragedy in his past that has affected his ability to form lasting relationships. Living in a world of private jets, chauffeured cars and luxurious homes. When Fern turns his world upside down Evan realises he is lonely. Little references to the Operas Evan is starring in and giving brief outlines of their story is an interesting addition.

When best friend Carl talks Fern into their chance to audition for a big tv talent show these events change her life. But not in the way you would expect and certainly not smoothly. Eventually Fern’s voice gets her the life she yearns for, for her and her family.

Welcome to the real world is an easy read, funny in parts and a little predictable in others but overall a good read. I would definitely look for more Carole Matthews books after reading this one.





Saving the photos from the dog with a photo book

When I came home to photos scattered over the kitchen floor I realised our dog Ralf had dragged a photo box out from a low shelf, luckily they were all still in one piece.

The old holiday photos showed the older boys on a ‘flying sofa’ being pulled by a motor boat. I’d completely forgotten they had done this and actually can’t believe we let them.

motorboat puling a parachute seat

It made me wonder about all our photographs stored around the house and on the computer.

Now our eldest is living and working in America I thought we could put together a fun mix of pictures for him. I wonder if he will remember this flight!

We have decided to make him a photo book, it will be easy to package and compact to send for christmas and we can plan and order it online from www.truprint.co.uk.  Truprint calendars and photo books make fab presents for family members who live far away, it’s a great christmas gift.

Looking through the photos is something we rarely do unless we are looking for something in particular. But once we start it reminds us of how much fun we’ve had on holidays and at family christmases, and at this special time of year a memory of those no longer with us.

This old picture looks nothing special, christmas day mayhem at our friends house, but none of us knew 2005 would be our last christmas with Royal Marine Ben who never returned from duty in Iraq 2006.

good friend Ben at christmas

So this christmas we’re going to choose photographs to make our own photo book, a mix of good friends, holiday trips, days out on the boat and of course the newest family member, Ralf the dog.

Ralf the dog at a coffee shop

It’s time to have our wonderful memories to hand and on show in a beautiful book.

How do you store your photos?




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