How to Make Quality Time with Your Kids Fun

How to Make Quality Time with Your Kids Fun

Parenting is a job that consists of more than watching your kids all day. You also have to both provide for them and create a stable environment for them to grow in. This means that sometimes, you don’t get to spend as much quality time with one another as you’d like to. For this reason, you should focus on making the time that you do spend together count.

In case you’re wondering how to do that, here is how you can make quality time with your little ones fun.

Be Fully Present

When spending quality time with your kids, commit to being fully present. They can sense when your mind and attention are elsewhere, so eliminate distractions. Spending time with your kids should be about living in the moment, getting to know them and connecting.

Put Your Phone Away: The first tip for being fully present is to put your phone away. In this technology age, gadgets can be a huge distraction when it comes to spending quality time with people. Leave your phone in another room or put it on airplane mode during your quality time to help you resist the temptation of checking messages or browsing, especially if you’ve got a phone addiction.

Forget About Work: For all of the workaholic mums, it’s easy to be distracted by all of the work waiting to be done whether at your place of employment or around the house. Give work a break and focus on engaging with your kids by asking them questions and actively listening to what they have to say.

Try Arts and Crafts

The good thing about arts and crafts is that it’s something anyone can do. Whether your kids are toddlers or teenagers, it can be an enjoyable experience. Plan age-appropriate activities that will keep everyone busy and enable you to explore your creativity. If your kids are older, consider craft ideas like making candles. It’s always nice when you make items that you can use or see on a daily basis to remind you of something you did as a family.

Consider Outdoor Activities

When spending quality time together, outdoor activities can be a lot of fun as well. It’s a chance for everyone to get fresh air and burn calories. If you need ideas regarding what you can do outside whether in a garden or park, see some below.

Treasure Hunt: One activity to try with your kids is a treasure hunt. Seeing as Easter recently passed it isn’t too late to try an Easter egg hunt, especially if you still have left over chocolate. Cartridge People have some free Easter Egg Hunt downloadables that could help you put together signs.

Obstacle Course: Another idea worth trying is an obstacle course. You can create this with hula hoops as well as other objects that they can jump through or over. If you did them as a child, you know they can be tons of fun, especially if you’ve got competitive kids.

Quality time with your kids is about making new memories and reaffirming your relationship as well as love. Whether you’re engaging in activities or watching your favourite movie for the hundredth time, make it worthwhile.

How To Look After Your Body And Mind As A Busy Mum

Let’s be honest, being a Mum can be pretty hard. By the time you’ve finished with all of the chores that you have to do, and your work, and you’re all done making bathtime fun with your kids... finding the energy to enjoy some time to yourself - whilst looking after your body and mind - is pretty futile.

What are you going to do, anyway, when you just want to curl up into a ball on the sofa? Starting those new fitness moves you've seen on various blogs and insta all of a sudden doesn't seem so appealing OR easy!

But there ARE many ways to look after your body and mind when you’re a busy Mum, and here are some of the best of them.

How To Look After Your Body And Mind As A Busy Mum

Water. Lots and lots of water

OK, we’ve heard this one floating (sorry) around a lot, but the truth is that water can help you to look after your body AND your mind. Not only does it give you more energy to take on that big-scary-Mum-day, but it also keeps your skin clean, and your body cleansed.

We need water for a multitude of reasons, and being dehydrated just isn’t good news. Ditch the coffee (OK, not all of the time) in favour of a water bottle, and try to keep one in your bag when you’re out and about.

You’ll be glad that you did because when you’ve got more energy, you feel like a goddess with super healthy skin.

Steer clear of the wine

Whilst most of us like to enjoy a glass of wine every now and again, it really doesn’t serve your body - especially your liver. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with alcohol in moderation, but if you’re going overboard, then it’s not great.

Unfortunately, a few Mums do turn to the vino for stress relief, but it could be impacting upon your sleeping habits (it’s hard to get into a deep sleep as a result), and making you feel a little more groggy the next day.

