Saturday, 14 April 2018

Part-Time Job Ideas For Busy Mum's!*

Having a baby is a massive adventure, but it can make you lose a tiny piece of your identity – even when you don’t want it to. Before you have children, you are ‘Polly who works in marketing’ or ‘Rosie who bakes AMAZING cakes’. Then you have children, and you become ‘Jack’s Mum’ or ‘the one who wears pyjamas on the school run’. Well, ideally not, but you get the concept. You don’t just have your name to define who you are, you have the fact that you have children to do it for you. It is, therefore, of high importance to make sure that even when you have children and venture into the world of parenthood, that you do SOMETHING to help you to remember that you were always a person first.

Woman in White Shirt Kissing Baby With Black and White Stripe Knit Cap

One of the best ways to ensure that you keep a hold on what you want to be is to get yourself a job. It’s not the easiest thing to do, because there are rarely jobs that are flexible enough to work around your children, school hours and those minor illnesses and emergencies that make you stay at home to look after them. Most companies are not yet on board with remote working – despite what they say – which means you have to get a little creative when it comes to finding something to get you out of the house and breathe some different air, while earning a little cash on the side. It’s for that reason that I’ve put together some brilliant job ideas that are flexible enough to do around the children but don’t interrupt a few hours just for you.

ballpen, blur, close-up

Deliveries. If you have a car and someone to be with the kids in the evening, why not take up a role as a delivery driver for local takeaways? Most Chinese and Indian restaurants look for extra drivers – especially on the weekends – to pick up a shift and lighten the load. You get an hourly rate, so there’s a chance that you’d have to register as self-employed, but you also may get the perk of a free dinner, so there’s that.

Sitting. It’s one thing to open up a business as a childminder during the day, but it’s another to offer a babysitting or pet sitting service yourself. When your friends and neighbours want to go on holiday, you could be the affordable option for a few days compared to a kennel. You could also walk the dogs for them while they’re at work. You’ll have to bundle the baby into the pram, but it does give you a reason to get out of the house and go for a walk.

Blogging. Believe it or not, you could run your own blog and earn some money for it, too. Blogging gives you a platform to air your concerns and opinions and if you have a topic that you want to stick to, you could write in the evenings and when the children are at school. It’s a wonderfully creative outlet for you and you can choose any angle that you want.

Tutor. You have a brain and you likely had an education, so you can put that to good use by offering your services as a tutor. The good thing? You could do it remotely. Remote maths and English tutors are often needed as extra support for children, and you can check out this link to find out how you can get into that and how you can have local schools advertise your service. You would need a DBS check, as anyone who works with children would.

Typist. Audio typists typically work from home for themselves. Audio files are sent electronically, and you can type them up. Brush up your skills with a touch-typing course if you’ve been away from the office or using a laptop for a while. You’ll definitely have to register as self-employed for this one, but don’t be put off. The process itself is very simple and you could be working quickly and be paid weekly.
The flexibility of working for yourself can change the way that you do things at home. Not only that, it will give you something outside of taking care of the kids or cleaning the house. Children are a blessing, no one is denying it. But they don’t have to define you. You were and are a person with her own interests and likes and dislikes – you don’t have to lose any of those things by being a Mother.

*Disclaimer: Collaborative content.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Top Tips for Millennial Renting

In the UK, there seems to be a real lifestyle shift with young people, or millennials if you are aged between 22 and 37, being a part of Generation Rent. Whether you choose to rent so that you can travel more and life with flexibility, or whether it's because you just cannot get on the property ladder, no matter how many avocado-on-toasts you turn down - it's a serious change from the lives generations before us have lived. My parents worked hard and owned their first house together by their mid-twenties, for me it feels like a very distant dream - if it happens at all. Not to be one for doom and gloom, I'm sharing some of my top tips if you happen to also be a millennial renter. 

Find out the finer details before you sign your contract

This might seem like an obvious one, but you don't want to get halfway through the signing agreement (and have already paid those non-refundable estate agent fees) to find out that they won't accept you based on xyz. We have a dog so we made this clear from the very beginning and asked to only see properties that allowed pets. To get to the final stages and then casually mention you have a Great Dane is definitely a no-no!

