How to Tell the Perfect Bedtime Story

30.10.21

Along with many other parents, getting snuggled up to read a bedtime story has always been an important part of the bedtime routine. Of course it's easy to just pick up any old book and just go through the motions of reading the words, but that isn't really exciting for your little ones (or for yourself either). In this post I'm going to share a few ways to help you tell the perfect bedtime story - so read on if you want to know more!


Choosing the Right Story

It is important that before narrating a story, that you've picked the correct one. It can be really hard to perfectly describe something that does not suit the age of the child or his/her preferences. Also, our own personal preferences play a huge role in that. Maybe you have a preference for classic fairytales that your very young children can not understand. Instead it can be a great idea to let your child help with the story decision, as that way they know that it's a story they are going to enjoy. Of course you can help encourage a certain decision by giving them a selection of 5-10 books to pick from.

Before the Narration

With the best story book chosen, then it is time for that magical moment - the reading! When it's late or your children are not behaving particularly well, it can be easy to rush through the book and not read it properly. And the same can be said if you aren't too keen on the book, or the routine has become just that.

But it is super important to try and give your best when reading each night though, as not only is this a lovely part of the day for you and your children to enjoy, but it's crucial for children's learning too - they learn new words and ways of speaking through reading books! Keep all of this in mind before your start.

Narrative Techniques

Υou don't have to become some kind of actor or wordsmith to read a perfect bedtime story, so don't be afraid to really go for it. Your children will really appreciate the effort! Use different voices for different characters, make sure to follow the text (louder for words in bold, and put emphasis on the words in italics, etc). The tone of your voice should go up and down depending on the intensity or description of the story. You could always change some of the words that you think your children may not understand, if that makes the story telling easier for you too.

Of course, you can always turn to professional content that has been created to provide solutions to the problem of narration. Now ebooks and audiobooks offer a modern solution to storytelling, satisfying every need with fantastic storytelling and productions. Professional voice actors work for the best possible result, using their talent to convey the fairy tale's message. You can discover the different types of narrators at Voquent for every kind of story you need for an excellent and immersive experience for you and your children. Our children love using our Toniebox that is a great way for them to listen to stories at their own pace!

This is a collaborative post.

3 Home DIY Hacks for Busy Parents

28.10.21

When you already spend a lot of money on rent or a mortgage or other bills, no one wants to fork out for home fixes too. But DIY is an investment of both time and money! If it goes wrong, you’ve lost (at best) a Sunday afternoon and a few pennies. At worst, you could end up making a serious hash of things.

That said, you should never be afraid to try your hand at something new - provided it’s safe of course! While I don’t recommend you undertake your own electrical work, there are plenty of creative ways to fix up the odd jobs around your home and experiment safely with DIY. And with that in mind, in this post I'm going to share three home diy hacks for busy parents.


Home Rendering

Brickwork has a warm and classic feel to it, but as soon as it becomes worn and battered by age, wear and the impact of the great British weather, it can be a nightmare to fix. If your home needs a new lease of life, or if you simply feel like modernising, rendering from Direct Building Products is a great way to weatherproof your home and revive a shabby exterior. With a range of colours and finishes, you can even recreate the Balamory effect, or keep it simple with eggshell or ivory tones.

Furniture Revival

If your furnishings are looking a little worse for wear, it may be tempting to send them to the tip. And while there’s no point in keeping things which are well beyond repair, there are plenty of ways to get a little extra mileage out of them if you aren’t quite ready to part just yet! If your favourite wooden side table is covered in chips and scrapes from children, pets or general wear and tear, wood markers are a perfect quick fix. Anyone can use them, and they’re available in a wide range of shades so you’re certain to find a perfect match.

Alternatively, for those with a creative streak, a fresh coat of paint in a colour of your choosing can liven up any item of furniture. And if you’re feeling ambitious, decoupage is a great way to personalise your furnishings – use family photos, florals, or even prints out of magazines to create a home centrepiece that serves as a talking point to your guests.

Baskets, Baskets, Baskets!

Organisation is the heart of a happy home, especially if you’ve got young family members for whom tidiness is at the bottom of the priority list. Baskets are a great way to keep things neat and tidy, and they're a great budget-friendly option too. Keep them in cupboards to organise different types of items and you’ll always know where to find those essentials. You could even go one step further and label each basket so you can't forget what got put where. This is particularly useful in kitchens and bathrooms. Failing all else, the Marie Kondo method will rid you of unnecessary clutter - if it does not spark joy, simply throw it away.

What other tips would you add?

