Stuck for a gift idea? Don’t miss this gift box with a movie night

Have you ever had that moment when you need to give a gift but no idea what? Recently I had to give a gift to a relative and there is nothing that person needs. What with Christmas approaching and people mentioning during conversations that they were not sure what to buy certain people. I thought I would share my recent experience of also being stuck.

I love giving personalised gifts and had to put my thinking hat on.

Due to their circumstances, my relative actually suffers from getting out and about so I thought I would give a gift box which contained a movie night. That way they could use their gift on whichever night they wanted.

Off, I went to the shops and started choosing items.

The film I bought was “Pursuit of Happiness” by Will Smith. I choose this as it’s a good inspirational film which would be enjoyed by anyone. If you are interested in purchasing this, click on the video image below.

I then picked up a beautiful black and gold glitter gift box from the retail shop “the works” This is definitely a gift box that could be reused and it looks quite luxurious.

The box needed lining and I thought black tissue would suit this perfectly. I found the tissue paper in Hallmark and they had plenty of other colours also to choose from.

Whilst pursuing the shops for what other little treats to add I visited “Hotel Chocolat” they sell small caramel chocolates in a pot called “Tiddly pots” bearing in mind I am looking for small items that will fit into the box. Whilst I was walking around the store I spotted a small bottle of their cocoa Gin. Being a recent fan of Gin I thought this would be a hit. To be honest, it was hard to keep this until her Birthday as I was quite keen to try this myself.

Still needing small items to fit the box, I picked up a small tube of Pringles and also microwave popcorn. The microwave popcorn comes flat packed and didn’t take up much space at all.

My box was now looking complete, I had a movie, chocolate, crisps, popcorn and gin but I still needed something else. There is a shop which I really like at the moment that sells quite quirky bits and bobs called “Tiger” I found a packet of 2 flat packed birthday balloons which are held on plastic sticks. This would suit the birthday box and would take up hardly any space.

I put all of my items together and everything fitted, as a little extra touch I bought a packet of clear Acrylic crystals which I then sprinkled on to the black paper. This really did add a touch of elegance to the box.

In total, the gift cost approximately £20.00 but you really could tailor this to suit any budget. There are so many gift boxes to choose from which also makes this ideal for any gender.

We delivered the gift and her first words after unwrapping was how much she loved the box and to see the smile on her face as she opened the lid to reveal what was hidden in the black tissue paper. It was just so lovely to see how grateful she was and it was a winner!

I have put together a video also which shows the items and it being put together. What gift ideas would you recommend?

Bristol Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2017


Although I have been quiet on the blogging posts, there has been plenty going on behind the scenes. I have recently gone self-hosted which has meant a few changes to the site. I am still putting changes in place to get the site where it needs to be.

I recently attended Bristol fashion week to look at the new seasons’ styles and colours at the Mall at Cribbs Causeway. Unfortunately you can not take photos or film when you are inside. I contacted the Mall, who have just recently sent over a few photos that I am able to use. However due to the amount of what is encrypted this is not great for the blog post so I will post the photos at the bottom.  I have been debating whether to upload this post as I usually take the photos and can put the pictures where I wish, that being aside, I did promise a post about the show and I think photos are important.

Previously we attended the Spring/Summer event and I uploaded a video on you tube showing what I received in the goodie bag, so this season I have done the same.  Please click on the link below which shows what I received in my goodie bag, plus I talk about the fashion show itself.

Being a lover of Autumn and Winter, it offers plenty of favourite past times, the cinnamon scented candles in an evening, the smell of lit chimney fires, cosy clothing, super soft blankets whilst being snuggled up on the sofa. I so enjoy wearing Autumn colours. I really look forward to new Season’s clothing.

I was in awe when the show started. This year the event was sponsored by British Aerospace in Bristol, they actually made the event as though you were walking into an Airport with various photos plus displaying the amazing Concorde. My Step Dad was fortunate enough to have been on a Concorde, this was something as a young Girl I also hoped to do but I missed this chance.

As the show started, the Models paraded from top to bottom in red clothing, in various hues. My red coat which I purchased last year would be perfect for this Season which is a bonus! Just remember we can all wear red, you just need to find the right shade that suits you. This is me last year in my red coat which as soon as the temperature drops will no doubt be making an appearance.

Taken at westonbirt arboretum.

Leather seemed to be a big hit, so I would recommend if you have a leather jacket or a leather skirt to wear for this Season. I bought a leather jacket in the Summer from Top Shop which looked quite funky with quite a few  zips. I am happy to know this trend is continuing in the Autumn and Winter months. I also have a couple of faux leather skirts which I purchased  from warehouse in the Summer which also would suit this Season. I think a leather skirt dressed with a smart shirt/blouse and boots look quite impressive.

I am a great believer that you do not have to spend a lot to be on trend. Fashion changes so fast so I personally I invest in classic clothes which I can then accessorise with items that I like which are also trending. The key thing with Fashion is to not just follow but to make sure you actually like the Clothes. If you are uncomfortable in the clothes, you will not wear it again and not only would you have wasted your money but you will not feel great wearing it.

On the catwalk there were also transparent items which were being worn over clothes, this is not a personal favourite of mine. Hey, we are all different!

Metallics were also trending on the catwalk. I made a you tube video in April about my birthday which featured a pair of  sparkly silver trainers which were from Guess, these would be perfect this Season.

Below I have put some pictures which I have permission to use from the Mall at Cribbs Causeway but I apologise that it does take up a lot of space due to their copyrights hence I have put them at the bottom of the page.

I do hope you like this post.

