Friday, 30 January 2015

H&A Bathtime Buddies Alphabet Set review

play-scoop-drain bath-letters
 Little Bird loves his bath times although after a recent illness he has been not sure at all and there have been tears and anxiety. Luckily we got to try the H&A Bathtime Buddies Alphabet Set and it really cheered him up. The set is 65 letters  - duplicates and lots of vowels so you can put plenty of words together.

Brrrr the chill starts

a cold day

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Super spring bathroom updates

As part of the spring cleaning routine, the bathroom offers many opportunities for sprucing up on a budget and you can make plenty of easy updates to create a fresh new space. After a winter of darkness I look forward to bringing light and colours into the whole house and this is easy done in a bathroom with these ideas:

Clean and declutter:
Firstly, a thorough cleaning session will enhance the bathroom. Get your rubber gloves and scrub away all the mildew and limescale that builds up through combination of lack of ventilation and constant dampness. Shower curtains can get so mouldy and discoloured, so perhaps think about investing in one of the  sleek glass shower screens from My Bathrooms that will sparkle and help give the illusion of more space in your bathroom.

Monday, 26 January 2015

How to update your bedroom for spring

The snowdrops are in flower and soon the daffodils will be nodding their yellow heads, spring is starting to show and for me it is time to look ahead and spruce up the home ready for the new season.

As soon as there are blue skies and I can hear the birds tweeting, the windows are flung open and I want to bring the spring sunshine into the house. Each room needs freshness bringing in and I love to start with the bedrooms - goodbye to the heavy quilts and hot water bottles and hello to light and airiness.

Fresh bedding:
Pastel colours and florals inject a feeling of spring straight away. New bedding makes a big impact to a bedroom and is a quick and inexpensive way to change a colour scheme. I still like to layer the bed with a bedspread for the sometimes chilly nights until summer but want a lighter feel than my thick quilt in winter. For a guest room, pretty patterned bed linen combined with a single metal bed will give a vintage feel that I adore and make your visitors feel welcomed and comfortable. Mix and match cushions add personality and I like to choose quirky ones in different textures and patterns.
Cath Kidston floral bedding

Upcycling Furniture:
Hand me a paint brush and I'm as happy as a songbird in spring -splish, splash, out with the white paint and the pastels. Rather than buying new furniture, consider giving existing pieces a new look. Chalky paints are a favourite of mine and will instantly brighten up a room. I find using white make a room feel peaceful and less cluttered. It's fun scouring our local junk shop too for interesting pieces that I can transform and create a unique item from.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Burns Night

A Burns Night Supper is held to honour Robert Burns, the Scottish Poet, on  today January 25th. This is the anniversary of his birthday. He died in 1796 at the young age of 37 but has been celebrated as a great poet ever since.

When reading up about Burns Night I was wondering when the first ever Burns Club Supper took place in 1802. To my surprise it was in a place in Scotland called Greenock, that is not too far away from Glasgow. Now I know this place, it is in my heart. I have never been there or indeed know anybody there, well sort of, I know an ancestral memory. This is where my 4th Great Grandfather lived, Alexander Scott - a sugar refiner who did very well for himself. He wouldn't be born until 1810 but I bet as an adult he celebrated Burns Night and ate Haggis with neeps and tatties followed by a wee whisk.  He'd be most disappointed I'm sure that I'd be eating a vegetarian haggis.

Happy Burns Night, raise a glass and toast to the haggis!

Burns Night toast by the fire

Money saving January

January is a money saving month, the start of good intentions to save the pennies, make some cutbacks and de-clutter the house. So far I have been keeping track of our monthly expenditure of groceries, petrol and other household items so that I will have a baseline to challenge myself each month from here on in, hopefully to reduce the amount every time.
Image source: savings Shutterstock

We have been staying home and not going on trips so that we can work on the house, finishing jobs and tidying up. The allotment also needs a good overhaul and that costs nothing but hard graft. Hopefully that will reduce the petrol costs and we will stay local enjoying what is on our doorstep.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Benefits of pet fish for autistic children

This week has been a tough one for my son and I will tell the story at a later date but what I will say is that his anxiety levels are extremely high and now we are seeking to try and reduce his stress levels and are looking at ways to do this.

He loves watching fish in aquariums so it has got me thinking about the benefits of aquariums for autistic children from my point of view in my experience with my own son's sensory needs.
Image source: boy and fish tank Shutterstock

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Roller skating fun

When I was a child I had an amazing pair of roller skates. They had a red swoosh and a silver star, with red wheels and stopper and were purchased from the long gone nostalgic toy shop Zodiac Toys. Being a child of the 80's I was very fond of my roller skates, hurtling around the local streets and free wheelin' around the park with my friends. We were even fortunate enough to have a roller rink in the next town for many a birthday party and weekend get together.

