Friday, 19 April 2019

3 Easter Crafts Using Duck Tape

With Easter right around the corner and the kids off school what better time to get creative!? From baking to making there are Easter themed activities that you can have fun with the family with. We have teamed up with a craft tape company Duck Tape Colours to come up with 3 seasonal crafts you can create this weekend using only Duck Tape and a few other supplies.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Top Travel Tips for New Mums

When you have little ones, booking a break can feel like a tricky task. It’s no longer just about finding the best locations for sun, sea and sand, there’s a lot of different things to consider. Is accommodation child-friendly? Will the food be appropriate? Is the location safe? Will there be entertainment for kids? If booking your break is sending you into a panic, then take a look at our top travel tips for new mums.

Choose Child-Friendly Accommodation

There’s nothing worse than arriving at a destination, only to realise there are NO other children anywhere to be seen. You then face the inevitable dread of the other travellers rolling their eyes and tutting as your child runs riot around the pool as well as your child having nobody to play with.  Avoid this by choosing the accommodation that is truly child-friendly. There are loads of kids holidays with dedicated children’s entertainment, pools, splash parks and other activities to ensure they (and you!) have a great time. When we went to Turkey last year, the hotel had German and Russian guests, luckily the English language is learnt by kids at school so Tilly could chat with them and play with them. 

Friday, 12 April 2019

Why Homeowners Prefer Wood Flooring?

Many homeowners want to make their house look as chic as possible. When it comes to stylish floors, you always think of solid and stylish hardwood flooring. Wooden floors have gained generous popularity and are mostly preferred over the carpet and tiled flooring. The wood that is used is very rich in history and provides an elegant look for your rooms. Along with elegance, it is also safer, easy to maintain and easy to clean. Wooden flooring is a bit expensive, but it is a one time investment with the benefits of less maintenance and adding substantial resale value to your house. Here are some reasons why homeowners prefer wooden flooring.



Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/tj4kNiNBcFU

1. Provides Elegance
Elegance is the key feature the wooden floors provide. Its unique look is very satisfying to see. It is also believed that it makes the room look more spacious. Wooden floors are a natural choice for your house, and they have been around for a long time.

2. Low Maintenance

Hardwood flooring has a very long lifespan. They are easy to maintain and hence they are durable. They are more stain resistant than any other type of flooring. A simple mop can do the trick for any type of stains. You can also vacuum, steam clean, scrub and sweep the whole floor to clean it without damaging it. Preventive measures should also be exercised like placing rugs around the house because they can be scratched and dented but not that easy. That's why they require low maintenance,

3. Promotes a Safe Environment

Carpet and tile floors usually get dirty and dented easily. The dust and germs get absorbed in the carpet and it causes air pollution. Same with tiled flooring the dirt and much sticks to the tiles and the stains are usually hard to get rid of. Hardwood floors are the best natural sanitary options for flooring you can get. They are free from all sorts of dust as they don't harbor dust, pollens, animal dander, and other allergens, hence no mold and a clean, fresh and safe airflow around the house.



Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/GmRiN7tVW1w

4. A Variety to Choose From

There are so many types of woods to choose from. Each one with different grains, patterns, designs, and colors to suit your needs. Wood quality and origin are important to be aware of.

5. It Provides Versatility

No matter what kind of interior design or theme you have in your house, the versatility of wooden floors adapts it. Even if you decide to change the décor of your house, the wooden floor will blend itself into the change. The natural pattern of the floors provides a wide range of colors which helps in all the versatility.


Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/7SPCoR1wWqc

6. They Can Be Refinished

If your wooden floor has received the required maintenance procedures, it will not have any problem. They don’t lose their color, but it can change with constant use. The good news is that wooden flooring can be repaired and made as good as new. This is much less expensive than having to install a new wooden floor.

Friday, 5 April 2019

Tips For Doing Up Your Kitchen

How to make sure your kitchen isn’t neglected

I think we’d all agree that the heart of a home is the kitchen. Its where countless breakfasts are eaten before school, lunchboxes are created, and conversations and endless laughs are had. From the grand kitchens with islands and wine fridges to the small quaint ones with quirky features and creative storage ideas, each one is different and unique and it’s super important that it’s never neglected.
Refreshing and revamping the heart of your home doesn’t have to be expensive. From a fresh lick of paint to the addition of plants, there are so many ways to give your kitchen a new lease of life. 

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

What Dresses Can I Get From Simply Be? #Review

Having slimmed down, I feel so much more confident and want to show off my weight loss with new more colourful clothes. I have always hidden away behind dark clothes, the ones that make you look slimmer for many years, and I didn't have much confidence. Now, I have people commenting on how confident I seem to be, but it still takes a lot of nerve for me to get in front of the camera. I am however wearing brighter, more feminine and fitting clothes. I want to enjoy wearing clothes and I want people to notice me, instead of hiding in the crowd. I feel healthier with weight loss, but I am still the same person that I was at a bigger size.

