Spending Christmas Away With The Children Without Hassle

Christmas is just around the corner, and whether we like it or not it’s time to begin thinking about plans for Christmas. We’re sure that you’re already aware that going anywhere with children is no simple task, so if you’re invited to spend Christmas at a family member or friends home, it’s likely that you’re dreading how you’re going to pull this off without any drama. Luckily, I’ve compiled a little guide on how you can spend Christmas away with the children, without any hassle and still enjoy yourself! 

christmas reading child

Pack the car to the brim

When you’re staying away overnight in a strange place, you can never predict how your children are going to react to their surroundings. That’s why it’s important to ensure that you’re armed with everything they could ever need to help keep them calm and happy. Packing the car with their favourite teddies, comfort blankets, snacks, drinks, clothes, and anything else that you think could help your children settle easier will make your Christmas run much smoother. You don’t necessarily have to bring everything into your accommodation with you, but knowing that it’s there if you need it will certainly help you rest with ease.

Make nap time easier

If you’ve got young children, the thought of putting them down for naps might be playing on your mind. Perhaps your friends and family don’t have anywhere that you’d like to safely leave your child to have a nap, or maybe you’re worried your child won’t nap with ease? You can buy kids travel systems that can help make sure your baby gets the nap they need without any worry on your behalf! Again, making sure they’ve got their favourite teddy or blanket will make the world of difference!

Keep them busy

There’s nothing worse than bored children, and as you’re probably already aware, when children are bored, the adults will suffer too. Before you even think about travelling, prearrange activities for your children to keep them busy and entertained. Perhaps you could get them a portable DVD player or some board games to keep them occupied? Alternatively, check to see if there are going to be any other children there for them to play with!

Baby proof everything!

Finally, children can get into pretty much anything if they put their mind to it, and when you’re in a strange environment you never know where dangers might be lurking! Ask your family members and friends to baby/child proof their homes so that not only will your children be able to safely roam around, but you will have one less worry on your hands!

Travelling away with children doesn’t have to be as stressful as you may think, so follow these tips and have a wonderful Christmas!

Can You Run A Business Through Ebay?

Long story short: yes you can! But there’s going to be quite a bit of legwork involved, considering the auctioning platform you’re using and the lack of traditional packaging to send your items off in. And those are just a couple of the main worries you’re going to have to think about!

Ebay is a great site for getting rid of your clutter and making a few pounds off of your forgotten old goods, and because of this, it’s incredibly popular amongst the family generation. So if you’re looking to bulk out your income a little, and open up a business via an very well established platform, here’s a few more things to consider.

Can you take plenty of professional photos?

ebay selling taking photos

Your photo’s need to be a good as you possibly can get them so your items stand out int he crowd!

You’ll Need a Permanent Shipping Option

If you’re planning to take your ebay account full term with some business ideas, then you’re going to have to consider just how much money the shipping costs are going to take out of you. They make up a huge portion of your profits margin, as most ebay customers won’t place a bid with you if they’re responsible for the shipping, and there’s no free option!

Remember, there’s quite a few couriers on the market, so trying to find a long term ebay courier can be hard, but it’s not impossible, even as a small business.

Be sure to shop around for the best quotes out there, and make sure you’re always getting the bang for your buck – if you need both big and small delivery, and you need to be able to ship internationally as well, you’re going to need to fork out for bigger contract terms. And you’re going to want some kind of contract with the courier of your choosing, as you’ll be using them a lot in the foreseeable future!

You’re Going to Need Feedback

Even before you start running your account as a business, you’re going to need some feedback from the people you’ve already sold to, as it helps to build a much better sense of trust between you and anyone surfing the ebay search engine. Sellers come from all over the world, have few regulations put upon them, and therefore you have to rely on the word of others.

Ebay puts a huge emphasis on buyer/seller feedback, and both giving and receiving this whenever a transaction occurs is standard practice on the site, so it’s only natural that you’re going to need some good feedback before you even get started. So be sure to use your account as a casual seller before you properly set up shop, and try to get at least 20 positive reviews before you move into making it a proper side hustle.

Running a business through ebay can be a hard option to set up, but if you’ve got the items to sell, as well as the reviews to back you up, you’re well on to a winner here. It’s an approachable business model, so be sure to use it!

How To Learn a New Skill with A Hectic Schedule

When you have kids, it becomes tricky very quickly to find the time to do anything for yourself. While it is, of course, essential that you are there to support your kids, you should not neglect yourself, and it is important to find time to follow your own pursuits. One of the best things that a mum can do is to learn a new skill because this is a unique challenge which can be highly rewarding.

How can you go about finding the time to learn a new skill when you have a hectic schedule? 

Online Learning

In today’s internet-driven world, it has never been easier to learn a skill thanks to the endless resources online. It means that you can learn at a time to suit you, no matter where you are. There are endless resources online for learning new skills and even qualifications, so it should not be too hard to do, whether you are learning a musical instrument, learning a new language, programming, web design or any other skill.

Create Regular Time

You need to commit to learning a new skill by setting aside a regular amount of time throughout the week to do so. It could be an hour once the kids go to bed, while they are doing their homework or during your lunch break. If you are truly struggling to find the time, you could get up a little earlier in the day or stay up a little later. Alternatively, you may be able to use your commute depending on the skill.

Classes

Although online learning has many benefits, it can also be difficult to commit to it, especially when you are trying to learn in a busy household. This is why it can also be helpful to sign up to classes. If you wanted to learn Mandarin, for example, then signing up to classes at the Chinese School London will encourage you to make the time to learn. Additionally, many skills like this will require interaction and working with others, which is another reason why classes can be helpful.

Learn With Someone Else

Following on from this, it can also be helpful if you have a friend or family member to learn the skill with so that you make a commitment to learning. You could even learn with the kids as a fun family activity. By doing so, it can help you to progress because you will be learning at the same time, meaning you can help each other, talk about the skill and immerse yourself in it.

Set Goals

Learning a new skill is always a challenge, and it can be easy to give up if you have a busy schedule and you don’t see any results. It can be helpful to set small, achievable goals so that you can see how you are progressing as you learn. Doing so should inspire you to stick with it and carry on learning.

It is important for parents to spend time on themselves. One of the best ways to do this is to learn a new skill. No matter what skill this is, it can be hard to fit learning around a busy schedule, but hopefully, the above will help you to find the time and develop a new skill.

Organising Your House With A Kid Friendly System

Your house is the haven of your life, and there’s a lot of love and respect you put into those four walls. Your children, however, might not feel the same way about them, and forever leave their toys strewn around and put felt tip marker on the wall when they get too creative with their colouring book!

Kids can be messy, there’s no two ways around that, but if you have a proper organisation system that’s both effective and fun, you know your kids won’t have too much trouble in sticking to it! And that’s where a post like this can come in: here’s a couple of the best ways you can organise your house in a kid friendly system… or you can attempt to at least!

You can just imagine the mess that’ll be left after this! 

kids pillow fight

Have a ‘Dump Spot’

We don’t mean the rubbish bin, which can be overflowing when you’ve got 2 or more kids in the house, but an actual spot near the door or in the living room where kids can keep the things they need for tomorrow all in one place. It’s an easy way to make sure they’re grabbing everything they need for school in the morning, and never leaving without their maths book again.

You can assign boxes to this spot, to make sure each of your children has a designated area to put their things, whether it be their pencil case or their lunchbox. And it’s an easy way for you to make sure they start taking some responsibility – if they don’t grab what they need from a special spot that makes it easier for them to remember, they have no one to get stroppy with as a result!

Give Kids Their Own Areas

If your children feel like they’re never have any privacy or ownership over their own home, they’re not going to be too helpful in the organisation process. You want your children to always feel comfortable at home, and for example, teaching them that their toys belong to them means you keep them that bit happier. But on the other hand, it shows that their parents won’t be along to take them away or tidy them up, making them a little bit more responsible in the process…

After all, by teaching them that that area belongs to them and them alone, and that Mummy won’t be along to tidy it up if they lose a toy they love, they’ll do everything they need to to keep it clean and tidy! And companies like Contemporary Architects can help you out with introducing this idea to your home, whether it be via a secret room/hatch within their own bedrooms, or an entirely new playroom extension you’ve always wanted to add onto your house.

Ready to get organised, as well as have your kids onboard? Well, now’s your chance to make sure your kids are growing up happy and healthy, within a house they helped to create themselves!

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.

You’ve Got a Friend in Me #Thinkwayfriends

It’s all back to school now within the next week and I have to say I’m gutted. I love having my kids off and spending all our time together! I love the leisurely mornings we can have and hate the early routines of school runs… waking up the kids, rushing them out of the door! This next term too sees the return of the dark mornings which are the worst!

My twins always struggle with back to school after summer holidays. They have been known to cry at the classroom door… not because they hate school, they don’t, it’s just they want to stay with me. Last year though, we tuned a corner and I think (hope) this will be the case this year.

The reason for this change is because they know they will be seeing all their friends again! They’ve got to the age where they realise the importance of friendships and how much joy they bring. They love their little ‘gang’ of boys and getting together again at school after the long break will be lots of fun!

This motley crew is made up of my twins and their school friends at a party just before the end of term in July!

Friends are THE best thing about school, I think most people would agree. When you think back as an adult to your own school days, it’s the laughs you had with the friends you made that will probably stick out the most in your memory!

This week we were sent some brand new Toy Story Buzz and Woody toys from Smyths to celebrate all things friendships! We’ve had Woody and Buzz before in our toy collection. In fact, we have quite a lot of the characters from the film as all four of my children have been into them over the years and they’ve popped up frequently under the Christmas tree! Teen (19) even had the original ones from way back when! But these, made by Thinkway Toys are definitely the most true to life ones we’ve seen! At 12″ tall they’re nice and sturdy, with Buzz being able to stand up on his own!

They’re stunning aren’t they?

toy story buzz and woody thinkway toys

Buzz and Woody were definitely the best of friends in the Toy Story films. Yes they disagreed and had their fall outs, but that’s completely normal for best buddies isn’t it? Children can relate to these two favourites as they learn all about friendships themselves. Buzz and Woody are great role models too as they stick together through thick and thin and don’t give up on each other when times are difficult! Buzz has rescued Woody and Woody has rescued Buzz throughout the 3 Toy Story films!

Now we’re on countdown for the release of the brand new Toy Story movie coming out next year in June 2019! Toy Story 4… how exciting! I can’t wait to see what all the toys get up to this time… the last time we saw them, which was way back in 2010.. can you believe it was THAT long ago? Andy went off to college and ended up giving his beloved toys to the little girl round the corner! I wonder if we’ll get to see Andy again? I hope to see lots more Buzz and Woody adventures…. and there’s bound to be some new characters as there always has been with each new film release!

Great friendships come in all forms and aren’t just for school… even siblings can be the best of friends and nowhere is this more true than in my home with my twins…. they are the epitome of best friends and are always happiest playing together! They are kind and supportive of each other, yes they have their moments when they argue, but they are fiercely protective and I hope this is what they find in school friendships they make too.

twins toy story toys toy story 4

I decided to take the two sets of best friends out for an afternoon play at the park…. Woody and Buzz and my twins! They had lots of fun!

toy story friendsEnjoying the see-saw together!

toy story BuzzBuzz Lightyear liked the play house

toy story woodyWoody liked the slide

toy story buzz and woodyEnjoying the rope climbing frame

toy story buzz lightyearLucky Buzz even got to share some ice cream

My twins have played lots with Buzz and Woody since we’ve had them and now I’m giving you the chance to buy some of your favourite Toy Story Characters with my new competition!

There’s a £50 Smyths voucher to be won here on the blog and all you have to do to win is fill out the Gleam widget below!

#Thinkwayfriends

£50 Smyths Voucher #ThinkwayFriends

Best of luck!

If you have a child starting school this September… here’s to them making lots of new wonderful friends! For those that are returning…. here’s to lots more fun with the great friends they already have and for the new ones that might come along!

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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.

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