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Five Tips to Turn Clutter into Order (without too much hassle)

Clutter gets you down. It’s a slow creep, but eventually you realise you can’t do the things you want because there’s no space, too much mess, and it’ll take all the spare time you have just to make room for what you wanted to do.

When it reaches this stage, it’s time to wage war on clutter.

#1 – Get Organised

Everybody hangs on to things ‘just in case’. It can reach the stage when there’s nowhere in cupboards and wardrobes to keep the stuff you want because they’re full of things you no longer use.

Getting tough on those space stealers is the first step to mastering clutter instead of letting it master you. Take it slowly, doing just one room at a time. Start with the least cluttered room, because when you get a relatively easy success you’re more motivated to tackle something more challenging.

Go through all the cupboards and divide stuff into three piles:

• Keepers
• Trash
• Savers

The keepers you’ll have somewhere either to hand or on display. The trash items speak for themselves. Be ruthless and have a big black bin bag to hand so you’re less likely to change your mind. The savers are items you want to keep, such as sentimental value things or heirlooms you can’t part with. These you’ll pack away and store elsewhere.

Having sorted possessions in this way you’ll already feel like you’re reclaiming your space. Time to move on.

#2 – Find and Use Hidden Spaces

Hidden spaces include under the stairs, or even under the kitchen cabinets (that area that’s generally blocked off with kick boards). But hidden spaces can also be hiding in plain sight.

Look up, and see all that space on the wall. We tend to ignore high up spaces, but it’s valuable real estate for shelving to hold books, ornaments, collections or anything else you want on display. And the best thing is shelving works in every room, and is usually out of reach of little fingers.

#3 – Making More of Storage Furniture

Digital gadgets are part of everyday life, but they really contribute to clutter when they’re left lying on surfaces, especially in living rooms.

Storage furniture provides a solution in the form of coffee tables or end tables that have drawers and shelves built in. When you can scoop chargers, controllers, remotes, tablets and phones out of sight, surfaces are clean and tidy, but gadgets are still handy.

In bedrooms, make beds work harder. Choose divans or ottomans over frame beds and use the built in storage for toys in kids’ rooms or spare linens and duvets in the master bedroom.

#4 – Use Self Storage for Seasonal Items

We live according to the seasons, either consciously or unconsciously, doing different things depending on the weather and time of year.

Those activities generally involve different bits of kit, from lawn mowers and barbecues to sports equipment or seasonal clothing. Keeping them at home takes up space and adds to the feeling of clutter.

A self storage unit is an answer many people are discovering. The rooms come in all sizes and are quite inexpensive. The rental terms are short, so giving up a room or moving to a different size is quick and easy. Plus, most of us live within striking distance of a self storage facility.

Storing items not being used frees up a surprising amount of space, whether it’s more room in the garage to work on the car, or more space in the house to arrange things in everyday use.

#5 – Banish Dumping Grounds

Let’s face it, we all have them. Post and junk mail gets tossed on the side ‘for later’, keys get dropped on counters or hall tables, and shoes pile up just inside doorways. Making tiny changes in these areas can really help control or banish small dumping grounds:

• Install a key rack and use it.
• Invest in a letter rack where all incoming mail gets stacked until you have time to deal with it.
• Put a shoe rack by the door, or make it a household rule that shoes are placed in whatever area you designate for them.

Sometimes, changing just one little habit, or tackling one little area, can have a big impact on clutter.

Baby

What Are the REAL Essentials for Babies?

essentialsBurrito Baby is almost three and a half and will be starting nursery in September, so our baby days are well and truly over. Husband and I have made the decision that two kids is enough for us, so newborns aren’t something which will feature in our future, however I was recently speaking to a pregnant friend about how much simpler parenthood was the second time around because you don’t feel as pressured by all the STUFF. With Sausage, we had so much information and advice about what we NEEDED and MUST HAVE, but the reality of it was that we probably could have done without most of it. Here’s a list of things which, for us, were the true essentials the second time around:

Muslin Cloths

My two babies were very different in terms of feeding; one did so with no issues (although was initially tube fed in the NICU) and the other had reflux and a cow’s milk protein allergy, but the one thing which was the same for both of them is that they’d always posset at least a bit after a bottle. Muslins were used for everything from mopping up sick and protecting shoulders whilst burping, through to using the massive ones to swaddle. We’d have been royally stuck without them and I’d recommend them to ANY new parent.

Lansinoh

I wasn’t able to breastfeed either of my girls but I know from the exerience of friends that nipple soreness was one of the main problems in the early days. Lansinoh HPA Lanolin is the UK’s number one nipple cream and is soon to be released in a new travel-friendly 10ml size online and in selected Boots stores – a perfect hand-luggage holiday essential for breastfeeding mums (according to results as many as 95% of breastfeeding women experience nipple soreness)!!

Some Sort of Baby Chair/Cushion/Mat

I’m not going to be specific here because everyone’s preference and budget is different, but having somewhere that you can actually put baby down for a few minutes is essential for your own mental health. BB was quite a clingy baby (probably because of her reflux) but we had a swinging chair which vibrated and it allowed me to have two minutes here and there, without screaming, to brush my teeth or do something for myself.

Baby Sling

Our sling was so, so useful in the early days for both babies as I was able to strap them on and get on with things! I’m quite a hands-on Mum and have one baby wearing and co-sleeping and although it’s not for everyone it’s something that I’d really recommend you try. Baby gets a lot of comfort from being close to a parent and you have both hands free, which is a huge luxury with a newborn!
A V-Pillow
Because I bottle fed my two, having somewhere comfortable to sit to feed them was really important. Both times, we invested in a v-shaped pillow which I would put across my lap and then put the baby on top. It gives your arms a bit of a break if you need it and allows you both to sit comfortably while baby’s back is properly supported.
Do you have anything to add to the list?
Happiness

How to Create the Ultimate Night Out Look

Night OutWhen you are talking “night out”, this is your opportunity. It is your opportunity to let loose and feel completely confident in your skin. A “night out” is going to be different from the normal. It is going to be exciting. You are intentionally getting ready to be unrestrained in some way, form or fashion.

A “Night Out” Means Different Things Depending Upon the Company You Keep

A night out with the girls is different when you are on the prowl or happily married and content. A night out with your spouse is different if it’s your anniversary, or just a chance to catch a flick without the kids. Your night out is also coloured by who is accompanying you on the excursion.

Whatever your night out is all about, we want you to make the most of it. The way to make the most out of any evening is your attitude about the opportunity.

Feeling Sexy Goes with Everything

Taking the extra time to slow down and appreciate yourself as a woman should be the backdrop of every night out. Your attitude is an essential part of the wardrobe. Now that you have an attitude of latitude, you are starting to feel sexier by the minute. Now, your night out can go higher and higher.

So, what other things should be an essential part of your special night out wardrobe? Well, we are glad you asked.

Like the 70’s hit song declared, “Let’s Make This a Night to Remember”

Crotch-less Tights – is an essential part of your grown and sexy wardrobe. It is not trying too hard. Nobody but you will know you are wearing them. It is a constant reminder that you have removed a barrier to your fun this evening. Tease your spouse and let them know you have a surprise for them. You can purchase some new crotchless tights and wear with or without undies. You determine your level of naughty for the night out mood you want to set.

A Dramatically Different Hairstyle or Wig – This element gives you permission to be someone different on your special night out. You may pass by a mirror and not even recognise yourself. Donning a different hair colour, length or style will be fun. Trying something out of the ordinary will set your night out apart from the rest of your week with distinction and style.

Stilettos – Here is yet another opportunity to take your night out up a couple of notches. Wearing those four inch heels will be a real escape from the everyday. Women feel sexy in heels and they will definitely be a great compliment to your crotch-less tights. Depending upon your level of comfort, you can go up or down a few inches in heel height. Be careful though – no one feels sexy with aching toes. You don’t want to turn your night out to a “let’s sit this one out”.

A Dramatically Different Makeup Style – Try something you’ve always wanted to try; perhaps a trending trick you saw on the Internet will set your night out makeup apart from your work-week. Staying in line with our sexy theme, you may just apply a little more makeup than usual to give you a sexier edge for the tone of the evening.

Gloves or Costume Jewels – Topping off your night out duds is the embellishments you crave, the finishing touches. If you’re strictly a pearl stud earring lady by day, vamping up with finger-less, lace gloves and long dangling earrings for your night out will be just the level of sexy you desire.

Give your night out look some added glamour or naughtiness with any of the above items!

Anger

In the Wake of Terrorism: Do We “Let Them Win” By Changing Our Plans?

It feels wrong to be writing about this less than a day after the horrible events in Manchester yesterday but it also feels wrong to let it go without saying a word. Apologies if anyone feels like the subject matter is too raw, but timings can’t always be perfect.