As an adult I don't get to skate much although I did go to an 80's roller party at a leisure centre a few years ago and it was so much fun complete with neon leg warmers and ra-ra skirts. However, there are plenty of roller skating events around the country and it is great exercise opportunity to burn the calories away and have a great laugh at the same time.
Image source: roller skates Shutterstock

Saturday, 10 January 2015

A Medieval jaunt at Chirk Castle in North Wales

a jolly bobble hat
I still have our days out from over December to talk about. I know it is January and Christmas is probably boxed off in a compartment of your mind up in the loft until at least next November but I do love sharing when a place has inspired me..This was our trip to Chirk Castle in North Wales (we do love a trip to Wales!), owned by the National Trust and a fine example of a Medieval castle. Truly imagination inducing and in December is alive with lute playing, mulled wine and roast chestnuts. burning brazier

Thursday, 8 January 2015

January Allotment

January allotment The sun shone burning away a frosty morning melting the ice, all except that at the top of the water butt which we fished out and set on the floor for LB to investigate. Not an awful lot else was going on. A blank canvas and a LOT of digging.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Winter buggy walks

One of my earliest memories is of my mother pushing me down the road in my Maclaren buggy to playgroup. I can still remember the noise of the wheels as they went over the pavement and my little feet in shiny patent leather shoes perched on the footrest. Of course that was in the 1980’s but it is good to see that Maclaren are still going strong and a British brand to be proud of.    

In the wintertime my mother and I still did that regular walk for my mother did not drive. The buggy was my mode of transport and I was huddled in a squishy snow suit braving all kinds of weather. As a mother now myself I have also experienced the same joy that of pushing a buggy down the road containing the most precious person in the world. I loved the blissful days of buggy adventures we experienced through the seasons. Even though it is winter don’t let the chill put you off, burn those post-Christmas calories away and exercise whilst treating your well wrapped up little one to the sights and sounds of the world around them. Here are a few ideas of perfect places to inspire you for wonderful winter buggy walks:

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Cosy winter ears and tunes with audio earmuffs

Now that Christmas has gone I am feeling a little lost as to what to listen to. No more Christmas carols or cheery festive songs, so I have been making a little list of new music to download. I received the new Taylor Swift album for Christmas for a start, so that is now in my iTunes account and ready to listen to through my iPhone. 

When I have some spare 'me' time on a Saturday, I head into town listening to my music as I go along. For the rest of winter I have a gorgeous cream knitted set of KitSound™ Audio Earmuffs keeping my ears super snug as I walk. 
Cream wool audio earmuffs

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Snow day sledging fun

snowy over Macclesfield As soon as the snow arrived we drove across the Cheshire county to higher ground at the edge of the Peak District at Tegg's Nose Country Park, a renowned sledging area for winter fun. It seemed so long since we last went sledging so it was exciting to feel the crunchy snow under our boots and watch LB's face as he swooshed down the hill with his dad. There's a nice visitor's centre by the car park and then a trail of about 15 minutes down the iciest path ever where we all took a tumble. However, it was worth it as the fields set aside for sledging are fantastic.sledging on Teggs Nose Sledging The surrounding landscape is beautiful under a snow covering and I perched against a huge snowman in the making, all prickled with grass and mud, put my rucksack on the floor and poured a nice cup of coffee from the flask. Meanwhile LB went up and down the hill on his sledge with a few landings in the snow and much laughter.Snowy_field sledging with dad Snowy_Teggs_Nose_wINTER It was lovely watching everybody have such fun. Plenty of photo taking, snowman building, hurtling down the hill on all kinds of sledges and even an igloo being constructed. I had not been to this area before and was astounded that all these years, such a beauty spot has been just there on the edge of Cheshire. Everytime it snows, we will be back from now on. Snowy_trees we_love_the_snow on a sledge sheep in the snow Tegg's Nose Country Park is on the edge of Cheshire at the entrance to the sprawling Peak District. The origin of the name is somewhat unknown although Tegg is thought to have perhaps been an early Norse settler in the area. The area has lots of history with evidence of activity here since the Bronze Age. The views stretch right across Macclesfield and beyond so it is perfect for scenic views. pretty_snow_scene  Winter_Landscape_Teggs_NoseAfter a while, at the top of the hill I could feel the temperature drop quickly. The clouds started to gather as the late winter's dusk that creeps in so soon after lunchtime caused a haziness to the hills and the sky took on a soft pink hue. Chattering of teeth called time to the sledging and we headed back to get warmed up in the car to carry on our little snow day trip to Buxton.....Teggs Nose Plaque
I hope we get some more snow days this winter. Even if it is just a light covering on the Cheshire Plains, you can be sure that up at Tegg's Nose sledging will be happening. It was fairly deep snow in the surrounding fields that the sheep huddled in and the picture was a quintessential English winter scene. A truly beautiful place to explore and a perfect snow day. Sunset_over_snow

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall