How to Squash those Wedding Day Nerves

31.10.19

Even if you've planned a very low-key affair, your wedding day is always going to be a huge event. It’s the union of two people, which is something to be celebrated no matter if you follow tradition or prefer something of your own making! But no matter what you have planned, even with everything sorted and all the plans in place, it is completely normal to feel nervous and anxious on the day itself.

Therefore there's absolutely no shame in planning or emotionally preparing for your wedding day, In fact many people (both male and female) consider this absolutely necessary. After all, experiencing the day with nothing but anxiety and a little worry, no matter how irrational, can somewhat put a dampener on things! But hopefully after reading this post, you'll come away feeling a little bit more relaxed, as I'm going to share my top pieces of advice to help you emotionally prepare for your wedding day.


Self-Care
Self-care is an important practice to keep on top of, especially in the months leading up to your wedding day. Many brides feel the need to lose weight before the big day, but this isn't necessary at all. But making sure YOU feel confident and happy on the day is essential. Taking the time to find comfortable and well-fitting underwear to wear under your dress can make a huge difference.

If you feel stressed, care for yourself. Take it easy. Spend some time reflecting, or time engaged in a restorative practice that can help you feel like much more of yourself. You would be stunned as to just how effective this can be, and how regularly practiced this can reduce your stress and anxiety by several levels, if not nullifying it completely. Why not even head to a spa for the day with a sibling or friends, to help you relax and switch off from all things wedding for a while. 

Visualisation
No matter how well you plan your wedding day, you can never be one hundred percent sure that things will go completely to plan. Things such as the weather are completely unpredictable! But that small slice of doubt can lead us to stress over the most minor details. This is where visualisation might help. Simply sitting back and thinking about the wedding going well, about the ceremony you’re to have, about bonding with your family members can really help relax your mind. This way you can feel the day becoming a success, and it also helps you subvert your subconscious worry while thinking about the day as something possible and wonderful to experience.

The Best Services
The age-old story of ‘you get what you pay for’ is perhaps most illustrated when it comes to any wedding day. You are only going to have this special day once, so you'll want to have and use the best! Using a professional service such as that offered by Vittore Buzzi would be a great choice, as you will you know beyond anything else that you are in good hands - and then you can feel much less worried about how the day is experienced too.
Wedding Rehearsals
A wedding rehearsal can really help you prepare for the day. Not every one will be able to make it to your wedding rehearsal, but it can give you the chance to show the photographer around, ensure that the catering services are able to set up in preparation, and make sure that everyone knows where their seating is. This will hopefully iron out any kinks that may have been causing you to worry previously,  plus it will be a good chance to catch up with your wedding party before the big day too!

Speak About your Nerves
Bottling up your emotions is never a good thing, and so if you do feel true anxiety or worry, then speaking about it to your family or spouse can be important. You could also try using natural remedies such as Kalms or Rescue Relief to help you gain a better standard of sleep, and help reduce your nerves on the day. Speaking about your nerves is important, because simply releasing them can stop those little thoughts and emotions from bouncing around your mind too much. If things are really worrying you though, then it might be a good idea to visit your Doctor.


Meet Some of your Guests Prior
For some, a wedding day may be the time in which they reconnect with their family, or friends that they haven’t seen in some time. When reconnecting with these people on your actual wedding day, you may find your nerves a little heightened. After all, we all feel just a little more alert when meeting someone after a long time, even if you used to be super close.

It might be worth going for a coffee with a distant family member before, speaking to them on the phone, ensuring that you know who they are bringing as their plus one and even adding them as a friend on social media can be important. This way the social arrangement of your wedding day needn’t be cause for additional concern.

Feelings of Guilt
It’s not uncommon for brides to feel a sense of guilt on their wedding day, especially if they’re not used to being the centre of attention. But when you think about it, although your wedding day is going to be the biggest day of your life, it's just another lovely day for everyone else. So don't feel too stressed about making everything perfect, as long as it is for you. Everyone is likely going to have a great time, and one day in your lifetime where you are able to celebrate yourself and your marriage is more than acceptable!

Hopefully this has helped you feel a bit more relaxed about you big day, and good luck!
This is a collaborative post.

5 Steps for a Cosy Home this Autumn

30.10.19

With the Autumn / Winter seasons setting in, now is the perfect time to get your home feeling cosy.  Of course turning on the heating and lighting some candles will make a difference, but there's a lot more you can actually do to make your home feel cosy and warm. In this post I'm going to share 5 ways you can make your home feel cosy and inviting this year.

Bedding
Crisp bedding and linen are ideal for when it’s warm outside, but with cold weather being just around the corner, you might want to try and choose flannel instead. You need sheets that hold the warmth in, while also keeping the cold out. Fabrics such as flannel or even jersey are ideal and if you want to take things to that next level, then you can easily fold a quilt or even a blanket at the foot of your bed. If you enjoy talking on the phone in bed, why not buy a telephone that’s cordless so you can relax more?

Slippers
Nobody likes to have cold feet - especially in the winter. Snuggly slippers or slipper socks are definitely essential for the colder months. Keep a pair by the front door, so that you can change into them as soon as you walk in the door. Ideally a hard-soled pair are best as you can wear them outside without them being damaged.


Pillows and Throws
Nothing quite compares to big, fluffy pillows and throws. Consider adding a selection of throw pillows to the your bed and sofa. If you aren’t quite sure which fabric you should be going for, then rich velvet, knit cable and other warm fabrics are all great choices. Blankets and throws on the bed or sofa are great for snuggling under when it's especially cold too.

Rugs
Sisal and even flat-weave rugs are fantastic if it’s warm outside. In winter on the other hand, they are not the ideal choice. If you don’t have the budget to get a big area rug, then you might want to layer a lot of small rugs in strategic spots. This could include putting them next to the bed, underneath the coffee table or even in your favourite reading spot. Keeping it warm underfoot will definitely help with the cosiness of your home.

Soft Lighting
When the days grow darker, it can feel like it's much later than it actually is. If you want to make yourself feel better when it gets colder outside, then consider investing in some nice, soft lighting. A dimmer switch can go a long way here, as you can adjust the level of brightness to your personal liking. Not using the 'big' light and instead having small lamps or floor lamps will help make a room feel cosy too.

This is a collaborative post.

How to Maximise Space in your Home

29.10.19

Whether you have a small or a large house, it's likely that you still need more space. With a growing family, birthdays, Christmases and school 'creations', the accumulation of 'stuff' is never-ending. No one ever seems to buy something new and throw something away at the same time, so you end up just gathering more and more things until you have a good clear out. If this is the case, and you simply can't bear to part with any possessions, maybe it's time you maximise the space you already have instead!


Open up the Entrance - Maximise the space you have as you walk through the front door, by placing a bench or seating area here if you have room. This is ideal spot for everyone to remove shoes, and put their bags on when rushing off to school. If you don't have the space for a seat, then just placing some hooks on the wall and adding some open shelving will make a big difference.

Maximise Space in the Kitchen - The kitchen is the busiest room of most people's houses, so it needs to be functional. Maximise space with vertical storage shelving, that you can then fill with drawer organisers and food storage containers for your dry goods. If lack of shelving is as issue, then why not purchase 'cupboard steps', so you can stack things such as tins and spices to save space, but while still being able to see everything you have.

Use Clever Storage in the Bathroom - If you have a cupboard then make sure you use it for your towels (much more tidy than a towel rail), and remember that combi boilers save space as they produce both heating and hot water for your home in one appliance. Baskets under the sink, and open shelving behind the door can be handy to store small electrical appliances such as hair straighteners and hairdryers, when not in use.

Buy Furniture Wisely - Maximise space with multifunctional furniture such as ottomans that can hide video game accessories, or coffee tables that feature drawers and open shelving below. Sofa beds create extra sleeping space for when you have guests without having to take up any extra space in the house - ideal for if you don't have a spare room.

Utilise your Child's Room - No matter how old your child is, their room needs to be used for everything from playing and sleeping, to quiet time and studying. Why not hang notice boards to display artwork or assignments on, and get some organisation accessories to keep desks and surrounding spaces free of clutter. Bunk beds are a great space-saver as well as cabin bed as they usually have plenty of storage underneath. Shelves are great for saving floor space too, and can store books, games and any extra clutter your child gathers.

Make the Most of your Bedroom too - Ensure the wardrobes in your bedroom are appropriately used - keep out of season clothing in under bed storage containers (the vacuum kind are the best!) and also invest in organisers which separate type of clothes, accessories, and shoes. If you really need to save space then it might be worth investing in a bed with built in storage - some have built in shelves, or an ottoman style will hold lots more.

This is a collaborative post. 

Should I Call a Professional?

28.10.19

In many ways your home is your blank canvas, so when you are trying to personalise it to suit your tastes, it can feel like there's a lot of things that you need to learn. This is especially true in terms of the DIY fixes and little aspects of a renovation. It's always handy to have these things in your back pocket, but it's also important to know when you shouldn't try to fix things yourself. While you might think that you will save some money in the short term, you may actually end up paying a lot more for it in the end. With this in mind, in this post I'm going to be sharing 4 specific household problems that you should never try to do by yourself!


Plumbing Issues
Even the smallest leak can result in an excessive amount of damage, so it's always best to contact a domestic plumber when it comes to any plumbing issues. The big problem that we can make when we assess a small leak, is thinking that it's insignificant because it is only small. However when it comes to plumbing issues, there's actually a lot going on beneath those walls that you don't know about. So by trying to fix one little area, by breaking through the plasterboard, it could actually cause additional issues that will also need fixing.

Asbestos
If you live in an old home it's likely that there is asbestos laying dormant - especially somewhere like the loft. It was used for years because of its ability to insulate, however it was eventually found to be toxic and definitely needs removing. Stay clear of doing this yourself though, as it can be extremely dangerous to touch and breathe in. Instead call in the professionals who can clear it away safely.

Electrical Issues
There are small electrical problems that we could all probably try and fix ourselves, but if you don't feel confident then calling a professional would probably be a safer option. While we may have all learnt a little bit about circuits in school, it's probably not enough to change a light switch yourself. Especially as when it comes to extending circuits or replacing them, one misstep could cause fatal damage, or injury to yourself or others.

Gas Repairs
Gas is an incredibly dangerous component and one you should definitely avoid tampering with. It might be easy to dismiss, especially if you need to move the oven, or complete a little project that may only take a few minutes to do. But a gas leak is far more dangerous than a water leak. And if you try to make a simple fix like this, you never know the consequences. Carbon monoxide poising being just one tragic outcome.

It's so easy to think that we can fix the vast majority of problems in our house, but we have to know when it's beyond our capabilities. Professionals are there for a reason; don't be afraid to use them!

This is a collaborative post.

5 Ways to Upgrade your Tech on a Budget

25.10.19

With the speed technology evolving it can often feel important to keep up, especially if you work in a digital profession. Of course updating all of your tech constantly would be incredibly expensive (and feel constant!), however there are lots of tips and tricks you can pick up to help you save money. From buying second hand to trading in your old devices, buying new tech doesn't have to be difficult. With that in mind, here are 5 ways to upgrade your tech on a budget.


Buy Second Hand
One of the best ways to upgrade your tech without having to buy at high prices is to purchase things second hand. Although you may have to wait a couple of months for the latest technology, buying second hand is a great way to save as much money as possible. Whether you’re buying off a friend, visiting a second-hand store or you use local sales groups on Facebook, you may be surprised how much money you could save. For a guide to buying tech second hand, you can visit this site here.

Buy on Finance
If you’re looking to buy something that is a little more expensive, but you don’t have the money to buy it upfront, you might want to consider buying it on finance. Although you may end up having to pay more, spreading the cost over a set number of months is a great way to ensure you can afford the tech you’re buying. If you’re looking for more information when it comes to buying products on finance, you can visit this site here.

Trade-In Old Devices
Depending on what you’re buying, you might find that you’re able to trade in your old device. Usually common with mobile phones, this will give you a portion of the funds to put towards the cost. 

Rent Instead of Buy
Another great way to upgrade your tech on a budget is to consider renting instead of buying. Using renting sites such as Difrent Appliance Rentals, you can choose to split the rental cost across a number of months. Although you won’t fully own the product until you complete payment, you will still be able to use and enjoy it while paying it off. You are usually able to exchange to a newer model once your contract is up to, which is another bonus.

Choose a Lower Model
Finally, you might want to consider choosing a lower model. Although there may be something newer and better to choose from, choosing a model that is still above your current piece of tech is a great way to save a little bit of money. Usually, after a new release, older models are dramatically released in cost but the product can be just as good!

This is a collaborative post.

Simple Ways To Beat The Winter Blues

24.10.19

With the clocks going back any day now, and the colder, dark evenings returning. It's completely understandable to feel a little down. I'm sure many of us dread this time of year, and while some of us get mildly depressed during the winter as a consequence, there are those of us who suffer worse, due to a condition called seasonal affective disorder (or SAD for short).


So, if you're prone to low moods during the cold and chilly months, and if you're in need of an uplift, here are some suggestions to help you beat the winter blues.

Light
Especially for those suffering from SAD, the lack of sunlight during the winter is the instigator of depression. We can all feel low when the dark nights set in, so no matter how bad your mood, it could be worth your while adding more lights to your home. Be it extra lamps in your living room or hanging lights on your porch, fill in those spaces where they are more likely to make a difference to you. Of course, remember to use energy-efficient lightbulbs if you follow this idea, as you don't want to see a massive price hike to your electricity bill!

Household Repairs
For all the beauty of winter, there is of course the ugly side too. The chills coming in through ill-fitting doors and windows, the sludge and debris that cause blocked drains, and of course the increased energy bills from the heating, lights and electrical items constantly being switched on. Take some time now to fix some of these issues, so hopefully when the middle of winter arrives, these aren't such a problem.

Think of the Positives
Okay, so it's dark and cold outside, and the rain doesn't help matters when you're outside. But think about the extra bonding time you will spend with your family when you're cooped up inside. Think about the winter foods that will fill your bellies. Imagine the snowball fights you will have with your family (for those of you dreaming of a white Christmas). And on that note, remember that it is almost Christmas! You can have a happy family home despite the seasonal changes, so try to look on the bright side of things too.

Boost your Happiness
Don't isolate yourself, or allow yourself sit around feeling grumpy and blue. Instead do the things that you know will help boost your happiness. Spend time with family and friends. Play games of an evening with your children, and continue with your hobbies (even if it's bad weather!). Lift your mood with the powerful effects of exercise, and eat a healthy diet. And although it's easy said than done with children, try to get plenty of sleep, so you're fully refreshed and energised to take on each day.

By taking these steps, you might just beat those Winter blues and stay smiling all the way through to the Spring. Enjoy!

This is a collaborative post.

Shopping Abroad Made Easy with Splitcha | AD

19.10.19

With Christmas quickly approaching, I'm sure I'm not the other only who is busy buying and prepping presents, and sorting plans for the big day. This will especially be true if you've got loved ones who live abroad, as getting cards and gifts to them is usually be a lot more difficult than just sticking on a First Class stamp and popping it in the post. But this year it doesn't have to be so difficult.


Splitcha are making the whole process much more simple and universal. The hard work of sending products abroad with shipping fees, countless problems and delays will be a thing of the past, as they have found a solution to fix it. How fab is that?

What is Splitcha?

With Splitcha you can shop online (via just one app) as if you were a local. Simply type in what you need and where you need it, and this will be then sent to Splitcha's network of shoppers all over the world who will source the product and arrange delivery in their local country. This is what makes the costs so much cheaper for you. You then transfer costs to a secure escrow (handled by PayPal) where they are safely held until dispatch. Your order will then be dispatched to the address you selected. Simple as that!


What are the Benefits?

There are a number of benefits to shopping this way, such as saving you money, eradicating the need for air-cargo or cross-border shipping (which in turn is beneficial to the environment), and it would be great for if you're moving country or travelling, as you can order items to the country you need. Especially useful is you have young children, as you won't have to take so much luggage with you.

The app is launching in mid-November, however you can already sign up for pre-registration. I think this app is such a clever idea, and it really will make buying and sending products abroad SO much easier. Well done Splitcha!

This is a collaborative post.

How to Achieve a Happier Family Home

Who doesn’t want their family home to be as happy as possible? We all want to have a home that we can enjoy as much as possible, and if you have a family then this is likely going to be even more important. But knowing how to make the home happier can be a challenge. So in this post I'm going to share some of the things that you do to help towards a happier and healthier a family home.


Comfort
No home can be truly happy if it is not comfortable, so that is one of the first things that you will want to look at. Creating comfort is actually easier than you think. Mostly it is a matter of making sure that you have plenty of comfortable, good-quality furniture around (although this alone usually isn't enough). Blankets and cushions add to a cosy and comfortable environment, as well as making sure you can get the room to the best temperature. There's no way you can enjoy a room fully if it's freezing cold!

Cleanliness
Having a clean (although not necessarily super tidy) home is of course very important too. A room won't feel cosy if it's covered in crumbs and cobwebs! Have a look into something Devine #1 Rug Care Service to ensure that your rugs and carpets are perfectly clean - essential for your health as well as making a room look nicer. If you can why not hire a cleaner to come weekly, that way you can keep on top of the jobs a little bit easier - giving you more time to enjoy your home as a family.

Entertainment
It's all well and good your home being comfortable and clean, but if there's nothing to do, it's not going to be a place to enjoy. Electronic devices such as TVs and games consoles are of course a popular choice, but not the only way to entertain. Why not create an arts and crafts area, to encourage your children to be more creative. Or even a cosy book corner with everyone's favourite reads and snuggly blankets - just try and ensure this is in a quieter area of the house, so it's a relaxing place to be.
This is a collaborative post.

4 Things to Consider when Moving House

18.10.19

When you’re planning a move there are a number of things that you should be considered beforehand. Along with all the planning that goes into the actual purchase of a new house, you need to consider things such as your requirements, planning the move, school locations, and your daily commute. Moving to a new location can be stressful so it’s best to make sure you tick everything off before you commit to anything! In this post I'm going to be sharing 4 important things to consider before moving house.


The Location - The location is probably one of the most important aspects to consider when moving. Whether you're moving for a new job, for a fresh start, or simply because you’ve found the perfect house, you want to get it just right. Think about how far you will be commuting to work, whether you’re in good school catchment areas if there are convenient shops nearby etc. If you can't drive make sure to look about how accessible the location is - you don't want to move somewhere and feel completely isolated, even if it's your dream house.

The House - Once you've found the best location for you, the house itself is of course the most important factor. Afterall, one of the main reasons that people move is to aim towards climbing the ladder to their forever home. There are numerous considerations you should make when choosing your home however, which will most likely be very personal to each person or family. Some people may require specialist disability accommodation, some may need to have an office space, some may need an annex for elderly relatives in the future, whatever your needs are you should make sure you take the time to make sure your new home has all that you require.

The Cost - If you’re thinking of moving, then the chances are that you have already looked closely at finances. This is obviously incredibly important in order to make a move successful! You’re likely to need a new mortgage so it may be a good idea to book a visit with a mortgage advisor before looking at any houses. Think about any work that may need to be carried out at the property when you’re thinking about a budget too,  as you may need to complete renovation work in order to get the house of your dreams. Often people fall into the trap of spending all their funds on the actual house rather than considering any work that may need to be done!

Think about the Move - Something that everyone dreads about moving home is the actual move itself. Make sure you have a good organisation plan in place by having adequate boxes that are labelled clearly and possibly think about using a movers service to ease things along. If you have children it is a good idea to think about childcare options for the big day - it will lower your stress levels, and mean they aren't bored going between properties too.

These are just a few of the things you should be considering when moving house. What would you add?
This is a collaborative post.

6 Tips to Make Travelling by Train Easy

17.10.19

Taking the train when you’re overseas is a great way to do things. Not only are you lowering your carbon footprint (compared with air travel), you’ll also be saving money, and getting a close-up view of the country or area you're travelling through! But if you’re not used to travelling by train, and you’ve got children in tow, then everything might seem a little bit overwhelming – or at least, it will to begin with. So in this post I'm going to share a few tips, that will hopefully ensure that the process is as smooth and enjoyable as possible.


Travel Off-Peak
When things get busy, such as during the school holidays or special events, ticket prices rise according to demand. If you’re able to travel when it’s not busy though, you’ll benefit from reduced rates and quieter routes. So definitely try to when you can! If you’re always buying tickets along the same route whenever you travel, it can help to look for discounts if you can as well. Shop around for the best deals before clicking purchase.

Learn the route
If you know the route you are taking by heart, you’ll be more confident that you’ve boarded the right train. There's no bigger than stress than jumping on a train and it going the wrong direction (and I'm speaking from personal experience!). Knowing the route will also mean you can look out for certain destinations or sites along the way - a great idea if you're travelling with little ones.

Sleep on the Train
Some train journeys can take place overnight, so if you don't want to waste any time travelling to your destination this can be a great choice. Your cabin will have a pull down bed; fall asleep in one country and wake up in another! This is also great as it saves you from paying for transport and a hotel stopover separately.

Take Plenty of Snacks
If you’re used to eating at fixed times, then train travel might be a bit tricky for you - especially if you're travelling with children. You can deal with this in the short term with a handy supply of snacks, or by booking your train around meal times so you can either eat before you depart, or when you arrive.

Take Entertainment
While there’s a lot to be said for staring out of the window and watching a the countryside or urban landscape fly past, train travel is a lot like other forms of travel - there will be long stretches where nothing much interesting happens.  I usually pack a flight bag full of appropriate items when travelling by plane, but you could use the same idea for train travel too. Pack a few entertainment devices, books and colouring (that can be enjoyed by all), but remember the classics such as eye-spy and nought and crosses can be just as fun!

Arrive with Time to Spare
If you’d like to avoid added stress, then make sure you arrive at your departure location in plenty of time. This means you can locate the ticket office and pick up your tickets in plenty of time, as well as time to pop to the loo and grab any last minute snacks. Booking in advance online might save you a little bit of queuing time (but you’ll need to ensure that you’re organised and have all of your paperwork to hand when it’s called for), as could having your tickets ready on your smartphone.

This is a collaborative post.

5 Ways to Create the Perfect Child's Bedroom

15.10.19

If you are renovating or even decorating your child’s bedroom, then hopefully this post will be helpful for you. I'm going to be sharing a number of tips and helpful advice, to make sure you create the perfect bedroom for your little ones, whatever their age!


Study Areas
If your children are older, they will most likely need an area where they can do their homework. Consider investing in a plain white desk, as this type of furniture is more likely to grow with your child's style and changing tastes. It can also be placed in any decorated room, so could potentially be passed down to younger siblings in the future if needed.

Create a Hideaway or a Secret Den
When your children are little, they are likely to have lots of friends over for play dates and parties. So you will want to create a space that they are happy to show off to their friends. Why not create a hideaway or secret den area in their room, by hanging a curtain rail underneath a mid-sleeper - add lots of cushions and fairy lights to make it extra special. This could also be used as a perfect spot for reading and relaxing when your child wants some space too.

Monochrome Colours are Best for Babies
Research has shown time and time again that monochromatic colour schemes (black and white) are best for younger children, especially babies. Of course you might not want a complete black and white room - that's not very cosy and calming for babies. But maybe create an area of the room where they can enjoy monochrome touches. The changing area or reading corner would be a great choice, as I'm sure you'll be spending a lot of time there with your little one!

Hidden Storage
There are plenty of bedroom designs that come with hidden divan storage; the best thing about this is that your child can keep their room tidy much easier, and it also eliminates the need for you to have a chest of drawers too (saving space!). If your child is likely to have regular sleepovers, then it may help to invest in a bed that has a pull-out mattress underneath as well. You could use a company such as interstate removalists to help dispose of the spare mattress in the future. 

Avoid Bold Colours
You may think that bright pink is the way to go if you have a little girl, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Instead try and opt for colourful decorations and finishing touches, and keep the walls more neutral. This will not only create the idea of more space in the room, but will be easier to update in the future as your child grows. 

This is a collaborative post.

Create More Space in your Family Home

As your family grows it's safe to say that your house becomes increasingly smaller. It's not that the physical space has actually got any smaller, but with extra people comes lots of extra possessions... it's going to feel cramped! However if moving isn’t an option then it’s time to take a look at some ideas on how to make your space feel bigger and in this post that’s exactly what I'm going to share.

When you need a little more space in the family home, it’s a great idea to begin with the basics. Those mountains of children’s paintings and drawings can be secretly thrown away or scanned if you really need to make copies of them. Go through a room a day and start the process of throwing away anything that’s unsuitable for being recycled or donated to charity. Make it a priority to take those charity bags to their intended destination and not just left piled up in corners, ready to sit and gather dust. 


Make Plans
Even though you might not be in a position to physically move home, that doesn’t mean you can’t change the home you’re in - especially if you’re set on making your current property your forever house. This might mean drawing down on your mortgage or looking into home loan brokers, it’s worth a thought when you know that extra space would be a god-send.

You could start by looking at a conventional extension (ideally over two floors if budget allows to maximise space), which will add more rooms and therefore space. Expanding upwards with a loft conversion could even create another bedroom. If that’s not possible then just reboarding the floors and giving the loft a good clear out might make it a more effective space for storage.

Clever Storage
If you are really in need of space, then having a thorough sort out will make a huge difference. Minimalism is a current popular trend where you look to only keep items that sparks joy; not keeping things for the sake of it and hoarding items 'just in case'. You can use this simple golden rule to help - If you haven’t used it for more than six months, then you don’t need it. 

If lack or storage is an issue in your home, then make sure to make use of clever storage ideas. Stacking boxes are useful ways of squeezing more storage into a corner. You might also find it useful to think about putting up some more shelves around your home to help take the pressure off some of your drawer space.

This is a collaborative post.

The Siblings Project | October 2019

14.10.19

I'm not quite sure where those weeks went between my last Siblings Project post and now... the year is absolutely flying! We took these pictures while out of a little woodland walk Sunday afternoon (when the rain eventually stopped for longer than 5 minutes), and they instantly reminded me of these ones from a few years ago. It's crazy to see how much Indiana and Parker have grown since then.. and that they now have an almost 2 year old little sister!



