Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Are we there yet? Travelling with children

Travelling with children

It's that time of the year where everyone is taking the summer holiday's, whether you are jetting off to sunnier climates or planning a stay-cation, we all have a little bit of travelling to do on our hands. Those of us who dare travel with children in tow are facing a bigger challenge than just what the traffic on the roads is doing, and we are just awaiting the chorus of 'ARE WE THERE YET!?' to chime through from the backseats. 

We have done quite a few long distance trips with Leo of late, one of which was a 3 hour drive to Hull (which we did there and back in one day!), Leo has since decided that '3 hours takes for ages' and he decided he wasn't going to make the trip again when the time came to pick up our new Dalmatian Puppy (I may have high fived my inner parent!).

www.myvouchercodes.co.uk have put together some fantastic tips for travelling with children, that may just help you keep your sanity intact and kick start your holiday without the torment that often ensues... travelling with the children. The General Manager of My Voucher Codes, Chris Reilly, said:
“Holidays are a time for relaxing and recharging, even if you have children, it can be easily achieved by careful planning. We hope our top tips will help parents make sure they are ready for their holiday and that they have everything they need to make it memorable for the whole family.”

Planning

  • Plan your holiday together as a family
  • If it’s your first family holiday with very young children, stay closer to home or take shorter flights
  • Plan out your days with what you want to see, how to get there, and what there is to do
  • Get older children to help with what to see and do whilst away

Packing

  • Don’t let children pack cases on their own, have them help you so nothing is left behind
  • Pack your children’s favourite toys, books or games
  • If taking mobile phones and tablets ensure you have chargers etc.
  • Encourage older children to keep a travel journal to document the trip

Trains, planes and automobiles

  • Book train and plane tickets so you travel at night when you would be sleeping
  • If you’re flying, make sure you book your seats in advance so you can all sit together
  • Buy water for the flight or bring an empty bottle and fill it up
  • Book table seats when taking a train so you have more room to interact
  • Make sure you have headphones for your electrical devices
  • When driving, ensure you take plenty of breaks
  • Plan interesting stop offs on long car journeys
  • Pack plenty of water in your car
  • Portable DVD players or tablets can be handy on long car journeys

Accommodation

  • Book hotels in central locations in safe and quiet areas close to amenities
  • Check reviews before you book to ensure it suits your needs
  • Opt for apartments or suites if you feel you need more space so you’re not all cramped in one room
  • Book resorts which cater for children and adults
  • Look for hotels which offer child minding, babysitting or kids clubs

Food and drink

  • Encourage your children to try new foods as a family
  • Fill up on free breakfasts if included with your accommodation
  • If it’s a buffet, take extra food for snack or ask your hotel if they provide picnics
  • By snacks and drinks from local supermarkets not from hotels or minibars
  • Make sure you have snacks with you when out and about
  • If you’re self-catering, fill up on breakfast there and make your own picnic for lunch

Cost

  • Keep to a budget with some money aside for emergencies
  • Have your children keep to a budget for souvenirs and treats too
  • Check for free days at museums and other tourist sites
  • Try to always take public transport as it will be cheaper than local taxis
  • If available use apps such as Uber or Lyft for cheaper taxis
  • Use hop-on, hop-off buses as these will take you to the tourist hotspots

Other

  • Always allow more time when traveling with children
  • Pack a mini medical kit: Plasters and blister packs, antihistamine and Calpol
  • Always have antibacterial gel, wet wipes and tissues to hand
  • Invest in a child tracker device
  • Take spare clothes on days out
  • Make sure you’ve got medications and details if you need to get more whilst away


Monday, 15 August 2016

Back to School: Back to Sleep

Back to School: Back to Sleep

Getting back into a regular routine after several weeks of “holiday rules” can be difficult for everyone, adults and children alike. From setting out a healthy and sensible routine, to installing new kids cabin beds as an incentive to sleep well, there are plenty of ways to get kids sleeping well, ready for the new school term and here’s what the team at Bed-e-Buys think.

Changes to Routine

If you’re struggling by September with your little one, chances are it comes down to a lack of routine over the summer, particularly with younger children. Their natural body clocks might be out of line, which could be a result of going to bed later than normal and getting up later, or through something as innocuous-sounding as watching TV too close to bedtime. The trick is to persevere with getting the routine re-established and get their rhythms back into sync.

Start waking your child prior to the first school run of term. Begin slowly, with going to sleep slightly earlier at bedtime and wake up just 15 minutes earlier each morning the week prior, until you reach the right time at either end. Then it won’t be quite such a shock the first week back!

Each to their own

Children, like adults, need different amounts of sleep, so treat every child individually. You might need to separate bedtime, or give one child other tasks to do, to stagger bedtime and blur the actual timings in the eyes of the kids. Schoolwork could be quite helpful here!

Make it appealing

Create an environment where children want to be, a place that is comfortable and comforting. If your child needs a new bed then this would be an ideal time to replace their existing one. The kids cabin beds can be exciting and make children want to go to bed early. As well as giving the room more space underneath that you can use for storage or play. It should be fun, but not distracting.

Simple checks

Many things that affect an adult’s sleep will also affect a child, so compile a checklist of things to consider before bed:
-           No caffeine close to bedtime; that means no fizzy drinks or hot chocolate.
-           Remove all gadgets from the room, including phone, tablet, perhaps even TV
-           Is it too hot or too cold in the bedroom? The ideal sleeping temperature is between            18-21 degrees Celsius


There is a lot of room for adjustment, so take your time and don’t stress about it. Getting worked up is not conducive to a good night’s sleep, but working through things logically will have the whole family in the Land of Nod in no time, all ready to bounce out of bed in the morning.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Ideas for maximising storage space in the home

One thing that I’ve discovered over the past couple of years is how much space having a little one takes up in our home! It’s not just the obvious things like having a cot and a pushchair, but the endless amount of toys can also cause a bit of headache when trying to keep things nice and tidy!

So I’ve been doing some research to see how ottoman beds, storage cubes and some basic DIY tips can make all the difference in making sure that our home stays neat and functional for everyday living.


Whilst it would be nice if we all had bigger houses that had space for extra arrivals, the reality is that most of us can’t afford to keep moving home. Thankfully by using a few basic ideas like room dividers even the most tight space can become a little more multi-functional.

It’s organising the home into separate zones that’s key to making sure that things stay under control. Having a dedicated kid’s playroom is a great idea as the last thing you’ll want is for the little one to create chaos in your home workspace!


But it’s always clothes that seem to present the biggest challenge for any homeowner who wants to keep thing tidy. It would be nice to have a walk-in wardrobe, but I don’t think that’s a realistic possibility. However, my neighbour has one of these lovely ottoman beds that you can get at retailers like Bedstar and they are really handy as they can be used to store winter jumpers in summer and can provide a space for beach towels in the depths of winter!

Of course, there’s only so much that you can fit into the storage space of an ottoman bed, and that’s why I’ve been checking out some of these fun canvas storage cubes. I love the bright colours that are perfect for a kid’s bedroom, plus they are light enough to be easily moved around depending on your room design.

It’s the multipurpose aspect of many pieces of furniture like ottoman beds that can be a real life-saver for anyone seeking to maximise their living space. Although having a footstool might seem like a little luxury, the ever-helpful House To Home website have shown how a multipurpose footstool can even act as a portable office space!
  

So with some imagination and some great space saving furniture like ottoman beds, it should be a little easier to gain back some control over your home!

Friday, 5 August 2016

Keeping busy during pregnancy

30 week baby bump

When I was pregnant with Leo, I realised early on that I needed something to occupy my mind. I started a scrap book and spent hours gluing and sticking all of those early pregnancy accumulations inside, scans, memorable dates and so on. I remember sitting on the floor adding bits to this scrap book when I suffered my first bout of heartburn. It was not long after I started this scrapbook that I turned my head to the blogging world, and that is when this online space was born.

I loved writing and capturing those special fleeting moments, because I knew how relentless time could be, and I wanted to preserve them before they were just moments that had passed by un-noticed, and forgotten for ever.

There is one thing I wish I had given a try when I was pregnant, and that is creating my own baby clothes for Leo. Now I cast my mind back I feel like it is something that I would have been good at (eventually), it would have given me something fun and creative to do while I awaited my little man's arrival in the world, and it would have given me a huge sense of accomplishment when I got to the end of the design and saw what I had made for my baby boy.

I guess I would have looked to start quite simply with a baby hat or pair of gloves, as in honesty I have never knitted before in my life. Of course once you master the basics you can take on new challenges, I have been having a browse over at Deramores Baby Knitting Patterns, and would have loved to have a go at the all in one suit. 

Deramores Baby Knitting Patterns


I recall being very restless towards the end of my pregnancy, everyone around me was advising me to rest and I felt like I had so much energy. Of course I was enduring swollen ankles which is only to be expected when you are carrying a full term baby around with you 24/7, but I didn't feel like that meant I needed to sit around not doing anything. I would have been so pleased to find a new hobby that would have meant I could add to Leo's wardrobe, and who knows it might have helped me sit still for a little bit longer! 

I could see myself getting quite into this, because I am the type of person who might not be able to perfect the art, but I give everything I do my very best shot. So even if it wasn't something that everyone would have loved and admired, the finished result would have been made completely out of love, and I would be pleased knowing that I had created it myself. 

Deramores Baby Knitting Patterns

Now Leo is 5 years old, I still try my hand at certain things, like Birthday Cakes and Party Decoration. Things don't always turn out how they are supposed to, but seeing his little face light up when he see's what I have done (Or at least attempted to do) make all the time and effort completely worth it. I am yet to try my hand at knitting his own clothes, but with Winter in the not so distant future, I think I might see if I can knit him a hat and scarf, just to set myself a new challenge and see if I can actually complete the pattern myself.



Friday, 29 July 2016

Get Your Home Ready for Summer

Get Your Home Ready for Summer

It’s nearly the season of outdoor evenings, barbecues and garden parties again, and what better time to give your home and garden a little spruce up while the weather’s fine. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Declutter
Get yourself some breathing space and get rid of stuff you don’t need. Decluttering doesn’t have to mean throwing stuff out. There are so many different places your unwanted clothing and other items can be taken and used when you no longer need it.
You can always get a little bit of cash from selling on your unwanted items through popular sites or apps that seem to be springing up all over the place – create an advert and list away.
Even damaged or otherwise unsellable clothing can be given to charity as rags which generate much needed income for struggling high-street charity shops. Look into giving old children’s toys to places like doctor or dentist waiting rooms, nurseries or playgroups.

Give your Wooden Furniture some TLC
Give a new lease of life to tired old furniture that needs a bit of love and attention by repainting or re-varnishing it. Check out somewhere like Mighton to get the right wood-restoring stuff.
If you have wooden garden furniture or a wooden shed, spring/summer is the perfect time to restore it to its full glory. The same goes if you have a wooden front door, fence or gate. Get weatherproofing and painting to keep everything looking fresh and able to withstand the cruel winter weather.

Get Gardening
Prepare your garden for the summer by giving the lawn a mow, trimming back any overgrowth, and de-weeding.

Get started with a compost heap if you haven’t already, and you will dramatically reduce the amount of waste you put into landfill. The excellent thing about compost is the fact that when the time is right, you can use the fertile compost on your garden.

Here’s what to put in:
·         Fruit and vegetable matter
·         Egg shells and cartons
·         Coffee grounds and used teabags
·         Grass cuttings, garden waste
·         Leftovers – don’t put in bones or meat.
·         Old wood-fire ashes

The period between spring and summer is a great time to get planting perennial flowers (these are the ones that crop up year on year) as the threat of frost is usually passed. In May, ideal flowers to introduce are plants like foxgloves, sweet williams, delphiniums, marigolds and pansies.

As the warmer weather brings us out of our feelings of winter induced hibernation, it’s high time we all made some changes for summer. 

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Cute Ideas for the Perfect Summer Garden Party

Cute Ideas for the Perfect Summer Garden Party
During the summer months, you can’t beat a garden party. This is a terrific way to get outdoors and soak up some sun without having to leave the house, plus it can also be a great way to catch up with friends, family and/or colleagues without having to spend too much money. No matter the size of your backyard, there are a few excellent ways to make it perfect for a summer party.

Decorations
Much like you would for any other kind of party, it is important to decorate your backyard for the party. Streamers or ribbon hanging from the trees, balloons, fairy lights, bunting, candles, tablecloths, plates and teacups are just a few ways to decorate your garden for a party. Additionally, you may want to buy new plants and flowers to add colour and life to the space. A cute tip is to put flowers in jars and around the garden, or perhaps even in wine coolers filled with ice.

Fun and Games
The garden is always a great place to enjoy fun and games, no matter how old you are. Lawn games, badminton, bowls, ring toss and perhaps a paddling pool are all great ways to encourage your guests to have a laugh whilst at your party. There are then regular games such as charades, card games and even board games to consider. Also, don’t forget to have music as this is an essential for all parties.

Food and Drink
When it comes to a summer garden party, you will want to fire up the BBQ if possible. Alternatively, nothing says summer like strawberries and cream and sandwiches. Pimms, cold beers and cocktails are all perfect for summer parties, but a cute and fantastic addition would be personalised miniatures. You can get these from specialists such as Just Miniatures.

Social Areas
Although your guests will spend plenty of time on their feet and enjoying the party, it is also important to have comfy social areas. A table is essential to have food, drinks and other items on, but you might also want to consider deck chairs and stools elsewhere in the garden so people can spread out. Blankets and cushions on the floor can be great for relaxing on once the party begins to wind down. Also, be sure to have lighting throughout the garden whether this is candles, fairy lights or outdoor lighting.

 These are just a few cute summer party ideas which are sure to impress your guests and make for a memorable summer’s evening.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Looking for a new career

Looking for a new career

If you’re thinking of a complete career change, it can be tricky to figure out exactly what it is you want to do. Whether you need a career that’s more rewarding, better pay, one with more opportunities to grow or you just really fancy a change, it can hard to know what to do for the best. Here are some steps to follow to help you determine what type of career change will best suit you.

1)      Identify what it is you’re lacking currently
Firstly, thinking about what’s lacking in your current career can be really helpful to help you to identify what things you need from another one. Is it that you want something where there’s a clear route of progression? You want to use your strengths more? Or do you want to feel like you’re making a difference to the world? With so many different career options available, pin pointing exactly what it is you want from a new career is a good first step.

2)      Make a list
Once you’ve found out what it is you’re looking for draw up a list of potential careers which utilise that skill on a daily basis. Work through them, being honest about the pros and cons of each. This way you’ll be able to narrow it down to a list of careers which are suitable for you.

3)      Do some work experience
It might sound obvious but the best way to find out whether or not a career is for you is to try it out. Doing work experience or an internship is a really important step when working out what you want to do and can help you to rule out any potential options which definitely aren’t for you. A lot of industries offer work placements that are unpaid so it might be best trying to take a few days holiday from your current job and doing it then, so you don’t end up losing out financially if that is a concern.

4)      Training
Most careers require you to have some level or formal training before you can begin. This could be a degree, A-levels or a course which grants you a qualification. Check out exactly what formal skills you need to acquire before you can start your new career and enrol on a course to get the ball rolling.

Looking for a new career isn’t easy but being happy in your job can really increase your quality of life so it’s important to start now and get the ball rolling.