These days there are quite a few ways to make a bit of extra money online. If you have some spare time or are saving up for any particular treat, it can be worth giving it a go. As a stay at home mum, I’m always happy to try anything that I can do from home without having to pay for childcare or leave the children. I won’t claim you can necessarily earn loads but every little helps and these websites are quite useful to know about. So: How to make money online…?
Home and Lifestyle
If you have a large amount to save up, debts to repay or even just trying to turn over a new thrifty leaf, it can be quite daunting to think of changing all your habits and cutting off all the little luxuries at once! Sometimes just looking at your habits and picking a couple of areas where you may be able to cut back can be more effective ways to save money.
Leeds Building Society have created a new “Kick My Habits” resource which helps you to assess which of the most common areas you are spending extra money on and where you may be able to cut back. It takes you through a series of categories:More
Now that we are half way through January, I’m already looking forward to Spring. Soon the snowdrops and bluebells will be coming out, and Valentines Day is on it’s way which has to mean that spring will be in the air! I am always daydreaming about garden ideas and here are some ideas I put together for a Valentines Tea Party in the garden, with decorations, craft activities and games.More
I have another guest post to share with you today, all about top tips for decorating kids rooms. I am actually thinking again about rearranging and redecorating the boys rooms, although we did it not so long ago. You can see the budget room make over I did for the older boys’ room last year
Now I’m thinking to shift the children around with Mr Z having his own room and the younger two sharing instead so that he could keep his older toys separate and away from his little brothers. Although Mr Z and Mr T are actually closer in age (17 months age gap), Mr T and Mr R (19 months gap) seem to be more similar in their interests so it may work out better we will have to see.
I’m always looking for more tips as it always helps to be prepared, and I may be prone to forgetting some of the obvious things – like mentioned below: Furniture at child height. For some ridiculous reason I had shelves put in very high up in Mr Z’s room and I have to get books down for him all the time! Although this one does have to be weighed up against things being too easy for toddlers to reach and access, so there’s a balance to strike with the different age groups…
Over to my guest poster Sue with the tips:
4 Top Tips for Decorating Kids Rooms
Getting a room ready for a young child needs a bit of planning and forethought, so just follow this plan and your room will be ready for your little one to grow and play in no time. We have thought of all the possible needs of a parent
and their child, but if we’ve missed anything out then do let us know in the comments.
Everyone remembers their childhood bedroom and how such a small space seemed like an endless kingdom of play and exploration.
Here’s how to decorate your kids room:
Choose furniture at your child’s height
This one is a no-brainer really. Try to keep tables, chairs, and storage like shelves and coat hangers at a height where a child can reach. This will get your child doing things independently by themselves and prevent any accidents caused by
trying to reach objects that are teetering up on higher places. It will also leave the room tidier. You might need to adjust the height of furniture and shelving when your child grows older but this can be done without too much difficulty if
you choose shelves with adjustable shelving height, etcetera.
Install a display area
Here’s a really great tip to encourage your child in learning and creativity. You can buy sheet metal and install a magnetic display space anywhere you like. Magnets are safer for children than corkboard pins and they can change and adjust the display themselves. The kids painting, writing and home-made cards will look fantastic displayed in their room.
It is advisable not to choose halogen lighting for child’s room as these lights emit lots of heat. You don’t want your little one to get burnt fingers! If you install wall lighting, make sure that its high up off the ground so that there is no danger of
your child coming into contact with it. Block off any wall sockets with heavy furniture. With very young children, one ambient light in the room is good enough, so perhaps make that light adjustable for nap time and bedtime? For the
older ones that need special lighting for homework, check out a stylish hanging lamp:
Like this one from Lamp Commerce
Think about using a palette of colours rather than getting the room painted in a single colour (people who are thinking of creating all pink or all blue rooms, we’re looking at you!) You can choose colours that represent the sun, sea and the sky, or all the colours in a Neapolitan ice cream. Go in to paint store and tell them your idea and they will help you pick out the colours for you.
