The Different Geeks and What to Buy Them: A Gift Guide for Nerdy Guys

One of my best friends is dating a lovely new guy and with Christmas coming up, she wants to get him something that shows she cares. Her challenge is that he is nerdier than her previous boyfriends and she hasn’t … Continue reading

Weddings Are Expensive: Cut Costs Where You Can – Honeyfund Guest Post!

Photo by Tom Pumford on Unsplash A little while back, the lovely Honeyfund asked me to contribute to their blog and I was thrilled to oblige. In fact, I went a little overboard and wrote not one, but two posts! So, when they … Continue reading

Embracing the Wonderful Disorder of the Festive Season!

Photo by Beth Teutschmann on Unsplash Halloween is almost upon us and as ever I had thought that by the end of October our house would be finished and ready for a lovely relaxing festive season. This of course has not happened, but … Continue reading

Keep Little Ones Healthy With These Medicine Tips

Little tots get anywhere and everywhere, making them super susceptible to getting ill. Having young nieces and nephews has shown me just how easily children can feel under the weather. Although it is inevitable, parents do their best to try and avoid it. Whether it be wrapping your kids up warm or getting them to wash their hands. However, sometimes you just can’t beat the lurgy, and this is where medicine can come to the rescue. As much of a Godsend medicines are though, mistake happen frequently, like accidentally storing medicines improperly for example. Could you be making any of these medicine mistakes?

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Not Finishing A Course

Doctors determine the type and dosage of medicine and the exact length of medicine prescriptions depending on the individual. When a full course of medication is not administered, this increases the chances of the illness reoccurring and the medicine being ineffective.

Overdosing And Underdosing

To think you could be over-dosing and under-dosing your child without even knowing it is truly terrifying. Everyone knows that it is important to give the correct amount medicine and you can do this by reading the information leaflet provided or by asking your doctor. However, even when you follow the instructions there are still things to keep in mind. In terms of measuring at home, use a measuring cup on a flat surface to reduce the chance of unintentionally pouring too much or too little. Crushing tablets is also often seen as an easy way to get stubborn children to ingest tablets without a struggle, however this changes the formation of a tablet and can lead to further issues. To avoid this, ask your doctor if there is a liquid medicine version that will help you administer the correct dosage without difficulty.

Sharing Medicine

Medicines like Calpol are regularly used to treat minor colds across most children. Even though this is openly available to any parent and not extremely harmful, it is not recommended to share bottles and syringes. Of more concern, is sharing prescribed medicines like antibiotics. When a health professional decided to give a child medication to treat their ailment, the dosage recommendation would be based on their patient’s individual profile including their age and weight, therefore the prescribed medicine will not be appropriate for another child. Sharing medication can lead to the administration of an incorrect dose or active ingredient causing further complications.

Inappropriate Storage

Often medicines are required to be stored in a cool dry place or even refrigerating. Many like storing medicines in a bathroom cupboard however, where the heat and moisture from taking a shower can change the environment rapidly. Read the information leaflet carefully and assess which area of your house is most suitable. Most importantly, medicine needs to be up high, locked and away from children.  Storing on top of counters is not recommended as children have the ability to get everywhere, something which I see often with my nieces and nephews!

Reusing Medicine

If your child has a cough a few months on from a previous one, it may appear to be the same strand of virus. This is why some parents would think to use the rest of a bottle of medicine previously administered for another cold. Treating medication in this manner is a sure fire way to end up giving your child the wrong medicine for their needs. Not only that, medicines have sell by dates which need to be taken into consideration. Make sure to review your stores regularly and throw out old medicine safely.

When your little one is poorly (which can happen regularly given all their exploring) all you want to do is make them feel better and fast! Children’s medicines are great for getting them back up and out playing, but even when you follow the guidelines it can still be easy to make mistakes. If you read and remember these tips, you should be all set to give your tots what they need and in the perfect dose and condition!

Help! I Need a Baby…Gift!

Photo by Sadık Kuzu on Unsplash

I am beginning to realise that I have entered a stage in my life where half of my friends are settling down to have kids and the other half are out chasing their careers, travelling or still partying. Even though I am pretty much done with partying, it’s not quite the right time for me to have a baby yet. Although, it hasn’t stopped me getting super excited for my friends who are!

And, where there are babies, there are baby showers.

However, with the baby showers comes the dilemma of getting a gift. The level of effort/money put into finding the perfect gift is going to be determined by how close you are, or maybe what the bank balance says at the time. Both issues come with their own stresses, so I have put together my top tips for getting a fail-safe new baby gift.

Get Them Stocked

Photo by Annie Theby on Unsplash

Yes, it is that boring. Or at least seems like it.

For many the thought of getting nappies, bibs or dummies are an effortless gift, they believe that it is easy to purchase and can be bought at any time. They may even rather to get clothes, hats or get really creative for their new bundle of joy.

But from being around and babysitting for my good friends, I learned quickly that babies grow super fast and get through A LOT of nappies.