Make sure you have contents insurance

We had to provide proof of having contents insurance within one month of signing our contract but even if it's not a set requirement, it's a really good thing to have. Your landlord will already have the building insured, but if something horrible happened and you lost all your belongings, you'd be pretty gutted! Most insurers allow you to get separate contents insurance, but HomeLet offer a pretty great one which includes tenants liability insurance too. These are definitely a must have from me. 

No wall fixtures allowed? No problem!

I'm not DIY savvy at all, so if I can avoid using a drill then that's great for me. We use command strips to add photo frames to the walls and they are a renter's best friend. They're super adhesive so you don't have to worry about a mirror falling off the wall, and they leave zero marks on the wall too!   I also use washi tape to put up my kid's artwork in the office, or even posters in their bedrooms, and they also leave no marks on the wall when it comes to removing them! This is great for us, because the boys often have one huge love for a certain character (currently Iron Man) which quickly fizzles out within a few months so being able to chop and change their posters with no traces is perfect!

Want to add some personality to your room?

I hear ya - nobody wants to live in a completely magnolia fortress! We did stick with the move-in standard walls when we first moved in, but with two small kids it always seems in need of freshening up! We bought some fairly inexpensive giant tubs of emulsion paint from our local B&M and this is great for a little spruce. Most landlords ask you to return the house in a neutral colour (if not the original) so we went with mostly white, and then a very light grey to make a feature wall. If the landlord decides he's not happy with the grey, we have plenty of white left over! When I first moved into a rented property, I didn't realise you had to pretty much return a blank canvas when you moved out, so I spent a small fortune on some jazzy pink patterned wallpaper for my bedroom and was gutted when I had to strip it all off myself and then repaint it all for somebody else to enjoy. Of course, you don't need to repaint if you already have a nice neutral space - we have pops of colour in our cushions and also use throws on the sofas to make it look more personal to us. 

So that's my top tops for renting as a millennial! What are your top tips?

*Disclaimer: Collaborative content. Content written by myself.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

A Bad Back: The Twenty First Century Ailment*

It could be the weather, genetics or purely coincidence but sometimes when we are looking to arrange a social gathering of some sort, and we are sending out the invites, we may get a multitude of RSVPs politely declining our request for their attendance. One common reason tends to be the ‘bad back’ excuse. You know that your parties, soirees and event organisational skills are legendary, so you’re certain they aren’t faking it. However, why is it that backache is such a common affliction in the twenty-first century. To make sure that your guest list is at its optimum next time you are planning another exceptional dinner party, take a look at how you can help your friends who require some much-needed relief from their ailment.

Getting Active

Having searing pain in your lower back can mean that you feel like doing very little. Resting up on the couch and watching your favourite movie with a tub of consoling Ben and Jerry’s never sounded so good as when your back is throbbing and causing you so much discomfort. However, lying down could end up being the worst thing to do for your health. Instead, you need to try and remain active. That doesn’t mean heading out for a thirty-minute jog or venturing to the gym. Take it easy and perform some stretches. If you head to the doctor, the chances are they will have given you some exercises to do to try and lessen your pain. Also, venture outdoors and go for a gentle stroll every day. Keeping loose and supple can aid your recovery time and shouldn’t cause you any more pain.

Self Medicate

Anti-inflammatories are effective in the short term but for chronic pain that lasts longer than a few weeks an over-reliance and ever greater need for higher dosages can be dangerous. Instead, you can find other supplements and therapeutic remedies to safely buy online. Curcumin found in turmeric is full of natural anti-inflammatory qualities so you can eat your favourite spicy pakoras and bhajis safe in the knowledge that you are self-medicating. There’s never been a better excuse to order take out.


There’s no point suffering in silence and simply trying to pop the pills to find some relief. Painkillers can mask the soreness for a short while, but they don’t solve the problem. If you have a slipped disc, a trapped nerve or a torn muscle, you may require physical therapy to speed up your recovery and ensure that the pain you are experiencing doesn’t turn chronic. Acute pain, although debilitating is curable and manageable.

If you are beginning to feel low because of the pain you’re enduring, talking therapies can help you work through the psychological impact of being unable to do what you once took for granted. It may seem like a chore to mow the lawn, but since you haven’t been able to coif your grass, you ache for the chance to do it again. Don’t let depression sink in and head to the doctor for help.

