Tuesday, 7 January 2020

How to make the most of a small bathroom with a large family

Small bathrooms can make a home difficult to live in especially when you have a large family and it needs to be functional for all of them. In this blog post, we will take a look at some of the best ways to make a small bathroom work for a large family.

If you don't have a large family but still find the bathroom is too small for you then this post will also be something you will be interested in reading.

Here are some tips that you can implement to make the most of your small space.

1) Storage

Your bathroom is going to be one of the most used rooms in your home and when multiple people use the room it can soon become cluttered and look like a total mess.

The best way to get around this is to add storage to your room. Storage comes in many shapes and sizes, but you can't go far wrong with wall hanging cabinets, wicker baskets, ottomans and towel racks. If you add one or a few of the above you are going to have more functional storage in your bathroom.

You can also opt for sink units that have storage spaces underneath this can come in the form of drawers or baskets.
Bathroom storage baskets

2) Specialist equipment

The bathroom needs to be a functional place for everyone that uses it therefore if you have young children or children or adults with disabilities the bathroom will have to be adapted. Senior citizens will also need additional help to use the bathroom.

If you want to make your bathroom suitable for everyone that is going to use it, then please consider their needs.

Children using the bathroom won't be able to reach items placed in higher locations so think of adding steps or add stackable storage and put their items on the bottom.

Disabled or older family members can also install items into the bathroom to make it easier for them to use. Bath hoists can be used to help them into the bathtub or walk in baths are another great addition to making your bathroom more accessible and friendly to all.
Walk in bath
Image source: Bathroom Supastore

3) Organisation

Organisation is key in a family bathroom because you don't want to be using each other's items, not only from a hygiene point of view but also from a practical one. If you constantly have to look for your towel or toothbrush it's going to cause needless frustration.

To make the most out of your bathroom be sure to organise each member of the families towels, toothbrushes and everything else in a manner which makes sense for all.

Colour coordination is one way of doing it, adding tags or markings is another. Find a system that works for your family and stick to it.

4) Safety first

If you are designing a bathroom to be suitable for younger children you will want to minimise the chance of burns through scalding water. One of the best ways to prevent burns with a new family is to install a thermostatic valve.

A thermostatic valve is the safest way to prevent burning even if the cold water supply is changed. Some thermostatic valves can also be programmed to limit the time your children can spend in the shower which can save you money on your water bill.

5) Open plan living

A tight shower may be desirable to save space or to look nice, but in a bathroom that has to work for the entire family, you should avoid it. Washing smaller children in a confined space can be a nightmare so try to avoid it if possible. If you do want to install a shower try to keep your space open plan as much as possible and install a wetroom.

If you do choose to install a wetroom, you will have more space to clean your children and you don't have to worry about water splashing everywhere and ruining your floor.


Designing a bathroom that works for multiple ages and needs is difficult but if you take time to think of the storage space needed and the functionality of the room, it becomes a little easier.

Do you have any tips on making the most of a small bathroom for the entire family? If so please leave them in the comments below.
bath silhouette

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Pregnancy 29 week Update and Gestational Diabetes

Here I am at 29 weeks pregnant (now 31 weeks!), in the third trimester and it's been a surprise this time around with various extra issue to consider but then I'm 10 years older than when I had Little Bird.
29 weeks pregnant bump

Firstly at 20 weeks I was told that the placenta was low lying and completely covering my cervix which is a worry as it can lead to ending up in hospital quite early but so far I've had no issue. Most of the time, the placenta will move away as the uterus grows but I'm yet to have the official scan that will confirm whether it has or it hasn't.

Glucose Tolerance Test:
I then went for a glucose tolerance test for gestational diabetes to discover to my dismay that I have it. You fast from midnight the night before the test, have your blood tested before drinking a glucose drink, wait two hours and then have your blood tested again. After two hours my levels were 9.8 mmol/L which is above the recommended 7.8. I was invited to a gestational diabetes clinic the next day.

Gestational diabetes can have implications for the baby and your health during pregnancy such as growing too quickly and cesarean section being required, pre-eclampsia and a deterioration of the placenta leading to premature delivery and worse, read this for more information. It is so important to monitor baby's movements.