Don’t be afraid to ask your kids for their preferences–your little ones might have some great ideas already. Get them to think about what they need from their room and get them invested in thinking that the best way to use it and keep it tidy. If they love to write, then give them a desk with lots of light. If they love sports, then help them to create a fantastic display of their favourite sporting hero posters.
Above all, get ready to have a lot of fun!
If you’re interested in Kid’s room ideas, have a look at my Pinterest board for Kids bedrooms and playrooms here and follow along!
Are there any tips you would add? Let me know in the comments!
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*Featured Guest Post*
I have moved house during every pregnancy with my 3 boys, plus another couple of moves in between too! Now we have been at this home since Mr R was 3 months old and I hope that we will be staying put for a good few years. Although it is always exciting to get a new home, packing up and moving everything especially with small children can start to get a little stressful! Today I have a guest post to share with you, to share a few tips if you are in the same situation of moving house with young children. Personally I found that luckily the children do adapt fairly quickly but I always need to allow for them to have a couple of days were they won’t sleep well as they are not yet used to their new house! I hope the following tips will come in handy for some of you:
Children need to have a sense of security and routine in their home life. That is why moving homes can sometimes be traumatic for young children who don’t understand what is going on.
Parents need to take certain steps to make the transition as easy as possible and they need to ensure their children understand the reason for the move.
Here are 6 tips on moving house with young children:
1. Explain the Move to Your Children
You might think your children are too young to understand, but they need to have some sort of explanation for why they will be living in a new home. Highlight all of the positive reasons your family is moving homes and why the new home will be better for your children.
2. Comfort their Concerns
Make sure your children know that all of their important belongings are also moving to the new home. Tell them that their loving family, special teddy bears, and favourite toys will still be with them no matter where they live.
3. Pack Their Room Last
Don’t start packing up your child’s belongings until the end, so your child’s room stays intact until the very last moment possible. This will give them a stable place to go if the sight of the rest of the house being packed up upsets them. It is also important to unpack their room first and to layout it out as closely to the old room as possible. This will make the new place feel safe and familiar.
4. Involve Kids in the Move
Young children like to be involved in grown up things whenever possible. If you give them some responsibilities and make them feel like they are a part of the process, they will become enthusiastic about moving homes instead of fearful.
5. Stay Calm and Organized
Young children will notice if the move is making you stressed out or frustrated. It is important that you stay calm and collected, so they get a sense of what a positive experience moving is for everyone.
If you are renting your new place, it is best to work with a letting agent that can make the transition as smooth as possible. Rentify has a solid history of helping families find safe and secure rental homes throughout the UK.
6. Plan Before You Go
Make sure you find a good school, dentist, pediatrician, pharmacy, and hospital in the new area before you arrive. You should also look for fun activities and family restaurants that your kids will enjoy, and then plan a trip to visit those places within the first week or two of moving in. This will help your kids get excited about their new home and location.
Moving homes is a big endeavor and it can be difficult on younger children. If you are moving homes with young children make sure to explain the move to your children, comfort their concerns, pack their room last, involve the kids in the move, stay calm, stay organized, and plan out the services and facilities that you will need once you are in the new home. These simple steps will make it easier on everyone.
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*Featured Guest Post* Image: Girl having fun moving house Shutterstock (modified)
If, like many people, one of your New Years resolutions is to get organised in the home – clear out any unwanted things, declutter and get on top of the housework then here are 3 top product recommendations from me to help you on your way.
Bissell Vac and Steam
I have been testing out the Bissell Vac and Steam and have been impressed with it. It’s a really convenient and effective way to clean. It steams and vacuums at the same time so it is a pretty quick way of getting the floor properly clean without having to vacuum first and then mop or use a separate steam cleaner.
