4 Ways to Keep your Family Bathroom Tidy


No matter if your children have their own bathroom or not, sooner or later they will have to start helping out with keeping it clean. Especially if they're like mine and account for a lot of the mess that's in there! There are many ways to make them help you out as they get older - and you can even make it a bit simpler on yourself, by making use of a few of these bathroom cleaning hacks while they’re still young.

Limit the number of toys in the bathroom - While you absolutely should allow your children to play with toys in the bathroom, it’s a good idea to limit the amount of them. After all, they don’t really need five different versions of the same squirt toy, to have fun in the bath. Before bath time, you can always allow them to select a toy or two that they’d like to bring with them. That way, you’ll always make sure that the room is free of toys when they’re off to bed, and they still get to play with their favourite.

If it’s impossible to limit the number of toys in there, you can always make use of a fun little toy caddy to keep them out of the way. They’ll have everything they need within reach, and you don’t have to tidy up the entire collection from the bath every day.

Keep a squeegee in the shower - If your children are old enough to shower, they’re also old enough to help you keep it clean. Keep a squeegee in the shower, and teach them to make a habit out of cleaning the excess water off the shower walls when they’re done. This doesn’t just remove the watermarks we hate, but by removing excess water you’re also limiting the amount of mold and mildew that’s allowed to build up in your shower. It’s a great way to teach them to be tidier as they grow up as well, and the longer they keep this habit up, the more likely it is that they’ll continue with it as they grow.

Create a bathroom cleaning schedule - The bathroom is a fairly easy room to clean - most don't require you to vacuum and there's no large appliances to clean either. A sponge, some water and a cleaning spray are enough to help out, and most kids are able to do this. Creating a schedule for your children will help to make a habit out of it (and makes sure everyone is clear about their responsibilities).

The oldest one can clean the toilet one day, while the youngest take care of the sink area. Newer vanity units are a lot easier to clean than the older ones, so have a look at Drench if yours is due for an upgrade. It’s a lot more fun to keep clean as well, meaning your children will surely pay more attention to making sure it looks good!

Then next time they can rotate so that nobody’s stuck cleaning the toilet forever. The youngest would have had time to watch how their siblings do it, so there shouldn't be any worries there. It’s the best way of making them learn good bathroom habits, and they get to work together while doing it.

Keeping a cleaning basket in the bathroom - Create a little basket with everything you need to keep the bathroom clean, and see if you can make a competition out of who is better at cleaning the bathroom after using it. Just make sure that the cleaning supplies are safe to use for kids, though, and have a look at this article if you’d like to use some homemade ones.

Keep a pack of antibacterial wipes in the bathroom, and get your children to wipe down the sink area a bit more often. That way, they won’t have to give the whole bathroom a deep clean that often, and especially not if they’re also good at using the squeegee in the shower. Making sure the cleaning equipment is easily accessible, will mean you can clean as often as you need to.

Keeping the bathroom clean may be a bit of a pain, but you can make it easier if you get the smaller ones to help out. You can even have a small prize for the best cleaner, or announce them ‘cleaner of the week’, and you’ll see your bathroom shinier than it’s ever been before in no time!

This is a collaborative post.

Summer 2018 Bucket List


We're already a week into the Summer Holidays, so I am a little late with this post. But I am so excited to share our Summer 2018 bucket list! This is our last summer before Indiana starts school in September, so we wanted to make sure it was a special one - full of fun activities and days out.

We all sat down together and suggested ideas, so that both the children, and Jack and I, can get as much enjoyment out of it as possible. So here is what we hope to enjoy this summer!

I created the list on Canva (they have lots of templates so it's really easy), and then I'm going to print it and stick it on the wall for the Littles to see. We've already ticked off 'have a movie day', so I wonder what we'll get up to next!

What would you add to our list?

Advice & Tips for Visiting Disneyland Paris with a Baby


Back in March, we were lucky enough to enjoy a magical trip to Disneyland Paris. Over the 5 days we enjoyed rides and shows, met countless characters, and made so many special memories with our three little ones aged 4, 2 and 8 weeks.

So many people thought we were absolutely crazy to visit with such young children - especially a newborn baby. But we didn't find it difficult at all really; and we actually found the baby the easiest one to travel with!

So I thought I'd put together a post of tips and advice that we found and used during our trip, to hopefully help others thinking of taking a baby to Disneyland Paris.


The first question I have been asked, is how do you book a baby on your trip? We decided to book through a travel agent (Tui) for this reason, as we actually booked while I was still pregnant. All we did was give them the due date and they wrote 'tbc' in the name section. And then once Lilah was born, we popped into the store and got them to change the name (and the date if you need to). Easy!

