A Whole New Way To Shower

[AD] When it comes to designing a bathroom it can be a bit of a minefield with so many different options to chose room.

Shall we have vanity unit or shelving? shall we get roll top bath or just a shower unit? shall we tile the whole room or add paper?

The list can go on and on but ultimately what you need is something that is going to suit the whole family and everyone’s needs and I know for us we couldn’t be without a shower.

For us the speed and efficiency you get from having a shower is something we definitely need as having a large family utilising our time well is an absolute must; and this is certainly one way to save a lot of time in the morning when there are so many of us trying to get ready and leave the house.

A shower is also way more energy efficient than a bath. It has actually been calculated that a 10 mins shower only uses 25 gallons of water compared to the 70 it takes to fill a bath, making it is better for the environment and kinder on your pocket which are two things that we think about a lot in our home.

My eldest son is lucky enough to have an en-suite in his room and this is the perfect place to have a shower but due to the limited space a wet room would actually be something that for us would probably work a lot better than the usual shower unit for many reasons:

Space Saving – Wet rooms optimise the use of space in bathroom by taking out the need for bulky shower trays and doors and making way for a free flow area which creates a lot more space.

Having to make the entire space waterproof also means you are less likely to get any leaks like you could with a traditional shower unit.

Interior Heaven – For me the sleek design you can get with a wet room is a big pull for me. Floor to ceiling tiles that fill the entire area creates a modern, seamless look that won’t date easily. You can keep the design as simple as you want with minimal accessories and all of those much needed products stored away in cabinets to keep it clutter free, giving you a more relaxing experience.

Squeaky Clean – One of my pet hates is cleaning the shower. Having to try and squeeze round tight corners to get in and give it a good clean is a real pain and something you avoid with a wet room. Plus you are removing the need for grout which we all know if a nightmare for breeding mildew which is a nightmare to get off!

Easy Access – This one for us is a real bonus when it comes to showering the little ones. They always opt for a bath as a shower unit makes them feel claustrophobic and uneasy when the shower door had to be closed shut. This problem is taken away with a wet room and the openness is far more appealing to little ones.

Little Tikes First Slide:Review

[AD] I don’t think there is a child on the planet that doesn’t enjoy playing on a slide and as well as being great fun there are a whole host of reasons why it is a fantastic piece of equipment for your child.

Helps With Balance And Coordination – Having to navigate the steps, positioning themselves at the top and finally letting themselves go down the slide all help to build their balance and coordination skills.

Grow Their Spacial Awareness – Not getting to close to the person in front and waiting until their path is clear when using a slide is a great way to get children to become aware of the space around them and how to use it.

Building Their Confidence – For some climbing those first steps and letting themselves go down the slide can be a little daunting so it is a great way to build their confidence.

Slides have always been the first choice for all my children when it comes to play equipment and being able to have a slide that is so versatile it can be used inside and outside the home is a real winner and exactly what you get with the Little Tikes First Slide. Its easy to assemble, rigid plastic is the perfect slide for children from 18 months to 5 years.

We put the slide together in a matter of minutes and due to the ease of this the slide can be moved around and stored away without any problems at all. Oscar loves being outside but not on his own, so for those times when he wants to play with the slide and I’ve got stuff to do it comes into the dining room and he can pay away whist I get on.

Little Tikes will always have our hearts as their toys are always faultless and we have found exactly the same with this slide.

Vertbaudet:Clothing, Homeware And So Much More

[AD] I first started shopping with Vertbaudet over twenty years ago now when I had my first. I loved that they offered something a little different to your run of the mill catalogues at the time and their clean and simple lines made for a range of childrens clothes that reflected their chic french background.

For some reason over the years they had fallen from my radar a little and when I was asked to work with then at the beginning of the year I was astounded at just how much they now offer and how the brand has grown into something pretty amazing.

They offer a huge range of clothing from babies to teens and even have a range of maternity and nursing wear which is something that is always tricky to find.