If you think that you’re stuck in a habit with this, then it’s a good idea to get in touch with an organisation like help4addiction.co.uk. Alcohol is also a depressant, which isn’t helpful in the long-run (lecture over).

Take some time out

The most important piece of advice in this entire guide is to take some time out, just for you. That’s right, nobody else, just you.

You want to go for a walk to think things through and listen to music? Do it! You want to take yourself out for dinner? Do that too. Whatever you decide to do, it’s a good idea to be alone for a while sometimes, just so you can get your thoughts together. Taking a step back could be exactly what you need.

Don’t stress, we’re not telling you to take yourself on a solo trip to the Bahamas for a few weeks. Just for a coffee (sorry, water), or to the park to read a book, or wherever it is that you can do to collect your thoughts.

Talk about your feelings

A lot of the time, we’re under this immense pressure to uphold the world around us as Mums. We think that admitting that things are hard, or that we need help, or that we’re simply not feeling good, shows that we’ve failed in some way.

If this sounds like your thought process, then you could look after your mind simply by saying, ‘I need a bit of help here, so that I can take some time to heal.’ That doesn’t mean that you’re running away from things, just because you need to spend an evening talking to a friend.

It simply means that you’re a human being, who feels things and sometimes struggles. Talking about this stuff is important.

Find your own self-care

OK, so we could talk about self-care until the cows come home, but the truth is that different things work for different people. Whilst there are some things that are guaranteed to help a little, like getting enough sleep, it is purely subjective.

You will find things that lift you up, and make you feel like your mind and body are in a good place. Just because Rachel at the school gates told you that yoga was like, really cool, doesn’t mean that you have to love it.

So…

If you want to look after your body and mind as a busy Mum, then remember these simple things... but ultimately, do what makes YOU feel great!).

5 Secrets To Success For Work At Home Mums

When you’re a mama, it’s always going to be important for you to find a job that you love. For you to be able to do work that gives you the money you need, but then also fits in with your lifestyle. Because you won’t always want to be on the go or spending hours away from your children each day.

This is often why the idea of working from home can work so well. It allows you to work in your own time, be a lot more flexible, and be in control of your own income. Yet, when you’re new to this, or you have no idea exactly how you can work from home, it’s difficult to know how to get started, or even how you’ll make it a success. So let’s take a look.

5 Secrets To Success For Work At Home Mums

  1. Set Working Hours

To start with, you need specific working hours in place. Because it helps you to be organized for the right amount of time each day. Yes, working for yourself is flexible, but it can be chaos if you do not stick to a schedule.

  1. Create An Office Space

Next up, you need somewhere to work. If the dining table or sofa is just too distracting, then you need to designate an office for yourself. Look at different home office ideas and get creative. It may be time to transform that unused spare room or garage space into a working mecca.

  1. Aim For Productivity

The next thing you need to master is productivity. Here, the ideal is to be able to have those set working hours and get everything you need to get done, within them. And so, you’ll want to hone in on your focus, avoid distractions, and create systems that help you to work smart.

  1. Get Comfortable

Now, some will tell you that you need to get all dressed up to feel professional and get yourself into the most productive headspace for work. Of course that can work, but sometimes the energy you need is already within you – and a true passion for what you do will encourage you to keep working, no matter what. So absolutely get comfortable if you want to. Look for smarter sweat sets and deals on crocs, cosy jumpers and outfits that make you relax. Because you need to be comfortable if you’re going to get a lot of work done in a short space of  time.

  1. Set Boundaries

Finally, you have to make sure that you have boundaries in place too. Yes, it’s nice to be able to work from home – but it’s important to remember that this is a lifestyle thing. And that your family comes first. So you need to be able to switch off in the evenings and not work too hard at all times. This is why working hours can help. But not only that, you need to set limits for yourself, so that you know when to switch off work mode, and get back to mummy mode again.

Document Archiving For Those Who Work From Home

All businesses, including those run from home, need to practice effective document archiving. This is the storage or preservation of information. More and more organisations are placing their documents onto digital files, as this gives them the ability to store a greater amount of data with ease, and they can increase the lifespan of documents. Nevertheless, there are lots of documents that will need to be kept in paper format. It is important to be able to deal with both options effectively. With that being said, read on to discover more about the rules of business document archiving.

paper files documents

  •    Audit your documents – There is only one place to begin when it comes to archiving documents, and this is to audit your documents effectively. You need to determine what documents you need to keep in their original format, what documents can be scanned, which documents you can keep online, and which ones need to be thrown away. You don’t want to take up valuable storage space for documents that you do not actually need, which is why this part of the process is so important.
  •    Get up to speed with the law - There is legislation in place regarding what type of documents businesses need to keep in their original format. Therefore, it is important to get up to speed with this so that you do not end up throwing away something that could be important down the line. If HMRC want to carry out a tax investigation and you have thrown out your vital documents and records, you could find yourself in deep water. Nevertheless, there are many documents that you are allowed to keep in digital format these days, and thus this is something that is worth keeping in mind.

  •    Choosing a location – When it comes to the physical storage of your documents, it is vital to choose a self storage location with care. A lot of people opt for an offsite solution for a number of reasons. Not only is this ideal for those that have outgrown their current office space, but it can be a lot more secure as well. Nevertheless, you do need to think about accessibility, as you will want to ensure you can easily get your hands on your records whenever you need them.

  •    Know retention rates – It is also vital to ensure you get to grips with retention rates. If you get rid of anything earlier than you should, you could find that you get in trouble in terms of non-compliance. However, you will also want to make sure you get rid of any documents whenever you can. This will free up some space and it will reduce the chance of a data breach if you do not hold onto documents for longer than you need to.

All things considered, if you follow the four points that have been mentioned above, you will have a much greater chance of achieving document achieving success for your home business. This is something you need to approach with a proper plan of action to ensure everything is organised and handled efficiently.

5 Tips for a Wedding on a Budget

Last summer, it was reported that UK wedding costs had reached an all-time high, with the average rising to just over £30000. If you are engaged or thinking about getting married soon, numbers like that might fill you with dread. The engagement ring is one thing, but the idea of spending that much on one day might seem a little much.

While it would be lovely to spend that kind of money and have whatever we want, the reality for most of us is that if we wanted to splash the cash in such an extortionate way the only option would be to get into massive amounts of debt, which isn’t always a great way to start married life. Or even an option for all of us.

But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a beautiful wedding on a much smaller budget. Many people manage to do it on less than £5000, without spending more than they can afford, or regretting their choices. Here are some great tips to help you to get married on a budget.

wedding on a budget

Prioritise

If you’ve always wanted a band, look here, to find one. If the honeymoon means more than the wedding, go for it. If you want a big meal, or something a little different food wise, have it. Just make cuts elsewhere. Break your budget down into sections, assigning money to every part of your wedding. Spend less on the things that aren’t important to you, and more on your priorities.

Don’t Be A Slave to Tradition

You don’t have to have flowers, just because it’s the tradition. You don’t have to have wedding cars or fancy invites. You certainly don’t need save the date cards or centrepieces. Don’t feel like you have to have everything that everyone else does. If these things are important to you, that’s fine. If they’re not, they are great places to save money.

Get Married on a Monday in November

Venues, entertainers, caterers and even hairdressers could charge you more on Saturdays in the summer. Weddings in the winter and mid-week are often much cheaper than summer weekend weddings.

It’s also worth skipping the word “wedding” when you speak to suppliers. This little word could inflate costs massively. Just tell them that you are planning a party if possible.

It’s Who You Know

You probably know loads of people that could help. It’s time to call in favours or to ask people for help, instead of wedding presents. Ask yourself if you know anyone that could bake a cake, or DJ your reception. Are there any photographers on your friends' list that could give you a discount?

wedding on a budget

Keep Your Number Small

When it comes to a wedding, people cost money. Every person that you invite costs you money in food, invitations, favours, and drinks. A wedding with 100 guests is much more costly than one with 50.

When it comes to your guest list, don’t fall into the “If I invite her, I have to invite him” trap. You don’t have to invite anyone. It’s your wedding. Instead, ask yourself if you’d buy them a meal usually, if not, do you really need them at your wedding?

13 Things To Consider Before Bringing A New Pet Into Your Home

what to consider when bringing pets into the home

Although it may not seem like it, bringing a new pet into your home is an incredibly big decision to make. There are lots of different things you need to consider before you bring your pet home as you need to ensure it’s going to be in the best possible environment it can be. If you’ve never had pets before, it can be hard to know what sort of environment this is.

Whether you’re going to be getting a dog, cat or even a hamster, here are 13 things you need to consider before you welcome them into your home:

  • Why Do You Want A Pet?

The first thing you need to think about is why do you want a pet? There are lots of different reasons for bringing a pet into your home, but if it is something you don’t think you’re going to be able to commit to looking after for as many as 20-25 years, then maybe it isn’t the best decision for you.

You may want to consider taking part in programmes like Borrow My Doggy to test the waters. You’ll be able to get a good idea as to whether or not it’s something you can fit into your current lifestyle, without having to bring a pet into your home permanently.

  • Can You Afford To Get A Pet?

Another important thing you need to consider before bringing a pet into your home is whether or not you can afford to give them the life they need. Having a pet can be expensive when you consider all of the food, toys, insurance and medical bills you will need to pay for. Try researching the average monthly cost for the pet you want, then see whether or not it will fit into your budget.

  • Will Your Landlord Allow It?

If you’re renting a home you may find that your tenancy agreement states you’re not allowed to have pets, so it’s important to check this before you bring a pet into your home.

You could also ask your landlord or estate agents personally. You may find that you’re able to pay an additional deposit as insurance for any pets causing damage to their home.

  • Will They Fit Into Your Lifestyle?

Depending on what kind of pet you want, you need to consider whether or not they will fit into your current lifestyle.

If you’re looking to bring a dog or cat in your home you will find that they'll need much more attention than most other pets. This means that if you have a busy lifestyle where you don’t spend much time at home, then it may not be the be best pet for you and your family. If you’re looking for a pet that will fit into a busy lifestyle, you may be better suited to a rabbit or hamster.

  • What Pet Will You Be Getting?

It goes without saying that one of the most important things you need to consider is what kind of pet you’ll be getting. Make sure everyone in your family has a say in the decision, taking everyone’s opinion into account. Most of the time you’ll find you’re all on the same page, but when you’re making such a big decision it’s important everyone has a say - including your kids!

For a guide on deciding what pet to get, you can visit this handy guide here.

  • What Breed Do You Want?

If you'd like a dog, then it’s time to decide on a breed. This may be a simple decision but if you’re unsure it’s definitely worth doing your research as different breeds have very different temperaments.

  • Where Will You Be Getting Them From?

There are a lot of different places to get pets from including a pet store, a local home or from a rescue centre. Depending on where you choose to go there may well be different procedures to follow, so it’s important you do your research beforehand.

If you’re thinking of rescuing a cat or dog, make sure you’re preparing your home for a pet that may be a little bit more timid and scared based on their previous living conditions. Whilst this is an incredible way to help an animal in need, you need to ensure you’re offering them a living situation they feel safe and comfortable in. For more information on rescuing a pet, you can visit this site.  

  • How Will You Introduce Them Into Your Home?

Once you have decided what pet you’re getting and where you’re getting them from, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to start introducing them to your home. There are lots of tried and tested methods to ensuring your new pet doesn’t feel too overwhelmed, and that they settle in within the first few days.

Whilst it will definitely be a stressful experience for them moving into their new home, doing everything you can to make them feel comfortable will certainly make the entire process go quicker.

things to consider when bringing pets into the home

  • What Changes Do You Need To Make In Your Home Before They Arrive?

If you need to make any changes to your home to help accommodate your new addition, it’s better to do them before they arrive. This could involve tidying away any cables, covering up and small holes and ensuring the doors are secure - basically anything that will keep them safe and out of harm's way.

