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The Siblings Project | December 2018

15.12.18


I cannot believe this is my last Siblings project post of 2018! This year has seen my duo turn to a trio, and my big two welcome their baby sister into their little gang. It's been amazing to watch Indiana take on the big sister role again. She was born for the role, and absolutely loves playing and looking after Lilah. Parker has definitely struggled with the big brother role sometimes (he was the baby for 2.5 years I suppose), but I know he is smitten with his baby sister really.

December has been a really fun month so far, and having our cheeky three definitely make it that much more special. It was the first year Indie and Parker really got into helping with decorating the house - although I think I may have preferred it when they didn't help so much... Of course Lilah has spent every day since destroying said decorations, but I think I'm going to be really disappointed when they're gone for another year.


I love looking back on how our three have changed over the year, and I think this year's will be extra special, as it has captured Lilah's whole first year! So here's a look back on the Littles this year...

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December


Christmas with the Sky Kids App

14.12.18


We are really on the countdown to Christmas now, and I think I may be just as (or possibly even more) excited than the Littles this year! December is a rather crazy month though, with soo many events and days out to fit in - seeing Father Christmas, school nativities, ice skating, and more. That it is so important to find some down-time in amongst the festivities.

If you read my previous post, then you'll know how much we've been enjoying the Sky Kids app. The dedicated Sky Kids app is described as "a world of entertainment for them, peace of mind for you", and is available to download on your phone or tablet at no extra cost (to Sky TV customers with the Sky Kids pack). Since my last post, the Sky Kids app won a Mumsnet Rated award - 103 Mumsnet testers tried the Sky Kids app, with 94% saying they would use it again, and 97% saying they would recommend it. And I can completely see why!


In between all of our Christmassy activities, I think it's lovely to let the Littles relax with the iPad, and watch a few of their favourite shows on the Sky Kids app. They can both have their own unique profile which features shows suitable for their age, so I know that they're safe doing so as well. They are both currently obsessed with The Gruffalo and Stick Man at the moment, and we've all been enjoying Christmas specials of their favourite shows (especially Hey Duggee!).

Excitingly, this Christmas Sky Kids is sponsoring the ice rink at Winter wonderland in London! Speaking from experience, queuing with children is a nightmare. So Sky Kids have provided iPads in the queueing area of the ice rink, so us mums and dads can entertain their little ones with the Sky Kids app (full of festive games, quizzes and their favourite shows) while waiting. It's such a fab collaboration, and one I know will be a hit with both parents and their children!


Finding the time to relax and snuggle up at home during December is so important - we all need to relax to get the most out of the festive period! So we will definitely be letting the Littles enjoy some down-time using the Sky Kids app when at home. And of course downloading some of their favourite Christmas episodes for long car journeys over the next few weeks too.

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Mumsnut and Sky Kids. All opinions are honest and my own.

Making Room for Nature in your Home

3.12.18

Your home goes beyond the realms of your interior decor. While many homeowners focus their entire attention on designing exciting interiors, they can sometimes neglect their outdoor decor. If you own a house (bungalow, terraced, or even detached property) with a front and back garden, you can’t afford to ignore how the exterior of your property affects your homely feel.

Would you feel at home if you parked the car on a messy drive every evening, and had to fight your way through an overgrown garden to get to the door? If the answer is no, then here’s a short guide on making your outdoor space homely again! 


The eternal challenge of birds in the garden 
If you love the idea of a vibrant red robin stopping in your garden in winter, you know that you need to prepare the spot in advance. Bird feeders are hugely popular - not only because they provide the guarantee of attracting birds into your garden, but also because they’re an easy and practical way to inject new life into your outdoor decor.

The more birds come to your garden, the more likely you are to struggle with stains on the driveway, the walls and the windows too. You can, however, protect your premises by using targeted bird control service, such as the addition of pigeon spikes to deter them from perching on your window sills and porch. An elegant alternative to the bird feeder is to add a pond, which will provide water to the birds and limit droppings to a small area.

The green garden that turns to chaos
If you’ve been dreaming of a wild garden you’ve probably come to realise that it takes a lot of work to manage the wilderness. Creating a naturalistic and untamed look comes down to one method - managed landscaping. The selection of plants is essential. You need to create a frame with evergreen shrubs, perennials and ornamental grasses to bring structure and natural filling. Last, but not least, garden maintenance plays a crucial role in the design of your untamed backyard. Remember that greenery adds a stylish finish to your home, but it’s not designed to take over the property!

Bringing a plant indoors makes your home healthier It’s been widely accepted that the presence of nature can be soothing. During the warmer months of the year your wild garden can help you to relax, but then comes the winter, and the garden disappears. You can find peace in making a place for nature under your roof. Houseplants are not just a stylish eye-catcher in your decor though. Plants actively help to purify the indoor air; boosting your mood and your cognitive abilities. 

This is a collaborative post.

Me and Mine Project | November 2018


We usually take our November Me and Mine family photo on Indiana's birthday, but this year we just didn't manage it. It was the first birthday where Indiana was at school all day, so by the time she was home and we went out for dinner, there was simply no time. We got this beautiful photos on our visit to Bedgebury at Christmas at the very last minute though, and I absolutely love them (even if they're iPhone quality)!

