Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Family-Friendly Floors


Having children is a big step, this is undeniable..they have such a huge impact on everything and there are a number of things that you didn’t realise mattered until a baby arrives! For some it could be the simple thing such as not appreciating what sleep actually once was, or how messy mealtimes become when you start your weaning journey at 6 months. When we started with baby led weaning I had no idea how thankful I'd be of the laminate flooring in our dining room and also how much of an absolute life saver it is now she's starting to crawl around the place. 

What is laminate flooring made of?


Laminate flooring is constructed of 4 layers, with the bottom layer known as the ‘backing’ which acts as a sort of barrier against moisture to prevent the floor from warping and becoming damaged. Next up from that is the ‘inner core’ which is made from something called fibreboard (an engineered wood made from wood chips, plants fibres, sawdust and other recycled materials) this layer helps to provide the stability and durability that laminate is renowned for. The third layer is called the ‘design layer’, this is the layer that gives laminate the look of real wood which is created using a high-resolution photograph being pressed on to the material and then a clear layer (the ‘wear layer’) is applied on top of this to ensure that stains and fading are kept to a minimal.

The benefits of laminate flooring

For me, laminate is the perfect kind of floor to have. It’s surprising how much mess a little person can make so I need something that’s easy to keep on top of and won't take up too much of my time. I also don’t have to worry about any damage, my floor seems to be able to withstand anything at the moment and long may this continue.

Laminate is often described as a ‘cheaper’ option for your home, although it is a bit more budget-friendly, it is by no means less appealing in looks, in fact there are some pieces of laminate flooring that could be mistaken for real wood! 



How can I protect my floor?


Over time your floor will have the usual wear and tear, unfortunately this is something that’s unavoidable, but you can put things in place to reduce the damage over time. Here are a few handy tips from the gang at Luxury Flooring:

   Lay down rugs/runners as an assigned spot for your children to play with their toys to protect your floor. We tend to just chuck down a large blanket as its quick to pack away come dinner time and means no food ends up getting trodden into it.
   Clean up any spillages/mess as soon as it occurs (or as soon as you’re aware of it - I know too well how much work is involved around mealtimes and sometimes cleaning up is the last thing on your mind!)
   For families with older kids make sure your little ones remove their shoes - of course this doesn’t apply to tiny little baby feet, we know they don’t pose too much of a threat and, really, who's baby actually manages to keep shoes on for more than 5 minutes?!
   If you’re thinking of placing a highchair or child's table and chair on the floor consider using felt pads on the legs, this will help protect your floor from scratches when the furniture is dragged along at clean up time. 

What’s the best way to keep my floor clean?

As mentioned earlier, laminate floors are incredibly easy to maintain which contributes to why they’re such a popular choice in the family home. Unlike carpets they don’t need to be vacuumed on a daily basis, in fact you would only need to vacuum on a weekly basis, it just depends how messy the floors get. When mess does occur then all you need is a soft bristle (indoor) brush, or dustpan and brush to get rid of it. If it’s more than a few crumbs then a deeper clean will only require a warm damp cloth and hey presto! Just make sure that if any liquids are spilt on the floor, its important to clean it up as soon as possible to avoid any damage to the floor itself.



So there you have it, a bit of an insight as to why I love my laminate floor so much! Do you have laminate flooring in your dining room?

*This post is in collaboration with Luxury Flooring and Furnishings  but, as always, all views are my own. 

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Life just happens

I've not blogged for two months.. how has this happened? 

Each day I've been thinking up ideas of things to blog about, taking photos of products I want to talk about and meaning to sit down in the evenings to start writing posts. But, life has just happened and nothing has come of my ideas. Having a baby to look after is hard work! We usually get up at around 6.30 each morning and by 7pm when she's in bed I just want to cosy on the sofa and watch some mind numbing TV. 

But, things have got to change if I want to continue with my blog work; I've got to pull my finger out and get on with it. I've got to learn to use my time more effectively and not let myself get into these blogging breaks too often! 

I'm setting myself a specific evening per week to focus on blogging; I'm luckily in the position where I can quite easily take photos during the day whilst Aria naps so now I just need to get going with the writing. 

I know if I let my blog go I'll regret it in the future so things are going to get going again; I'm going to start working on posts about things I'm passionate about, topics that excite me, products I love, experiences that make me smile and memories I want to document and look back on. 

Although maternity leave isn't a holiday whatsoever it's a special year I'll never get back and as well as raising a clever beautiful little girl I also want to come out of it thinking I've achieved something for myself. Blogging will help me with that and it's totally part of who I am now so there's no way I'm letting it go so easily!

I've been decluttering our lives, finding new ways of saving money, experimenting with cooking, getting crafty, learning about child development, observing and adapting our style of parenting, reading more books, letting go of worries I once had, powering through with breastfeeding, organising childcare and so much more so I've got plenty to write about. I just need to do it. And, I'm going to.

There, I said it. 

I may have had a break but that's it, it's over. 

Keep an eye out for a weekly blog post every Thursday and check out my Instagram for daily updates on our adventures and just day to day goings on. 

Friday, 31 March 2017

Our dream lounge

Now that life has started to settle down a little bit after the arrival of the baby I've started to think more about the house and how I'd like it to look. I can't even begin to tell you how much I've missed lusting over home accessories, prints, throws and furniture!

I love scrolling through Instagram looking at people's living spaces and imagining what our living room could look like with a bit of styling.  I'm trying my very best to keep our lounge as baby-free as possible and as time goes on I hope it stays this way.. I want a room to escape to in the evenings that makes me feel relaxed and cosy.. even if the dining room is covered in dried up porridge, plastic toys and washing waiting to be hung up to dry! I want a room I can add nice accessories to and somewhere that I feel has a touch of our personalities. At the moment we've kind of still got a blank canvas.. the walls are rather bare, the bookcase needs replacing and we are in desperate need of a new TV unit.

I've been lust listing bits and pieces for a while now and wanted to share a mood board on my blog.. maybe by the end of the year I'll have made some progress with it all... fingers crossed!

The only piece of furniture I love in our lounge is is our French Connection Zinc sofa so I'd like to find a few more pieces that compliment it and make the room feel a bit more finished. 


French Connection 4 Seater Sofa (DFS) £899- This is the sofa we already have in the lounge.. I love the simple design as its easy to fit into any space.. just change the throw cushions to match your colour scheme!

Renee Wood Chest (Oliver Bonas) £650- This would be perfect to have our TV on.. I cant stand being able to see all the wires around the back of the unit we have at the moment.  In this unit theres space for the games console we have and enough draws and sections to hide away bits and pieces we currently have on show. 

Macrame Rope Artificial Terrarium (New Look) £14.99- I'm crap at looking after real plants so this artificial terrarium would be perfect to hang up in the corner of the room... just a bit of dusting needed now and again!

Nevio Tufted Wool Rug (La Redoute) £259- Ohhh I love this rug.. it would go with the sofa beautifully. 

Stretto Large Shelves (Made.com) £399- I'm a lover of organised pretty clutter; I've got loads of random antique pieces I'd like to display on this unit plus it would also look good with some storage baskets in to hide away some toys if needs be. 

Retro Celling Lampshade (Marks and Spencer) £49- A room isn't complete without a nice lampshade is it? This coppery one would be perfect to add a bit of shine. 

Scandinavian Minimalist Poster (Inky Gorilla) £6- Simple yet so on trend!

White Artificial Cactus Plant Pot (New Look) £5.99- Again, love a good artificial plant to add a bit of green to a room. 

Jacob Accent Chair (FishPools) £399- I love this chair; I've always wanted an armchair to sit in and read a book.. simple things eh! If you'd like to have a browse through some more sofa's and armchairs then check out the range available at Fishpools here and here

Have you bought any homeware pieces recently? 
Where do you find the best bargains?

XOXO

*This post contains collaborative links but my selection of products is totally honest. 



Thursday, 16 March 2017

Mother's Day Gifts- £30 or more

Earlier on this month you might have seen my post on gift ideas for Mother's day for less than £30 (if you didn't you can read it here) This post is going to be the gifts I'd recommend if you want to spend a little more...why not treat that hardworking mama a bit eh!?



