5 Ways To Spruce Up Your Home For Spring


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It's almost spring, I can feel it in the air. I can't wait to soak in all the natural vitamin D after a dark, cold winter. I like to spruce up my home at the start of each season, it's become quite the tradition over the years. With this in mind, I thought I'd put together a post featuring my top tips - the motions I go through every season.


1. Deep clean
I start my spruce by undertaking a full-scale spring clean, throughout the house. I tackle a room a day and focus on the areas that are easily forgotten about (back of cupboards, behind sofas, skirting boards, and so on.) I make a list of every job which needs to be done in each room and check them off as I go. It's very rewarding to see all the boxes checked off at the end of each day.

2. Clear out
While I'm spring cleaning a room I make a pile of items that I no longer need and ignore it until I'm done. Once I've finished cleaning I sort them into two sections, a charity shop pile, and a bin/recycle pile. It feels so good to take bags of clothes, books, toys, and bric-a-brac to the charity shop because not only am I doing something good but I'm also decluttering my home.

3. Invest in a new storage
We started our home renovation over five years ago. It's been such a work in progress but we are now at the stage where we have money left over to buy new pieces of furniture, and storage for our home. I would like to invest in a fitted dressing room from Urban Wardrobes. Not only do they look super chic and stylish but they are functional and very useful.

4. Update your decor & furniture
A simple way to brighten your home for summer is to change up accent pieces in certain rooms. I like to switch my cushions, rugs, and ornaments around, however, I don't always buy new. I like to look in charity shops for bargains or even buy and sell pages online.

5. Choose a home fragrance
I'm quite new to the world of home fragrance and I'm hooked on finding the perfect scent. The subtle use of home fragrance can freshen up your home, especially if you have young children and pets like I do. My favourite scents are Ylang Ylang, Lavender, and Vanilla.

Do you have any tips you would like to share?

Classic Wooden Games from Jaques Of London - Review

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As a parent, in this fast, ever-growing digital world I'm always striving to take things back to basics - back to the way that I remember it. My childhood revolved around me using my imagination, making my own fun, and playing classic games with my parents and siblings - these are the childhood memories that I truly treasure. They are also experiences that I want my own children to appreciate and enjoy so we often have screen-free days where we dig out our favourite board games, books, and toys and just enjoy one another's company.

With this in mind, when Jaques of London got in touch to collaborate with us I think I emailed back within 2.5 seconds. Their website offers a plethora of incredible wooden toys and games suitable for all ages - at affordable prices. We chose the Tumble Tower and Four in a Row game to review as I knew they were games that my children were familiar with and would enjoy playing with together.


Four in a Row was the first game on the agenda. It came packaged in an eco-friendly way - in a reusable cardboard storage box, and paper. It was very easy to set up, simply open up the box by sliding out the wooden frame, separate the wooden discs and voila - ready to play! It's made to the utmost quality and I appreciate how each wooden disc is thick and sturdy - they won't go missing easily and will stand the test of time.

The instructions for this game are pretty self-explanatory and I think most people have played it. Taking turns, the first person to connect four discs in a row wins. Don't forget that you can go vertically, horizontally, and diagonally. I forgot the latter and then lost my first game, whoops! 
Four in a Row - Home Edition costs just £16.99 and would make the most wonderful Christmas gift.


Next, we have the Tumble Tower - which retails at just £13.99. Just like Four in a Row, it was packaged in an eco-friendly reusable storage box. It was so refreshing to open two games and have zero plastic to contend with - thank you for that. You can get large versions of this game, however, we opted for the smaller, indoor version to keep us busy when indoors during the winter. It contains plenty of sturdy wooden blocks, some printed with the Jaques of London logo, and others not. I had the task of setting up the tower ready for play and let me tell you, the kids were buzzing with excitement for this one. What is it with children and knocking down towers?


This was by far Ava's favourite out of the two - she's spent so much time over the past few weeks, stacking with extreme precision and exhibits such pride and confidence once she's completed the tower. She has also, somehow, become with family champion - much to Noah's frustration. I keep telling him that practice makes perfect and let me tell you, he's been practising hard ever since! It's been a joy to watch their faces when they are studying which block to remove next and it makes us all laugh every time the tower takes a tumble. This game is so much fun.

I cannot recommend Jaques of London enough - so much choice when it comes to games, and toys and the website is so easy to use. I'm already looking at what to buy next and will be reusing all the games at our wedding next year. These traditional family games are both such bargains and are available to buy on their website now. Please use this link for 15% off for you and your purchase https://jaques.games/15off.

Which game would you play first?

How to Design Your Ideal Playroom

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Kids need space to play. Nobody would argue with that. If you’re lucky enough to have a spare room you can turn into a playroom, that’s the absolute ideal and we have some expert tips. But not everyone has that much space to spare, and often it’s more practical to make a play area in either a living or bedroom. Whichever you’d like to create, these ideas will help you make a play space your kids can’t wait to get to.

Make it Accessible
Try to see the play area from your child’s point of view. Little people need things low down so they can reach them. It also helps when toys and activities are on show, so their interest is piqued just by looking. This strategy helps kids become more independent and make decisions for themselves. They don’t need you to reach something down or suggest activities before they start playing.

Low-level shelving to display play items or hooks and pegs they can easily reach feeds their imagination and enables them to follow their natural curiosity. Try and keep toys out of boxes, so they’re always visible and available. It encourages independent choice and decision-making.

Make it Fun
The decor is as important for children as it is for adults. You want to make a play area both exciting and inviting. A simple colour scheme works well, using nature-inspired colours or maybe sticking to a single shade or tone. Mural nursery wallpapers or removable stickers can make a feature or create a theme.

Plain walls make the artwork stand out, but that’s not to say you can’t use bold colours. Just use them wisely so as not to accidentally make the area feel cluttered or too busy. Add pops of colour with accessories such as floor cushions, play mats or soft furnishings. Things like themed wall decals, pictures, posters, and photographs all brighten up the walls. And chalkboards, colourful shelves, and peg boards appeal to a kid’s sense of fun. There are some nice playroom decorating ideas here.

Make room for Physical Activity
Since it’s not always practical for kids to play outside, they need some way to burn off energy. Try and include plenty of floor space, so they can run and jump, bounce, balance, and dance if they want to. Physical play is as important as quiet, thinking styles of play since moving around helps them develop their motor skills. If there’s room, you could include things like ball pits or tents and tunnels to play in. It’s also good to have room for playmats, so there’s space to lay out train tracks or stack blocks. These toys encourage problem-solving and independent thinking.

Make Quiet, Creative Areas
Child-sized furnishings offer somewhere to encourage more thoughtful activities like arts and crafts, reading, or a place to lay out a puzzle.

When there’s a table and chairs that are designed for toddlers, you can relax and not worry about them falling or knocking things over.

Make it Versatile and Flexible
As far as possible, try and include toys, activities and games that offer a range of different play styles. These could include toys for role play, such as pretend kitchens or tool benches. Or educational play such as colouring, alphabet and number games, or books to read.

It’s often helpful not to have too many toys or games available at the same time. It really is possible to have too much of a good thing, accidentally creating an overwhelming muddle instead of an exciting selection.

Instead of offering everything all the time, try rotating playthings depending on your child’s current interests. Things they haven’t seen for a while will seem new and fresh again, and as a busy parent, you’ll appreciate having an easier time keeping the playroom tidy.

Adopting just a couple of these playroom ideas will help you make a special area that engages your child’s attention in a positive, skill-building way. It’s a tried and trusted strategy in the Montessori play method. Kids play and learn naturally, having fun in a safe but stimulating environment.

How to Raise a Team Player

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We can all benefit from working and sharing our ideas with one another. Team working is a valuable trait to have, not just in a professional setting but also in everyday life as it teaches us how to deal with different characters and maintain harmony. Here are some tips that we’ve put together to help parents in raising a good team player.