What to Pack 

There aren't any supermarkets or chemists in the Disney resort, but I believe you can catch a train to some from the Disney Village. I would suggest just making sure you've got all the supplies you need first though - and back ups just in case!

Lilah is formula fed, so we took the small ready made cartons for the journeys (we went by Eurostar), plus a few extra. I'm glad we took the extra as our train ended up being delayed on the way home! For bottles during the trip, we just took a tub of powder, a powder dispenser point (these are widely available at places such as Asda and Boots), and a thermos flask for the water. We then hired a kettle from our Disney hotel for free - you just need to ask at the concierge when you arrive.

For sterilising we took a Milton steriliser bucket and sterilising tablets. It's that simple! We could wash the bottles up in the bathroom sink (just decant some washing up liquid into a small bottle), and then chuck everything in.

Another item we hired was a travel cot, and this was automatically added to our booking as we had a baby with us. It was very basic though, without a proper mattress or any bedding. We packed our Sleepyhead as we knew Lilah would sleep in this best, and we are soo glad we did. Don't be afraid to move the beds in the room over, to pop the cot next to the bed either - we did this and just pushed them back when we left!

I would 100% recommend taking your own buggy / stroller with you. You can hire them, but only from the parks and you have to pay daily. They definitely aren't baby friendly either, but more just a metal frame and a bit of fabric. I'd suggest taking a baby carrier or sling with you too, as it will save you getting baby in and out of a pram for rides and queues. Do be aware though, that babies cannot stay in the carrier / sling while on the rides. They have to sit on your lap facing outwards.

In the Parks / Attractions

The main question we are asked about visiting Disneyland Paris with a baby, is what rides / attractions can the baby go on? And the answer to that is simple, loads! We visited in March 2018 so a number of things were closed or being refurbished, so we couldn't go on them at all. But Lilah, at 8 weeks old, went on:

Peter Pan's Flight
Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast
It's a Small World
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
Pirates of the Caribbean
Snow White's Scary Adventure
Disneyland Railroad
Studio Tram Tour
Aladdin's Flying Carpets
Disney Junior Live on Stage

Plus, the Aladdin walk through, seeing the Dragon under the castle, and the Sleeping Beauty Castle walk through. She also met lots of characters, enjoyed the parades, shows and fireworks with us and then basically slept for the rest of the time!

Queuing for the bigger rides or to meet characters gave us a perfect break to stop and feed her, and there are plenty of bathrooms around with baby change in them. Both parks have baby care centres too. In the Disneyland Park, it is on Main Street USA near the Plaza Gardens Restaurant, and in the Walt Disney Studios Park it is behind Studio Services. These centres have comfortable spots to feed and change baby, bottle warming facilities (although this was just a microwave!), and also have nappies and baby food available for purchase.

Having a baby with us didn't stop Jack and I enjoying the rides either. Disney have a fantastic 'baby switch' service on rides, which we made use of nearly every day. Either Jack and I would queue with the older two and enjoy the ride. Then when you get off just ask an attendant for a baby switch ticket. We'd go find the other adult, switch, and then either use the baby switch ticket at the disabled entrance or exit of the ride to ride again without queueing. It's brilliant and completely free! I'd also make use of fastpasses (they're free too!), as these will make the amount of time queuing shorter as well.

Everyone absolutely loved talking to Lilah during our trip, and the characters especially took a shine to her. It made the whole trip even more magical! And although we know she will never remember it, we are so pleased we decided to be a little crazy and take her to Disneyland as a tiny baby.

If you have any questions do let me know, and have a magical holiday!

5 Ways to Protect Your Pelvic Floor


The pelvic floor muscle is incredibly important for both men and women, and yet we know very little about it or how to protect it. There are thought to be between 3 and 6 million people in the UK, suffering from some kind of urinary incontinence. For too long, it has remained a hidden problem, something that is both embarrassing and incurable.

Photo by Yoann Boyer on Unsplash
Thankfully, attitudes are changing and treatments are becoming more effective too. But when it comes to protecting your pelvic floor, there is no denying that prevention is better than cure. So what ways can you protect your pelvic floor and reduce reliance on incontinence pads?

Specific Pelvic Floor Exercises
The pelvic floor muscle stretches across the body, from the front by the pubic bone to the base of the spine. It is a sling-like muscle and one that is unlike any other muscle in the body. But it works in similar ways by contracting and expanding to allow the muscle the bladder to open and close. Keeping it toned and strong can be done through exercise, just like we do with other muscles in the body.

Clench and release exercises are simple and effective. Performing two or three sets each and every day, as well as extending the time you clench your pelvic floor muscle, is effective at keeping it strong and toned. Although a lot of advice relating to the pelvic floor muscle relates to pregnancy, these exercises can be done by men and women, no matter how old or young they are.

