The Lincoln Guides: 5 of the most scenic villages near Lincoln

5 scenic villages near Lincoln

Lincoln is a fantastic city which is surrounded by lots of gorgeous villages. Here are 5 of the most scenic villages near the centre (but there are so many more to explore!) - I'd highly recommend paying them a visit if you're looking for a trip out.

Aubourn Lincoln
© Richard Croft

1. Aubourn

Aubourn is situated 8 miles south of Lincoln and is really well situated for walks and horse riding. Aubourn Hall (pictured above) is a beautiful early to mid-17th-century house set in 1.2 hectares of gardens which are often open for visitors to look around. The village has a one way system which is unusual for a small village and is home to a lovely pub, The Royal Oak.

© Oliver Mills

2. Heighington

Heighington is around 5 miles from the centre and is a village that adjoins another beautiful area called Washingborough. Part of Heighington lies within a conservation area and there are a number of listed homes in the area. The village has great amenities including two pubs, a small supermarket and two village halls.

© Graham Hogg

3. Nettleham

Nettleham is a large village within the West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire. It is a delightful village to visit, with a picturesque village green, dreamy stone cottages and a sparkling beck. It's well served for amenities with four pubs and a number of shops, and has a lovely play area too. There's also a tea shop which is a great option if you're not a pub fan.

© Dave Bevis

4. Navenby

There are a number of villages in Lincoln which sit along the cliff, and are known as the Cliff Villages. They are ideally situated for panoramic views across Lincolnshire and all of them are beautiful and well worth a visit or a drive through as it's a lovely scenic drive. Navenby is one of the larger Cliff Villages and is a bustling village filled with shops, pubs, florists and delicious bakeries.

© Neil Theasby

5. Tealby

Situated on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds, Tealby is often cited as one of the best places to visit in Lincolnshire. Classed as an area of outstanding beauty, it attracts many visitors with its picturesque houses, walks, views and local businesses. It is a classic, picture postcard English village and is also home to The Vintage Tearooms which are very highly regarded. The village even has its own website which you can visit here.

Pregnancy: The First Trimester

If you read my earlier post or saw my post on Instagram, you'll know that we are expecting baby number two in March! I'm now 15 weeks so am in my second trimester and it is lovely to be starting to feel a little more normal, although I'm still having to take naps when Florence is napping so am hoping that will ease up a bit soon.

As soon as I found out I was pregnant I started writing a diary with my symptoms so that I could share them on here. So let's whizz back in time to those early weeks and the first trimester...

4 weeks

I'm writing this the day after we found out I'm pregnant so very early days. The first symptom I noticed about a week before my period was due was that my boobs felt heavy and were pretty sore. I always needed to go to the toilet a lot, felt ridiculously hungry (and nothing would satisfy it - it was constant hunger pangs), felt slightly nauseous and also so tired. I had to take a few naps in the day to get me through which I haven't had to do for months. When I look back at my symptoms with Florence they were almost identical! 

I held out from testing until the day my period was due and used a first response. With Florence I tested a couple of days later and even then the line was so very faint, but this time the line appeared in about two seconds and was so strong - I couldn't believe it. 

6 weeks

I'm now almost 7 weeks and my symptoms have stayed pretty similar. I've been really tired and find it hard to make it through the day without a nap. I've also come down with a cold (I suspect from Florence's nursery) and that has not been fun as I've been a snotty mess and can't take any of the good cold medicine. My appetite has been small but could be related to the cold. I went to Aldi this evening and bought a few things I've not bought in forever like spaghetti hoops and ready made mash potato. I was also craving tiger bread with lots of butter so that went in the trolley! 

I haven't had any sickness but random things make me feel like I'm about to vom - like a strong smelling cheese. We stayed in an AirBnB this weekend and there were a couple of rogue hairs and a dirty mug in the apartment - it made me feel awful.

8 weeks

We told our parents and my sister around 7 weeks and it was amazing. We asked Florence where the baby was and she pointed to my stomach - it was so funny seeing the penny drop. My Mum had been suspecting it but it even took her a little while to click! They are all over the moon and I can't wait to tell more people when we have had our scan. 

I am still feeling pretty tired and usually have a nap when Florence is to get me through. I don't feel like I'm much fun at the moment! Getting to sleep at night is also taking me longer and is annoying as isn't something I usually have an issue with.

My appetite is smaller than usual but I have to eat frequently as there's a very thin line between hunger and nausea. I've had a few days where I've felt quite sicky but it's not been too bad and nothing compared to what others have. I've been having round ligament pains a little bit too, especially when I sneeze. Something I had forgotten about from last time.

On the whole I'm feeling very similar to last time and although I have a toddler to look after, I'm so grateful to not have to commute and work in an office all day.

12 weeks

The tiredness has eased up slightly and I don't seem to be having as many odd rough days which is good. I'm still having naps every so often but generally feeling more normal. One symptom I've had this time round is insomnia which is so annoying as I love my sleep and usually have a solid night. I'll either wake up for an hour in the middle of the night or wake up before 6am and can't get back to sleep.

We have just had our 12 week scan and it was amazing to see the baby wriggling and dancing around! It wasn't in the right position to be measured so I had to do a few star jumps to wake him/her up - luckily it did the trick and my due date has been moved to a couple of days earlier than expected. Chris was able to come into the scan with me but had to wait outside before and after. He had about two hours in the car whilst I met a midwife and had my blood taken etc - I've not missed the regular blood tests and urine samples.

I'm definitely showing earlier this time, especially in the evenings and have had to start wearing maternity clothes a lot earlier. I have to admit, I'm loving being able to wear pregnancy jeans again!

You can read my first trimester diary with Florence here.

The Lincoln Guides: 5 of the Best Restaurants in Lincoln

5 of the best restaurants in Lincoln

There are so many places to eat in Lincoln, from the independent restaurants in the Bailgate and on Steep Hill to the Brayford Waterfront area where more of the chains live. There are so many options to choose from and it can be easy to be overwhelmed. After asking the Lincoln Bloggers UK crew for their top recommendations, there were some clear winners and they have all made it into the top 5.

1. Kine

Kine restaurant Lincoln

6 W Parade, Lincoln LN1 1JT

Kine started in 2017 by doing pop up events around Lincoln and they fully opened as a restaurant in September 2018 so will soon be celebrating their 2 year anniversary! They have a small but ever-changing menu as their commitment to using local and in season produce is a big priority. Some of their best-sellers include Roasted Cauliflower and Hummus, Crispy Green Beans and our Buttermilk Fried Chicken. Their cheese burger and chicken sandwich also prove very popular!

Kine Restaurant Lincoln

2. Ole Ole Tapas Bar & Restaurant

Ole Ole Tapas Bar Lincoln

Union Road 3 ingleman Place, The Lawns, Lincoln LN1 3AP

Ole Ole Tapas is a family run authentic Spanish tapas bar and restaurant in the heart of Lincoln. They are a busy, exciting and vibrant restaurant who are always trying to bring a slice of Spain to Lincoln through their food and service. Established in 2013, the Ole Ole family is passionate about food as you can see from their fantastic menu. From a date night to a large family meal, it's perfect for any occasion. 

3. Thailand No.1

Thailand No.1 Lincoln

80-81 Bailgate, Lincoln, LN1 3AR

Situated on Bailgate, Thailand No.1 offers exceptional service and authentic Thai Cuisine. They have a wealth of classic Thai dishes which use the freshest ingredients including herbs, spices and exotic vegetables sent to them every week from growers in Thailand. In additional to the traditional menu, there are some fantastic banquet set menus to choose from which include two Vegetarian options - I love it when a restaurant caters just as well for Vegetarians.

Thailand No.1 Lincoln

4. Castle View Indian

Castle View, 11 Union Road, Lincoln LN1 3BJ

Castle View Indian Lincoln
Castle View Indian is an authentic Indian restaurant based at the heart of historic Lincoln. As soon as we moved to Lincoln, we asked for recommendations for the best Indian and Castle View came up repeatedly - not bad for a restaurant that only opened three years ago in 2016! Nestled in the shadow of the Castle (so a lovely historic part of the city) it serves a variety of dishes ranging from traditional dishes to more experimental ones. The restaurant was awarded the Outstanding Indian Restaurant of the Year Overall winner at the English Asian Food Awards in 2019.

5. Duke William Pub & Kitchen

Duke William Lincoln

44 Bailgate, Lincoln LN1 3AP

Recently refurbished, The Duke William is a historic building set in Bailgate and is home to a pub serving delicious British home cooked food. Offering a stylish and comfortable environment, you can also choose to stay there and make it a real break. They are very environmentally conscious and taking great steps forward including offering more plant-based food options and working with suppliers to reduce unnecessary packaging.

Hope this has given you some inspiration for where to eat when you're next in Lincoln. I had to include some other restaurants which came highly recommended and almost made the cut  - these included The Cosy Club, The Swan Holme and Olivares Tapas.

Pregnancy: Baby number two is on the way!

We are so happy to share that baby number two is on the way and will be joining us in March. It's also so nice to be able to tell people now, as I found out at 4 weeks and so it's been a long wait! Luckily having a toddler has meant it's gone a lot quicker than it did with Florence as there is no time to think about it too much!

We had the scan a couple of weeks ago and luckily Chris was able to join me (although had to wait in the car before and after). So grateful as I know so many are having to have them alone - and things are changing every day at the moment. The relief to see the baby wriggling around (and they were dancing all over the place!) was amazing.

Second time pregnancy feels so different to first time. First time round everything is new and its all so unknown - from pregnancy to thinking about having a newborn. I'm loving the feeling of knowing what is happening and going to happen, and feel so excited to meet this little one.

Florence obviously doesn't understand it properly but she does love talking to the baby by pressing her face into my tummy and chattering away. There are lots of kisses for them too. She adores babies and I can't wait to see her as a big sister. She will be 2.5 when the baby arrives.

Number two is due in March so I'll be experiencing a winter pregnancy this time round. With Florence I was pregnant all through the 2018 heatwave so I'm quite looking forward to wearing big jumpers and keeping snug on the sofa.

As for the sex, we are going to have a surprise like we did with Florence. I loved the moment of finding out with her although the planner in me would love to know so I know whether I will be using Florence's old clothes! My symptoms have been exactly the same as with Florence which makes me think girl, but I have a feeling it's a boy!

I've got a couple of posts going live soon with how my first trimester was and symptoms in my two week wait (I had a few!) and plan to share lots of posts about pregnancy second time round. 

The Lincoln Guides: 5 of the Best Spas around Lincoln

5 of the best spas around Lincoln
Next up in our series of Lincoln Guides is a list of the best spas around Lincoln so if you're looking to plan your next pampering break, look no further!

Simpsons Spa Lincoln
Photos: Simpsons Spa Facebook page

1. Simpsons Beauty Spa


Simpsons Beauty is a luxury day spa located in both Lincoln's City Centre and Branston Hall. If you're after some quick city pampering then their City Centre nail and beauty salon is ideal. With treatments ranging from spray tans to lash extensions, you'll be spoilt for choice.

If you're after a true spa escape then their Branston Hall spa is a fantastic choice. Set within 88 acres of wooded parklands it's the perfect place to relax and only 4 miles from the city centre. They offer a wide selection of Full Day, Half Day and Overnight spa experiences and many other individual treatments.

Eden Hall Spa
Photos: Eden Hall Facebook page

2. Eden Hall


Eden Hall is a luxury spa retreat and their facilities are some of the best in the UK with a rose infused steam room and even a slumber lounge. They have a spa package to suit every occasion, from a twilight spa evening to a Mum and Daughter spa day and a huge range of treatments available. They have a spa shop and a delicious range of seasonal menus.

3. The Grange Spa


The Grange is a local, family run business run by Matt and Emma. They built the spa in 2008 and have created a friendly, informal spa which goes above and beyond what is achieved by large corporate spas. They have no crowds, a local approach and a high level of service with all of the trimmings of a 5-star corporate spa. The tranquil setting is perfect for a relaxing and pampering break.

Le Sanctuaire Spa Lincoln
Photos:  Le Sanctuaire Facebook page

4. Le Sanctuaire on Steep Hill

Le Sanctuaire Spa Retreat is the first Clarins treatment Spa in Lincoln and opened in June 2015. It's set within a 14th Century building on Steep Hill and offers various spa packages including their their very popular Le Sanctuaire Taster Spa.

5. Aqua Sana Spa in Sherwood Forest


A little bit further afield but I had to include the Aqua Sana Spa which is set in Center Parcs but can be visited completely separately. Their Forest Spa was refurbished quite recently and comprises six zones including Hot Springs, Volcanic Forest and Nordic Forest. These zones feature heating and cooling experiences, outdoor hot tubs and the most lovely relaxation areas. They even have a treetop spa!

The Lincoln Guides: 5 of the Best Hotels in Lincoln

5 of the best hotels in Lincoln

Looking for a place to stay when coming to visit Lincoln? Look no further. Here are 5 of the best hotels in Lincoln, from the White Hart Hotel which is situated right in the centre to Branston Hall which is a short drive to the city but perfect for a relaxing escape.

Washingborough Hall Hotel Lincoln
Washingborough Hall Hotel Lincoln

1. Washingborough Hall Hotel


Washingborough Hall Hotel (or more fondly known as 'Washy Hall' to locals) is a gorgeous Georgian Country Manor House. Independent and family run, it has a warm, welcoming and friendly team who want you to have the best possible stay. There are 20 beautifully decorated and characterful bedrooms and the hotel also serves exceptional food and menus that change with the seasons, including afternoon tea. It's the perfect place to stay if you're looking for a peaceful and quiet location that is just moments from Lincoln city centre.

Credit: White Hart Hotel Facebook

2. White Hart Hotel


The White Hart Hotel is located within the heart of Lincoln's historic quarter with spectacular views of the Cathedral. Its setting may be traditional but the hotel holds a modern and refreshing approach and is home to a fantastic award winning restaurant and bar, Grille.

Charlotte House Hotel Lincoln
Credit: Charlotte House Hotel Facebook page

3. Charlotte House Hotel

Charlotte House is situated in a 1930s Art Deco building, located within the historic heart of Roman Lincoln. It's set away from the hustle and bustle of the city but is a short walk from the cobbled streets of Bailgate and Steep Hill so is the perfect starting point for exploring Lincoln. They have a mix of rooms, from traditional decor to crisp and modern and the hotel is home to a large period bar and lounge.
Branston Hall Hotel Lincoln
Credit: Branston Hall Hotel Facebook

4. Branston Hall Hotel


Branston Hall Hotel was once a stately home for the Melville family, but is now a beautifully restored building housing 53 luxurious guest bedrooms and award winning food. Situated just three miles south of Lincoln, Branston Hall sits within 88 acres of beautiful parkland and lakes. Simpsons Spa is also located in the grounds and work with the hotel, so relaxation really is on your doorstep. The hotel is currently closed due to Covid-19 but are hoping to reopen in September.

The Lincoln Hotel

5. The Lincoln Hotel

The Lincoln Hotel is a restored 1960's hotels that offers comfortable rooms, delicious views and wonderful views. Located just next door to Lincoln Cathedral, they are ideally placed for exploring the city. Their rooms are decorated with modern designs and come with lavish en-suite bathrooms, flat-screen TVs and complimentary WiFi.

The Lincoln Guides: 5 of the best things to do when you visit Lincoln

5 of the best things to do when you visit Lincoln

In this post, I'll be sharing 5 of the best things to do when you visit Lincoln, from the iconic Lincoln Cathedral to the beautiful Doddington Hall. So without further ado, here's what made the list...

Lincoln Castle

1. Lincoln Castle


Built by William the Conqueror in 1068 and home to an original 1215 Magna Carta, Lincoln Castle has stood for hundreds of years and is the perfect place to discover 1000 years of history. You can walk the Castle Walls, visit the Victorian Prison, see the iconic Magna Carta and learn about its story and go on a guided tour, amongst many other activities.

Lincoln Cathedral
Credit: Matthew Feeney

2. Lincoln Cathedral


If you come to Lincoln, you have to visit the famous cathedral where films such as the Da Vinci Code have featured it. It is the fourth largest in the UK and has been described as one of the most precious pieces of architecture in Britain. The Lincoln Cathedral website has a handy page with 10 things to do in the cathedral. They also hold events throughout the year with even a theatre production of Oliver Twist taking place in the cathedral nave, so it's worth seeing what's on.

Steep Hill Lincoln

3. Bailgate and Steep Hill

Steep Hill is a steep (actually named the fourth steepest in the country!) cobbled street which is lined with independent shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants - you can spend hours exploring these lovely independent businesses. The street leads to the Cathedral and Castle and also to Bailgate which is part of the Cathedral Quarter and once again, filled with independent boutiques, shops and cafes along cobbled streets. Surrounded by the remains of medieval Lincoln it makes for a wonderful experience.

Doddington Hall Lincoln
Credit: Simon Broadhead of Heritage Photographic

4. Doddington Hall & Gardens


Doddington Hall is around 8 miles from Lincoln City Centre but is well worth a visit. A beautiful Elizabethan Manor House with walled gardens plus a restaurant, cafe and farmshop - there is plenty to do and Doddington are encouraging visitors to eat, shop and stay, and enjoy a summer safely in their wonderful grounds. They hold a multitude of events throughout the year, from decorating the hall at Christmas to pumpkin picking in October and sculpture exhibitions in the Summer (their latest sculpture exhibition is on now until 6th September).

The Collection Lincoln
Photo credit: Michael Westley

5. The Collection and Usher Gallery


The Collection is the county museum and gallery for Lincolnshire. It brings together an award winning archaeology museum and the region's premier art gallery, The Usher Gallery in the heart of the city. The Collection pays host to a huge variety of exhibitions, events, workshops and lectures. There is also a Play space in The Collection which is great for younger visitors.

Lincoln: An introduction to The Lincoln Guides

Introduction to the Lincoln Guides

Hello and welcome to my new blog series; the Lincoln Guides. A series of posts over the next month or so, sharing lots of information about Lincoln including the best restaurants, the must-dos and the best villages around the city. Many of the recommendations have come from the wonderful Lincoln Bloggers UK community which I launched last month so you know that they're going to be good!

I'll be updating this post with links every time a new post goes live so this will be a hub for the blog series.

So why Lincoln? It's the city that I moved to two years ago after living in London. I'm originally from Surrey but my parents moved to Lincoln 5 years ago for a change of lifestyle and to be closer to family. We decided to follow them up here when I was pregnant with my baby girl, so that we could have extra support, enjoy the countryside and also be closer to my husbands family in Sheffield.

It's been lovely being able to explore a new city and Lincoln has so much to offer. There's so much money being put into development of the city and it's a really exciting time to be part of it. Hopefully you'll find these guides useful, whether you live in the area or are planning a visit! So, without further ado let's crack on...

Lincoln: An Evening at The Botanist Lincoln

The Botanist Lincoln

Press visit with Lincoln Bloggers UK

I've been to The Botanist in Leeds and London and have loved it both times (especially the cocktails!) so was super excited when I discovered that it was coming to Lincoln. I was even more excited when I was invited to their pre-launch press evening, along with the Lincoln Bloggers UK gang - a community I set up a few weeks ago and that is growing daily.

The Botanist Lincoln is in the Cornhill Quarter; an area which has undergone a huge amount of development and is now home to an Everyman Cinema (opens on Friday!), a Cosy Club and some lovely shops including Whistles and Hobbs. It's a gorgeous area and a great place to spend an evening. 

The Botanist in Lincoln interior
The Botanist in Lincoln interior

The Botanist is just as beautiful as the other venues I've been too. Filled with plants, industrial style furniture and great lighting, it's a treat for the eyes and I was getting a lot of interior inspiration. My Mum and I were given a complimentary cocktail on arrival which was delicious, and we got to enjoy the downstairs bar area whilst our table was prepped. 

The Botanist Lincoln cocktail menu
The Botanist Lincoln food

We then went upstairs and were seated at our table where we could admire the views over the Cornhill Quarter. They have huge windows which mean there's lot of light in the day, and a lovely atmosphere as it gets darker outside. We then had to make the difficult decision of which food to go for (you can view all of their menus here). We settled upon the Vegan Board with sides of tenderstem broccoli and chunky chips. For dessert we chose the Caramelised Banana Sundae. The food hit the spot and the only part that we left was the Bang Bang cauliflower which was part of the Vegan Board and too spicy for our mild tastebuds!

Covid-wise, we felt very safe; there were hand sanitiser stations at the entrance to both floors and we were asked to sanitise as we entered, all of the staff were wearing masks and the tables were well spaced. It was obviously something that everyone was (quite rightly) very conscious of and made for it to feel very safe.

We had a really lovely evening. It was so nice to get dressed up and wear a full face of make-up and we had no complaints at all. We will definitely be back soon!

The Botanist in Lincoln opens officially on Tuesday 18th August and you can find out more on their website here

Beauty: 5 products to try from Beauty Pie

Today I'm sharing 5 products to try from Beauty Pie. If you're new to Beauty Pie then hop on over to this post for the lowdown where I explain how it works. I've now had membership for a few months and have tried quite a few different products from make-up to skincare (the skincare products are definitely the stand-out for me). These 5 products are ones that I've tried for a little while and highly rate.

Super Healthy Skin Daily Moisture Lotion - £8 (typical price £35)

This is a fantastic everyday moisturiser. I like a moisturiser which is low maintenance, fragrance free and that sinks in easily to the skin - this ticks all of the boxes. It's hydrating without being oily, and I've been using it day and night without fail.

Super Healthy Hair Elastic Repair Treatment - £5.69 (typical price £34)

I've heard mixed reviews on the Beauty Pie hair products but one of my friends is a total convert and said that I had to try this. You use it after conditioner and leave it for a few minutes so that it can strengthen and repair. My hair always feels better after using this so I'm a big fan.

Wondercolour Longwear Cream Shadow Stick - £5.35 (typical price £22)

These cream eyeshadow sticks are often raved about and I can see why. I went for the shade Beige Bombshell which is a cool toned shimmery ivory. It's so easy to apply - I apply it directly to my eyelid and then just blend it with my finger. I was also amazed to find that it didn't crease which always happens to me!

Superactive Capsules Pure Double Vitamin C & Vitamin E Serum - £10.85 (typical price £50)

These have to be my favourite Beauty Pie product - I adore them! I love that the capsules give you the perfect dose of serum and it feels so lovely to apply. My skin always feels a bit tingly after using them which I like as shows that the product is working. I'm going to be trying more of their capsules for sure!

Super Pore-Detox Purifying Face Mask - £8.45 (typical price £35)

This black clay mask is one of the best I've tried. It doesn't cause me to have break outs and leaves my skin feeling fresh. My skin feels a bit tingly as the product works - it has an almost cooling effect and it's nice and easy to wash off too.