We've had another relatively quiet month, with the weeks being taken up by school and clubs still. But it's just a week until half term, and I'm not sure who is more excited? I can really tell Parker is ready for the end of term now. He is learning so much at the moment, so he's absolutely exhausted by the time 3pm comes around. Indie has had a really busy term with more structured learning and work to do, so I think she'll really enjoy a little break (although she loves school, so I'm sure she'll be raring to go back!).

Jack is off for half term week, so we have lots of exciting halloween themed activities and days out planned. I just have everything crossed that the rain stays away for at least a few days, as it's really dampening our spirits at the moment!



Top 5 Favourite Rides for Under 5s at Disneyland Paris

11.10.19

I am always asked what the best age to take children to Disneyland Paris is, and my honest answer is... whenever YOU want! We have visited twice now - in March 2018 when the littles were 4, 2 and 8 weeks, and in June 2019 when they were 5, 3 and 16 months - and both times we have had the most magical time.


There is so much for little ones under 5 to do at Disneyland Paris; with the characters to meet, parades and shows to watch, and just simply exploring the parks (and eating all the food!). But actually, there are SO many rides that under 5s can enjoy too! Even at just 8 weeks old Lilah went on 11 rides, so don't worry about them not enjoying the trip.

We of course have our favourites though, so I thought in this post I would share our top 5 favourite rides for under 5s at Disneyland Paris. And hopefully this will help you if you are planning a trip with young children - you can book your Disney Paris tickets here if you haven't already!

It's A Small World
You either love it or you hate it... and we absolutely love it! We rode it at least once a day during our visits as all three littles are mesmerised by the ride. It's perfect for all ages as you simply sit in a slow-moving boat, while enjoying the characters and incredibly catchy tune. We have never found the wait time to be too long either, so that is a bit of a bonus.

Photo Credit: Kerry Norris
Photo Credit: Jade

Ratatouille
Ratatouille is a trackless ride in the Disney Studio's Park. You wear 3D glasses and hop aboard a car shaped like rat, following Remy and his friends around a kitchen. There's lots to see, smells and fun movement that the whole family can enjoy. Parker isn't so keen on this one (there are a couple of scenes that can make you jump), but it is suitable for everyone. Definitely one to grab a Fastpass for!



Le Pays des Contes de Fées (Storybook Boats)
Very similar to It's A Small World, Le Pays des Contes de Fées (or the Storybook Boats as we call it) is a gentle boat ride in the Disneyland Park. There's lots to see during the ride as there are miniature scenes from classic Disney tales to spot, as well as a tunnel you do through just like the one in Aladdin. Make sure to keep an eye out for the Casey Jr Train as you go around too, as the ride is just next door.




Le Carrousel de Lancelot
Everyone loves a Carousel, and this one at Disneyland Paris is beautiful and definitely extra magical. The horses are perfect for any princess or knight, and you get some amazing views of Sleeping Beauty's Castle and the whole of Fantasyland as you go around. Again we've never found the queue to be too long, so it's perfect to hop on during any time of day (although you may have to wait if you want to sit in the seat with a very young baby, as they can't sit on the horses).

Photo Credit: Jade

Mad Hatter's Tea Cups
Another Fantasyland favourite, the Mad Hatter's Tea Cups is a must do! You can make the ride as gentle or as wild as you want, as you control how much you spin with the wheel in the middle of your cup (although even if you don't spin you will still move naturally with the platform). The whole ride area feels straight out of the movie, and the big two loved picking which colour cup we were going to have.



I've also shared my top 5 must dos at Disneyland Paris to help with your planning, and make sure to check out my trip reports and vlogs from our visits, for lots of tips and advice too!

What are your favourite rides at Disneyland Paris?



This is a collaborative post.

Three Steps to a Happy Family Home

8.10.19

Day to day life can be stressful and all consuming - especially if you have a high power job or lots of tasks to do each day. So having somewhere that's your safe haven to come home to each day each is incredibly important! Did you know that studies also show that children who see pictures of themselves hanging in there home, have greater confidence and self-esteem than those who don’t? So not only are you creating a happy place for you to live, but also for the whole family to benefit from.


But where to start? In this post I'm going to share three ways to create a happy and enjoyable environment in your home, most of which incorporate the whole family too. I hope you find this helpful!

Hang your Child/ren’s Art
When your children start creating their first little masterpieces it can be tempting to keep every single piece of art. And that's completely understandable! But how can we display this without looking like you have just shared it on the wall without care? One idea is to buy a collage photo frame to create a collage from all of those different creations. You could also decide on a few favourites, and then laminate them and display them on your walls (filing away the other pieces that don't make the cut). Both ideas make it easy for you to update the displays as and when you want / need to as well.

Take Family Portraits
Investing in some professional portraits is a beautiful way to celebrate your family. You can then either purchase the prints from your photographer to display, or even get them put onto a canvas or a photo collage. You don't even need to pay a professional either! If you have a camera (or even a smartphone) and a tripod you can save money and just take your own. Plenty of websites, and even stores such as Boots, offer photo printing services that could be a lot cheaper than using a professional.

Affirmations
Another way to brighten up your home and also spread some key messages, is to have some printed affirmations on your walls. These can range from "you are loved" to "as far as anyone knows we're a normal family". The beauty of these is that they can be completely personalised to your family (some companies will even personalise them with your family names / quotes for you), and you can decide where to hang them.

This is a collaborative post.

How to Make Moving House Less Stressful

7.10.19

As parents our priority is making sure that our families are well taken care of, fulfilled, and happy. But from time to time, we need to take the time to make sure that our dreams and goals come true too. An example of this is when we’re moving house; it’s a stressful operation, one filled with many trivial and time-consuming tasks that can take a very long time. But hopefully with these tips I'm going to share in this post, you can make a house move run smoothly, without letting your family down!


Get the Timing Right
Some times of the year just aren’t suitable for a big change such as moving house. You won't want to ruin Christmas, or stress your children out during exams with a big move. You can help yourself though (and make sure you fulfil your family obligations), by moving home at a quiet time for your family. Avoid birthdays, significant events, and any other major life events - and try to remember that these things take time, so don't focus too much attention on a set date too early on.

Remove Some Pressure
There are a lot of small details that need to be taken care of when you’re moving home. However, it doesn’t have to be you that takes care of every last detail personally! By recruiting professional help for some of the tasks, you can take the pressure off yourself and free up some of your time all at once. Don’t spend days transporting all your belongings; hire movers and let the experts do all the leg work - you can click here to learn more about removal firms in your area. Also make sure to hire a decent property solicitor to ensure all the paperwork is in order. Just taking a few of the tasks out of your hands will make hopefully you feel more relaxed too.

Get Family Involved
If you are moving to a different part of the country, away from family and friends, then you might find they aren't as excited about the move as you are. There are fun aspects to moving house though, such as exploring an empty home, digging through a new garden, and meeting new neighbours. By getting your family involved though, you can help them adjust to the idea a bit more, and they may even find some hidden treasures at your new house that you haven't found yet!

Hire an Assistant
You’ll have a million and one things to do when you’re moving home - and that’s on top of the million and one family responsibilities that you already have. If you have a friend or family member who you’re particularly close with, why not ask for help with admin tasks? As it's someone you know you are more likely to trust their decisions and ideas, and would probably help for a smaller fee as well. If there is a lot of work to do though, maybe look into hiring some professionals instead.

When moving house of course you won’t get everything right straight away, and there will be stressful moments too. But if you take things slow, and follow my advice above, you can make sure none the move goes as smoothly as possible. Good luck!
This is a collaborative post.

Planning Our Summer Holiday to Turkey

4.10.19

We were lucky enough to have a number of lovely holidays and trips this year, including Disneyland Paris, Somerset and of course Alton Towers. But the itch to sort a visa, jump on a plane and fly somewhere hot and sunny has been there the whole time - especially as we haven't been on this type of holiday since our holiday to Ibiza in 2017! So a few weeks ago, we decided to just bite the bullet and book a trip for next year, deciding on Turkey as our destination.


Jack and I last went to Turkey back in 2011 on a group '18-30s' style holiday with friends, so we already know this holiday is going to be completely different. We didn't see much of the country at all back then, so cannot wait to explore with the children and experience the beautiful country. Of course we are already thinking of getting our Turkey Visa before we travel too, as we know this is important.

Our Holiday Plans
We have booked to stay at a TUI Family Life hotel, in the Izmir area of Turkey. There seems to be lots of things we can see and do while we're there, and I know both Jack and I will want to make the most of the week. We're definitely not 'sit around the pool all day' types of people - especially as we'll have the littles with us, so booking excursions and venturing out will definitely be something we want to do. So once we have our e-visa Turkey sorted (did you know this is the cheapest way to meet the visa obligation?), I've had a look into some of the excursions and trips out that we could book and do.

Beach Day
The area we're staying in has 8 beaches to choose from, so we won't struggle for choice! Ladies Beach is a big stretch of golden sand that’s backed by a smart promenade, Long Beach is know for being good for water sports and snorkelling, and then Kustur Beach is a quieter less busy beach, which might be a good choice with the children. 


A Trip to the Waterpark
There's actually a waterpark on the property of our hotel which is so exciting, so I'm sure we'll spend at least one day here enjoying the slides and pools. There are two other waterparks in the area too, if we fancy venturing out of our hotel complex though. I know the littles would absolutely LOVE this, and although it still involves a pool, there's so much more to do at a proper waterpark. There will hopefully be a dedicated baby area, so that Lilah can get involved too.

Pirate Day
One excursion that I know the littles would absolutely love is the Pirate day which is run by TUI. You board a boat in search of treasure with Pirate Tim and Calypso the Parrot, learning pirate skills and enjoying lots of fun activities while on board. There's also face painting, swimming and lots of fun for both children and adults during the excursion too. I'm not too sure Jack will be keen yet, but it definitely looks like something we could all enjoy as a family! 

Visit Ephesus
If we fancy a real day of exploring, then an excursion to Ephesus would be perfect! You can explore the monuments of the ancient city, reliving the glory days of the Roman Empire and how life used to be. The archaeological site is so well preserved, with temples, relics and religious statues to marvel at and explore. The tour ends with a visit to a ceramics shop to see how traditional pottery is made, and the chance to buy a few souvenirs. It might be a little trickier with how young the children are, but I would love to explore the history.


Of course we are planning on having lots of down time over the week too.. it is our summer holiday after all! Plus there's a fantastic kid's club at the hotel, so Jack and I can actually relax if the littles want to go there. But I have always loved planning and being prepared (it's essential when you have children), so I know I'm going to be researching even more before we go next year. And I cannot wait already!

Have you been to Turkey before? Do you have any advice or tips for travelling to Turkey, other than getting our Visa?

This is a collaborative post.

How to Have the Perfect School Morning Routine

3.10.19

To say most mums hate school mornings would be an understatement. For many of us there really is nothing worse than the manic mayhem of a morning routine - especially when you have 3 little ones like me. But it doesn't always have to be something you dread.. it can actually be enjoyable too! So I'm hoping these few tips I'm going to share will help make your mornings that little bit less stressful.


Wake Up Earlier
A lot of morning stress can come from rushing around due to lack of time, so setting your alarm earlier can make a big difference. Waking up at least half an hour before everyone else is guaranteed to serve you better. You can get ready in peace and at a slower pace, and then take your time prepping breakfast for everyone. You can even nurture your morning coffee through the production process from bean to cup. And then when it is finally time for everyone else to wake up, you’ll be in a much better position for sorting them out without having to multitask.

Make a To-Do List
If you’ve never done it before, to-do lists for your morning routine can seem odd. But trust me when I say that they can also simplify your school mornings! Half the time the reason you are rushing around in the mornings, is because of things you’ve remembered at the last minute. By prepping a basic to-do list the night before, you can make sure you don't forget anything when you need it (because you always need something as a school parent it seems)!

Play Music
For over-stressed mums, the idea of adding more noise to the morning fire makes things seem even more manic. But actually upbeat music is also a vital morning aspect, and something you could be potentially missing. Positive songs have an amazing ability to put everyone in a good mood first thing, and you could also start keeping your morning routine timings to the radio shows schedule - if the news is on at 8.30am and you're still brushing your teeth, then you'll know you're late, etc.

I've shared my school morning routine below, hopefully it will give you some ideas to work into your own routine. And here's to being less stressed in the mornings!


This is a collaborative post.

Raising Children in the Digital Age - 3 Top Tips

The children of today are commonly referred to as “digital natives”, growing up having been exposed to screens and technology for much of their lives and, in fact, probably a time where they cannot life without internet access at all!


In contrast, the current generation of parents are often known as “digital immigrants” - those who may not have grown up using technology, but who have been part of the first generation to see tech move from a novelty to a fundamental part of how the world works. Digital immigrants are often comfortable with technology, but not quite to the point that their children may be. So in this post I'm going to be sharing three pieces of advice, to hopefully bridge that gap between the two.

#1 - Provide full online safety advice

The fact that modern children grow up around technology, does not mean that they instinctively know how to stay safe online. It’s always worth discussing safe measures such as being cautious about potential fraud, and similar 'stay safe' advice, such as installing parental controls on any device they use. Fab apps such as the Sky Kids app or Youtube Kids are designed especially with little ones in mind (and should be much safer places than other apps).

#2 - Be willing to ask for assistance

Conventionally, the bestowal of knowledge in a parent-child relationship is one-way, from parent to child - but when it comes to anything related to technology, your children's input can be hugely helpful. If you find yourself having issues setting up a smart speaker, then they actually may be able to help you out; and if you’re making the transition from PC to Mac and need to pull up the task manager, they can direct you to resources such as https://setapp.com/how-to/in-depth-guide-to-the-task-manager-for-mac and help to familiarise you with the new setup. Not only does this help you on a practical level, but being able to assist a parent can also be a nice self-esteem boost for your child.

#3 - Find a 'screen time' balance that works for your family

The potential impact of 'screen time' on children is an ongoing issue, as there are numerous arguments about whether the screen time itself is inherently harmful, or whether the connection is more related to associated behaviours - for example, children who use screens more tend to be more sedentary and prone to snacking, and these behaviours are the problem rather than the screens. Finding a way through this confusion can be difficult, so it can be helpful to use a multi-pronged approach: read through the existing guidelines here and keep these in mind when deciding how much screen time is appropriate for your children, but also monitor the news for further research in this important area.

This is a collaborative post.

An Interview with my Four Year Old | Parker at 4!

2.10.19

This is my second year of asking parker these questions (you can see his answers at age 3 here), and it's amazing to see just how much his answers have changed already! He's just turned 4 and started school, so a lot of his answers are not related to that. It's so sweet!

What’s the best thing about being 4?

Being a grown up!


What makes you laugh? 

When other people do funny things!

Who do you love, and why?

Ewan, Max and Alfie and Poppy, and Mummy and Daddy and Indie and Lilah. 'Cos they're the best!

What’s your favourite book?

Dinosaur books!

What's your favourite food?

Jacket potatoes!

What's your favourite song?

The old town road song (Lil Nas X)


What's your favourite outfit?

I like to wear my Spiderman outfit!

What's your favourite TV programme? 

Nick Jr! Ryan's Mystery Playdate on it!

What's your favourite toy? 

My new lego!

What's your favourite thing to do?

Play at school, and play with the computer there!

An Interview with my Five Year Old | Indiana at 5 and 3/4!

1.10.19

This is my third year asking Indiana these questions (you can read her interview at age 3 and age 4 here), and you can just see how grown up and mature she is becoming now. Why do children have to grown up so faaaaaast?!


What’s the best thing about being 5?

I get to play with my friends!

What makes you laugh? 

Being doing funny things!

Who do you love, and why?

Amelie, mummy, daddy, Lilah, Belle and Parker! Because they play with me.

What’s your favourite book?

Books about Winnie the Witch!

What's your favourite food?

Chilli!


What's your favourite song?

Greatest Showman songs!

What's your favourite outfit?

Clothes and dressing up!

What's your favourite TV programme? 

Wallace and Gromit!

What's your favourite toy? 

I like colouring!

What's your favourite thing to do?

Go to school!