Your choice of foods and drinks can also make incontinence worse? Looking after your pelvic floor is a balance of helping it to remain healthy, whilst minimising foods and drinks that can irritate it;

  • Acidic foods, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes and the like can irritate the bladder making it harder for your pelvic floor muscle to remain in control. If you eat a lot of these kinds of foods, you may need to consider cutting back.
  • Caffeine and sugary drinks can also affect the bladder, reducing your intake of both of these kinds of drinks, including alcohol, can help with pelvic floor and bladder health.
  • Not drinking enough water can also lead to an irritated bladder. Although we may think reducing the amount of water we drink will help incontinence, it can actually make it worse.

We all know by now that our lifestyle impacts our health, and this is certainly true when it comes to the bladder and the pelvic floor.

  • Smoking - causing smoker’s cough, it may be possible that your pelvic floor is weakened by coughing fits leading to urinary incontinence.
  • Alcohol - consuming a lot of alcohol leads to the body making more urine and this can lead to problems with incontinence.
  • Lack of exercise and excess weight - can also lead to problems with incontinence. Staying active, balancing your diet and maintaining a healthy weight all help your pelvic floor.

Bad Habits
Over the years, we can pick up poor toilet habits too, some of which may impact on your pelvic floor. For example, it is not uncommon for people to wait until the last minute to go to the toilet. This places stress on the bladder as well as the muscles and the pelvic floor muscle that control it.

Holding on to urine can also lead to other problems. Urinary tract infections or UTIs happen for all kinds of reasons but holding on to your urine or not allowing yourself time to empty your bladder properly could be one of them. Make sure you allow yourself time to go to the bathroom and when you do feel the urge, you don’t put it off.

Seek Help
For too long incontinence was seen as something that happened as the body aged. Or that it was a female-only problem and a side effect of pregnancy and giving birth. There is help available for all people suffering from incontinence though;
  • Information and help with exercise and lifestyle is something your doctor and practice nurse can help with.
  • Some GPs will refer patients to a specialist continence nurse to help with longer-term incontinence issues.
  • There are medications that can help.
  • For when the pelvic floor is damaged, surgery may be an option. 

Protect your pelvic floor by looking after it with exercise and a healthy lifestyle but if you need to, seek medical help too.
This is a collaborative post.

How to Find that Perfect Present!

We're over half way through the year now, which can only mean one thing... The festive season is coming! Everyone loves giving and receiving presents. But even if you've known someone your entire life, and you know everything about them, it can often be a struggle to figure out what to get. This is especially true when it comes to my mum.

You don't just want to give them something they'll never use - or worse, throw away! But at the same time, you don't want to spend massive amounts of money (because it's not about the cost, but finding something special isn't it). The key is to think about who they are and what they might want. But if you're really struggling, here are a few things to consider when trying to find that perfect present.

Make it something they actually want - One of the biggest ways to end up with a gift that goes unappreciated, is to give someone a present that they don’t really want or need. The best way to ensure that you’re not going to fall into that trap, is to make sure that you’re thinking about their interests when you’re looking for a gift. If you’ve got a young relative who loves playing with dolls, then dolls house furniture could be a perfect gift. But if you’re trying to find something for your parents then you’re probably going to want something a little bit more mature. Think about the person you’re buying a gift for, and try to find something that actually fits with their tastes and interests. And if you're still stuck, try and subtly ask them what they want - you can't go wrong then!

Make it unique - Nothing makes a gift better than knowing that it's a one of a kind. Nobody wants to end up getting the same gift a dozen times over, and you also don't want to end up getting the same thing for everyone you know. Consider going in a more personal direction with your gift. Are you a crafty person? Think about making something as a gift. The time and effort you put in will make it mean a lot more. If you're not the creative type yourself, there are lots of sellers online that can make something special for you.

Make it last - If you want a gift to matter to someone, don't give them something that's going to break or fall apart after three days. Give them something that will last, and that they can get enjoyment from time and time again. Books are a perfect example of do this! If you find a book that you think they'll really love, they will be able to get years of enjoyment from it, reading and re-reading it. Whatever you get for someone, think about how long it will last and how much they'll want to reuse as time goes on.

Remember, whatever you end up getting for someone, the price is not the most important thing. It might seem like you need to break the bank for a great present. But that's not the case. It might seem like a cliche, but remember, it really is the thought that counts!

This is a collaborative post.

Leesa Mattress | Review


With young children already giving us enough reason to not get a good nights sleep, we didn't need an uncomfortable mattress being another! Our bed isn't even that old, but our spring mattress definitely wasn't at it's best. So when Leesa contacted me, and asked if I wanted to try one of their premium foam mattresses, how could I say no?

The Leesa Mattress has been carefully designed and engineered with three premium foams - Avena foam for cooling, memory foam for body contouring and a 15cm base layer for strength and pressure-relieving core support. Combined and covered with their iconic seamless four-stripe cover, they are designed to give optimum comfort and a peaceful nights sleep.

Ordering our mattress was incredibly easy, and it arrived within a few days in a cardboard box. It may seem a bit strange to some, but I found the unboxing great fun. It's definitely a two-man job though! Watching the mattress grow once taken out of the plastic wrapping was incredible - it literally took minutes for it to look like a regular mattress.

We've been sleeping on our mattress for over a month now, and I can honestly say, I've loved it from day one! Jack was incredibly skeptical, as he thought it would be too soft. But even he has told me how much better he has slept since it arrived.

The Leesa mattress is designed to cradle and support your body, without that sinking feeling you imagine from other foam mattresses. It is the perfect firmness, and I can get comfortable whether I'm on my front, back or side. It doesn't make me feel all hot either, which is another negative I've heard of foam mattresses. I was also worried our regular fitted sheets would be too small for the Leesa mattress, but luckily they still fit perfectly. You do have to stretch them a little more, so a deep-fitted sheet may be a bit easier!

We are soo incredibly pleased with our Leesa Mattress, and I can honestly say it's made a positive difference to our sleep. Even when getting up and down at night with the Littles, I can feel myself melt back into the mattress when I jump back into bed.

This review is in collaboration with Leesa Sleep.

How Can You Give Your Wedding That Extra Spark?


Your wedding is the most amazing, magical day of your life. From start to finish it should be the kind of experience that you will always be able to look back on, and feel filled with love and joy. I know that's exactly how I feel about mine!
The ceremony itself is certainly the most important part of the whole day for you, but that doesn't mean it's the only thing to think about. After all, you want the entire day to be just as magical as the moment you say "I do"! But you don't want the best day of your life to just turn into yet another generic party. With that in mind, here are some things that you can do to make sure that your wedding reception is something really special.


If you want your reception to be something truly wonderful and memorable, why not choose a theme for the entire thing. That way you're never going to end up with a reception that looks boring or generic. The theme is, of course, entirely up to you and should be a reflection of you and your partner's personalities. Whether you want something a little more shabby-chic, or perhaps you want to bring some vintage flair to proceedings, the key is to make it consistent. Your theme should go into every aspect of your reception from the decorations and the lighting, to the food and even the music that's played!

Personal touches

There are dozens of ways to bring a personal touch to your wedding reception. Perhaps you're the crafty type, and you want to make your own place settings so that they're totally unique. You can also try something like personalised wedding napkins with you and your partner's names or initials on them. That way your guests can appreciate the care and attention that you've put into all of the little details throughout the entire day. Not only that, but anything that's unique or homemade is automatically going to be extra special and memorable.

Try something a bit different

A lot of the time, wedding receptions follow a pretty standard formula. People arrive, they have a few drinks, they dance, they eat, the dance some more, etc. Well, what if you decided to change that up a bit? You'll probably still want to have your first dance, and you're definitely going to need some food and a drink after all of the hard work you've put in, but there's nothing to say your reception has to be anything like anyone else's.

You could set up games for people to play, a photo booth so that people can capture the memories of the day, perhaps some different forms of entertainment. From the best wedding bands to something a little more exotic like circus performers. Think about the theme of your wedding, and ask yourself what kinds of things could you include in your reception, that are going to be just a little bit different and exciting!
This is a collaborative post.

Lilah at Six Months Old


So our beautiful Lilah Bear is now six months old. 26 weeks. Half a year...

I am not okay with this!

She's growing into such a cheeky little girl, but I am already mourning those hazy newborn days. Everyone is definitely right when they say it goes by much quicker with your second or third. I feel as if Monday arrives, I blink, and then it's Sunday again and Lilah is another week older. It's not fair!

Lilah is now 16lbs 4oz, and has the most delicious leg rolls and chubby cheeks. We've switched over to size 4 nappies - although we're still having trouble with her waking up wet in the mornings. Clothes wise she's still in 3-6 months, although they are getting a little tight now so I fear we'll have to move up soon.

Now she's 6 months old, we've started introducing food to our routine. We slowly began a few weeks ago, letting her taste a few flavours here and there. She's already decided she doesn't want to be fed at all, so I think we'll be following baby led weaning for a third time. As she's still having five 8oz bottles throughout the day, she's not having lots of food yet. We're just letting her try bits and bobs throughout the day - although she always sits with us and has dinner now.

Sleep is always a big question we're asked, and thankfully we're still getting quite a decent night. Lilah now sleeps on her tummy (most likely the reason for the leaking nappies I mentioned earlier), so we've taken the Sleepyhead away. She does wake for her dummy occasionally, but no feeds anymore. She's also still in her Huddle in our room, as I'm not ready for her to go anywhere yet. But she is napping during the day in there now too, as she was rolling in her moses basket!

Lilah has developed and reached so many milestones this month; we honestly couldn't be prouder! As well as starting food, she has cut her very first tooth, is able to sit independently for a good few minutes, and she is crawling around the room too. She's making new sounds every day (I think we're close to hearing da-da!), and gives the biggest belly laughs when you tickle her.

The moses basket, carrycot, and sleepyhead are gone. She's almost outgrown her bouncers. She loves to actually play with her toys. And she doesn't sit still for nappy changes. So those tiny baby days are most definitely gone. But we are so excited for this next stage!

How to Enjoy more Me Time as a Parent


The concept of having free time when you’re a parent is something of a joke, isn't it? If your children don't need one thing or another, then you need to make sure that you’re keeping on top of your work or doing bits around the house. There's always something that needs to be done!

But you've got to remember to find that time to focus on yourself. You are important too, and you cannot pour from an empty cup. This is especially important for your mental health! So even if you’ve only got a limited amount of time during the day, I've shared some ideas for how you can enjoy that 'me' time.

If you’ve got a spare twenty minutes (and that means actually spare, not the time to catch up on tidying), then don’t spend your time scrolling through Facebook and other social media accounts. Instead, head outdoors. The benefits of walking have long been understood, yet they rarely get a mention these days. A brief stroll around the block will clear your head, refresh you, and allow your mind to drift in whatever direction it pleases. You can even do have little ones, strap them in the buggy and it may even get them to nap too!

Once the children are in bed, why not ignore the housework (it will still be there tomorrow!), and transport yourself into another world - be it one in a book or on the screen. There’s nothing quite like spending an hour engrossed in your favourite tv show to help reset the madness of parenthood. If you don’t have access to high-quality channels, look at getting cable from a provider like Suddenlink. And don’t worry if you’re not much of a reader, a magazine or paper might be more of your style.

It can often feel like we live in a parenting bubble when we have children, can't it? Our kids dictate how we spend our days, and most adult interactions tend to be with other parents. If you have an hour of free time, why not meet up with one of your non-parent friends. They’ll be a timely reminder that there’s a world beyond parenting life. This one is especially good if you turn it into a night out too!

If you were active before you had children, then why not look at heading back to the gym. It’ll make you feel great, and will give the bonus of giving you more energy too. Most gyms have creches now, so there's no need to worry about childcare. Or go in the evening once everyone is in bed!

Collaborative Post

Keeping Healthy During Pregnancy


When you’re pregnant, your body has to go through a lot of changes. Your skeleton will restructure, internal organs will move out of place, and the chemicals that control the way you feel will be all over the place. Of course, this is simply part of the job, and most mums will be happy to go through it for their child. This doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything about it though. In fact, as an expecting mum, there are a number of things that can be done to help you through pregnancy.

Supplements - Those first few months of pregnancy are incredibly tough. Morning sickness, bloating and extreme tiredness, make it hard to make sure that you’re eating the right food all the time. A lot of mums (myself included) find themselves consuming options which are less than healthy, and much more convenient. To balance this out, supplements like hibiscus tea can be very powerful. Along with this, a lot of mums will choose to take multivitamins and pregnancy supplements throughout their pregnancies.

Exercise - Along with taking the right supplements, you could also think about getting involved with a little bit of exercise. Between sessions, your metabolism will be at its peak, and your body will be able to make proper use of all of the nutrients you’ve consumed. This is a great way to make sure that your baby is getting everything they need. Even when you’re eating the right food, it can be hard to tell whether or not the goodness is being passed down to your baby, unless you put some provisions in place to help with it.

Cravings - During pregnancy, lots of women will experience some sort of cravings. In most cases, this can be traced directly to the nutrients which you need the most. Those craving salt being low on sodium, and those who want sweet food needing a boost in sugar levels. This gives you the ability to make a difference through simple observation. Of course though, you can’t just give into the cravings, as you’ll also need to make sure that you’re eating healthily. To achieve this goal, it will be worth preparing your snacks in advance, making it nice and easy to keep yourself eating the right things.

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to start working harder on the time you put into your pregnancy diet. During this time in life, food is going to be more important than ever before, impacting your child’s development and your health when it comes to giving birth. Although your doctor and midwife will often have some of the best advice on offer, if you feel you need it.

Collaborative Post

5 Ways to Make Long Car Journeys with Children Easier


Any car journey with little ones can be stressful can't they? But long journeys can be especially tough! We have been on quite a few with our three now; to places such as Somerset, Wales and Norfolk. And most recently we've driven to Dorset for a little family staycation. I feel we've learnt a few tricks now we've got a few under our belts, so I thought I'd share 5 ways to make long car journeys with children easier!

Time your Journey Right

Our biggest tip is to time your journey right. Leave at your little ones nap time so they sleep through most of the journey. Or even pop them in their pjs before you leave and travel at bed time, so you can just transfer them when you arrive! This also applies to the time of day you leave to - check what times the route is busiest (avoid rush hour, especially if you're going on the motorway), and plan accordingly.

Make them Comfortable

Of course if you want them to sleep, you need to make sure they are comfortable! We specifically bought Parker (2) a carseat that reclines, so that he was more comfortable when he fell asleep. As Indie is now in a high backed booster, this neck pillow from LittleLife keeps her head in a comfortable position for sleeping (and helps with it flopping forward!). They also sell these fantastic window shades, that cover the full window like a giant sock, so there's no worrying about the sun being in their eyes either. 

Take Plenty of Snacks

If your little ones are anything like mine, they'll be asking for food before you've even left the house. So make sure to pack ALL the car snacks (especially for yourself as well!). We always make sure to take more than we need, especially when it comes to milk for the baby. This then means you don't have to dig for food / bottles when you arrive, and that it is there if you get stuck in long queues too.

Take Regular Breaks

Another one that's just as important for you, than it is for the little ones. Baby's shouldn't stay in their Stage 1 carseat for longer than 2 hours at a time, and toddlers usually need a wee break, so it's best to stop at least once on your journey. We usually time it with lunch or snack time, so we can all refuel, go to the loo and stretch our legs, before getting back on the road. It's better to stop and have the journey take longer, than to try and battle through we've found.

If in doubt, use you iPads or Kindles

If you've run out of car games, and don't want to fill them with anymore snacks, then a trusty iPad will definitely work! We usually download a few films or TV shows, from Netflix or BBC iPlayer (make sure to do this with wi-fi before you leave), and this will keep the big two happy for a while. A backseat holder for the iPad will stop them from pressing all the buttons while they're watching. But if you don't have one, you can go into the settings and turn on the function that disables the home button instead.

What top tips do you have for making long car journeys easier?

We received these LittleLife products in exchange for this post. All opinions are honest and my own.

The Siblings Project | July 2018

A whole 6 months with these three little beans, and I honestly cannot believe it! One the one hand it feels as if Lilah has been a part of our family forever. But it also feels like just yesterday that she was born. It was actually a whole year ago since we announced that were were expecting Lilah too, which is absolutely crazy!

The bond between our three has definitely become stronger than ever these last fews weeks. The second the big two come into the room, or even if Lilah can hear them, she lights us and gets oh so excited. Indie keeps her entertained on car journeys, and Parker loves to talk to her when she's in the buggy. It's like she has her own entertainment crew - one that never get tired of their job!

When it was just the two of us while the big two were away a few weeks ago, you could tell she felt a little lost. And honestly, life with just one felt far too quiet and empty for me! Of course as they grow, I know we'll have our fair share of sibling rivalry and arguments (I'm one of 7, so I know exaaaaactly what it's like).

But for now, I love the dynamic of three! I love turning around in the car and seeing all three seats filled. Having a baby on my hip and a child either side. Being able to say "yes, they're all mine!" when we're out and about.

Three is seriously that magic number.

The Siblings Project - Dear Beautiful

9 Ways to Enjoy More Family Time


Are you tired of not having the time in your schedule to spend time with your family? It’s a common problem that many of us have, but we all know it’s not fair on you or your children, if you don’t make time to spend time together.

But how do you actually make that happen if you’re currently struggling to do so?

There are actually plenty of ways to make more of the time you have available to you. And on top of that, you can create more time that can be spent with the family too! I'm going to share 9 ways you can enjoy more family time, so read on and put the ideas you learn about into action as soon as you can.

Have a Day when your Children Choose the Activities
Sometimes you can have more fun when you let your little ones choose what to do. They’re the ones that matter most in all this, so it makes sense to do what they actually want to do! Whether they want to go to the park or play games with you, you’re sure to have a good time. Just make sure that they choose something that you can all do together as a family. Whether it's once a week or once a month, let your child/ren choose the activity for a change. Why not bring the whole household together through fun games and challenges!

Change your Priorities
You can’t expect things to go perfectly for your family, if they’re lower down in your priority list than your job or your hobby. These things need to move to one side (unless it's impossible to do so), because your family should always be the thing that comes first. It can be difficult to admit that you have a problem with your priorities, but the sooner you take action the better.

Create a Dedicated Family Night
Having one night in the week that you’re able to spend with the family, with no-one and nothing else getting in the way can be really good. Switch off phones and other distractions, and create a family night that suits you. It could be about watching films together or playing some board games. Whatever you do is up to you; just make sure everyone has a good time.

