Celebrate Good Deed Day

Friday, February 27th, 2015

There is nothing better than improving a friend or strangers day by sharing a little good will and kindness; a good deed is good karma too! If you didn’t already know March 15th marks the annual Good Deed Day, so there really is no excuse not to do something nice for somebody else – do unto others as you would have them do unto you!

But just how common is it for Brits to perform acts of kindness? Particularly to strangers.

Well, a recent study from Glo unearthed some interesting statistics! 

One of my favourites is that 43% of people that have performed a good deed have gained personal satisfaction from doing so! I have to admit, doing something nice for another does give you that warm and fuzzy feeling. It’s always nice to brighten somebody else’s day. 

One interesting statistic from us queue loving Brits is that 14% have let somebody jump a queue. Very surprising considering the usual tutting and comment making you normally here whilst queuing!

So just what can you do to perform a good deed on March 15. Well, here are 5 modern day good deeds you could perform:

  • Return a lost mobile phone
  • Send a kind email, text or tweet
  • Participate in a social media charity stunt
  • Engage with somebody new on Twitter or Facebook
  • Treat a colleague to breakfast

I can’t wait to try out one or two good deeds on the day and will be writing a blog post on just what I did and how it made me feel. 

But for the meantime, tell me – what good deeds will you or do you perform?

View the infographic here

Sopwell House, St Albans

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

A few weeks ago I was utterly spoilt and taken for a weekend break to Sopwell House in St Albans.

Located out of the hussle and bustle of the City and nearby towns, this spa and hotel is set back in beautiful grounds. As you can imagine the whole place is peaceful and quiet, just what you need when escaping for the weekend.

The original part of the building is grand and old fashioned, but the interior and additional buildings are modern and sleek. A really lovely juxtaposition that just works.



On arrival you are greeted with non-alcoholic punch, which is a nice touch, and after a quick check in we were off to our room.

The rooms echo the general styling of the interior, with modern sleek fittings and luxury bedding. I really could have slept there forever!

Sopwell House St Albans

Sopwell House St Albans

Sopwell House St Albans

Alas with a spa just two flights of stairs down I was eager to relax and enjoy some downtime, not sleep. We each had a full body massage in the spa, the therapists were helpful and despite a mix-up with bookings they managed to accommodate us both.

Prior to your massage at Sopwell House you are offered a choice of massage oils. With options from relaxing to energising you really can be put in any mood that you want! But with an early afternoon appointment and dinner that evening I didn’t want to be left too sleepy, so opted for the energising oil which smelt amazing and seemed to have a light minty edge to it.

After our treatments we visited the spa area; equipped with loungers, a pool, jacuzzi, steam room and sauna we truly felt relaxed and de-stressed after a few hours of use!

Sopwell House Spa

That night we were booked in to the restaurant and so we returned to the room to get changed. I absolutely adore the dress that I wore for the evening, it is the Sadie dress from Chi Chi London. So comfortable – even after a 5-course dinner!


The food within the restaurant itself was delicious. With canapés to start and champagne sorbet between courses it was hard not to be left feeling satisfied!

Sopwell House Restaurant

Sopwell House Restaurant

Sopwell House Restaurant

Sopwell House Restaurant

After dinner we spent the rest of the evening in the cocktail bar, resulting in us being one of the last few left awake! No doubt all that relaxing made early bedtime a necessity for many.

I had such an enjoyable stay at Sopwell House and would highly recommend it to anybody looking for a UK break away. You can find more information here.

Home Improvements on a Budget

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

Having your own home is a wonderful thing, but sometimes amongst the mortgage/rent payments and the seemingly never ending bills there is little money left for you to decorate just as you want to. That doesn’t need to be the case though.

When living in your own place you want it to look and feel like home; be a comfortable surrounding for you to live and grow in. But with constraints on money it admittedly does make it difficult, which is why I thought I would gather some ideas on DIY on a budget.


One of my favourite tips is to repurpose old furniture. You might find a dressing table that you fall in love with, but at around £1,000 it is just too far out of your price range. Instead why not scour your local boot sales and charity shops to find something similar for far less. It might not be that clean, white shade you had envisaged but all you need to do is dig out your paintbrush, purchase a pot of paint and you are set to create the piece of furniture you wanted.


Similarly, if you have a dining table set and the chairs aren’t quite what you were looking for – why not reupholster the fabric? This will quickly update both the chairs and the room that they are in. Choose a fabric of your choice, ensuring that it correlates with the room it will eventually be in, and set to work. A quick and easy way to update old furniture.

Ask for help

Rather than spending vast amounts of money on high hourly rates and call out fees to get the professionals in, see if you can call in help from friends or family instead. There might be a budding plumber amongst them that can sort your problem out in exchange for a few drinks, rather than hard cash!

There are also a variety of websites where people are willing to trade their skills for yours. Do you bake a mean cake? Offer this service and you might just be surprised at what skills you can get in exchange!

Budget your money

Whilst you may not be able to afford to pay outright for all that new furniture now, it may be that over 6 months you could afford to pay it in bits and pieces. Assessing the situation using something like the TSB loan calculator can give you a better idea on what you are able to borrow and how much you will need to pay back. Sometimes you just cannot do everything that you want on a monthly wage, and the old adage of “buy cheap, buy twice” rings true with things like a sofa that you want to last you years to come.

What are your top tips for home improvements on a budget?

Tillie’s Tea Room at Marsh Farm, Essex

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

A few weeks ago I visited Tillie’s Tea Room for afternoon tea with my mum and grandparents. Don’t let the fact it’s based at Marsh Farm in Essex put you off though! The entrance to it is way before you start getting your feet muddy and petting pigs.

On entering the mock-Tudor style building with its low beams and cosy interior, you are immediately left feeling comfortable and relaxed. Almost like popping to your nans for tea – but a little more stylish.

Tables are covered with mismatched crockery which together looks entirely elegant and eye catching. The tea room serves breakfast and lunch too, so you aren’t limited to just sandwiches and cakes.

Soon after our arrival we were served with the biggest pot of tea I have ever laid my eyes on, perfect for a group of 4 with a bit of a thirst!





Not long after our cake tray of sandwiches, cakes and scones arrived – and we weren’t disappointed. The sandwich ranged from smoked salmon to salt beef and overall offered a great selection for all palettes.

However, I always seem to fall in to the trap of not quite realising how much I am eating when the food is in finger food style portions. Getting half way through my delicious scone – with jam and clotted cream no less – I was pretty full, and I am sure the vast quantity of tea didn’t help either!

For the sake of review – of course – though I persevered and sampled a few bites of some of the cakes too. The jam tart-esque cakes were quite crumbly to eat but delicious with their lemon curd or jam interiors.

Overall I was really impressed with Tillie’s Tea Room. Whilst not somewhere you would necessarily drive past to stop at, it is certainly worth a visit for anybody local or visiting the farm with their children.

You can find more about the venue here.

Carousel Diary is written by Katrina, a 23 year old from Essex. Find out more →

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