  • What Essentials Do You Need To Buy Before They Arrive?

There are lots of different things you need to purchase for your new pet before they arrive including a new bed, a stockpile of food and lots and lots of things to make them feel at home. Making sure you have the essentials (especially a bed) in place when they first arrive will help them get used to them straight away.

  • What Toys Will You Be Purchasing For Them?

If you want your new pet to feel comfortable from the moment they arrive, make sure you have lots of toys for them to play with. You’re better off buying a selection of different things, to begin with, letting them choose which their favourites are themselves. For example, dogs may want a mixture of rope toys to pull on, balls to throw about and chews - like this fun deer antler chew - to help them teethe.

  • Are You Well Stocked Up On Pet Food?

Making sure you’re well stocked with pet food will ensure you’re pet is getting everything they need. It may be hard to find a brand and taste they like at first so getting a couple of different varieties may be a good idea. Once you’ve discovered which one they like best you can purchase that brand moving forward.

It may also be worth stocking up on lots of different treats to help house-train them. They’re great for positive reinforcement and letting them know they’ve done a good job!

  • Have You Booked In Their First Vaccinations?

Most pets will need vaccinations to help ensure they’re fighting away illnesses, especially if you’re bringing them into your home at a young age. As soon as your new pet arrives make sure you book them in for an initial checkup, arranging any vaccinations they may need. For cats and dogs, it’s also important you’re protecting them against fleas and worms - something every veterinary surgery will offer.

Save Money on Home Renovations by Using These Smart Decor Tricks Instead

Renovations are no doubt expensive, time-consuming and a lot of work–especially if you do it yourself! However, we believe that instead of getting a full renovation, you can save a lot of money and get a similar effect by utilising these smart decor tricks instead!

Save Money on Home Renovations by Using These Smart Decor Tricks Instead

Add a stair carpet

If you have a wooden stairwell then placing a simple stair carpet will enhance the look and make it a little less slippery when you go upstairs in your socks.

Move your furniture around

Sometimes all it takes for us to feel like the room is entirely new is a different furniture layout. Breaking up the routine that you’re used to will make your home feel a little different and this is often enough of a makeover for people to be satisfied. Moving furniture around can be time-consuming so make sure you plan a weekend for it and use the opportunity to clean up the areas where your furniture has been sitting.

Don’t leave walls bare

Be it adding a clock, paintings, framed pictures or even a small hanger to place things like your keys and wallet, don’t leave your walls bare because it’s a fantastic source of extra storage and decor space. If you have large unused spaces in your rooms, then we would recommend adding shelves for extra storage space.

Fill your shelves

Just like your walls, empty shelves are a waste of space and they’re a fantastic place to put personalised decor pieces like trinkets, awards and memorabilia. You could fill them with books, music collections, important documents, photographs or even small potted plants. This will make your home look busier and give it a completely different personality.

Focus on your doors

Many people underestimate just how much of a difference door accessories can make to the general feel of a room. For instance, the handles could be improved to give a door a more unique and polished appearance, and replacing rusting and old hinges will add a pleasant yet subtle touch to your home.

Add a kitchen splashback

A kitchen splashback is inexpensive and very easy to install especially if it comes in a single sheet or piece. You can purchase splashbacks with unique designs, patterns or even messages to make your cooking area a little nicer.

Place plants around the home

Potted plants can be added virtually anywhere to the home since they’re relatively small, they come in many shapes and colours, and they’re easy to take care of. You can even use larger potted plants in corners of the room that would otherwise be empty.

Upgrade your lighting

Be it replacing an old lampshade, cleaning dusty bulbs or even swapping them out for inexpensive LED lights, it’s very easy to upgrade your lighting and you’d be surprised at just how big of a difference it makes to the overall feel of your home.

 

Hopefully, these tips have given you some budget ideas for decor changes. You often don’t need to renovate your entire home to get the feeling of a fresh and unique house, so try these little tricks first before you decide that you really need a complete house makeover.

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