So, you’re the baby shower host.. now what?

How lovely (and, maybe a little bit daunting); you’ve been entrusted with the task of hosting a beautiful baby shower for a beloved mum-to-be. You might be feeling a little overwhelmed if you’ve just started the planning process but don’t worry, it’s time to get the troops on board, then you’ll be able to plan something really lovely together. The following are some tips, ideas, and advice for those who want the baby shower they’re hosting to go seamlessly, and be as enjoyable as possible (without inducing labour in the guest of honour!)

baby shower

Presents And Gifting

Ask and see if the expectant mother wants or needs anything specific for her new baby. Try and put together a gift list to send around to the guests; this will enable each person to tick something off the list, and they’ll be no doubling up on presents. If you are part of a close friendship or family group, you could put your money together to create a hamper full of essentials, or the main gift that perhaps the new parents have been unable to afford. Don’t go buying any designer cots or prams, without asking the mum or dad-to-be what they already have. Personalised items are another way to give the new mama something special that she and her child can appreciate forever; embroidered blankets, or art for the nursery, will make a functional gift, and be a sentimental surprise. Just try to remember that the thought put into it is the most important thing.

Send Out Those Invites

Sort out a time and a venue as soon as possible, and make sure it’s around a month or six weeks before the baby is due to arrive (leaving it too close to the due date is a risky move). The best time for a shower is around lunchtime or early afternoon; this will ensure the guest of honour won’t be too tired, and it’s the perfect time to enjoy any food, drink, and nibbles. If you’re planning a surprise for the future mama, then make sure you state that on your invitations; you don’t want anyone to let the exciting news slip. There are loads of invitation design ideas online, so it’s worth taking a look for a bit of inspiration.

Food, Nibbles, And Treats

The sweet treats at the shower can easily reflect the colour palette and theme of the event; coloured icing, sprinkles and cake toppers are all excellent ways to incorporate your chosen shades. A buffet style offering is a relaxed and informal way to feed the guests and gives everybody the chance to bring a dish to the party. By involving the guests in providing the food, you’ll save yourself precious time and money.

baby shower cakes

Any time and effort that you put into hosting a baby shower will be appreciated by the expectant mother for the years ahead. You’ll be helping her to make lasting, lovely memories, and getting everyone excited for the new arrival.

Ways To Make Your Life As Mummy, Easier

Whether you’re a Mum to five children, or you’ve just got the one special little bundle of joy, one thing we all have in common is that we’re constantly running around after them. Being a Mum is an exhausting job in itself, and then of course there’s the housework, our jobs, our spouses, and also trying to fit time in for yourself. One thing that all parents are looking for, is how to make their lives easier with little hacks here and there, especially when it comes to cleaning. So take a look at these fabulous ways to make your life as Mummy, easier.

make life easier

Invest in Tougher Products

While it’s understandable that you want to save every spare penny, buying store own brands of cleaning products might not always get the job done. Those hard dried stains on your hob just won’t come off with a simple spray of antibacterial now! Take a look at these highly sought-after products to make your life much easier when cleaning:

  • Elbow grease – and not the hard work kind either. This product is amazing for use on hard surfaces and even fabric! Simply spray, wait a little while, and wipe clean.
  • Zoflora is a disinfectant that comes in a range of incredible smells. It can be used to go over surfaces that wouldn’t otherwise smell nice. With so many uses for Zoflora, and at such a cheap price, you can have your home germ free and smelling amazing in no time!
  • The Pink Stuff is a creamy paste that’s perfect for cutting through grime and grease. Popularly used on oven doors to make them come up completely clean, it can be used pretty much anywhere around the kitchen. Again, simply let it do its job and wipe away with a damp cloth. Job done!

Modify Your Home

Sometimes, the worst job when it comes to cleaning is trying to get stubborn stains out of carpets, so why have them in every room? Consider putting oak laminate flooring by Factory Direct Flooring in the rooms that your children (and you) eat and perform messy play in so that you’re able to simply sweep up, mop, and still have time for that cup of coffee you’ve been craving all day. The same goes for surfaces in your home, try to keep them easy to wipe clean so that you’re not spending hours cleaning up after everybody, and you can enjoy time with them instead.

Consider Alternative Ways of Keeping your Home Clean

Fed up of vacuuming? Yeah, pretty much everyone is these days! However, you can now invest in a robotic vacuum to do all of the work for you! Simply set it to the room(s) you want, and let it do the work for you! All you’ll have to do is empty it from time to time!

Get Everyone Involved

Finally, rather than playing maid to everyone, why not get them all involved? Create chore charts for your children. Teaching your children to take responsibility of chores at a young age will help them later in life, and also give you even more time to sit with your feet up and a mug of hot coffee.

Days Out, Marcella and Elizabeth Hurley #LittleLoves

Two weeker here! Half term for us was amazing! We got out and about and managed to pack quite a lot in! I didn’t want school to resume this week, but all back to normality and the daily grind is well under way again.

Have to mention my lovely girl’s achievement this week. She got the highest marks in a maths exam in her class for the SECOND time in a row! She’s never really shown any flair in maths particularly so quite surprised this happened again! I was proud as punch last time but now my pride is off the radar! My clever girl.

Feeling a bit meh about some personal issues going on right now but still lots to be happy about, so here’s my Little Loves list for the past two weeks!

Read

I’ve been reading a lot more with my twin boys recently which I am enjoying. Obviously I’m supposed to listen to them read on a regular basis for school, which I do, but for ease I tend to get them to read to me together. But making the effort to read individually again has been beneficial. They’ve picked out a book each and I take them upstairs one by one to snuggle up with me and read a little bit every single day (or most days). They’re 8 now so they CAN read but reading out loud, highlighting words they don’t know and talking about the books helps them enormously to understand and enjoy the books so much more! It’s time consuming in an already busy evening but we’re all getting so much out it. They’re improving their reading skills and I’m spending some precious one to one time with each of my twins which is wonderfully special for all of us.

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Watched

It has to be Marcella! I had a binge watch of the first series on Netflix last week which I thought was brilliant. It packed loads into every episode. The amount of characters all intertwined was tricky to keep up with in places but I managed and thoroughly enjoyed all the twists and turns! I couldn’t wait for the new series to start on Monday… did you watch? Not sure what I think yet, maybe too soon to tell but looking forward to seeing how it goes.

Wore

Lycra! Yes I made a welcome return to the gym this week after a few months hiatus, so back on went the lycra and back on the treadmill I went!

Actually it was my daughter that spurred me on as she had an inset day at school and had been badgering me to take her to the gym for some time (kids her age, 12, seem to be just getting into it now) so I booked her in for an induction. It was lovely, a bit of mum and daughter time, so I hope it’s something we will continue to do together as and when we can. I’ve been twice since on my own too this week as I really need to up my fitness levels! Go me!

Not much lycra on me showing in this photo but my daughter here is wearing plenty!

littleloves gym workout

Heard

Gossip! Met up with a friend this week for a much needed catch up and a gossip. We did a bit of shopping, a bit of coffee shop sitting and a LOT of gossiping! Perfect day!

Made

We made lots of trips out during the half term…..

We made our first visit as a Merlin Ambassador to Chessington World of Adventures. The whole park wasn’t fully open but the zoo and a few rides were, as were the restaurants! We had a brilliant time and can’t wait to go back again!

Chessington merlin theme parks

We were invited to the press launch of Dinosaurs in the Wild which is an interactive experience set 67 millions years ago! Rubbing shoulders with dinosaurs and celebrities alike, a great time was had. This is definitely one of those attractions not to be missed. Full review coming in the next few days! Check out my selfie with Elizabeth Hurley – I grabbed her just before we left as I couldn’t go without saying hello! I look awful in this photo and she doesn’t look too impressed either but she was VERY lovely, as was her son Damian who looks like a model! She was also VERY tall! 😉

elizabeth hurley dinosaurs in the wild

dinosaurs in the wild

We visited the fabulous Willows Farm in Hertfordshire… one of our favourite local days out.

Willows Farm goat

We also went trampolining!

trampolining

And lastly….

I can’t believe the cold weather is kicking in again… I thought we were on our way to Spring! Not yet it seems, so we’re bracing ourselves for the onslaught this week. Snow forecast for Monday!

Keep warm people! x

Little Loves Coffee Work Sleep Repeat

What to Do if You Experience Pregnancy Discrimination at Work

Although the law protects you against unfair treatment at work due to a pregnancy, it’s not uncommon for women to find themselves struggling at their workplace, or even pushed out of a job due to falling pregnant. In certain industries, where it may no longer be safe to work whilst pregnant, your employer should work to find you a suitable position that you are able to fulfill during the time until your maternity leave commences. Sadly, many employers today still do not treat women fairly when they’re pregnant or want to take maternity leave from work. If you feel that you would have been treated fairly were you not pregnant, your employer may be breaking the law. Here’s what to do if you are treated unfairly or wrongfully dismissed from your workplace due to pregnancy.

1. Get Legal Advice:

The first step is getting legal advice from an experienced solicitor who is used to handling similar claims. They will be able to look at the specifics of your situation to let you know whether you are being treated unfairly, and whether it’s worth thinking about making a claim against your employer. If you’re trying to avoid a lengthy court case whilst pregnant, then it may be worth speaking to experienced settlement agreement solicitors who will be able to increase your chance of coming to an agreement with your employer outside of court.

2. Keep Records:

If you are going to make a claim, then it’s important that you are able to provide evidence of the unfair treatment. If you were dismissed for seemingly no reason when your employer found out that you were pregnant, then this may be evidence enough. However, in most cases, it’s not always as simple as that. It’s a good idea to keep detailed records of how your employer’s treatment of you changed from falling pregnant onwards. For example, if you lost out on opportunities for progression or were demoted to a lower-paid position.

3. Know Your Rights:

It’s important to be fully aware of your rights surrounding pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. Legally, you are protected against pregnancy discrimination from as soon as your employer is informed that you are pregnant, however, you are not legally required to tell your employer about the pregnancy until fifteen weeks before your baby is due to be born. Once your employer has been informed, you are protected against unfair dismissal, unfair treatment, redundancy, and discrimination on pregnancy grounds.

4. Pregnancy or Performance?

If you are dismissed from work during pregnancy, most employers will not admit that it is because you are pregnant. However, bear in mind that there will be circumstances where a dismissal during pregnancy is for fair reasons, for example, gross misconduct is not protected against whilst pregnant. Except for in the most serious cases, your employer will need to warn you beforehand if you are about to be dismissed. It is unfair for your employer to dismiss you for pregnancy-related reasons, such as absence due to morning sickness or the need to make adjustments to accommodate you.

Your employer should not treat you unfairly because you are pregnant – if this is the case, get legal advice today!

 

 

Collaborative Post

5 Reasons why Everyone Needs an Emergency Fund

5 reasons why everyone needs an emergency fund. Money savings

If you find yourself struggling every time you encounter a financial hurdle in your life, then it might be time to start considering the benefits of an emergency fund. An emergency fund can help to make sure that you’re capable of paying your bills, and shelling out cash for any unexpected expenses when problems naturally arise.

Without an emergency fund, you could open yourself up to countless potential problems including debt and discomfort. Here, we’ll look at just some of the reasons why everyone could benefit from having an emergency safety blanket in place.

Life is Unpredictable

The first, and most important reason why everyone needs an emergency fund is that no matter how good you are at budgeting, the truth is that we can’t prepare for everything. When you first begin to budget, you may find that you’re leaving out some of the essential expenses that you need to plan for, and an emergency fund can make sure that you’re ready to tackle those problems when they come up.

Just remember, as unplanned expenses do begin to emerge, you can write them down and adjust your budget accordingly to ensure that you won’t forget about them in the future. That doesn’t mean that you won’t need an emergency fund anymore, but it should ensure that you tap into it less frequently.

An Income Only Goes So Far

If you’re living alone, then the chances are you only have one source of income to rely on. Unfortunately, since you can’t turn to someone else for help when something goes wrong, you’ll find that you need even more help to ensure that you can fight back against potential problems that could arise.

Ideally, if you’re the sole income provider in your family, you’ll need to work on having at least a year’s worth of funds saved up. You can then build a larger emergency fund later if necessary. Remember, if you’re just starting a family, you might need to increase your emergency fund to take children into account.

Owning a Home is a Huge Commitment

If you own your own home, you’ll find that your need for an emergency fund is even more significant, as it’s up to you to pay for all the upkeep expenses and repairs that are necessary to keep your home in a livable condition.

As a homeowner, your emergency fund will give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have something to turn to if things go wrong and you need a little extra help. Remember, home repairs can be very expensive, as is something like replacing a boiler. The more you can save back to protect your home, the more you can rest assured that you will always have a comfortable place to live – no matter what hurdles might come your way.

You Need to Prepare for Major Issues

This follows on from the “life is unpredictable” comment. Even if nothing ever goes wrong with your home, and you keep hold of the same job for a number of years, you could still face major issues if you’re facing a serious medical problem or dental concern. Health issues aren’t only expensive, they can also mean that you end up having to take days, weeks, or even months away from work.

Whether you’re the sole provider for income in your household or not, a long time away from work is sure to have a negative impact on your quality of life. An emergency fund can help to soften the blow when you should be focusing on getting better.

Emergency Funds Help You Reach Your Goals

Finally, if you’re focusing on reaching an important financial goal, like starting your own business, or owning a property, your emergency fund will help to prevent you from dipping into your other savings when things go wrong. This should mean that you’re less likely to move backward on your goals instead of forwards.

Although your progress might slow down a little as you’ll need to replace your emergency funds too, you’ll be able to keep your savings untouched, so you don’t have to worry about losing track.

Though personal loans are available when you’re struggling to make ends meet, and you don’t have an emergency fund in place to help you overcome life’s little challenges, it’s often much better to budget some money aside for a rainy-day fund in case things go wrong. Borrowing options do exist, but they’ll only take you so far and can be very expensive to pay back.

 

 

*Collaborative Post
Photo by Philip Veater on Unsplash

The Crown, Foundation and Singing! #LittleLoves

I haven’t made the Little Loves linky over at Coffee Work Sleep the past few weeks, which is annoying as I made a pact with myself to join in every week! Oh well, life gets in the way sometimes and I seem to be juggling a lot of balls right now so I’m trying to not give myself too hard a time.

So what’s been happening these past few weeks… Well my Twins’ school had a major gas issue which meant they had to close for a day and a half one week. Luckily for me my work place is local and flexible so I could leave early to pick up the boys, even though we were only given an hour’s notice! I do wonder about parents who work further away or don’t have such understanding bosses! The following day was also my day off so it worked out fine for us and I loved spending an unexpected day at home with my boys!

Last week I was so ill with the flu. I was off work all week apart from Friday and spent it mostly in bed shivering or on the sofa. I felt very sorry for myself indeed. Back at work fully this week and it’s been nice to get properly dressed up and to feel human again!

Here’s my list of Little Loves this week…..

Read

I am always reading but normally it’s in bits on my phone and in a hurry! I’m constantly clicking through links on Twitter to read articles of interest… at the moment it’s usually business related content. I enjoy reading anything about start ups, entrepreneurs and marketing.

Another Twitter account I love right now is Blinkist. I could happily click through on every link they have on their account and their website magazine is good too! Blinkist is an App that summarises all the best nonfiction books, in a quick and easy to read format. Absolutely perfect for those that never have any time…. like most of us! I don’t have the App myself, I’m more than happy with reading the snippets it provides on Twitter!

I’m also a sucker for the celebrity gossipy news stories on SnapChat… spend way more time than I really should reading those!

blinkist

Watched

Being ill does have one perk… being able to watch loads of telly! I started, at long last, watching The Crown on Netflix! Yes I know I’m incredibly late to the party on this. I did start watching a while ago but the first one or two episodes I found difficult to get into. I wanted to give it another chance and I’m so glad I did! I’m way in now on episode seven and loving it!

the crown

Heard

I heard my boys practicing their lines for their school assembly and then heard them say them when I watched it ! They had a couple of lines each and it fills my heart with pure joy to see them saying their lines with confidence… a little quiet yes but up until last year they would hide in sharing assemblies they hated it so much, and they would NEVER have said a single word because of their shyness. I’m so proud of them.

Wore

Not much to report here! Wearing the same old stuff… could do with a shopping spree but I don’t really want to buy more Winter clothes and it’s too cold for Spring clothes just yet. Will wait another month then treat myself I think!

I’ve been wearing my new Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation recently. I’m not a massive fan of foundation and tend to just wear concealer but sometimes when I feel particularly pasty and my skin isn’t great, especially in the Winter, this foundation is amazing! It IS thick so you only need a small amount, which I apply with a brush, but it boasts the best coverage on the market and I would absolutely agree. I love it. It’s on the pricey side but in store they colour match it to your skin and it lasts ages. Think I might go for the lighter version next time to try!

estee lauder double wear

Made

I absolutely love singing, I was trained as a child and can often be heard singing very loud at home! I believe this to be totally normal but when my kids friends are round I sometimes forget myself and burst into song! The look on their faces is priceless… it’s like they think I’m completely bonkers! Either that  or I sound truly terrible haha! Anyway, now the kids are older I’ve decided to brush up on my (limited) skills and I’ve joined a singing class… just for fun. I’m naturally a shy person so this week when the first lesson was due, I wanted to pull out. I was nervous and didn’t want to go. But I made myself, and I’m so pleased I did. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

And lastly….

Half term at last woohoo! Been counting down the days since the kids went back to school after Christmas! Really looking forward to spending a week with my babies, staying cosy at home some days and having fun adventures on the rest!

Hope you have a great week!

Little Loves Coffee Work Sleep Repeat

Big Brother, Oasis and Shiny Brogues #LittleLoves

So Week 3 of 2018 and I’m struggling with tiredness. I need to get to bed much earlier but even when I do I end up catching up with work or reading and then it’s always after midnight when I’m going to sleep! My alarm is set for 6.30am, giving me 6 hours if I’m lucky. Not enough sleep for me. I have snoozed for England this week! Today I pressed that snooze button for almost an hour, causing us all to rush around like crazy dudes trying to get ready and out of the house! My children are still asleep too by the way (lazy little so and so’s!) so I have to wake them and I hate doing that.

Anyway, hope you’ve all had a good week. Here is my list of Little Loves…..

Read

The forgetting time book books

I’ve started a new book…. The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin. I’m only a couple of chapters in but I’m already intrigued. It’s about a little boy who seems to remember his past life. It’s got some great reviews so hoping it will be a good one!

Watched

big brother tv show

It has to be Big Brother! I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea and I wouldn’t watch the Summer one with members of the public because it’s all got a bit silly now with most of them chasing fame! It’s also on for far too long… too much of a commitment to keep up, but I did use the love it in the early years when it was very much an experiment on human behaviour! The celebrity one is different as it’s only on for a few weeks and I can’t help but to be intrigued…. to discover the sides of the celebrities as we’ve never seen them before. Even the Z Listers, which most of them are, quite often turn out to be TV gold! Yes it’s all been done before but every housemate is different and it’s the element of surprise and unpredictability that fascinates me!

It’s been much better this year… a lot more civilised. The Year of the Woman has given us more intellectual conversations and has generally been more respectful. I pretty much like everyone in there, if there was any time I’d like to be in the Big Brother house it would be now, with those people! They all seem to be getting along reasonably well which is unusual. But of course, there’s still time for it all to unravel 😉

Can’t go without mentioning The Greatest Showman! Went to see it last weekend with my eldest two kids and OMG I loved it so much! Much better than I imagined. I’m a massive musical fan so it had to go a long way to impress me but it certainly did! And Hugh Jackman….. I love him!

Heard

I’ve been listening to Oasis again the past few weeks. I was a big fan back in the day and after watching that documentary that was on over Christmas… Supersonic… if you watched it, wasn’t it brilliant? Such an intimate look at the very start of their journey and a wonderful insight to the bands’ real personalities…. a real eye opener! The programme just made me want to listen to their albums again. I was there at Knebworth that Summer of 1996, a moment in Britpop history! Did you know that more than 2 and a half million people applied for tickets for the 2 Knebworth shows? Apparently they could’ve sold out at least 18 Knebworth shows instead of 2! Crazy! I feel very lucky to have been part of it… was one of the best days ever!

The sun was setting in the sky on this perfect, warm summer’s evening as they played my favourite song….

Wore

I’ve been wearing my Hotter shoes this week. I’ve had them over a year but the first time I wore them they gave me terrible blisters! I’d gone into London and my heels bled…. I was at an event in a hotel and they had to get me medical help! Hehe….. That’ll teach me to wear new shoes with bare feet! Understandably, it put me off wearing them, even though I did the old holding them over the steam of a boiling kettle to soften up the heels… I’ve still been scared of them! Well no more. Because I do actually love them….. Nice aren’t they? I’m liking them with black tights and a skirt and so far… no blisters!

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Made

I’m trying to make sure my twins are doing a bit more work at home. It’s not always easy as they just want to chill when they get home from school but I promised myself I would encourage them to read and do some fun maths. They still need to get their heads round the basics with maths and do struggle somewhat. We are back doing the Smartick Maths programme which I was lucky enough to review last year. They enjoyed it then and I felt as though they came on in leaps and bounds whilst on it so I’m super pleased to be using it again!

And Lastly

I had a lovely night out with a friend on Thursday as we headed to the theatre to see La Soiree! I will talk more about it next week and I’ll be writing up a review in the next day or two but WOW! It was the most bizarre show I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen loads! It was absolutely freezing on Thursday though and getting myself out on the train into London on a school night was a bit of a struggle, but so glad we went! We had a brilliant time! Made a mental note to do it more often!

Have a good week everyone…. looks like it’s going to be a cold one!

Little Loves Coffee Work Sleep Repeat
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