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!

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.

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.

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 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.

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Twelve

This week has been a bit of an emotional one with the realisation my youngest isn’t so little anymore and how all Frankie’s hard work has been paying off for him.

Frankie’s Eyesight Improves – Its been nearly a year now since Frankie first started wearing glasses and it has been more than a struggle at times. He isn’t to bad at keeping his glasses on but since he had to start wearing a patch on his left eye we have had nothing but problems.
There have been so many bribes and ultimatums to get him to wear it and it has actually cost us a small fortune in the money he has earned for keeping it on.
It has however been worth the pain as on this visit to the hospital his sight has made a huge improvement and I couldn’t be happier.

Home Styling Tips From The Experts – I was lucky enough to attend a fabulous event hosted by the lovely people at Amara. When it comes to home styling I tend to buy pieces that I like without much thought about how and were they are going to fit into the house.
A day of tips and tricks has helped me no end and I will be showcasing this next week with a post on everything I’ve learnt.

Oscar’s Last Dance Show – Realisation is setting in that my youngest will soon be starting primary school and I will no longer have a little ankle bitter nipping at my toes.
I sat and watched his final dance performance with a lump in my throat and a funny feeling in my tummy that in a few short months this stage of both our lives will be coming to an end.

Workspaces For Teens

Give me a newborn over a teenager any day! Oh yes there are the sleepless nights and the endless cycles of feeding but as long as food, comfort and plenty of cuddles are supplied they are pretty much catered for. Teenagers however are a different breed altogether.

I have managed to navigate one child through their teens and she has now made here way into her twenties with both of us coming out the other side pretty much unscathed, however I am now on the same journey with my eldest son who has been completely different to my daughter.

I actually couldn’t ask for a better teen than Archie in so many ways to be honest. He is kind, caring, thoughtful, helpful and aside from the occasional strop he is pretty easy going. However when it comes to schooling its a different matter!

He is punctual, always completes his homework and is very well behaved during class but is a naturally gifted boy that is coasting through school and isn’t fulfilling his potential which is in fact more frustrating than anything else.

If he was messing around or not completing work then this could be dealt with by punishing him, but lack of motivation is a much harder thing to crack as it has to come from him.

He does however have lots of ambitions for jobs that don’t nesseserily need formal education and he has his heart set on this. I love and encourage my children to follow and fulfil their dreams so I am probably a large part to blame for this and need to get his mindset to think in a slightly more practical way without quashing his dreams.

He currently dosent have a area dedicated to learning so I think a workspace where he can keep organised, stay away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the house whilst still building on his teams would be just what he needs right now.

Below I have listed a few of the top things I think are needed to create the perfect working environment for a teen:

Privacy: This is always something that most teens crave and I think its very important to allow their work area to be private and somewhere they can grow their own independence.

Organisation: Organisation isn’t always something that goes hand in hand with teens and many struggle to get this sorted, so a good desk such as the ones from Lionshome will help them to make sure everything has a place of its own, things are to hand as and when they need it and allows enough space for them to carry out all the work that needs to be done.

Limit Distractions And Boost Creativity: Make this area somewhere that is solely for work. Make sure that computer games and any other devices are kept away from this area to limit distractions and allow this area to be a calm, motivating place that allows your teen to be creative, productive and engaged to have a positive effect on their schooling and hopefully whatever career path they wish to follow.

I would love to know how you get your teenage children motivated to work.

*Collaborated post

Creating A Sleep Haven

A chair covered in clothes from rushing around in the morning, crumpled bedsheets from the kids using the bed as a trampoline, a dressing table that resembles more of a children’s play area than a place to beatify yourself.

Does this sound familiar to you? This is indeed how my bedroom looks 90% of the time and is a far cry from the peaceful haven I have always wanted to create.

I have now finally…well most of the time managed to reclaim my bed from the night time bed invaders and really want to have a place I can retire to where I can relax and collect my thoughts after a long day.

There are a few things that I am going to change to make it a place I want to spend time in rather than avoid.

Declutter: Clutter is one of the biggest causes of restlessness and I can fully understand how lying in bed worrying about the piles of clothes and dirty washing can contribute to a restless night.

Organising the wardrobe, getting unwanted items listed on EBay and banishing the washing to another room are all great ways to make it a tidier and more restful area.

Calming Colours: It is a well known fact that the brain reacts to different colours in different ways so choosing relaxing and tranquil colours such as green or blue are the perfect way to keep stimulation to a minimum.

Lighting: The harsh light that is created from the main bedroom light isn’t condusive to staying relaxed. Use subtle lighting from bedside lamps and dimmers to create a calm environment.

Also keep out the harsh morning sun with good quality blinds such a those from Roof Windows to allow those much needed lay-ins, if the children allow!

Smells: Allow the use of all your scences to come into play and fill the room with beautiful,relaxing scents.

Lavender is a perfect scent to add relaxation and this can come in the form of scented candles, air fresheners and dried lavender itself.

Bedrooms Are For Sleep: This is probably the thing I find the hardest to obide by.

Switching off from screen time, banning exercising or any other stimulating activity in the bedroom is a must…well within reason!

Get Cosy: Finally add as much cosiness as you can with scatter cushions, throws, comfortable bedding. Really anything that is going to make you feel cosy.

I’m going to put all of these tips into practice and hope that my little haven can be created and create a more restful nights sleep.

Colour Popping With Red Candy

I decorated my living room a few years ago now but there is just some thing about it that doesn’t look finished.

I went for the extremely popular grey tones as it seemed to be a colourthat wasn’t moving anywhere fast, is a calming and neural colour and is super versatile which is important to me as I get bored very quickly.

I had gone for a Scandi vibe with white and wooden accessories but my love of vibrant colours and something fun was missing and what I felt was needed to complete the room.

Red Candy had asked me to select a couple of items from their fantastic online shop and to be honest this was no mean feat!

Their site is full of fun, colourful, quirky accessories and gifts to fill any room in your home.

From dinner plates to dinosaur lamps there is something for everyone and anything you chose is sure to be a conversation starter.

I went for a stunning cotton lampshade from Love Frankie.

The classic design and cloud grey overlay holds a fab gold PVC lining that radiates georgous hues around the room, creating a really warm feel.

When it comes to interiors at the moment you can’t fail to see that tropical themes are a huge thing.

From palm leaves to pineapples, bright prints and cacti they are pretty much everywhere.

It’s such a fun trend that I had to follow and to go alongside my pineapple that my husband hates I couldn’t resist this gold cactus vase.

 

This can be used as a traditional base and filled with flowers or simply left as it is which is just how I like it!

If you are looking for some cool accessories for your own home or a special gift for someone else then Red Candy really does have a huge range of items that are just that little bit different and will certainly give you something unique at affordable prices.

*collaborated post.

Quirky Gifts For Teens With Qwerkity

Presents for teenage kids are notoriously hard to buy for, with my fourteen year old son being the hardest of all.

I should be happy with the fact that he rarely asks for anything but when it comes to birthdays and Christmas it can be a real pain as I don’t even know where to start.

I always end up with the usual video games, smelly sets and chocolate which gets boring for me to buy so must be really boring for him to receive.

Luckily inspiration came my way in the form of a great website that has a whole host of different gifts for teenagers  that would please even the trickiest customer!

Archie’s room is usually awash with piles of rubbish and dirty clothes so what would fit in more perfectly then a stool disguised as a stack of pizza boxes.

The incredible cardboard stool pizza box is a super cool stool make of corrugated cardboard that fits together in nine easy steps.

It is just as easy to fold up as it is to assemble and can hold up to an unbelievable 200kg.

This would be such a cool addition to any teens room and has been a real talking point for all his friends.

Let’s just hope he doesn’t decide to recreate one with real boxes!

* I was given this stool for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinion.