3 signs of a toxic workplace

Credit Photo Source: The Mom Project https://community.themomproject.com/the-study/how-to-address-a-toxic-work-environment

As you probably start to know me from my Youtube channel or Instagram, I like to talk about topics I care or that play a vital part in my life. So here I am, talking about toxic workplace signs and how to recognize them. In fact, I have recently left a company who was the perfect example and was leading me to doubt myself and even making excuses for really abusive behaviors.

I think it’s safe to say that nearly of all us have some idea of what a toxic environment may look like.

  1. Everyone is low – spirited

If there is a constant sense of dejection, negativity and bad habits like heavy gossiping around the office, this is a clear sign of a toxic environment. I’ve notices that this usually happens where employees don’t have job security or they feel underappreciated or overworked. This lead to verbal fights, chatting behind other employees’ backs and lots of bully behaviors. What I found helpful was to check with other employees, by asking how they are feeling. In fact they might echo and share the same experiences and feelings as yours and you’ll finally realize that you’re not crazy and something was really going on in the company.

Whatever the situation is, it is important to remember that is important to treat everyone with respect and dignity.

2. There’s no or very little progression

I’ve learnt that when an organization don’t invest in developing and encouraging the growth of their employees, this is a red flag. It’s always a lesson, and what I always do in my case is to check during the interview stage or on the job description if there is the possibility to develop and learning as part of your job. It is not a secret that workplaces that do not have these opportunities for their employees tend to have a higher staff turnover rate.

3. There is constant confusion and manager don’t know how to manage

What I experienced and seen in my situation is that lack of direction and operations lead to a sense of confusion and insecurity. Lots of unnecessary meetings and discussions. More than everything else poor leadership and directions led to a sense of disengagement and employees look visible lost, not knowing what the processes are and what they have to do. Your role should be clearly defined in your job description and you should receive support and training especially for entry levels or jobs where you don’t have lots of experience. Try to keep a note of what your tasks are everyday to see how it stands up against your day to day experience.

Happiness is a formation of our habits and work plays such an important role in our life that I felt like there’s no time to waste in a toxic environment and it is extremely important to recognize all the signs of a toxic environment.

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How to Dress Well on a Budget: a mum’s guide

When you see cool outfits on Instagram we always assume that they must be expensive or out your month’s budget. After buying this lovely white jumper and receiving so many compliments for different outfit I put together in the past months (when my financial situation wasn’t particularly shining I thought “Ehi why not share my tips with other people in the same boat?!”).That’s why I put together this brief article to give you ideas on how to dress to impress while on a budget. Oh, forgot to mention, the jumper was only £3 from Primark and the material is so soft.

  1. Visit local shops

I always and cannot stress this enough, go physically to a shop and browse in the hidden isles where the sales signs are up 🙂 These are the perfect spots where you can find lovely pieces. But remember to go there with something specific in mind and not just an additional piece to put in your wardrobe. I cannot tell you how many times I went to Primark and found £1 cotton tops or £ jumpers or even a £2 blue bag (that looks very similar to a famous dupe here’s the reel if tog fancy a look). So the key is to go there physically because online we don’t often see the real juicy sales.

2. Focus on your real needs first

When you go shopping, it’s so easy to lose track of our shopping goal especially when you see something we really like or people around us shopping. When shopping around, don’t dwell on the items you don’t need. Sometimes it can be difficult and this is why I go physically but also occasionally to shops. I have to say that I also learned how to retrain myself from impulsive buying and this also thanks to really helpful readings online; Buying stuff you don’t need usually results in the onset of a healthy dose of buyer’s remorse, and you’re likely to end up returning the shoes or dress anyway. Save yourself the time, effort and mental strain of giving in to your unnecessary desires, and stick with the plan when shopping.

3. Always make that extra effort to Try it On before buying “it”

Primark £4 sweatshirt (perfect for everyday styles and play dates)

When choosing a new outfit, it’s fun to look at the clothes on the rack and imagine yourself modeling and maybe take a couple of pics for Instagram. That’s why change rooms are so important and if you’re in a hurry, don’t buy a hurry, take the time to try it on instead. You might find that the outfit you loved in the store window looks different when you try it on in the change room. Avoid wasting money on gas to drive back to the shop to return that dress or pair of jeans and try it on before you buy.

I cannot tell you the amount of times I had to plan to go back to a specific shop to return something, wasting time and getting stress and coming out with even more things (*guilty mood on*).

Keep factors in mind like the cut of the clothing, textures, and colors, as well as patterns and questions like “Am I really gonna wear this?” and “How many outfit/occasion can I picture with this”?. When I go shopping I always keep in mind that neutral colors like white, grey, and navy are easy to pair with almost any other color.

These were only 3 of the tips of my mini guide to “survive” to the fashion world and keep you motivated and more responsible in your shopping path. May the savings & style be with you;

Don’t forget to share with me your styles on a budget on Instagram and tag my page The Sara Edition (Happy to re share your bargains) using the hashtag #savingstyleonabudget

love you, Sara.

A special gift for your little one by Jaques London

Are you looking for a perfect toy… I think you’re in the right place.

Like most parents, I am looking for the perfect gift to add to Sophie’s collection. I have to be honest I became minimalist during the years and I like to have wooden essential and educational toys. I just personally prefer getting Sophie wooden toys because I feel that they last better and they attract her more to play. There’s something magical in these toys.

*Fun Fact* Jaques London has been inventing and making toys & games since 1795, and this family business believes in the power of play and quality family time spent together. The quality is not only represented by their toys but also the beauty of their packages: a pure joy under your Christmas tree.

Jaques London is a brand that focus on making toys and games that will bring joy to families and these encourage less screen time and design fun toys with an educational focus. These are fundamental aspects I look for when choosing items for Sophie. They very kindly asked Sophie to choose two toys/activities.

I showed Sophie the selection that the team had sent over and she fall in love with lots of toys. She’s in love with music at the moment and her first pick was this beautiful Kids Xylophone. This Montessori style toy – Musical toys boast a vast array of educational benefits: it helps to improve our little ones fine motor skills by practicing precise hand movements to move the mallet onto the correct notes. It’s also the perfect way for a child to associate notes with colour, due to the bright and vibrant multicoloured keys.

The multicoloured keys of the xylophone are labelled with the musical notes as letters, allowing children to hit the correct notes more easily. Moreover, the labelled keys correspond with our complimentary music sheet and is a funny activity for both little ones and adults.

Sophie’s second choice is an evergreen and somehting that I’m sure will bring your memories back: a colourful wooden abacus. Sophie is 4 yo as I mentioned above and she loves to count numbers and everything that is colourful is always a bonus.

It is beautifully designed with 10 rows of wooden beads. There are 10 beads in each rows. They are solid wood and covered in non-toxic paint for safe play. You can tell its premium quality!

They arrived in less than a week and the packaging is beautiful – you actually don’t need any wrapping paper as the boxes are a little piece of art and they have a lovely black elegant ribbon. Inside the box you’ll find a lovely vintage paper and a card telling you the name of the person who wrapped your gift – such a cute final touch.

We’ll definetely buy more toys from Jaques London... nothing better than a Montessory activity for Christmas.

Disclaimer: Jaques London very kindly gifted us these 2 items, but all opinions included are my own and I chose to collaborate because of the quality of the products.

Herrings Green Farm

We’ve finally visited Herrings Green Farm and the all experience was lovely for a day out with the family surrounded by nature. It’s visible that all the animals are happy and well looked after too.

There are lots of different birds, geese to alpacas, donkeys, ponies, goats, sheep and chicken. Included in the ticket is a bag of feed – it was a lovely experience to feed the animals from our hands and this teaches to our little one such a lovely lessons: to take care of these animals and give love.

They have an outdoor play section with picnic tables a little slide and a vintage fire engine and tractor for kids to take photos and experience them.

At the entrance you can find a the farm shop where you can buy fresh veggies (they have an amazing variety) and there are a few wash basins where you can wash your hands if you want to pet the animals.

Overall we absolutely loved this farm and on their website there are lots of activities and gifts that you can choose from: being an adult zoo keeper for a day, spending an evening at the farm, family animal bubble, goat walking & more… Please tag me over on Instagram if you decide to go.

HALLOWEEN THINGS TO DO IN BEDFORDSHIRE

Hello there. It’s not already Halloween but this year, more than ever, we have that desire of celebrations in the air. If you’re looking for things to do over the School holidays this half term 2020, well you’re in the right place. I’ve put together a list of Halloween things to do in Bedfordshire… Ah before I forgot, have a Spooky Halloween!

