1367 posts Posts by Jayne

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.

Self storage 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.

Creativity for a Happier Life

Whether you’ve always been a bit creative or think that creativity isnt for you at all, it wouldn’t harm to have some creativity in today’s world. Thinking outside the box has always been a desirable skill and can even be gained after practice. You not have to be a natural at it, you can even start bit by bit to experience how creativity can positively affect your life:

1. More energy: If you are in the creative flow, you feel like everything is easier. It is easier to get out of the bed in the morning and easier to work for long periods of time with complete focus. Creative pursuit will also provide you with better moods and will make you happier.

2. Better work life: Your career will only prosper if you get a little creative at it. New innovation has created some major changes in every industry today and it will continue doing so. Even if you don’t own a business, creativity can still help you have a better home and work life as it can provide you with balance.

3. Ability to see opportunities: If you feel like there are no opportunities for you, try getting a bit creative. Creative people can do a number of things and make opportunities out of thin air. The ability to think of possibilities where there seem to be none will only help you in life.

4. Persistence: Any creative activity, whether it is writing, painting or anything else, will require a lot of persistence. And if you are good at it this will also show in other areas of your life.

So why don’t you pick up a creative pursuit today and let it transform your life? Creativity in itself is a reward, but you can also make sure that you follow through by rewarding yourself with things like playing a bingo game with bingo promotions at GameVillage or a copy of a favorite book!

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?

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!

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.

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.

Getting the Best Night’s Sleep #SleepExperts

SleepSleep is a massively varying issue in our house; Husband is an insomniac (as in a proper, can’t sleep for days at a time insomniac) whereas as it’s a running joke in our house about how easily I fall asleep. I once fell asleep STANDING UP and almost broke my neck by falling backwards like a felled tree and catching myself at the last second. The girls seem to fall somewhere in the middle; Sausage fights sleep every single night and stubbornly forces herself awake for as long as possible, whereas Burrito Baby is a dormouse like Mummy and falls asleep with ease most nights…unless she’s napped late and then she can sit awake, sometimes until 2am! Zzzzz…..

Getting a GOOD night’s sleep is actually really different to be able to FALL asleep though and many mornings I’ll wake up not feeling very rested at all. I think I have mild sleep apnoea (based on how loudly I snore most nights and the fact that my friends used to be terrified at sleepovers because I’d take one big breath and then not breathe again for about a minute, I’d say it’s pretty certain) which obviously interrupts the actual quality of my sleep. I’ve also noticed that since I upped my exercise schedule, I’m far more tired every day just because I’m physically doing so much more.

The guys at Adjustamatic have been doing a load of research into getting a good night’s sleep and their #SleepExperts have put together some advice for everyone to follow. Watch the video to find out more:

I actually LOVE the idea of an adjustable bed; Husband and I often say that we should get two single beds and push them together because he prefers a hard mattress and I like something with a little bit of cushion. He’s a light sleeper and I turn over with a LOT of gusto, which often wakes him up. He likes a bit of hip support whereas I need my neck and shoulders a bit more propped up. We’re compatible in marriage a lot more than we are in sleep, it seems!

I must admit, I also quite often end up in bed with Burrito Baby – we’ve co-slept pretty regulalry since she was born and she’ll still call out for me most nights and it’s easier for me to just go and slip in with her. She’s sleeps in the bottom bunk and she’s still absolutely tiny for a three year old so I get plenty of space, lots of snuggles and she never complains about my snoring 😉

Do you share your bed with a Husband, Wife, partner or co-sleeping child? Have you ever considered single beds, pushed together as one big bed?! Would you benefit from an adjustable bed? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this so please do leave me a comment below!

 

How to achieve your goals in 3 simple steps

All of us have a list of goals that we want to achieve one day. Even if you haven’t written it down, you know it still exists in your head. This includes all the things you want to do and become in your life. It includes a personality you look up to. Yet most people loose hope before they get close to reaching these goals, which only causes regret later on in life. So what do we do to make sure that our motivation does not fade while we spend our lives in the pursuit of everyday greatness that may not even matter a couple of years from now?

1. Write it down: For those of us who are not really sure about what we want, or who haven’t made out a list yet, now is the perfect time to write it all down. Sit down when you feel clear headed and think about all the things that you would need in a year or in five years or in ten years from now and commit to it in writing.

2. Understand the ‘why’: It is important to understand why you want the things that you want. So if your goal is to exercise more, remind yourself constantly as to why you need to do it. Is it to feel more active, to look more attractive, or to run in a marathon for a cause you care deeply about? The reason will act as a motivator and will definitely keep you moving when the going gets tough.