While hats might be really cute and thoughtful at the time, after six other friends have the same idea, there are only so many hats that can be worn before they grow out them. With supplies, if six friends have the same idea, Mummy is going to save a lot of money and be prepared for a growing babies basic needs for the first four to six months. This is a game changer for them.

Personalise It

Source: Pexels

The other problem with getting clothes or a cuddly toy, is it all becomes a little too generic. There is no doubt that there are many awesome kids clothes out there at the moment, but they do not quite get across the thought behind the gift….unless you are throwing obscene money at the situation.

No, the answer is to get thoughtful with personalised baby gifts for the new addition.

They are something a little different and really show that you have put effort into your chosen present, even if it does not break the bank. You can get a piece of art with the family’s name on it to capture to moment, or if the baby’s name has been decided you could get cuddly toy or bib embroidered as this makes the coming addition even more real!

Go Big

Credit: Pixabay

If you really want to treat the new addition or family to something a little special, but can’t afford to go it alone, think about joining forces with friends or family to split the cost.
There are many expensive items that the new family would love to have, that are genuinely going to make their life with the new one a lot easier. They will just not be able to afford all of them in one go when budgeting for their new family member! Despite this, if they are anything like my friends, they would never want or expect anyone to help them out in that way. When we have managed to clubbed together as a group for something a little more hefty however, we have been blown away by how touched our new parent friends were!

I may still be in the independent stages of my life, but I absolutely adore the excitement and anticipation in the air when one of my friends are expecting! Our friendship group are a little more comfortable for cash these days too, so we are able to get something extra special for our parents-to-be friends. Yet, this doesn’t always make it easy to get the right thing! I hope this has given you some inspiration for finding the perfect gift. Please let me know if you have any other recommendations in the comments section, you never know whether a happy announcement is just around the corner!

Classic Ways to Spruce Up Your Home

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Summer is all about getting out in the sunshine and enjoying the environment, so why not release a breath of fresh air into your home interiors as well? Every now and again, our dwelling needs a little love and care, whether that be lick of paint or a new pair of curtains. Sprucing up your house is not just a fun and engaging prospect; a good session of ‘out with the old and in with the new’ can be very calming and refreshing for the mind too. Without further ado, read on for three classic ways to spruce up your abode this Summer!

Minimalist & Modern

Photo by Pixabay

Follow the advice of iconic designer William Morris and ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.’ All that Summer air clears the mind and what better time to have a look at your home with a fresh pair of eyes. Clearing the clutter that you no longer use will create more space and allow for features and accent furnishings to shine.

Remember that 2017 has seen minimalistic interiors boom, with many sticking to natural colours and textured finishes. This look often employs one colour in different shades to create depth and contrast within the space. I love browns and greys to give a nautical feel without the obvious bright blues and stripes, making this a very transitional look throughout the year.

Fabulous Focal Features

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You can create the perfect focal point whilst at the same time re-energising a room and creating conversation. You may even have a potential feature without realising! Windows and fireplaces are commonly overlooked, but accentuating these features with colours and embellishments is an affordable and easy way to develop a room’s unique style.

If you are not keen on feature walls and accent pieces, hanging art is a lovely means of bringing beauty and interest to any space. With the never-ending combinations of mediums and movements, you can find a piece that ties together your colour scheme whilst creating a wonderful centrepiece. Even better, if you don’t have time to browse local galleries, there are lots of places to buy art online whether you are looking to invest in an original painting or simply something bright to compliment what you have already.

Snug Staples

Photo by Eduard Militaru on Unsplash

If there’s anything that comes above style, it’s comfort and your house should not only be visually pleasing, but also a cosy place to socialise and relax after a long day. Essential furniture like beds, sofas and tables should be of long-lasting high quality. With summer here, there are plenty of summer sales to help you get your hands on some affordable yet chic furniture. Choosing new curtains for example, can give a whole room a face-lift and shelves no longer need to be boring. Box shelves and wall units are a very popular way of creating storage solutions that also act as an interesting focal point.

To sum up, your home should be a calming environment which reflects your favourite style and tastes. A healthy change to your habitat can make it an inspiring and motivating one to dwell within. Some view this as an added expense, however the quality of life, experience and added value you will gain from an interior refresh will have a positive effect on all aspects of your life.

 

A Home Improvement Project (It’s About Time)

Have you outgrown your space too? These sorts of things happen all the time and are often the fault of tiny little (new) family members. But, in our case we simply have too many things! Unfortunately, creating the illusion of space through use of natural light and brighter accessories might not cut the mustard this time. My other half and I have been heatedly discussing a potential renovation and getting builders in to help create new space. This would be a huge project but I am super excited already, especially because this project would give me a chance to enjoy a space that is actually mine without the unwanted intrusion of golf clubs or paperwork.

We’ve talked through plenty of ideas at great length so far, but here are the ones that seem most realistic:

A Garden Room

We began by looking for something that didn’t need planning permission and we’re thinking that the extra space we’ll get from a garden room might make this one a winner. As long we don’t breach the planning permission guidelines, we are good to go! I always think of them as glammed up sheds with electricity, creating perfect little areas for an outside office or relaxing room. As we’re in the middle of summer now, it could be an ideal DIY project as it isn’t necessarily something we need to get the builders in for! But with that said, I’m pretty hopeless at all things woodwork-y!

A Basement

What about digging downwards? We initially didn’t think of this as a viable option as we think there are far too many pipes and important things beneath our house that enjoy breaking when it’s cold outside without our help. However, if we’re looking at creating a more meaningful sized space, we’re thinking this might be the only option. We found a basement company in London that converts basements into amazing spaces like media rooms and cinemas so we’re definitely feeling inspired! We also found that basements are becoming increasingly popular because of the unlimited options that a basement gives! My husband loves screaming at the “bloody referee” on the telly and I can’t think of anything better than if this was to take place well below the ground (and out of earshot). In all serious, I would absolutely love to create a media space downstairs that we could invite family and friends to enjoy. It might be a costlier option, but I’ve read that the value a basement adds to the value of the property will pay off the cost of the conversion outright.

Source: http://ahorangeries.co.uk/our-favourite-conservatory-designs/#post/0

A Conservatory

Back above ground now. A conservatory would be a brilliant way to let light in all year round and brighten up the home. I have seen some gorgeous conservatory additions to kitchens that have really transformed spaces. It doesn’t just have to be a kitchen, it could be a light and airy addition to our living room too. During the winter, I might be even more thankful as an east or west facing conservatory will catch the rising and setting sun –  trapping any heat. This would also be an ideal way to bring the outside in, minus the bugs and English weather.

An Open Plan Layout

In recent years, open plan layouts have become really popular. They involve merging kitchens dining rooms and even living rooms to create a more social space. I would love to be able to organise food in the kitchen and talk to my guests as they relax on the sofa during a dinner party. As we have a modestly sized property right now this would be an effective way to maximise small areas and make them look spacious.

I used to think upgrading to a bigger home or having a garden/loft extension was the only way to expand a home, but I’ve since discovered that there are many, many more ways to create a happy home for us to enjoy for years to come.

I’ll keep you all posted.

The One With The Mutual Appreciation

Image Source: https://cdn2.hercampus.com/2014/11/09/Friends-season-10-014.jpg

I think it’s fair to say that our best friends go drastically unappreciated the unfortunate majority of the time. Though we might shower them with gifts on birthdays and Christmases, there aren’t too many other times when we can sit back and truly appreciate how wonderful our friends really are. With International Day of Friendship just around the corner (30th July!) I’d like to dedicate this piece to the guys and gals that put up with us at our very worst, so we can strive to be our very best.

If any of you are like me, then you’ll understand that we probably compare our lives to that of our family and friends about a dozen times a day. From checking Instagram in the morning, to sharing your nieces first steps on Facebook in the evening – there are few moments throughout the day when we compare ourselves, not to our friends…but to who we were last month, or last year.

Self-reflection is painful. Maybe you didn’t send that email you were meant to, or you skipped dinner yesterday…or you bought a takeaway curry instead (guilty). Thinking back though, there’s been hundreds of occasions where I’ve been poorly behaved, or embarrassing, or relied heavily on my friends to bail me out.

So, in no particular order, thank you to:

The ones who feed the cats when you’re on holiday.

The ones that are there when you’ve had a little (lot) too much to drink.

The ones who bring back your DvD in the same condition you gave it to them in.

The ones that lend you their Netflix password.

The ones that comment on your Facebook pictures to get the ball rolling.

The ones you call when you’ve had a bad day

The ones that offer to drive you back from the bar.

The ones who tell you when you’re being an idiot.

The ones who know when that dress isn’t you.

The ones who let you down gently.

The ones who remind you who ‘thingy’ is on Game of Thrones…again.

We live our lives at breakneck speeds, without ever really taking the time to appreciate what we have or how we got where we are. I look now at my loving husband as he attempts to conjure together a risotto with a wry smile across as his face as he realises he’s forgotten the rice. It was my turn to cook dinner tonight, but he offered to so that I could work on my blog.

I spend hours of my week talking to family and friends on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, venting our woes back and forth (often with each other) without ever picking up my phone with the intention to say thank you to any of them.

I’m not trying to be soppy, but it’s not often I can actually sit back and reflect on how lucky I really am. With so much going on in the world, it really puts it into perpective that the biggest worry I currently have is when I’m going to find the time to get the car it’s MOT. How feeble is that?

But, in the past…when things haven’t been plain sailing; the car’s broken down, dads found himself in hospital again and things aren’t going well at Mike’s work – I’ve been able to lean on the people closest to me, so I don’t spend all of my time in a horribly teary mess.

We’re very lucky that life is comfortable at the moment, so I’m going to pay it forward and order some thank you gifts for my family and friends. You never know when you’re going to be out on your luck and I know what that’s like. My closest friends, who are far less communicative with their feelings could be going through some really tough times, thinking that they can’t share that load. This is me letting everyone know that it’s time for me to give something back.

If I only get one Facebook message about someone’s tough day, it will have meant that I’m finally starting to give something back. I hope this inspires some of you to do the same.