Wednesday, 26 July 2017

How sponsoring a child work

Hearing about the plight of orphaned children can be traumatic for anyone, but as a parent, it might hit you especially hard. The thought of youngsters trying to make their way in the world without the love and support of their parents is heartrending.

Tragically, there are around 200 million orphans globally and many of these children struggle to access the basics, including clean water, food, healthcare and education. In the face of statistics like this, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless to help. However, there are practical things you can do. For example, by sponsoring a child you can dramatically improve their quality of life and give them the opportunity to not just survive, but flourish. Here’s how the process works.

Your first step
Firstly, you’ll need to find an organisation that accepts sponsorship donations on behalf of orphans, such as aid and development charity Human Appeal. The organisation you decide to give money to will guide you through the steps you should take. This could mean agreeing to donate to a particular youngster that you’ve seen on the charity’s website, or it could involve specifying the type of child you’re keen to support. For example, you may be able to choose an age range, gender and location. Alternatively, you can let the charity select a child on your behalf. It’s up to you.

You’ll then have the opportunity to start making regular donations, and this can usually be done on a monthly or yearly basis. Once you’ve set up your payments, you’ll start to receive updates on how your money is making a difference.

Don’t worry if you can’t commit to giving money on an ongoing basis though. Charities also accept one-off contributions and it’s important to bear in mind that every contribution - no matter how small - can make a real difference to a child’s life.

Paying for the essentials
The money you give when you sponsor a youngster can help to pay for a whole range of essentials. For example, it can provide them with food to help them grow up to be strong and healthy. It can also give them access to medicines and meet the costs of their schooling, dramatically improving their prospects for the future. Supporting youngsters in countries such as Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Pakistan, Eritrea, Macedonia, Tunisia and Bangladesh by providing them with these basics can give them the security and confidence they need to thrive.

To find out more about your sponsorship options, you can visit charities’ websites. Whichever organisation you decide to give money to, you should find the process to be straightforward and it’ll give you the satisfaction of knowing you’re doing your bit to help a child in need.

Summer Garden Party Planning Tips

There really is nothing quite like a summer garden party – as long as the weather is playing ball! It’s the perfect excuse to get your friends and family together to enjoy some food, drink and sunshine (with any luck!) without the hustle and bustle of a night on the town. If you’re a busy parent like me, then it’s a great option for entertaining other parents without the worry of expensive childcare – BYOB (bring your own baby!). Of course, it goes without saying that you have a well-deserved glass of Pimm’s, but as is the case with any type of party, the planning stage is perhaps the most important part. Here are just a few tips to help your summer party go off with a bang!

The Darling Buds of May, may well have sold the great British summertime as being a sunny care-free affair, but unfortunately you can’t guarantee that the rain will hold off on the day of the event. To combat the inevitability of soggy tuna and cucumber sandwiches (sans crusts, or course), perhaps the most important thing you could do is to buy, borrow or hire a gazebo or marquee. It may seem a little cautious, but it will help to prevent having to move your guests and their muddy shoes and sticky fingers into your living room – trust me, it’s an investment worth making.

No matter how young your guests, no one wants to be stuck standing up from start to finish of your party, and so, making sure you have plenty of seating dotting around your outdoor space is an absolute must. You’re likely to already have plenty of indoor seating that you can bring out for the occasion, but it’s worth investing in some garden furniture too – benches, camping chairs, deck chairs or even stylish rattan furniture would all do just perfectly, and there’s something to suit every budget. Alternatively, why not ask your guests to bring a chair or two along with them?

Lawn Games
Having a few fun games set up in the backyard is a great way to keep your guests entertained and can be a fantastic way to help break the ice, especially if attendees don’t necessarily know each other particularly well. Bowls, croquet, skittles or even outdoor Twister are just a few suggestions, and if you do decide to invite children along, why not hand out some colourful chunky chalk and let them create a masterpiece or two on the paving slabs/concrete? Don’t worry about the mess, the rain will wash away any residue for you later.

Food & Drink Station
Rather than having a BBQ (save yourself the hassle of timing everything perfectly), why not set up a food and drinks station for people to help themselves. Buffet-style eating is fuss free and can be pre-pared to allow you to relax and enjoy yourself when the party is in full swing. Dessert tables are growing to be more and more popular and you can have a lot of fun with setting these up to suit your style. Remember to set these tables up in the shade and preferably under a shelter to help save the food from spoiling in the sun.

No party is complete without music, so why not create a summer themed playlist to add a little background noise to your shindig? It’s important to make sure it’s age-friendly - not everyone will be happy if their five year old goes home with a newly found love of Slipknot lyrics, no matter how much you might love them. Wireless speakers are a fantastic way to play out your song choices outdoors and will help everyone to relax – just make sure to be considerate of your neighbours if you’re not inviting them along.


Remember the days of the party bag? Well, let’s be honest, even us grownups are a fan of a token gift to take home with them, but try to avoid the football stickers and slice of cake option. There are plenty of clever ideas for you to consider, why not send everyone home with a tipple or two to enjoy later? Places such as Just Miniatures are a great place to pick up mini-versions of your favourite spirits or wines – and they can be personalised too. Alternatively, a small box of fancy chocolates often goes down well too. 

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

My Summer Holiday Survival Guide for Parents

The summer Holidays are finally here for most of us, the kids are full of energy that they just need to let out, your home is completely trashed and it's only the first week! They have eaten most of the food in the house and you only picked up the shopping this morning! What are you going to do?! How will you survive?!
Keep calm, breathe, here's what you need to do to prepare yourself for Summer holiday Survival!!

Make sure you have a large supply of Coffee and Wine

If you're going to cope over the next 6 weeks you're going to need a secret stash of Wine an Chocolate, make sure the chocolate is hidden away safely from the little cupboard snoopers, even hide it away from your other half if need be? Don't feel bad, i always do it!
I'm not really a big wine drinker so i get by on Coffee, i need to make sure it doesn't run out over the next 6 weeks, 'cos it's the only thing that will get me through!!

Look into school holiday clubs

If you need some childcare or just a break from the little buggers, try looking into what holiday clubs and play schemes are in your area. I have come across 2 in our town, i haven't ruled out the idea yet!

Do your Shopping online

Taking my children to a supermarket is a big no no! I have done it in the past and vowed never to do it again, ever! I always spend more money than i needed to and i come away feeling stressed and worn out! Why would anybody put themselves through this when you can have your shopping brought straight to your door? We used Tesco click and collect and usually do a small top up shop through the week. It works really well for us :-)

Plan your days wisely

Check the weather forcast for the week ahead and plan out your days. It's good to find out what each family member would like to do and make sure each person gets to do at least 1 thing that they really wanted to do over the holidays. It's good to budget your days out and make sure you don't over spend.

Have baking/craft days

There's sure to be some rainy days ahead of us. Prepare for the wet weather and visit Baker Ross and get yourself some fantastic value kiddy crafts. They always have sales on and will have something for each child to enjoy.

                   Enjoy your time with your children however you choose to spend it :-)
                                                        Thanks for reading!

Monday, 24 July 2017

Easy Home Updates Which Can Make a Huge Difference

It is very easy to become bored of the appearance of your home – don’t worry, we’re all guilty of it. Nobody wants to redecorate every time your tastes change as this is both time-consuming and expensive, so it’s so important to look for easy updates that can make an enormous difference to your house without the factor of both time and money being an issue.

Sites such as Pinterest or Instagram are a wealth of knowledge on this front, and it’s so easy to caught up in hours and hours of looking over images to inspire your projects – so to make things easier for you, here are few ideas to aid your d├ęcor plans.

Lighting plays an enormous role in ambience and by simply adding in a new lamp or two then you can easily transform the whole look and feel of the room. It’s important to do a little research into which lighting would work best for which room – for example, in the living room it’s important to steer clear of stark bright lights and instead opt for a warm and welcoming ambience, whilst this kind of lighting would feel completely out of place in say your kitchen or bathroom. Vintage light bulbs are growing ever-popular too, so if you’re looking for something a little different, then why not consider a mixing a marble based lamp with a filament bulb for a really striking finish?

Lay down a new rug and the entire room will feel much different – it may sound like an obvious solution, but sometimes the screamingly obvious can be the thing we tend to overlook. If you’re short on space or are looking to make a huge difference to a room with quite a narrow floorspace, then consider a runner, rather than trying to squeeze in their larger counterpart. One of the best things about runner-rugs is that there are endless materials and colours or patterns to choose from and can add a pop of colour to a difficult to fill, narrow corridor. If you’re looking for some inspiration, then retailers such as Cox & Cox often have some great offerings.

Adding plants around your house is a superb way to inject colour and life into the home – plus they are known to have many health benefits. Sure, flowers in a vase are an obvious choice, but you could also opt for something with a bit more character like the ever-popular cactus or even a bonsai tree. Alternatively, why not start your own herb garden? Don’t worry if your home is a flat or has little in the way of green space, herbs can often be grown inside and out, or you could even attach a window box or start a mini veg garden in pots on your balcony – there are plenty of options, and if you do opt to grow them indoors, then it will come in super handy when it comes to cooking.

The greatest way to change a room and add personality is through artwork. Paintings, photographs and sculptures are all good options, and if you already have artwork that you enjoy looking at, simply moving it into a different room or area can make a surprisingly big difference. If you’re not confident in your layout skills and need a little helping hand in this department, then why not lay out a large white sheet of paper on the floor and arrange your frames on this before you start hammering nails in to your paint work. It may sound a little odd, but it will really help you to visualise what will work best next to each other without causing any damage to your walls.
Cushions are easy to overlook, but by simply adding in new cushions or replacing your old cushion covers, you can add a whole new look to your living area.  Why not try mixing up shapes and sizes to give your room a bit more depth – or even adding a bold new colour into the mix. This works especially well if your current colour scheme is fairly neutral and can change the identity of lounge without costing you a fortune. If you’re on a budget, why not whip out the sewing machine and try your hand at sewing yourself some new cushion covers in your dream fabric.  

Mirrors are considered to be somewhat of a secret weapon when it comes to interior design, and a new mirror can make a room look much bigger and brighter in an instant. Vintage shops and carboot sales are a fantastic place to pick up a mirror at a much lower price than new – look out for the ever popular art deco style as this can add elegance and glamour to almost any room.

These are just a few of the quick and easy ways in which you can update and change the look of your home without having to do anything drastic or spend your hard earned cash on items you may not even like a year or so down the line. Again, sites such as Pinterest and Instagram are great for further inspiration, but be sure not to get sucked into that Pinterest-blackhole, trust me – it’s easily done!

Friday, 21 July 2017

Fun Ways to Get About with the Kids in the Summer

There’s nothing quite like a summers day outdoors when the sun is shining and the ice creams are aplenty. This is especially true when you have kids, so it is important that you have plenty of great ideas for getting out and making many happy family memories together. Here are just a few ideas to make the most of the summer once school is out:

Bike Rides
Bike rides are a fantastic family activity as it is a great form of exercise, you can travel to exciting new places and enjoy one another’s company. Make sure that you have a safe route planned away from traffic (especially if they are new/nervous riders), be careful not to get separated and bring plenty of water along with you.

Scooters are proving to be hugely popular at the moment. In addition to being fun to ride, they are also a surprisingly good form of transportation. If you are heading out for the day, try taking a few scooters out with you (mum and dad can enjoy them too!). These are available from places like Skate Hut, but remember to always wear safety gear when riding them.

Treasure Hunts
Everybody enjoys a good treasure hunt as they are fun, encourage exercise, provide healthy competition and there are prizes. Head to the park for a family day out and set up a treasure hunt before letting the kids tear around trying to find the different bits of treasure.

If you’re a savvy mama or papa, then why not pack up a delicious picnic with all your favourite goodies and then head out on a family stroll to somewhere peaceful and scenic. The walk will be a good form of exercise and then you can all enjoy your lunch or dinner al fresco!

Beach Trip
If you live near the coast, a trip to the beach is always a superb idea in the summer. You can chill out with a good book whilst the kids paddle in the sea, make sand castles and play beach games. Cone of chips and 2p machines aside, the beach is a fantastic free day out and even the grumpiest of toddlers won’t be able to resist. 

Camping can be a very valuable and fun family experience. In addition to spending quality time together, this is an activity that can teach kids a number of important life skills and show them how to respect nature. Be sure to select somewhere that you are allowed to camp and always be mindful of your natural surroundings.

These are just a few fun summer activities to try with the little ones this summer, but there are many more to consider. Summer is always the happiest time of the year and these activities will ensure it is a memorable one for all too.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Inside my daughters room

 L's bedroom is my favourite room in our house, it's every little girl's dream room. All her friends love to play in her room when they come over. It's fun, it's pretty and it's PINK!!
It's not always tidy of course... in fact, it's never tidy!  But tonight, for about 5 minutes... it was!
I took this opportunity to take a few pictures for this post.

L's room is spacious and cosy, it has built in wardrobes which saves a lot of space. 

I love the Ballerina theme, the day she stops loving Ballerina decor will be a very sad day!!

On top of the Bookcase is her little Fairy collection and a Picture frame from Disneyland Paris.

L  LOVES her Soft Princess collection from The Disney Store, she plays with them nearly every day!

This Doll's house is pretty huge and takes up a lot of space in her room, but she loves it and plays it quite often!

no Princess room is complete without lots of beautiful Disney Princess Dresses!

Last, the all important Cuddly collection! L just loves cuddly toys. No child's bedroom is complete without a million of these things laying around!

There isn't much i'd want to change about L's bedroom apart from her bed, there isn't anything wrong with her current bed, but after browsing children's bedroom furniture i came across the most beautiful beds for girls and i couldn't help but notice this bed

it's so pretty and elegant and would look great in L's room, it's on my "list of things to buy" which is of course a never ending list! The only problem with this bed is that we wouldn't be able to pass it down to our little man when he will be needing a single bed, but at such a decent price i wouldn't mind as i'm sure we would get quite a few years out of it anyway! Now just to convince the other half that we need this bed in our daughter's life!

Thanks for reading :-)