Three Easy Ways to Live a More Eco-friendly Life

Three Ways to Live a More Eco-friendly days its hard to ignore the signs. We, as a nation, are sending more rubbish to landfill than ever before. We’re wasting so much. Water, energy, plastic, time… But living an eco-friendly life is not something beyond our reach, and as a family we’ve made a real effort to make changes in our lives that will go some way to reversing the ticking time bomb we’ve inflicted on the planet. I’m not saying we’re perfect. We have a LONG way to go. But we’re more conscious now, and we’re more likely to make a better decision than we were 5 years ago. We’ve really found that education is key, and its great to see how much the kids know about recycling, reducing waste and eco-friendly options thanks to school, books and TV programs. Recently I asked the little ones what their top tips would be if an alien landed on planet Earth and knew nothing about protecting their new home. Here are our three easy ways to live a more eco-friendly life. (more…)

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First Impressions Count

A few years ago, I found I was really struggling to get my head around being a wife and a mother and having a house to keep in order whilst holding down a full time teaching job. I only had two children then, and thought that life was so busy I needed help and I needed it fast. Ah, if only I’d known then how busy life could really be! I spent some time researching how to get organised, and in doing so I stumbled across a site called Fly Lady. It was filled with tips and ideas for keeping a house straight 24/7 and to be honest so much of it really was not for me- but there was one thing that has struck a chord and has been a house rule ever since. The Fly Lady insisted that first impressions of your home were the most important, and not just to visitors but to yourself too. And all these years later, I still agree with her. The way I feel when I walk into my home sets my mood up in so many ways, and if I walk into a tip I cannot help but feel agitated and annoyed. First impressions count, and in so many ways.

First Impressions’m about to spend a weekend away working with a client at The Baby Show, and as always I’m a little apprehensive about what I’ll return to on Sunday evening. It’s not that I don’t trust Ghostwriterdaddy to keep things in order, it’s more about the fact that we have four children who demand attention in different ways and when we’re forced to solo parent for any length of time there are certain things we have to allow to slide. Housework is usually the first thing that goes when I’m not there, and that’s just the way it is. So while I know that the house will need some TLC when I return, I’m hoping that the Fly Lady’s number one tip will help a little. Here are three ways that you can make that first impression a good one.

Tidy the porch/ entrance area

For years our porch has been the source of grief. SO. MANY. SHOES. And coats. And scooters. And bags. And… you get the idea. Seriously, how do people store these things? We now have pegs and pegs and pegs, and a nice new storage shelf for shoes but we still have other bits and pieces in the porch that drive me mad. That said, I always make sure that porch is tidy before I leave the house, because there is really nothing worse than getting home and not even being able to open the door to come in. Tidy that entrance area and you’re most of the way there.

Create a hallway that invites you in

Another area of the house that tends to be used as a general dumping ground is the hallway just inside the house. Why, oh why do my family feel the need to just leave things in the hallway? Hats, shoes (that should be tidily away in the porch, grrr!) and other bits and pieces that just don’t seem to have a home. The hallway just invites clutter, but if you allow it to build up your first impression is never going to be great. We recently discovered the joy that is a nice, clean and tidy hallway with just a couple of additions. We placed a beautiful console table against the wall with drawers to hide miscellaneous paraphanlia, and I always have fresh flowers on the top to make sure I always have something pretty to look at when I come in. I’ve also added some new plants to the hallway and another set of pegs beside the door for those coats that just won’t fit. It’s working for us.

Always make sure downstairs is tidy before you leave

So if you were to look upstairs, you will see the chaos that is living with four very energetic and playful children. But downstairs is always tidy. I do this for me, and for visitors too. I like to walk into a tidy house when I’ve been out, and if that means dumping everything upstairs on my bed (which is does, every single day) then so be it. I can sort all of that later, but I cannot get back that first impression when I walk into the house. Likewise, if we get impromptu visitors, its nice not to a have to run around apologising for the mess!

This is a collaborative post

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Why Kids Need to Know About Sun Safety

As a child I experienced sun burn more than once on holiday, and I can still remember how painful it was. Looking back, I’m slightly horrified that it even happened; if one of my own kids were to catch the sun in such a way I’d be devastated! These days, education surrounding sun protection and the dangers of being exposed to UV rays (for all ages, not just children) is so much more sophisticated than it used to be, and there are so many more options around for parents too. That said, there are still some alarming figures when it comes to sun damage and skin cancer in the UK. This is why kids need to know about sun safety.

Why Kids Need to Know About Sun SafetyAccording to Boots Soltan, England has the world’s fastest growing melanoma rates. It’s now the UK’s most common cancer for 15-35 year olds, rising by a staggering 345% in the last 30 years! Knowing that there are  proven links between cases of childhood sun exposure and skin cancer, I feel more strongly than ever that we need to reinforce sun safety messaging from an early age. Yes, it’s a pain each year when the sun appears to get that text from school to say we MUST bring hats and suncream to school, but what’s the alternative? Sun burn? Heat stroke? Worse? This summer Boots Soltan are working hard with schools to carry on driving home the message that children need to be protected in the sunshine. Even in the UK with ‘poor summers’ we’re exposed to UV rays, which are responsible for 86% melanoma cases in the UK- and it’s our duty to make sure our kids understand not only how to stay safe, but why it’s so important to do so. (more…)

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A Magical Christmas Break with Forest Holidays

A Magical Christmas Break with Forest has been a funny time of year for me for the last few years. I’ve learnt to accept now that the festive season is very bitter sweet in many ways. I love the lights, the music and the excitement. I truly do. But the fact will always remain that Christmas is a huge trigger for me. My son was born amidst the seasonal jollities and the horror of it all will forever be punctuated by Christmas songs, wrapping paper and cheesy cracker jokes. That’s just the way it is, and I have mechanisms in place to deal with it all. One of these ‘survival strategies’ has been to go away for the Christmas break. Just our little family, with all the presents and the trimmings. It’s become a hugely cathartic Christmas tradition and a real opportunity for us all to escape real life for a while. This year we were lucky enough to have a magical Christmas break with Forest Holidays and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Ok, so it’s early but believe me we start to think around this time of year about where we’re going to spend the festive season- and lots of places book up early, so if you’re planning to escape in the same way get booking now! Here are just three reasons why a Christmas break with Forest Holidays might be just what you need this year… (more…)

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