Sunday, 16 February 2020

How to Baby-Proof Your Garden

Toddler in the garden



When you’ve got a little one on the way, there are so many preparations to be made you might start to wonder if you’ll get it all done in time! For many of us, the focus is on the inside of the house where your little one will be spending most of their time. You might buy a fireplace cover, install a couple of baby gates and start re-arranging your furniture for a bit of extra crawl-space, but have you thought about your garden?
Parents often overlook outdoor spaces, but this is where a lot of hazards tend to live. Pebbles, thorny plants and water features can all be potentially dangerous for your little one. But don’t worry, I’m going to talk you through a few different ways you can address these problems and thoroughly baby-proof your garden.

Garden surfaces

While you want your garden to look great, you don’t want to choose an outdoor flooring option that’s dangerous for your child. Small stones and gravel can be a choking hazard, so if your garden is covered in them – it might be time to consider a garden renovation.
Grass is an obvious choice, it provides a soft, luscious space for your little one to play, learn and develop. Of course, the only downside with having your garden turfed is the amount of upkeep that real grass requires. You don’t want to be spending the summer holidays trudging up and down with a lawn mower when your little one wants to have a teddy bears picnic and enjoy the sunshine!
Garden furniture


A great alternative to grass is composite decking, it offers a forgiving surface that (although not as soft as grass) won’t cause your little one a significant injury if they do happen to fall over. High-quality composite decking is designed not to split or chip, so unlike traditional wood decking, you won’t need to worry about your little one getting a nasty splinter. Better yet, composite decking will last a lifetime with minimal maintenance, giving you more time to spend with your family!

Plants

Having plants in the garden is a great sensory and educational experience for your child. When they get a bit older, they might even help you plant new seeds and begin to take an interest in the natural world (something that’s so often neglected nowadays).
Make sure you remove toxic plants and mushrooms, prickly plants and plants that bear fruit and berries, these plants might look nice in your garden, but they can cause real problems if children get their hands on them.
Instead, you should think about planting vegetables, larger fruits and herbs, the leaves of which are generally non-toxic and safe for curious children to explore. Better yet, if you get a good harvest of carrots and apples, you can add some home-grown vitamins into your baby’s diet.
Some beautiful non-toxic flowers are also a great choice. Pot Marigolds, Amaranthus (shown above), Lemon Balm and Daylilies are sweet smelling, taste rather delicious and will add a touch of colour to your outdoor space.
Purple Amaranth

General Safety Tips

Here are a few other baby-proofing tips to help you keep your garden accident-free!
·         Keep the garden hose out of the sun – If you’ve ever picked up or stepped on a hose pipe that’s been left out in the sun, you’ll know that they can get incredibly hot! Make sure you store them in a shaded, cool place whenever possible.
·         Use plants to protect sharp corners – There are plenty of permeant features in our gardens that might pose a risk to little ones. Use greenery to create a buffer between your child and any sharp edges. 
·         Update your garden furniture – Ditch the glass tables and wooden chairs and treat yourself to a brand-new garden set with padded cushions, rounded edges and removable, washable covers (thank me later).

Hopefully these baby-proofing tips will help you relax and enjoy your garden as your little one explores, grows and changes!

*Guest post

Monday, 27 January 2020

Our home improvements: making use of a corridor space

pantry illustration
There is a small corridor between the kitchen and the village/church hall side of the house that was a dead space. Until a few months back there was a staircase up to a room that used to be where the scouts and brownies met and probably things like Sunday school and parish meetings took place. It's now our bedroom so we knocked a door through from the main house landing and blocked this staircase off in order to make the room bigger.

It was decided that the blocked off staircase would make a useful cupboard space. 

So here we go from the kitchen...
Beagle

BEFORE


The corridor has double side doors onto the road that was once used for people entering the church hall for functions I think, possibly a fire escape. We use this for loading up the car and Sweep's van, moving furniture in and out of the house, it's bolted up so not used unless planned. 


There was a scruffy little alcove that needed some attention too.

Sweep set about planning some useful storage space using recycled materials, so the old table tennis table was used as a back for the shelves. The space on top extends right back under the old staircase so we decided to buy plastic storage boxes for our huge collection of Halloween items, safely packed away and neatly out of the way.


Pantry area makeover
 

AFTER

Sweep made a secret storage panel to cover the cubby hole where the Halloween items are stored. I was really organised and photographed each box so that I know where my spooky items are. We love Halloween! The panel can be unscrewed so the rest of the year it is a secure mini shelf section for small items. Below the shelves are deeper.



Making a storage cupboard

Sweep made a couple of shelves for the alcove, replastered and then painted the wall here which had crumbled away. We decided to keep the kitchen bin here as the beagle had worked out how to open the lid and was causing chaos. 

On the shelves I keep my 'to do' tray and a basket of admin - school letters, things to do with Little Bird's autism appointments, leaflets of places to visit, business receipts and that kind of thing. 


Utility alcove

The cupboard space has become a mini pantry, we have a main pantry on the otherside of the kitchen but LB was sneaking in and eating too many sweet things and the beagle was ripping open bags of dog food so these are all stored in our mini pantry now - useful for the Christmas goodies and stockpiling dog food. 
Mini pantry cupboard

Church hall home conversion


The corridor has had a new coat of paint and the side doors have been made less draughty - Sweep made a little peepo cover for the old key hole - he loves making these quirky things.
sliding keyhole cover
I think I need some cute accessories for this area now, maybe a tin sign or two, a door sign or something to add some colour. But for now I'm glad the area is functional and looking smarter.

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.



Conclusion

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