This is a collaborative post.

Host the Best Dinner Party this Festive Season!

Did you know that Christmas is now less than 2 months away? If you are planning to host a family dinner this festive season, don't panic! There's still plenty of time to get things planned and prepared, and hopefully the tips I share in this post will give you some peace of mind too.


Decorate the House

If you're hosting this year, then you'll want to make sure you wow your guests as soon as they arrive. Make sure to decorate the house from top to bottom with lights on the bannisters, a beautiful wreath on the door, and of course don't forget to buy real Christmas trees and let the children help decorate. Joyful music in the background always helps set the tone for an enjoyable time at home for everyone too!

Plan Ahead

Start with a list of who will be coming for dinner and the number of people. Decide on what you want to cook ahead of time, and then once you have decided on what you're cooking, start at least two days before the big day - you can peel the veg and potatoes, make the pigs in blankets and prepare the turkey in whatever way you usually do.

If anyone in your family has dietary restrictions, inform them of your menu plan and discuss it with them. This way, you will know what ingredients they require and make a shopping list accordingly. If this is not possible, do a quick run to the store before everyone comes on dinner day to get all your necessary supplies.

Set the Table Early

In addition to the food that needs to be purchased, you'll need plates, glasses, cutlery, serving utensils and don't forget the extras such as salt & pepper shakers, and gravy boats, etc. They don't have to be expensive, but having enough for each person is essential to track how many you have while setting up for the dinner party.

Put out placemats on each table setting so people don't put their plates directly on the tablecloth, which will leave stains if not cleaned immediately after eating. If you don't want to spend too much on fancy table settings, then stores such as B&M and Homebargains offer some beautiful options at a fraction of a price. You can even get lovely colour in table clothes that are perfect for the children's table!

Get into Host(ess) Mode

Make sure you're wearing something festive and comfortable. If you're cooking, wear an apron. When guests arrive, greet them with a smile and their name along with a handshake or hug if they are family members and close friends. Offer them drinks before moving on to other conversation topics while they wait for their plates of food. Consider serving food 'buffet style' so that you can be a bit more relaxed and guests can choose whatever dishes they want.

Remember to repeat these steps throughout the night as people are coming and going. If you expect many guests, consider hiring a caterer to help get food out on time and keep your beverages topped up - not only will that make the evening go much more smoothly, but it will give you chance to enjoy the festivities too!

This is a collaborative post.

The Best Airport Artwork Around the World

27.10.21

Airports are easily the most stressful part of any international adventure. Whether you’re travelling for business or with family, no one looks forward to this first or final part of their travels (although a wander around Duty Free can sometimes soften the blow a little). Many airports try to offset this tense environment with fascinating artwork displays. These add character to otherwise extremely functional spaces, and gives passers-through a glimpse of local culture. 


Airport artwork is an opportunity for a city to show off its local talent with pride. But did you know there are so many wonderful ones? Here are just 5 installations you may have seen if you're lucky enough to visit these airports around the world.

Heathrow Umbrellas, London

The Heathrow Umbrellas were an installation designed to raise awareness about autism, ADHD and other conditions under the same umbrella. This glorious display of colour was created with the help of Mead Construction and Ormiston Wire, and was displayed for a mere two weeks in October 2018, meaning it is sadly no longer available to view. However, Heathrow Airport has many other works of art installed, including Richard Wilson’s Slipstream which greets travellers at Terminal 2.

Kinetic Rain, Singapore 

Located in Terminal 1 of Singapore’s Changi Airport, Kinetic Rain consists of over 1,200 bronze raindrops suspended from the ceiling and motorised to create a mesmeric moving indoor display. The installation took an entire team of programmers, technologists and artists to construct, and over 20 months to create, but the hypnotic result is well worth the work that’s gone into this incredible piece. 


Destinations, Frankfurt

Martin Liebscher is a German artist and photographer whose large-scale works have built him a well-regarded reputation. So it’s no surprise that this local talent has artworks displayed in one of Germany’s biggest transport hubs. His piece Destinations in Frankfurt Airport lines either side of the Passenger Tunnel, and features various stunning images, including a night-time cityscape glittering in urban lights.

Harmonic Convergence, Miami

Christopher Janney’s Harmonic Convergence installation is an interactive display of light and sound, that guides travellers through Miami Airport via the pedestrian walkway. The piece utilises light, colour and sound, playing tropical sounds of birds and thunderstorms for an immersive introduction to the south of Florida.