Cook in Batches
One of the things that might be taking up your quality time, is the need to cook an evening meal every night. You can make this less of a problem for your family though, by cooking things in batches and then freezing them. You won’t have to worry about spending all evening cooking, because all you’ll have to do is reheat the food you put in the freezer previously!

Upgrade your Kitchen and Dining Area
Your kitchen and dining room are some of the most important rooms in the house. They are communal spaces, where you can spend quality time with your family each day. You can all enjoy breakfast around the table together, and then discuss your days over dinner in the evening too. If you find you've not got the room at the moment for a dining table; so you're not getting this time. Maybe it's time to update your kitchen and dining area, to get more out of these communal spaces.

Read Together
Reading is such an important activity for your children. So if this is something that you currently don’t dedicate all that much time to, this is something you should definitely change. By sitting down and reading together, you will not only be teaching your children important skills, but also instilling a love of reading and books from a young age. The bedtime routine is the perfect time to enjoy a book or two snuggled in bed together!

Enjoy Art Activities
Art activities are always fun to tackle as a family unit, because it allows you all to get messy and have some fun. Not everything you do has to be clean and about learning! Getting your hands and clothes covered in paint can be a lot of fun (as long as it's okay with you first of course).

Involve Children in Smaller Tasks
If you’re struggling for time and you have lots of chores around the house you need to do, why not get the little ones involved! If you’ve got to sort through the washing, give them the socks to sort. Or let them help with the vacuuming. Of course, you don’t want to make it into a chore for them - keep it fun by playing their favourite music while you go, or having races to see who can complete a task first.

Remove or Reduce Things that Waste your Time
There are so many things that we all experience each day that can completely waste our time and energy. These are the things that you should be looking to remove from your lifestyle! Do you really need to iron everything? If yo hang washing straight away and the creases should drop out instead. When you waste less time on things that aren’t all that important, you can then focus on doing things that are more important to you and your family.

Spending time with your family is not only really important for the development of your children, it’s also really important for your own health and happiness. The more time you get to spend with them the better it will be for everyone!
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7 Tips to Help Buy Your First Home!


For a lot of people, the very idea of being able to buy their own home is nothing more than a fantasy. After all, over the last few decades both the cost of living, and the price of many homes have skyrocketed. Not to mention the increased difficulty in getting a mortgage!

This leaves many people in the position of wanting to own their own home, but being forced to either rent or to keep living with their parents, because it feels as though buying a property simply isn't possible. But the truth is, things might not be as hopeless as you first think. Of course buying a home is going to be far from easy, but that doesn't make it impossible! With that in mind, here are 7 tips to help you towards that dream house.

Photo by Sylvie Tittel on Unsplash

1. Do your research

One of the biggest mistakes that you can make, is to push forward with the process of buying a home, without really knowing what it is that you're getting in for. If you don't do enough research, then you're almost certainly going to end up in a position where there are fees that you didn't consider, complications that you weren't aware of, or you didn't realise how much time the whole process was going to take.

If you're serious about buying your own home, you need to do as much research as possible (well in advance) before taking the next step. There are hundreds of blog posts and articles online that can provide you with pretty much every single piece of information that you could possibly need. Or why not turn to your parents or friends who have been through the process for advice.

2. Find the best mortgage deals

Your biggest concern when it comes to buying you're a home, is almost certainly going to be the mortgage itself. A mortgage is mostly likely going to be the most significant piece of debt that you'll ever find yourself dealing with. Luckily, there are companies out there who are able to help you find the best possible mortgage deals though - so that you not only save yourself money, but so you are in a better position to actually apply for the mortgage in the first place.

3. Learn to compromise

When a lot of people say that they can't buy a home, what they actually mean is that they're not in a position to buy their perfect home. Now, the idea of being your forever home is a wonderful one and something that most people imagine when buying their first property. However, the reality is that unless you're in an incredibly comfortable financial position, that's just not something that you're going to be able to do.

Instead, why not think about the benefits of getting your foot on the property ladder in the first place. Your first home might not be where you want to spend the rest of your life, but it gets you onto the ladder, and makes buying other properties in the future a much more realistic proposition.

Find a property that ticks most, if not all, of your boxes while still falling within a reasonable price range. Things like the location of your property can make a huge difference. If you look at properties in Malaysia then you’ll find that you can find a great deal of properties that offer a huge amount of quality at a much lower budget. Then you can spend the next few years saving for a bigger or better property, while also adding value to your current house.

4 - Look for property alternative

While you might have your heart set on a beautiful house, an apartment could save you a lot of money while still providing you with a spacious and attractive home. Or maybe you'd like to go even further outside of the box. Instead of taking out a huge mortgage on a house, why not spend a lot less on something like a houseboat or a van? Now, this most certainly isn't going to be the life for everyone, but for those who want to be able to move around more regularly than if they had to buy and sell their homes every time, something like this has a lot of benefits.

5 - Look ahead to the future

If you're saying "I can't afford to buy a house", there's a good chance that what you mean is "I can't afford to buy the house I want right now." As similar as they might seem, it's important to remember that those two statements mean very different things!

If you're feeling discouraged by the idea of never being able to afford a home, remember that your financial situation now is not necessarily going to be the same as your financial situation in the future. You might even want to start thinking about the kinds of career decisions that you need to make, in order to make it more likely that you're going to be able to afford your own home further down the line.

6 - Start saving now

One of the very best things that you can do when it comes to being able to afford your own home, is to start saving your money right now. If you start saving now, even if the idea of buying a home is one that you're not even close to thinking about, you're going to make it a whole lot easier when the time does come. Having the money that you need for a deposit set aside will make everything easier on you in the long run.

7 - Don't let anyone put pressure on you

Trying to buy a house can often feel like an incredibly intimidating process, to the point where it can be pretty overwhelming. One of the most important things is to remember though, is that you should never let anyone try to pressure you into anything. Your estate agent might try and push specific solicitors on you, or encourage you to spend money in ways that don't make sense to you. If you are told you that you have to do something a certain way, go away and do some research. You may find that you can get better deals elsewhere, or that they are simply trying to unfairly squeeze money out of you.

The reality of buying a home is that it can be a long, complicated, and often deeply frustrating process. But by following some of these tips, you can hopefully make the process that little bit easier, and even make that dream home yours sooner than you think!

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Transatlantic Crossings on the RMS Queen Mary 2

I am sure we've all seen the film Titanic; with the love story of Jack and Rose, and the fictionalised account of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. The real romantic story however, was the power of the Transatlantic crossing. These giant ships crossing the Atlantic Ocean, departing from the UK and reaching the USA in about a week, was something the world had never seen before.

Designed by engineering geniuses, and built by the bare hands of skilled labourers, these ships were the pride and joy of each nation they were born from. In this modern day and age, crossing the Atlantic is done all the time, but the romance of such a journey has not lost an ounce of its power though.

Many commercial ships are actually cruise ships, and not ocean liners. The difference? Well, cruise ships are purely for entertainment purposes that cannot cross large distances in a short amount of time, or sail in rough waters. Ships like the Queen Mary 2 however, are the Rolls-Royce of cruising through the oceans. They have fantastic family voyage trips that are very popular for those that want to treat themselves to a luxury ride and adventure.

You can probably tell from the name, but RMS Queen Mary 2 is a British ship. More than twice as big as the Titanic; although her design may be sleek and long (rather than wide and large like cruise ships), she’s extremely sophisticated on the inside. She weighs over 149,215 gross tonnage and is thrust by around 150,000 horsepower - giving her a top speed of 35 mph. There are no class systems anymore, like there was in the Titanic, instead rooms and amenities are dependent of the kind of package you order.

Her maiden voyage was completed in 2004, but she had an extensive refitting and overhaul in 2016, making her even more luxurious. Decor was been updated, along with the addition of many more rooms and improved facilities. Of course she is a classic British ocean liner, not a theme park with a hull. So rather than having a waterpark, you can expect to see jacuzzis, swimming pools and steam baths instead. Theatre, dance performances, and fine dining is what the Queen Mary 2 offers its guests. There are lots of things for little ones to enjoy as well, as there are many play areas and video games onboard.

There are many voyages that happen all year round, but things do start to slow down during the winter season. However the operator line Cunard, does still offer some translation crossing. So if you book a cruise holiday with Bolsover Cruise Club, they can fix you with a roundtrip transatlantic crossing that lasts for 17 nights. The club has every cruise you can possibly think of and all the operators and ships are available. It's the epicentre for all the most notable cruises around the world, but mainly for Western passengers.

You can rest assured that you'll be sailing in luxury when aboard the Queen Mary 2. There are many suites to stay in, all varying in experience, space and decor (and of course price). The Britannia Balcony Staterooms are one of the more basic style of rooms, and are on the lower deck so you will have a closed balcony. If you want to really travel in the highest luxury, then suites such as the Royal Suite and Duplex are for you. They have kingsize beds, extended lounge rooms, and fine dining menu options. The Grand Duplex, is two floors with just about all the space you’ll ever need, splendid materials, decor, features and modern entertainment such as satellite television too. 

Privacy and common courtesy embody what the Queen Mary 2 is all about, and this kind of travelling captivates new customers each day. Ocean liners have a different attitude to crossing continents. Calm and powerful, the crossing from Southampton to New York still sends chills down the spines of all who are lucky enough to get the full British experience. Why don't you book your trip today?

This is a collaborative post.