Friday, 29 August 2014
Tuesday, 26 August 2014
It’s often said that the kitchen is the heart of the home, but if you’re not careful, this part of your property can end up feeling more like a prison. After all, so many vital household tasks are completed within this space and it can take what feels like an age just to keep it clean and tidy. However, by following these simple tips, you should be able to streamline your chores, ensuring you’re able to spend more time relaxing with your family.
Invest in a dishwasher
If you don’t yet have one, instead of slaving away at the sink why not get a dishwasher? These handy appliances can dramatically reduce the amount of time you spend keeping your washing up pile under control. It takes a matter of moments to load and unload the machines and dishwashers tend to do a more thorough job of cleaning crockery, cutlery, glassware and other items. As an added bonus, they can even help you to reduce your utility bills, if you use them carefully.
Sort your storage out
Because so much happens in kitchens, they can quickly become chaotic. This is why effective storage is so important. Simply installing user-friendly cabinets that pull out can save you time, stress and hassle, making it easier to find items and put them away again. Using dividers in your drawers also comes in handy. They help to keep things in order and mean you should spend less time searching for objects.
To take full advantage of the square footage available in your kitchen, full height cabinets and corner units are useful to have. Creating a home for all the items in this room makes keeping things in order much easier, and it’s especially important in busy family homes.
Prioritise a practical layout
Ideally, the three main areas within your kitchen — namely the sink, the cooker and the fridge — should be located close together. This ‘work triangle’ should be compact but not too small. Experts suggest making the distance between the three areas no less than four feet and no more than nine feet. Being able to move quickly and easily between these stations will really speed things up. Of course, you can only work with the shape and size of kitchen that you have, but you should certainly bear this principle in mind.
By following advice like this, you stand to complete your daily kitchen tasks and cut out a whole lot of hassle. A complete kitchen revamp can prove pricey, but if your budget’s under strain, you can make the changes gradually.
Karen Jean is a mum of four and part-time receptionist and can’t stand a messy home. When not tidying up after the kids, she likes to relax with a glass of red wine and a good book.
Monday, 18 August 2014
When we had our first son, we broke the "middle class code" and found out what gender our baby was going to be. I am way too impatient to wait for something as interesting as that. I was happy to find out we were having a boy since we would almost certainly be having another one, and there was every chance I would get a girl right? Wrong.
Again, breaking the unspoken code of people who deal with delayed gratification - we found out the gender of our second child - a boy. I remember shedding a year afterwards and thinking, oh no, I have to go through all of this and it's ANOTHER boy! How silly I was.
Actually having two boys has loads of benefits. First, it is cheaper, as they are into the same things (hopefully). It's a friend for life, a buddy to go through things with, stick up for, fight and wrestle with, learn from and teach. I actually quite like being the only girl in our family as it means I get special treatment and they adore me. They are totally straightforward and show their emotions (sometimes too much) in a very frank way. I never have problems working out what's going on with them, as it's so obvious. They've actually taught me quite a few things - aside from totally changing our lives, they've taught me not to care so much, since they clearly don't care what anyone thinks - at all!
So boys are pretty awesome. I wouldn't change them for the world and actually Son 2 slotted into our family quite beautifully. Son 1 has a playmate and they do everything together, I am pleased that, most of the time, they are best friends and miss each other massively. I am actually quite envious of their relationship as it's something I never had as a child, and I often felt very lonely.
Here's to boys!
Tuesday, 12 August 2014
Summer health risks for humans
If you intend to enjoy your garden during the summer, try not to sit in direct sunlight between the hours of 11am and3pm. The sun is at its hottest during this time and you really should take advantage of the shade to avoid its harmful rays and extreme heat.
Take measures to keep yourself well hydrated by drinking plenty of water too. Conditions including sunstroke,dehydration and heat exhaustion are all too common during the summer months, so make sure you take adequate steps to prevent against this.
Create a shady garden
The UK is known as a ‘green and pleasant land’ thanks to William Blake and Britain’s temperate climate. A few weeks of prolonged summer sun and heat will soon transform your verdant lush lawns into a dry patch of scrub, so it’s important you stay on top of garden maintenance.
One way of coping with this is to water your lawn every evening, and when you do mow the grass, try not to cut it too short. Create a shady alcove by planting Cornus(dogwood) and jasmine, which are hardy plants that produce beautiful flowers.
If you’re worried that you’re too old to pick up a plough, then think again! Recent research reported by retirement home experts McCarthy & Stone have revealed that one fifth of Brits don’t class themselves as ‘old’ until the age of 90! McCarthy & Stone’s retirement homes often come with landscaped gardens that are cared for by the firm too – so you won’t be expected to tend large patches of lawn yourself.
Hanging baskets need a lot of love
Whether you grow fruit or flowering plants in your hanging baskets, they will need attention from the watering can in order to withstand the rigours of the hot sun. If possible, try and water your baskets in the early morning and repeat the exercise in the evening once the sun has started to go down.
You can even add a couple of ice cubes to the soil as the water from these will evaporate slowly and give your plants more moisture.
Compost can catch fire
If you have a compost heap in a plastic bin and keep on topping it up with plant debris and grass cuttings, you should be aware that in some extreme circumstances the grass cuttings could catch light if placed under direct sunlight. Make sure that you keep your bins in the shade and turn the pile over on a regular basis.
Don’t forget to nurture your pond
Anyone who has an ornamental pond in their garden should make sure that the pond water is regularly topped up. Tepid water is better than very cold, as this won’t shock the fish with a sudden change in temperature.
A garden in the summer can be a delight, and if you follow these guidelines you’ll still be able to sit outside and enjoy its beauty.
This is a guest post.
Sunday, 27 July 2014
Friday, 25 July 2014
Monday, 21 July 2014
However I am determined we will go away SOMEWHERE just the two of us, and I'm starting to do some research!I really like the idea of staying in one of the many Henley Hotels as it's somewhere I've never been before and we can really make a weekend of it! While we are there it's nice to look at the history of the place:-
"The first Henley Regatta was held in 1839. Prior to then the same stretch of river had been used for the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race along with other events. In its early days the Regatta was more about socialising and entertainment than sport and initially was just a single afternoon event. As its popularity grew more events were added and its duration was gradually extended until 1986 when it became a five day event, which it has remained to this day."
I love stuff like this, it's really Pimms and cucumber which we don't really have up north all that much! The Regatta was before national or international rowing federations and consequently it is unique in the world of competitive rowing and has it own set of rules that are not governed by either British Rowing of the International Rowing Federation, whoever it is recognised by both bodies.
I'd really love to go to something like this and I think I've got in mind exactly where we will spend our anniversary this year! It's really nice to do something a bit different and see a different side to English life - even though it's only a few hours from Yorkshire. I love learning about the heritage of it all, having a few much needed glasses of Pimms and enjoying a good row! What more could you want?! In collaboration with Superbreak
Friday, 11 July 2014
If you're reading this blog you probably know how rewarding it is having kids - but you'll also know that to appreciate it (and stay sane) you have got to make time to relax at some point!
It's amazing to think that, fifteen years ago or thereabouts, we were all just starting to get into this internet business. Now it's everywhere, and we're literally carrying stuff around in our pockets that would have been science fiction when I was growing up. Weird to think that children now will never know anything different!
One of the brilliant things about modern smartphones and iPads and the like, is that we can grab a bit of downtime when we get the chance - that's so important for mums of young kids (or any age kids, really), as it means we can take the opportunity when we get it. If your kids have a nap after lunch, you can use your phone for half an hour of Words With Friends, Angry Birds, or even to play bingo online. Imagine having to run out to a bingo hall a few years ago if you fancied a game! Now that wireless is everywhere, even the hassle of getting on the internet in the first place is gone.
The way the technology has changed is amazing. I remember the phone I had ten years or so ago - a tiny black-and-white screen and that was about it. It seems like phones got as small as they were going to get shortly after that, and suddenly, as everyone started getting online on their phones, and the graphics got better, everyone wanted bigger screens. Apple's next iPhone is supposed to be coming with a bigger screen and I'm quite tempted...
I also remember the days when the internet was basically just sites that told you stuff. Now there's a forum for just about everything (various parenting ones spring to mind!) and everyone can contribute. It's the sharing of information that makes going online so different these days - nobody, including new parents who often feel like they don't know what they're doing, needs to feel alone.
At the moment though, for me it's the ability to "tune out" when the moment presents itself that I value most. With two small boys I never quite know when it's going to be, but as long as I've got my phone to hand I'm always going to be ready!
(Image courtesy of mashable.com)
Tuesday, 8 July 2014
|My first day at school in 1983|
There's something definitely special about a "first day at school". I guess it's the end of an era, a big transition between staying at home with mum and venturing into the big wide world.
Anyway, back to uniforms wearing out in two minutes! I buy all my uniforms from George at Asda - they are one of the few uniform providers to make navy blue trousers which wash well and last 100 days! That might sound short but in the life of a school trouser it is very long indeed! In fact, if you have any issue at all with your uniform, Asda have a no quibble guarantee which is really reassuring.
|George at Asda Navy Trousers only £3!|
Where do you buy your school uniform?
This is a sponsored post although all thoughts are my own.