If you want to use my referral link you will get your first month of membership free (and I'll get an extra £50 of spend allowance). Just use my link here or enter 'DAISYSENTME' in the refer a friend box at checkout.

Life: 5 Podcasts to listen to

Photo of cup of coffee and an iPhone

I've loved podcasts for a few years now and usually listen to them whilst I'm cleaning, or doing my current favourite activity - my paint by numbers. When Florence was tiny I'd listen to them when I walked her in the pram, and Chris and I listen to them on long car journeys too. I did a post about the ones I was enjoying back in 2017 so you can also check them out here - I still love the Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast which I mentioned in that post.

Here are 5 of my current favourites:

1) Sh**ged, Married, Annoyed - this podcast never fails to make me (and my husband) laugh out loud - we relate to so much of it. The podcast is Chris and Rosie Ramsey chatting about all sorts; life, relationships, arguments, parenting and growing up. They are both so funny and so relatable. They're also around an hour long so great for car journeys.

2) Made by Mammas - I love a parenting podcast (as you can tell) and this is one of my favourites. Zoe Hardman and Georgia Dayton chat to lots of different guests and they are always very open and honest about parenting. There are some great topics covered and I love that they are currently releasing two episodes a week.

3) The High Low - this is a weekly chat between Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes and it covers both highbrow and lowbrow news so is a great mix. I also love their book and reading recommendations.

4) Rob Beckett and Josh Widdicombe's Lockdown Parenting Hell - I've only just discovered this as it was obviously a more recently launch (love how many podcasts have come out of lockdown!) but it is hilarious. I was having such a giggle as I listened to it earlier. Rob and Josh chat to a famous parent about how they are coping with their kids in lockdown and it's so relatable if you have kids.

5) The Grow & Glow Show - I have recently joined the Grow & Glow* community and am absolutely loving it. Vix Meldrew, who set up and runs it, has created this podcast and it's so helpful for learning more about growing your personal brand, improving your content and earning money from it all.

Let me know what your favourites are, as I'm always on the lookout for new ones to listen to!

*This post contains affiliate links

Daisy x

Life: My Move into the Freelance World

It's a bit of a chatty post today as I wanted to talk about my move into the freelance world; what led me to make the move, how I'm finding it and useful books and resources that I've found.

Why did I go freelance?

Since leaving University in 2008, I'd worked in a traditional office environment with the 7.5 years prior to having my daughter being spent working for a wonderful big charity in London in their marketing partnerships team. I was living in London too, however we moved up to Lincoln to be close to family just before Florence was born. I planned to go back part time and hoped for some flexible working so that the commute was more doable, however a few things happened during my maternity leave which made me change my plan.

I realised that my daughter was my biggest priority and the thought of not being with her for 3 or 4 days a week hurt my heart. I did consider being a full time stay at home Mum but quickly realised that I needed some mental stimulation from work. Over the year I had also been doing the social media for my Mum's floristry business, Violet & Vine, helping my Dad with some posts for his design consultancy and also doing some posts for our local pub. I found myself really enjoying it and the thought of having my own business felt so exciting.

It really felt like the right time to give it a go and in June last year I registered as a sole trader and got my first client onboard.

How I'm finding it so far?

A year on and I am loving being freelance - it suits me and my lifestyle down to the ground. We get so caught up in the corporate 9-5, Monday to Friday routine and you forget that there's an alternative that gives you so much more freedom. Being able to work around my daughter has been amazing - I sometimes work in her nap times or in an evening, and she goes to nursery once a week which gives me a full day to crack on (or to get on with house jobs, or go shopping if I fancy!). I love not having a commute and being able to just grab my laptop and get on with work. And I love being my own boss.

I do miss the fun that I'd have with work colleagues as I loved this part of my previous job, but my priorities are so different now that it's not something that's important to me at the moment.

Useful books and resources

I read a few books, joined some Facebook Groups and listened to lots of podcasts when I started freelancing and they were, and still are so useful so I wanted to link them below.

The Multi-Hyphen Method by Emma Gannon*
The Freelance Mum by Annie Ridout*
The Successful Mumpreneu by Debbie Gilbert*

Being Freelance Facebook group and podcast
Doing it for The Kids Facebook group and podcast

I hope you found this post interesting, and hopefully helpful if you are thinking of going freelance!

*This post contains affiliate links

Daisy x

Life: 5 ways to organise your life

Looking for 5 ways to organise your life? Look no further! I've always been very organised and I love feeling on top of everything - as hard as that is when you have a toddler. I am a big fan of a spreadsheet and lists, all of the lists. I also can't resist a planner (or a notebook to be honest) and have just ordered a shiny new one, even though I will likely use it for a day and then return to using my phone which is what I always fall back to.

Today I'm sharing five ways that I keep my life organised in the hope that they will help make your life a little easier too.

1) Meal planning 

My Mum would always meal plan and it's been something I've done for years and years. It seems like a tedious task but you will always thank yourself for doing it. Every Monday I sit down and get out my weekly planner - you can get specific meal planner notepads or whiteboards but I just use a weekly planner like this one* (Homesense do lots of them too). I'll have a quick look in the fridge and freezer to see what we have and will then plan Florence's lunches and dinners for the week, and our meals too. I'll add notes each day of what I may need to prep or get out to defrost and then from that list I'll create my shopping list. It means less food waste and although you have to spend a little time initially on it, you save so much time during the week as that mental task of wondering what to have for dinner is taken away. I'm definitely not a stickler for it, and sometimes plans will change but just having it there is so helpful.

2) The Organised Mum Method

I want to do a whole post on this as it's been a game changer for me in terms of cleaning and has meant that we have been able to cut down on how often we have our cleaner, and obviously throughout lockdown it's meant that we've kept on top of everything. It's essentially a cleaning schedule where you spend half an hour on Monday to Friday doing an assigned room, or rooms (no weekend cleaning!). You also have a few daily tasks like putting a wash on etc. On Monday-Thursday you clean the same rooms every week and on Friday you do more of a deeper clean on a specific room. It's amazing how much you can get done in half an hour and it feels so much less intimidating than doing one big weekly clean. You can read more about it on the TOMM website here and the book (which I recommend) is available on Amazon*.

3) Productivity apps 

As I've said above, I can't resist a planner however my phone is where I really organise my life. Again, I'd like to write a whole post about the apps that I'd recommend but my top recommendations would be Todoist and Evernote - both which also have desktop platforms which seamlessly sync. Todoist is great for your to do list; you can organise tasks into different projects which I like doing, and I get an email reminder every morning so I can see what I need to do that day. I also love Evernote which is described as a note taking app. You can use this for a to do list too, but I use it more as a virtual notebook with different notebooks for subjects like recipes, present ideas and useful links. It's easy to search too so is quick and easy to use.

4) Birthday card book and app

I used to be terrible with birthdays and would remember a few days before, rush out and buy a card and it would arrive a few days late. I've now got two things that have really helped to organise my 'birthday admin' - the first is a birthday card organiser like this*. It has a page and a pocket for every month which you can write down birthday dates, and then fill with the cards for that month. I will do a bulk buy of cards, usually from Whistlefish and when it comes to that month I know I am covered. I also use a birthdays app (there are loads of apps like this) where I input birthdays and then am reminded a week and two days before. You can also put in the birth year and it tells you how old they are - really helpful for kiddie birthdays.

5) Three task to do list 

This approach is really helpful if you find it hard to get organised, or perhaps write a to do list that ends up being 20 tasks long and becomes overwhelming. It's far more achievable to write down three tasks to do that day as you're more likely to do them, and it focuses your mind on what is the most important to get done. It also feels great to check them off of your list and then maybe move onto other jobs, if you're feeling super productive.

Daisy x

Parenting: Lessons from my parents

I've loved writing this post and thinking more closely about how my parents brought up me, my brother and sister and the lessons they have taught me. How you're brought up has such an impact on how you parent; whether you want to do similar things and replicate traditions or how you might consciously want to not do certain things. I had a very happy childhood and was brought up in a very loving, ever-supportive home and for that I am always so grateful and will never take it for granted.

Here are some lessons I've learnt from the way I was brought up, that I will always keep in mind when parenting Florence...

1. Eat dinner together at the table - I have so many memories of sitting around the table with my family, talking and laughing. We wouldn't do it every night as my Dad would get back home from work late, and so we'd eat early but at weekends we would eat lunch and dinner together at the table. It made our meals such a fun and social part of the day and we still do it now. We wouldn't just chat about our days, we'd reminisce on holidays, talk about how we felt about certain things and talk about fun things like our top 5 sandwiches and what we'd do if we won the lottery. I definitely want this to be part of our family life.

2. Value and manage your money - My Mum was amazing at teaching us to value money and it's something that is ingrained in me. She was always very purposeful with spending and hated to waste money. If we went to the cinema we would go to Woolworthes (ahh, Woolies!) and buy our drinks and pick n'mix there beforehand rather than paying the crazy cinema prices. She would also meal plan every week and when we were a little older we would have chores that we'd have to do in order to get our pocket money. We also had a savings account from when we were young and were taught the importance of saving. It sounds like really simple things but they have stuck with me and I will always value money and teach Florence to do the same.

3. Shower your children in love - this is my favourite one of all and makes me feel emotional to write about it. My parents were amazing at doing this - showering us completely in love. We were made to feel like the most special children in the world and that we could achieve anything that we wanted to. Even when we were going through that awkward teenage stage where you feel horribly insecure, we were comforted by the fact that we could come home from school and be back in that safe love bubble (as cheesy as it sounds). My lovely friend Emma sent me the quote below when Florence was born and I think it's so true.

4. Play games together - some families hate games, others love them. We are definitely the latter and still play them now. It's such a great activity to do together that is fun for everyone, and I have lovely memories of spending a whole Sunday just sat in the living room playing one after the other. I want to have regular games nights in our house when Florence gets older.

5. Invest in property - It's a long way off for Florence but I was always told that property was the best investment and to get on the property ladder as soon as possible (something also echoed by my husband's parents). Chris and I moved back in with my parents to power save for a deposit as it was so difficult to rent and save at the same time. We made sacrifices and it was so worth it in the end as buying our first flat has been one of the best things we've done.

6. Hanging out with your family can be the most fun - I think our family was slightly unusual in that we were super close (and still are) and would spend a lot of time together, even when we were teenagers. We'd love family holidays and outings, and just hanging out together. And we still do. I think it was because we can all be completely ourselves and always have a laugh. I really want Florence to have this too.

Daisy x

Lincoln: 5 child friendly places to visit in Lincoln

Belton House Adventure Playground
Belton House Adventure Playground
Looking for some child friendly places to visit in Lincoln? We moved to the city of Lincoln in 2018, although my parents moved in 2013 so I'd visited many times beforehand. Since moving, we have been exploring what this great city has to offer and I love that we live a short 15 minute drive from the centre. I want to post more about Lincoln on this blog and share more about this great city.

I'm always looking for new places to take Florence and so today I wanted to share 5 places which are very child friendly and well worth a visit.

1) Belton House

Belton House is a National Trust property in Grantham and it is an amazing place to visit with kids, and suitable for every age. When Florence was tiny we would go and walk her around in her pram, and have picnics and as she's getting older she can now enjoy the park. The adventure playground is amazing - it's set in the woodlands and is huge. There's also a little train that you can take a ride on which is very fun, and also fun to see adults having to squeeze onto it with their tiny ones! If the weather isn't good they also have a great indoor softplay area too.

There are child-friendly cafes, lots of walks and so much to explore at Belton. I know we will be going many times as Florence grows up.

Entry is £8 for an adult and £4 for a child, but obviously free with a National Trust membership.

2) Rand Park Farm

Every child loves a farm, and Rand Park Farm is arguably the best in Lincoln. It's huge and has so much to see and do. Obviously there are lots of animals to meet - you can feed the lambs in springtime and the last time we visited there were lots of piglets which were so cute. There's also an indoor playbarn and a range of other activities including tractor rides, trampolines and crazy golf.

Entry is cheaper if you book online at £8.95 per person.

3) Whisby Nature Park and Garden Centre. 

This is a cheeky two in one mention as these are two separate places. Whisby Nature Park is full of wildlife, walks and trails and surrounds a beautiful lake. We have been there for many times for walks, especially when Florence was little and would sleep in her pram! There is an indoor and outdoor play area and they often hold 'Wildlife Watch' kids events.

Whisby Garden Centre is also well worth a visit and is very close to the Nature Park. As well as being a great garden centre (how life has changed now I'm in my thirties!) you can take a short walk and you'll find yourself in the kids area which has an Animal Park and a Playbarn. There is indoor soft play and great outdoor play areas with water and sand play. As with all soft play, it can get busy at weekends which is why I love a quiet weekday visit!

Entry to the Animal Park, Playbarn and Outdoor play areas is £4.95 for children and £2.50 for adults.

4) Doddington Hall and Gardens

I had to include my all time favourite Lincolnshire venue, Doddington Hall which has a special place in my heart as it's where we got married. It's such a family friendly place to visit with something for everyone. There are great walks, bike trails and there are some great seasonal activities like pumpkin picking and Easter Egg hunts. It's also so magical to visit at Christmas as the house is themed and turned into a magical wonderland with a different theme for each year.

Entry prices vary depending on what you want to visit and can be found on their website here.

5) Lincoln Central Library 

I'm a huge fan of a library and took such joy from going to the library when I was younger and choosing which books I wanted. Lincoln Central Library has a huge range of books to choose from, but also has some great events and classes to attend with children. There are board game sessions, crafty Saturdays and even Lego Clubs with most of them being free to attend.

I hope you have got some inspiration of places to visit with your children in Lincoln. Do let me know your favourites too!

Daisy x