Despite being at school, Indiana had the best 5th birthday. We still did our birthday tradition of cake for breakfast, and she opened her presents in record time before school. We then had a lovely dinner out after school (with a little bit more cake), before the littles crashed in bed. We had spent the weekend before celebrating too, with family over our house on Saturday, and a class birthday party on Sunday. I think by Monday night we were all partied out and absolutely FULL of cake.

The rest of November was filled with fireworks, autumn walks, all the hot chocolates and of course preparing for Christmas. We're nearly all ready for the big day now, so we can spend all of December enjoying all of the festivities, and not worrying about shopping. I'm also hoping that because everyone seemed to get ill in November, that we'll manage a Christmas without getting sick!

Easy Ways to Personalise your First Home!

Living in a rented property can sometimes be a bit impersonal. Landlords have a lot of rules about what you can and can’t do to the house, and most won’t let you paint the walls, let alone put up any pictures. You never quite feel at home because you can’t put your own stamp on the place. But when you finally buy your first family home, you’ve finally got the chance to make it your own. Now that the house is actually yours, you can do whatever you like with it - so don’t hold back. Today I'm going to share some easy ways that you can personalise your first home!

Hang Some Photos 
Family photos are the ideal way to personalise your home. Get some of your favourites printed out professionally, and take them to a picture framing company to get them displayed properly. Remember, it’s your house so you can drill into the walls wherever you like and put the pictures up. Just don’t go overboard and cover every surface with photos, because you might regret it later. Put up a few in the living room and some in the hallways, and the house will start to feel a little more like home in no time.


Paint the Exterior 
The easiest way to change the entire look of the house is to paint the exterior. It’s also a good idea if the house is an older property, because a new coat of exterior paint will give it a bit more protection against the weather. Chances are it’s currently a bit of a neutral colour, so why not paint it again in a more interesting colour? If you think painting the entire house is a too bigger job, you can still give the outside of the house a bit of a lift if you just paint the front door instead. The door is like the centrepiece of the exterior of the house, so if you paint it in a bright, eye catching colour, it’ll make a big difference!

If the house has nice wooden windows, that’s another simple detail that you can change. The window frames will really stick out if you paint them in an interesting colour so don’t limit yourself to a boring brown or black. Just make sure that it still goes well with the rest of the exterior colour, especially if you’re leaving it as it is.

Swap out Fixtures 
If you don’t like the bathroom or the kitchen in your new house, you could rip the whole thing out and replace it all. But that’s going to be pretty expensive! You can still update the bathroom and the kitchen in the mean time though, by swapping out the fixtures. Replacing the taps, or the handles on the toilet will cost a fraction of the price, but jazz up the room. Just make sure that you’re matching the new fixtures with the rest of the decor if you aren’t making any more changes.

Have a Good Clean 
The smell in your home makes a big difference, and it’ll make you feel more at home if it smells just like your old place did. Give the house a thorough deep clean before you move in, to make it feel fresh and more like your own home. If you use the same products you used in your old house, it will make your new home feel more like yours!

Change the Light Shades 
The light shades are an accessory that people usually underestimate. You don’t notice them that much when you’re walking around the home, but if you’ve got interesting ones they can make all of the difference. Why not replace the current fittings with something more exciting? The right light fixture can be a great centrepiece in a room and it’s a simple way to inject a bit of your own personality into the room.

If you’re going for a more rustic decor style around your home, you could take the light shade off entirely and put in some vintage effect light bulbs instead. That stripped back look works great in a room that has a very traditional feel.

Get Inventive with Colour on the Walls 
If you’ve been living in rented properties for a while, you’re probably fed up with cream coloured walls. It's great for keeping a property neutral, but it's also soo dull! But there are no limits with your own home, so you can do whatever you like. Feature walls with bold patterned wallpaper or even a mural are a great way to completely revitalise a room and make it your own.

When you’re picking colours from the room, you need to consider the function of the space because different colours are best suited to different activities. If you’re painting the living room then something like red probably isn’t best, because it’s not a very relaxing colour. And if you’re painting a home office, you should go for blues and yellows because they encourage focus and creativity. Just make sure to have a good think before jumping into painting walls crazy colours!


Accessories
A lot of people get rid of a lot of unwanted items when they’re moving house. But make sure to keep some items though, because you can use some of them in the new place. Anything that has personal memories attached to it (like small ornaments that you bought on holiday) are ideal for personalising your home. Be careful not to make areas too cluttered though, just pick a few select pieces that are special to you and your family, and dot them around the house.

Get Everybody Involved 
Your home should be a reflection of your family, and the best way to achieve that is to let everybody pitch in and make decisions about how to decorate it. Have the whole family come along when you’re picking the colour schemes and furniture for the house, choose family photos together before you put them up on the wall, and let your little ones have a say in designing their own rooms. If you do it this way, you’ll get a bit of the personality of each family member in the home and it’ll all tie together brilliantly.

This is a collaborative post.