Spooky Wrest Park

Source: http://www.homeinspirationideas.net/

This even will be available from Sat 24 October until Sunday 1 November 2020 (10am-5pm).

A unique occasion to follow the trail to solve creepy clues and gather round to listen to spooky stories. There’s a frighteningly fun fancy dress competition every day – just go in your scariest outfits to be in with a chance of winning.

Pumpkin Carving Willington – Frosts Garden Centre

Source: thisoldhouse.com

I love this Garden Centre in Willington and from the 26 October until the 31 October you can join Pumpkin Carving sessions and get in the spooky mood. In the event social distancing rules will be followed and the event will be held outside so please if you go remember to wrap up warm. 

Included in the price is a pumpkin, your own individual pumpkin scooping tool kit, a battery operated tea light, a frighteningly good activity sheet and a chocolate treat.. sounds fab!

Jordans Mill

The Jordans Trust, a local Mill Museum in Bedfordshire will be holding its first children’s haunting Halloween tours during half term. This event will run from the 23rd – 27th October at 10.00am or 1.00pm and takes children through the spooktastic tales of years gone by.

Booking is essential and tickets are £3 per child (accompanying adult free). Tours will last approximately 30 minutes.
In addition to the children’s Halloween tour parents and families can take part in the Rotten Rhymes Trail and solve clues in order for children to get a prize. The gardens have been transformed for some spooky fun!  £1.50 per child – you don’t need to book for this, just turn up between 9am – 4pm during the 20th – 31st October.

Herrings Green Activity Farm Bird of Prey Centre – Wilstead

☆pinterest || zoewal16☆ in 2020 | Pumpkin painting party, Pumpkin patch,  Fall halloween decor
Source: zoewal16☆ https://www.pinterest.it/pin/222294931595910518/?nic_v2=1a6mh2jcP

Herrings Green Activity Farm Bird of Prey Centre will also be running halloween activities. You can also join the Autumn Fun on the Farm event that is going on from 10 October 2020 until 23 October 2020. Your visit includes a pumpkin that you can choose from the patch and feeding some of the lovely farm animals. Hope you’ll have lots of fun in the nature.

If you have any other recommendations let me know, both on here or instagram. You can find me here.

One Night Stay at Cbeebies Land Hotel

Can I just say that we had a lovely one night away in the Cbeebies Hotel at Alton Towers, and despite the price I think it was something totally deserved, especially after this long lockdow, both for the little one and mummy and daddy.

It was extremely nice to see Sophie being able to run around and just enjoy something again. And despite my initial anxiety for this covid situation and the fact that it was really busy, I can tell you that it felt like a safe environment and it was good to feel somewhat “normal”.

FULLY EQUIPPED ROOMS

We opted to stay for one night in one of the standard Bugbies Rooms (this is the themed suites with the yellow Cbeebies mascots and it looked awesome and also way cheaper than the other rooms).

After the check in, that was super, we took the lift up to our room and it was such a nice experience with the happy go lucky music played and with the colours changing lights.

It felt like living in a magical place and it was sad to come back home to “normality” and magnolia walls 🤣!

The rooms were spacious with a double bed and a separate children’s sleeping area.

It had everything you needed and you could tell and here’s are a few things I particularly liked:

  • Black Out Curtains (for a well deserved sleep after a long day at Cbeebies Land)
  • Interactive Play Wall in the kids room area
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Toilet seat with little mini seat attached
  • Hair dryer
  • Bottle Warmer
  • Fridge for storing snacks and milk
  • Tea and coffee facilities – Especially because they offer quality biscuits! Love a biscuit with my coffee! (everything was sealed in an envelope)
Credit Alton Towers

FOOD & DRINK

We took some food of our own to eat in the main chill out area, I don’t know for certain if this was allowed but everyone seems to be doing it and no one was stopping us so… fill up on snacks!

There was a cafe area to grab sandwiches and coffees from too though if you run out.

The Windmill Restaurant

We ate dinner in the Windmill Restaurant which was really nice. It wasn’t really cheap but I guess it’s nice to experience something similar, with all colours and Cbeebies’s characters around we paid around £40.00 for the 3 of us.

We had two burgers and Sophie had a lovely pasta with a garlic bread side (I’ve tasted it and it was yummi). As a dessert we asked to share a choco brownie and vanilla ice-cream.

