How to Make Moving to a New House Easy

Hello Lovely,

Moving house is stressful, exhausting and frustrating - so much so that most people put off moving house until they absolutely need to. Of course, this is the best possible way to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you’re having to rush around, you will almost certainly be stressed, exhausted and frustrated! 

So what can you do to make moving house easier?

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Be Prepared

Honesty is the best policy, especially when it comes to buying a house. From day one, you should be thinking about how a property can grow and change with you so that you are prepared for the prospect of moving. For example, a young couple might start with a small apartment but know that they will have to move when they start a family. 

As soon as you start thinking about moving, you should start editing your belongings and preparing your own house for sale. Moving things you want to keep but don’t need all the time to storage is a good idea but selling your stuff is a very effective way of making a little bit of cash on the side for new things when you move. All in all, the less stuff you have to move, the easier it will be. 

Get Help

Help comes in many forms and all are good. A professional mover like 2 Men And A Truck will always take the pressure off you when it comes to actually shifting your stuff from property to property. But you should also look to family and friends for some support. 

If you can’t afford storage, you might be able to persuade someone to lend you their spare room for a couple of weeks. If you need help packing boxes, you’d be surprised how well a few pizzas and bottles of wine go down! Of course, the best way to get help is to ask well in advance and turn your packing into a game - kids will really love gathering as many toys as possible if it’s a race! 

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Take Your Time

This leads us to the most important tip for making moving house easy: take your time. If you start packing up your things as soon as the idea of moving house enters your mind, you will find it a lot easier when you actually find a house and you’re ready to move. The property market can be speedy so the more time you have to prepare, the better.

Taking your time while you actually pack is important too. If you carefully label each box with its contents and where it is going, you will find it a lot easier to find the things you need when you arrive at your new place. Giving a number, colour and priority is another good tip to follow as this will influence how you unpack too. 

Moving house is always going to be a bit hectic but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. When you prepare, get help and take your time, moving can actually be quite fun. Remember that this is a really exciting thing to be doing! 

Why You Need To Get Outside Whatever The Weather

Why You Need To Get Outside Whatever The Weather

It’s still sun shiny weather in the Bahamas, but this week we’ve dipped a little into the high 70’s and I’m enjoying it! For those who are about to experience “Seasonal Affect Disorder” type cold weather, here are some tips to help you fight the cold weather blues.

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How to Create a Sanctuary at Home

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Hello Lovely,

Sometimes you need to get away from it all, and have a space of your own to relax. Creating a peaceful sanctuary at home allows you to unwind in a space that belongs to you. Even if you only have a small space available, you can turn it into the perfect place to relax whenever you need it. You might turn your bedroom into somewhere you can go to get away from it all, or there might be another space in your home that's ideal for your needs. If you're thinking of creating the perfect sanctuary in your home, take a look at these tips.

Decorate with Relaxing Colors and Materials

Decorating your space might be the first thing that you think about once you decide where you want to create your peaceful sanctuary. You might not want to make the space too cluttered, so think carefully about your design. When you're choosing colors and materials, try to create a light and airy space. Neutral shades and pastel colors can be good choices for a relaxing space. Natural materials are also an excellent idea if you want to create a calming space. You could even include plants to help bring a natural feel to your space.

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Create a Comfortable Space

If you want to relax, you need to be comfortable. Whether you decide to create a comfortable space on your bed or you want to have a chair or even a beanbag that you can sink into, there are various ways that you can have a space to sit, lie or lounge in. You might also want to think about creating a sensory experience, with soft materials that are nice to sink into and feel good to the touch too. Use cushions, blankets and other items to make sure you have a comfortable space that you love.

Control the Lighting

The right lighting is important in your sanctuary, whether it's artificial or natural light. Being able to adjust the lighting in your space means you can have it just as you want it. You can browse brands such as Carpet One so that you can choose blinds or curtains to allow you to control the natural light from your window. You can shut out the light from outdoors or decide to let it in when you want to. You can also choose a variety of options for artificial lighting so you can have everything from the soft flow of a lamp to a more focused lighting if you're trying to be creative or productive.



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Make Your Space Inspiring

When you create a sanctuary for yourself at home, it's often the ideal place to feel inspired and get creative. If you want to use your space for this purpose, think of what might help to inspire you. It could be some artwork on the wall, some books or other material available for you to read or anything else that gets you thinking.