LaGuardia Airport, New York

Many airports feature a number of standout works of art by inspiring local artists. But the post-lockdown revival of LaGuardia Airport in New York represents not only a shining light after dark times, but a remarkable showcase of talent from around the world. The installation of four new works of art of Jeppe Hein, Laura Owens, Sabine Hornig and Sarah Sze was completed as part of a Public Art Fund initiative and has brought a new lease of life to this major international hub.

These are just five incredible works of art, past and present, from airports around the globe that capture the imaginations of travellers every day.

Have you ever seen any memorable creations in the airports you've visited?

This is a collaborative post.

5 Fantastic Christmas Gifts for 8 Year Olds

23.10.21

 This post was written in collaboration with Wicked Uncle.

It's getting to that time of year again where birthdays are rolling around, and of course Christmas is just around the corner too. Indiana is going to be 8 this year and we're finding it trickier than ever to buy suitable (but still fun) gifts for her. And I know if we're struggling as her parents, then our family must be finding it even more difficult - especially with having to find gifts for both her birthday and Christmas! Thankfully I know that Wicked Uncle will always have our backs in this situation, as their website it full of brilliant children’s presents

I thought I would put together a list of 5 fantastic and fun presents that would be perfect for 8 year old Indiana (or any 8 year old you are shopping for this year). Wicked Uncle's website is so perfectly designed, making it incredibly easy to browse through gifts dependent on age, gender or the recipients interests. I filtered my search as 'gifts for 8 year old', and these are just a few of a huge selection that caught my eye.


Horrible Histories The Board Game - £19.95

Indiana is in year 3 now and history is really becoming one of her favourite subjects. She watches the Horrible Histories TV show at school so I think this would be a great game for her to enjoy. Players have to 'race through history answering questions, full of foul facts & jokes', so not only is it fun but it's also educational for all the family.  The game includes over 600 questions too, so it's not going to be one of those games you'll get bored playing after a few goes.

Plop Trumps - It's the Business! - £6.99

Find me a child that doesn't find toilet humour funny! We love Top Trumps in this house, so I know this fun edition would go down well as a stocking filler or smaller gift. Plop Trumps is the game with a difference, as it combines a perfect blend of science and 'yuck-factor' with the traditional game play. The animal poo guessing game comes in it's own handy tin making it great for taking out-and-about too.

Tobbie Interactive Robot - £29.95

I love toys that have more than just one way to play with them, and Tobbie the interactive robot is just that. The kits comes with all the parts your child needs to build Tobbie (a task alone that can take up to 2 hours), and then once built it has a few modes of play. In 'Follow Me' mode Tobbie will follow you along, and in 'Explore' mode he will use his intelligent infrared sensors to explore on his own! Hours of fun and great for growing minds.

Slime DIY Case - £18.95

Slime is still hugely popular in our house, so this slime DIY kit would be a great choice for Indiana this year. I love that the kit has everything included so you don't have to go out and hunt down missing ingredients - plus you only need to add water so it should hopefully be a less messy version too!

100 Kids Activities Scratch off Bucket List - £12.95

This activity scratch off bucket list would make a perfect gift from a grandparent or other family member, for a child who already has all the toys and doesn't know what else to ask for! The list is full of ideas from making a snowman, to writing a story and even raising money for charity. Once the activity is complete, your child can then scratch off the foil to show what they have completed. It really is one of those gifts that keeps on giving and can last over a few years too.

As I mentioned above, this is just a tiny selection from the vast amount of lovely gifts Wicked Uncle have to offer. I would definitely recommend popping over to the website and seeing for yourself - you'll be surprised just how easy it is to find a great gift!

Top Tips for a Stress-Free Family Camping Trip

20.10.21

Camping with children can be a struggle, but as long as you leave prepared, it can also be a really fun and memorable experience. So if you have any plans to take your children camping in the near future, by following these top tips you can hopefully make camping with children a stress-free excursion for everyone. Are you ready to learn some useful hacks? Let's get this (camping) party started!


Bring Plastic Tubs

Maintaining a sense of order is essential to making your camping trip a more enjoyable experience. Not only does the organisation of your equipment before you leave make it much easier to unpack and remember where everything is when you reach your destination, but it should hopefully mean you don't forget anything essential. Get some clear plastic storage tubs (with lids if possible) and then label them so you know exactly where everything is. These should also make packing the car much easier too! 

Set up Wash Stations

One of the inevitabilities of camping is the fact that you will become muddy and filthy. As much fun as it is, it can also be a logistical headache when you want to eat with clean hands, and you do not want muddy footprints all over your belongings.