To use, you add water to the chamber at the front of the vacuum cleaner. This is the red section you can see above where it has Bissell written on it. It’s recommended to use filtered water to help preserve the vac and steam working well for longer. Luckily we are getting water filter taps installed in our kitchen soon so that will compliment the Vac & Steam nicely! However you wouldn’t need filter taps you can just use any regular water filter.
Once you start vacuuming, it will take a moment before you see any steam, as the water needs to heat up but this does not take long at all and it show a light once it is steam ready. You can change the settings to low or hi, or leave it on a vacuum only setting.
When steaming, even on high setting it does not leave the floor too wet but it does get rid of any marks, and on a low setting is fine for just general cleaning if there are no marks or blemishes on the floor. We have a variety of hard floors in our house from real wood to laminate wood, kitchen lino and bathroom floor tiles and the vac and steam works well on all of these. I find my floors quickly get marks on them with young children so this type of product is ideal.
This is the first Bissell product I have used and my experience is very positive with it. The Vac & Steam is very well made and seems to be very reliable so far (I have had it a couple of months so far). It’s fairly light to carry and move around the house and also is not cumbersome to store at all, being no larger than any regular upright vacuum cleaner. It has a hook at the back to wrap the power cord so that also stores neatly.
It really is an ideal product if you would like something to do two jobs at the same time, and also save space by only having to keep one machine.
It can be bought here for an RRP of 199 and you can see a short video of it here:
Another set of very handy products which is ideal for me sorting out the children’s outgrown and out of season clothes are the storage bags from Packmate.
I tested out their range of vacuum storage bags which includes
- Flat Vacuum Storage Bags
- High Volume Vacuum Storage Bags
- Travel Storage Bags
I was intrigued by the travel storage bags as you do not need to vacuum to use these you just roll all the air out of them. You can also use the vacuum method if you prefer and I do still find that easier to remove all the air and compact everything down more.
The bags are ideal as it seals everything in and is airtight so you won’t have to worry too much about the possibility of dust, or anything, getting into your storage. This does worry me when storing things like baby clothes, as I would rather they be sealed away tightly if they are going to be there a while.
I have used the smaller travel bags to store away some of the blankets for now and stop them taking up so much space, but still remain accessible when I want to take them out now and again. I still need to go through and sort out all of the children’s outgrown clothes, to see which we want to keep to pass down to the younger ones, which are for charity and which just to get rid of. I have a spare chest of drawers with a mixture of all their old things in it so this really needs doing to make a lot of space. If I only kept the ones we need and condensed everything down further in the Packmate bags we would gain so much extra storage space there! It’s definitely worth doing.
You can see another review from my friend Fiona who blogs at Mummys Little Stars and also tried out these Packmate vacuum storage bags a while back and shows how she used the large bags for her spare duvets
E-Cloths are a really versatile cleaning product which can be used for so many purposes. You can buy different ones depending on the use you need, including sets for cleaning your hob and oven, stainless steel or coffee machine. These cloths clean using just water thanks to the millions of tiny fibres which trap and break up dirt. This gives a quick and easy chemical free way to clean, and also saves money on extra cleaning products. My mum has always been telling me about these E-cloths as they are more eco friendly, being able to clean with just water. I was recently sent some of the bathroom cleaning sets to try them out for my self!
I have been trying out the bathroom pack:
This includes 1 Bathroom cleaning cloth (the thicker one) which is ideal for cleaning away marks or dirt on the bath tub and 1 glass and polishing cloth (the thinner one) which is ideal for mirrors or any shiny surfaces. They can be washed in the washing machine after use and are guaranteed for 300 washes which seems like great value, especially considering I normally use a lot of disposable cleaning products like bathroom or disinfectant wipes.
I will admit, I do have a cleaner who comes to my house every week (people sometimes ask me how come I have time to fit in writing so many blog posts along side looking after the kids, home and everything else – that’s how!) so as I only need to do light cleaning in between the e-cloths really are ideal for what I need. The children do tend to follow me around the house while I do housework so just cleaning with water and e-cloths at those times fits in well, rather than exposing the little ones to harsh cleaning products.