Most people have a bad back at some point in their lives. Hopefully, after a few weeks or a couple of months, the pain eases, and the ache never returns. However, if you do find that you or a pal is suffering from a tender back, follow this advice to speed up your recovery and claim back the quality of life you are so used to.

*Disclaimer: Collaborative content.

The Ultimate Ways To Unwind At Home*

There are many things which we all like to be able to get from the home. One of the biggest is the ability to truly unwind and relax. This is something which is not only enjoyable, but actually essential for better living and for keeping your health in the best possible state. However, a lot of people have trouble truly unwinding in their own home, which is something of a travesty, and it’s a good idea to think carefully about what you can do in these circumstances to help improve this situation. In this article, we are going to look at some of the things you can do to ensure that you are unwinding in your home much more easily - and more often.

Chilling With A Cuppa

There is something about Tea and Coffee which just help you to unwind more than anything else, and for this reason it’s a good idea to make sure that your home is always stocked up on these essential supplies. It might even be worth getting a number of different kinds of teas and coffees in the home, so that you always have a good selection to choose between. Sometimes, unwinding really is as simple as sitting down with a cup of tea or coffee and just being. If you are someone who appreciates this in your life, then do whatever you can to try and make it happen a little more often.

Reading A Book

It wasn’t too long ago when most people would sit with a book as their main form of entertainment. Although this art might be somewhat less practised now, it is far from having died out, and it is unlikely that it will ever die out. If you consider yourself a proficient reader, then it might be a good idea to put the phone down once in a while and instead pick up a book. Reading is not only good for the mind, but it’s also one of the best ways in which you can hope to unwind in your home. If you are not sure what book to read first, try to seek recommendation from your friends, or just think about checking out your local library for their latest additions to the shelves.

Watching A Film

That being said, there is still absolutely nothing wrong with curling up on the sofa and watching a film. If you are something of a movie buff, you might well have a collection of DVDs which you have been dying to watch, but just can’t seem to get around to doing so. Watching a film can be a great way to switch off the brain, and is often perfect for the end of a long day of work. Similarly, many a Sunday afternoon can be easily improved by sitting down to watch a film, so you never know when this might be a good option.

These three are all good ways to unwind at home, and it’s worth bearing them in mind next time you are wondering what to do in the home to relax a little.

*Disclaimer: This post is collaborative content.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Books To Take Us Into Spring

Can you believe we're officially entering spring now? Sometimes I think the UK no longer has defined seasons The weather is pretty blustery and it's rained almost every hour of this week, but I'm trying to think ahead to the crisp spring mornings, and when the flowers all start to blossom. I don't think I'm one to change my reading habits with the seasons, but I thought I'd commit my reading plans to this here blog for the months ahead. I track all of my reading over on Goodreads, so give me a follow and say hello :) 

I'm quite conscious of the fact that last year I read next to no non-fiction, and I asked my loved ones for various non-fiction for my birthday. Added to my slowly growing pile, is Misogynation by Laura Bates. Published in late Feb, Bates' latest collection of sexist woe highlights how interwoven sexism really is in our day to day lives. Of course, as someone who tries to champion women at every available opportunity, I'm sure this will make for fascinating reading, even if it is pretty bleak. Another book I'm excited to get my hands on is Of Women by Shami Chakrabarti. Released last year, Chakrabarti delivers a powerful, urgent and timely polemic on why women still need equality. Even Jeremy Corbyn called this "a vital book on how we bring about equality", so that's good enough for me. I recently finished the audiobook of Animal by Sara Pascoe and it's really highlighted to me how recent some of our triumphs in equality have been. I think Of Women will build on this, and like Misogynation, will no doubt be a truly thought-provoking read.  
Some fiction now, and I'm loving the look of The Cactus by Sarah Haywood. It's received quite a bit of praise from some of my favourite authors and has even been compared to the smash hit Eleanor Oliphant is Absolutely Fine, which is high praise indeed! I'm an absolute sucker for some YA so no reading list would be complete from me without at least one title, and this time around my choice is Big Bones by Laura Dockrill. If you haven't seen the cover of this, then all you need to know is that it features a Bakewell tart - consider me sold! The mini blurb for this calls it a 'body-positive, sassy food diary with belly laughs' so I'm hoping it'll be an enjoyable read.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Making 2018 #MySafestYearYet

