How to Overhaul your Wardrobe as a Mum

30.9.20

As a mum, you aren’t likely able to pinpoint the exact date or time that your wardrobe became the typical ‘mum wardrobe’. It was more than likely a slow transition that really didn’t register with you in the moment. Mums tend to be some of the busiest people out there, so comfort typically trumps style. However, the two don’t have to be in competition with each other. In fact, they can live in harmony and allow you to feel stylish, modern, fashionable, and confident, all while feeling comfortable. 

So, let’s take a look at some simple tips you can use that will help overhaul your current wardrobe and inject some serious fashion, luxury, quality, and beauty into it. 


Fashionable Shoes
A great place to start is with your footwear. Shoes can work to anchor an outfit and act as the main statement. Picking up one or more pairs of designer shoes ensure that your outfits will have that instant injection of high-end style. Take for example this collection of Valentino shoes where you'll find a selection of heels meant for a night on the town, strappy sandals perfect for weekend errands, loafers which provide style and edge to any outfit, and boots in various heel heights.

Embrace Tailoring
Another problem mums can often have with their wardrobe is fit. You can have an absolutely beautiful and stylish designer or high-end piece, but if it doesn’t fit properly, it can look the exact opposite of how it's supposed to. The problem is that not everyone is made the same, so just because you’re buying the ‘right’ size, doesn’t mean it will be the perfect fit. The solution is to embrace tailoring.

Tailoring ensures that everything you wear is fit specifically for your body. It provides you with style and comfort. As for what you can tailor, this includes pretty much anything from smart trousers to denim, formal dresses to more casual sundresses, blazers, and even coats.

Lounge Wear for Home Only
There is no doubt that lounge wear is super comfortable and casual to wear, but let's face it - you're not going to be setting any trends wearing it. Keep the lounge wear to the house only, and focus on curated outfits for the moments you're out and about. It will make getting back into your pjs and loungewear all the more enjoyable too!

Wear More Dresses 
While it may not seem like dresses and kids go hand-in-hand, the fact is that you can find all kinds of lovely and fashionable dresses that also offer the utmost in comfort and flexibility. Sundresses in particular are notorious for combining fashion and comfort. The key is to pick a material that is flattering and resists wrinkling, and choose a length that allows you to go about all your daily activities with ease. The two best lengths for busy mums tend to be maxi and midi.

Of course comfort as a mum is still key, but that doesn't mean you have to forget about how you feel and dress 'like a mum'. Being a mum and being stylish is totally do-able!

This is a collaborative post.

Thinking of Family Travel Plans for 2021

17.9.20

This year started out with so many exciting plans and possibilities. We were lucky enough to have two holidays booked - one being our first big holiday as a family of five. But of course, due to the on-going situation with the coronavirus, all of those plans didn't manage to happen. However, now we're nearing the last few months of the year, we're starting to think about what our family travel plans may look like for 2021.


Turkey
Like most families who didn't get to travel abroad this year, we're really hoping we can get on a plane in 2021. We have already discussed re-booking the same resort in Turkey that we were supposed to visit this year. The pools look amazing, there is a fantastic kid's club, and they had rooms suitable for a family of 5 (something that's actually harder to find than you might think). 

Disney
I think about booking a Disney holiday at least once a week - it really is my happy place! Disneyland Paris is now open again, but with new restrictions in place such as no fireworks or parades. Some of these changes have put us off booking a trip just yet, but we're hoping that by the later end of next year at least some of these will have gone away. I must admit I have even been pricing up a big Disney holiday to Walt Disney World in Florida. It would require a lot of planning, but I think it would really make up for everything that's happened this year.

America
The more Jack and I think about it the more we want to travel further as a family. There are so many wonderful places around the world that are family-friendly, so why stay so close to home? We have been looking into family holidays to Canada recently, as it's somewhere we both want to visit - me especially after watching Katie Ellison's family road trip last year. She made it look so easy with little ones which has really changed my mind on taking big trips with ours.


Staycation
Of course, I know that Covid won't be going away any time soon, so we're also considering our options closer to home too. We definitely want to plan a few weekend breaks like our mini trip to Weymouth this summer. It's lovely to get away to somewhere new, even if it's just for a few days! I have been looking into Center Parcs for a few years now, so I think this is somewhere we will look into more if we can't get on a plane. 

No matter what happens we'll have some amazing trips as a family in 2021. Whether that's jumping on a plane to an exotic destination, or just driving a few hours away for a British caravan holiday. As long as the five of us are together, amazing memories will be made!

This is a collaborative post.

Our Month - August 2020

14.9.20


I thought with the big two back at school and Lilah starting preschool in September, that I'd be more on time with these monthly round up posts. Turns out I'm busier than ever trying to fit everything in! I'm loving being back in our routine too but honestly I am missing the summer, as despite everything going on right now, it was such a wonderful few weeks.

Jack managed to book a number of days off over the month, which meant we got to enjoy lots of lovely family days out and enjoy being a 5 again. We were so lucky to have the most amazing weather in August too which really made a difference too. Of course the big days out were wonderful, but I loved the calmer 'homey' days too. The littles playing in the paddling pool, staying in our pjs all day and just enjoying the slower pace of summer.






We started August with a big celebration - Parker's 5th birthday! We couldn't have the big birthday party we promised him, but we did do a few mini get togethers with family and his school friends to celebrate instead. We surprised Parker with a trip to Legoland on his actual birthday which was a busy but fantastic day. We also spent a day at Chessington a few weeks later with my sister and all of the cousins. We are definitely raising a trio of mini adrenalin junkies, especially now Lilah is 0.9 metres tall and big enough for rollercoasters!

I also celebrated my own birthday in August, with a yummy afternoon tea as a family (the first time Jack and I have been back to our wedding venue since we got married!). Jack's parents kindly had the littles over night for us too so we could enjoy a day at Thorpe Park just the two of us. Rollercoaster aren't usually what people think of when they think date day, but it was so much fun and so lovely to spend time as a couple, especially after the last few months.





If you've followed my blog for a while you'll know that we were due to go to Turkey back in May and then Dorset in July, but of course due to Covid both had to be cancelled. We really wanted to get away somewhere over the summer though, so booked a Premier Inn for a few nights away in Weymouth at the last minute. It was nothing fancy or special (actually the Premier Inn itself was particularly awful as the air-con was broken and this was during the heatwave), but it was so good to enjoy somewhere new together. We went to the Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park, swam in the sea, tried our luck (and failed) at crabbing, and ate out a lot - thanks Eat Out to Help Out scheme! We visited the beautiful Kingtson Lacy on the way home which ticked another National Trust property off our list too.

We ended our wonderfully busy month with our first trip back to the big city this year. As Indiana had been learning about London at school, we treated them to a trip on The London Eye and then lunch at Rainforest Cafe. We spotted a few tourist hot spots such as Buckingham Palace and Covent Garden along the way, and although wonderful to see, it was so strange to see everywhere so quiet compared to the hustle and bustle of London in summer.






I'm SO pleased we ticked everything off of our summer holidays bucket list this year. With everything else going on I was so worried we wouldn't be able to give the littles an exciting summer to remember, but I think it's safe to say we definitely did just that. But now I'm just excited for Autumn and the fun ahead.. I just really hope we can make Halloween and Christmas just as special!

15 Money-Saving Tips & Tricks

10.9.20

Falling into debt is a very stressful situation for anyone to be in. Not only can it have an effect on your finances, living situation, and career, it can become all-consuming. For most people affected by this problem, mental health problems won’t be far behind. If you're worried that you might fall into debt, then hopefully by following the  budgeting tips below you’ll be able to stay on the right path.

