4 Ways to get More from your Unwanted Belongings

28.5.21

I'm sure we're not the only family to have cupboards and boxes piled high with 'stuff'. Over the years we hold on to so many things, usually 'just in case', or because of sentimental value. But sadly, we can’t all hold onto all of our belongings forever - especially if you don't have the room to store anymore things. It’s not all bad though, as you can gain from it too!


Selling things online can be a great way to gain some extra cash here and there, which is perfect if it’s from things that you no longer want or need. The troubling part is putting in the effort to sell them, as it can take time and hard work if you really want them gone. But once you get going and start reaping the rewards, it will be 100% worth the time and effort put in.

In this post I'm going to share 4 ways in which you can get more from selling your unwanted belonging.

Compare Prices
If you’re going to start listing items online, you should make sure you’re not under or overvaluing them, otherwise you’re going to struggle to make any money. No one is going to buy your belongings if there are many others who are selling those same items at a cheaper price! Keep in mind that these things are worthless to you, so any price that others deem reasonable is a great gain for you. There are many different sites where you can list your items, so you have plenty of different options to compare with. Be careful to not undersell items though, as holding out for that bigger payout can be worth it.

Fix Items Before Selling
It goes without saying that the items you want to sell need to be in good condition - no one is going to want to buy a broken, dirty item are they? Getting rid of your clothing or other expensive items might be more difficult if they’re visibly unclean or damaged. Make sure to take plenty of photos so buyers can really see the quality of them item before purchasing. While upcycling antique furniture might not be a skill that you have, if at all possible it can help you fetch a much higher price if your items are in a better condition. You could even have a professional repair your items for you if you feel like the cost isn’t going to take your gains into the negatives.

Know the Right Site for Selling
As you have a lot of different sites that you can list your items on, there are going to be different demographics on each one. While you can list your item on each site, you should make sure you don’t risk overlapping any. If you have something being auctioned on a site like eBay, then you don’t want to be talking to someone on a different site about how much they’re willing to pay for it. Every site has rules, so reading up on them briefly before starting your sales can help to make sure you get the best sale.

It's NOT Always about the Money
If you are in a hurry, considering charity isn’t a bad idea either. While you’re not going to be making any money from your donations, it’s great to give back. Those items are going to be sold at a cheaper price, and the money from them is going to go straight to the charity that you chose. Of course if you’re looking for quick cash this isn’t ideal, but giving to charity has its own rewards too. If you are looking to gain at least a small amount financially, then why not consider a boot fair or thrift sale instead!

This is a collaborative post.

Are Playgroups Necessary for Children?

27.5.21


Playing is an important part of your child’s learning journey. Not only are they are great well to develop social and problem-solving skills, but they're also an excellent way to make new friends while building fundamental skills. Nowadays, as more and more playgroups open, this makes it easier for children to develop their social-emotional skills before entering school. But choosing the right one is not always an easy task - so in this post I'm going to give you some helpful advice!

What is a Playgroup? 
A playgroup is usually a regular meeting, in which babies, toddlers, or preschoolers can learn through creative and social plays. They are also a great place for parents to be social and network within the community, making them perfect for finding 'mum' friends who have children of a similar age to yours.

Playgroups are usually categorised into ones suitable for different ages:

- Between 6 and 12 months, a playgroup will focus on developing sensory, gross and fine-motor skills through various hands-on activities, such as songs, and stories, to help nurture their curiosity and interests. These types of playgroups in Hong Kong are quite common. 

- Between 1 and 2 years old, a playgroup will help toddlers to continue exploring their sensory and motor skills while developing social and communication skills through songs, stories, and other stimulating activities. Examples of these types of groups could be messy play, music time or the beginnings of dance classes.

- Between 2 and 3 years old, most will include more interactive activities on top of sensory exploration and hands-on learning. Physical activities such as Gymboree and toddler sports classes are great for this age.

What is Taught in a Playgroup? 
Of course each different playgroup will have different learning objectives and goals to focus on. The approaches and teaching would be different at various age levels, but overall the ultimate goal is learning through play. From songs, stories, hands-on activities to interactive games, a playgroup ensures that every child is learning something while playing. Adults support children to do the activities with a schedule so that they can establish their own routines and shape good learning habits. 


Most of the activities are theme-based following a curriculum designed appropriately for different age groups. It allows children to play and understand their companions and surroundings while developing fundamental skills. 

A playgroup provides children with the chance to engage with other kids and enrich their learning experience in a diverse and immersive learning environment.

Through attending playgroup, children can:

  • Learn language skills (speaking and listening).
  • Build awareness of their surroundings. 
  • Develop physical skills. 
  • Boosts curiosity and creativity. 
  • Spark interests in various areas. 
  • Develop social skills (manage their emotions, express their feelings, interact with others). 
  • Build confidence and self-awareness. 
  • Build independent thinking skills. 
  • Develop decision-making and problem-solving skills. 
  • Develop communication and collaboration skills. 