Create your own private sanctuary at home and you will always have somewhere to relax and unwind.

7 Essentials When Looking To Buy A New House

Hello Lovely,

The single largest purchase most of us will ever make in our entire lives is a house. Buying a home can be exciting, scary and stressful all at the same time. There are, of course, so many things to consider when purchasing your new home, it can get overwhelming.

Today we are going to take a look at some of the most important things to take into consideration when looking for your new home.

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Know Your Limits

The first and most important thing you should pay attention to when buying a house is knowing precisely what you can afford. Affordability should never be confused with what you can borrow. 

You should sit down and do a total cost breakdown of every cost compared to your income. There is nothing worse than living to work. When looking for a house, you can find estimates online that should give you figures for the cost of living in the properties location.

You should also pay attention to the available repayment calculators that are available online. Using these calculators will enable you to see what your mortgage repayment will be month on month.

Do Your Research 

If you stumble across a property that you think is perfect on initial glance, be careful not to get too carried away. Houses are excellent at hiding issues. Having an array of surveys carried out on the property should be one of the first things that are done.

There can be several issues with houses. Houses can suffer from underpinning problems which can be very expensive to address, and also the very wood that frames the house can be in jeopardy. Seeking out termite control is a simple solution to this issue.

Doing your homework can often save a lot of stress and pain in the long term. Homebuyers are now blessed with the readily available information that is sitting on the internet and waiting to be found. 

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Work With The Best

When it comes to making such an essential, and huge purchase, surrounding yourself with the best professionals you can is critical. You should be looking at hiring the best and most experienced home inspectors. These professionals will help you identify absolutely any issue pre-completion. 

Also working with an experienced mortgage broker is essential when it comes to ensuring any finance is adequately structured to your individual needs. Mortgage brokers are great to use when it comes to purchasing a property.

More often than not, mortgage brokers have solid relationships with lenders and can get deals that will not be available to you.

Get To Know The Area

When buying a home, there is no such thing as being over-informed. Taking your time and getting to know as much as possible about the area you are moving to is essential. 

By conducting research on potential areas, you can research the following:

  • House prices - Knowing the prices of properties in the area and what they have sold for previously will give you a good idea of what you should be paying.

  • Properties for sale - If the area is in demand, there will be little to no houses available, and the properties will be above expected price. A lot of homes for sale could mean a sudden decline in the area.

  • Local changes - An vital thing to pay attention to is any upcoming shops or local attractions. If new attractions are due to arrive in the coming years, this could see your property price rise.

  • Schooling - Getting to know the availability of schools is excellent, especially if you have or are planning on a family. Moving to an area and discovering the schools are poor would be disappointing.

  • Flooding - it’s good to know if the area you’re interested in is susceptible to flood damage whenever it rains. For example, everyone knows that Pinewood floods when it rains, so it’s probably not a good idea to buy a house in that area.

  • Crime rates- This is important for a number of reasons. No one wants to wake up to someone in their house, or parts missing from their car. Even worse, if you live in a crime ridden area, chances are, you’re going to pay a lot more for home insurance.

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Prepare For Negotiations 

As a home buyer, the most important things for you to remember is that you have the power. Many buyers become flustered and forget that they hold all of the cards.

Heading at negotiation like a bull in a china shop is a great thing, after all, you have nothing to lose should you negotiate hard. When you look at the bigger picture, $10,000 is a lot of money, and it is money that could be better used elsewhere.

Beware The Real Estate Agents

While some real estate agents can seem like they are on your side, you should remember they are hardened salespeople. The realtor is not working for you; they are only working for the vendor. 


It is always in the interest of the real estate agent to make a quick sale at the best possible price. Real estate agents love to apply pressure to the potential buyers and try to feed you age-old lines like “Well, we have somebody else that will snatch this up today.” This is one of the oldest sales tricks in the book and only exists to bully you into making an offer.

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Listen To Your Head

In life, our parents often give us a piece of advice that sticks with us always. This piece of advice is “Go with your heart.” When it comes to purchasing a house, please ignore that advice.


Follow your head. If something seems too good to be true, it is. If something feels wrong about the property, there is no shame in walking away. The critical thing to remember here is that this is a huge financial transaction. With transactions like this, being dubious and very careful is essential.


To conclude, you should always take your time when buying a property and research is going to be the key to finding your dream home. Buying a house is a huge thing; slow and steady will always be the best way when it comes to buying your new home.

CSISoundcore: Everything you need to know before buying acoustic wall panels

CSISoundcore: Everything you need to know before buying acoustic wall panels

In order for a place to become something more than four walls and a door, it needs something extra. It needs depth, function, and a human touch. Soundcore™ answers that call with a cost-effective way to provide form and function in a beautiful display.

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The Key to Productivity That Sarah Cummings Swears By

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For me, productivity has always been a bit of a unicorn. A beautiful, mythical creature that I could visualise but never actually come face-to-face with. It seemed like something out of the movies, or maybe something that my super-organised friends could achieve… but even then I had a feeling that it was all a lie, that they were closing their bedroom doors at night and screaming their frustrations into the pillow. (Just me, then? Ok-aaaay, never mind!)

But a year ago, when it came time to do my New Year’s resolutions, a friend gave me some great advice. She suggested scrapping my lost list of vague and unrealistic goals and instead, stick to a clear mission: to become more productive. Not to lose 10lbs by February, not to be a black belt in karate overnight, not to learn 5 languages by next year. Simply to be more productive. And to write out specific ways in which I could be.

So I made a list.

I wrote out ways to help me be more productive in work, in my relationships and in my overall health. And here’s what I came up with:

1. Do one hour of exercise 3 times a week (Productive in Health)

I always put down “exercise more” or “get fit” as one of my resolutions. But by putting a number on it, this fluffy statement suddenly became an achievable goal. And it’s one I stuck to!

That January, I signed up for a Zumba class, which I still go to twice a week. It’s a big stress-reliever, it introduced me to a new group of friends, it’s given me a huge confidence boost AND it helps me to stay in great shape! Then on the weekends I’ll either go for a swim, take a yoga class or go for a hike. I like to mix it up with my third hour of exercise for the week!

2. Make a list every morning (Productive in Work)

I know, a list within a list… sound pretty nerdy, right?! But I can’t tell you how much easier my work life has been because of my morning list-making… or how less stressed I get! As soon as I sit at my desk, before I’ve even turned my computer on, I take out my notebook. (I know, how old-school am I?!) I write down 3 to 5 things I have to achieve that day, like this:

  • Email Peter re: Newsletter article
  • Weekly catch-up with interns
  • Draft out content plan for next week

Some people might think that putting small tasks like emailing on the list is pointless; but trust me, it give you a great sense of achievement when you get to cross it off. And having them written down in this way means they don’t keep getting pushed further and further back (so that newsletter article actually gets delivered on time!)

At the end of the day, if I’ve any outstanding items on my list, I’ll simply move them forward to tomorrow’s list. Simple!

3. Make an effort to sleep better (Productive in Work, Relationships AND Health)

I never used to sleep very well. And I didn’t really know what was causing it. But rather than passively accepting the fact that I’d get around 5 hours’ sleep a night, I decided to do something about it. To be productive, for a change!

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I followed the advice of a website I’d started writing for, called The Sleep Advisor. It helps people get a better sleep and it proved invaluable to my productivity levels!

Simply put, we all need our sleep. Because without it, we become grumpy, lethargic and unmotivated. We lack the energy to put effort into our relationships, our jobs and even our own personal health. We don’t exercise, we eat unhealthy foods and we take shortcuts in work. We snap at our partners, we forget friends’ birthdays… you know the drill.

On the other hand, sleep makes us more thoughtful, more patient and more likeable people. We’re kind towards loved ones and even strangers, forgiving if they wrong us in any way. We’re more enthusiastic about our work and we become popular in the office as a result. We place greater importance on our physical and mental health, knowing that staying rested is a big factor in both.

I can say all of this with confidence because frankly, I’ve been there! I’ve been the sleep-deprived, Grumpy version and the well-rested, Happy version. And I know which of the Seven Dwarves I’d rather be!

Now I always make an effort to get at least 7 hours’ sleep a night. (If I’m feeling rundown, or especially stressed, it’s closer to 9). I do this by getting some fresh air in every day (eating lunch outside, or going for a walk after work), by doing a proper session of exercise regularly and by avoiding caffeine after 2pm. I’ve also started meditating for 20 minutes every morning; which has improved my life in so many ways, I won’t get into now!

The result? Now I sleep better than ever before. And I’ve become happier, healthier and – yep, miraculously – more productive!

 

So for me, the key to productivity lies in sleep.

Once you’re well rested, all the other things have a way of falling into place.

Try it for yourself – it doesn’t have to be New Year’s, try it now anyway – and see the benefits that sleep can bring to your life.

Enjoy!!

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Hello there, productive peeps! I’m Sarah, newly established pillar of productivity and firm believer in all things snooze-related. When I’m not shaking my booty in Zumba, I’m sipping on tasty homemade smoothies (anything with peanut butter is a must!) or walking my dog Scroggins on the beach. How’s that for productivity?!

Friday Favourites

Hello Lovely,

Our beautiful Bahamaland was impacted by the monstrous Hurricane Matthew this week.  Amidst the hustle & bustle of restoration for this natural disaster in the aftermath, there were a few bright spots along the way.  Here are my top 5 moments of the week!

1. Taken to Cloud Nine –This for both the chocoholic and non-chocoholic alike, as the smooth milk chocolate wafers are accented with hints of hazelnut flavor.  A colleague had shared how wonderful this product tasted and this week I spotted out the corner of my eye.  Being a fan of nutty products, Hazelnut was the flavor of choice.  At first bite, the multilayered wafers and hazelnut crème was a mix of soft and crispy.  i.e. It was gone in minutes :-D  If you haven’t tried the Cloud 9 chocolate wafer bars, you’ve definitely gotta try this chocolate treat.

2. Yummy Fresh Fruits – This week I enjoyed the rewards of good/meticulous grocery shopping.  Solomon’s had a great special on red Plums, Peaches and Nectarines.  These are 3 fruits that can be firm but juicy, of which you look for no blemishes, marks or rotting.  I scanned feverishly for the perfect pairs and was truly rewarded.  Each one was firm and sweet with the right amount of juice.  It truly was a plus to my day.

3. Seeing ‘Invite Intrigue’ in person – Mac’s lipsticks are top competition and I know many ladies who will stop at nothing to look FAB-BOO-LUS.  A colleague walked in wearing this pink-fuchsia shade.  Can you say WOW?!? I had to know what it was! Invite Intrigue , a part of the Blue Nectar collection which is all about mystery and temptation, is a matte shade that is sure to add pop to your lips. My colleague raved “It glides on smooth and is a perfect colour to rock this fall.”  I concur ladies!

4. Connecting with family – In times of need there’s nothing as binding or as history making as spending time with family (in laws included).  There were old island stories, drinks and jokes shared around the pool as relatives gathered around.  Even the puppy had island roots as he was rescued from Eleuthera (Hi Anejo!).  It was a good reminder that Family is everything.

5. 10 Day aged Pigeon – Wednesday’s episode of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmerman in Cork, Ireland featured 10 day aged pigeon which was cooked in a specialised millennial butter and smoked by handpicked and dried oak, in a small sealed glass container.  This resulted in a delicate dish both in appearance and from description. I was blown away with the finesse, time and quality ingredients included in this dish. I admire chefs who put passion and intuition into their food and was impressed with the process.  I may not be adventurous enough to taste it but I will admire the view.

What were your favourite moments of the week? We'd love to hear from you in the comment section below!

XoX,

Mechelle

 

Currently: Hurricane Matthew Aftermath

Hello Lovely,

Today is a bittersweet day for us at Life By Olivia. It’s a holiday in The Bahamas but no one feels like celebrating. We managed to survive the hurricane but some people weren’t so fortunate. Along with excessive flooding, there are some people on the island who lost their roof, their cars and their entire home. We saw mass panic as persons flooded and swarmed the gas stations buying sometimes $10 at a time into their fuel containers in fear of there being no fuel or not being able to make it safely to home or work.  Gas stations actually ran out of gas and the average wait time was anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour. Reports of even greater damage are still coming in from the other islands. Many homes are still without power (we went three days) and some don’t have running water either. The damage was even worse in the other Caribbean countries that Hurricane Matthew hit. Haiti has a death toll of at least 800, which they expect to rise more. We are praying for solutions to everyone affected by this storm.