3. Celebrate: A great way to enjoy the process of achieving your goals is to celebrate them while you are at it. Treat yourself to a movie or play online bingo every weekend to celebrate after a week long of hard-work and effort towards your goal. Self appreciation will boost your confidence in a positive manner.

Can You Be A Tourist In Your Own City?

Source

While the idea of a summer holiday may be the thing that keeps most of us going for much of the year, sometimes, it’s just not feasible. It might be a financial concern or just not being able to justify the time off work, but the fact remains: this year, you’re staying home.

This doesn’t mean that you have to abandon all plans for a little fun and exploration, though. In fact, it gives you the perfect opportunity to be a tourist in the most unique way: touring your home city.

How Much Of Your City Do You Really Know?

Do you know –

  • The local history of your city? How it came to be founded, how it’s changed, how it’s adapted as the world has altered around it?
  • The best bars, restaurants, museums, places to go and things to experience?

Have you ever:

  • Spent a day just wandering around your city for no specific purpose? You have no errands to run, no one you have to rush off and meet, no specific time you have to go home. Just wandering around, exploring hidden back streets, browsing in shop windows?
  • Sat in a coffee shop for hours on end for no real purpose enjoying the feel of being out and about?
  • Ventured on a day trip within a few hours of your city to a local site of interest, be it historical, a theme park, or just an experience day?

If you’re anything like the rest of the populace, then chances are, you haven’t done any of those things. You’re too busy being bogged down in the minutiae of your usual life. You don’t browse; you go for a specific purpose. As for sitting down for a coffee and soaking up the ambiance – why would you do that in public when you can get go home and do it?

The interesting thing is that all of the above have one thing in common:

You’d Do Them On Holiday

Think about it: if you travelled to a foreign country, you’d think the above were a great way of spending your time. You’d explore, take your time, wander with no specific destination in mind. You’d soak up the local history, for sure – in fact, you might know more about the history of a foreign city than the place where you live!

So Why Not Be A Tourist At Home?

If you can’t get away for a full holiday this summer, then being a tourist without leaving your own city is the perfect solution. It’s also full of benefits that can make visiting a foreign land a pain. For example, you can go home to a bed you know you’re going to like rather than putting up with a poor hotel mattress; you can buy a scooter to explore on, rather than paying the extortionate rental fees; and you already know the language so you don’t have to worry about getting lost.

While it might not be the summer holiday of your dreams, that doesn’t mean spending a summer truly exploring your home city can’t have its advantages as well. Every city has a story to tell – isn’t it about time you listened?

Best Locations to Have a Holiday with Your Dog

Many pet owners don’t want to leave their pets behind when they go on holiday, whether that is somewhere close to home, or a little bit farther. Dog friendly holidays are becoming increasingly more popular, and even if you want to get some sun in a hotter climate, there are some great options for places to go, as well as reasonably priced companies offering all the help you need to ship dogs to your holiday destination, safely and happily. Here are some of the best holiday locations for you and your dog:

England

England’s quarantine laws have recently been lifted, allowing for free travel for dogs from most countries. This is ideal as England is one of the most dog-friendly places, with plenty to see for humans and their furry friends. The country and the cities are great for walking- something your dog is sure to enjoy. And it is not often that you can take your dog to see truly historical features like those on offer in England.

Greece

What dog doesn’t want to spend all day at the beach? In fact, you might argue that dogs usually have more fun than their human counterparts. Greece offers plenty of beaches, where you and your dog can enjoy in equal parts. If you go in the spring, your dog will be most happy as temperatures won’t be too high for them, and if they are, most places have air conditioning, so you are set!

Switzerland

The rules for dog travel to Switzerland are indeed lax, allowing easy entry for you and your dog. This spans to their use of public transportation as well, making it easy for you and your dog to catch a plan, train, or boat. Small dogs can even travel for free! As an added bonus, most restaurants in Switzerland even let your dog dine with you! A true dog haven!

Spain

Spain can be an extremely relaxing trip for you and your pup. Laying by the pool, catching some sun rays, all of this is extremely appealing when traveling with your puppy. Spain in general is pretty laid back. This makes taking your dog with you anywhere very easy. The largest cities in Spain even have specialized dog exercise and toilet areas. This is ideal when spending the day sight seeing. Just make sure you don’t let your dog get overheated in the Spanish sunshine!

It is important for dog owners to do all the necessary research before going on the holiday of their dreams. This includes checking what your pet needs to have (passport, vaccinations, etc.), talking to your vet for advice, and ensuring that not just the place you are sleeping is dog friendly, but that there are also local things to do with your dog that you can both enjoy and that you are both welcome in.