To help with this you can set up a hand - and foot- washing station. Take one of the empty aforementioned plastic tubs to be used by both adults and children to wash their feet. You will also need a jug that you may use to pour water over your hands and feet while you are washing. Get some soap and some flannels to remove the dirt and place the tub on a plastic mat or towel immediately outside your tent. These can also come in handy for late night loo-trips too.

Remember lots of Lights

Campsites are frequently located in the middle of nowhere, which means that it is pitch black at night most of the time. You will need to find some means of generating light during the night, especially if the children wish to walk up and down to the toilets. A reliable flashlight from ECOGEAR FX is a good idea.

Glow sticks can be purchased for a reasonable price from many places nows, are a great way to add some illumination in a fun way. You can get them as necklaces or bracelets, which are a terrific way to keep track of where your children are in the dark while also providing a mild glow of illumination!

Many experienced campers bring their own headlamps with them too. They are inexpensive to purchase and make going back and forth to the bathroom much easier, especially if you are holding small children or carrying a lot of stuff.

First Aid Kit

Ideally, you should keep one of these in your car or van at all times, but they are especially vital when camping, as they may help you deal with any fevers, cuts and stings, burns, or insect bites that may occur. You can purchase pre-assembled kits that include the necessities, or you can purchase all of the items separately and create your own kit. Whatever you do, just make sure you have read the instructions on products such as thermometers, so you know how to use them straight away if they are needed!

What camping tips would you add?

This is a collaborative post

Our Bedtime Routine with the Magic Dreamlight Unicorn

19.10.21

This post contains Pr Products. All opinions are honest and my own.

If you ask any parents of young children, they will tell you how important a good nights sleep is for your little ones. Even just a few hours less at night can result in grumpy, overtired children! And a good nights sleep always starts with a good bedtime routine in our experience too. We made sure to introduce one from a young age with all three of our littles, and although they may be slightly older now and a few tweaks have been made along the way, it's still just as important!

Our evenings always start with eating dinner together around the table. I love that this gives us all chance to talk about our days and catch up. I make sure to ask each of them what their favourite part of the day was, as I find it's a lovely way to get them chatting about school or activities without pushing them. Jack usually arrives home from work not long after, and at 6.30pm he takes Lilah up to start her bedtime routine. 

Lilah's Bedtime Routine

If they aren't having a bath or shower, it's pjs on, teeth brushed, and then all jumping into bed for a story - a step of our bedtime routine we've done since day one. It's so lovely to snuggle up and wind down with a good book! Lilah's stories of choice at the moment usually feature mermaids or unicorns, but we are on to reading Harry Potter with the older two which brings me so much joy.





At 7pm Lilah is tucked into her bed alongside her Magic Dreamlight Unicorn. More than just a cuddly toy, the Magic Dreamlight unicorn is a lovely sleep aid too. Lilah simply presses the star on the unicorn's heart and a twinkly tune is played, followed by 30 minutes of glowing lights. The soothing lights gently change, emitting warm blues, yellows, pinks and greens. The lights are subtle enough to not fill the whole room, but give that reassurance that a lot of little ones needs if they don't like the dark. The lights then auto switch off after the 30 minutes or can be stopped by simply pressing the star again.

Lilah loves to snuggle her unicorn and is usually asleep before the lights have stopped glowing on most occasions! And the best part, because the unicorn is so soft and snuggly, it can be used as a 'normal' cuddly toy during the day too. It's quickly become unicorn obsessed Lilah's favourite toy! You can purchase the Magic Dreamlight from Smyths here.

Once Lilah is asleep, we take the big two up and repeat the same routine with them. They are then tucked up in to bed by 7.30pm, and Jack and I are free to enjoy our evenings! It's a simple routine, but we find it is working really well for us.

What does your child's bedtime routine look like?

Turn your Home into a Rustic Retreat

A lot of people are now turning away from the once popular white and sterile looking home. Instead they are wanting a warm and cosy feel around the home, with rich tones and comforts you would expect from a country cottage. It's much easier than you think to live out your country dreams without having to relocate though! You can create a warm and inviting atmosphere with exposed textures and a vintages style - so if you are looking to turn your current space into a comfy cottage, then hopefully these six tips will help you achieve your dream! 


Unique Decor Items

When you add a touch of the unusual to your home, you’ll be able to create a unique feature for every room. Whether it’s a hanging birdcage, a wooden flowerpot, or a wicker basket, these little design additions can really make a difference. Sites like Etsy are a great place to source vintage and handmade assets to improve the rustic aesthetic of any room. Or if you're feeling particularly crafty, why not have a go at making your own art work or craft to decorate your home!

Indoor Plants

Take a trip to local garden centre and pick up some greenery to turn your home into an indoor jungle. Not only does friendly foliage give your home a more welcoming, earthy feel, but they’re excellent at removing toxins from the environment too. From large stand-alone stubs to cute coffee table plant pots, the possibilities for you to connect with nature are endless!

Reading Nooks

There’s nothing cosier than curling up with a good book under a blanket, and although you probably don’t have views of vast lakes and rolling hills to admire, you can still designate your own little space full of pillows, blankets and stacks of novels. A well-stocked personal library ensures you’ll never go bored, and even if you never get around to reading them all, they'll make a great visual feature too. Have a look out for a large, comfy chair to fit the area too, and don't hold back on the blankets!


New Doors

White doors are always popular, but they can be a little too bright to fit the look that you’re going for. Instead, consider the wide range of artisan, stained oak options from the experts at Oakwood Doors. These doors will give your home the warm, rural feel you’re aiming for, and changing up your internal doors can have a real impact on the vibe of the room in general. 

Exposed Beams

Not a step everyone can follow, but if you can then exposed wooden beams for your ceilings are an excellent way to give your interiors those country vibes. They’ll have the most impact in the kitchen and lounge where they can be admired by your guests, adding a point of architectural interest to a room. You could always fake it if you really want to add this unique touch, as you can actually buy faux wooden beams now too. 

Second-hand Furniture

Choosing second-hand furniture is an excellent way to add a little bit of character to your interior design. Vintage pieces are perfect for that rustic look, especially when they’re mismatched. Finding these unique treasures can be so much fun too! Scour your local antique shops for the perfect cottage feel. Failing that, there are plenty of online options such as Preloved, or even Facebay where you can find some real hidden gems (and usually at a bargain price too).

How have you added a touch of cottage life to your home decor?

This is a collaborative post.

Fantastic Winter Holiday Ideas for all the Family

18.10.21

Most families decide to take their family holiday during the summer months, but there’s so many benefits to actually holidaying in the winter instead. Not only can destinations be slightly quieter, but how good does escaping the wet and miserable British weather sound? So if you are thinking of taking a winter trip the good news is that there are so many great options on the table, and in this post I'm going to run through some of the best ideas to consider.


The Big City

Okay this one isn't technically leaving the country, but there’s arguably no better place to be (especially in the run-up to Christmas) the than capital city, London. For the whole month of December the city is awash with bright lights and outstanding shows. You don't even need to spend much money to enjoy a lot of these as well, as locations such as Covent Garden and Leicester Square have plenty of lovely free festive sights on offer. You could even team your mini break with a trip to the theatre for the perfect London visit!

Explore Nature

Everyone thinks of visiting the Lake District during the summer months. However, while it is pretty great during that season, it’s also pretty great during the winter months too. There’s something magical about seeing frost - or even snow - covering one of the UK’s most gorgeous landscapes! Why not book a festive package with the Inn Collection Group, where during the day you’ll be able to go for long walks when you’re all wrapped up; and then during the evening you can cosy up by the fire for a meal and drinks. Perfect!

European Cities

There are many great European Christmas destinations that would make the perfect winter trip. Many of them excel at festive markets and culture, so you’ll be able to get your fill of winter goodness. Pretty much any capital city will do the trick. Prague, Budapest, and Munich are all fantastic during the colder months and, in the case of Prague and Budapest, can be highly affordable, too. They’re close enough where you can go for a long weekend too, so you won’t need to book any time off work.

Don't be put off thinking these destinations are more 'adult' appealing. There's SO much for younger ones to enjoy too! Tivoli Gardens is a must for families if you're visiting Copengagen - the Han Christian Anderson inspired amusement park is fully decked out with twinkling lights and festive decorations. And of course I can't mention family winter holidays without talking about Father Christmas! Rovaniemi, Finland is the official hometown of Father Christmas, and you can visit Santa Claus Holiday Village to enjoy dog sledding, snowmobiles, excursions to see the Northern Lights and more. Of course Lapland is a famous destination for this kind of trip too.


Snow Holidays

Another option is to look at going on a snow sports style trip. It’s not really possible to ski in the UK (though there is a resort in Scotland), but there are many ski resorts that are easily accessible to us. If you’re looking for a more budget friendly option, then look at destinations such asAndorra or Austria, which can be really affordable. If money is less of a concern, then France or Switzerland are considered among the best skiing areas in Europe. If skiing isn't your thing then you can try your hand at a number of other snow based sports, and little ones can even learn some sport skills while there too!

