Review: Save time on housework with the iRobot Roomba 966

I won’t be doing much cleaning over the bank holiday weekend *smug face*. Wanna know why? Because I’ve finally found something that’s helped me to keep on top of the endless housework that comes hand-in-hand with a busy family home with two young kids, a mud-loving puppy and a constantly-moulting cat. I’ve got to be honest, when the iRobot Roomba 966 – an all-singing, all-dancing robot vacuum cleaner – first arrived, I was cynical. It comes with a hefty price tag (retails at around £800), so it needed to be something pretty special to convince me it would make a…

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10 reasons you should add the Just So Festival to your family’s 2018 bucket list

This year was our fifth adventure with Just So. Half of me can’t fathom how quickly those years have flown by, the other half can’t imagine a year without the Just So Festival knitted into the fabric of our family life. Five years in, I know my way around, I recognise the same volunteers, the same festival goers, the same costumes. We’ve got our festival rhythm down pat, but that feeling of magic, of being swept up in a glorious weekend of pure joy, has never faded. I still have those skin-tingling moments when you suddenly look around you and…

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Faking it: a wood burner without a flue

We have been yearning after a wood burner (wood burning stove, log burner, whatever you want to call it) for years. One thing we really miss in our 1970s house is that there aren’t any fireplaces whatsoever (a big change coming from period properties) and we’ve always thought that a wood burner would provide our living space with the perfect focal point, as well as being something to cosy up around when it’s cold out. But because we don’t have any chimneys, having a wood burner installed isn’t as straightforward as it might be, and after a couple of super-scary…

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Getting organised for 2017 and a great giveaway

2017 sees a big change for our household, as I have a new job and will go back to work full-time after seven years freelancing from home. It feels like the right time – the twins are happy and settled at school, I’m keen to get my teeth into a new challenge, and the job I’m starting is flexible in terms of my hours and working from home. While I’m excited about this new chapter, I’m under no illusions that full-time working is going to be a bit of a shock to the system for all of us. I juggle…

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A stomp in our favourite woods

These woods, just a five minute drive from our house, were definitely one of our favourite stomping grounds in 2016. Not only are they on our doorstep, but the walk around the lake there is the perfect distance – enough to stretch our legs and give us a much-needed injection of fresh air, but easily achievable for a quick outing. The other things we’ve loved about the woods this year is that there’s a beach for paddling, trees that offer the ideal climbing challenge, loads of fallen trees for balancing, an area that’s full of the most incredible fungi in the autumn (we call…

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