Dealing with Confrontation

It’s likely that your child will meet others that they clash with and that’s normal. In life, not everyone will like you and that is another lesson in itself to explore. It’s okay to think differently and agree to disagree but it’s important to do so in a respectful way. This can be done by trying to see things from different points of view and having an open mind. Something which you can train by encouraging them to read and broaden their knowledge of the world around them.

Real World Practice

The best way to build any skill is through practice. Extra-curricular activities and sports clubs can give children the chance to work with other children and develop these skills. In sports, children must work towards a common goal and with the capabilities of their team.

How to Communicate

Communication is the key to team work. Everyone must chip in with their ideas and help one another out. Something that can’t be done without talking and communicating which is why you should encourage conversation at home. Push your child to come out of their comfort zone and encourage them to participate in conversations by asking for their thoughts and ideas.

Social Skills

You also need to be a sociable person when working in a team. Other than communication skills, interpersonal skills are needed. This is the ability to tailor your communication to various situations and people’s emotions. Something that can be worked on by helping children with their emotional intelligence.

Top Tips for Encouraging Your Child to Study at Home

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Studying consistently at home can make all of the difference where grades are concerned. It can help children to get to grips with what they’ve been taught in class and better prepare for their examinations instead of having to cram in the lead-up. Here’s some advice that we’ve put together to help parents with home education.

Understanding Why It’s important

You won’t get much out of your child if they aren’t interested. Education is the key to a successful future and not all have the same privilege and opportunities. Understanding why it’s important and where their studies can take them can motivate children to want to put in the work and study at home. To do that, you might want to explore the different career pathways, and discoveries that are being made across fields and try to understand their individual motivations.

A Set Schedule

To make sure that they’re up to date with their school work and are actually putting in the hours, you can create a study schedule to follow. Children thrive from routine, and this will help to create good habits for the future. You should bear in mind that there may also be ways that they’d like to spend their free time, and both come to a compromise so that it’s realistic, attainable, and doesn’t lead to burnout.

Incentives

Whether they enjoy them or not, the subjects that they do at school are compulsory, and completing homework for them is a requirement. This may take a little more convincing, using incentives and rewards. For example, you may award your child extra pocket money for completing their homework on time and to a good standard.

Sit with Them

If your child repeatedly forgets to hand in their homework and their teachers have expressed concern, it may be that they’re not understanding what they've been set. Sitting beside them whilst it's being completed can help you to make sure that it is actually getting done and gives you the chance to jump in and offer help where needed.

Teaching Your Toddler About Personal Hygiene

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Toddlers love to mess with things and put them in their mouths. While a little odd, there's actually a reason for this. It's a key part of their sensory-motor development and helps them to learn more about the objects that they come across as it helps them to work out how big, hard or soft something is and their shape. At the same time, it’s important that they are taught how to stay safe from germs and viruses that make us ill. Below is guidance that we’ve put together with the help of a nursery in London on how to teach toddlers about personal hygiene.

Washing Hands

Our hands go through a lot, especially when outside. Children come into contact with a whole range of elements like soil and creatures like bugs. They may not realise this and understand that they need to wash their hands. By showing them that their hands are “yucky”, you can help them to make a clear distinction between what’s clean and dirty. You can also wash your hands together when coming inside so that it becomes a habitual thing for them to do and you stop bacteria and germs from spreading.

Explain Why We Need to Wash

As well as forming healthy habits, children should also have some level of understanding as to why they are important. Germs are tiny, microscopic organisms that cause disease. They aren’t visible to the naked eye so unsuspectingly, children can ingest them and become ill. There are many children's books on germs to help you explain.

Dirty Places

It’s especially important that children take care of their hygiene after going to the bathroom and other not-so-clean places. When using the toilet there are a whole other range of cleanliness procedures to follow like how to clean up after themselves. Something that children will need to be taught as they are being potty trained and preparing for school.