With the weight loss comes the need for new clothes and with spring on the way, I wanted to move away from the dark colours that I normally wear to make myself look slimmer and I wanted to wear clothes with more colour in them. I was a size 28 and have dropped to a size 24, and since these clothes arrived from Simply Be, I have actually dropped another size! So what did I choose for my spring wardrobe? Well, I wanted to move away from the leggings and baggy tops and give some dresses a go. I wanted to feel ladylike, yet I wanted some practical clothes, I travel a lot and wanted some clothes that I could travel in.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Being Prepared For The Easter Holidays

That's it! The last half term has just gone and we are now gleefully looking forward to the upcoming Easter holidays. As a single parent, I dread the school holidays because I can't afford to take the time off work to be with Tilly who is 9, so I find myself relying on friends to carry the childcare burden with me. Here I have put together a post about staying sane with the kids this summer, the summer holidays can be painfully long and they do get bored towards the end so hopefully, I can help with these tips.

Share Childcare - If there is a group of friends, why not get together and work out your work rotas so that you can all have the kids on different days. When the older kids were little I belonged to a babysitting circle, where I work get credits for babysitting friends children and then I could use that credit to get someone to look after my kids. It worked so well and it was fair because you could only use the babysitting circle if you actually did some of the work and looked after kids too. These days I ask friends to help out, Luckily I have Kim (my oldest daughter) who looks after Tilly for the two days a week.  You will usually find that even if your friends don't work, they will be grateful for you to swap childcare days so that they get a day off being an adult! I prefer to have a playdate here because when I am working from home, someone else is there to occupy Tilly. I am all for an easy life.

Free Days Out - Free days out actually are the best kind of day out because you can take a picnic and just enjoy the day and not spend some money. We spend a lot of time in the summer in London. It costs us £20 to get up there on the train, but then everything we do is usually free. We have written a post about it on our travel blog Tilly's Travelling Telegram about free things to do in London. But there is so much around you that is free to do, Our town has a free outdoor pool, it's like a paddling pool for toddlers but there is nothing to stop you going there with older kids. I go there in the summer and work on the laptop whilst Tilly plays. To have a free place to go like this is fab and I know we are lucky to have it. There are adventures in woods to be had or long country walks. Go Pokemon hunting (Do people even still do that?) There is always something to do for free where you are, even if it's just a trip to the library to do the school holiday book challenge that they normally have.



Be Prepared Financially - I get paid monthly so it means budgeting like a grown-up, and I still can't get it right. I get paid once a month and its gone on bills by the end of the first day. Luckily if you get enough warning you can save up a bit and put some cash away every week. But for the times that are hard, you can always make some extra cash by selling stuff on Facebook or eBay to help tide you over. Sometimes life responsibilities get in the way of giving the kids a good and memorable school holiday. Without doing this sometimes, it is a disaster for me, so I know that I have this option to use if I need it and you have cash in your bank within a few days. There are also schemes that offer free lunches to families on a budget, these are often food bank led and really do help out families that need a little extra help. It is a well-known fact that food banks are busier in the summer holidays because parents don't have free school meals to help feed them. Keep an eye out on what is available in your area.


Collect Vouchers - I know this is not always easy to do because coupons are far and few between these days. But there are usually Mc Donald's vouchers in newspapers like The Metro to treat your little munchkins to lunch out and it actually saves you from cooking in the evening. The Sun newspaper offers days out vouchers. you only get two vouchers to Merlin attractions but that can save up to £80 and the kids get to go on an adventure. Going to a theme park in the summer holidays is my idea of hell but for many kids, it is their ultimate perfect day out - and it is all about the kids after all. So get cutting those vouchers out. The sun also offers camping for £1 and £15 holidays, always worth looking at.

Take Some Time Off - Sometimes being an adult is hard work and having kids with you 24/7 for 6 weeks is enough to push anyone over the edge. I always joke that I go to work for a break, but its when I get the chance to be me. Entertaining kids is exhausting and even though I work from home 4 days a week, I still have Tilly trying to disrupt what I am doing because she is bored to tears. It is important for parents to have time off from their kids and it is important for kids to have time off from their parents. Even if you put them to bed early one night and just have a date night with the hubby, crack open a bottle of wine and get in a takeaway. It keeps your relationship with him healthy and you get time to be yourself and not just mummy.









