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Month: March 2018

Three Ways to Make a Small Garden Work for the Whole Family

Three Ways to Make a Small Garden Work for the Whole Family

*This is a collaborative post.

 

Spring is my favourite season of the year. I love the light nights, the pretty flowers and the warmth! Spring always hold so much hope and it always feels so good to have a long summer ahead of us. Each year I spend the early spring sprucing up our garden, making sure that it’s clean and tidy and ready for spending our days outdoors. As we have quite a small garden, organising our space doesn’t take up too much time. What we do have to think about though, is how we can make the small space that we do have, work for each of us individually and as a family together.

Now that our girls are both on their feet, we just can’t get away without having outdoor toys for them to play with. From trampolines to slides, you name it we have it! Long gone are the baby days when a blanket and a few toys would suffice. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the girls having toys out there, I want them to enjoy our garden too. Having said that, it’s nice to make sure we have an adult space outdoors. So that we can sit out in the evening and relax, or work which is much more likely! We also have two rabbits who love to spend time outdoors when the weather is fine, so we really do have a lot to squeeze in to a small space.

 

Here are three ways we make our small garden work for the whole family;

 

Have designated areas for each member of the family –

Even though our garden is small, we have designated areas for each of us. Granted the kids have most of the space and we do have a lot of brightly coloured plastic around the garden, but we make sure that each item has its own space. We have an area with patio furniture, which we use to relax in. You can find some great patio furniture deals from Groupon, there are pieces to suit every taste and garden size. This area also has a small BBQ in it too, so that Hubs and I can enjoy our evening meals outside on summer nights!

I love to see pretty flowers and I think it’s good to get the kids involved in a little gardening. So, we have a very small but neat garden area that we grow a few seasonal flowers in. This area benefits the whole family and when the flowers are in bloom, it draws your attention to them instead of the kids toys. Our bunnies have their own little space too, so when we’re all outside together everyone is happy!

 

Photo Credit

Be selective with what you keep in your garden, don’t over power your space with too much stuff –

I’ve already mentioned that we have a lot of kids toys in our garden and to be honest, we are on the brink of over powering it. These days, we have to stop and think about the things that we buy, so that we don’t add too many bits and bobs to an already small and crowded area. We make sure that the toys that we buy can be stored in the garden shed and when we recently bought a new table, we went for the smaller option to make sure it fit nicely in the space we have. It’s important to step back and look at what you have. If it feels like things are getting on top of you, then it’s probably time to have a clear out and get some garden back!

 

Photo Credit

Keep your outdoor space tidy –

This is by far the easiest way to make sure that your garden works for everyone that uses it. They say that an untidy house makes for an untidy mind and I’m sure this works when you head outdoors too! I always make sure that things are put back in their place at the end of the day, that way each area doesn’t encroach on another.

 

Photo Credit

 

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#Blogstravaganza #63

#Blogstravaganza #63

Hello and welcome to #Blogstravaganza, with myself and Jo from Cup of Toast! 

Happy Friday one and all, I hope you’ve all had a great week! Thankyou to all you lovely linkers, it’s absolutely fabulous to have you join in each week!

This week we’re also joined by Laura from Musings of a Tired Mum! Don’t forget to tag @musingstiredmum in your tweets when you link and comment on her wonderful post!

 

Featured Blogger

My favourite post from last week was this one from Magical Mama! Grab your badge here:

Tale of Mummyhood
Cup of Toast

 

 

It would be great to continue to spread some love over on Instagram, please do remember to use the #Blogstravaganza tag on your images! Here are a couple of my favourites from this week!

 

Don’t forget the join the #Blogstravaganza – Opportunities, Blog Share & Support group on Facebook.  If you want to share your posts, get some advice from fellow bloggers or simply have a chat, do head over and check it out!

 

If you’d like to be added to the #Blogstravaganza mailing list, for a weekly reminder of us going live, please do drop me a message and I’ll add you! 

 

Tale of Mummyhood
Cup of Toast

 

 


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A Year of Forest School – Book Review & Giveaway

A Year of Forest School – Book Review & Giveaway

* I was sent a copy of A Year Forest School and Play the Forest School Way for the purpose of this review. As always, all thoughts and opinions of my own. 

 

If you’ve been following us on Instagram, you’ll know that as a family we love to spend time outdoors. Our eldest daughter especially, loves nothing more than to get her wellies on and head out to explore. So when we were asked to review A Year of Forest School and Play the Forest School way, I knew they would go down a treat! On writing this, we’re just heading into Spring, the days are getting longer and the weather warmer, so it’s the perfect time for the kids to have some fun, the forest school way!