E-cloth also have a body range and I have been trying out their face cleansing mitt too, which is lovely and very soft. This is used with a little soap and water to clean the face or remove make up, and like the cleaning cloths it can be washed in the washing machine. Because of the e-cloth micro brush technology it exfoliates while it cleans and cleans deep into pores without any chemicals.
You can see the full range here and watch this video for a scientific explanation of how e-cloths work:
Food Storage and Kitchen Reorganisation
I find my kitchen is getting too cluttered at times with the cupboards too full of all the containers and tupperware I’ve bought but then lost the lids of various things, and the whole place gets disorganised! So sometimes its nice to go through and cull everything and then start again from a nice fresh minimalist reorganised kitchen. I’ve had a look at some of the food storage ideas from Kleeneze and they have some great products to help keep things freshers for longer, like cucumber bags. That definitely sounds handy for me, and I also really like this fridge storage – perfect for keeping small child sized portions!
Do you like the look of any of these? Or do you have your own recommendations to share? Let me know in the comments!
Earlier this week I was invited to take part in a blogger challenge with Homeserve, all about giving our homes a warm and cosy look over the winter. Even with the heating on full blast, if the home is plain and bare it can still end up looking and feeling a little cold.
I immediately knew which section of our living area needed to have a bit of warmth added to it, as I had a very plain bare wall in the middle of our living room and I have been wanting to inject a bit more warmth and life into this for quite a while – in fact since we moved in two years ago, but with one thing or another it hasn’t been done!
Here is my wall before hand. I think you can agree, it looks very plain and bare and is not so warm and welcoming.
As a part of the challenge we were given a £50 gift card to B&Q so that we could buy some things to help us on our home warming mission. I straight away thought about getting something for the wall, as a splash of colour would definitely liven it up and add warmth. I also wondered about extra lighting but I think a standing floor lamp could be potentially a bit dangerous with 3 young boisterous boys rushing around in case they knocked into it. After browsing around a little I decided on this canvas which is the perfect colour scheme for the rest of the room and brings such warmth in as it has a sunset feel to it. I also added some cushions, and bought a small fibre optic lamp. This is a children’s Disney Planes lamp so it may not fit 100% with the decor but the colour lights are so vibrant and the boys love it. Their smiles and laughter are really the main thing which brings warmth to our home! My LED twinkling string lights also add a nice warm and cosy feel especially at this time of year.
Here to see the full effect, is my finished “made-over” corner on the left, and the full room on the right so you can see how it fits in.
What do you think? I’m really impressed with how much change I have been able to make on a small budget and I’m looking forward to curling up on the sofa with a mince pie later on to enjoy the new cosy feel of the room!
This is an entry to the Homeserve Winter Blogger challenge – See the website for further info and T&Cs
LifeProof have recently conducted some research about parents’ and children’s use of smart phones and tablets. With more than half of the 2,000 parents studied allow a child aged three years or younger to use their phone or tablet, it seems that use of technology by younger children is growing all the time. This doesn’t really surprise me as all of mine have been given the chance to play with my phone before they reached 3 years old – although of course it has been limited!
The research also revealed that seven in ten parents feel their children are brighter because of early exposure to technology. While four in ten parents admit that they sometimes use their smart phone or tablet as a high-tech babysitter to keep their kids entertained, nine in ten also believe that using gadgets can be educational for their kids. I would agree with this, if the apps that are used are chosen wisely.
Broken or damaged phones is obviously one of the costliest downsides to allowing your child to play with your phone or tablet. I learned this the hard way when Mr Z was a baby, he water damaged my phone and as this was really my own fault for letting him play with it the warranty would not cover that at all. I had to pay out for a new one! I regretted my mistake and then I did start to be a little more cautious about how the children treated my technology.