As a parent to two young children, being safe is something I think about a lot. Everyday household objects can become lethal in the hands of a child, and don't get me started on the outside world. We live in a fairly new housing development, so everyday there's diggers and whatnot within walking distance from us. One quick let go of my hand, and who knows what could happen? Of course, being involved in a freak digger accident is hopefully a rare occurrence and not something I let consume my thoughts. Slater and Gordon Lawyers have been looking at how we can ensure our own safety this year, and that's why I'm sharing #MySafestYearYet. 
At home, there are really simple things you can do to make your house safe for yourself and your loved ones. We rent our home, so luckily we have lots of carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms which are checked regularly to ensure our safety. Another thing we have to keep an eye on at home is ensuring possible dangerous objects are kept well out of the boys reach. This means we have those super annoying cupboard latches that are incredibly fiddly and make opening the cleaning cupboard near-on impossible. I struggle with them, so Robin has absolutely no chance! In this cupboard, we have all the usual cleaning suspects such as bleach, washing detergent, carpet cleaner etc and we also have our food waste bin in there as well. By locking these things away, it gives us peace of mind, because although you can try your hardest to watch your kiddos every second of the day, they are pretty much always up to mischief! 
And it's not just the home to consider. I walk to work, and during the winter months I always ensure my jacket has reflective patches on it. This means that I'm visible to drivers and other road users, and hopefully ensures my safety. Even during the lighter months, I keep my jacket in my workbag as you never know when it might be raining heavily or foggy on a morning. With the kids, Dylan has all reflective stickers on his bike, scooter and his skateboard - yes, my plaster cupboard is fully stocked incase of bumps and bruises! - and also on his helmet and protective pads. Kids coats generally always have some reflective markings on them, but if not you can buy them pretty easily to add your own. I did this with Joe's running jacket, as it weirdly only had a tiny reflective strip, and added some more jazzy patches, much to his disproval. Don't you know it's safety over style, in this case! 
I'm not trying to scare anybody with this post, but there are so many simple ways to keep yourself this year - and every year after that! While you can't predict what will happen in the future, you can arm yourself with these little tips and hopefully avoid anything disastrous happening in the near future for you and your loved ones! 
*Disclaimer: This post is a collaboration with Slater & Gordon. Content written by myself.

Three Things Families Do For Each Other To Nurture Relationships*

Family is important, vital most would say, but to have successful relationships in this area is all about getting a balance. A balance between the fun stuff and the serious stuff. To help you with this sometimes difficult task, check out the post below.


Communication is pretty important in any relationship, and there is no exception regarding the family. Unfortunately, we can be so ingrained in the way that we communicate it can be tough to hear or be heard. This situation is caused, perhaps because we get used to playing a certain role like a parent or child and then even when life changes and we grow, we can easily revert into the old communication patterns that are familiar.

To deal with this, in a family situation it may be necessary to acknowledge when a member is going through life stage that affects their role and changes the way that we talk to them and the responsibility that we give them.

Communication is essential for good family relationships.

For example, an older teen will be able to take on more responsibility than a toddler and also understand things in much more depth, while an ageing parent may need to do less around the house because of a reduction in mobility. They may also need to take a back seat in leading and advising the family as their children mature and begin to have a family of their own.

Care for their members

Family also care for their members, whether old or young, close or faraway. Of course, this may look pretty different from family to family, and you have to find strategies that work for your particular situation.

This may mean staying in contact with grandparents, aunts and uncles, or even kids that are away at university via video messaging services like Skype if you can't get to see them regularly. It also may mean considering residential care in homes like Porthaven for older family members. In addition, it can be helpful to set and consistently enforcing expectations and rule for younger members, even if such an action may not be particularly popular at the time!

Have fun

Families also have fun together, and this is something that should never be skipped over, even if we do have busy and stressful lives. The reason that fun time is so important is twofold.

Firstly, it helps to strengthen the family unit and create a bond between members. Something that can come in handy when things are tough.

Secondly, making time for fun whether it's a trip to the cinema, an evening of board games, or even a family movie night is vital because it is a way of making meaningful memories together. Something that is important not only for the survival of the family unit but also for each member as they move on through their life. In fact, the fun traditions you start in the family unit while the kids are young can be something that lasts well on into their adulthood and can end up being shared with their own kids as they grow up to strengthen relationships.

*Disclaimer: Collaborative content.
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