5 Ways to Make your Home Feel Bigger!


Most homeowners wish they had a bigger property, but unfortunately very few have the funds to make this dream a reality. But there are things you can do to make the best of what you already have! Planning and preparation are vital if you are going to make this work though, which is why knowing which ideas to follow is key. Here are five of the most effective ways to make the home feel bigger and better.

Extend or Convert - The most obvious way to make the home feel bigger, is to increase the physical dimensions of the property. Converting the attic or building an extension is a great way to either add rooms or make existing rooms feel bigger. Garage conversions are also a cheaper alternative that can add a new living space to your property.

Avoid Clutter - A thorough de-cluttering session will instantly make the home feel bigger. Just make sure to follow this up in the right way though. Reducing your household waste, opting for paperless bills, and using modern tech to avoid wires can all play a positive role. By cramming fewer items into the home, you will naturally have a greater volume of floor space to enjoy.

Use Smarter Design Ideas - It’s very easy to trick the eyes into believing that more space is available. Using shelving instead of bulky display cabinets is a great starting point. Similarly, creative uses of window film can section off areas of a room, while still promoting natural light. Incorporating light colour schemes, mirrors, and geometric shapes can also offer a similar affect.

Revamp the Garden - A well-designed garden space can bring a whole new dimension to your property. Building a deck or constructing an annex can completely transform your home for the better. Get it right, and you’ll also have the perfect venue for hosting friends and family on those long summer evenings.

Make Floors Look Free - There are many ways to create the perception of added floor space, as the idea of shelving already shows. Other ideas are to choose chairs and tables with raised legs that allow you to see the space underneath. Fixing your TV to a wall can be another fantastic solution. Similarly, using table ornaments and plants rather than the floor alternatives can be an effective solution too.

A bigger looking home won’t suddenly feel perfect, but it should give you far greater opportunities when trying to get the look you truly desire. You may find you had your dream home all along, you just needed to give it the attention it needed!

This is a collaborative post.

3 Factors to Consider when Moving with Children


When it comes to moving away, especially if you have children of school age, it can feel like a major upheaval. A lot of people move out of an area for a cheaper way of life, or because they need a bigger property. But whatever the reason is, there are a number of things to consider, especially if you are moving with children. I have shared 3 of the main impacts to consider:

You might have had the huge pressure to get your children into the school you wanted, and now if you're thinking about moving somewhere else, the whole stress of the situation may come flooding back. What if you moved to an area and the schools are full? Or the quality of education isn't to your standard?

Before you decide on an area, it's worth checking out the school league tables first, and having that help you with your decision. Of course it's not the be all and end all, but if you want your children to be at the school you think is best for them, it's worth researching first.

Finding the Right House for Everyone
Finding the right area to live in can result in a limited choice of houses to look at. Sites such as Redrow and providers of other new builds can help you to see what's on offer at the moment. It's far better to find the perfect house for everyone (not just in terms of amenities, but location as well) so that everyone in the family is happy.

It's also important to remember that it's not just about the right house for your needs right now, but in the future as your family grows too. Trust your instincts and find what will make you feel that tangible “at home” quality.

Is it Feasible to Start Again?
It's easier to start again when it's just you and your partner, but when you have children, you're taking them away from everything they know. Their education is important, but the relationships they've fostered over the years are just as important too. Issues such as catchment areas could mean that even if you move a little bit further out, your child may not be able to stay in their school. You've also got to consider travel costs when moving too - will you be able to afford travel costs if you move further away from work?

Of course sometimes the choice is out of your hands when it comes to moving. But whatever you do, make sure you consider all of the factors I've mentioned above. And good luck!

This is a collaborative post.

3 Steps for a Better Night Sleep


Getting better quality sleep at night can have some fantastic benefits for people of all ages. Some of the many health benefits include having more energy, better concentration and focus, healthier weight loss, and clearer skin. For young children and teenagers, getting enough sleep at night is absolutely essential to healthy growth and development (both physically and mentally).

So, what can you do to make sure that your family is getting the best nights sleep, every single night? In this post I'm going to share 3 steps for better sleep quality for the whole family!

1 - Be Strict About Screen Time
Gadgets such as smartphones, tablets and laptops are playing an increasingly important part in our lives, with most children using them from a very young age. But while there is no denying that these devices can be essential to education or keeping connected to loved ones, not everything about today’s modern technology is beneficial.

Using your gadgets too late into the night will affect the production of melatonin - a natural hormone produced by your body in the dark to get ready for sleep, bringing on feelings of drowsiness. If you use your smartphone in bed, the blue light from the screen can seriously hinder your sleeping pattern, rendering you wide awake into the early hours. The same goes for your laptop, PC, tablet, and even your TV! Why not schedule a ‘screen-free’ hour for the whole family, at least an hour before bed, to help everyone relax in the evenings.

2 - Try Natural Remedies and Sleep Aids
There are several great natural sleep aids that you use to aid peaceful sleep. Essential oils such as lavender and chamomile are some of the most popular; put a few drops in your bath water, on your pillow, or into a diffuser in your room to help create a calming atmosphere.

It is also important to make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep - calming light colours and a good quality mattress, such as those from the silentnight mattresses range, will make a huge difference to your sleep. Even something as simple as a blackout blind can create a better atmosphere for sleep.

3 - Exercise More Often
Getting more physical activity as a family has many more benefits on top of improved sleep. Exercising in the morning or during the afternoon can make it easier for you to fall asleep at night; physical activity raises your body’s temperature, leaving you feeling sleepy once it returns to normal. For the best results, aim to time your family exercise sessions no less than four hours before bedtime. It is a great way to bond as a family unit too!
This is a collaborative post.

The Siblings Project | April 2019


We're half way through the Easter Holidays now, and amazingly we haven't had nearly as many arguments of bickering wars as I thought! This was most likely helped by Jack being home last week, and us actually being away on holiday. Everything is much more relaxed on a holiday right?

We had such a lovely time away though. It was definitely what we were all craving after busy weeks of school / work, and not much family time. I could tell Indiana needed a bit of down-time especially; the actual learning and work she's doing at school seems to have increased loads in the last few weeks! And Lilah absolutely loved having everyone at home with her to play with (although she wasn't so keen on sharing all the toys).

These photos were taken on our visit to Dunster Castle, and although the fake smiles are out in full force, I love them anyway! Indiana is looking SO grown up, Parker seems to have finally had a growth spurt (he's almost as tall as Indie now), and Lilah just looks super sweet in her little yellow wellies. And just look at the girls in their matching coats... how did I get so lucky?

5 Mistakes to Avoid when Choosing your Wedding Dress

One of the most important parts of many bride’s wedding day, is that moment when their groom sees them walking down the aisle. When everyone gets to see 'the dress' that you spent so long deciding on and keeping secret. So it's not wonder that for many women, wedding dress shopping can be incredibly stressful.

You of course want your dress to be memorable for all of the right reasons, but with so many gowns to choose from, it can be tough to get it right. So, if you want to really wow at your wedding, here are 5 key mistakes to avoid when buying your wedding dress!

Ignoring the Experts
Of course it’s your wedding, and you want to recreate the fairytale that you have in your head, but remember to take advice from others too. There are lots of excellent bridal consultants and dressmakers out there, who will have a really good idea of which shapes and silhouettes will work for you.

Not Considering the Wedding Ring
Most brides (and grooms) spend time weighing up the pros and cons of particular wedding rings. Should they choose rings with VS clarity diamonds, or go for something plainer? Will it match her other jewellery? It’s rare however, for the bride to consider whether the ring will match her wedding dress! You don't want a huge ring just to get overshadowed by an even bigger dress.

Doing it Online Only
Of course there’s nothing wrong with buying your wedding dress online, but it's usually best to do so after you have tried a few dresses on in real life. This will help you to get the right size and style to suit you, and even give you more ideas!

Ditching your Style
Whether you have a classic or quirky style, it would be foolish to leave it behind on your wedding day. Embrace your own style and choose a dress that is completely you, even if it isn’t what’s expected. You'll feel far more comfortable and beautiful if you pick the style you love.

Expecting a Massive Weight Loss
So many women determine that they will lose weight for their wedding. But if buy a tiny dress to reflect your goals, you could potentially end up with a dress you can’t fit into. Anything can happen between buying your dress and the big day, so don't put any extra stress on yourself. A dress can always be altered smaller!
This is a collaborative post.

5 Thing to Think About Before Starting your Kitchen Renovation!


They say it is the kitchen that adds the most value to a home (only if it's done right that is!), but for many of us, this usually means renovating and decorating the kitchen that we have. When it comes to kitchen renovations though, there is quite a lot to consider before you start - I have shared the top 5 in this post! 

The first thing you need to consider before you renovate your kitchen, is what kind of layout you want. You usually have to factor in important thing such as gas placement and plumbing, so make sure you haven't just picked your design based purely on aesthetics - if you can't move the plumbing there's no point changing where you want your sink! Designing your kitchen maybe something that you need some professional help with, as it can be hard to work out in what position things can go on your own. 

The next thing to think about before you begin your renovation, is the type of flooring that you will install. After all, it needs to take a lot of wear and tear from constant use as well as regular cleaning. Think sensibly about the material that you would like to use. The most hardwearing tend to be stone and hardwood, but these can be pretty expensive, so it may be more cost effective to go for laminate or even a lino floor (which you can get in designs that actually look like wood and stone now).

You may even wish to consider installing underfloor heating if you are going for an entirely new floor. Not only can this make your kitchen a more comfortable place to spend your time, but it can even be a more efficient way to heat your home.

Cabinets are another feature to think carefully about before you begin your kitchen renovation - they are a central part of not only the aesthetic but also the functionality of the space as well. First to consider is whether you will replace the entire cabinets or only the doors. Obviously just changing the doors is cheaper, but if you haven't got the space you actually need for your kitchen to be organised and functional, then it may not actually be the best for you in the long run.

When it comes to the style it is essential to consider not only what will fit into with the aesthetics of your kitchen, but also what is most practical too. Gloss white cabinets look great when they're clean and smudge-mark free, but if you children and not much time for polishing, it may be hard to keep them that way!

White Goods 
It is important to do three things when you're considering your white goods / large appliances. The first is to research the review on any appliance you are considering investing in. Be sure to not only look at the reviews displayed on the company’s own site but on objective, independent site as well to get a real sense of what you are buying!

The second is to accurately measure the spaces that you have in which to install these appliances. It always helps to measure your front / back door too, to make sure they can actually fit into you
r house too! 

And lastly, if you are replacing old appliances, you need to make sure you dispose of the old ones correctly. If you don't think you can get bigger appliances such as your fridge in your car, there are companies that specialise in fridge disposal services.

DIY or Professional 
And probably one of the most important decisions to make once you've picked your kitchen, is whether you will be getting experts in to help install it, or whether you will do it DIY style (that can include finding your own fitters, outside of the company you bought the kitchen from too). There are plenty of tutorials and videos online that can help you complete your kitchen renovation if you do decide to go solo!
This is a collaborative post.

3 Ways to Make your Household Less Wasteful!

In recent times, more and more of us have been becoming more mindful of the value of living low-impact, environmentally friendly lives - especially as the horrors of our past are now coming to light. Years of burning of gases and creating crippling amounts of non-degradable plastics, have taken such a terrible toll on our planet. There is still time to make a change though, and to make improvements one step at a time. Here are just 3 ways to make your household a bit less wasteful.

Install eco-friendly smart devices
There are plenty of smart devices on the market today, that utilise innovative modern technologies, in order to streamline and optimise the way you do things in your home. One you may not have thought of investing in is a water softener systems for the home. These can reduce running costs as well as help preventing such as limescale damaging your appliances. You may find that you use less water for things like showers, as the water will leave your skin feeling softer and more supple by default.

Bring less Plastic in your home
It's likely that wherever you live you'll be able to shop in a way that helps accumulate less plastic. For example you should be able to buy certain groceries such as fruits, vegetables and even pastas loose (as opposed to wrapped in plastic packaging). This is maybe a little bit less convenient, but it is certainly more environmentally friendly - and may even support a small business while you're doing so! Depending on what's available in your local area, you may even be able to get almost all of your groceries plastic free from somewhere like a farmer's market, an authentic butcher's shop.

Set up your own self-sufficient, eco-friendly systems
If you want to take the whole eco-friendly ethos a bit further, and make forays into the world of homesteading, you could always investigate setting up your own self-sufficient, eco-friendly systems in order to get a bit more "off grid." For example, you could have your land surveyed to see if you're above an aquifer, and if you are you could have a well drilled down. You could also set up some solar panels if you happen to live in an area that gets a decent amount of sun. Even something as simple as growing your own vegetables will help - and it ties in nicely with bringing less plastic into your home too!

This is a collaborative post.

Drusillas Park - The Best Zoo in the South East! | Review


Last Saturday we were invited along to Drusillas Park, for the grand opening of their brand new attraction - The Rainforest Carousel. We had the most amazing day out as a family, and I just know the littles will want to go back to visit again and again!

Widely regarded as the best small zoo in the country, Drusillas Park is a family-run business located just off the A27 near Alfriston (approximately 6 miles from Eastbourne and 12 miles from Brighton). I have such fond memories of the park from my childhood, so it was lovely to take my own children along to see all of the new additions and attractions.

They still have the wonderful animals I remember, but they are just half of the fun now. There are also a number of other fantastic attractions, including Go Wild! and Go Bananas! the huge adventure play areas, Get Wet! the splash park, and the rides at Go Safari! and Hello Kitty's Secret Garden! The Zoo Route also features three walk-through exhibits - Lemurland, Lory Landing (where you can pay £1 for nectar to feed the lorikeets!) and the Bat Cave. 

On arrival we headed straight to the Go Safari! section of the park to get our first experience of the brand new Rainforest Carousel. The beautifully designed carousel is the first of its kind in the UK, and features over 30 different rainforest animals for you to sit on, including a jaguar, a sloth and even a turtle that has been specially adapted for wheelchair users. 

The Rainforest Carousel is a perfect addition to the park, and so much fun for all of the family. Indiana and Parker wanted to ride again and again, choosing a different animal each time. Even Lilah was able to ride (the recommend age is 12 months+), and she was absolutely mesmerised by the lights and colours. The littles also tricked me into the 'snake basket' and decided to see how fast they could spin me - probably one to avoid if you don't like too much spinning!

Once we were sure the littles had definitely had enough rides on the carousel, we decided to head back to the front of the park and follow the 'zoo route'. Drusillas have a great focus on education for little ones, so there are plenty of hands-on activities and interactive displays around the park. We made sure to pick up some animal spotters books as well as a Zoo Olympics book. The big two loved spotting all of the animals and then using the stamp stations to tick them off, and the Zoo Olympics brought me right back to my childhood! Indiana completed it all and was given a lovely certificate at the end, so it's definitely worth getting stuck in and enjoying the challenges.

Our favourite part of our whole day had to be our visit to Lory Landing. We were lucky to go in at a really quiet time, so the lorikeets seemed extra hungry and flew straight over to us. One even landed on Indiana's head which she thankfully found hilarious! It did get much busier shortly after though, and guests weren't given the nectar as it was just too busy. So definitely keep that in mind when you visit.

After seeing all of the animals and a pit-stop for lunch, we ended our visit back at Go Safari! to enjoy the rest of the rides. Our big two (aged 5 and 3) were the perfect age for the attractions, and could go on all of them either alone, or with a grown up. The train ride was slightly disappointing as it is incredibly short and the animatronics are very sad looking. But if the queue is short I would say give it a go as children seemed to enjoy it!

The only negative I have of Drusillas would have to be the price of entry. They have a colour code payment system so prices depend on the time of year - with school holidays and weekends of course being more expensive. Prices vary between £63.80 - £86 for a family of four, and everyone pays the same price from aged TWO! I really feel they need to introduce an adult and child pricing structure, as it just seems so unfair to pay the same price for a 2 year old and an 32 year old. You can save a bit of money by pre-booking online though, so definitely worth planning ahead.

There really is so much to see and do at Drusillas Park; from the animals to the adventure play and brand new Rainforest Carousel - it's such a perfect day out for families with children aged 12 and under! Ticket prices may be a little high, but if you pack a picnic and spend the whole day exploring, I promise you'll have a fantastic day out!

We received entry into the park in exchange for this review. All opinions are honest and my own.

3 Steps to Creating your Dream Home


For many people owning their dream home can feel like an impossible fantasy - especially when they look at the state of their current abode. But attaining your dream home goal doesn’t have to be a fantasy... well, unless you dream of living in Buckingham Palace of course! So in this post I've put together a few helpful tips, that will hopefully turn your current home, into the home of your dreams.

You might find that your household isn’t far from being your dream home already. But in many cases the problem is that you just have too much clutter in your house to notice! Put some time aside to have a large clear out; not just little bits and bobs, but really consider everything in the house. You could then look into dirt cheap rubbish removal, to get help to dispose of your bigger possessions responsibly. Or even consider selling items so someone else could enjoy them.

Personal touches are also incredibly important when it comes to your dream home - it's what makes it yours! Of course decorating is the first way to make your home feel exactly how you want it. But once that's complete why not get your children to help create some artwork to decorate the walls, or print off special family photos and pop them around the house. Those unique photos, ornaments, paintings, and other quirky features are the aspects of your household that make it one of a kind. That way, it doesn’t feel like some sterile show-home, or the home of the previous owner.

Your garden is more than just an extra space at the back of your property, it’s part of your home, so should be part of your dream home reality too. You can improve your garden’s design easily, by getting rid of weeds, trimming shrubbery, and planting fresh flowers. It’s about lifting the aesthetic of your garden by letting air circulate around the natural wonders of this outdoor area! Once you have the basics completed, why not think about what you desire from your garden - a place to relax? somewhere to grow your own food? It could be whatever you dream!

What does your dream home look like?

This is a collaborative post.