This is a collaborative post.

Our Month - September 2021

17.10.21


It's taken me this long to write about September for a few reasons. Mostly because our weeks are just so busy now that we're back to school life, but also because I feel like nothing really happened during the month and I've just been trying to think about what to write! I'm also really gutted I didn't get a family photo during the month for the first time in years. Silly really, but I love having them to look back on each month.

Of course I can't write about September without talking about school. We seemed to go back extra early this year, but the littles settled in really well. Indiana started in year 3, meaning a jump to KS2 and a lot more 'harder' work. Parker moved up to year 2, and despite a few niggles (he's not really a keen writer and is struggling with the more structured day), he is loving reading and maths. He still hasn't had a full year of school yet so I'm not surprised it's taken a bit of time to settle - here's hoping this year is a good one for him. And of course Lilah headed back to preschool for her final year there!






The same week they were all back to school, Jack and I actually had a weekend away just the two of us as one of my late birthday treats. We left the littles with Jack's parents and jumped on the train up to London, where we got to wander around the city at a lovely relaxed pace, before heading to the theatre to see Hamilton! I am a HUGE Hamilton stan (I have the soundtrack on repeat all the time), so it was incredible to see if performed live. Just the atmosphere in the theatre alone could have brought me to tears too, as it just felt extra special to be in a packed theatre again after the last few years we've had. 

The trip was made extra special as we stayed up in London too, spending the night at the Hard Rock London Hotel. We actually ate the Hard Rock as it was just so convenient, and I can confirm the food (and cocktails!) were delicious! Especially as we got to enjoy some live music while we ate too. We finished our evening with a wander through London and enjoyed a few more drinks in the gorgeous Covent Garden. We really didn't want to head home on the Sunday, but a sunny stroll through Hyde Park, and catching the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, was the perfect way to end our little trip






The rest of our month just consisted on school runs, weekly playgroup with Lilah (our first time back since March 2020!), and then ballet and rugby at the weekends. I did start the Couch 2 5K with my friend, but after a week I managed to get myself an ankle injury that's actually still hurting me now...whoops!

Thankfully October has looked a bit brighter already and there's some really fun weeks ahead now too. Roll on half term though as we're all absolutely exhausted!

An Interview with my Three Year Old | Lilah at 3 1/2!

After asking the big two this set of questions for the last few years, last year was the first time I got Lilah involved too (you can read her answers at 2 here). She's now 3 1/2 and full of funny phrases and witty remarks, so I know these answers are going to get even better over the years. Here's her answers for this year at 3...


What’s the best thing about being 3?

I liked doing stuff on my birthday

What makes you laugh? 

When you tickle me like that

Who do you love, and why?

I love Parker because I love him!

What’s your favourite book?

Peppa Pig books

What's your favourite food?

Spaghetti!

What's your favourite song?

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star


What's your favourite outfit?

Dresses and my new tutu (We struggle to get her in much else!)

What's your favourite TV programme? 

YouTube Kids and Teen Titans (she watches the same strange videos as Indie!)

What's your favourite toy? 

Teddy with a dress when we went to Peppa Pig World

What's your favourite thing to do?

Playing with babies

5 Tips for Getting Your Proposal Right

13.10.21

It’s such a special moment when your partner says 'yes!' and you get to experience that rush of love simultaneously. But how do you make sure the most crucial moment in your life is perfect? In this post I'm going to share 5 tips, that will hopefully make your marriage proposal unforgettable and romantic.


Include Flowers

Receiving a bunch of flowers always make my day, so of course they are perfect to include in a proposal. If you are stuck on ideas, get the help of experts in a flower shop to help you select the flowers that will best fit your partner’s personality or those that represent your relationship. Comforting words for your partner is also essential during the proposal. If you are composing a poem or song to sing to your partner, you can work with experts to help you pen it, so it comes out beautifully.

Choose a Good Location

Of course the location of your proposal it is up to you, but it's always a good idea to make sure you look for a romantic and private location to make the moment memorable. Some ideal locations could include your partner’s (or yours as a couple) favourite spot, a romantic restaurant or out in nature where it’s quiet and serene. You might think your partner would prefer a more public announcement, but try to remember it's about the two of you, and not how many people are watching.

Pick out the Perfect Ring

An engagement ring gives an impression of stability and is an excellent example of commitment to your partner. You could ask a professional designer like Reve Diamonds to help you pick the right ring, as they will be most knowledgeable about gem stone and different cuts. It's always a good idea to consider the wedding band in the future too, as your partner will most likely want them to match and fit together nicely.

Plan Ahead

It is best to try to plan for your proposal at least two months ahead, to give you enough time to pick and purchase the ring and plan the moment properly. You could get family and friends on board if you want too - just make sure you only tell those that you know won't ruin the surprise!

Be Creative

It's always lovely to get creative with decorations in the spot you're planning to propose. Why not try and hire a professional designer to create the perfect romantic atmosphere with flowers and your partner’s favourite colours. I've seen proposals written in the sand, or held up with perfectly placed signs. Whatever you do though, just make sure it's something you know you'll both love and enjoy.

The steps mentioned above are the basic rules that will help you to make your marriage proposal unforgettable. But of course the most important thing to remember is the love and happiness between you and your partner. When you are ready to propose, be willing to accept your partner’s response however it may go. And good luck!

This is a collaborative post.

An Interview with my Six Year Old | Parker at 6!

12.10.21

I shared Indiana's yearly interview yesterday, so of course I had to share Parker's today! He is becoming more and more grown up as each day passes, and I honestly cannot believe he's now 6! You can read his answers at age 3 here, age 4 here, and at age 5 here, and keep reading to see this year's responses.


What’s the best thing about being 6?

I can go on lots of rides!

What makes you laugh? 

Things that are funny and funny faces

Who do you love, and why?

Ewan because he had a fun party! And mummy because you make me smile 😭

What’s your favourite book?

Harry Potter (we’ve just finished The Philosopher’s Stone)

What's your favourite food?

Fish and chips and spaghetti

What's your favourite song?

We Will Rock You


What's your favourite outfit?

My Mario tops

What's your favourite TV programme? 

Teen Titans Go!

What's your favourite toy? 

Lego and The Switch (of course)

What's your favourite thing to do?

Go to school.. I'm not sure I believe this one!

An Interview with my Seven Year Old | Indiana at 7 and 3/4!

11.10.21

I love that I've kept up with this yearly tradition of interviewing the Littles. I've asked Indie this same set of questions for the last few years now, and love that I can look back on her answers from age 3age 4age 5 and age 6. She's almost 8 now and I not actually surprised anymore that her answer to her favourite food hasn't changed... the girl loves chilli!




What’s the best thing about being 7?

There’s more rides I can go on at theme parks

What makes you laugh? 

People telling me jokes and being tickled

Who do you love, and why?

I love Amelie because she plays with me, and mummy and daddy too

What’s your favourite book?

The rainbow magic fairy books! (she's read SO many now)

What's your favourite food?

Chilli! (I’m not sure this will ever change!)

What's your favourite song?

I don’t know, but I like Disney songs

What's your favourite outfit?

Dresses


What's your favourite TV programme? 

Spirit, and My Froggy Stuff on YouTube (I had no idea either, but it's a lady who role plays with Barbies and does toy unboxing)

What's your favourite toy? 

My baby dolls

What's your favourite thing to do?

Colouring, drawing and writing stories

5 Steps to a Beautiful Budget Wedding

When you're planning your wedding, you want every detail to be perfect. You want the day to be something you'll remember fondly rather than something you'll look back on and wish you had done differently! You might assume that if you have a limited budget, it won't be feasible to have a gorgeous wedding, and you'll have to make some sacrifices, but that's not entirely true – you can have a beautiful wedding on a budget, and in this post I'm going to some suggestions on how to accomplish it.


Catering

The food is often one of the most expensive aspects of any wedding. You may want to provide a three-course dinner to your guests, but this can end up being incredibly pricey. However there are other options when it comes to your Wedding Breakfast. If you schedule your wedding properly, you can simply serve a buffet-style dinner, which will also help add a more relaxed feel to the day.

You could even choose to provide the food yourself if that is a possibility. However, if you want to go down this route you've got to keep in mind that preparing for a wedding, and making sure the food is ready might be a bit too much for one person to do by themselves. If you intend not to hire an outside caterer, then you'll need to plan well in advance, and you'll need to enlist the help of friends and relatives to save you from getting too stressed.

Other ideas include a big barbecue after the ceremony or even a potluck event where everyone brings a dish and shares it out. There's so many different options available now, so just make sure you research, research, research!

Invitations

Invitations are another major expense that is often neglected and when it comes time to obtain estimates, the truth price can come as quite a surprise. All of that printing, not to mention mailing the invites, will quickly add up - just one 2nd class stamp costs 65p. One option to save money in this regard is to email the invitations to as many people as possible. In this way, you can still design something lovely, but it will be digital and therefore not cost anything to send.

If you prefer to be more traditional then the best advice is to shop around. In that way, when you find a place to buy printed foil invitations, you can be sure you're getting the best deal. Some companies will now let you design and send straight to the recipient which might help you to save some pennies too.

The Dress

When you think bride, you're first thought it most likely going to be about 'the dress'. Luxury gowns can cost thousands of pounds, and when contrasted to the rest of the wedding, it simply doesn't seem fair to spend so much money on just one thing. Some shops sell used wedding gowns that you can visit (or even look at online). Remember that these gowns have only been worn once for a few hours, so they are usually in excellent condition, and they are a fraction of the price of a brand new on!  Plus, unless you tell them, no one will ever know it's a secondhand dress. You can look at places like Asos for wedding dresses these days too, where you can find beautiful gowns at a fraction of the cost.


Don't Ask for Gifts

Many weddings include a gift list that specifies what the happy couple would want guests to send as gifts. It may make more sense to ask for help with the wedding budget rather than presents, particularly if you're already living together or have been living independently and have everything you need.

For example, if you know a photographer, instead of gifting you anything, ask them to shoot photos of the day. The same can be said for a cake maker, a dressmaker, a florist, or anybody else who might be able to assist. It will save you a lot of money and ensure that you don't get any unwanted presents. Of course, it's important to be sensitive; some people may not want to offer their services, and instead they might want to let their hair down and have a break. Always let them know there is no obligation, but that if they want to help out, they certainly can. 

Choose the Right Date

Consider getting married outside of the usual season, or even on a weekday, to save money on your wedding. According to Bridebook's 2019 wedding report, couples could save almost £5,000 by having their wedding in January or February instead of the busy months of June to August. And you could save up to £6,000 by getting married on a Tuesday or Wednesday rather than a Saturday! Although it may not be quite what you imagined at first, a winter wedding can be stunning, and many people would be glad to take a couple of days off work to celebrate your special day with you.

This is a collaborative post.

5 Ways to Embrace the 'New Normal'

4.10.21

The last two years have brought, at best, havoc to our lives and routines – and at worst, devastation. For many we're now on the brink of optimism as life returns to something resembling the normality we once knew. But since we’re all battling to adapt to the ways in which life has changed forever, could there be some aspects of the new world we’re entering that are surprisingly encouraging?

If not going out is your new default mode then this post may be for you, as I'm going to share five ways in which you can embrace the new normal. 

Meal Boxes

Did you go on a bit of a takeaway binge during lockdown 1.0? We were totally guilty (and that was during lockdowns 2 and 3 too). But although it’s worth restricting treats to one a week or so, the benefits of healthy meal boxes transcend lockdown. There are several providers to choose from, but Gousto is a great pick. The recipe cards are easy to follow, and you can prep many of the meals in around half an hour or less. Plus there are over 60 tasty UK, international and fusion recipes a week to pick, with plant-based and gluten-free options too! 


HIIT Training

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is another pandemic habit that’s worth continuing as we move back to some sense of normality. When your workout time and space are limited, HIIT sessions with or without equipment like kettlebells can give you a full-body workout in as little as 15 minutes. If you aim for three sessions a week, you only need to find a spare 45 minutes to make a big difference to your physical and mental health... plus they can easily be done from home!

Online Learning

Earning a formal higher education qualification is still a great way to spur a career migration. But in the current environment, and especially when you’ve got family commitments, attending a physical campus doesn’t always feel viable. However, trusted providers like ARU Distance Learning offer accredited courses like MBAs, biomedical science MScs and Applied and Clinical Psychology BScs, that you can study from the comfort of you own home. 

No Commute

Has anyone really mounted a convincing defence of the daily commute? If sitting in a crushed carriage constitutes ‘me time’ then maybe it's for you. But I'm sure there are many that won't miss the commute one bit – it’s valuable time better spent with family (or asleep). Not only are you saving time, but not having to commute into work will also be saving you a large sum in travel costs too. Win win!

More Family Time

Don’t get us wrong – trying to work from home whilst also trying to tackle homeschooling was an unpleasant experience to say the least. But now most children are back at school, having that extra time when working-from-home might give you the chance to do the school runs and spend evenings at home together. Take a look at these Parent Club tips on working from home if you’re still struggling to adapt, they might be able to help.


Hopefully these five ways of embracing the new normal help you look on the bright side – good luck!

This is a collaborative post.