Our March…

March seems to have come and gone in the blink of an eye and as I still here going over what we have been up to I think it’s probably the fact we have been so busy it has just flown by.

Archie started off the month with landing himself his first real part time job. It is on a church retreat and he had the job of cooking, cleaning and serving the guests. He seems to be thoroughly enjoying the more tasks he is set and meeting new people who all seem to have sixth amazing stories to tell.

I have to admit when he first told me about where it was(down a load of country lanes with no public transport) I was moaning like made as I knew this was going to fall back on me to get him there and back. But it wasn’t until someone said instead of moaning you should be proud of him for taking the time to find himself work and apply himself that I realise I should suck it up and praise him for his drive and want for independence.

Frankie has one of his routine trips to the hospital for an eye check and the good news is he is nearly done with patching. There has been a huge improvement in this sight and they have got it to a leave that is now remaining stable, so the daily battles with the patch I’m am happy to say are now over!

I fast forwarded the year and stepped straight into summer at the Next Happy Hotel event where I got to look at a whole host of products from homeware, clothing and beauty that are set to make for a pretty great summer. There were some fantastic pieces in each and every section but I think I was most surprised by the amount of other beauty brands that are available through next. I had no idea they stocked Benefit…did you?

From a event on my own to one with all the family at Chessington World Of Adventures. For those of you that regularly read my blog you will know that I have been an ambassador for them for the past few years now and absolutely love watching the changes each and every year. This year the have a new interactive attraction based on the much loved book – Room On The Broom. The children loved it and it’s a must see for any fans of the story.

I have been up and down with my exercise but Jemma’s Health Hub has kept things pretty constant for me so I’m hoping to feel a lot healthier and less self continuous this summer.

Whist we are in the subject of health I had a little bit of a scare with some chest pains that I was referred to the hospital for. My blood pressure isn’t really what it should be and I am waiting on a scan just to check that everything is ok and it’s actually given me more of a push to shift these pounds and get my exercise back to being an everyday routine rather than a chore.

Peppa Pig is still very much a favourite in this house with the boys…even though Frankie wouldn’t let on to anyone; so we were very excited to go along to Leicester Square to see the new film that is put this Easter. The boys absolved it and I’m sure it’s going to be another big hit.

From this screening we went straight to the Royal Opera House to take a look at one of their family fun Sunday events. I was more than a little apprehensive about taking the youngest two as they don’t really scream Royal Opera house! I needn’t have worried though as it was such a relaxed atmosphere where they got to enjoy lots of crafts, storytelling sessions and witness the most amazing ballet and modern performances. It really would come highly recommend from us.

With Mother’s Day on everyone’s minds I was invited along for afternoon tea with Paperchase. We got to chat to lots of lovey mummies and take a look at all the amazing products Paperchase had to offer this year.

A highlight for me probably more than the children this month though was a screening of the new Dumbo movie. It is most definitely a childhood favourite for me and I was so pleased that Disney had worked their magic and managed to recreate a different but equally as thought provoking and heart warming movie as the last.

Spring definitely seems to have been making an appearance and we have been enjoying this with some time in the garden, plenty of hot cross buns and some spring flowers. I really do love this time of year.

The last few days of March will always be ones to remember as the day we were celebrating Izzy’s 13th birthday party my eldest daughter Alice decided to give birth to my beautiful second grandchild. We don’t like to do things by halves in this family and it was a whirlwind 24 hours but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.

After all the chaos it was time to celebrate Mother’s Day and this is traditionally a nightmare day and this year didn’t disappoint.

I think I have this ridiculous expectations that my children are going to turn into angels for one day and the arguing and bad behaviour are all going to disappear! Sadly of course this doesn’t happen and we started the day with two of them devouring my chocolates before I even sat down to breakfast, one then decided to throw the said breakfast as their sisters head and so the day started.

Next year I’m going to lower the expectations in the hope that this will help!

Bringing Back The Dining Room

[AD] Dinner times in our house are only what can be described as chaotic, more like a chimps tea party at times and are more often than not a pretty stressful time of day.

Since moving through we have gained a dining room and I have been making it my mission to bring back dining as a family as often as we can and making it a place we all want to congregate, eat good food and enjoy each other’s company.

More often than not for ease I stick the little ones at the breakfast bar to eat, the older ones eat as and when they feel like and my husband on his lap when he gets in from work. For us the importance of eating together as a family has been completely lost.

Over the past few months though we have been really making a conservative effort to all get around the table, leave all our devices elsewhere and connect as a family. We allow no distractions and just enjoy each other’s company…well aside from one or two arguments of course!

I have compiled a little list of things I have done or plan to do to get the dining room just how I want it to make a place that is used as much as the other rooms in the house rather than just when people come round.