Tracey xx

Bristol Fashion Week AW17 at the Mall at Cribbs Causeway.
Photo by Simon Galloway
Photo must carry Photographer byline;
©Simon Galloway 2017. All Rights Reserved.
NO SYNDICATION/NO RESALE/NO PRINT SALES/NO WEB USE WITHOUT NEGOTIATION/NO ADVERTISING USE. Simon Galloway asserts his Moral Rights as the author of this work in accordance with the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988.
Contact photographer: Simon Galloway
07810 638162
Bristol Fashion Week AW17 at the Mall at Cribbs Causeway.
Photo by Simon Galloway
Photo must carry Photographer byline;
©Simon Galloway 2017. All Rights Reserved.
NO SYNDICATION/NO RESALE/NO PRINT SALES/NO WEB USE WITHOUT NEGOTIATION/NO ADVERTISING USE. Simon Galloway asserts his Moral Rights as the author of this work in accordance with the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988.
Contact photographer: Simon Galloway
07810 638162
Bristol Fashion Week AW17 at the Mall at Cribbs Causeway.
Photo by Simon Galloway
Photo must carry Photographer byline;
©Simon Galloway 2017. All Rights Reserved.
NO SYNDICATION/NO RESALE/NO PRINT SALES/NO WEB USE WITHOUT NEGOTIATION/NO ADVERTISING USE. Simon Galloway asserts his Moral Rights as the author of this work in accordance with the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988.
Contact photographer: Simon Galloway
07810 638162
Bristol Fashion Week AW17 at the Mall at Cribbs Causeway.
Photo by Simon Galloway
Photo must carry Photographer byline;
©Simon Galloway 2017. All Rights Reserved.
NO SYNDICATION/NO RESALE/NO PRINT SALES/NO WEB USE WITHOUT NEGOTIATION/NO ADVERTISING USE. Simon Galloway asserts his Moral Rights as the author of this work in accordance with the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988.
Contact photographer: Simon Galloway
07810 638162

Winner of my first competition


Congratulations Steff Rix you have won a £20 voucher to spend in Waitrose or John Lewis. Thank you to all those that entered. I will be running more competitions in the future.

Tracey xx

Free entry code for Grand Designs Live

I am so happy that I will be attending the Grand Design show at the Birmingham NEC in October (11-15th) Events like this give me massive inspiration. I have been given a code that allows 2 tickets holders free entry, which I thought I would share with my fellow Interior lovers.

You need to visit :-

The code is MSEGDL

I am so excited to attend.  Will you be attending?

Tracey xx

This code is no longer valid.

How sleep paralysis is not as bad as you think

Have you ever been so scared at night you can feel your heart thumping so fast that you’re frightened that the sound of your own beating heart can be heard? I have, I have been that scared! Have you ever had a nightmare that as you awake, leaves you shaking? Have you ever had a nightmare so bad, you can’t stop thinking about it the entire next day? I have and if you have ever suffered from a sleep disorder you will know and understand how bad they can be.

Sleep disorders are a massive thing. Looking this up on the internet I found that according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, about 40 million people suffer from chronic long term sleep disorders in the United States alone.  I do wonder where these figures come from as I know many people that suffer from sleep problems and they have never reported it. There are many disorders, one of the rare ones is Narcolepsy, this is when a person falls asleep instantly whether they are working or driving which is so dangerous. I wanted to share with you about one disorder called sleep paralysis which terrorised me.

Now, they have made movies out of this as it is very scary. I am however a person that needs roughly 7-8 hours sleep a night. If I do not get the right amount of sleep, it affects my mood and body the next day.  I am really quite the grump if I have not had my sleep and it affects my concentration too. Without the right amount, I am tired and I get what I would describe as brain fog.

At the age of 13, I was involved in a severe accident, whilst in intensive care my parents thought I was not going to make it. It was during my recovery when I had my first ever experience of sleep paralysis. For those that have not experienced this, it is petrifying. Firstly it happens to me when I am going to sleep but as far as your concerned, you haven’t actually fallen asleep just yet and you’re completely conscious. Suddenly a presence is felt in the room. My body then goes completely solid in whatever position I am in, you become completely paralysed. I am able to breathe but unable to open my mouth, eyes or move any part of my body. My heart races through fear and it feels like my pounding heart will come out of my chest.

I recall my first every episode and wondering, have I just died? Did something go wrong and the Doctors missed something and now I am paralysed? All I wanted was help and to be able to move but no matter how much I tried nothing worked. There is a moment in the film the Matrix where Keanu Reeve’s mouth morphs into the rest of his face and he really struggles to talk, I recall watching that scene and thinking how similar it was to how I felt when I suffered from sleep paralysis.

I suffered from this for many years. I would awake screaming until it had passed and I was finally “released”. During my teenage years, I actually did not know what was happening and was told I was being visited by ghosts! Not only was the sleep paralysis episode bad enough, but to be told a ghost was visiting me, scared me the life out of me. My family installed a pull light which they put next to my bed as I needed light as soon as it was over. I was so scared as a teenager. This led to me not wanting to go to bed to sleep and when I had an experience I did not want back to sleep. It was so freaky. Bearing in mind that there was no internet when I was in my teens in order for me to look this up.


I still to this day suffer, but I know now I am not haunted by ghosts or demons. It is a sleep disorder which is bought on for me when I am stressed. I wondered how many people suffer from this and according to the internet 8% of the population has suffered/suffering from sleep paralysis. It would seem this is hereditary, my father has had this. Last year, just before my daughter had her mock exams she also started experiencing this.

I am now able to control this much better. When it happens I do not fight it. I now relax my mind and within moments I am released and able to get a good night sleep. The only thing I think about now when it happens is that I have let myself become too stressed and that it is my body and mind telling me to look after myself.

The mind is a very powerful thing and it can play tricks on you. Due to my petrifying experience, I started researching the mind. I am quite geeky when it comes to learning. I am absolutely fascinated by how our brains work and how thoughts affect our well-being and our lives. It really makes me wonder what people thought was happening to them 100 years ago.

Since I started meditating on a frequent basis I find this has kept the sleep paralysis away. I also take a few minutes to de-stress before falling asleep. I am lucky to now fall straight to sleep and awake refreshed.  I make sure my room is uncluttered as this really helps my mind. I have a lavender spray by the side of the bed which I spray my pillows with. The smell of lavender has beneficial qualities that have been used for many years to aid sleep. I also have a lavender balm which I rub into my temples.

I found this luxury sleep and pillow spray that has essential oils which may help you get a restful night sleep (click on picture below)

If you are suffering from this, I would look the trigger points. I did read that some people found it was triggered when they slept in certain positions. Personally, I have suffered numerous times before whilst sleeping on my side but it would be worth a try to see what works best for you.

Below is the video of my Sleep paralysis story.

Thank you for reading.  I would be so grateful if you shared this story.