Not only can you find some great pieces for the little ones wardrobes but you can also get some gorgeous homeware pieces for their rooms that are as individual and beautiful as their clothing plus a fabulous range of indoor and outdoor toys.

The boys had great fun scrolling through their easy to use website and being the little fashionistas that they are selected a pair of skinny jeans each that is always their go to style. Their jeans were a brilliant fit, had plenty of stretch so that playtime wasn’t restricted and had plenty of length which is something I tend to find a problem when buying childrens jeans.

Giving the boys somewhat of a free rein  when it came to choosing an outfit can sometimes be a little dangerous and their faces immediately lit up when they saw some character sweatshirts. They are normally something I steer clear of but the retro design of the Mickey Mouse sweatshirt and the cool faded fabric on the Star Wars jumper was fabulous and they were definitely winners with all of us.

For me footwear is a tricky one to order online for children as getting a good for for them is so important. I needn’t have worried though as the suede boots that arrived for the boys were a wonderfully soft leather with good support for their feet and looked super stylish too.

All kitted out the boys were then ready to play with their new toy. I’m a sucker for wooden toys and their delightful wooden garage didn’t disappoint. It was easy to put together, looks amazing and has been one of the boys favourite toys.

I am yet to see what they have to offer by the way of homeware but it won’t be long as I already have a long wish list ready and waiting.

Our January…

Last year I started a series called “Celebrating The Small Things” were every week I would do a round up of all the little things I had to be thankful for such as one of the children learning to tie there shoes or the excitement of seeing the first flowers of spring.

Being the unorganised and scatty person that I am, committing to getting this done every week all got to much but I still wanted to keep something going this year so I’ve switched things up about with a round up style post of our month and I hope you like what you see.

We kicked the year off in a pretty amazing way with a visit to Center Parcs. This is by far one of our favourite places to get away too but the price isn’t always to attractive. We managed to get a great deal and had a few days to relax, try out some new activities, swim to our hearts content and eat our body weight in pancakes.

After a pretty hectic Christmas and a trip away we decided the rest of the holiday should be dedicated to relaxing, recouping and enjoying our new home. I am always on the look out for the next thing to do and after a discussion with the kids we decided this year would be the year to take things at a slower pace and enjoy things like movies nights and playing board games instead of always being out chasing a new adventure.

I’m truth if was Frankie that really made me feel terrible about the amount of time we spend out as he informed me he never gets a chance to just go to the park and ride his bike as I’ve always planned something. I know you mum guilt hits you all the time but I really felt terrible at the fact I must have been putting so much pressure on them.

It was Frankie’s birthday at the beginning of the month and we celebrated him turning seven with a his first day back a school which didn’t go down to well and a steak dinner. Next year it’s my mission to not let the December and January birthdays go so unnoticed.

I jumped on the keep fit bandwagon with the majority of people and got myself back into David Lloyd more regularly again. The weight had certainly piled on again over Christmas and I was eager to hit those goals again this year.

After a bit of a nightmare with going backwards and forwards to hospital and orthodontist visits, both Izzy and Archie are finally on their way to getting perfect teeth after having their braces fitted.

I’m sure most of you feel the same and get pretty bored of the same old meals everyday. I was as bored of cooking them as the kids were of eating them so I dusted off the cookbooks and tried some things I’ve never had before. All I can say is move over Wagamama as I can now cook a pretty mean katsu curry!

I’ve been adding a few pieces to the house to put our own stamp on it, but with things being a little tight I have been trying to my good friends EBay and the bargain corner at IKEA and found some great pieces. It always makes me feel happier to know I’ve got a bargain.

We rounded the month off with our first event of the year and it was a good one to say the least. We headed to Islington for the release of How To Train Your Dragon. Not only was it an amazing movie they you all need to see but the interactive event was amazing and the boys literally felt like they had been transporting the Isle Of Berk.

Ben And Holly’s Magic Kingdom Live On Stage:Giveaway

I have always been a big believer in introducing the children to the wonders of the stage from an early age. There is nothing quite like a live performance and all of mine have and still do thoroughly enjoy a trip to the theatre.