What makes a Good Playgroup?
A good playgroup gets children involved in multiple task-based learning activities, allowing children to explore, question, communicate, ask for help from team members, think creatively, and solve problems with innovative solutions. 

But of course, at the end of the day the best playgroups for you and your child, will be the one where they are happy and comfortable in their surroundings. Some children thrive in a music or dance class, whereas others will prefer a less structured approach to a class. My youngest mostly enjoyed the free-reign church groups where she could just play with countless toys, and decide where she wanted to be and when.

This is a collaborative post.

5 Things I Wish I had Known Before Pregnancy

19.5.21

With our youngest child Lilah being over 3 years old, pregnancy and all of it's ups and downs seems like a lifetime ago now. All three of my pregnancies were completely different experiences for me, yet there were many similarities throughout all of them, and even with my third pregnancy there were things I was so shocked about! So here are 5 things that I wish I had known before pregnancy.


How Long the First Trimester Can Feel
There is nothing quite as magical as seeing those first lines (or the words 'pregnant') appearing on a pregnancy test. But like many other pregnant couples, Jack and I decided to keep our pregnancies secret until we had our first scan around 12 weeks. But what no one talks about it just how long that first trimester feels! Feeling those rubbishy symptoms, not knowing what's going on, and then having no-one to share it with can make those weeks feel like months. I found it helpful to join pregnancy forums with other expectant mums due around the same time. Or even more helpful could be to share your wonderful news with your closest friends or family.

'Morning' Sickness isn't the only Symptom of Pregnancy 
Growing up and watching films you get sold this idea that morning sickness (which only occurs very early in the morning of course) is one of the only 'big' pregnancy symptoms. So when I did get pregnant and didn't experience sickness I was shocked. I was then especially shocked when I started experience other unenjoyable symptoms. Trapped wind, sciatic pain, aversions to smells... and that was just during the first trimester! 

How Anxious you'll Feel Before Every Scan
I think I actually felt more anxious before my 12 week scan with Lilah than I did with Indiana - and she was the third. But I honestly just don't feel as if those nerves ever go away until your baby is in your arms. It's completely normal to worry, but remember it's important to talk about how you're feeling if you think you're worrying more than normal. We paid for early reassurance scans with Lilah around 7 weeks, which did also help with the worry (but also expensive, so I know these aren't available to everyone).

How Important Pregnancy Vitamins Are
Of course the most important thing during pregnancy is to make sure you're eating a healthy and varied diet, as this will help you to get most of the vitamins and minerals you need. However it's also recommended to take a folic acid and vitamin D supplement during pregnancy.



Feel Pregnancy supplements are Mumsnet rated and have been launched as a 100% natural pregnancy and breastfeeding supplement. Taken twice a day they provide 100% of the daily recommended intake of folic acid, vitamin D3, iron, zinc and everything you need to support healthy pregnancy. During pregnancy they can assist with fertility and foetal development, they can also help to reduce nausea and improve overall health and energy levels. Plus you can continue to take Feel Pregnancy supplements postnatally too, as they will help support breastmilk quality and production.

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You Don't Actually Need to Buy Much
Three babies later I am still completely guilty of buying too much during pregnancy, but the reality is that babies really don't need that much stuff. As long as you have somewhere warm and snug for them to sleep (a basic moses basket will do for the first 6 months), food for them to eat and cosy vests and sleepsuits for them to wear (and then you'll only need up to 12 in each size), all of the fancy baby gear can wait. None of mine ever liked a swing, and all of those fancy outfits and shoes were hardly worn. Wait until your baby is born and you get to know what they like before you spend lots of money!

This is a collaborative post.

Our Month - April 2021

16.5.21


April definitely started with a bang this year. Not only did we celebrate Jack's birthday (and our nieces on the same day), but the same weekend also included Easter! Last year was a very quiet affair for Jack's birthday because of lockdown, but thankfully we managed to make up for it a bit this year. We managed to get back to the seaside for the first time in almost 6 months and reunited with some family while there too. Fish and chips on the beach, giant ice creams and just being by the sea... it was lovely!

We spent the Easter weekend enjoying egg hunts (and eating ALL the chocolate), reuniting with family and just enjoying having some normality back in our lives. The weather was mostly on our side too, as although we could see family and friends again, it was still only allowed outside. The littles definitely didn't seem bothered by the weather though, they were just happy to be playing with their cousins again and not having to just go on another walk around the block.






The Bank Holiday weekend led straight into the Easter school holidays, which were actually a welcome relief after the exhaustion everyone was feeling from being back at school after lockdown. We spent the first week visiting all the local parks (I made the littles day with a trip on the train to a different one), and just enjoying the lazy mornings and afternoons. Jack managed to book the second week off though, which worked out perfectly for us as it tied in with even more restrictions to lockdown easing!

The weather was definitely up and down (especially compared to last Easter's glorious sunshine!), but we tried to make the most of the week for sure. We spent the Monday at Emmett's Garden enjoying their Easter trail, and then braved the shops on the Tuesday as all of the littles needed their feet measuring and new shoes. Wednesday we went to the pub for lunch (for the first time since November!), and my goodness was it just as good as I was hoping. Thursday was a really exciting day as it was our first day back at a theme park this year. We had the best day at Chessington, and despite the rain and crowds, we managed to do so many rides. And then Friday we headed back down to the beach for an evening by the sea. Phew!






Back to school after the holidays also meant back to in-person clubs for the littles too. And this time it was extra special as Lilah started her very own ballet class. She had been watching Indie during her zoom lessons for weeks, so it was so special to see her in her little uniform and heading off into her lesson with all the other little ballerinas. She's wearing Indie's old ballet uniform and has Indie's teacher too, so it's made me extra emotional.

And finally, there was a really big moment for Parker in April... he learnt to ride his bike without stabilisers! We have been saying for a while that he was ready to give it a try, so while everywhere we quiet we just went for it. It took him a couple of attempts to get the hang of it, but after that he was whizzing off and absolutely smashing it. Of course we need to get the hang of steering and brakes, but they all get there eventually right?




10 Ways to Take Care of Yourself Every Single Day

12.5.21

Whether you're a mum or not, you'll know just how easy it is to take care of others before yourself. But we've got to remember that this is something we need to learn to take time for too. And after the year we've all had, it's more essential than ever to have a little bit of self-care every day! But if you're wrapped up in looking after your family, it can feel almost impossible to find time for something other than that. So in this post I thought I would share 10 ways in which you can have a little 'me-time' every day. Once you realise the importance of taking time out for yourself, you'll never look back as the mood and self-esteem boosting effects are amazing!

Drink More Water
Mornings are usually spent rushing around, but one little action of self-care you can do is have a glass of water first thing. It takes less than a minute, but the lasting effects will leave you feeling good all day. Being dehydrated can lead to headaches, hunger and just a general bad mood, so make sure to keep a water bottle filled all day.


Meal Plan
When life gets busy it's easy to just stick any old thing in the oven just to get food on the table. Who has time to cook up a Michelin star menu when they've just got home from work? Writing up a whole week's menu at the start of the week takes the stress out of cooking - plus it means you know exactly what to buy at the supermarket, and reduces waste too. Win win!

Exercise
Changing up your workout routine (or if you're like me, simply starting a routine in the first place) can breathe life into exercise.You can even boost your muscle gains with the help of steelsupplements.com/ if you want to feel really strong. I like to fit in HiiT sessions at home around the school runs, but you could go for a swim, start the Couch to 5K, or plan to join an exercise class with a friend. Whatever you do, make sure it's something you enjoy, as that will help you keep the routine up for longer.

Get Some Music On (and Dance)
Life is busy, there's no getting around it. But sticking on your favourite tunes and busting out the 90's dance moves brings fun back into your day. Try roping in your loved ones to reconnect with them after a long day - my littles love nothing more than a silly dance party with mummy!

Take 5 Minutes for Yourself
We spend most of our days running around like headless chickens, so taking 5 minutes just to do nothing will be a welcome break. And it helps you remember that self-care doesn't have to be lavish. Time away from your phone looking at the world can be as effective as a full day in the spa. 

Build a Morning Routine
Building yourself a morning routine that brings some joy and structure into your life can be really grounding. It could be having a cup of coffee outside (weather permitting) or doing some stretches before you race out the door. And it doesn't have to be hours long. Start with just 30 minutes of a few moments for yourself before you get started, and you'll be equipped to face the day feeling confident.

Write Lists / Journals
With so much to remember and think about on a daily basis, it's no wonder that our brains struggle to cope sometimes. A great way to help with this is to write (or type) it down, so then you can see it in front of you. Some people like to write journals to share their daily thoughts, or it could be as simple as jotting down a to-do list and ticking the jobs off as you go. 


Have a Technology Break
I know I am guilty of being on my phone for a lot of the day. We do basically everything with them; keep in touch with family, get stuff done for work, or just simply engaging on social media. But they can be really distracting when you're trying to wind down. Try giving yourself an allotted amount of screen time. If that's too intense, put the phone down an hour before bed and unwind with a book instead. This will definitely lead to a better night sleep!

Say 'No' More
We have high expectations for ourselves. And that includes going to every social event on the calendar. That couldn't be more true for us than right now as the world begins to open up again and the social invitations come flooding in. But you might not have the energy, and forcing yourself into something you can't handle will just leave you burnt out. So say 'no.' Prioritise your wellbeing above stretching yourself too thin. Your friends will be more understanding than you think because they probably feel the same way.

Write Down 3 Positive Things Every Day
Taking time to write down just 3 things that weren't totally awful in your day will flip your mood from positive to negative. And it doesn't have to be a huge defining moment like a job promotion. Maybe the coffee you made that morning tasted delicious, or you got to spend 5 minutes in the sunshine. No matter how challenging or stressful your day might have been, there is always something good that happened.

What would you add to my list?

This is a collaborative post.