Tracey xx



Don't miss out! Read how to give a gift for Christmas that will not cost you a penny

Dare I say the word Christmas?  As soon as the children go back to school, shops start putting the Christmas bits out. Now, I absolutely love Christmas and I love giving gifts and spending time with the family. As a lover of unique items, I actually tend to give hand made gifts, as well as some shop, bought items. Christmas for me is expensive and time-consuming. I spend ages choosing the right gift, I also make candles and soaps for friends and then there’s wrapping the presents which can take some time. I like to wrap my presents to a festive film as it gets me in the festive mood with a mulled wine.

I have quite a few friends with young children. The cost of Christmas when buying for my close friends and their children can be pretty costly. I bought them a toy each but wanted something more personal from me. I was not sure what to make last year for them, so I came up with an idea for a gift and guess what? it cost nothing at all! All that was involved was a bit of care each week. I decided to give the kids a homegrown vegetable plant to look after. I thought this would teach them to care and nurture for something and they could watch it grow. Also, they could eat what they had grown which would encourage them to try peppers.

This was such a good idea! During this year I have received photos from my friends showing their children caring for their pepper plants and being told they love it.

Items I used:-

  • I used a Heinz baked bean tin (washed thoroughly) those tins I found came up the best and really shiny.
  • Fertiliser soil which I had in a bag outside.
  • Seeds from the inside of the pepper which I had used for cooking.
  • Twine and tags which I had in my arts and crafts draw

Honestly, how simple is this? You just put the seeds into the soil! I then watered them in and placed them on my window sill. It didn’t take long for them to sprout. I planted the seeds around mid-September. All I had to do was water the plants on a regular basis. By Christmas, they were a really good height and present worthy.

This does not just have to be for kids but for anyone, in fact, I also gave a pepper gift to another friend who likes to grow their own herbs for cooking.

Picture of the plants for Christmas.

christmas pepper plants .png

Picture of Oscar replanting his pepper plant which he has cared for.

christmas gift for free.png

Picture of Joseph holding his yellow pepper that he has just picked.

christmas gift homegrown.png

Joseph is so happy with his pepper plant and Oscar loves taking care of his. A lot of emphasis is put on cost with gifts and it can miss having values. I am glad that each my homegrown plants were so greatly looked after and brought smiles to their faces throughout the year.

Do you make or grow gifts for Christmas?

Tracey xx

P.S Check out these wonderful planters for the garden.

The insider's guide to things to do at Weston Super-Mare's seafront.

My alarm went off a bit too early for a Saturday Bank Holiday morning. I was keen to be at the sea front before all the tourists and families made their way into the town. Living in Weston-super-mare myself approximately 10 minutes away from the beach, I have never visited the sea front that early before. I was able to find parking with ease and walk around without any hustle and bustle which was blissful. The sun was beating down and I knew the day ahead was set for a glorious summer’s day. I could see businesses that were setting up, putting chairs outside and cleaning outside their restaurants ready for the bank holiday

Missing out on Breakfast I ventured to Bistrot Pierre. Not one for a fatty fry up, those days have gone! When eating out I like to have nice surroundings and good food. This restaurant has one of the best outlooks onto the sea front. There is a balcony which you can sit outside and view the beach and the Pier. I arrived as soon as the restaurant had opened and choose Eggs Benedict (Oeufs Benedict) to fuel me. My breakfast cost £7.50 and I opted for an Americano costing £2.20. Now, I like a good coffee and being offered filtered coffee was a big hit.

Knowing that the grand pier is having a spectacular fireworks display the following weekend, (which I can usually hear from my home) I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to book a table. I thought it would be lovely to sit and eat and watch the sky illuminate in amazing colours. I was really disheartened and disappointed when I asked if I could book any table by the window to be told that this was not possible as no one can reserve a window table.  I was able to book a table but it would not be guaranteed that I would be seated in the window.   Hmmm, seeing as this was the only reason that I wanted a table and I haven’t tried their evening menu I opted against the booking. It just wouldn’t be the same to be placed in an area and have my back to the display.

My Eggs Benedict.


On route to my first meeting, I walked along the beach,  I had chosen my trusty “vans” footwear for the day as comfort is key, plus they suit a day at the beach. It was quite nice to see the tide in at the time. Weston has one of the highest tidal rises in the world. You can park on the beach but be warned. Warning signs regarding the tide are there for a reason which people seem to ignore and you end up seeing a car immersed in water on social media pages. This happens a lot! In fact over the bank holiday weekend, I saw a photo of a Mercedez that had been immersed in water whilst a person in a jet ski looks upon the roof of the car.

As I arrived at the Sand Sculpture Festival located on the seafront, I was greeted by very friendly staff. The site is open each year from Easter to the middle of October. This is their 12th year at Weston-super-Mare which I found quite shocking as I had no idea 12 years had passed.  Artists from all over the world come along and put the sculptures together. The sculptures are quite large and detailed. A ticket for an adult is £4.00. There are 36 sculptures on site and it has a little play area for kids to make sand castles. You would probably spend at least an hour on site walking around, the time you look and take photos. What did impress me is that on the last day of it being open, they open it to various charities for the blind. They are able to come in and feel each of the sculptures.  I did include video footage of the sand sculptures separately as well as including it, in the link at the bottom of the page. Please feel free to check out my you tube account. Inspired By T.

elephant sand sculpture weston-super-mare.png

Due to the amazing weather,  I kept to the outdoors and didn’t venture on to the Pier. The Pier was burnt down in 2008 and was rebuilt. I remember the day it was on fire, I recall getting ready for work and hearing the news on the radio, whilst I was driving to work you could see the smoke billowing into the sky.   I have been inside the pier many times since it has reopened. You have to now pay a £1.00 entry per person. Inside they have many rides and slot machines and you can barely move in some parts during peak times. I prefer taking my Daughter when it is not so busy and when we are looking for indoor entertainment. During the summer, on glorious days I absolutely love being outdoors, with my sun cream on obviously!

On the beach, you can pay just £2.00 to have a donkey ride!  That’s not bad. Having a donkey ride is a big attraction to Weston super mare. In fact, my home is built on the existing donkey fields which you used to see as you entered Weston.

donkey weston-super-mare.png

The Beach gets really full on the dry sand, families set up their beach shelters or just sit on beach towels. I saw these funky towels on line which state the towels dry 3 times faster than normal towels. I thought these would make the perfect beach accessory. Click on picture for more information.