The Diet Plan:
At the meeting we had a talk from a dietitian nurse telling us how best to manage the diabetes. I was told no carbohydrates at all for breakfast, just protein and so I now eat cheese and eggs. No dried fruit, cereals or granola as they sky rocket your glucose levels. Even those you think are ok like oats and weetabix.
dairy is great when you have gestational diabetes

For lunch I can have minimal carbs, wholemeal bread is best and I can manage one slice in order to keep my sugar levels below 7.8. Fats and protein are your friend, you can fill up on those. Cheese, eggs, peanut butter are all good. Soup is ok but shop bought can be a nightmare with the sugars in them. A jacket potato is ok but being full of carbs we were told to have one no bigger than our fist but beware the baked bean as the sauce is laden with sugars. Very quickly you realise how it's best to cut these out and opt for cheese or cottage cheese instead.

Fruit is also tricky, bananas are ok when green tinged, fun size apples, satsumas etc, blueberries are good - strawberries are high in sugar and forget grapes which I've seen called sugar bullets. Dried fruit is far too sugary.

Full fat natural or Greek yoghurt is good, as is cream and milk. 

For an evening meal, pasta and rice are out of the window as even if you have wholemeal you can only have two tbsp of them and the shop bought pasta sauces will be full of sugar. No lasagne as you can only have one sheet! This requires some inventive cooking from scratch, perhaps layers of aubergine or courgette instead. Thank goodness that cheese is ok. Other ideas are crustless quiche, halloumi, chickpeas, lentils, mashed cauliflower rather than mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes boiled or steamed rather than roasted. 

Cheese sauce is a favourite of mine so cauliflower cheese is excellent, leeks in cheese and tonight random vegetables in cheese with a vegetarian burger will make a filling meal.

There is a great website and Facebook group for help and recipe ideas:

Daily Testing:
Here is my little testing kit for measuring my blood glucose throughout the day. You prick the side of your finger and touch the blood to a testing strip placed with the small monitor. The reading is then synched to an app on your phone where you add info on what you have eaten. This is all monitored by the diabetes midwives.
gestational diabetes testing kit

My morning fasting result needs to be below 5.3 mmol and one hour after a meal it has to be less than 7.8 mmol. As you can see my first morning results have been over the limit, this is due to the liver producing glucose through the night and is almost impossible to control - there are lots of ideas about how to do this from having cider vinegar in water before bed to a late night snack. Or taking more exercise during the day. As I write this, mine has miraculously started being in the green zone below the limit of 5.3 mmol for the past 5 days. Just as I had picked a prescription up for Metformin tablets which are the first port of call to control so for now I can hold off the tablets. After Metformin the next solution is to inject insulin.
Gestational Diabetes app

This week I have another growth scan, baby is already measuring large on the 90th centile so this is obviously being monitored. Hopefully I will find out if the low lying placenta has moved at all too.

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Autumn Mellowing

Beagle Halloween

Finally we are into autumn, my mellow misty time of subdued days with a sprinkle or rather a dollop of Halloween excitement. I'm taking it easy this year as I'm in my second trimester of pregnancy, more on that another time. So......days of mugs of decaffeinated tea, chilling with the dogs and pootling about the village.
Halloween mug and pumpkin syrup

It's been a chore to get the blog back up and running since all my photos were held hostage by Photobucket but I'm updating all the back photos slowly to make my blog its old self of witchy pumpkin goodness at this time of year but it's a long arduous task. Regular updates will be here again since life is good and I have a new life to document.
Halloween shelves

I have a new study for my daily work and I'm so pleased with it. Halloween items which will stay all year for inspiration and other found and vintage items. Surrounding myself with fun things in the home is my necessity. There is a lovely view of the front garden and the church in the distance, even better on bell ringing evenings when I can sit with the sash window up and soak up the sound of my previous existence as a bell ringer.
Window to the garden

The village has a few shops which is perfect for slow paced living. A florist, farm shop, convenience store, random gift and hardware shop with a post office. Just enough for a daily walk through the churchyard, gathering thoughts and sunshine.
Florists Door

Florists Autumn window
The churchyard is on my doorstep, our home was part of the church as their building for functions when the Victorians deemed it unsuitable to be social within the actual church. So the house has a lot of echoes from the past which I am investigating.
Autumn churchyard

Some days I've headed up to the garden centre in Shrewsbury for some autumnal garden purchases, Chrysanthemums for the wall to add to the pumpkins and more spooky items from tinsel spiders to glittery skeletons. I love the autumn garden, beauty in fading items and splashes of red and yellows.

Other days I've been adding to the Halloween collection, spooky mugs, skull decorations, lots of candles, spectred socks and signs to welcome wee ghosties on Halloween night.
Halloween haul

But most of the time I'm just spending time with my gang of fuzzy friends who love the company and the snuggles. We love it on the dark afternoons with a candle flickering and cooking up autumn food ready for Little Bird and Sweep to come home.
Boo dogs

Beagle on an armchair

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Balloon Ride over Shropshire

Hot Air Balloons Telford

Last year for the Telford 50, a celebration of the town's 50th birthday my beloved Sweep arranged for us to take a hot air balloon ride after I'd mentioned this being one of my must do's in life.

With nerves in my tummy we set off for an early morning start hopeful that the weather conditions were right for the hot air balloon ride. We arrived at Telford's Town Park to see lots of hot air balloon crews turning up and unfurling their colourful silky balloons, slowly inflating, burners firing and baskets ready. Then our crew turned up and we were invited to help set up, that's part of the experience. Several of you help lay the balloon out and the powerful fan starts to blow air into the balloon envelope. Once it was inflated, the gas started to poof out like a dragon and we were nearly ready.
Inflating a hot air balloon

hot air balloon inflating Virgin Balloon Flight Shropshire Hot air balloon ready for lift off

We all heaved the basket up from its side and then clambered in using the sides of the basket to climb in and swing legs over, then it's a tight squeeze in there with all your balloon ride new chums so wear comfy clothes. One of the other passengers had a dodgy knee so it was a struggle for her. So do consider the physical aspect of a balloon ride. 
balloon basket

The basket is sort of tethered to the crew's truck and then suddenly you are released and then the surrealness starts. Up we went and so were the other balloons, different colours and styles, like baubles on a Christmas tree, hanging in the blue sky. Once you go up, it's not known what direction you will go for it all depends on the breeze really I think. The air becomes still, punctuated by the roar of the flame. Everybody goes completely silent. In fear and in awe.
Hot air balloon flying over Shropshire

Up in a hot air balloonView of Ironbridge from a balloon
You can hear dogs barking as you go over and then spot your shadow on the landscape. The towers you can see in the above image are in Ironbridge. It was fun for me as a newcomer to the county to spot landmarks such as this. I had fun watching a dog running up and down a garden, woofing up at us. I could see people stopping and taking pictures on their phones. Such a great feeling observing from above.
Landscape view from the sky
Horizon view
Then it becomes a little panicky, you realise that you have little control over the situation and you are at the mercy of the elements and the pilot's expertise,  which was amazing on both counts. Our pilot Lindsay Muir was very experienced and competes in hot air balloon competitions around the world, in fact she is probably the best female balloonist in the world. Lucky for us.
Patchwork field view from above

The landscape view from between 5000 and 2000 feet is spectacular, the striations of the fields and the other hot air balloons in the distance. Patchworks of grass and rape oil seed, clusters of trees and toy town villages, our green and pleasant land.
Hot air balloons on the horizon

Ironbridge viewBeing a lover of church exploring I was excited to see a church appearing as we floated gently over the fields of Shropshire, wonderful to see from above, the shape of the churchyard indicative of its age, the pinnacled tower and the Gothic architecture.