 

Creating a forest school from home –

 

A Year of Forest School is the second book written by Jane Worroll and Peter Houghton, after Play the Forest School Way which sold 10,000 copies in its first year! Both of these books are packed full with outdoor activities that can be completed rain or shine and are ideal for getting the littles out into the fresh air.

A Year of Forest School is written in the order of seasons. It has an array of different activities, some that are perfect for Winter fun and others that can be enjoyed in the warmth of Summer. One of the things that I love most about this book is that each activity has a little information box, containing the most important details about the project. This box contains a run down of what you’ll need, how many people can take part and what age range it suits best. This makes it really easy to flick through the book to find an appropriate task that the kids will love!

Each of the activities in A Year of Forest School aren’t only fun for the kids, they also teach them so many life skills along the way. Many of the tasks require focus, teamwork, fine motor and communication skills to complete, When they’re having fun though, they don’t see this learning as a chore. They jump right in and love every single minute of it!

 

 

 

There’s more to come –

 

Watkins Publishing are also putting together forest school packs which include a poster, reward sheet and stickers. As well as two activities from the books!  All of this material will be available online and there will be a limited amount of physical packs they’re able to send out.  What better way to enjoy the holidays with you littles, than getting them involved in the forest schools movement!

 

 

There’s a copy of A Year of Forest School and Play the Forest School Way, up for grabs for one lucky reader! All you have to do to be in for a chance of winning is to enter using the form below. Please do check out the terms and conditions…good luck! 

 

Win Two Forest School Books!

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Johnson’s Baby Ambassador Academy – A Brand we Trust

Johnson’s Baby Ambassador Academy – A Brand we Trust

 

You may have noticed from my Instagram feed, that this year I’m part of the Johnson’s Baby Ambassador Academy team. It’s been an incredible journey so far. Not only have I met so many fantastic bloggers who are on board, I’ve also had the opportunity to indulge my inner geek and get to grips with the science behind the brand!

Johnson’s products have been our go-to baby essentials ever since our first daughter was born.  They were recommended to us by so many people, including my own mother and grandmother, who have used their products on the rest of my family for years. The classics collection, including the baby shampoo from Johnson’s, is my favourite range; it’s so easily recognisable, they’re comforting to use and they smell amazing!

I believe it’s so important to be able to trust the brands, whose products we bring into our homes. As parents, we want to know that our children are being cared for to the best of our ability and that includes what we’re using on their skin. That’s why I’m so excited to be working with Johnson’s Baby this year. They have been there for our family from day one and it’s an honour to get to share the ins and outs of the brand with you all!

 

 

Meeting the Johnson’s Baby Team

 

Our first Ambassador Academy meeting was held in London earlier this year. It was such an exciting day, not only because I got to meet all of the other bloggers in the team, but also because it was the start of an incredible learning journey for me. Johnson’s had bought in the creme de la creme of the science world, the level of knowledge they have in their field is astonishing and I was so ready to listen to everything they had to say.

Unfortunately, there are many common misconceptions where Johnson’s Baby products are concerned. Somewhere along the way, a lot of misconstrued information surfaced and in consequence many facts were blurred and passed from person to person incorrectly. We hear so much scaremongering on the news, in the papers and across social media. It’s often a case of Chinese whispers and all of a sudden, the original story has been blown epically out of proportion.

At our first meeting though, we were given the cold hard facts. Scientific knowledge that can’t be argued with and insight that served to cement my trust in the Johnson’s brand further. Take the issue of parabens for example; they’re an ingredient that so many people are terrified of and one that they actively try to avoid. David Mays of J & J was the main speaker at our meeting and a scientist, he swiftly put to bed these ill-founded ideas about parabens by pointing out that ‘you eat more parabens everyday, than you could ever absorb through your skin’.

Isn’t it ironic that consumers have been avoiding using parabens by discontinuing their use of Johnson’s products, but they have actually been taking in more on a daily basis by just living life. These days Johnson’s Baby products don’t contain parabens. This isn’t because they are harmful, in fact they’re quite the opposite. It’s because consumers have been led to believe they are so dangerous. The lack of parabens in Johnson’s products is purely to address the concerns of the consumer. It seems they’re looking after us in more ways than one.

The most important thing that I took away from my time with the Johnson’s Baby team, is that they spend a great deal of time, money and effort making sure that our children are looked after. They care about the consumer and they want to make sure they’re doing the best they possibly can for our families.

 

 

There’s More to Come!

 

Even though I’ve learnt so much in my short time working with Johnson’s Baby, I also feel like we’ve only just scratched the surface. With more meetings to come, you can be sure that I’ll be back to pass on a few more pearls of wisdom – straight from the horse’s mouth as it were!

 

Are you a Johnson’s Baby family?

 

#ad

 

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#Blogstravaganza #62

#Blogstravaganza #62

Hello and welcome to #Blogstravaganza!

Happy Friday one and all, I hope you’ve all had a great week! Thankyou to all you lovely linkers, it’s absolutely fabulous to have you join in each week!

I have some very exciting news for you all this week! I’m sure you’ll all be really pleased to hear that Jo from Cup of Toast will be joining #Blogstravaganza as a permanent host! Jo is an absolute superstar and I’m sure you’ll all agree that it’s amazing to have her on board! There’ll be a few little changes over the next week or two, so please do bear with us! 

This week we’re also joined by The Elephant Mum! Don’t forget to tag @theelephantmum in your tweets when you link and comment on her wonderful post!

Featured Blogger

My favourite post from last week was this one from SEN Resources Blog! Grab your badge here:

It would be great to continue to spread some love over on Instagram, please do remember to use the #Blogstravaganza tag on your images! Here are a couple of my favourites from this week!

 

Don’t forget the join the #Blogstravaganza – Opportunities, Blog Share & Support group on Facebook.  If you want to share your posts, get some advice from fellow bloggers or simply have a chat, do head over and check it out!

 

If you’d like to be added to the #Blogstravaganza mailing list, for a weekly reminder of us going live, please do drop me a message and I’ll add you! 

 

 


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Alienwork Quartz Watch – Review & Giveaway

Alienwork Quartz Watch – Review & Giveaway

This week I’ve been lucky enough to have been testing out the Alienwork Quartz Watch.  Watches are one of my favourite accessories, I love good watch and I was so excited to asked to try out this lovely looking number. This Alienwork watch is available in an array of colours including black, rose gold, blue and silver, making it suitable for the ladies and gents among us. For a split second there I though I might let Hubs do this review for me, but my love of watches completely took over and I went for the blue watch, all for myself. Who says we shouldn’t treat ourselves once in a while?!

How did I get on?

The thing I adore most about this watch is that it’s so slim. It has quite a large face, but as it’s slimline it doesn’t sit too high from your wrist. I think that watches that are too chunky can get in the way a little, so this is a real bonus for me. I think the easy to adjust milanese strap is great too. As I have quite small wrists, it’s not uncommon for watch straps to be too big for me, even when they’re as small as they’ll go. This watch adjusts super easily, right to the perfect size. There’s no messing with fiddly adjustments and the watch doesn’t spin annoyingly around my wrist!

 

 

The other great thing about this watch is that it can be easily dressed up, as well as being perfect for the more casual days. It’s understated, yet eye-catching. The build quality is good, which is a real treat considering it’s so reasonably priced. This watch also comes with a small, soft case to protect the strap and face when it’s not being used. All too often watches are scratched when they are thrown into drawers. The case means it’s as good as new each time you want to wear it!

 

 

Overall, I’m very impressed with my new Alienwork Quartz Watch. I love the look, the feel and the affordability of it. I would highly recommend this watch to anyone who wants to treat themselves or if they want to treat someone else!

The guys from Alienwork would like to offer my readers the chance to win a Quartz watch of their own! All you have to do is enter using the form below. Please do check out the terms and conditions…good luck! 

 

 

Win an Alienwork Quartz Watch #3

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The Bank of Mum and Dad – Getting on the Property Ladder

The Bank of Mum and Dad – Getting on the Property Ladder

*This post was written in collaboration with the Post Office. 

 

We’ve been on the property ladder for a few years now. Buying our first house was one the most exciting things I’ve ever done. I loved everything about the whole process from start to finish. Both Hubs and I have always been interested in property, so heading round to have a nosy at different types of houses was so much fun. Our first viewing ignited something in both of us and we became so passionate about finding the perfect house for us. We would sit for hours adding new properties to our ‘must view‘ list. I made so many appointments with estate agents that in the end we found ourselves on first name terms with a few!

For us, buying a house was something we wanted to get right the first time. We wanted our first home to be our forever home. That meant spending an incredible amount of time thinking about what kind of house would suit us when we bought and what would continue to suit us as life took its natural course. The trouble with buying a forever home from the outset, is that the prices of the houses we really wanted didn’t always match our budget. We’d saved hard for some time and Hubs had downgraded his car so that we had the best chance of purchasing the right house for us. We pooled our savings and had a respectable sum. At the time though, we knew it wouldn’t quite be enough.

 

Photo Credit

 

Dilemma…

 

After many months of searching, we finally found the house we wanted. I’d been told numerous times that I’d ‘just know’ once I walked into the property I’d want. I must admit, I thought this was a little far-fetched. We’d seen so many, they all had good and bad points. It had to be a compromise, right? Wrong! The very first time I walked through our now front door, I knew this house was for me. This would be the place I settle, get married and have children in. I wanted it and I wanted it now!

Inevitably, this property was one of those that we really had to stretch ourselves to afford. At the time I was still on an apprentice’s wage and so it would be down to Hubs to pick up the bulk of the costs. We left after that first viewing with a heavy heart. Wanting the house so much, but wondering if it just wasn’t meant to be.

 

Photo Credit

 

Homeowners…

 

After much thought, plenty of to-ing and fro-ing and even a few tears. We decided that we really did want this house. It was too good to let go. So, we decided that we would talk our situation through with my parents. We went back to show them the house and they fell in love with it, just like we had a week or so before. They could see the potential it had and how much Hubs and I had pinned our hopes on this place becoming our home.

We’ve all heard the old saying ‘never a borrower, nor a lender be’, but it was becoming increasingly clear that borrowing money from my parents was the only way we were going to get the house of our dreams. We had the majority of what we needed, but my parents were more than willing to give us a helping hand to secure our future. We sat down as a family and agreed on the amount we would need to borrow in order to get by. We made it very clear what the funds would be used for and most importantly we agreed on payback terms. Its not unusual though for parents and children not to have a payment plan in place. In fact according to research completed by the Post Office, as much as 87% of first time buyers don’t have an agreement in place. It can be a really difficult conversation to have and if it’s something you are struggling with you can use this Conversation Guide to help make things easier for everyone! My parents are great and there really was no pressure from their side to get the money back. I wanted things to be clear-cut though, so we devised a monthly payment plan. In my eyes, proactive reimbursement of funds shows the lender how grateful the borrower is. Plus, I didn’t want to be indebted any longer than was necessary.

 

Would I borrow again?

 

I absolutely would! For me, the borrowing process was made very straightforward because we’d spent some time agreeing on terms before any money was exchanged. The fact that everyone knew where they stood made me feel comfortable and the fact that there was a payment plan in place meant that there was no confusion further down the line. I didn’t find the process stressful at all as we were able to buy the home that we had fallen in love with and I know it made my parents happy to know they had helped us in achieving that.

 

Some interesting statistics…

 

  • The majority of parents don’t formalise and agreement with their children when they lend them money.

 

  • One in six first time buyers are taking long-term loans from their parents in order to buy a house.

 

  • Parents loan an average of £24,347 to help their children get on the property ladder.

 

Did you have any help when buying your first house?

 

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#Blogstravaganza #61

#Blogstravaganza #61

Hello and welcome to #Blogstravaganza!

Happy Friday one and all, I hope you’ve all had a great week! Thankyou to all you lovely linkers, it’s absolutely fabulous to have you join in each week!

#Blogstravaganza news! I’m on the look out for weekly guest co-hosts for #Blogstravaganza, if you fancy joining in drop me a line! 

This week we’re joined by Nicole from Tales from Mamaville! Don’t forget to tag @Mamavilletales in your tweets when you link and comment on her wonderful post! Thankyou for taking the reins this week!

Featured Blogger

My favourite post from last week was this one from The Rhyming Mum! Grab your badge here:

It would be great to continue to spread some love over on Instagram, please do remember to use the #Blogstravaganza tag on your images! Here are a couple of my favourites from this week!

 

Don’t forget the join the #Blogstravaganza – Opportunities, Blog Share & Support group on Facebook.  If you want to share your posts, get some advice from fellow bloggers or simply have a chat, do head over and check it out!

 

If you’d like to be added to the #Blogstravaganza mailing list, for a weekly reminder of us going live, please do drop me a message and I’ll add you! 

 

 

 


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Tinsy Winsy Weeny Tots – Review & Giveaway

Tinsy Winsy Weeny Tots – Review & Giveaway

This week our girls have been lucky enough to receive a cute set of Tinsy Winsy Weeny Tots for review! As a blogger, I receive many different products for them to try out and we’re always very grateful for the items we receive. I knew from the outset that this product would be one of our girls’ favourites, anything to do with dolls is right up their street! They love to take care of them, and the level of imaginative play that dolls induce in them is amazing to see.