Monday, 18 March 2019

DIY Tips For Around The House

It gets to that time in your house where everything seems to need replacing, it starts with a lightbulb and ends up with a new bathroom or kitchen! It's because when we buy a house, we invest in everything new and it all seems to need replacing at the same time. Some of the DIY that needs doing can be done by yourself and it often becomes a family project, which brings you all together and when you have finished, you can look back and think about how you did it all together as a family. DIY is so much fun because you can make your house look so much better, sometimes it only needs a lick of paint or a new curtain pole putting up.

DIY can completely change the outlook of your house to and actually be the thing that turns it into a home. Here we have a list of some DIY projects that can be done at home by yourself and can be something to be proud of.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

How I Managed My Debts After Christmas

Just after Christmas, I wrote about how hard up we were, and that we had to use a food bank to get by. I also wrote about how we had bailiffs knocking on the door because of my poor money management and how I had to find some money really fast to get out of a very sticky situation. I felt like a failure and that my money had been managed so badly, I had wanted to have a super special Christmas With Tilly but it didn't happen. So in the new year, I decided that I needed to look at money differently, that I could still live as well as having to pay my debts back.

I needed to take control of this part of my life and here we are 12 weeks into 2019 and I have almost paid my debts off! It's been hard work and if it wasn't for the help and patience of friends, I wouldn't be able to get it done. So what have I learnt over the past few months?

Ask For Help - Don't struggle with things if you can ask someone for help and advice. The CAB will be able to help you with this. ASk friends for help, you can guarantee, they were probably in the same position once too and they might have the answers that you are looking for.

Make Your Money Go Further - You can do this in many different ways like not wasting your wages when they come in. If you don't really need it, then don't buy it. You could use that money to pay a bill instead or pop it away in a savings account for a rainy day.


Sell Things You Don't Need - If you don't need it, get rid of it. You can sell things that you are not going to use and make use of the money, it's better than having things lying around the house that are just taking up space. Using Facebook groups or apps on your phone means that you don't pay a selling fee either and people can pick up from your house or a mutual meeting place. But eBay offers more protection and people pay with PayPal so both the seller and buyer are protected. When you sell something through eBay, you need to think about the costs added for the sale too.

Work Out Your Debts - The first time that I did this, I recalculated it a few times because I didn't believe I owed so much money! But putting it down on paper, makes you realise the extent of the money that you have coming in and out of the household. You need to do this to even start working out where you will go from here.


Pay Off The Debts - Although I am paying mine off monthly, there are many ways to do this. My friend has taken out a loan to pay all of her debts off. She now has one payment of £180 a month coming from her bank and she only pays that to the loan company, whereas before she owed money to several different companies, now it comes out as one payment and she doesn't have debt collectors knocking on her door. My advice is to shop around for the loan companies online that you can get, this means there is no middle man waiting to take is share of commision, so any savings will be all yours.

Make A Note Of Spending - This is a great way to track where your money has gone because you can see if you can cut any spending if you need to. Now I work out where my wages have to go and how much is going to each person. I stick to this list and I know it's more beneficial to me to do this and it means I am not worrying about money all of the time. Even in the supermarket, keep your receipts because you might need to spend less next week and you can go through your receipts to see where you can cut costs by going for a cheaper brand next week.


Set A Goal -  I always try to set a goal for things. In January, I always take Matilda to Aalborg for a couple of days, this helps us in the after Christmas lull and as we had just had a really poor Christmas, it meant something for us to look forward to. This gives us reason to manage our money better because if I didn't then I would have had to cancel it. My bigger goal was a holiday in May with Tilly. Setting a goal gives me sheer determination to get my money sorted out and get to that goal sooner, rather than later. setting a goal is like dangling a carrot in front of a donkey and it makes you work hard for what you want.

Make Sure You Still Enjoy Yourself - Don't stop living! Sometimes we manage to survive on the little income that we have coming in, but we need to actually LIVE and not just SURVIVE. Still, find time to enjoy yourself because being in debt is almost a fact of life these days for many people but you cannot let it drown you. Hopefully, the advice we have offered can help you with debt. It's nothing to be ashamed of and there is always someone there to help out.

Collaborated Post

Monday, 11 March 2019

Quick Ways to Make a Room Look a Lot Better

If you are anything like me sometimes you know that your home needs updating. But, you just do not have the time or cash available to redecorate completely. Fortunately, there are ways to quickly freshen up the look of a room, without having to spend a lot of time or money doing it. Below are a few suggestions.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Birthday gift ideas on a budget.

Are there some months where you feel as though all you do is buy birthday cards and gifts for friends and family members? It can get quite expensive, can’t it?

Well, with money being quite tight at the moment, I’ve been looking for ways I can still go all out for someone’s birthday but without spending a fortune (if much at all!).

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