Benches – When we bought our new dining table we opted for benches feather than chairs for a more laid back feel. With a large family it also allows us to squeeze more people around the table as there is more often than not an extra one or two joining us!

Rugs – We have wooden flooring throughout the downstairs of the house and this can often look and feel cold so I am currently looking for something to go under the table that will add a splash of colour and a little warmth to the room.

Practicality – This is a big one for me as the room needs to work for us all so practical furniture and furnishings are must. As with the benches as I mentioned earlier furniture that can utilised in different ways is so helpful to make the area work on a daily basis.

Lighting – Good lighting always sets the mood and allows the space to be used for a range of different activities. The children can set up at the table during the day for play and getting homework done when the lighting needs to be bright and through the use of side lights you can create a relaxed a calm feel for an evening with friends.

Art – Filling the walls with beautiful, personal pieces of art and photos is probably one of the most important things for me. It’s great to be able to sit back and gaze at something beautiful.

Our February…

Well February has been a pretty funny one weather wise hasn’t it. We spent the beginning of the month with everything crossed that the snow flurries were going to settle and give us a couple of ‘snow days’ and then the end of the month stripping back to T-shirts and eating ice cream in the park.

The beginning of the month was actually a cause for celebration in our house as we celebrated granddaughter number two’s imminent arrival with a baby shower for Alice. I haven’t quite got my head around being a nanny to Isla yet and we already have another one on the way to add to the madness of the family.

We also spend a good few hours in the garden getting it ready for the warmer weather. The boys have been really lucky to have a new playhouse, slide and sandpit and we can’t wait to find the perfect paddling pool to make us completely summer ready!

It’s not to often that I socialise in the evenings anymore and I decided this new year that I was going to stop being such a misery and get out with my friends more.

I had a lovely evening with the mums from Oscar’s class. Ate to much a drank more than I should which made for an all round great evening.

Getting back into my fitness has been a great success this month thanks to Jemma’s Heath Hub. Jemma and I had found each other though the wonderful world of Instagram and she asked me to trial her online fitness program which had seen me out of bed super early three times a week to take part in an online exercise session with a whole load of other likeminded women. Go and check her out if you are looking to get back into fitness and want something to do in your own home.

My husband is the romantic one in our relationship and my lack of romantic is something that really gets to him. So this Valentine’s Day we both took a few hours out of our day to grab some lunch and randomly walk around a local museum…not really his idea of a good day out!

One of my first real jobs was working in the food hall at Marks and Spencer. I still have fond memories of this and they were an amazing company to work for. So fast forward a good few years my new job has landed me back at Marks and Spencer…but behind the scenes at head office.

It really is moments like this that make me realise all the hours I put in are most definitely worth it and it was so amazing to be behind the scenes of a place that is so close to my heart.

The boys were gifted scooters from the wonderful Micro Scooters this month and they literally haven’t got off them since. They have always been my first choice for scooters as they are so easy to use and look amazing. They came with use on a trip to the park the other day where we all enjoyed our first ice cream of the year.

We get to explore many parts of London with my job but Battersea is someone I don’t I have ever been and the children certainly haven’t. We had a more than pleasant surprise when we went along to the power station during half term and got to witness what an amazing job they are doing there.

They have some great shops and restaurants and lots of bits and pieces to keep the children occupied along the waterfront. We were actually there to try out a class at the über cool Boom Cycle whist the kids were kept occupied at the lovely ladies from Kids Table. It is definitely one to put on your list.

We actually did a lot of eating in town this half term with a trip to Yo Sushi and Las Iguanas who both offer great deals during the school holidays so keep this in mind for Easter.

Half term was actually a pretty packed one for us and aside from duties of dog sitting at mum and dads we got to enjoy some great events, including a trip to Neville’s in Belgravia for the launch of the new range of hair care from Child’s Farm.

The boys thought they were super models and spent the morning requesting exactly how they wanted their hair styled whilst me and Izzy were treated to some braids and of course a bit of glitter.

The end of month saw an event just for me which is always a welcome change and I attended the launch of the Emma Willis Collection from Next.

It was an amazing evening where I got to see the whole range which was a stylish and gorgeous as Emma herself.

I spent the evening catching up with friends, drinking way to much Prosecco and fan girling Emma for most of the night!

Eight Innovative Ways To Update Your Home

[AD] Whether you’re preparing to sell your home or staying put and craving a refresh, you may be concerned about how renovations can impact your budget. If you’re willing to put in some time and get a little dirty, these DIY projects will help you update your home without taking out a second mortgage.

Update Your Bath

Your bath tends to be the one item in the house that gets mouldy and ruined first, although you might not always be aware of it. The grouting of the bath can rot away quickly due to the constant moisture, and over time it can start to look outdated.