Next to the Sand Sculpture Festival is Funland . This is free entry and you pay to go on rides with tokens. It is an outdoor attraction with fair ground attraction rides, which can keep families entertained. I filmed the area which will give you an idea of the rides. Youtube link at the bottom of the page. The site is open till quite late into the evening also. I met a few of the Staff on site, which enjoyed working there. Be quick though if you’re looking to visit as it closes soon till next year. A couple of years ago, this site was Dismaland which displayed Banksy pieces of work. Staff on site were actually paid to stand around and look miserable and you were told off if you laughed! This was so popular, I wanted to go on a weekend but the queues were too large and ended up missing out. Many years prior to that it was the Tropicana which had its own outdoor pool.

A couple of years ago, this site was Dismaland which displayed Banksy pieces of work. Staff on site were actually paid to stand around and look miserable and you were told off if you laughed! This was so popular, I wanted to go on a weekend but the queues were too large and ended up missing out. Many years prior to that it was the Tropicana which had its own outdoor pool.

The seafront also has “skyview” a big wheel which I saw lots of people queuing for a ride. Perfect, if you’re like me and enjoy taking photos for instagram. The gondola’s reach a 40-metre height.


There is a pirate Adventureland which is situated next to “skyview” It does stand out on the seafront with children climbing around the high ropes and underneath you have an 18 hole adventure golf. As you walk past you can hear the shrills of kids having fun. You would, however, have to pay separately for each of these.  It is quite small compared to other Adventureland’s. However, I did think the party package was okayish, Normally a 6-15 year old is £6.00 to enter the high ropes. For a party package, it’s £9.99 per child which includes:-

  • 1 round of walk the plank high ropes course
  • ice cream, 1 drink or slush puppie, pirates hat, pirates sword, pirates hook, pirate eye patch and earring.

By midday, the sun was beaming and many people were sat outside. The noise of families were quite prominent. Making my way past the grand pier there was a very distinct smell of fish and chips in the air. I could also see a large queue for a Mr whippy ice cream for just a £1.00. I was actually tempted myself!

Have you visited Weston-super-Mare lately? what did you think?

Here is my video of that Morning. Just to give you a heads up, I do have a problem with the acoustics in some places. It was absolutely fine before I did my upload, seems I now need to invest in a microphone, my apologies.

Tracey xx

How to upcycle an​ old table

Do you like home decor and upcycling? It’s one of my passions. I so enjoy finding unique items for the home and also transforming an item.

A while ago I was in need of a new coffee table to suit my lounge. Perusing the furniture shops I just could not find the right table for me. I like my furniture to be built well in order for it to last so I tend to look out for solid items. I saw a couple of coffee tables which may have worked for me and they started at £500. I decided to look on line for second-hand furniture that I could up-cycle. When it comes to money I try to be as savvy as possible. I have quite a beady eye for finding a bargain that is able to look more expensive to what I originally paid. Whilst searching the “for sale” sites on line, I found a very used and stained wooden coffee that was varnished. The person selling wanted £15 but I offered £10. He immediately said yes so I went along to pick it up. I looked it over and looked grimey and would need some work, but definitely something I could work with as it was solid wood. I gave the gentleman my £10 and I felt good that I could start work on my new project.  I never spend too much on an item for a project just in case it doesn’t work. If it went horribly wrong, then I really have not lost much at all. table renovation

I came home and put the table in the garage and started prepping. I used an electric sander and also sanding paper for little areas. I do recommend an electric sander as this did save a lot of time. I did this over many evenings as there were some quite deep scratches. I made sure a wore a respiratory mask to protect myself. It’s actually quite a work out for your body when sanding too.

Once sanded, I then cleaned the table to get rid of any dust with wipes which I purchased at the DIY store. I then set to work. I thought for this project I would try spray paint for wood. I purchased a couple of cans and a primer spray and started spraying. This was my first attempt at spray painting. I did this in fine sprays at the recommended distance and coated several layers, waiting in-between for each coat to completely dry. This took a fair few evenings but within a week. Voila, a new table. It is so important to make sure the room is well ventilated when spraying.

I was amazed at how the spray paint went on so even and how the table had transformed. At the time we were living in a home with lots of cream colours and it went perfectly with my surroundings.

Picture of the table once completed. What do you think?

Table renovation upcyle project

  • £10 for table
  • Approximately £30 for spray paint and primer
  • £5 sanding sheets
  • £2 wipes

Since I have done this, we have moved and I am looking to resand and perhaps choose either a bright white or a chalky grey to suit the home. Currently undecided.

For sanding, I found using an electric sander like this very handy- link (click on photo for price)

If you follow me on Instagram (official_inspired_by_t) you will know that I recently made a side table from a fallen tree. I will be blogging about this soon and also I did film the preparation which will go on to my you tube channel. Are you subscribed? My channel is called Inspired By T, love you to check this out.

Thank you for reading

Tracey xx

Home cooking from the Gousto box

I recently received my first ever Gousto box. I was slightly apprehensive about ordering as I like to decide on a night what I will cook. I considered, my food shop is probably 2 hours out of the week. The time I pick the foods in the shop, car journey and putting the food away back home, not to mention the stress of finding a space in the car park.

Currently, I am working a full-time career, sole provider for my Daughter, studying interior design and blogging plus I make sure I look after my well-being by doing some meditation or activity plus other responsibilities. Time for me is precious.
Taking the plunge, I ordered 3 recipes for 2 people which I thought would be suitable for a teenager and myself. I have video’ed some of the cooking.

I ordered :-

  • Cheaty chicken kiev
  • Tuna Mac N’ Cheese with balsamic salad
  • Moroccan lamb lasagne

When I saw the chicken breasts in a vacuum plastic pack I really didn’t think there was a lot there. Actually, it was 400g but with Gousto they actually do not pack the food in big containers and waste lots of packaging. In fact, if the amount of packaging that is used in the supermarkets irritates you, then this would be perfect for you. The meat is packed in protective wool cool which can be reused for pet’s bedding or upcycled.

Youtube link below. Check it out, it shows how the meals end up looking.

First, we cooked the cheaty chicken kiev which was actually pretty easy. There was plenty of food for the meal, in fact, One chicken Kiev and lots of mash were put in a container for the following day. Lunch was sorted! It was also strangely satisfying listening to the noise of when I placed the floured egged chicken breast into the plate of breadcrumbs. My daughter is fussy but she loved the kiev she just didn’t think much of the broccoli mash.

