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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Planning events that the whole family can enjoy

Looking after a family can be hard work sometimes - no matter the size of your family! Looking after a home and trying to care for your children after a really tough day of the office can take its toll. We should all find the time to settle down and enjoy life. Every single one of us is guilty of taking life and our family for granted, some of the time.

Allow yourself and your family to enjoy life. You don’t have to resort to the same old routine every single day! The world is rushing by, so find the time to enjoy the little things in life. Plan events that your family can enjoy and experience something different. You might even forge a new family tradition.


The easiest thing to do is get your children in the kitchen. Pick one night a week where everyone can get together and help cook a meal. Whether it’s chopping vegetables (under supervision) or washing potatoes, your kids can help! A family meal night is something you should consider, because it folds easily into your routine!

A movie night is a great option too. You can choose a film or two, or allow your children to choose two films on a set night of the working week. If they aren’t choosing the film, maybe you could allow them to pick the snacks! It’s a fantastic way to get the family together to wind down of an evening. Plus, with apps like ShowBox (https://getshowboxapp.com) which offer a huge variety of movies, you’re never going to run out of things to watch. You might even want to take movie night outdoors with a nice big screen and a projector on a summer’s night. In the winter, you can visit the big screens down at the cinema!

Video games offer a more competitive or co-operative night for the family. You might arrange a family game night around a board game, or a video game like FIFA. Most of the family can play together! Two or more players can enjoy most sports games and competitive streak is something to enjoy! Don’t go overboard though. Gaming consoles can be super expensive, but if this is something your family wants - spare no expense!

You might even think of a family holiday. Consult your family and see where they would like to go (within reason) and enjoy some time away. Plan well, and pack even better to ensure the needs of your children are met whilst your'e away. You could create some amazing memories!

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With everything it is important to speak to and communicate with your family, so you understand their needs. If you’re driving ahead on your own and commanding everyone, people are going to get frustrated. All the events you plan can’t revolve solely around you! Communicate with each other and be sure to arrange activities and ideas that can make your family happy at all times and make your year a one to remember.

Bathroom planning // Some ideas for a small bathroom space

This post contains sponsored content but as always, all words are my own. 

When it comes to planning our future bathroom renovation, my main concern is space.... or rather, our lack of it! We live in a small Victorian terraced house and as you can imagine, both our kitchen and bathroom spaces are rather teeny tiny!

We have a busy household and our bathroom space really needs to work effectively for us as a family. There's no question of making the room bigger so we will have to work with the space that we have. 

I've often spent time imagining our future bathroom and today I wanted to share a few ideas that I've had to make the most out of a small bathroom. I'd love to implement some of these when it comes to renovating our bathroom and I hope that it might give you a few ideas if you are currently planning your new bathroom too!

Knowing where to save space

As someone who is interested in minimalism, I am keen to continuously question what items we need and what we could do without. As a family, you'd think having an actual bath tub is an essential.... right? But in fact, the more I think about it the more I think having a walk-in shower or even a wet room could be super effective too. 

Wet rooms have the ability to create a more functional, usable space and have the benefit of making the room appear bigger too. They also can be custom made to fit the room exactly so there's no having to squeeze a bath tub into awkward small spaces. It's also worth remembering that wet rooms have an inclusive design and therefore can be used by pretty much anybody regardless of their age or ability. Perfect for people who might have difficulty using a regular bath.

If you're wondering what the wet room cost might be then you might want to consider companies that offer a free no-obligation home survey such as Bathing Solutions who provide a stylish and contemporary solution when it comes to wet rooms. It's something we'll definitely be looking into!


Install a simple suite and furniture 

There are many benefits to installing a simple, unfussy bathroom suite, especially in a small bathroom. Clean lines, space saving units, lots of storage and considering furniture without handles will ensure that your bathroom remains clutter free and easy to clean. 

A wall hung vanity unit would visual maximise the space as more of the floor can be seen and not only would it make cleaning a breeze but it would provide extra storage underneath if, like us, you need to store items such as children's step stools.

I'm quite a fan of basin and WC combination units too as not only do they provide extra counter and storage space, it keeps that ugly pipework concealed. Just what we need! Better Bathrooms have a fantastic range of combination units, something we'll definitely be looking into getting once it comes to fitting our new bathroom. 

Hidden Storage

I'm one of those people that hate having products 'out' in the bathroom. Unfortunately we currently don't have anywhere to put them away so something i'll definitely be looking into is adding storage wherever we can! Whether it is a cupboard underneath the sink or a large mirrored cabinet on the wall, i'm all for multi-purpose products. 
Mirrored cabinets don't have to be too expensive either, I love this one from Ikea which is a bargain and would not only provide enough storage for our everyday products, but would reflect the light beautifully in our small bathroom too!


Installing a concealed shower

I am quite the fan of hiding as much pipework and excess as possible so something we'll be looking into is getting a concealed shower installed. They look so much cleaner and simple than regular showers as all the bits that do the work are neatly concealed behind your bathroom tiles leaving only the essential parts out on display. Less to clean and easy on the eye, i'm sold!  

Tile choices

Using light colours in a small, dark room is really quite a no-brainer isn't it?! Something we'll also be considering though is the size and shape of the tiles we choose for our bathroom. I am a huge fan of metro tiles although having them in our bathroom is something we'll probably actually avoid.

Larger wall tiles would mean less grout lines and therefore would make the room appear less detailed in addition to needing less maintenance. I'd also love to use the same tiles on both the walls and the floor, this would create a seamless appearance and open the space right up. I love the Stadia Cliff Tile from Topps Tiles which is a porcelain tile that replicates real marble. Absolutely gorgeous!


Do you have any tips for making the most of a small bathroom? I'd love to know. Let me know in a comment below!

Monday, 16 January 2017

Bathroom planning // Three space saving bath tubs

This post contains sponsored content but as always, all words are my own. 

We bought our first home over five years ago now and one of the first jobs that we wanted to tackle was the bathroom. We pretty much hated everything about it from the layout to its lack of storage and from the lack of ventilation to the fact that we don't even have a working shower. 

Well, here we are five years later. Our bathroom remains very much in the same state as when we bought the house. Orange ceiling and all! It was just one of those things where life gets in the way and so the bathroom renovation pushed to the side. 

Although we won't be financially able to rip out our current bathroom this year (somebody needs to stop me booking holidays for sure!), it doesn't stop me planning our future bathing space because when we do get around to doing it, we want to get it right.

My ideal bathroom would be a room that is not just family friendly but is a functional, practical space that isn't wasteful in its design or performance.

I'm thinking easy to clean wall tiles and flooring, lots of storage (I hate having products out!), underfloor heating and a simple but practical bathroom suite.

As is normal with Victorian terraced houses, both our kitchen and bathroom spaces are absolutely tiny. It's an actual struggle sometimes to give kiddo a bath and have enough space to get her ready afterwards. So I've been on the hunt for space saving bath solutions!

Here are three options that we have been considering, let me know which one is your favourite! 

The practical option

Walk-in bath tubs are something that you might think is reserved purely for people with specific needs but in fact, all kind of people could benefit from having one installed in their home. I can't tell you how many times my child has tried to climb into the bath by herself (You should hear the screams if I try and assist her! #preschoollife) and having a walk-in bath would surely alleviate some of the stress! The range of  walk-in baths over at Premier Care in Bathing include some super space saving options too with inward opening doors and easy entry, perfect for small and narrow bathrooms like ours! 

I've also read that having a walk-in bath can add value to your home, especially if you're in a retirement community. It really is a win/win situation here, isn't it?! 

Definitely something for us to consider! 


The luxury option

This is the bath we almost bought when we were actually going to renovate the bathroom. I just love everything about it, and not just the fact that you can get it painted in pretty much any colour you want! Those gold, iron and bronze burnished finishes are just perfection though, aren't they?! 

The Tubby Tub (even the name is cute!) from the Albion Bath Company has been created for the tiniest of bathrooms. It's also created from Albion's unique iso-enamel which is strong, durable and built to last. This material also keeps bath water hotter for longer which means you don't need to keep topping it up with the hot tap..... something that I am very guilty of doing! 

The only issue with this bath now is that it's probably not the most child friendly option. They do have other baths that would fit into our bathroom though so i'm definitely keeping our options open!


The budget option

I love, love, love taking baths but sometimes you just want to hop in and out of the shower and be done in 5 minutes. Bath lovers, am I right?! This space saving option from Better Bathrooms ticks all the right boxes and is compact and super simple in it's design yet it still provides the opportunity for a luxury bathing experience. It's design is great for a super small family bathroom giving you the option of both bath and shower, all in one. It's a complete bargain too!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Things I've loved this week // 028

A little Sunday round-up, some of the little things that I've been loving this week!

Changes

I know I've already mentioned this on my blog this week so I'll keep this short! Miss E started nursery at the beginning of the week and she's settled into her new routine so well already. Her confidence in new situations always astounds me, I'm one proud mama! I've been getting used to having a little bit more time to myself now, time to get stuff done!



Holiday planning

We were browsing the Disney website earlier in the week and all of a sudden we found ourselves booking our next Walt Disney World holiday. I literally have no restraint when it comes to Disney! We haven't yet told Miss E and so we're planning to surprise her on or around her birthday later this year. I'm so excited, she's going to be thrilled!


Letting go

Last week my iPod classic died. I have had it for such a long time and I literally felt like my life was on there in the form of playlists, from our wedding playlist to the relaxing songs we used to play to calm Miss E when she was a baby. Of course, I have the actual music backed up and I have the CD versions too but the playlists are gone and of course, my iPod classic has gone too. I'm on the lookout for something similar now and I'm hoping that the fresh start will help me weed out some of the music I don't ever listen to, too!


Disturbed, In Flames & Avenged Sevenfold

This week ends with going to see these three bands which I am so very excited about! The tickets were a gift I bought for my husband who is quite the fan. I don't have much interest in Avenged Sevenfold but I do love me a bit of Disturbed and In Flames. I feel very nostalgic about these bands as I loved them during my teens! This will be our first gig of the year too. 


Eating everything in sight

The cold weather just makes me want to eat. We have quite a lot of stuff leftover from Christmas too so I've been making my way down all the chocolate and sweet treats..... the quicker it is out of the way, the quicker I can get back to eating healthily. That's how it works, isn't it?! Haha! 
I love this jam which I have been enjoying with peanut butter on toast in the afternoon. I don't usually snack but I've been so poorly recently, I keep finding myself reaching for tea and toast in the afternoons. It keeps me happy, anyway! 


What have you been loving this week? Let me know in a comment below!

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Hello 2017

Ok 2017, I think that I am finally just about ready for you.

Happy new year! I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas? 

The past few weeks have been crammed full of festive cheer, festive colds and well, us all being rather quite poorly! I've spent a lot of time doing a whole lot of nothing because doing anything was quite frankly just too much. January is often my most uninspiring month and being ill too really doesn't help! 

But here we are, almost half way through January already..... (mostly) feeling better and ready for a fresh start!


Miss E started nursery this week. I've spent the last 3 years with her pretty much all day, every day. She's my best buddy and even though she's only there part time now, the change feels pretty huge
Of course, she's settling in as good as I thought she would. She's confident, bright and always eager to make new friends and have new experiences..... it's very much the right thing at the right time for her. To be honest, I think the change is much harder for me. I now have a little bit of time for myself and the house is ever so quiet without her! Time to catch up on all the stuff I can't do with her here though.... work, blogging, emails, eBay.

So, let's talk about some goals for this year. I don't make resolutions but having said this, there are a few things that i'd definitely like to achieve this year. I think that writing them down will keep me focused,,,, that's the plan, anyway!

My first goal is to declutter our house completely and to keep it clutter free. If you've been following my blog then you might know that we have been on a serious mission to pursue a more simple life over the last few years (You can see some of my previous posts about our journey here). To be honest, we are doing fairly well but I know that I won't be happy until our eBay room (3rd bedroom!) is clutter free.... this means selling things on eBay, lots of visits to the charity shops and doing a car boot sale in the spring. It's going to be a busy few months and I hope to continue to share my journey here on my blog.

 In 2017 I want to learn to drive. It's something I have wanted to do for quite a while but sometimes life just gets in the way! This year I definitely want to knuckle down and get this done as it would bring me so many more opportunities without having to rely on other folk for getting around easily.

Finally, this year I would like to continue to travel more. I feel so lucky that we were able to get to so many places last year and I would love for this to continue..... especially as this is the last full year we can go on away without having to think about school holidays, something I really want to make the most of! There's so many places that I want to go, see and experience.

2017, let's do this!

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Goodbye 2016

What a year 2016 has been! For us, it has been an amazing year of firsts and new experiences and saying 'yes' more. A year of de-cluttering, buying less, aligning our priorities and living well. We've eaten out loads, made seeing live music a priority (never let that leave me again!), took spur of the moment trips away and stepped out of our comfort zone by visiting amazing, new countries. I've added many tattoos to my collection, done absolutely no work on the house (ha!) and aimed to give kiddo as many happy memories as possible.

I wanted to round-up my blogging year by posting one photo for each month of 2016. Keeping it simple because I am currently so full of cold. Ugh! Choosing just one photo per month was hard, seriously hard. I think these little snapshots capture a wonderful year quite nicely though. 

I'd love to read your round-up posts so do send me your link if you have done one too! 

2017, we are ready for you! 

See you in the new year! x












Monday, 19 December 2016

Make Christmas dinner a meal to remember!

Christmas dinner is arguably the most important meal of the year, so if you’re responsible for cooking it this Sunday then the pressure is on! You’ll need to get the meat cooked just right, get all of the vegetables hot (but not overcooked) at the same time, not to mention all of the added extras. It really is a feast, with lots of different components to think about! There’s more than just the food to think about too. Here are some of the ways you can ensure it’s a meal to remember.


Buy a meat thermometer

A meat thermometer is the only reliable way to check that meat is cooked. You don’t want to give people food poisoning, and make it a meal to remember for all the wrong reasons! If you’re cooking poultry this is especially important; there’s a lot to remember to buy at Christmas but make sure this is a priority.

Serve a starter

Many people skip Christmas day starters since the meal itself is so heavy and filling. But serving up a starter means your guests can eat this, while you’re in the kitchen putting together the finishing touches to the meal. Keep it light, a small salad or a seafood dish like prawn cocktail works well.

Decorate your table

A beautiful festive table is essential for Christmas dinner. You can buy tablecloths and tableware from just about anywhere at this time of year, and you can make it as inexpensive or luxurious as you like. For your centrepiece, how about a living arrangement? You could go to a florist and have them put together a lovely festive table bouquet for you. Or you could go on a walk, collecting holly, twigs, and pine cones and make something yourself. If you’re particularly crafty, you could make personalised placeholders and napkin rings for everyone too! Putting Christmas crackers at the table is a fun way to start the meal, you could even leave little table gifts for people as a special touch.

Do something different with your sprouts

It’s a festive running joke that no-one really likes sprouts, but we all eat them just because it’s Christmas. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Sure they might not be at their most appealing when they’re boiled half to death and stinking to high heavens. But there are a ton of different ways you can serve sprouts that are far more delicious. How about oven roasted with some chestnuts, or finely sliced and sauteed with some butter and bacon in a pan? This site has lots of ideas.

Don’t forget about dietary requirements

Will you be hosting for anyone who’s vegetarian, vegan or has an allergy of some kind? If so, remember to cater for them. Instead of handing non-meat eaters a plate of vegetables, why not buy or make a delicious nut roast, or another meat alternative? Don’t forget extras like gravy, which you will need to buy or make specifically without meat. For those with allergies, be sure to find out about their condition first, so you know exactly what they can and can’t eat.

Are you cooking Christmas dinner this year? If so, for how many guests?