Updating your bath is the most effective way to upgrade your bathroom without having a whole new re-fit. You can use it to completely change the way your bathroom looks, but by investing in just the one item. A smaller, corner on will open up your space, or a larger, deeper one can give you the sanctuary you always needed.

If you’re on a budget, a smaller bath is usually a better idea. You can browse a wide selection over at Bathdisc for some inspiration.

Repaint Your Front Door And Update Exterior Features

The exterior of your home is the first thing people notice and judge your house on. Look out for cracked paint, front walls which need building up, or front doors which look tired and dated.

Sometimes, it might be that your front door just needs a good old lick of paint. Choose a bold accent colour that works well with the rest of the exterior, but also stands out from it, to give the door a bit of a spotlight.

If it is your front wall that needs working on, try to knock down the part which is ruined, and re-build from this part up. It might be that you don’t need a brand new wall – the one you have just needs some TLC.

Apply Wallpaper As Feature Walls

Updating your walls can easily improve your space, and it doesn’t need to be a big job. Completely re-wallpapering your house can be a nightmare task, especially when time isn’t on your side. However, choosing a pretty wallpaper to paste onto a feature wall can make such a big difference.

You can even look at removable wallpaper, which is a stylish and affordable way to update your space with minimal investment. Moreover, it’s a really easy way to add colour or pattern to your space with little commitment.

Give Your Walls A Lick Of Paint

Some people prefer a painted surface over wallpaper, which is understandable as painted walls can appear more modern. Plus, you may be surprised by how easy it is to paint a room yourself.

Even just using a bright white or a soft cream emulsion paint all over your bedroom walls can completely transform the way the room looks. It gives a clean, bright and refreshed look. White or cream painted walls also provide a blank canvas for any new wall art you’d like to invest in.

Update Your Cabinets

Old fashioned cabinets – especially in the kitchen or bathroom – can make for a room look dreary and dull. Replacing them can be a big job, so rather than doing this, why not just paint them and switch out any old hardware for a dramatic update.

Another hack is to invest in new handles and hinges, which could either be in a modern, polished metal or a softwood for a cosier look.

Invest In New Wall Art

You can change the look and feel of a room by simply hanging artwork. This can be in the form of a statement print in the living room, or large wall mirrors, or the creative method of a gallery wall.

Whichever you choose, remember that before you place holes in the walls, measure your wall and mark out the same space on the floor. Lay out your artwork on the floor to get a realistic representation of how it will look.

Sometimes, it’s even just a case of updating all the old picture frames you might have around your home.

Update Old Floors

Worn out, old floors can set the tone for an entire room, but re-sanding and finishing your floors could be beyond your capabilities. Another way to update your old flooring is to spruce them up by using a couple of coats of durable floor paint, or peel-and-stick tiles from your local home store. These can have a real professional finish when chosen well.

Consider A Floor Runner

Here’s something we often forget: a good old stair runner. When quotes for a new carpet to be fitted on the stairs can cost hundreds, you can take the project into your own hands by investing in a stair runner strip which lies flat down the centre of your stairs.

Go for a plain style, with no print (unless you would like a stripe – but no florals or anything loud!). This ensures a modern look and one that will complement your existing carpet if you choose your colour wisely.

Fixing up your home doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult, just consider these suggestions for your next home improvement project.

Bringing A Colour Splash To A Bare Wall With Desenio

A few of you will know that we have recently moved and I have been really excited to be able to start a fresh and put my own stamp on it. We are lucky enough to have really high ceilings which make for a wonderfully light and airy space but on the downside it has left us with huge expanses of bare walls to fill.

The lounge for us is the hub of the home and the place we spend the most time so it was important to get this room ready first. Our sofas are a neutral cream colour as are the walls so i needed to add some colour as neutral really isn’t me.

I have been lucky enough to work with Desenio who offer a huge range of posters and prints that offer something to incorporate all tastes.

The fact that they have thousands of pieces to offer was a little overwhelming to begin with, especially as I had no idea what I was really after. But with the help of their themed sections and amazing gallery wall that allows you to choose exactly how you would like to see the pieces on the wall it wasn’t long before I had made my selection.

I went for a few motivational quotes which I hope will encourage the children to think positively by seeing them everyday, a little bit of abstract art and of course a big splash of colour with a small palm print and one of my favourite ladies – Freida Kahlo.

The prints all arrived promptly and were beautifully packaged and took no time to put into the frame and get onto the wall. The fact that you can select the frames at the same time as the prints was a massive pull for me as it saves dragging from the shops trying to get frames to fit.

If you are looking to create a gallery wall of fill a small space with something beautiful then Desenio is the place to look.

If you have been as taken with Desenio then please feel free to use the code “THEJOYOFFIVE” at the checkout which gives you 25% off posters between 27th and 29th November. This excludes frames and handpicked/collaberation posters.