The tuna mac n’ cheese with the balsamic salad made enough for 4 people. We actually had this the following night also due to how much was left over. Quite strange I thought to add sugar to the balsamic salad, however, it was really nice. This took just a bit longer than 35 minutes which I wouldn’t normally do for a tuna dish.

Completely my fault but I didn’t get to make the Moroccan lamb lasagne. I should have made this as one as one of the first dishes. From the time of the delivery, it only had an expiry date of 4 days. So bit disappointed with myself there.

I do have another box which has arrived and looking forward to all new recipes to cook and taste.

It is time-consuming with all the prep and cooking though when you want to cook from scratch. I probably do not use quite as many saucepans as I have for this cooking.

I am loving cooper items for my kitchen at the moment. I found this cooper saucepan. Perfect for all this cooking. Click on the link for a price.

Thank you for reading

Tracey xx

Why family is so important

There is that saying “you can’t choose your family but you can choose your friends” This is so true. During my teenage years, I wanted a “normal family” It wasn’t until I reached my late teens that I realised that there is no such thing.

I am blessed with friends and have great work colleagues but I know no matter what I have the backing of a great family. Now, obviously, not all family members get on. I have an amazing relationship with my Mum and with my only Daughter, but I want to talk about my relationship with my sister.

My sister’s name is Jasmine and you cannot find two people which are more different. We are most definitely chalk and cheese. I work in Sales, love being creative and if there’s a party I am probably one of the last to leave, I could be chatting to someone for hours with absolutely no concept of time at all.  Jasmine works in payroll, on a night out, will ask the bartender if she can have a cup of tea and cannot wait to get home.

My sister Jasmine.


However that being said, My sister is one of my best friends. We have such a strong bond. On average I reckon I speak to Jasmine once a day. Even though we live about 20 miles from each other, we find time for other. We have grown up supporting each other through thick and thin. In fact Jasmine is always supportive of me,  her enthusiasm for anything that I do gives me a warm glow. I actually have 2 sisters, Hannah is my other sister and is just 16 years old so naturally I am closer to Jasmine.

We have the strangest fallings out. We can argue badly at each other and if you were an outsider looking at us. You would think that any friendship would be damaged forever. Not us, we have had the biggest blow ups. We can literally scream at each other down the phone until one of us hangs up, I will shout something along the lines of “your never welcome in my home again” then within 30 minutes she lets herself in to my home, puts the kettle on and turns to me asking if I want a drink! It’s just so cheeky that it’s laughable which is what I do. 5 minutes later were nattering away like nothing has happened.

Although Jasmine and myself do not share the same fashion trends and are different on so many levels. We do share the same morals and we both have a taste for nice restaurants and places. One of Jasmine’s favourite things to do is to have a high tea. I am not much of a cake type person myself and avoid cream but we always end up in nice places. We both have such appreciation for our surroundings.

Picture of when I treated Jasmine to the Orient express – British Pullman London – Paris.

orient express why family is important

Jasmine has the kindest heart and is such a grounded person. Over the years, Jasmine has joined my Daughter and myself on many holidays, day trips, meals or just to chill out.

There is no way I could have been so successful at work without her help. In fact without her help I would have really struggled. When my daughter was younger, little things like being stuck on the motorway and not being able to get to the nursery to pick up my Daughter in time involved a call to Jasmine to ask if she could pick up my gorgeous girl. If my work load was so bad, my sister was kind enough to come round and give a hand with dinner and it was just nice for someone to make a cuppa whilst getting things done. For any single parent mum with a career, it is so nice to have that support.

I definitely do not take my relationship with her for granted. We all work hard but having quality time with family is so important. We have so many stories which we can both laugh at and sometimes cry.  I have learnt over the years that the work, life balance is so important.

I completely dedicate this blog to my sister, (aka my best friend, supporter)

Below is a picture of us, taken many moons ago. Jasmine on the left and I am on the right in the gorgeous green tights.

sister blog why family is so important

I saw this cup and one of the sayings it had printed on it “sisters are different flowers from the same garden” If you are looking for a gift for your sister, click on the image below.

Thank you for reading

Tracey xx

Gousto Home cooking – What's in my box

I have recently ordered the Gousto food in a box, I took advantage of the special offer they are running.  I prefer buying fresh foods and adding vegetables, which my Daughter tells me spoils the food. I thought this would be a great idea as life is very busy. If I can take away another chore of food shopping then happy days!

Also my food shop turns out quite expensive as we always end up buying than expected. Hoping this may save a few pennies.

I’ll be putting up my videos of me showing the cooking and hopefully not ruining the food as that will be embarrassing.

Have a look at the video below.


Saw this trendy little gadget, which would be great for home cooking. Click on image below for more details.

Trying and testing Clinique's products at their "You time"event.

I was invited to a “You Time” Blogging event at the Mall in Cribbs Causeway, Bristol. After  attending the last Beauty event I made sure on my arrival I had not refreshed my make-up, even though it was the end of the day and needed doing. I knew they would be taking it straight off, so I just didn’t bother.

Arriving at the Clinique counter,  I was greeted by Tom, one of the Clinique’s representatives. Now, as most of my readers will know, I am a UK National Account Manager during the day and service means so much to me. I instantly liked Tom due to the fact he greeted me by name and remembered me from my prior visit. Little touches like this are so important to me as a consumer.

Sitting down, nice and relaxed I was offered cucumber water from the dispenser. I felt this really fitted the look of the Clinique counter. I had my remains of make up removed. Tom, applied a very gentle 2 in 1 micellar cleanser gel and light makeup remover to my face. This went around the eyes and didn’t sting once. What surprised me most was the fact that he needed a few cotton wool pads as the dirt kept coming off! Which was a bit embarrassing. I thought I was pretty good with my strict cleansing routine.

Clinique makeup event.jpg

The sonic brush was used on my face. The brush it’s self is not abrasive and Tom explained how this cleanses deep into the pores without damaging the skin. I asked about the other versions on the market and what makes clinique’s so different. I was advised that others have been known to stretch the pores. The sonic brush comes as a set. I did feel that my skin had a “deep clean”. A few days after the event I did break out with a few spots, which is rare for me. I some times may suffer with 1 but had 4 in one go, which didn’t thrill me.  As I have only used this product once, it’s hard for me to say it was defiantly an effect from having this “deep clean” though.  £79.00

Clarifying lotion no.3 was then applied. I love these bottles that just look so clean and fresh. Clarifying lotion is actually a exfoliant which I did not know. I always thought this was just a toner.  Tom told me how this is kind enough to the skin to be used daily £27.50 400ml

Clinique blog

Dramatically different moisturiser was then applied to my face. Currently Dramatically different is the UK’s no.1 moisturiser. One sold every 5 seconds, which is amazing. I personally think that the price is spot on for 125ml £30 (Boots)  If I compare this to my current cream which is No.7 Protect and Perfect Intense Advanced day cream which is £25 for 50ml. I never actually picked up on how little cream I was actually getting for my money until today. I have just found a saving to my skin care range without trying. The great thing I found about dramatically different is it soaks straight into the skin and does not feel greasy at all. I have combination skin so this is great for me. £30.00 125ml

I also tried Moisture surge hydrating supercharged concentrate which hydrates your skin instantly. It has little beads which contain vitamin c and e. I really like the sound of this plus it did feel nice on my skin. This is a product I would like to try over a week or more to see the difference to give a more accurate opinion. I was told the beads are soft enough for the eye area and it also acts as a primer. £34.00 48ml

Currently there is an offer at Clinique where if you buy 2 items (one from skin care or foundation) you receive a gift set shown below. If you purchase a 3rd product, you would also receive the Jonathan Alder eyeshadow kit and the smart night custom moisturiser. Being the Person that loves a good deal I would make sure I took advantage of these offers as I would be getting so much more for my money.


Clinique have teamed up with designer Jonathan Alder, the summer products look quite bold and funky.

Clinique Jonathan Alder.png

My overall experience of Clinique from looking at their products and chatting with the Clinque representative, is that Clinque is aimed at everyone. They have products for Men and Women at all ages, with different skin types. Clinique do a free diagnostic of your skin which helps you pick the right products, which is perfect for those that suffer with skin complaints. I never knew that when Clinque was first developed it was a prescription only product.

I definitely think that there are a few products that Clinique’s pricing is much better than most perceive it to be.

Whilst I was there I witnessed a Couple come over and greet Tom with such familiarity. When he returned to me, I asked if that they were friends or family. Yes, I am that nosy! I was told that it was one of his Customers. Going back to what I have said at beginning about service, this speaks volumes. Clinique seem to massive on looking after their Customer’s which makes people return. It’s hardly surprising that with a good product and a high level of service that their moisturiser is no.1. in UK.

Hope you enjoyed my blog. Thank you for reading. Please show your love by liking and sharing with your friends and family. If you would be interested in more of my blogs please follow me by pressing the “follow me” link.

Tracey xx

Pimms or Austins (Aldi's own brand)

Our English summer is still upon us.  Every year, we hear, a heat wave is coming! This year we have been blessed with some spectacular sunny days. Us Brits love our bright sunny days where we take to the supermarkets invest in new Barbeques, outside furniture, plenty of bbq food and the summer alcohol. Inviting friends and family over for food and drinks and lots of laughter.

In the past my tipple has been wine or proscecco and if I am feeling in that celebratory mood then popping a cork of champagne is not unheard of.  In the Summer we tend to change our drinking habits and try something more fruity with plenty of ice.

This Season I seem to have taken a occasional liking for a gin and tonic with a slice of lime, however my household favourite this Summer has been Pimms, mixed with strawberries, oranges and cucumber with plenty of lemonade, ice cubes and mint leaves to garnish.  It tastes like a complete treat on the taste buds. Although alcoholic drinks are deemed unhealthy, for some psychological reason for me, it seems a tad more healthier than any other alcoholic drink, this may be due to fruit I put in. The best part for me is after a couple of glasses, the next morning I do not have a hangover. Fantastic result as some weekends in the past, after a few glasses of wine it can really turn me into a gremlin the next day. Yep, keeping away from bright light, just lots of food and being a grumpy cow.

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 21.28.36

One Friday evening, I needed a few bits from the shops and popped into the local Aldi. I had gone in and bought all my fruit required for my “Pimms” Just before the till I spotted a bottle of what looked like Pimms  which I was going to have to pick up in the next Shop. I read the label of the Austin’s classic summer punch and you could see it was the comparison but the best part was that it was only £6.99. I thought I would give it a go.  This also saved me popping to the next shop to get the “Pimms” and saving about £9.00. 1 lt Pimms currently selling at £16.00. At the till the Cashier commented on my bottle informing me how good it was. This was encouraging!

That evening I put my ice cubes, fruit and my fake pimms (Aldi’s Austin Summer punch) and lemonade into the jug, hoping I had made the right choice. I placed a straw in the glass and took a sip……I liked it! RESULT.

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 21.30.08

The following week, at a moments notice I was told the family were coming around mine and we were having a takeaway. Here was my chance to do a test, I prepared my jug of punch, to my liking. Sitting on the kitchen side was a bottle of used Pimms but I had made the punch using Aldi’s Austin Summer punch. To the unsuspecting eye one would assume it was Pimms as no other bottle was to be seen. As they entered my kitchen I  offered a glass of the ready made punch. “Yes please I do like a Pimms” came the replies.  It was quite a warm day, it was going down a treat. They had no idea that it wasn’t the real thing.  At the time I didn’t want to say as I wanted to see if it was noticeable.  That evening the jug of Summer punch went down well with no complaints only compliments.

I would say if you are drinking these two drinks straight (which no one does) the difference is there, Pimms is stronger. However once mixed with your fruits, mint leaves and cold lemonade I find it very hard to notice. Pimms is also has a stronger percentage of alcohol at 25% Aldi’s Austins Summer punch is 17.5%

I now am converted to Aldi’s Austin Summer punch which not only tastes great but saves  on average £9 a bottle! Fantastic saving

Its also so versatile you can mix the drink to suit you. I will be trying it soon with pomegranate juice instead of lemonade.

I have not made home made ice lollies with the punch just yet.  I can already imagine that with small pieces of fruit and with the lovely colour plus with the kick of alcohol these would go down so well. A definite Instagram moment to come.

I now just wish for the sunny weather to come back so I can enjoy a glass in the garden.

Yves Saint Laurent Beauty Event July 2017 – review of products

This was my very first beauty event and I had been looking forward to it all week.  I woke up that Morning with a sense of exhilaration. That Morning as I started work in front of my laptop, I felt like shampoo had just been placed in my eyes. The pain was immense. They stung so bad and tears were flowing down my face. I looked in the mirror, to my horror, my eyes had become so swollen that I resembled Will Smith in the film Hitched. I am surprised the mirror didn’t shatter. Hayfever had got me. Not usually one to suffer on this extent. Trying to work through the day with blurry bloodshot swollen and very painful eyes. I had a tissue in one hand wiping the tears and inside I was praying my eyes would improve. After taking more antihistamines and applying eye drops. I made the decision at end of the day, that regardless of my situation, I was still attending. I just would not have my photo taken, as if I struggled to look in the mirror, I certainly did not want my picture on this blog.

I arrived at Boots, the Mall, Cribbs Causeway in Bristol looking like I had spent the day crying and headed straight for the Yves Saint Laurent counter. I could see Ladies gathered around the beauty counter. Laid out were fresh strawberries and glasses of fizz and little goodie bags on the shelf. I was greeted by the beautiful girls with their very perfect make up.

I have been looking after my skin since I was 13 years old. Being the age I am now, 35…cough cough (41) how I wear my makeup has changed over the years. I spend a fortune on my creams and makeup and I am always on the look out for “that” best product. Over time I have found amazing products which makes my skin glow and it feels like years have been taken off. (Hurrah to that) I have certain expectations also from my makeup. Not one to over do my makeup as I think during the week a much more subtle look suits me better.

A few things that are very important to me is good skin tone and that my complexion is not dull in appearance. Having small eyebrows I like to make sure they look very neat and tidy. My eyelashes are quite fair at the ends and mascara completely changes this for me. A good mascara is one of my beauty essentials as it really compliments my eyes and makes them look awake. I am quite lucky to have good lips and with the right products, this can really give me a nice “pout”.

Things I require from my makeup-

  1. Not to cake my skin, as this definitely enhances any fine lines (why on earth would I want to accentuate this!)
  2. I want a product that I apply in the morning that will not fade within a couple of hours (Last thing I need, is to apply in the Morning, have a 3 hour drive and look like I have not bothered)
  3. I want good quality products with longitivtiy (No one wants to spend their well earned money to find it’s empty after a couple of weeks, which has been the case)

Going to back to the event, I was sat down to be given a makeover. The Lady who was looking after me could see how my eyes were very bad. My make up was taken off and I was reassured that their eye cream would assist also.

During the make over I found 2 products which really stood out for me.

At the time I was also shown a beauty tip, which my friend’s and I have been trying out. Please click on the video below.

I will go through all the products used and the prices I was given at the time.

Products used –
Forever Youth liberator serum. £66.00 30ml. – Informed this will make my skin more radiant.

Forever Youth liberator creme £67.00 50ml – Apparently you only need a very small amount when applying this.

Forever Youth liberator eye serum £50.00 15ml – Due to my poorly eyes. I was informed this brings down puffiness, inflammation and targets wrinkles. I googled this product after the event, this has received 7 noble prizes! It certainly did feel like it had soothed the area.



Touche Eclat Blur Primer £29.50 30ml – I always use primer as it’s a staple part of my beauty routine. I was actually amazed by the Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Blur Primer. I was informed at the time this is one of  YSL best sellers, behind the well know touch eclait concealer. It has a rather gloppy constancy but does not feel greasy or sticky. You only need a pea sized amount and it made my skin super soft. At first I was apprehensive as the bottle shows gold flecks and I did not want a glittery face. Once applied you can barely see the glitter and it is supposed to reflect light. This became a must have product for me as I have found other primers to be to oily or I have felt like I have used cement mix.  Very light and very smooth. I purchased this at the time due to how impressed I was.

Touche Eclat Radiant Touche Highlighting Pen £25.50 – I sit on the fence on this product. So many people love this, but currently I am using 2 other products (not at the same time) Estee Lauder’s double wear concealer and Benefits Boi-ing. I find this was on a par.

Le Teint Touche Eclat Foundation fluid £33.50 30ml – This was applied to half my face. Colour B40 was applied and this was a perfect match to my skin. I loved the feel and look of this.

Touche Eclat Cushion Foundation £40.00 – This was applied to the other half of my face. B30 was used.  It looked amazing on my skin. However this actually did feel like I was wearing a more heavier foundation. At the end of the evening I felt like I had a mask on one side of face and took it off. Complete thumbs up to the packaging on this product is just pure luxury and I was told you can buy refills.

Souffle d’Eclat loose powder £38.00 Powder was applied over my entire face. The powder felt soft and light. It did not cake my skin which can happen with other powders where they enhance the fine lines around the eye area.

Touche Eclat Glow Shot – £22.50 This highlighter was applied to the top of the cheek bones and above my lip. Doing this is meant to enhance the cupids bow and give that fuller effect pout on your lips. I could see how this shimmered under my eyes. You only need such a small amount of this product. This can be taken in your hand bag for a night out and applied over makeup when needed.

Couture Palettes (Eyeshadow) £43.50  Savage escape was used on my eyes. I loved the packaging and I loved the colours. I did not find the eyeshadows creased and it stayed on all evening. The packaging is very luxurious and this could be a perfect gift set also.

The Shock Mascara £23.00 I own a lot of Mascaras! Mascara really enhances my lashes. I tried “The Shock” mascara. I actually said at the time…wow! This mascara gives a really full thicker lash effect. It actually was false lashes in a instant. The brush is different to normal also. The only bad point I have is that it is not water proof and now being a new hay fever suffer my eyes run and so the Mascara comes off.  The effect is amazing I just need to be choosy and be hay fever free when wearing this.

Rouge Pur Couture Star Clash edition no 70 £27.00 – The final piece to complete the make over was the lipstick. This was a limited edition. This was very light and natural on me. It was not sticky nor did it have a funny taste.

I did leave the event feeling quite wonderful which was not a feeling I had on arrival.

Thank you to Chloe Thresher. Picture of Chloe having her make up done.  Her blog is

5 ways to gain more time

Can you gain more time? YES

Can you find time to do hobbies? YES

No one wishes they spent more time working!

Okay, so this is my very first post, as this is something I had to do in order to get more out of my life,  I am guessing if you have stumbled upon this blog, it’s either because you know me and would like to be nosey (which I actively encourage) or maybe the title grabbed you and your way off balance in your life. If its the latter, I am hoping what I have done in my life is helpful to you.