A good way to introduce them is with characters that they are already familiar with and for mine Peppa Pig was always a favourite. The makers of Peppa Pig Live have now brought the CBeebies favourite – Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom to life and I have a feeling this is going to be just as good.

The young fairy princess Holly is still tentatively learning to fly and master her magic skills while her best friend Ben the elf spends his days running around with his good pal Gaston the ladybird. The show allows you to become immersed in their Little Kingdom and enjoy lots of fun, games and laughter along the way.

If this sounds like something your little ones would enjoy then I have got a family ticket to give away for Saturday 2nd February at 1pm at the Orchard Theatre, Dartford. Please enter below and the simmer will be announced on Friday 1st February.

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lapland UK – Creating Traditions

The moment the boys clapped eyes on the familiar little box from the end of the hallway they immediately knew that it was a gift from Father Christmas inviting them to Lapland UK. The mere sight of it had filled them with joy and they hurriedly opened the box that had been pre chilled by me as it had come from the cold climbs of Lapland UK. The pretty wax seals were delicately opened and I was over the moon that Frankie could read his invite this year which really added to the magic.

For me when it comes to Christmas there is nothing as special as having traditions that you can create year after year and through the familiarity bring something a little bit special to this magical time of year. For instance a trip to the farm with a pit stop at the pub has been something we have done on Christmas Eve for many years and making our own mince pies to leave for Father Christmas is a lovely thing to do each and every year and I hope that these little things will be passed down to my grandchildren.

I’m sure that a visit to Father Christmas is always on the list for most people and after speaking to friends this can also be the point in which a lot of children begin to question the authenticity of Father Christmas.

‘Why did he have blue eyes this year Mummy?’, ‘Why does his house look different this year?’. These are all little questions that come into inquisitive little minds and if  like me you want to keep the magic alive for as long as possible then visit that brings you the same wonder, with familiar surroundings and of course the most authentic Father Christmas you are ever going to see then Lapland UK will never be topped.

After last years visit where I was brought to tears and Frankie left exclaiming he had seen ‘the real’ Father Christmas I knew that this was an experience that would never be topped and one that would keep the magic alive for years to come.

Last year we visited in the daytime and I thought it would be good to see Lapland UK in all its glory when it was dark and the christmas lights were at their best. We pulled into the carpark and there were squeals of delight from the back of the car – even from Izzy who is a non believer now.

We headed towards the entrance and picked up our passports and Jingles (Lapland UK currency). Its these little touches that really make you feel you have been transported to somewhere else.

It wasn’t long before we were greeted by the friendly elves and their special ‘elf wave’ that the children had remembered from last year and before we new it we had started out journey. We all loved listening to the story of Lapland UK and hearing what was going to be expected from us all on our adventure.

We then headed off in our teams which are either team reindeer or team husky through the huge wooden doors that unveiled a snowy winer wonderland that really is something to behold.

The children hurried onto the Toy Factory while I took it at a slower pace to enjoy the amazing detail that goes into everything. No stone is left unturned when it come to detail here, they really do get everything just right. When we arrived at the Toy Factory the small folk, as the children are referred to at Lapland UK head in through the super cute little door and take to their seats, whilst the big folk later around the sides leaving the children to feel extra special by stating the task on their own. Ordinarily in situations like this Frankie is terrible and clinging to me and nine times out of ten will refuse to join in. It is however a completely different story here and he is more than happy to get stuck in and they all throughly enjoyed stuffing their toy penguin that is then left at the factory to give to little girls and boys on Christmas Eve.

From here we headed to Mother Christmas’s Kitchen where we were treated to a story from Mother Christmas who is as warm and loving as you would imagine and then they set to decoding their gingerbread men that Oscar and Izzy demolished in seconds, whilst Frankie packed his away to give to Father Christmas on Christmas Eve.

The small folks work was now done and we were given some time to explore the village which was even more spectacular in the dark. The snow cover trees and colourful lights set the most amazing atmosphere for us to take to the ice, grab a bite to eat and dose shopping.

I am not a fan of ice skating at all and the fact that they offer special attachments for the little ones shoes makes me so happy. The can then skate with ease so I can concentrate on keeping myself up right! All of that skating calls for something to warm you up and I have it from my little babychinno expect that Lapland UK offer the best babychinno he has ever had.

The bauble shop is always one of my favourite places and somewhere you can get a lovely momento of your trip. The children adore the toy shop which had changed around slightly this year and to me offered some amazing toys that were very reminiscent of Santa Claus The Movie and brought back some lovely memories for me.

The children love to select some goodies from the sweet shop where there is just to much to choose from and again a lovely place to pick up a little treat…or two!

It was now time to see the main attraction – Father Christmas, so we made our way along the snow cover path looking at the little eves homes and stopping to greet the reindeer on our way. One of the highlights for the boys last year was definitely making some reindeer food to take home and they were very excited to do this again whilst also keeping an eye out for all their favourite reindeers.

Our last stop was nearly upon us and after a very short wait we were taken by a very excitable elf to see Father Christmas. The children sat on the little bench outside full of excitement and anticipation and butterflies filled my tummy at the thought of seeing their little faces one we were inside.

Father Christmas was exactly as we had remembered him, the children were grinning from ear to ear and yet again aa tear came to my eye as he spoke about thing the children had been up to and wether or not they had made it onto the good list this year.

All as pleased as punch they had made it onto the list they received a gorgeous golden bell and cuddly husky, but I think above anything that little bit of time spent with the ‘real’ Father Christmas again is what made our trip.

Yet again Lapland UK gave us an afternoon of magic and winer that we will never forget and something that doesn’t easily get forgotten about once you get back home. The love they have for their huskies is there all year and they come on many a day out with us and being able to scatter the reindeer food and putting the gingerbread man out for Father Christmas on Christmas Eve means that a trip to Lapland UK really is a gift that keeps on giving and one we will never forget.

* We were invited along to Lapland UK for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinions.

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.

A Restful Nights Sleep With Love Boo

A restful nights sleep and children don’t really go hand and hand in this house, in fact its the complete opposite. My eldest three were all pretty good but the last two have been a different story and bedtimes are a battle ground to say the least.

You name it we have tried it and to be honest the only thing that helps a little is getting into a good routine. When things are all up the wall and there is no set routine then things are certainly that bit harder.

Our routine always consists of bath and a bedtime story to try and get them as calm and relaxed as possible; so I was extremely happy when I was asked by Love Boo to try out their Sleep & Snuggle Room Spray.  The 100% natural spay is a combination of chamomile, patchouli and lavender which makes form the perfect combination to aid a restful sleep for you little ones.

Before seeing if this worked its magic though the boys enjoyed a warm bath with the gorgeous smelling Soft & Splashy Bubble, bubble bath that comes from the vast collection of goodies that Love Boo offer. They boys both suffer from eczema and can often be irritated by bath products but this left their skin silky smooth and not an itchy patch in sight.

Super clean and ready for story time the boys excitedly took the Sleep & Snuggle Srpay and spritzed it around the room whilst I informed them it had magical powers to help them get off to sleep. A gorgeous smell engulfed the room and amazingly the boys settled with ease.

I think a combination of the spray and the promises I had implanted in their tiny minds allowed them to settle really well and has now become an important part of our bedtime routine.

Love Boo isn’t just about the children either and once they were all settled I treated myself to a long soak in the bath with their Splendidly Soothing Bath soak full of rose geranium oil, white water lily and mallow followed by soothing myself in their Body Smoother which has my favourite shea butter with its hugely mosterisiing properties it was just what I needed.

I also added a few squirts of the Sleep & Snuggle Spay to my own pillow as I often have trouble with switching off at bedtime and it was a great help.

So if you are in need of some help at bedtime or you want to give yourself a little treat then head over and take a look at the whole range as I can assure you there will be something there you will all love.

*I was gifted these products for the purpose of this review.

A Touch Of Velvet To Set The Mood

As many of you will know we have recently moved home and I am super excited about getting stuck into putting our…well my stamp on the house! I love to keep all the walls neutral and add colour with accessories as I am terrible for changing my mind about things and swapping a cushion cover is far less hassle and expense than changing a whole wall colour.

One thing I alway think you need to get right is the lighting in a room as I can have such a big impact on the way it makes you feel. We spend a lot of time in our living room and at different times of day it offers different ways in which we use it. In the daytime the lighting needs to be bright so the children can easily play with their toys and do their homework and then in the evening when all the paraphernalia from the kids has been put away it is nice to be able to set a calming mood to relax after a busy day and this is where for me the right lighting is really important.

My beloved cabinet that holds my oh so important alcohoholic beverages was crying out for a little something else and was really the perfect place for a side light, and when I was sent the Sarhita velvet lamp and lampshade from Pib I knew that it was the perfect place to showcase it.  The lamp is very reminiscent of the 60’s era which I love and the combination of soft velvet in the shade and the solid brass complement each other perfectly.

The minamislt look it gives means that it would work well in so many setting and for me it works perfectly against the regimented lines of the side board and brings something to the starkness of the wall.

Pib in fact has an amazing range of furniture, lighting and accessories that can bring a touch of shabby chic, scandinavian or industrial feel to your home at great prices so take a look now!

*I was given this lamp for the purpose of this post.

Transitional Dressing With Simply Be

Christmas is now all done and dusted and as always I’m onto the next thing and getting excited about the fact that spring shouldn’t be that far away. I love the cosiness of winter and wearing all those big chunky knits and heavy coats but I want a bit of brightness back in my life and am looking forward to introducing some colour back into my wardrobe, along with some softer fabrics.

There is actually no harm in getting ahead of the game buying a few key pieces that you can wear now and will take you right through to summer.

I have found a few of my favourite pieces here that are going to be perfect for layering up with whilst the weather is still cold as well as being perfect for wearing alone on those gorgeous spring days we are all so looking forward to.

T-Shirt Dress: Without fail there is always one of these in my wardrobe. I wear mine with chunky cardigans and jeans during the cold months and swap this for sliders and sunglasses as soon as the sun shows its face.

Maxi Dresses: These have been a favourite of mine for a while now as they are so easy to wear come day or night. They look great with knee high boots or trainers as well as sandals or a killer heel. I love wearing mine with oversized demin or cute leather jackets now and then letting them make a statement all on their own once spring is here.

High Waisted Shaper Jeggings: Shaper jeggings are my best friend at the moment as they allow you to create a smarter look than a conventional legging whilst giving you good shape and support after all those mince pies! They look great with oversized sweatshirts and trainers now and equally as good with a floating floral blouse come spring.

High Neck T-Shirts: A good quality plain t-shirt is a staple for any wardrobe as it is one of the most versatile items you can own. The possibilities are endless and it can be used as something as simple as a base layer in the cold to making a great background for a piece of statement jewellery during warmer times.

Zip Front Pinafore: I have so much love for a pinafore…although I am regularly told by my sister I am far to old to be wearing one! This zip fronted one is perfect to wear with a roll neck and tights right now and then with a plain tee and sandals in the summer months, I would even go for a vest top underneath if I was feeling brave enough.

Chunky Cardigans: We all know that even in the hight of summer the UK can throw us a curve ball when it come to the weather and things can be pretty nippy; so a good cardigan with splash of colour can brighten up an dreary day just like this gorgeous blue leopard print one that is certainly on my list.

Duster Coats: Now these are another item that I find a life saver and perfect for those time in the winter when I’m nipping on and off a hot tube and need something a little lighter than my big winter coat and great for slinging over a spring outfit when it gets a little nippy.

I hope you liked this little selection and I would love to know what pieces  in your wardrobe you rely on the get you through all the seasons.

*Collaborated post.