 

So, what’s in the box?

We were sent the Tinsy Winsy Weeny Tots collectors case, along with three extra dolls. The collectors case is a super cute mini suitcase, with a little pink handle. It opens out into the ideal plat mat for the dolls and has a range of compartments to keep all of your Weeny Tots accessories in order. My eldest daughter loves to organise her case, she has a place for everything and loves to keep it neat and tidy!

The dolls each come with their own little outfits, that can be swapped and changed until their little hearts are content! They also have their own little toys, such as teethers and rattles. These are a great little feature and my biggest loves the little toys too. They are a bit too small for my littlest at two years old though, so we do have to watch her closely when she’s playing with the dolls.

We also received a little bathtub and miniature rubber duck with the collectors case. There’s a tiny duck hooded towel too which the biggest thinks is great, as it has a hood just like her towel! The little duck is a lovely extra, but again it’s very small so it’s worth keeping an eye on smaller children if they want to play along with their siblings.

 

 

The verdict –

The Tinsy Winsy Weeny Tots collection has gone down a storm in our house this week. Both girls, especially our eldest have had hours of fun with their new dolls. The product is sturdy and as parent, I love that you can put it all away inside its own case at the end of the day. We all know what it’s like when we have to clear they toys up every evening and anything that makes this easy is a an absolute bonus.

 

 

I think the collectors case would make a great gift for children too. It’s one that they will adore and that can be added to on the birthdays and Christmases that follow. I know my eldest daughter will want to keep adding to her set from now on. I think once her sister gets a little older, she’ll want to have her own collectors case of Tinsy Winsy Weeny Tots too!

 

To celebrate the launch of the new range of Tinsy Winsy Weeny Tots, I have one collectors case and three dolls to giveaway to one lucky winner. All you have to do is enter using the form below. Please do check out the terms and conditions…good luck! 

 

Win a Tinsy Winsy Weeny Tots Collectors Case and Three Dolls

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Knowing my Limits – Wife. Motherhood. Life.

Knowing my Limits – Wife. Motherhood. Life.

I’m often the person handing out tips on how to squeeze some sort of work into every waking minute. I’ve never been shy about telling others how it’s possible to work and look after kids at the same time. A lot of my posts have been written to help mothers in my situation, to make scheduling their days easier and to allow for maximum productivity. This post is going to be a little different though. It’s not going to encourage you to fill every second, of everyday with work. It’s also not going to encourage no work at all. The aim of this post is to highlight that the key to success is to know your limits.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t think working hard is unnecessary. Some days it’s essential that we cram the hours in, in order to progress. It’s that slowly but surely, I’m beginning to realise that burning the candle at both ends will only lead to a decline in achievement. My husband is always telling me that I’m working full-time hours on my blog, as well as looking after our children full-time. Both of these positions are what I chose and are still what I want to do. There comes a time though when something has to give. As my children are always my first priority, it would seem that I need to manage my workload to fit around me. I need to be mindful of how much I’m fitting family life around my work.

Recognising I need to adjust the balance –

As with most things, recognising that things aren’t as they should be is the first step to making a positive change. It doesn’t always mean that we act on it immediately, but it plants the seed. I’ve known for a while that I don’t quite have the balance right. The trouble with me is I get a little addicted to progression and for that reason I find it hard to slow down. If I achieve something good, it just spurs me on further and in consequence down time becomes less and less.

Less down time means less time with the littles and less time with Hubs. Not that either of them mind particularly. The only person it really bothers is me, because I didn’t quit work in the first place, for nothing. I did it because I wanted to be there all of the time. The job that I do now means that I am always at home with them, but it’s amazing how much you miss when you’re sat behind a screen.

Getting it right –

I don’t suppose there’s an easy way to get the balance right. Whether I’m being wife, mother or trying to progress in my work life. One has to give, to make way for the other. The trouble is, all of these roles are so important to me, I want to be able to give each one my full attention at all times. I want the perfectly clean house, the thriving business, to be super mum and the doting wife. It’s time to accept that I can’t do everything. I need to get to know my limits and more importantly, to live by them.

When the girls go to school, I’m sure things will get easier. I’ll have the hours in the day to get on top of everything I have to do. Then once they come home, they’ll have my attention until bedtime. Until that time comes though, I need to make sure that my work is confined to their bedtime hours as much as possible. I’m only too aware that they won’t be this young forever and if I’m not careful, I’ll only remember their younger years as the snaps I caught through a lens.

 

 

 

 

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