LifeProof have the most heavy duty phone and tablet protection that I have come across! They sent me a case for my iPhone 5s and it is now feeling much more protected and ready to handle being used by the kids! This will be useful as their iPad is a 1st generation iPad and some of the apps are not available on there. I had been reluctant to let them use my phone as it is brand new so I don’t want it broken or damaged so soon, but with the LifeProof case on I would worry less. I went for a Fre case which is waterproof, dirt proof, snow proof and shock proof. It is basically everything-proof and is the most comprehensive type of case which they offer!
As well as Mr Z’s phone damage as a baby, the kids have also broken the screen of our galaxy tablet – I’m still quite gutted about that one. I do wish I had got a case or some protection for that, as it’s such a waste to see things damaged.
What are your sleeping habits like? I would say I’m with the majority of the nation as I tend to get about 6 hours sleep a night, although sometimes less. This never really seems like enough! And again, like most people, my sleep always tends to be disturbed (sometimes due to the kids!)
MySofaBeds have put together this infographic all about the sleeping habits of the UK. How does your sleep compare with these figures?
Do you agree with many of these? Luckily my husband doesn’t have too many of these annoying habits, and I would sleep well in any bed at all, as long as I get the chance to sleep without children climbing on me in the night!
Let me know your thoughts in the comments 🙂
Disclaimer: Featured Infographic
The kit includes
- a large tree design and leaves
- a castle
- a knight
- a horse
- a treasure chest and coins
- four large dragons
- a rainbow
These can be arranged in whatever design you like to fit the space in the room. As Mr Z and Mr T’s room doesn’t have one really large section of empty wall space, we made the majority of the scene on the area next to Mr Z’s bed then spread some of the other stickers around the room. We placed the tree on one of the other walls, and Mr T wanted the horse and stars next to his bed. To place the whole design in one section of the room, you will need around 2metres x 2 metres of free space.
I found the stickers pretty easy to apply. I asked my husband to help with a couple but seeing how easy it was, I did the rest my self and even let Mr Z and T help with some of it. They are only 5 and 3 but they managed to put the leaves on the tree with no trouble – and luckily the stickers are totally re-positionable so I was able to peel off a couple of the stray ones and adjust them a little while they weren’t looking 😉
The tree stickers have been split into several sections to make it easier to apply. This was a big help! We actually have a dado rail in the room (not my choice – the house came like that!) so had the tree sticker been in one long piece, we wouldn’t have been able to use it. As it is, I was able to put half of the trunk above the rail and half below and I think it didn’t spoil the effect too much at all.
All of the designs are so bright and colourful. I love the rainbow and all of the dragons because of how much colour they inject into the room. It’s a really playful design which would work for a young babies nursery all the way up to a little boy’s bedroom. This design was actually made to commemorate the birth of the new Prince George this summer!
The stickers are made of a thin self adhesive fabric and have a matt finish. The overall quality of each sticker is very high and I would expect them to last for years. A lot of thought has gone into the design, as you can see from all the little details – the British flag on the knights shield or all the different textures on the leaves. The illustration style is lovely.
The price of this set is £145.95 from Enchanted Interiors. I would definitely recommend it for anyone looking to give a child’s room a really striking make over with very little effort or skill involved. It’s also a good solution if you want to add personality to a child’s room while renting. We were in that position when all the boys were babies and when you are not allowed to paint the room, wall stickers are a much better solution to quickly liven things up and they do come off easily without damaging the paintwork. They are also useful for cleverly covering up any imperfections which are already on the paintwork or wall underneath!
If you are tempted by these but do have a much smaller room, you can buy some of these stickers separately such as the dragons or tree on its own, or a smaller set with the castle and one dragon – so have a browse of the website.
Mr Z and Mr T love their new room design as I’m sure most little boys would.
Watch our Enchanted Interiors Wall Stickers video to see how easy they are to apply and see my boys’ reaction to the new wall stickers!
To see some of the other designs available have a look at these reviews from a couple of my friend’s blogs: