Saturday, 20 May 2017

Tips On Coping With Exam Stress With NSPCC

Tilly may only be 7 years old and to me, she is still a baby. Yet she has to cope with exams at school this week. They can dress it up and say its only SATS, but they are tests to measure her abilities. This is undue stress that my child is put under and I actually don't agree with the system. I think it might be something to do with the fact that I have older children too and I have seen them go through the school system ad seen how exam stress can affect them and leave them feeling like they have depression, anxiety, panic attacks, excessive crying, low self-esteem, self-harming and suicidal thoughts, or even make pre-existing mental health conditions worse. It's not them being dramatic, it's a real thing and I have seen my kids suffer from illnesses, anxiety and low self-esteem.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Spring Cleaning Tips And Getting The House Ready For The Summer

It's spring and the weather is finally getting better. I thought we would never see a bit of summer this year but finally, we can see the end of the tunnel and the weather is improving. As I suffer from depression, I find the winters hard and as its dark in the house, I find it difficult to find the enthusiasm to clean the house properly. So now it's spring and it is time to do a deep clean in our home. Spring cleaning always makes us feel better in our self and it prepares our home for the upcoming summer. It helps us to get rid of the old and in with the new, Its time to get rid of old stuff and do a right old good deep clean.

Clean The Carpets

It's so nice to have some light in the house again, but it shows all of the dust, especially on the carpet! Our carpets get so dirty in the winter with dirt and mud being trodden into it, then there is the dust that we can't see. A good way to get the carpets clean is to hire a carpet cleaner, you can usually hire a Rug Doctor and have your carpets really clean in an afternoon, these professional cleaners get right into the carpet and bring out all of the dirt and dust that has settled, not just cleaning the surface.



Wash The Paint Work Down

If your house is anything like mine, the walls never stay clean. Tilly drags her hand down the walls as she comes down the stairs and there is usually a black line of finger marks. So we have to keep up with washing the walls down. This is easily done with a £2 pack of sponges that you can get from a shop like Asda, these are fab because you just wet them down and they 'erase' the marks on the wall. Your walls will be so much cleaner and you don't even need to add any other cleaning products with the sponge. Make sure you have the correct paint on the walls because if you use matt paint it will wash the paint away too.

Empty Those Cupboards

Get your food cupboards emptied and cleaned out, you will be surprised at how many foods you have hidden in the back of the kitchen cupboards that are out of date. it's a time-consuming job, but you will feel so much better when you have finished. If you find food that you won't eat, then pop it to the food bank because I am sure there is someone who could make use of it.

Clean Windows And Curtains

Get those net curtains down and pop them in the washing machine with a whitener like Dylon curtain whitener, that you can get from Amazon, you just pop it in the machine with your detergent and it brings your curtains back to the white that they should be. Whilst the curtains are in the washing machine, its time to get the windows cleaned. These days you can buy a variety of sprays to make your windows sparkle but quite often there is nothing better than on old-fashioned tried and tested method like mixing one part hot water to one part distilled vinegar, use old newspapers to put in the vinegar and water mixture and clean the windows. You will get through a few whilst cleaning the windows, so collect them for a few days, get rid of any coloured pages those as they won't help with the window cleaning. Dry it all off with a lint free cloth. When the windows are cleaned, hang the net curtains up and let them dry as they hang, this means they don't get creased. Clean windows brighten up your house and make it seem so much cleaner.

Open The Windows

Throw the windows open and let the fresh air in, there is no better feeling than the wind blowing in and airing your house out after the dull winter. It gets rid of any stale smells and blows the cobwebs away. We are lucky to have huge bay windows and the fresh air can blow through, but my dream is to have a HUGE window or something like some aluminium bifold doors. With people coming in and out of my house, I want it to look and feel welcoming. Bifold doors make your house open out and look so much bigger than it actually is.



Washing Machine

Clean the washing machine out, make sure you wipe in the rubber do seal. You will find all sorts of rubbish in there (although you should do this about once a month). When the kids all lived at home, I used to find all sorts in my washing machine door seal. Put a descaler through the washing machine, this will get rid of some of the limescale in the machine and hopefully give your washing machine a longer life span. Clean the water pipes out, especially the waste pipe if you can because it will be filled with gunk from the machine and lastly pull your washing machine and tumble dryer out so that you can clean the dust and fluff behind them.


Check Smoke Alarms

This should be done at least once a month really but you can take the time to clean the smoke alarm and remove any dust in it. This could effect the way it works for you. Change the batteries and test the alarm. If your smoke alarms are a few years old, replace them with new ones. Do the same thing with your carbon monoxide alarm. you can get more advice from www.kent.fire-uk.org and your local fire department can fit smoke alarms for you too.

Defrost The Freezer

I actually hate this job, so I leave it for once a year hahaha. It takes a couple of weeks to run your food down enough to defrost the freezer and then it takes FOREVER to defrost it. Sometimes I use the hair dryer to help with the defrosting, but it doesn't really speed the process up. Don't ever scrape the inside of the freezer because you will damage it. I hate finding all the food in the bottom of the freezer, by the time its defrosting, any loose food left in the freezer turns to mush. I detest this job, but it needs to be done. You can always buy a frost free freezer from AO.com, saves you doing the worst job in the world.

Do you have any time-saving tips for your spring cleaning routine? Please share them in the comments below.

This is a collaborative post with www.foldingdoors2u.co.uk













Thursday, 18 May 2017

Building A Home From Shipping Containers

The housing shortage is a real problem these days. Buying a home has become so hard to do and has become something that is unachievable these days for many young people. I owned my own home by the time I was a mother of three and I was 27 years old. It's not easy for anyone to be able to do but my children will never get on the housing market with the housing situation like it is. New builds are coming up all the time, but especially in my little seaside town, we get a lot of the 'down from London' lot, this pushes prices up and makes it unreachable for locals. Even in London there is a housing crisis and people are looking for alternative ways to buy a home. In London, you will find Container City, a fashionable area where Urban Space Management Ltd has successfully used the Container City system to create classrooms, office space, sports halls, nurseries, community centres, artist studios, retail space, live/work space, sound recording studios and a General Practice. Can you imagine how cool it would be to live in a container?

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Fighting Head Lice With Kit And Coco *REVIEW*

Nits!!!! They are the bane of my life! Tilly has really thick hair and it is long - very long. So she always has to have it tied up for school, but that doesn't seem to stop her catching head lice. Nits isn't a nice word but then it's not a nice experience for kids. Sadly some parents still think its taboo to talk about them and admit their kids have nits. When your kids get nits, you have to go to the shop and buy a lotion, but they are not very nice. They smell vile and it's really not a nice experience for kids.

I was asked to try out some Kit and Coco Head lice products on Tilly's hair and give my honest review. Head lice products are never cheap so it is always good to help to PREVENT it happening before it actually does. Kit and Coco offer a few products to help this to happen.


Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Creating A Work Space At Home

It is nearly been a whole year since I registered as self-employed on my blog, A YEAR! where has that time gone? I really enjoy being self-employed as well as keeping up with my primary job as a fragrance adviser for Superdrug. But I do get bored of seeing the same four walls all the time when I am working from home so looking for alternatives to just sitting in my lounge and working all of the time. I NEED an office. Sitting in the lounge with the TV on is such a distraction, if I switch the TV off then it is too quiet. It's also hard to relax in the lounge because I think of it as my work space. So what are the alternatives? I have had a look around at some amazing options. There are so many different varieties of jobs that involve working from home

An Office In A Shed


This is a fab Idea that my friend Mary from does from her home. Mary writes at www.mymodelmummy.com and she has converted a shed into her own little work space. As well as writing her blog from there, she can also do her freelance work for Laura Ashley and manage her cut flowers business. You can get sheds from somewhere like Amazon or B&Q. Mary is also a blogger for Laura  Ashley and gets to fill her shed with beautiful things, making it her own personal space where she can work. 'She sheds' are getting more and more popular and the can start as low as £150.00

A Spare Room


This is perfect if you have space, unfortunately, it will never happen for me because
1/ I only have a 2 bed-roomed house
2/ I have boomerang kids!
3/ Tilly is only 7, so it's going to be a few years before she moves out.

A spare room can be small and as long as it is light and airy, it is perfect for you to use as a base for your office. Although it isn't ideal for me, it could work for others because when you have finished working at the end of the day, you can close the door and walk away. It also ideal because you can work in there and not be disturbed by the kids, It's better to be able to shut the door and make phone calls without arguing kids in the background.

A Conservatory

This can be an expensive project but it will also be a good choice because it will add value to our property. A conservatory will be a perfect choice for an office because it is so light and airy. If you work in a darker room, then you tend to not work as well and you find yourself getting tired. The light is fab for taking photo's and you can also use it as space for kids to play (although not my choice of use if it's your office). Conservatories have a multitude of uses, it is something that will be part of your home forever and you can use it in all weathers. They do vary in price for what you have in mind, but there are plenty of conservatory prices here. This is my number one choice for a new office.

A Coffee Shop



With WIFI being available almost everywhere these days, sometimes it is good to get yourself out of the home and work from an office in a coffee shop or McDonalds. Sometimes, I will go to Wetherspoons, then I will get a breakfast and work whilst eating. Sometimes they do unlimited coffee in the morning, so you can just keep refilling! You can actually meet up with other people who are doing the same thing and it is good inspiration sometimes to take yourself out of a situation and work somewhere different. I have been known to sit on a street corner and write a blog post before!

Your Bedroom

So this has been the place for blogging over the winter, it was warmer and cosy. On the days I work from home, I can take Tilly to school in my pyjama's and then just climb back in bed to write. it's relaxing and homely. My bedroom isn't big enough to have an actual office in there but if yours is, then you can add a computer station in the corner with a set of shelves. It would depend on whether you are happy to work in an area that you use to relax in, sometimes you can look over into your office corner and see the work piling up in the corner!


Do you have a work office? Where is your favourite place to work from?

Monday, 15 May 2017

May Giveaway - Win Two Amazon Kindles

Having been a blogger for over 4 years and in that time I have become part of a fantastic blogging community. The community gets together a couple of times a year to offer a giveaway to a lucky winner and this giveaway is all about Kindles. The prize is a Fire HD 8 Tablet (8gb) and a Fire Kids Edition Tablet (in pink or blue). Tilly has the kids Kindle in pink and she has had it for two years. She drops it down the stairs, she drops it in the garden and she just drops it everywhere. It has never broken because the pink Kindle cover protects it so well. We also have another competition going on for a Paper Haul subscription, so please pop over and take a look

Once again a whole host of amazing bloggers have teamed up to offer you the chance to win a great prize (something we couldn't do individually), but who are this group of amazing people; well check them out:

Saturday, 13 May 2017

A Sneak Peak At Kims Birthday Gifts.

Tomorrow it is kimmy's birthday, and I can't quite believe that I am the mother of a 25 year old. I mean, when did I get so old? Every year we always book to do something special, but this year we haven't because we are going away to Manchester next weekend to attend Blog On conference and to meet up with some friends of ours. Money has also been tight because I have booked a Brownie pack holiday place for Tilly so this birthday will pass quietly for us.

Kimmy is my support network and really helps out with my childcare, Tilly often asks if Kim is her mum too - that gets confusing in public. Someone last week even asked if Kim had gone to school to collect her niece. Without Kim, I wouldn't be able to work because she helps out with Tilly on her days off.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Five Ways To Get Natural Light At Home

Being a blogger, I dread the winter time because it makes it almost impossible to take good quality pictures for my blog. I long for the summer nights when I am not restricted to taking pictures between 11 am and 2 pm. All bloggers scream a hurrah when the days get longer and it is lighter for longer. But there are many ways to help get light into your house all year long, and hopefully, we have a few tips for you.

Cut back Trees

If you have trees or large bushes in your garden that could be blocking out some light, then cut them back and claw some of that light back. there really is nothing worse than having windows blacked out from an overgrown bit of greenery. Overgrown trees will block the natural sunlight from your home in the summer and keep any natural solar warmth out of your house in the winter, So get out there and cut them back.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

How McDonalds Is Changing For The Better

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to McDonald's in Woolwich to see how it all works behind the scenes and to get a look at how Mcdonalds are refurbishing their restaurants. McDonald's has played a big part of our life from my own childhood, right up to my own children eating there. When the older kids were little, it was fashionable to have your birthday party at a McDonalds, there would be a member of staff to entertain the kids and there was normally a play area or a visit from Ronald McDonald.

McDonald's has come a long way since then, people want to eat on the run and they want healthier food. So McDonald's have looked at healthier ways to feed you and your family. The burgers are made from 100% British and Irish beef and the fatty parts of the cow are not used, so when it is cooked, it is not cooking in fat. Instead, it is grilled with double sided plates and is so much healthier than frying it. Nothing else is added apart from salt and pepper, that is added after grilling. The chicken in the nuggets are 100% chicken breast, so you only get the fat free part of the chicken, which is then chopped and shaped into their famous nugget shape. I never buy chicken nuggets to eat at home, so when Tilly comes to get her happy meal from McDonald's, she will choose the nuggets.


Wednesday, 10 May 2017

5 Holidays With A Difference

I am a person who likes my holidays and I always look for something different in a holiday destination. Holidays make for great memories and if you're looking for something different, look no further than the 5 different types of holidays we have found for you. I think I was spoilt in my upbringing. I grew up in Germany and I experienced a lot of different holidays that my family and 'Civvie' friends never experienced. I am a big believer in kids learning about different destinations by actually being there, so experiencing a different holiday is important to us.

Interrailing

You can buy a train ticket and just go anywhere, We did this last year and we went to about 8 destinations over 17 different places over 25 days. You can do this on a budget or travel first class and travel in real luxury. You're not stuck to an itinerary because you just travel where and when you want and train travel in Europe is so much more luxurious than UK. You just need to book your hotels as you go and its easily done by booking through somewhere like Booking.com. You pay for your rooms on arrival and can cancel rooms if your journey takes you in a different direction than you expected. The best thing for me about this holiday was that Tilly travelled for free, so it cost me £360 for a months holiday travel. You can activate your ticket to travel in this country too, this will get you to a point of border, so we used it to get to the airport meaning we saved £35.00 on a train ticket. We stayed in budget accommodation but you really can stay anywhere, if your budget is higher then you have a choice of quality hotels too. Travelling by night means you save money on hotels and always book seats, there are loads of people using the European trains. You can find posts about our trip here at www.beingtillysmummy.co.uk

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