First up are these Topshop Rain macs (£49-£60)-  Whether your buying for a new mama who strolls through the park with the babe, a mama who does the school run or a mama who takes the dog out at the weekend, a nice practical coat is a godsend. I have the red mac and love it to bits. It's lightweight enough to wear on warmer days but spacious enough to wear over jumpers in the colder weather. I honestly cant recommend this jacket enough!



Fancy treating mum to a nice box of biscuits? Well, Biscuiteers are THE most beautiful ones I've seen! I first heard about them on one of Zoella's vlogs and although I haven't tried them out for taste yet I cannot get over how visually appealing they are...nearly too lovely looking to eat right?! This Mother's Day Bouquet box  is £39.50 but what a treat it would be to receive this.

Of course no Mother's Day gift guide would be complete without including a Selfish Mother top. Perfect for the warmer weather this 3/4 length sleeved tee (£35) would be ideal to chuck on with a pair of skinnies and converse.

Next up is a practical but I'd say pretty luxe gift to be given.. the GHD hairdryer (£99). I've had mine for a few years now and it really has changed by hair drying experience. It takes me about 5 minutes to dry my hair and the ionic technology built into the dryer leaves my hair feeling sleek and soft. I don't think I could ever go back to using a standard hairdryer now after having this magic tool!

Buying for a mama who's still doing nightfeeds? Well this is THE perfect gift. Buying a torch for someone might seem a bit odd but trust me, she will appreciate this. I use my Meemoobaby Meelight (£39) every night when tending to the baby, navigating around the bedroom trying to find my phone charger or even just going to the loo. I blogged about it here earlier on in the year too.


Last but by no means least, some chocolate! This Hotel Chocolat Prosecco and Chocolate Collection (£70) is the ultimate gift for a sweet toothed mother! It contains caramel and milk chocolates, strawberry and white chocolate puddles,chocolate batons, chocolate almonds and a bottle of Prosecco. How many sittings would it take you to polish this lot off?! me? Probably just one...!

Hope you've found some inspiration in my Mother's Day gift guides; I love browsing through and picking out the gifts I think would work for other mums out there.

What are you planning on buying this Mother's day?

XOXOX

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Mother's Day gift ideas- under £30

I've recently been lusting over some mama related products that I'd love to receive for Mother's Day (hint hint Aria/Mr) so I thought it would be nice to  share my top gift ideas.

Maybe your looking for inspiration for your mama, your baby's mama, a mama friend in need of a treat or just some inspiration to hint about in the run up to Mother's Day on the 26th March

First up, gifts under £30....

1. The (not) #Babyspam pin £6
Does your baby mama/mama friend apologise for posting pictures of their beautiful babe?  I see so many parents still hashtagging their photos of their babies with #babyspam but lets stop it; we are proud of our creations and they shouldn't be put  in the same category as annoying PPI emails and junk mail.  This #notbabyspam pin by Mother Merch is perfect for Instagram loving mamas!

2. Mother Like No Other T-shirt £19.99

Totes love a statement slogan piece and this Mother Like No Other raglan t-shirt is perfect for the spring/summer paired with jeans and converse. As well as being super stylish part of every sale is donated to the Panda Foundation, a charity who provide support to women suffering from pre and postnatal depression. 

3. Nobody Told Me by Hollie McNish  £10.49
Whether you breastfeed, bottle fed, co-sleep, don't sleep, sling your baby or use a pram...all mothers out there will in some way relate to this book. I was given this book in the first few weeks of being a mother and have loved every page of it. It even inspired me to write my own little bit of poetry; check it out here. I've recommend this book to so many people I just couldn't leave it out of my gift guide. Hollie writes about her experience of adapting to motherhood, her difficulties of going back to work and many more of the worries all us mamas go through. Its witty, tear inducing, comforting and just simply amazing.  Available from Waterstones

4. Thanks I Love it Mothers Day Gift Box £25.50
Looking for a luxurious collection of items for a mama who loves a good pamper? Well, Thanks I Love It (Tili) have created this cute gift box especially for Mother's Day! It includes a bar of Doisy & Dam chocolate, a pomegranate and pear candle and bath bomb both by Yorkshire Soap. It also comes with a Lydia Meiying card and Tili will hand write your message inside so the box can be sent straight to your mama.. perfect for those who are short on time to organise a gift!

5.Oh Sew Bootiful Embroidery kit £16.50
Sometimes buying for a mama is tough if they have everything they want/need! So, why not go for something a bit different, like this Love Heart Oh Sew Bootiful embroidery kit from Etsy. Either order in advance and sew it yourself and wrap it up for them or give them the kit so they can spend some time working on a needle craft project.  If I had more time on my hands I'd love to do something like this!

------------------------------------

Next week's gift guide will be on gifts ranging from £30 to £50.

Which is your favourite of the five items I've featured this week?

XOXO

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Mama wear OOTD

You've probably noticed I love this coat right?! Well, to go along with my trusty Topshop rain mac I've been sent a couple of new wardrobe additions.. yay!

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

MUSH: My story


Before having Aria I hadn't really thought about how my maternity leave days after her birth would be; I was more focused on the getting her out part and the first few weeks. But, every mum out there knows how quickly those early days pass and before you know it, daddy's back at work, the baby is a couple of months old and you find yourself sitting there daydreaming about having a conversation with an adult....even for just 5 minutes. 

I've got some lovely 'normal life' friends but they all work full time, only a few of them have kids and do they really want to sit and listen to me talk about how tired I am each week? Probably not. So, how do I meet other mum's in the same boat as me? 

Back in August 2016 I spotted an advert in Gurgle magazine about Mush and thought I'd try it out. 

Mush is an app that helps you find local like-minded mamas; you can search for mums using various parameters, for example, children's ages, interests, mama's ages and distance from your location. 

I use apps for a lot of things in life; boiling an egg, sharing photos of my life, tracking my pregnancy, banking.. the list goes on and on so, for me it seemed like the ideal way of meeting other mamas (or mamas to be at that point) local to where I live.
Once I'd dowloaded the app, set up my profile and added my location I then began to scroll through some of the other mums close by to me; checking out whether they'd already had their babies and whether we had any interests in common. 

I added a few of the ladies I came across in the first hour of being on the app and not long after a message popped up in my Mush inbox from a girl called Hannah. It read " Hello :) I've not done this before but seen your due at the same time as me..plus I also live in (postcode prefix)" - Hannah and I then went on to have a bit of a chit chat about whether we knew if we were having boys or girls, how long we were having off work and also a bit more specific about where each other live. We also swapped Instagram handles so we could spy on each other through photos. 

Fast forward to October; me and Hannah had both had our babies and we got in touch again to arrange to meet up; admittedly I was a little nervous before meeting Hannah as I'd been out of touch with the real world for a few weeks but when we met for a cuppa and chats at Costa and instantly hit it off.  
(The babies are not amused!)

We've got the same dry, sarcastic sense of humour,we both have very similar views on parenting and importantly, we both are the type to just be happy with relaxing at our houses with the babies, snacks and cups of tea. 

Having Hannah as a friend since meeting her on Mush has been pretty amazing; she's a second time mum which I find refreshing as she's more relaxed and her approach to how she raises her children encourages me to just go with the flow. I admire how motivated she is and how she juggles being a mum and wife whilst still having time to spend time with her mum friends each week.  She's one of the people I turn to when I need to have a rant, when I need advice and just when I need some words of encouragement when mumming gets hard!
Since becoming Mush friends Hannah, me and the babies have been swimming, danced around like idiots at a baby rave, spent numerous afternoons shopping and found playgroups to go to together. We've sat and chatted in numerous coffee shops together, I've cried on Hannah, she's looked after Aria for me when I went on a first aid course, we've chatted during the night and made lunch for each other when the mornings have just been hard work and food is the last thing we think about. 

Although Hannah and I live about 5 minutes walk from each other our paths wouldn't have ever crossed; we don't go to any of the same baby groups and we haven't got any friends in common.. so, thanks to Mush I've gained a mum friend who adds fun to my weeks and of course the little babies will grow up playing together and hopefully be life long pals! 


Have you downloaded Mush yet? If you have then tell me about the mum friends you've made! 

If you haven't downloaded it yet then click here (if viewing on your phone) or visit the app or google play store to download it.

Happy Mush-ing!

XOXOX