So, what are some tips for getting out of this debt? Better yet, how can you avoid the civil litigation lawyers, and steer clear from being hounded by debt collectors all together? The trick is to not get into debt in the first place! Of course for someone who’s not used to saving their money, this can seem almost impossible. But, it’s really not, and these simple budgeting tips will help you to do just that!


Set a Budget
First and foremost, it’s really important that you set a budget for every month once you get paid on payday. This should include all your necessary expenses, and everything you are planning to spend in the month ahead, leaving room to treat yourself and for socialisation. A really good way to do this is by using the 50/30/20 method. This takes into account all the compulsory expenditures you’ll require, plus savings! So, you can use:

50 percent of your money for necessities (or however much you need)
30 percent of the leftover for any extras, like dinners out and new clothes
And the remaining 20 percent for savings.

Not only does this give you the opportunity to treat yourself, so you don’t feel like you’re missing out, but you’re also putting money aside each month. Over time, this will tot up, and you’ll soon have more than you know what to do with!

Write Down your Outgoings
It can become so easy to treat yourself here and there on little things, but these little things will build up eventually. This is why writing down everything you spend each month in a budget planner, providing a visual of where it’s all going, is a really good idea. Whether it be simply writing each spend down on a scrap piece of paper or notes page on your phone, or setting up a fancy excel spreadsheet, anything will do. This way, you can tot up how much you’re spending as you go, and it’ll become glaringly obvious where you’re spending too much.

Distribute your Money out as Soon as you Get Paid
Most of us will have multiple bank accounts for different purposes. This might include:

A current account for spending 
A savings account for the future (like your pension or a holiday)
And an account for immediate savings, like a house.

You may even have more accounts where that came from, which is why distributing your money out immediately after payday is such a good plan. So, as soon as the money comes in, pop your rent, bills, mortgage payments, and food allowance all into one account. Then, that’s there ready for all your necessities.

Once that’s out of the way, add some money into your savings for your future house, or any other saving pots. I would recommend that you put aside a few hundred in your savings, if you can. Then, anything left in your current account is a free for all! This way, all your money is where it should be before you can even overspend.

Have a Savings Goal to Work Toward
I really great way to motivate you to save could be to have a goal to work towards. Perhaps you’re trying to save for a house, or a really nice holiday somewhere next year? Once you’ve got the saving bug, it’ll be really hard to stop, and you may even end up with more than you need, and you’ll become a pro saver. 


Delete Banking Apps
It can be all too easy to access our bank accounts these days, as we now have access to them on-the-go through our mobile phones and tablets. This means it can become simple to transfer money from your savings accounts into your current account, ready for an impromptu purchase. As you can imagine, this is a recipe disaster, so if this is something you do a lot, delete these apps!

Or Keep your Banking Apps if it’ll Motivate You
For some, however, having these apps easily accessible can be a blessing. As mentioned previously, the saving bug is a real thing, and once you’ve caught it, it’ll be difficult to stop. Having your apps downloaded so you can log in wherever you are, means you can see your progress at any point during the day. This might be that push you need to avoid that tempting spend. Make sure to make the right decision for you and your needs.

Don’t Save your Card Details when Online Shopping
Similarly, online shopping has become way too quick and simple, as most sites will give us the option to save our details on our accounts at the checkout. This is bound to make it way too easy to purchase things on a whim. Instead, try and refrain from making these payments automatic, and make it so you have to fill in your details every time. The process of filling your online basket, going to get your purse or wallet from wherever you left it, typing in your details, and clicking pay might be what you need to avoid the purchase. This applies for payment sites such as PayPal too.

Use a Debit Card
Credit cards are a recipe for disaster if you already have bad habits with spending. This is because it can become so easy to think that a little bit here and there won’t hurt, but over time it’ll build up. So try to use your debit card for all purchases, and only use a credit card if you can pay it back immediately after.

Be Strategic with your Credit Card
I know for some a credit card is a necessity though - after all, we can’t deny that having one knocking about is great for building up your credit score. But make sure you use it correctly. Use it for work expenses, which means they’ll be paid off each month by your company. Don’t buy anything using your credit card that you wouldn’t be able to afford without it, and always pay it off in full each month.

Pack Lunches 
By cooking bulk meals at home, and saving some for lunches the next day, or packing a lunchbox with a sandwich, fruit, and crisps, you’ll be saving hundreds, maybe even thousands, every year. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but it’ll fill you up and do the job, without spending you a small fortune. Buying lunches out can cost an average of £15 to £35 a week… that’s nearly £1500 every month just on food. 

Use a Round-Up Banking App
Have you ever heard of those mobile round-up apps? They’re fantastic for helping you to save money without you even realising it! They do this by rounding up any spends you make to the nearest pound, and then putting the rest away for safe keeping. So, say you spend £3.79 on your morning coffee or lunch, the extra 21p gets put away into a small savings pot. It may not sound like much, but this money will soon amount to a fair bit of extra cash over time.

Always Compare Prices
When it comes to big spends, like holidays, train fares, or even trainers, you want to get the best deal out there. There are plenty of sites for you to compare different holiday prices, and different retailers are sure to stock your newest shoe obsession for a lot cheaper. By getting into the habit of surfing the web for the best deals, you can still treat yourself, but with a conscious mind.

Use Cash Where you Can
If you’re a frivolous spender and are always tempted by last minute buys, only carry cash. If you only leave the house with a certain amount of cash in hand, and without your debit or credit card, it will be impossible to spend anything more. Having the cash in-front of you will make you realise how much you actually have, and might make you realise you don't need to spend it!

Ultimately it’s all about having a good mindset with money, so don’t be scared to treat yourself every now and again. These personal budgeting tips above should give you that happy medium between treating yourself, but also being sensible. So hopefully you’ll feel like you’re getting the best of both worlds, catching the savings bug while you’re at it! Once you start, you won’t be able to stop.

What's your favourite money-saving tip?

This is a collaborative post.

3 Ways to Make Family Roadtrips Easier

3.9.20

When you think of a long road trip with children, most people's first thoughts are probably 'oh no, what a disaster!'. But what if you could do some things that could make the trip easier? Once you have children you have to realise that children have more energy than we do, and less control and understanding of their emotions too. So you've got to make sure that you plan and think about every occasion. We've done many long journeys now - including driving to Disneyland Paris - and have therefore picked up some tips along the way. 


Dress Appropriately
Make sure that you have prepared for the types of weather you will be getting. Dress little ones in pyjamas or comfortable loungewear so that they can be in sleep mode when you are driving long hours in the night. This will help them sleep and get some rest, and means they can be easily transferred once you've reached your destination too. 

Pack LOTS of Snacks
You'll already know you can't go anywhere without snacks when you have children, so why would a car journey be any different? Fruits such as apples and bananas are a good snack as they have natural sugars, minerals and vitamins. Dry, easy to handle snacks are a better option too as they'll make less mess in the back of the car. I would advise against high sugar snacks and drinks as these are most likely to send little ones a bit crazy - something you really don't want in the back of the car!

Utilise Technology
We are very lucky these days that we have all different types of portable technology to utilise on long trips. Of course car games are great but there's only so much 'eye spy' and nursery rhymes you can take! So devices such as Kindles or iPads are great for everyone - just don't forget headphones! If your children are using screens for a prolonged period then make sure you are aware of eye strain https://www.eyeglasses.com. It can cause headaches and blurred vision, so try to limit their screen time and make sure that they are using the right settings for their late night or evening reading.

Long road trips can be horrible for everyone involved, but as I've showed above, there are ways to make them more enjoyable for everyone. Make sure to plan ahead, anticipate mood swings and just try and relax as much as possible. And remember, the destination will make it all worthwhile!

This is a collaborative post.