This photo is as of October 6, 2016

This photo is as of October 6, 2016

On a brighter note, we saw sparks of hope with persons providing relief items and clean up during the aftermath, and even brotherly love during the hurricane itself. 

Mechelle: Although my home suffered damages that have to be addressed and an assessment of lost items and electronics were done , I am happy to say that I have experienced the pleasant, hopefully and bonding aspect of the natural disaster.  After evacuating our home, my husband and I spent Matthew’s duration with relatives who were nothing less than hospitable and nurturing. In a house of 13, it’s easy to lose your way or grow weary during the long hours of no power, small kids vying for attention or lacking your own ‘space’.  But this paled in comparison to the home cooked meals on a gas stove/oven that was whipped up without complaint and was more than enough to feed us all, at least twice per day.  I loved snacking on roasted vegetables like pumpkin and sweet potatoes, coconut water and V8. There were old island stories shared, moments outside by the pool, impromptu group games (Name game anyone?) and Guitar lessons.  There were certainly more smiles than frowns and at the end of it all, we exuded gratefulness. Grateful for life, food, family, shelter, hope and receiving the all clear.  I too am grateful for my second family: my friends, who shared no negativity and always highlighted the silver lining throughout this experience.  It may have seemed like the longest most uncertain moment of our lives at that time but we made it through wholly.

Olivia: One of the best ways that we prepared for the storm was by getting snacks. I was happy to snack on Cheetos, ramen noodles and Crystal Bay. Our water stayed frozen for two whole days in the freezer so we were really grateful for that. For me, our roof was damaged by a neighbours aluminium shutters that came loose at the beginning of the storm flew over two houses, hit our roof and then landed in our next door neighbours’ yard. It was a scary moment especially when my mum’s bedroom and bathroom ceiling began leaking. Even scarier was realising that my neighbours’ three year old daughter with Down Syndrome is still on a feeding tube, and with no power for three days, the machine now needed to recharge. I was complaining about not having a fan blowing on me, while they were literally in a life or death situation. So we were really grateful when the power was restore at 3:04 the following morning. For four days I slept on the couch because I just couldn’t bear the heat in my room. During the day we either sat outside in the garage or took a drive just to see something other than our four walls. Some trips were made at two in the morning just so we could cool down enough to sleep. My most exciting excursion was going to Home Fabrics, the local craft store and looking at the Halloween decorations and costumes. I got a lot of inspiration and I can’t wait to start some new projects. I went to church yesterday and there were less than 25 people (not counting the volunteers). I was so grateful to be unharmed that I had to give thanks and see if there was anything I could do to help anyone else.

Now that the worst of Hurricane Matthew is behind us (at least impact wise), it's time for us to assess and share our current situations.

 

CURRENTLY – MECHELLE

Reading: The Two Minute Rule by Robert Crais.  An engaging crime thriller lent by a good friend. Thanks Hun!

Loving: I am lovin’ this bar of Kerrygold Garlic and Herb butter.  I’ve always seen it in the dairy aisle but never purchased it.  Constantly thinking: ‘I can make that, so why buy it?’   ‘It probably won’t taste fresh or earthy.’  Boy was I mistaken.   Found in a slender 3.5 ounce size and wrapped in the signature gold paper, my husband picked it up and thought it would provide more flavour to our dishes without the hassle of dicing and prepping ingredients.  I tried it out on a roasted pumpkin that I had quartered and deskinned after cooking.  It.was.DIVINE. I was pleasantly surprised at the burst of flavour and even more so at the list of green herbs including Dill, Thyme, Chives, Parsley.  I also used it on the top layer of the turkey and cheese panini and it accented it nicely with a golden brown effect.  If you normally cook with butter or even use it as an accent (toast, bagels, crostini, etc.), I would recommend you try it!

Planning: I’m planning to create a life size Vision Board.  I was reminded of the depth of it during a seminar last week and want to take my mini paper version and make it life size

Anticipating: I’m anticipating trying numerous lipstick swatches at the local MAC store.  I saw some nice shades on YouTube and would like to see if they’re just as fun and functional in person ;).  I’m thinking shades like Heroine, Viva La Glam and MAC Red.

