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 was sponsored 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.

Perfect Planning Tips For A Budget-Friendly Kids Birthday Party*

It’s no secret; Parenting is rarely easy. Although, there are times that are a little more stressful and difficult than others. One such time is planning your child’s birthday party, especially when you don’t have a lot of cash to splash on some extravagant event. However, cutting down your budget doesn’t have to cut down your kid’s big day. Here are some tips to help you plan the perfect birthday party without breaking the bank.

Take Time Planning
If you’re on a tight budget, it always makes sense to give yourself as much time to plan as possible. This will give you a few extra weeks to shop around and compare prices of essentials so that you don’t have to buy things you’ve forgotten last minute for well over the regular price. Pound shops are a great place to look, as they tend to have great party supplies for much less than your average party supplier.

Order Online
Shopping online doesn’t always save money, but it often can do, especially if you give yourself some time to do some proper research and look through a few different websites. Ordering online also reduces the chance of you impulse buying, which can also save you a fair bit of cash. You can also order online without your children knowing what you’re buying, so you don’t have to arrange childcare for while you’re shopping.

Party After Lunch
Party food can get pretty pricey, especially if you’re catering for a lot of guests, so you should aim to reduce the amount of food you need to buy. A great way to do this is to have your party after lunch and end it before dinner so that you’re not expected to provide a full meal. Then, you just need to get a few basic party snacks, like chips and cake.

Ask Parents To BYO
Alcohol is also fairly pricey, so, if parents are also attending the party, ask them to bring their own, rather than provide it yourself. If you don’t want to look stingy, you could get a few bottles of wine or a Little Hamper Company prosecco hamper, but your focus should be on drinks for the children. They’re who the party is for after all.

Skip Hired Entertainment
Hired entertainment can be fun, but it isn’t necessary for a great party. Instead, plan some free activities and games, like musical chairs, hot potato, and duck, duck, goose. The only thing you’d need to buy for these games is a prize, like a small toy or some sweets, both of which can be bought cheaply.

Merge With Another
If your child’s birthday is close to one of their friend’s, then why not talk to their parents about maybe doubling up. After all, the same guest would be attending both parties, so it makes sense to have them together. This will save both families money and time planning the party, as you’ll be working together and paying half each. Just make sure that each child feels special by having separate presents and seperate cakes.

Planning a child’s birthday party on a budget may seem like an impossible task, but it really isn’t. With these tips, you should find it much easier to stick to your budget.

*Disclaimer: Collaborative content. 

Monday, 5 March 2018

Merry March

I don't want to be one of those people that always seems so surprised by the start of the month, but can you believe it's March? And we're five days in already, too! The start of March is always a bit of a whirlwind for me, because I have three birthdays to celebrate by March 3rd. And if that wasn't busy enough, there's a handful of mothers and grandmothers to think about pampering halfway through the month and then my Dad's birthday at the very end. Plus, this year has a super early Easter. 

I like to think of myself as an organised person - what with the bullet journal and all that - but I'm hoping that the latter end of March might be somewhat slower than be start. Although two snow days from work seemed like the perfect time to relax with the kiddos, it always meant we got super bored of being indoors pretty quickly - it was too cold for Robin to go out, so he was a bit stroppy when Dylan went to make snowballs without him - and I also have a huge backlog of things to complete at work as well. 

In a bid to take things slowly, I've been filling out the weekly lists in my 52 Lists for Happiness journal by Moorea Seal. It's a great way to keep track of all the little things that make you smile and I've found it really helps me to slow down and just notice everything. I think when you're rushed off your feet, it can be quite easy to run on autopilot and let your day pass you by without a second thought. I've also started using Pinterest more and it's fast becoming my favourite app. You should give me a follow, if you fancy it! I'm still practically a newbie when it comes to Pinterest, but I think I use it more than Google these days so who knows! 

On thing I'm yet to do this month - and for the majority of February, whoops! - is pick up a book. I was extremely lucky and won a signed copy of Louise O'Neill's Almost Love before it's even published so I really need to start reading it soon. I started reading Animal Farm last month and misplaced my copy - before finding it tidied away on the bookshelves - so I'm hoping I can finish that nice and quick and move swiftly on. 

So that's how my March is shaping up. What are you up to this month?

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Keeping Safe As A New Driver

You might not know this, but last month I passed my driving test. I absolutely hated learning to drive, but since being out on the road by myself I've got to say I'm a fan of my newfound freedom. I've only stuck to routes I would have travelled on when learning - so this means no motorways just yet - but I've got to say I'm doing pretty well so far. When I rang my dad to let him know that I passed, instead of immediately offering up his congratulations to me, his first comment was that now I needed to know what to do in an emergency. And he's right!

Not long after Joe and I moved to Somerset, we were on the motorway heading along to Bristol. Out of nowhere, we heard a magnificent bang and the car was visibly lower on one side. Joe safely pulled us over onto the hard shoulder and got out to find that one of the tyres had completely burst open. We hadn't owned the car for very long, and had neglected to really check the tyres frequently enough. It turned out that while the front tyres looked brand new, the back tyres were completely threadbare. Not only is this pretty illegal - you could face up to 12 points on your license and a possible ban! - but dangerous too! If Joe had lost the control of the car, we would have been in a very scary situation. 
As neither of us had really anticipated this sort of thing, we didn't know what to do. Did our insurance include roadside assistance? Did we need to let the traffic maintenance people know? Did we phone a tyre service near to where we lived or near to where we situated along the M5? It really made us realise that we needed a plan of action if anything like this - or potentially worse - happened again. We've since created a nifty little folder that lives in the glovebox. It has all our insurance information, including if we have roadside assistance, our emergency contacts and even when we last changed our tyres - if yours might need replacing soon, check out DAT Tyres online to buy new ones. 
Of course, while it's a good idea to know what to do if you crash, you need to be able to relax enough and enjoy the drive. Although I was technically able to drive on the motorway as soon as I was insured on our car, I want to make sure I am properly used to our car - it's a lot older than my instructors shiny new one! - before I try anything new. I'm even considering taking up the Pass Plus scheme that instructors offer, which includes driving on the motorway and in bad weather conditions. But we'll see! For now, I'm enjoying being able to grab some sneaky chicken nuggets whenever I fancy it! 
*Disclaimer: This post was a collaboration with DAT Tyres. Content written by myself.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Spending Quality Time with Your Partner*

Spending quality time with your partner is important for many reasons, and is even more important when you have a family. Things like looking after the kids, visiting friends and family, and work, take up so much of our lives. It is always good to remember that your other relationship needs some care and attention to. Many parents feel bad about leaving their children and spending some quality time with their partners, but it is essential to happy marriage, and will even benefit your children too. Seeing their parents happy and supportive is a great example for your children. Not to mention having a rest from everyday life and having to be on constant guard when the toddler is wandering around, is something everyone needs! Read on to find some ideas that parents could use to spend some quality time with their partner, you definitely deserve it!

The Classic

Going out to dinner, or going for a drink is the classic date night most couples go on, and is the good old faithful. No doubt there are restaurants you have your eye on, but have not been able to go because of the kids, this is your chance to go there. Book a baby sitter, or invite a family member to come look after them while you go out and relax. Many restaurants are not child friendly, or don’t have a family vibe, so consider this your chance to explore these places. Check out stylish venues and get on the Montezuma guestlist, for example. Even going out for a few drinks is something to take advantage of, and get cab home afterwards. Take this time to switch off, relax, enjoy yourself, and check in with your partner. You would be surprised how one evening can revitalize your relationship.

Be Adventurous

Why not try out something adventurous with your partner, and get some adrenaline pumping through your body. Are there some activities or sports you really wanted to try but haven’t been able to because of the kids? This could be jet skiing, rock climbing maybe, or perhaps zip wiring takes your fancy? There are plenty of activities like these that you can do for a day, or an afternoon. Experiencing and taking part in something new with your partner can be a great way to reconnect, and even learn new things about someone you have known for a long time. Relaxing, having fun, and even learning some new skills, can be a refreshing and revitalizing experience as well. Try out some new activities that could be lots of fun for your to try, or even take this time to pick up something you used to do.

It is so important to reconnect with your partner, and it is great to make spending quality time together a regular part of your lives. Anything from going out for a drink, a romantic candlelit dinner, or trying out a fun new activity, can be fun with with your other half. Take the time out of family life, to spend time with your other half.

*Disclaimer: Collaborative content.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Beauty School Dropout: How To Get The Best From Your Beauty Recruitment*

When you decide that it is time to expand your new beauty business, you will need to start thinking about recruiting some new hires. When it comes to looking for new recruits, it is absolutely crucial that you pick the best of all the applicants. After all, these new hires will become the face of your business since they will be face-to-face with all of your customers. Not only that, though, but they have to be experts at what they are hired to do - your customers won’t be happy at all if someone messes up their eyebrow wax or manicure! So, there is no room for any beauty school dropouts on your team!

Ready to get out there and find the best recruits for your beauty business? Here is everything you need to know.

Figure Out The Expertise You Need

How do you want to expand your business? In order to answer this, you will need to think about the new services that you want to offer all of your customers. For instance, maybe you want to start to offer some hair services along with your usual beauty treatments. Or perhaps you just want to add another beauty service to your company’s bow. In order to add some new expertise, though, you will need to find the right beauty therapist to bring their knowledge and experience to the team. Now that you know the expertise you need, it will be easier to narrow down all of your applicants to a shortlist.

Be Prepared To Offer Some Training

You will need to offer some onboarding training to all your new hires. As long as you hire some experienced professionals, then this shouldn’t need to include any beauty training. They’ll already know what to do when it comes to that! But you will need to show them the ropes of your salon and business. Any high-tech equipment that isn’t related to their job but you have in the salon, such as an IP camera or high-tech burglar alarm. You will also need to include some training that covers your company culture and expected customer service standard.

Always Check References

When your applicants send in their resumes, they should include the contact details of a couple of referees at the bottom. In some cases, they may simply put that references are available upon request. It’s always important that you get in touch with the referees for references. They will be able to give you a good idea of what the applicant is like in the workplace and how much of a team player they are. Most recruitment guides will tell you to get in touch for references after you have interviewed your candidates, but you can get references whenever you want in the recruitment process-  it’s completely up to you; there is no right or wrong way to do it!

Recruiting for a beauty business can be a big challenge, but the tips above should help you out and make it a whole lot easier!

*Disclaimer: Collaborative content.
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