How to make an Easter Bonnet with Grandchildren

April 4, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Easter wouldn’t be complete without an Easter bonnet and although there are many readymade ones available in the shops and online there is nothing better than spending an afternoon making your own with grandchildren, especially when the weather is as miserable as today.

I like to get extra crafty when I make an Easter bonnet because I remember having to parade around in my Easter bonnet as a child so I incorporate lots of different crafting techniques. But you can make your bonnet as simple or as complex as you like.

Classic Straw Hat Easter Bonnet

Classic Easter Bonnet

The Basics- I prefer to use a basic straw hat as a starting point for an Easter bonnet- purchase one from Hobby Craft– but having searched the web I’ve found that other people make their hats from scratch. I found one lady who used a paper plate to create her bonnet which was surprisingly successful. So be resourceful and consider using things from around your home.

Customising- You’ll need lots of Easter themed accessories for your bonnet- chicks, bunnies, eggs, flowers. For anyone who is super crafty and has lots of time you could make your own accessories. My ideas include crocheted chicks, hand painted bunnies and flowers made out of colourful felt. But if you’re pushed for time simply purchase an Easter craft kit from a good craft shop or online from Amazon which will include readymade Easter poppets.

Remember that you’ll need to securely attach all of your accessories so invest in decent glue. My top tip for straw hats would be to stitch things on where possible as it gives an overall tidier finish.

Finishing Touches- As a finishing touch I always add a little ribbon around my Easter bonnet as it’s a traditional and easy way to make your Easter bonnet look complete. Plus you can hide any mistakes under a tidy strip of ribbon.  And for extra point in a bonnet parade add a handful of fresh flowers- lavender and daffodils look lovely and are easy to find.

I hope you have a wonderful time making your Easter bonnets and please feel free to post a photograph of them here as I’d love to see what they all look like…

No Smoking Day 2012

March 14, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Today is No Smoking Day and the British Heart Foundation is encouraging smokers to give up the habit for good.

nosmoking_day_2012I know that giving up smoking is incredibly difficult and often it takes several attempts but it really is worth persisting with as not smoking can dramatically change your life.

For older people quitting smoking can be more of a challenge because it’s a lifetime habit. But older people are likely to see the benefits more than anyone else. As well as endless positives on your health, older people will see a huge improvement in quality of lifestyle.

So if you’re trying to give up smoking for good use the No Smoking Day website as a resource for helpful tips and contact. There are plenty of services available to people looking for help quitting including your local GP.

My top tip is to look realistically at how not smoking can change your life. Work out how much money you’ll save in a month. If you can manage not smoking for this period of time treat yourself to something special or save the money for a special occasion- a holiday, weekend break, new car.  

I’d like to wish everyone the very best of luck quitting and a healthy future!

Bath-Knight’s top Christmas tips!

December 21, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Have a merry Christmas with our top Christmas tips…


Prepare- If you’re making Christmas dinner this year remember that preparation is key. I’d recommend writing a list of what you’re planning to make then highlight anything which can be prepared or made in advance. Get started on these dishes early so that they are ready for Christmas day. Finally don’t forget to volunteer your children or grandchildren as veggie peelers on Christmas Eve- more hands make light work!

Contribute- Not cooking this year? Why not help lighten the load of your host by offering to take something along. A simple desert, starter or canapés are all things which can be made at home and transported elsewhere. Remember to run your recipe past your host to double check that they aren’t already making the same.

Decorate-Save yourself time by setting your table prior to Christmas Day. Lay out table runners, place mats and decorative finishing touches this week. Then add plates, glasses and cutlery the night before. It’s a great way to save time on the day and gives you chance to set everything up nicely.

Essentials-We all have a cupboard of essentials but it’s worth checking that it’s fully stocked for the festive period. Remember that essentials like stock, canned ingredients and preserves can come in really hand when turning left overs into a feast.

Be creative-We all have traditional Christmas favourites but don’t get stuck in a rut. Search the internet for new Christmas ideas. Easy to make cocktails can be great fun and add a little extra sparkle to the day. Alternatively, prepare family games which everyone will enjoy so that there is no arguing over what to watch on the television.

Handy Websites-

BBC Food- Get Christmas recipe ideas

House to Home- Festive decorating ideas

Guardian- Cocktails for Christmas

Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Mince Pies

November 29, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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For me the key to a stress free Christmas feast is preparation. Of course, you can only prepare Christmas day lunch to an extent, which is why Gordon Ramsay’s Christmas day cook along is a fantastic idea.

However, other Christmas treats can be thought out well in advance leaving you with plenty of time to enjoy the festive period oppose to being stuck in the kitchen slaving away.

As Christmas is all about sharing I’ve decided to share my top tips, recipe ideas and handy hints on how to make Christmas as carefree as possible here on my blog. To kick start I thought I’d indulge you with a classic recipe from my favourite chef.

Jamie Oliver’s filo mince pies are a great spin on the classic Christmas time treat. I made these last Christmas and was truly converted to the modern approach. I like to serve my mince pies with a splash of brandy cream.

Top tip: If you’re making mince pies in advance store them in an air tight container or freeze them. Additionally avoid dusting with icing sugar until you’re ready to serve.

Pecan Pie recipe

Top Tips for September

September 5, 2011 at 11:00 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I can hardly believe that it’s September already. I think it’s safe to say that this year really is flying on by. I thought it would be a nice idea to come up with some ‘September Tips’ to help guide you out of summer and into autumn.

Back to school- September offers huge relief for parents and grandparents as the children are back at school. After six weeks of finding ways to keep youngsters entertained September is the perfect chance to make some time for yourself.

back to school photoFor some, however, the sudden lack of company can leave you feeling a little lonely. I’d recommend doing something with friends and neighbours to fill your time and don’t forget that grandchildren can always come around after school.

Think autumn- Sadly summer is behind us which makes September the perfect opportunity to start thinking about preparing for those colder autumn months which will be right around the corner. My advice would be to write a list of things which you need to do in preparation including;

  • Check all of your heating applications are working correctly.
  • Call in the handy man to get any small maintenance jobs around the house sorted out. This will save you worrying about them later on in the year.
  • Restock the pantry with essentials that might come in handy when it’s too chilly to walk to the convenience shop.
  • Alternatively, make a batch full of delicious home-made food which can be frozen (I like curries, cottage pies, lasagne, soups and stew).  These homely meals are all perfect for a comfy evening at home.

Become self-sufficient- Take the chance to become more self-sufficient in September. My daughter Lucy recently brought chickens, which is a great way to source delicious free range eggs.

self sufficientDon’t be put off by thinking that you need acres and acres to raise chickens. You simply need a decent sized area which they can enjoy and lots of love care and attention. By also growing delicious vegetables, herbs and flowers being more self-sufficient can be extremely rewarding.

Think ahead- It might sound a little scary but September is possibly the perfect time to start seriously thinking about Christmas. I know lots of us say we’re preparing much earlier in the year but sometimes it’s easier said than done. My advice to save money would be to actually start purchasing bargains now, which takes off lots of pressure in November/December.

Have a great month… Annette.

Top Tips: Keeping cool in the hot summer sun!

August 3, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Summer time is great as it makes me feel so much happier. Bright mornings and light evenings make the days feel fresh and generally give people a natural sense of happiness.

This week summer has arrived with soring temperatures. Here in the office we’ve had fans on full power in an attempt to keep cool, which brings me to my point. That enjoying the summer heat is great however, staying safe in such weather is also extremely important.

Elderly people eating outside

Keep safe in the sunshine with my top tips:

  • Drink plenty of water- Staying hydrated is the most important part of staying safe in the sunshine. I tend to drink plenty of water on a regular basis to ensure I don’t become dehydrated. This is a really simple and effective summer tip!
  • Stay protected- Sun protection is essential so think about sun cream, hats and light weight clothing. Use a reasonable SPF and apply throughout the day to ensure you get maximum protection. Personally I applying sun cream before leaving the house and carry a handbag size cream to use whilst out and about.
  • Fresh air- During summertime I like to open windows in the house to let plenty of fresh air circulate throughout. This helps make me feel fresher and more comfortable. I know that some might worry about security but if this is the case write yourself a little note as a reminder to close any windows before leaving the house or going to bed.
  • Go outside- Enjoy the weather and get into the garden. Just remember not to overdo it during hot spells. If you planning on gardening do anything strenuous in the early morning or evening when the temperature is a little cooler. During the day I like to find a shaded spot, read a book and enjoy the summertime.
  • Siesta- A classic Mediterranean tradition which works wonders in the summer heat. I find that the hot weather makes me feel a little drowsy during the day, which is why I tend to take a nap during the afternoon. Napping at this time means I generally avoid the summer suns highest heat- a relief when it is really warm outside.
  • Feel good- I like wearing bright clothing when it’s sunny because it makes me feel good. And I have a tendency to eat lighter meals and choose from a healthier selection of foods. Stock up on fresh fruit, salads and fish as an alternative to heavier veggies and meat dishes for general well-being during the summer months.  

Helen Mirren wins ‘Body of the Year’- Getting into shape tips!

August 2, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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The coveted ‘Body of the Year’ winner was announced today and what a great delight to see that 66 year old movie star Helen Mirren took the title.

The British actress, who is one of my favourites, placed top and beat competition from supermodel Elle Macpherson, fashionable singer Cheryl Cole and Pippa Middleton who stunned the nation in her beautiful bridesmaid dress at the royal wedding. 

Helen’s win is great news for all ladies over 55 and proves that you really can get into shape at any age and feel the benefits.

So what’s the easiest way to get a body like Helen? Personally I avoid the gym and instead stay active whilst spending time with my family and friends and of course enjoying the outdoors.

Here are my top tips for getting into shape and staying healthy.

  • Walking– The great outdoors is the perfect place to keep fit. Most people immediately presume that if you go outside you must go running. This really isn’t true. For me there is nothing better than a long walk around down the canal. I take my dogs along too who are energetic enough to make a good pace. It’s a good idea to invite a friend or neighbour along for a walk, as the company is pleasant and makes it more enjoyable and less like a chore. Finally summer is a great time to start walking as the evening are light and airy making going for a stroll a lovely way to unwind.

Lady walking dog

  • Yoga- We have a Yoga instructor who comes into the office every week for an hour long session with staff. I really enjoy the aspect of strengthening my body through yoga, as the process is actually more about meditation and disciplining breathing than exercise. I recommend Yoga for gaining a greater sense of well-being within yourself.

wii fit

  • Wii Fit- What a fun way to stay fit! With a selection of activities to choose from there is plenty of variety depending on how you feel. Even better my whole family enjoys playing on the Wii including my grandchildren whose favourite’s games are tennis, golf and bowling. Admittedly they are much better than me but taking part is that counts.

Top Tips- Blogging tips for the elderly

June 29, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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As you can probably tell I really enjoy blogging. For me it’s a great platform to tell people about my day to day life, my business and the industry which I work in.

Personally blogging has become an outlet which allows me to express my thoughts and opinions, which is why I think blogging is perfect for silver surfers. It’s limitless in a sense of how much you can write about and is a great way to keep your mind active and share views.

I have to admit that I was a little sceptical about blogging in the beginning, that’s mainly because I knew little about it. However, having grown to adore it I thought I would share some top tips to help you on your way into the ‘blogsphere’.


  1.  Set up a blog- Sounds pretty obvious but firstly you need to set up a blog. I like ‘Wordpress’ as it’s a free blog service which allows you to customise your blog with a selection of layouts. Built in functions allow you to add photos, video and multimedia elements and most of all its really easy to use.
  2. Find something you like and write about it- Lots of people think that if you have a blog it needs to cover a specific area of interest like fishing or fashion or crafts. If you’ve got a passion which you solely want to focus your blog around great. But if you haven’t then don’t be put off. Instead write about a variety of subjects which interest you- eventually you will find a topic that you enjoy writing about.
  3. Post regularly- Posting regularly is important because the more blogs you write the more people want to come back and read. Sometimes it’s difficult to think up new blog ideas, I have first-hand experience of this. My advice would be to find something which you’ve enjoyed doing during the day and write about it. Maybe you’ve had something wonderfully delicious for dinner- why not share the recipe!
  4. Tell people about your blog- If your blogging then the chances are you will be online and have an email account or be a part of a social network site. These are great ways to tell your friends and family about your blog. Once you’ve published a blog why not tweet the link, post it on your Facebook wall or email it to your contact list. Chances are friends will leave a comment and that’s it’s a great feeling!
  5. Be open minded & stick with it- Blogging is like anything – it requires time, effort and a little open mindedness. Don’t be afraid to write your personal opinion but keep in mind that other people might disagree. Don’t be offended because that’s the beauty of blogging, there is plenty of room for everyone’s view.
     Importantly stick with your blog- it doesn’t matter how many views you get. Blogging is a great way to write about things which you’re passionate about. And in turn, is a great activity to keep your mind active.

Link to –  ‘Top Senior Related Blogs’

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