CURRENTLY – OLIVIA

Reading: I downloaded a series just before the Hurricane hit called The Girl in The Box. I’m not head over heels in love with it, but so far I’ve finished the first book so I might as well finish the series. I’m also reading a book called Best Supporting Role by Sue Margolis. Another book I’m not head over heels in love with it, but I’ll finish it eventually. I’m really picky with my books.

Loving: I’m loving the support I’ve seen since the storm hit. After our roof was hit, a random neighbour didn’t even wait for the all clear, he grabbed his ladder, a tarp and some nails and started patching our roof. A friend at church offered to give people ice if anyone needed them. Seeing that kind of support really made me feel better about the current state of things.

Planning: I’m super excited to plan new Fall-themed recipes for you guys and already have a few lined up to try out. Including Halloween Bark that I plan on giving out at Trunk or Treat!

Anticipating: I can’t wait for two things this month! Trunk-or-Treat at the end of the month at church and the VIVA women’s conference the week before that. I can’t wait to share my experience with those!

The aftermath continues and recovery will honestly take more than a few days but I am taking it day by day, with positivity in my corner. 

Share your story with us. What impact has this experience had on you?  Did you receive support from family and friends?  Were you able to help others?

 

 

ANNOUNCING....OUR NEWEST BLOG CONTRIBUTOR & 10 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT HER

Hello Lovely,

I don’t know if you’ve noticed the extensive use of “we” in certain posts lately. If you have, you’re probably wondering who this other person is. If not, don’t feel bad, I’m going to tell you anyway. Awhile back I put out a call for a new blog contributor and an angel answered! Her name is Mechelle Sweeting, a fellow cat lover, outdoor enthusiast and foodie extraordinaire! So far, she’s been working behind the scenes for a few weeks to help with the expansion and you’ll soon see some changes like a cleaner homepage and a wider variety of content on the blog. So who is this mysterious woman, you ask?

She loves to eat and cook various cuisines from around the world, including Italian, Asian and Bahamian.  Trying different foods and out-of-the-box dishes like escargot, seaweed salad and sushi fuels her love for travel and exploration. Mechelle loves writing; using it as a main source of self-expression: “When you feel it, as you feel it - write it!”

No need for expensive store-bought products, DIY skincare is her everyday go to and nail therapy is a MUST: stiletto, coffin, almond, and gemstones – the whole shebang! She’s a girly-girl through and through with a strong spirit and a big heart! I’m so glad to welcome her to the team and I know you’ll love her!

Here are 10 Fun Facts Mechelle is sharing with us for you to get to know her better! Take it away Mechelle:

Hello Everyone! It’s so great to be a part of the team. I can’t wait to begin sharing with you and giving your life a personal touch! But before we get into that, here are 10 fun facts I wanted you to know about me!


·         Usual Sushi order – Seaweed salad, as well as a side of eel sauce and extra ginger to accommodate my roll.  I prefer salmon rolls with avocado or cream cheese fillings but I am branching out into ahi tuna

·         Favourite Desserts- cheesecake, guava duff, carrot cake

·         I prefer cats over dogs - They’re fluffy, warm and snuggle up around your ankles at just the right times. Mr. Wiggins will soon be added to the Sweeting family.

·         I can go weeks without meat! From my late teens I spent many years following a vegetarian lifestyle and was content not eating meat.  I easily have meals of just vegetables such as smashed plantain, boiled butternut squash or pumpkin.

·         In case you're wondering.......it's Mrs. Sweeting ;) My hubby and I love to watch movies and cuddle up on the couch or in the theatre (snacks are ALWAYS included).

·         I'm in love with the outdoors and gardening (thanks Mom!).  I continue to find inspiration and tranquillity through plants wherever I go.

·         My fitness preferences are Yoga, Spinning and Walking.

·         Although I started my natural hair journey 11 years ago, I’ve grown my locs for 9, with many trims and styles in between. 

·         I binge watch Food shows such as Chopped, Top Chef (my favourite), Hell’s Kitchen and enjoy Food Documentaries such as Fed Up!, Food Inc. and Hungry for more.

·         I am an avid user of fresh citrus for face masks such as orange or lemon (P.S. lemon and honey is an excellent mix!)

Join me on Pinterest to see what else I’m inspired by and tune back tomorrow to read my first post!