Takeaway

We also ordered some room service later and have a really nice pepperoni pizza!

Breakfast

Breakfast was included in the package and was served in the same place, The Windmill Restaurant.

There was everything you could think of.. Sophie a toast and banana and we got a couple of muffins, orange juice and coffee to get ready for our second day exploring Cbeebies Land and the actual Alton Towers.

For breakfast you can also have a full cooked breakfast and a Continental buffet with fruit and cereal and unlimited hot drinks.

Just a little reminder to book your breakfast and dinner slot after booking – I actually forgot to do this, but I manage to talk with a member of staff at the restaurant reception and booked for 7:15am (lovely time as it wasn’t really busy).

After breakfast we decided to head to our favourite attraction, which was The Sea life – Sharkbait Reef.

I leave you our vlog on Youtube of our two days at Cbeebies Land and Alton Towers.

Have you stayed at the CBeebies Land Hotel before? or maybe are you planning to? Come and let me know on instagram or just here in the comments. For any questions, I am happy to help out.

Pixi Beauty Get Ready to Go and Glow

Pixi has a history of 20 years and yet they are still an independent and family-owned brand. I absolutely love their products as they’re made using the best quality products for all ages at an affordable price.

Today I want to share with you the Summer must-haves for your most radiant glow yet (I mean what a great combo – tan and glow 😍).

The first product is the summer Glow Palette. Oh my, this palette has the most beautiful silky-smooth shadows, both with a matte & glowing finish. Perfect to achieve a sin-kissed and sheer glow. You can shop it here at £ 14.40.

The Large Lash Mascara is something I really need to try as I am always on the search for the perfect mascara (I am not really luck with my eyelashes, even though at the mom I found the Maybelline Mascara Lash Sensational is doing a good job).

This mascara with an oversize brush, has been defined as a do-it-all mascara that delivers extreme volume and intense colour with a smudge-proof finish, ideal to enjoy any summertime activity! You can find it here, at £ 9.33

Ready for a fuss free and flawless in a flash makeup? So here we have two infused with Green Tea and Chamomile shadow sticks, in the shades “copper glaze” and “matte cocoa”. What I love about these products is that they’re paraben-free and they’re simply to swipe and blend, which is a plus especially when on holiday and want to avoid carrying lots of brushes and keep your travel bag minimal. You can find this product here at £ 12.00

Last but not least, the Liplift Max. This “Sweet Nectar” lipgloss is one of the Pixi best-selling, perfect to enhance your lips with an infusion of peptides to plump, Jojoba to moisturize, Aloe to heal and Chamomile to soothe. You can simply wear the lip plumping gloss alone or over your favourite lip colour. You can find it here at £ 9.60

Let me know what are you favourite Pixi Beauty products and don’t forget to share your GLOWING secrets!

Sara x

Flying With A Toddler | 5 Solo Travel Top Tips

When I travel I like to have everything planned, and this is something you carefully need to do especially when travelling with toddlers. Today I want to share my experience with you, since travelling solo with only two hands and a toddler with an unpredictable temperament can be something really tough to manage if you’re not prepared. And let me say that I totally understand also our little ones, since long hours of flights, trains and the time spent in new places can be something that overwhelm them somehow.

With plenty of preparation, it’s totally possible to  execute my flying with toddler tips successfully.Having said that, let’s move to my tips based on my experience as a mum 😊

1. Take the pram on the plane

Trust me here, I fought with the thought of taking another weight with me, especially now that my little is capable of walking. However, you cannot believe the relief of hanging my on it, or when Sophie wants to have a rest and be pushed around the airport. And it can be a life safer when they go for a nap, which is something rarely happened with Sophie, but you never know 🤣.

We usually fly with companies like Easy Jet or British as if you are travelling with a child you can bring two items for free with you.  These include not only a pushchair, but also of choice between a travel cot, double pushchair, buggy, car seat, collapsible or non-collapsible pram, booster seat and/or baby back carrier.

2. Snacks. Snacks, snacks, snacks… did I mention snacks?!

Along with little activities, snacks are a way of keeping your toddler busy and happy, especially because you have to choose their favorite snacks. Sophie is particularly travel sick and I found that giving her bland food is the right answer to this problem, so I always opt for like A pain au chocolate (that sounds more like a treat), un-buttered toast, crackers, raisins, dry cereal, yogurt or a fruit.

3. Activities Packs

When I plan my little one’s activities to do at the airport or on the plane, I always think about what my toddler likes, what are her preferences and something is simple and easy to travel with.

Our all time favourite activity are stickers and the one I show you in the picture are my lifesaver in all occasion. I bought them on Amazon and they came in a package of 1000 thousands stickers. Here is the link if you want to have a look 😊

I also bring with us a small fluffy notebook, bought in Poundland at just £1 and I cannot tell you how many times Sophie asks for it. Something so small and simple that keeps her so entertained… Try it and see.

The whole idea of these activities is to reduce screen time which I love. However, I do bring a Lenovo Tablet with us as a last resort, it can be quite handy to get our little ones to snuggle down to sleep, especially for long flight with toddlers. I have Apps like Netflix or BBC iPlayer that I use to download cartoons that Sophie loves like Bing, The Night Garden (so that you can watch them while offline on the plane) or some activities apps.

4. Potty Training Toddler

Sophie is now potty training and when we are out and about there is one ongoing question: where’s my potty? So, after an accurate research online I found this travel potty on Amazon, at £ 19,00.

Amazon source

If you’re travelling with a toddler who’s potty training is important to stop for a last potty break, before boarding the plane. A pre-plane toilet visit means one less trip to the tiny tiny airplane lavatory, that in all honesty is something I want to avoid with my little one.

I really recommend you the travel potty we got from Amazon (click here if want to have a look). As it’s foldable and easy to carry around. For the rest of our trip I always put a nappy, until a safer poo and pee environment occurred. It’s better to be safe than sorry (and stinky🤣).

5. Selfcare tips for Mama or Papa

Make sure you don’t forget about yourself, especially travelling with a toddler on a plane can be double exhausting. So remember to stay well hydrated, take time for lots of leg movements and try to get your head down for a sleep while your little one is. Once arrived, enjoy your destination 😊

Flying With A Toddler Checklist

Below is a Flying with a toddler checklist that you can use.

Would you add anything else to our flying with a toddler checklist? Let me know.

Sara xx

Lonely mums: an app for beating this feeling

Hello there . I just want to tell you that I perfectly know how you feel. I have been through this for quite a long time after giving birth to my loved daughter. Not only a new life as a mum, but moving from Scotland to England and adapting to a new life and a new body was something really difficult, that had an impact on who I was before.

I have never had problems of socialising and having friends (before I had Sophie I was attending University in Scotland where I used to take part to lots of social and touristic events and making friends was not a problem at all, and probably this is why I have suffered a lot after becoming a mum and becoming a new version of myself).

But instead of falling in this tedious abyss, known as loneliness, I decided to overcome this feeling and this is why today I want to share you my experience with Peanut regarding how I did this (please bear in mind that this is something I really experienced on myself and is not sponsorship – I like to highlight this).

Credit: Peanut Website

Peanut App

I will make you laugh, but this is considered the Tinder for mums, same concept of swiping up and down, but without blokes asking for casual sex (or at least this didn’t happened to me on this app, lol 🤣).

I have to be honest I never thought I would ever use something like this, but I did after finding this app on my app store looking for only God knows what. I mean the old me thought that mums meet at playgrounds or school events. But only once you’re in you realise how tough is to find friends with things in common than the age of your kids.

So I started to use this app, and eventually, I did make several connections and some shorts and interesting chatting. After few connections, I finally went on my first mum date. Have to admit that the fist one wasn’t nothing special and probably this is because I wasn’t mentally and physically there, but this doesn’t mean that you cannot keep trying (actually, you have to!).

I went out with other mums and I was surprised at how nervous I was when this moment finally came. I packed a few good snacks and stickers to share (that the kids ended up loving). After a few awkward introductions, we ended up having a wonderful time getting to know each other and having our toddlers playing at the park.

If there is something I learnt from my experience is that you never give up.

How I feel now?! Less lonely and more positive and determined to know more mums and I’ve actually got a few other ladies I’m trying to find time to meet (work and life permitting) and it feels so good to be putting myself out there – all of this by using a free app. I know that lots of you out there never imagined having to find friends in this way, but hey, it’s 2020, and I am personally grateful, especially after this lockdown, to use this app and meeting some cool mums.

I really hope that my experience can help other mums out there.

Go on Peanut, give it a try and have fun swiping!

Lots of love, Sara.