As a Single Parent to my 15 year old Daughter and in the day I am a National Key Account Manager travelling all over the UK looking after the Hotel and Leisure sector, I needed more time!!

We all get 168 hours per week. I will keep reverting back to time.

Imagine if I said, I could give you a extra ten hours a week to do what you want! You probably would say I was crazy and wonder if I lived on the same planet as you, bear with me.

I have changed my life and you can too! I now am less stressed, allow myself to enjoy the present moment and have found that my relationship with my Daughter and others have improved greatly.

Please click on the video.

1. SET GOALS –  Firstly if you want to enhance your life and do what you want, you must first, decide what you would like to do with the extra time! So do this now, grab a pen and paper…….anything will do, the scruffy piece of paper in your pocket, that had the list of groceries, has space on the back! Now write down what you would do with an extra 10 hours per week.  Read more books, take up a course, learn that foreign language, take up running, maybe even attend the gym that you have a 12 year subscription with but haven’t attended since January.


2. DIARISE – Now your all hopefully wired on what you have decided to do with your extra time, Think of yourself as one of the Elite where every minute is money that you earn. Write down a list of things you do in your week. Now be honest, write down everything. The more you put, the more you will find. I have been pretty simplistic here, the more descriptive the more you will gain:-


Monday. Get up 6.30am get ready.

7.30, leave for work, drop the Kid’s off at the child minders.

8.45am arrive in work.

1pm, lunch (lunch what lunch! I work from my desk, shoving the sandwich I bought from the Grab a lunch van that comes around between calls)

5pm, finish. Battle with traffic for the drive home, pick the Kid’s up whilst being attacked by the other children also waiting to be picked up. Quick chin wag with one of the other Parent’s on how bad the traffic was.

6.15-6.20pm Finally, arrive home. Is It time for Bed now? Of course not, now the Kids have just starting fighting and the Dinner has to be cooked and I have School home work to help with.

6.20pm, I need time out, but Dinner needs cooking. Tonight will be simple, using the left over chicken from yesterdays roast, A bit of this and bit of that.

6.45pm All food prepped and in the oven, now time for a quick cuppa (Monday is to early for a glass of wine) and chill before Dinner is served, ah the sofa, turn on the tv, scroll through facebook,

7.15pm Dinner is served.

7.30pm Kids have eaten like they are starving. Not even sure they have chewed the food before swallowing, I am left with empty plates and dishes to be cleaned.

8pm, Kids in the bath and put in the bedclothes whilst going through their spelling which was set as home work.

8.45pm Kids are in bed and I have survived yet another day. I have missed what I wanted on tv, hurrah for catch up.

9pm, Back in to the Sitting room as I need to just relax, hoping to catch the film (what happened in Vegas) Yes, I have seen it before, about 3 times now, but it’s a easy watch and funny plus I need something light hearted as my brain is fried. Also need to catch up with my friend Sasha via text and see how her weekend went with the In-Laws.

11pm Time for bed, film went on longer than I expected due to adverts but I caught up with Sasha and arranged a meal out soon.

11-11.15pm, getting undressed, teeth brushed, make up off, creams applied. 11.30pm sleep. DAY OVER.

Does this sound familiar? This is just a mere example but be as specific as you can and as I mentioned before be honest. This will not work if you are not willing to see how you exactly spend your days within the week. Are you addicted to looking at your work emails when you have finished work? Do you have daily phone calls or spend time texting and the time just disappears? Are you helping Someone to much where perhaps others could lend a hand?

3. LOOK –  So we have now established what you are looking to do with the extra time and what you do with your time. I will say it again we all get 168 hours per week. So say for instance you do a 40 hour week plus your commuting, calling this a 50 hour week. We also have to sleep. I personally need 7 hours of sleep every night, so taking this into account, I have added a extra hour basing it on a whole 8 hours of sleep per night which is 56 hours per week. So we are now left with 62 hours. Now weekends are different, we have already allocated the sleep time so we have 24 hours x 2 (-16 hours of sleep already taken into account) We then have 32 hours on a weekend which now leaves us with 30 hours for the week. 30 hours dividing this by 5 equals 6 hours per day. Hopefully your still following. Look at your figures? where are you spending your time?

4. LET GO – When I looked at my time I realised I spent 2 hours a week at home just watching EastEnders. I gave it up! This sounds like some sort of drug! Its good to look at it that way. What did I gain from watching it? Nothing! It was my habit. One I had since the story line was Michelle, sharon and Ian were all at School and they were putting a band together, Yes, a long time. Not only did I put a soap series to one side, but now our television is not used in the same way any more. I gained time which I was just loosing. I started being more creative. I began to meditate which has been amazing for me. I also stopped looking at emails in the evening and causing myself unnecessary worry which would cause me to be snappy.  I also took an hour each Morning to get ready, I have also found shortcuts here too.

5. LIVE FOR NOW. Its entirely your choice how you want to live and how you wish to spend your time. If you hear some one saying they do not have time, it’s rubbish it actually means that they can not be bothered.

Do you have time for the gym? True answer Yes, but it’s hard work and it’s so much easier to park up on the sofa and blame being tired or having children as a excuse. Again I use this as a example. If you want to do something then you find a way.

Don’t be envious of what others achieve in their week. Jump on board!

LIVE YOUR LIFE! Make your moments count.


I do hope you enjoyed my blog. Please follow me. If you have any tips which also would help people for time management, please comment below, plus I would love to hear from you.



I am so excited to hold my first competition.


So easy to enter.


  • Follow twitter page –  @inspired_by_t
  • Retweet the competition post
  •  Leave a comment on this page with the answer to the following question

What is my youngest sister called?

pssst, so easy, the answer, is under the about me page.


  • Follow the facebook page @InspiredyT
  • Share the post
  • Leave a comment on this page with the answer to the following question.

What is my youngest sister called?

pssst, so easy, the answer, is under the about me page.

IMPORTANT – I am running this competition myself and it is not associated with Facebook or Twitter. The competition is not sponsored or has any link with John Lewis or Waitrose direct.

If you are already following you can still be in with a chance of winning.

The voucher will be posted registered post and I will obtain proof of posting.

A winner will be chosen at random on 21st September 2017.


Johnlewis:Waitrose competition