Since the news broke about a suicide bomber at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, I’ve seen a lot of people reconsidering their own plans; one friend is due to go to a completely different gig in Manchester at the weekend, and Husband and I are even umming and ahhing about the Bad Religion gig we’re taking Sausage to later in the year. The main response I’ve seen to people questioning their worst fears is other people saying “You can’t change your plans, that way they’ve won” and while I agree with the sentiment to an extent, it’s an issue which is so much more complicated than this one glib statement.

Ideological warfare perpetuated by extremists is ALWAYS done to incite fear in people and in this case, it seems to be working. I won’t go into theories of why this has happened, not least of all because there were so many children involved, but between this and the attacks at the Bataclan in 2015, it seems that places where people are going to enjoy themselves in large crowds are being seen as an easy target (remember when the IRA bombed pubs in the 1980’s? Same concept, I guess).

I think it’s a uniquely British thing to say “Keep Calm and Carry On”, but by the same token, isn’t this level of stubbornness putting us a risk? We can’t change our lives and cancel all of our plans but at what point do we draw the line and decide that some things are too dangerous? I just don’t know. I don’t WANT them to win, but I also don’t want to do something I regret.

In the grand scheme of things, the odds of something like this happening to you are in the millions to one; obviously the odds get slightly higher with each attack but as it stands you’ve got more chance of being struck by lightening or run over by a bus. We don’t stay indoors for fear of lightening strike, so should we be equally ambivalent to the threat of terrorism? I wish I had an answer for you, because at the moment my main instinct is to collect Sausage from school early, come home, stay indoors and not leave again for a really long time.

My heart hurts for the families who’ve lost someone during what they thought would be a joyful night of pop music and fun and I’m struggling to come to terms with even more cruelty in the world. I know we can’t, as humans, enjoy peace and love all the time because it just doesn’t work like that, but I just wish that I could envisage a future where any of this gets better. If the men in spaceships turned up today and offered us a lift to another planet, I think I’d take it.

Stay safe, love each other, be kind. 

Manchester

If you’re in or near Manchester and want to donate blood, there’s a link here to tell you where and how.

Family · Kids

Sudocrem – Getting Kids to Play Outdoors

Hands up who’s relieved to have seen a little bit of nice weather this week? In a week full of terrible news and nasty political tactics, sometimes something as simple as feeling the sun on your face is enough to bolster your mood a little. It’s really nice that a little less rain means that we’re able to spend more time outside, taking advantage of our lovely surroundings and blowing away some of the cobwebs of what felt like the longest winter in living memory.

Now that Chuck isn’t as able to go on long walks, we limit his walking time by allowing him to take us on shorter walks and let him dictate the length and pace, and this newly relaxed attitude from him makes it a lot easier for me to take both girls along with me while I walk him. Spending time walking with all three of them (and even better when Husband is with us, too) is one of my simplest, happiest pleasures in life.

Getting Outside with Sudocrem

Last year, I teamed up with Sudocrem to tell you all about the Play More campaign they’d launched which was intended to get our kids outside more, by donating funds to schools and nurseries for updating their outdoor play areas. The project was such a huge success that they’re doing it all again this year and they’ve asked me to tell my readers about it.

“With stories of childhood obesity never far from the headlines, it’s easy to believe that each generation of children is lazier than the last. But a new survey of 6 – 11 year olds suggests that British children believe they’re wrapped in cotton wool by their parents and would like more freedom to play outside.

The research by family skincare brand Sudocrem found that almost 3 in 5 children (57%) said their parents worried too much about their safety and almost two-thirds of those aged 8 – 11 (64%) thought they should be able to go to the park with their friends, unaccompanied by an adult.Sudocrem Play More for schools and nurseries

 Encouragingly, the study also revealed a generation of children who recognise they don’t play out in the fresh air often enough, with 52% of those questioned admitting they spend too much time on games consoles and a further 60% saying there should be more games to encourage kids to play outside, like Pokemon Go.”

Sudocrem’s Brand Manager, Georgina Fotopoulou said, “Children love outdoor play but they’re bound to scrape their knees. This is all part of the learning process. A cuddle and a tub of Sudocrem Antiseptic Healing Cream can make a lot of things better. We’ve been healing skin for generations and we’re proud to promote the spirit of adventure with Play More.”

If you think your child’s nursery* could do with improving their outdoor facilities, go to www.sudocrem.co.uk/social-hub and nominate.