Make your Home Super Cosy this Winter

27.10.20

As we edge closer to the chillier, darker days of autumn and winter, I'm sure I can't be the only one who wants to stay at home and get cosy - especially if the rainy days we've had recently continue! Spending more time at home lately, however, has made me notice the little things that I want to do to improve. So, with that in mind, in today's post, I thought I'd share some of the things I want to do to make our house feel more cosy and homely this winter. If you're feeling like I am this post will, hopefully, give you some helpful ideas. 


Have a Clear-Out to make your Home feel More Cosy

This is one step that we've already done, and it's made a huge difference to our home already. Having lots of toys, furniture and general items around the house can make it feel cluttered, and therefore, not a nice place to relax and enjoy. Less clutter means there are less items to tidy up and the end of the day of an evening too - which is always a bonus! 

Replace your Windows to keep your Home Warm

Something that we really want to do in our house is replace the front windows. They are currently only single glazed so they don't do a fantastic job of retaining heat, which means we rely on using our central heating a lot throughout the autumn and winter months, which is really frustrating and costly! Replacing old windows for double glazed windows not only helps to improve thermal insulation, but will also increase your homes security, too. We have been looking at the FineLine windows, doors and conservatories showroom in Dartford, Kent as it's local to us, but you can see where your local showroom is by clicking the above link.

Think about Lighting to create a Cosy Home

Having 'the big light on' during the winter always seems too harsh to me, especially when you want to create a cosy and inviting atmosphere in your home. Lamps are always a great alternative, and you can now sync these up to smart devices so you don't have to manually turn them on and off constantly. Fairy lights are another great alternative, especially coming in the winter months when Christmas lights are the best way to light your home!

Accessorise Rooms to create a Cosier Feel

A sure-fire way to make a room feel cosier is to decorate it with the right accessories. Blankets, cushions, fluffy rugs and of course plenty of candles too. Candles are great for giving light to a room, but there are so many different scents available now to make your home smell lovely and inviting too. I love these from Yankee Candle, as the scents are a lot stronger than others I've tried in the past. Lots of blankets and fluffy cushions are perfect for snuggling into when watching a film, or simply to keep you extra warm around the house.

This is a collaborative post.

Our Month - September

21.10.20


I think the late-ness of this post pretty much sums up how the last few months have been for us. Busy! Back to school is usually a busy time anyway, but with all of the changes because of Covid this year it felt especially chaotic. Indiana started year 2 and Parker year 1 which I thought would made the school runs easier, but this year we have had to learn staggered drop-offs and pick-ups, not been allowed to talk to teachers (or even other parents really), and had to remember what days each of them have to wear PE kits, because of course those days don't match up either. They both absolutely loved being back at school with their friends though, and have adapted to all the changes so well.

An equally exciting moment in September was Lilah starting preschool. It's only for a couple of mornings a week for now, with the hope of her staying longer once she turns 3 in January. It's all she spoke about over the summer, but when the big day actually came, it wasn't the start to school we had hoped for. Thankfully though, after a few weeks of tears and having to be pulled off of me (the absolute worst experience), she settled into her routine and happily spoke about preschool again. Phew! Those few hours a week do fly by incredibly fast, but it feels so good to have some time to myself to get work done (or have a relaxed coffee morning).






As well as the littles being back at school, September also saw them going back to their weekend activities properly too. Indie was lucky enough to do her ballet lessons over Zoom during lockdown, but she's thankfully now back in the studio with her friends and teacher. Parker is back to rugby too which he is very happy about, especially as Jack is helping out as a coach this year!

September's beautiful weather didn't disappoint, so we made sure to spend the weekends enjoying the last of the sun. We visited a couple of National Trusts, including our all time favourite place Knole Park, and a new one to us Birling Gap. The cliffs had me on edge the whole time with the littles, but we loved rock-pooling down on the beach, and I know none of us will forget that I saved a little fish by scooping him up in my hands! Despite the weather not being so great on the day, we also did the Winnie the Pooh Walk in Ashdown Forest. This is the route we followed if you are looking to do similar.






It would have been easy to think that everything was back to normal in September. With everyone at school / preschool and work, and Lilah and I spending our week days at the park or popping to the coffee shop, the only differences were having to wear a face mask inside and the need to prebook everything. I know we are very lucky in feeling this way though, and we definitely didn't take it for granted. Of course the month ended with uncertainty and the news that Covid has most definitely not gone away. But I'm sure I'll cover that more in October's monthly recap...

How to Create the Perfect Night-Time Routine

20.10.20

We often talk about morning routines and how important they are to make sure you have a good start for your day. Most of us find that if the morning goes well - we get up when our alarm goes off, enjoy a healthy breakfast and manage to get out of the house early enough to avoid traffic - the rest of our day follows suit. But it might surprise you to hear that one of the best ways to perfect your morning routine, is to create a more productive night-time routine.

What you do before bed, how well you sleep, and simply just how you feel when you close your eyes for the night, has a big effect on how you feel the next day. So in this post I'm going to share the best ways to create the perfect nightly routine.


Plan for the Day Ahead

Planning for the next day before you go to bed, means that you save time in the morning by just being able to jump straight in. Spend a little time before switching off writing a to-do list and thinking about what needs to be done first. I have always found that packing lunches and preparing outfits the night before really helps for a smooth morning too. 

Switch Off from Technology

Turning off your phone and other devices for an hour before you get into bed can make it easier to fall asleep. It’s also thought that leaving your phone switched off, or in another room overnight can be effective too - if you rely on it for an alarm, maybe just switch it to aeroplane mode instead to stop all notifications. Instead, relax with a book before bed or listen to a podcast to unwind.

Take Care of your Teeth

Cleaning your teeth should be an important part of both morning and night-time routines, but if you have misaligned teeth, it can make certain parts of your mouth difficult to reach. If this is your case, you may want to look into clear aligners from a company like Alignerco. These invisible braces can be worn only at night-time and can help to correct overbites, underbites, overcrowding, and other dental issues, all while you sleep. Take a look at alignerco.com to find the perfect clear braces for you.

Get the Right Amount of Sleep

If you want to work well the next day, you need to get a good night’s sleep. But while we talk about 8 hours a lot, this actually isn’t the correct amount of sleep for all of us. For most it’s between 7-9, but some of us may need more, and some of us can get by on less. But monitoring how you feel and how hard it is to get up in the morning can help you work out what you need. Once you do know, make sure you aim to get this right amount every single night.

This is a collaborative post.

Christmas Gift Ideas for Women

15.10.20

Around this time of year - every year - Jack always asks me the same question: "what do you want for Christmas?". And every year I really struggle to think up something new or exciting to actually ask for. So I thought this year I would put together a post with some of my ideal gifts, in the hope that this will help either other women think up some Christmas gift ideas, or other struggling men too.


An Experience Day

I always ask for this type of gift usually, as although a physical present brings enjoyment, an experience day usually brings lasting memories too. This could be tickets to see a West End Show, or a day out at a theme park (Jack actually took me to Thorpe Park for my birthday this year). But other ideas I have looked into include a hot air balloon flight, Go Ape or Zip-lining at Zip World, or even a cookery class. These kind of gifts also mean getting to spend a day with either your husband or a close friend too which is a bonus!

A Spa Break

I have been lucky enough to enjoy a few spa days in the past, but I say regularly to Jack that I would love to enjoy one together. Who doesn't love to be pampered huh? Not only would it be enjoyable to enjoy the time together without the children for a few hours, but I think any parent deserves to be pampered and relax. If you are looking for spa breaks in Yorkshire then you definitely need to check out the Titanic Spa. Based in the heart of Yorkshire, the Titanic Spa has been designed to appeal to both men and women, so would be perfect for a couples break or even just a date day. 

Technology

As a mum there are a number of things I want to buy, but like I'm sure many other mums, I always prioritise spending my money on them or bits for the house instead. But if money was no object, there are a few bits of new tech I would love around the house. We've had a Dyson V8 handheld vacuum for a few years now, and although it still does the job I can tell it's not working as well anymore. I've been looking at upgrading it to the newest Dyson model, or even switching to a Shark vacuum as I've heard such good things about them. A few years ago Jack bought me this gorgeous Emma Bridgewater radio that we use daily, but I would love to add an Amazon Dot or Google Home so we could play music all around the house. And finally, a bit of a splurge purchase but I would really love some Apple AirPods too. Not really for a particular reason, but if you can't think of any other gift why not?


Novelty Gifts

Novelty gifts are perfect for stocking fillers or smaller gifts, and I'm not just talking about the obvious socks and chocolates either. Marks and Spencer are selling a set of baubles this year that are actually mini gin bottles. Perfect for the colder months, I always admire the fun animal microwaveable wheat bags available in many shops - cute and practical too. You could also consider a handmade key ring or item of jewellery like these I found on Etsy. These gifts don't have to be expensive, but I always find with smaller gifts it's always the thought that counts.

This is a collaborative post.

Learn With Peppa - Fantastic Gifts for Preschoolers | Review

13.10.20

We received these products in exchange for this review, however all opinions are honest and my own.

Before having my own children, I naively thought we wouldn't watch any 'baby TV'. I actually managed to escape most of it when my eldest Indiana was a toddler too! But sure enough, when I had 2 under 2 and needed a bit of support, baby TV came crashing into my house in a big way. The most popular of all was of course Peppa Pig, and that little pink pig is even more popular now with my youngest Lilah.

Of course alongside the TV show, Peppa Pig toys have slowly crept their way into our house too. We were recently sent two new toys for Lilah to play with and enjoy from the Learn with Peppa range. I'm also excited to have one of these new toys to giveaway too, so make sure you read to the end of this post to find out how you can enter!

Peppa Pig Smart Phone

The first item we received was the Peppa Pig Smart Phone; an exclusive item to Smyths Toys retailing at £9.99. For little ones who aren't starting to interact and play, they will enjoy the bright colours and sounds the phone creates. Lilah loves to have pretend phone conversations so this toy is great for that too - Peppa and 9 of her friends are included to interact with. As your little one grows and starts to understand games, they can press the quiz key to play fun searching games by colours and numbers, and even explore simple sums. The phone also has 3 singalong songs from the show to enjoy too.




Peppa's Phonic Alphabet 

The second item we received from the Learn with Peppa range was the Peppa's Phonic Alphabet learning toy; also available as Smyths Toys for £19.99. This toys has been created for older toddlers and preschoolers as a great introduction to letters, numbers and colours, as well as basic phonics too. I remember when Indiana started school I had no idea about phonics, so this is perfect to help teach the basics to confused parents too!




Peppa's Phonic Alphabet comes with 8 interactive play cubes, Peppa will then ask questions that your child has to answer by slotting in the correct cube to her dress. Lilah is coming up to 3 so is only just starting to learn her letters and numbers, but the inclusion of colourful images on the cubes really helped her solve the questions. The cubes have to be slotted into Peppa's dress in the correct way, so the toy really helps improve fine motor skills alongside too. A parental bonus is that the toy comes with a handy storage bag for the cubes - no missing pieces!

Other Learn with Peppa Toys in the Range

There are also two other Learn with Peppa toys in the range that are fantastic for preschoolers. Peppa Pig Count with Peppa helps develop counting skills as well as colour and picture recognition. The Peppa Pig Laugh and Learn Laptop is a great interactive toy for on-the-go. It has four activities built in to help introduce letters, numbers, shapes, colours and more, with Peppa Pig and friends helping along the way. Both retail at £19.99 and are available at Smyths Toys.

I am so excited to be giving away a Peppa Phonic Alphabet over on my Facebook page. To enter make sure you head on over to my page and follow the instructions to enter. Good luck!

Buy the Perfect Gift with Wicked Uncle

6.10.20

I'm sure I can't be the only one who's mind is already filled with Christmas planning and gift ideas. The end of the year doesn't just mean Christmas for us though, as we also have Indiana's birthday at the end of November, and then Lilah's just after Christmas in early January. Exciting of course, but an absolute nightmare when it comes to thinking of, and buying gifts! Family members are already asking what they should buy, and this year I'm going to be directing them to the Wicked Uncle website to search for the children's gifts.


What is Wicked Uncle?

Wicked Uncle is a website I've actually written about previously (Lilah was actually playing with the toy animals shown in the post yesterday). We all know how difficult it is to decide what to buy our own children, let alone what to buy nieces, nephews or godchildren. So that's why Mike O'Shea, the company founder, created Wicked Uncle. He wanted to put together a whole selection of fantastic gifts suitable for children of all ages and genders - and not just your usual gifts either, all the gifts on the website are fun, unusual and you may just find something you wouldn't find somewhere else.

How Does it Work?

When you first head onto the Wicked Uncle website you'll instantly be greeted with a handy guide to help you find the gift you're looking for. Gifts can be split into categories based on age, gender, types of gifts, or you can have a look through what's currently popular. Of course toys aren't gender specific, but I know I personally find it either to look for a gift for either my son or daughter. You can just search via age though if you wish.

Once you've picked a category a whole range of fantastic gifts will become available to search through. These can be curated down again to look for a specific theme, including 'adventurer', 'creativity' and 'educational' to make the search even easier. 


Once you've chosen a gift, Wicked Uncle can even help you beyond clicking 'checkout now'. Every gift has a gift wrap option for just an extra £2.50, and then you can simply pick to add a gift message free of charge, or pay £2.50 to add a hand written greeting card too (you can leave this blank if being delivered to yourself). You can then choose to have the gift delivered straight to the recipient - a fantastic option for relatives that don't live locally or for moments like right now where we can't all be together. Of course you can choose to have it delivered to you if you want to deliver the gift in person though.

Wicked Uncle really is the one-stop-shop for fantastic gifts. Not only do they have a broad range of gifts suitable for all ages (from baby to 105!), but they have added those little extras to make gift buying so much easier and quicker too. For example, when you order you can sign up to their birthday reminder service, so that next year you'll get an email reminding you it's time to start gift hunting again. Handy right? And they don't put any paperwork into boxes, so there's no worry about the birthday boy or girl finding out how much you spent on a gift. It's the little details like that that make them 'Wicked'!

This is a collaborative post.

An Interview with my Two Year Old | Lilah at 2 1/2

3.10.20

I have been asking Indiana and Parker this same set of questions for the last few years now, but of course Lilah has always been too young to understand. But now she's getting closer to 3, I thought it was time to get her involved too! I love seeing how their answers change over the years, and I'm sure Lilah will come out with some cracking ones.



What’s the best thing about being 2?

Being a big girl

What makes you laugh? 

My bag

Who do you love, and why?

Edie

What’s your favourite book?

Baby book

What's your favourite food?

Gingerbread man


What's your favourite song?

Elsa songs (Frozen)

What's your favourite outfit?

My boots

What's your favourite TV programme? 

Peppa Pig

What's your favourite toy? 

My baby

What's your favourite thing to do?

Play with my Peppa phone

An Interview with my Five Year Old | Parker at 5

2.10.20

My third year of asking Parker these questions, and although some things haven't changed (Old Town Road is apparently still number one), I can really tell how much he's grown up in the last year. You can read his answers at age 3 here and age 4 here, and his answers at age 5 below.



What’s the best thing about being 5?

I’m a big man now!

What makes you laugh? 

When someone tickles me

Who do you love, and why?

Henry, because he is my best friend

What’s your favourite book?

Snug as a Bug


What's your favourite food?

Spaghetti and meatballs

What's your favourite song?

Old Town Road (Lil Nas X)

What's your favourite outfit?

My school outfit

What's your favourite TV programme? 

Teen Titans Go!

What's your favourite toy? 

Lego

What's your favourite thing to do?

Play games at school with my friends

An Interview with my Six Year Old | Indiana at 6 and 3/4!

1.10.20

I have asked Indiana this same set of questions for the last three years now (you can read her interviews at age 3age 4 and age 5 here), so of course I had to keep the tradition going this year. She's almost 7 now and boy do we know it! Some things haven't changed though... the girl is still obsessed with Chilli!



What’s the best thing about being 6?

Getting to be in year 2

What makes you laugh? 

Jokes

Who do you love, and why?

Amelie, because she’s my best friend

What’s your favourite book?

The Snail and the Whale


What's your favourite food?

Chilli!

What's your favourite song?

The head and heart song (Head and Heart - Joel Corey & MNEK)

What's your favourite outfit?

My dresses

What's your favourite TV programme? 

Tom and Jerry

What's your favourite toy? 

Lego

What's your favourite thing to do?

Play in the garden