Ballooning over a church
Rapeseed fields from above

And then it was time to look for somewhere for the balloon to land which seems to be quite tricky to find a field with no power lines, no livestock, no buildings and enough space, plus it all depends on the direction that the balloon is travelling in due to the air currents. A few nearly but not quites and our pilot found a field, we were told to hold on tight as the basket may topple over and drag across the ground a bit. In the end we landed upright and now found ourselves in a field with a locked gate -this is where the ground crew appear and try to get you out of the field, contacting land owner and offering bottles of whisky : )
Inside the hot air balloon
The final stage of your journey is to help pack the balloon away, so it is all hands on deck and then the ground crew will minibus you back to base to be rewarded with champagne or a fresh orange. All in all a truly wonderful experience and one to tick off the list. Plus it is really romantic. deflating the hot air balloon

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Avoid These 7 Rookie Mistakes When Choosing a House Inspector

Buying a home is a huge investment, and for most people, it’s one of the most important decisions they will make in their lifetimes. 

A qualified house inspector performs thorough checks and lets you know about maintenance work and impending repair works. As a homebuyer, this helps you sniff out bad deals and gather irrefutable data points to negotiate a better deal. Moving into a house that has not been inspected can also be a safety concern. Everything from lead paint to a weak foundation can put you and your loved ones at risk.  

Home inspection services are also recommended if you are someone who is trying to sell your house. Inspection reports put potential buyers at ease about the condition of the home and help you close the deal faster. Home inspection reports also let you resolve disputes that relates to the condition of the house by ensuring maximum transparency. 

While there is no denying the importance of getting a home inspected before finalizing the deal, it’s equally important to choose the right inspector. The following are 7 mistakes most new homebuyers make when selecting a home inspection service. 

Selecting a Service Without Checking Sample Reports

All reputed home inspection services allow customers to look at their sample reports. Just like their name suggests, these are dummy reports that show you how their final report is going to look like. Most reports by reputed firms include multiple photos of problem areas as well as a detailed description of the problem. Some reports also include repair advisory that lets you know the possible cost of repairing the issue. 

House inspector services usually have a dedicated page for sample reports on their websites.

Not Understanding the Time and Cost Implications 

A lot of people don’t realize that home inspection can take about 2 to 3 hours to complete. This means they need to make arrangements to ensure the house remains available for inspection. People trying to buy a house may need to schedule a meeting with the real estate agent or the current homeowner to ensure a smooth inspection. 

Home inspection services are also not cheap. This means it’s only advisable to get a house inspected after all other details have been checked and agreed upon by both parties. Standard home inspections cost around $400 to $700. The price is dependant on the location of the house and total square footage. Bigger the house, the more cost it takes to inspect it. 

Not Enquiring About the Exclusions 

A standard home inspection service typically does not include pool inspection, radon inspection, sewer scope checks, and garage inspection. What’s included in the standard package depends solely on the home inspection company. 

This is why it’s important to ask about the exclusions and the list of addon services that may be bought to cover them. 

Picking a House Inspector Who Has No Insurance

Home inspectors need to have liability insurance as well as insurance to protect its employees from workplace injuries. Liability insurance helps cover the cost of any damage that happens during the inspection process. Something like occupational accident insurance protects inspectors by covering their medical costs if they happen to get injured when performing checks. 

These are vital because not having insurance may force you to pay compensation if the house gets damaged or if the workplace injury leads to a lawsuit.

Selecting a Home Inspection Firm That Also Does Repairs

You need a home inspection firm that does not offer home repairing services. This ensures that the inspection company has no vested interest and they have nothing to gain if the house needs repairs. 

Oftentimes, home inspectors have sister firms that does repair works and they get commissions for every referred customer. Do your research by checking online reviews and looking up the parent company of the home inspection service. 

Not Knowing What the Inspection Includes 

You want a service that offers a comprehensive inspection for a lower cost. To make sure you get a good deal, you need to know what the inspection service includes. All standard packages should include thorough inspections of the plumbing, electrical systems, roof, foundation, and basement. Inspectors should also look for moisture damage, wood rots, and issues such as asbestos, mold, and lead paint. 

Picking an Inspector Unwilling to Discuss the Findings in the Report

You typically don’t want an inspector who just sends you the digital report and calls it a day. A good inspection firm will take the time to explain the report. They will explain what repairs need to be done urgently and which ones are minor. They should also inform about potential safety hazards and provide recommendations about mitigating them. 

* Guest post