Well, I went to Paris, last week and it was ALL KINDS of amazing. I can’t even put into words how much I love that city, every square inch of it (and we covered a *lot* of square inches)
Back in Surrey now, with my babes, and laid up like a kipper. I finally had my first carpal tunnel op on Wednesday, mother of god those injections were a bitch, I think I would prefer to be knocked out next time. For now, I have to keep my (right) hand raised for 2 weeks, it’s got a bandage as thick as a cast (extreme?) and I can’t use my fingers as the stitches are in the middle of my palm. So, I’ve gone from swanning round the city of romance to having my dinner cut up for me by the bloke. I like to cover all bases you know?
I’ve got a tonne of things to write about, a million and one goodies, amazing photos to share, and I want to give the header a face lift. But, until this huge thing comes off I’m stuck with writing notes on my phone, complete with spelling mistakes. Left handed typing is a bitch.
So, in the style of Arnie (just do it…..) I’ll be back.
I was recently sent a *gorgeous* handmade cushion with a quote from me stitched on the front, you may have seen it on my Instagram page. Even though my ‘babies’ are 11 and almost 5, they’re still my babies and they always will be. I loved the whole sentiment behind the power of soft, this poem! Don’t read if you’re feeling hormonal! *sniff*
They carried out a survey across mums and these are their key results:
Almost 60% spent at least a quarter of their entire day cuddling their new born
74% of new parents most savoured “cuddle time” over any other moment in the day.
15% of parents with a baby aged 0-6 months found only an hour or less a day between chores and other pressures to enjoy cuddle time
The number one piece of advice from more experienced parents to new mothers was to “forget the little things because time flies and you can’t get it back”.
70% of parents with babies 9 months+ said that the one thing they would have done differently as a new parent was spending more time cuddling their baby.
More than two thirds of parents say the one thing they would have done differently is spend more time cuddling
70% of parents wish their child would stay new born for longer
With the power of hindsight, the number one piece of advice from parents with children 9 months+ was to forget the little things, such as staying on top of the housework, because time with your new born soon flies and you can’t get it back.
Other top advice to new mums from the Mumsnet survey, included:
1. Mummy knows best even when she thinks she doesn’t
2. Try not to be super mum
3. You can’t spoil your baby with cuddles
4. Sleep when the baby does
5. Housework can wait
6. Take a ‘baby moon’
7. Don’t compare yourself to other mothers – every baby is different
8. Trust your instincts
9. Treasure every moment
10. If you thought you were in love before you had a baby – wait till you meet your baby!
I used to love beauty boxes when they first came out. When they weren’t insanely well known and the products included were decent sample sizes if not full size. Then it all got crazy and I was paying a monthly fee for the kind of samples you get in magazines, which annoyed me, so I stopped subscribing.
I’ve seen various boxes, either through here or on other blogs and twitter, but I’ve never tried a BirchBox before, so when they got in touch I was interested to find out what was included in their box and if it was different to others.
It arrived on Wednesday but because my postman doesn’t ‘do’ mornings it came while I was out (2pm!) and the card that was left through the door said “too big to deliver” I liked that! My hopes raised!
I love the idea of trying new samples of products you might not normally buy, and I love the idea of trying them at home when the kids are busy, in bed or at school. I’m an actual real life shopaholic but my little (or not so little) darlings are insane and shopping with them is a nightmare, so it doesn’t happen nearly as much as I’d like it to. Subscribing to BirchBox for £10 a month + £2.95 postage you get sent a selection of goodies to discover and fall in love with (or keep for visitors!)
Each month you get 4 or 5 samples (there were 6 in my box) There was a full size product in this months box but I’m not sure if that’s a regular thing or not, tailored to suit your lifestyle.
My box had:
Beauty Protector; Protect & Oil £16 full size. A nourishing hair oil that protects from UV rays, heat and breakage. You work 1-3 drops into damp hair or onto dry ends. Suitable for all hair types.
Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner £12 FS. A foolproof way of getting feline flicks. I am still utterly useless at using liquid eyeliner but I am going to have another go with this one as it’s so much skinnier than the others I’ve tried. There’s a tutorial card included in the box so that might help!
Urbanveda; Purifying Daily Facial Wash £7.99 FS. This is going to be stolen by my 11yo I just know it! Because it’s all natural ingredients, I don’t mind. This time…!
Gilchrist & Soames; The London Collection Shower Gel £13.75 FS. This is perfect timing, this little fella is coming to Paris with me this weekend. It smells gorgeous, it’s paraben free and it hydrates skin.
Leighton Denny Nail Colour £11. My is a gorgeous Tiffani box colour, Blue Lagoon. Roll on summer, this is going on my toes!
Green & Black’s Dark 70% Chocolate £2.29 FS. – Nice! I love dark chocolate and this was a fab little treat size!
Ooh, another little extra was a set of cards with quotes on them, now, we all know I love to frame random cards and postcards, so these little babies will be framed and up on a wall sometime very soon, I loved them!
All in all, DEF worth the £10 monthly fee, even for the full size nail varnish which costs more than that anyway.
You can read exclusive BirchBox features online and buy full-size products in their shop.
Find out more about the service and subscribe here.
Most kids hate the bathroom. It’s not as fun as their bedroom. There’s no CBeebies in it, like there is in the living room. They can’t make a giant mess, like they can in the kitchen.
Parents across the globe face a daily battle to make their kids brush their teeth, have a bath or shower or generally do anything hygienic. This is because the average child’s brain filters information by asking one simple question: ‘is it fun?’ If the answer is no, then forget about it.
But winning the bathroom battle is definitely not about erasing this mindset; the blissful days of childhood should be full of fun and laughter. Instead, we should all work on making our bathrooms a bit more fun for our little tykes. Here are a few ideas.
Invent some games
As mentioned before, any activity proposed to a child first needs to pass through their fun filter. The best way to bypass this filter (although it should be mentioned that this is by no means an exact science) is to make everything boring into a game.
You can turn anything into a game – brushing teeth, having a bath or *ahem* doing your business. The theme of the game is up to you, but it needs to fit 2 criteria: it needs to be fun, and it needs to give your child a sense of achievement.
For example, brushing your teeth – I used to hate it as a kid. It wasn’t fun and it tasted weird. That was until I was introduced to General Plaque and his army of minions.
General Plaque was an enemy invented by my mother, and he could only be defeated by brushing my teeth. My enterprising mum put together a sticker chart to map our progress against the evil general – every time we both brushed our teeth, we put a sticker on the chart. A missed day meant that General Plaque got stronger – in my child-mind, at least.
The game, if a tiny bit scary, was fun and the sticker chart gave me a sense of achievement. A full sticker chart was a victory, and brushing my teeth was the route to victory.
As long as it’s fun and carries a sense of achievement, your imagination is the limit when it comes to devising games!
Make your bathroom child-friendly
The bathroom is undoubtedly the least child-friendly of all the rooms in a home. It has neutral shades, it’s cold and the surfaces are tough. There’s no visual stimulation to be had, making it particularly boring for children.
Now, it’s important not to design your entire home around your children – they grow up quickly and you’ll be changing bits every 5 minutes – but adding a few new features to your bathroom can improve the time your child does spend in there.
Adding a bit of colour to a single wall, for example, can make the bathroom more appealing to a child’s eye. Child-specific accessories, such as removable shower screen stickers, can make taking a bath or showering more fun. Even something designed specifically for adults, like an illuminated mirror, can distract a child with pretty lights long enough to brush their teeth without throwing a tantrum!
Let’s be honest: having a bath is boring. Okay, so it’s good to soak away stress but after 10 minutes or so? Nah, I’m bored.
And I say that as a fully grown adult – how must a child feel?
Entertaining your child while they bathe is difficult in this era of iPads and Moshi Monsters but there’s plenty to be said for the range of bath toys on the market.
For younger kids, Tomy’s Octopals are pretty great; it’s a big, engaging toy with cute little octopus characters that – take a deep breath – squirt water. Great fun, but remember to put up a screen before hand!
I don’t think there is much cooler than this Aquafun Pirate Ship (yes, it also squirts water – I apologise for the wet floors in advance). Team up a couple of these and you’ll have your kids engaging in epic naval warfare while you wash their hair. With any luck, they won’t even notice you’re doing it.
There are plenty of cool bath toys out there, and the key is finding one that suits your own child’s interests and that can be used in some kind of game.
In all honesty, no amount of fun and games is going to turn kids into well-behaved bathroom-loving angels but that doesn’t mean you can’t make things easier for yourself and maybe have a bit of fun yourself along the way.
If you’ve got any tips you’d like to add, let us know in the comments!
Chris is a writer who is incredibly jealous of kids who get to play with pirate ships in the bath. He writes for a range of publications, and works closely with a number of companies.
I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser.
For the first time in ages, this weekend, we had a whole two days where we were all together rather than one or two of us off doing different things, just meeting up in the evening for dinner and flopping on the sofa knackered. The sun was shining (at last!!) so we decided we to make the whole of Saturday as bright as possible, The Boy had a party to go to so he decided balloons, sweets and cakes were going to be his bright thing, GG had her luminous blue uggs on and I was rocking a bright pink lippie, and with the help of Vitamin Water, we added a fab bright craft into the day as well!
The first stop off was Waitrose to grab some drinks, obviously we wanted them to be as colourful as possible, I went with Sunshine by Vitamin Water naturally! I was hugely tempted by the gorgeous flowers they had at the front of the store, as much as I love winter, even I’m sick of it now, my garden is calling me for the first time ever and all the bright blooms were screaming ‘buy me, buy me’ Maybe I’ll go back next week…!
We then made our way to the local art shop. I have to admit, it might have been sunny but it was still flipping freezing. Can’t have it all I suppose! Anyway! We decided that we wanted to make some canvas prints, actually, I lie, the first idea was to head into the garden and throw some powder paint around, making ‘natural art’ only it’s got to be specific powder paint, it stains everything, it’s expensive and, well, that was enough to put me off! Canvas it was! The kids love painting and getting messy but they’ve both got short attention spans, so anything that gets too technical and longwinded is a no no, which is why this was a GREAT art project for them to do.
With a canvas each and four bright acrylic paints purchased, we made our way back home to turn the garden into our own little outside studio, covering the patio with a plastic sheet, even though I was very tempted to add some permanent colour to it, the husband said it probably wasn’t a good idea!
Because of the style of the painting, non-technical term ‘flicking’ – the paint needed to be quite watery, so we needed to thin it out quite a bit, which we did just by adding water to a big blob of paint and mixing it well. They grabbed a paintbrush each, and we were ready to go!
It was literally a case of grab your brush, load it up with colour and flick it across the canvas. The best way I can describe it is as if you’re getting rid of excess water on a paintbrush after washing it. See, I could totally do this type of thing for a living….! We also sectioned off a little part of the blank canvas so we could do a silhouette drawing after. The original idea was an umbrella holding off the ‘rain’ but because ours didn’t end up in that style, we found some other ideas, with The Boy going for a bird on a branch and GG going for a cat. I was more nervous about ruining their pictures with my drawing than I was about the whole craft! Thankfully they turned out ok, we think!
We only went with four colours but we chose really bright ones so they would stand out individually, The Boy got the hang of the whole ‘less is more’ concept but GG is a typical tweenage girl, she wanted to keep going and we practically had to drag the brush out of her hand before it ended up as a one big, blended coloured canvas! We also learnt that too much water makes it mix a little too well on the actual canvas, so I think when we do it next time (I want my own canvas thank you very much) she’ll use less water on the brush!
Once they were dry and I had added the silhouette part, we hung them up proudly in the hallway. The kids are *very* proud of their masterpieces, and I am itching to have another go! The plan is a bigger, flatter canvas covered in the flicked paint entirely.
Regardless of how big or small your house is, how many people live there or how many cupboards, wall units and drawers you have, there just NEVER seems to be enough storage for everything!
Most people like their home to be neat, tidy and stylish. With growing families and seemingly shrinking houses sometimes keeping a house organised can feel like a losing battle. I am forever following my children around the house, picking clothes up off the floor and encouraging them to tidy their toys away, yet the house still always looks like a small tornado has hit it at the end of the day!
However, storage doesn’t have to be limited to storage units and built in cupboards. There are a multitude of quirky and cool solutions that will not only provide you with more space but will also look amazing in the process.
Take a look at some of our best stylish and alternative storage solutions for your home.
Cube shelves Cube shelves look stunning in a modern room, and can be made from a variety of materials, including white wood, high gloss and classic pine. Best hung in sets of three, they add instant style to your walls and provide you with a useful place to store books, ornaments, candles and much more!
Fruit and vegetable crates
If your home is more shabby chic, then fruit or vegetable packing crates could be a great solution for you. Far from being the dirty and utility item you may expect them to be, they add a touch of vintage cool to any room in your home. Useful for storing jars in the kitchen, or blankets and soft furnishings in the lounge.
A really inexpensive but surprisingly stylish storage solution is to make a hanging jar shelf. These help to declutter and organise your space and provide you with an opportunity to upcycle your old food jars.
You could either attach some ribbon or twine to the neck of a jam jar, which is then suspended to a hook attached to a metal rail. Alternatively you could screw or glue the lid of a jar to the underside of an existing shelf, add whatever you would like to store to the jar, and then simply screw the jar to the lid.
A neat stack of differently sized vintage suitcases looks amazing in a lounge or bedroom, and could just be the incentive your children need to tidy their toys up after themselves. Make tidying up an adventure by asking them to pretend they’re going on holiday and need to pack all their toys for the trip. Children love a bit of make-believe and a vintage suitcase could provide hours of fun, as well as being a useful and practical item for your home.
Another fantastic, inexpensive and innovative storage solution is the humble jute bag. Hardwearing and available in a range of different sizes, they are perfect for storing items such as laundry, toys, vegetables, newspapers and books.