Monday, 7 July 2014
It's always going to be a stressful process, and in the past we've always gone for new builds which has been great - everything is perfect when you move in and there is NOTHING to do to it - the downside being that the value of the property does slide over the first few years. This time we're not going to make that mistake, we're not going to take the easy route and in fact we've already got our next house in mind! I'm a really impatient person and I know that when we do make the move, I'll want to have everything looking "perfect" (ish) as soon as possible. I think the way to do this is to get some ideas beforehand so it's not all last minute. I've been having a look at what to do with the bedrooms already and for the boys bedroom I like the idea of something bright and bold and think this quirky crocodile head is pretty awesome!
Singoli Crocodile HeadIn keeping with the safari ish theme, I think this giraffe cushion is super cute and a great accessory!
Gola Children's CushionI've also come across quite a few lovely blogs on this very subject, I like this one here called My Little Lovebird, there are loads of great images on there with various ideas and concepts. Looking at blogs for home design ideas now seems like a total no brainer for me!
That's about as far as I've got thus far! If you spot any awesome kids bedroom stuff please leave a comment below!
Friday, 4 July 2014
A few weeks ago we had the chance to put this into practice by spending the day at Lightwater Valley! It's quite near to our house, probably about an hours drive away - so we set off quite early to make the most of the day. I remember going to Lightwater Valley as a child with school and having a great time, it's nice to revisit old haunts with your own children years later I think.
When we walked through the ticket barriers, this little guy was on hand to greet us! I thought it was a nice touch, especially as my boys LOVE Angry Birds. They were thrilled!
|Angry Birds Fun!|
|Angry Birds climbing frame|
|More Angry Birds stuff!|
|Fun on the swings|
There were LOADS of rides suitable for toddlers as these photos show, though there were some height restrictions on some rides it didn't affect our enjoyment at all. It was quite hard to get action shots of the children on the rides as they all came out blurry!
|Looking serene on the swans.|
|We went on this ferris wheel several times!|
We had a typical fast food lunch in one of the cafes at lunchtime, there was plenty of choice including baked potatoes, pizzas, hot dogs that kind of thing. Not mega healthy but then that's what kids seem to like on days like that!
All in all we had a great time, the weather was fab, staff lovely, rides lots of fun - what more could you want!
I received these tickets as a gift but all thoughts are my own.
Sunday, 22 June 2014
Anyway, I was lucky enough to be given a £75 Karen Millen Voucher as a gift at Christmas and unbelievably I've had the will power to hold onto it for 6 months in time for the Summer sale! Here's what I chose...
|Karen Millen Palm Print Skirt £49|
|Snake Devore Top £25|
I was REALLY tempted with this block heel sandals too, were £110 now £55. They looks pretty as well as practical.
|Karen Millen Two Part Block Heel Sandal £55|
Friday, 13 June 2014
|Floral Print Dress from Dorothy Perkins, £22|
|Gingham Jeggings from Topshop, £22|
|White peasant blouse from Dorothy Perkins, £22|
|Coral Texture Jumper from Dorothy Perkins, £22|
- wear the dress on its own
- wear the dress with the jumper making it look like a skirt
- wear the dress with the white blouse, again making it look like a skirt
- wear the jeggings with the white blouse
- wear the jeggings with the jumper
Winner! I also bought a light blue shirt from Gap but I think it hindsight it was a mistake for me - it's not very structured so it sort of hangs off my narrow shoulders, strangely it's not on the Gap website but I do like wearing it over the gingham jeggings, but only tied at the waist over a white tee.
Shoes wise I'm all for buying a couple of new pairs of pumps each year, as even expensive ones get worn out. I like these and they also go perfectly with the items listed above!
|H&M Ballet pumps £7.99|
Monday, 9 June 2014
Friday, 30 May 2014
I was lucky enough to be offered the chance to review something from My 1st Years and I chose a personalised art apron for my youngest son - he loves painting and always seems to be getting paint all over himself (and everywhere else too) so I thought this would be a nice choice. Best of all, the apron also includes a lovely paint set with matching brush - which he absolutely LOVED!
Anyway, onto my review. The apron and paint set arrived inside a lovely gift box, this is a really good idea as I like sending things direct to people online but it seems a total waste of money to pay for gift wrap. The box is free which I think is a great idea and makes the item seem a bit more special. Plus my boys were keen on using the box to create a space ship for their lego men so it was a total win win!
Inside the box there was the lovely apron complete with the paint set neatly tucked inside the apron's pounch, I was thrilled. The quality of the apron was outstanding and I loved the way his name had been embroidered so carefully and lovingly. The apron is totally wipe clean so I won't have to wash it, I think that's a total must.
He's already had a go at using the paints and I have to say, they were great. The paintbrush was also a "proper" one that he could use over and over again.
All in all I was really pleased with the apron and at £14.99 it's the perfect price for a present.
Wednesday, 21 May 2014
I've had a look at The Watch Hut as a start and, as is expected, I'm thinking BLING!
I like this Michael Kor watch.
|Michael Kor Watch £229|
Don't you think watches are just PERFECT for a birthday present? Exactly the right price, shiny, potentially blingy and a bit "special", in a good way. I do have a nice watch, a REALLY expensive one but the thing is, it's so expensive that sometimes I think it sort of owns me, rather than vice versa. That's another good reason to get something in the "reasonable" bracket.
What do you think? When is the perfect time to be given a nice watch?
This is a sponsored post.
Thursday, 8 May 2014
And wouldn't you believe it! As luck would have it I was chosen to be a #Morrisonsmum and have a little mosey round Morrisons to take a look at their new cheaper prices and to buy everything I need for an awesome family BBQ. Fun! I've always liked Morrisons as I think their meat and bread products are second to none. There are LOADS of Morrisons around here, mainly because we live near their HQ in Bradford (an invite would be nice Morrisons HQ!) and there is a REALLY nice store nearby in Guiseley that has the world's busiest supermarket cafe, so I'm well versed in the ways of Morrisons. Morrisons work with farmers to get the highest quality ingredients, and I think it really shows in their end product.
Now Morrisons have raised the bar again by promising to lower prices even more! Wherever you see a yellow sticker like this...
....so you can be sure the price is cheaper than any other supermarket, not just matched!
So here's some piccies of our shopping trip and some bargains we found!
|3 sets of BBQ meat for £20, bargain!|
|Half price champers at Morrisons|
Our neighbour Paul (hello Paul!) put us onto this awesome French lager, it's low in alcohol and is great for a summer's day.
|French Lager, bargain at £3.45|
You can't see it in this picture so much, but one of the things I love about Morrisons is the steamy salad stuff, either way this is a bargain and good quality salad too!
|Lovely garden stuff.|
Anyway, here's our looty (or is it booty?) when we got home.... all ready for dining al fresco!
If you really want to impress when you're entertaining, consider my lovely little tip of smoked salmon bites!
- Melba Toast (99p)
- Cream cheese (choose brand own rather than Philadelphia, tastes the same and it's cheaper!) (£1)
- Smoked Salmon (£3.49)
|My Salmon bites 35p a portion|
|Enjoying the scran.|
Having a lovely BBQ with all those wonderful ingredients really put me in mind for the Summer ahead and I'm looking forward to more BBQs courtesy of our local Morrisons!
Morrisons have cut prices on over a thousand products and where you see a yellow marker in store and online which says the item is cheaper, you can be sure it is staying cheaper! They are cutting prices and not corners. I was sent gift vouchers from Morrisons to enable me to shop for this meal and produce this blog post though all opinions are my own.
Sunday, 13 April 2014
Tuesday, 8 April 2014
Sunday, 6 April 2014
|Britains Got Talent Judges calling round for a cup of tea at my house...|
2) Opera duo Charlotte and Jonathan really stuck in my mind from 2012. I think we all love an underdog and they certainly were that! They came on and like everyone else I was thinking, "here we go again" and how wrong was I! They were wonderful! Simon Cowell asked Jonathan to sing without Charlotte but being a gent, he said no. However I did see online that they have now gone separate ways and signed with Sony.... that's showbiz!
3) Gabz - ok she may have looked like a moody teenager pretending to be nice, but you've got to admire her songwriting skills. There were also some amusing comments at the time on twitter about her being a potential nightmare to work with, but who cares! It was a nice song and my boys enjoy singing along with her, with their pretend lighters.... is that wrong?!
|Gabz, potential nightmare but great songwriting skills!|
|Only Boys Aloud, total crowd pleaser...|
|The act we all love to hate..|
Thursday, 27 March 2014
Having said all that, I can see that taking part in sport (if you can see) is a really good thing and not to be sniffed at, especially if you really really love the sport you are involved in. Anything that keeps children interested and off the iPad is good as far as I'm concerned, and team sports are a great way to learn about dealing with other people and working as a team. Therefore I'm really happy to be able to let you know about a new awesome opportunity Samsung are offering to some very lucky children - the chance to learn how to play with Chelsea FC youth coaches! Samsung Dream the Blues campaign aims to help young people between the ages of 9 and 13 to realise their football dreams and train with the best. As part of the sessions, keen footballers will go through a series of skill sessions and mini games learning how to control, dribble, shoot and pass along with other children around the same age. This year, Chelsea FB will be holding youth football camps in China,Vietname and Columbia where children will have a chance to meet with their Chelsea heroes Torres, Hazard and Terry in London! Bonza!
Find out more checking the Dream the Blues Youtube Channel
Check out the official Website
Have a look at the previous Dream the Blues Campaign
This post is sponsored by Samsung, but all thoughts are my own.