Tag Archives: lifestyle

How To Design & Organise The Perfect Utility Room

My utility room without a doubt is one of the most used rooms in our house. When we built our house two years ago I loved designing the utility room as I had never had one before. Our utility room is directly off of our kitchen and leads to a door out to the side of the house and a door to the garage as well.

With every room in our house, storage was important! So in our utility we added a large cupboard for shoes, coats and also a store for bottled water and toilet rolls. Having this cupboard keeps everything neat and tidy and out of sight. We also added a motion activated light in here which is handy.

In our old house we had a Butler sink and I loved it. I chose a different sink in the kitchen so opted for a Butler sink in the utility. I chose quite a big one as its perfect for rinsing of football kits and cleaning muddy boots in.

We have a NEFF washing machine and tumble dryer in here, one on each side of the sink. When purchasing I opted for machines which held large loads so I could get as much as I could washed and dried in one load. I love these machines and they are so easy to use and keep clean.

Under the sink Is a secure cupboard where my main cleaning products are kept. I stock a few of each bottle at a time so I never run out. I purchased lots of Curver storage baskets which I love and have in every cupboard of this room. Under the sink I have one with all my cleaning clothes, rubber gloves and spare Vileda mop cloths in. Having everything organised like this means whatever I need I can grab quickly.

I have used the Curver baskets to organise everything. I have separate ones for medicines, sun creams, hoover bags, shoe cleaning, washing products, dishwasher products, toilet Bloo, candles, Zoflora, cleaning wipes, Minky’s and sponges, light bulbs, batteries, charging wires and USB’s and lint rollers. Everything has a place making it neat and tidy! I love this washing tablet tin that I picked up in Tiger, its so cute!

I have a craft cupboard with all the boys paints, playdough etc in here too which is all organised in boxes too. So when they want to do a craft activity they know where everything is kept.

I made sure I had a long cupboard that would easily fit in my ironing board and Vileda spray mop and there was even room left to add a shelf at the top to store my vases on.

At the end if the utility room near the side door I have a boot room area with a bench for the boys to sit at when they take their dirty shoes off. This is also storage and keeps our wellies inside. Above the seat is where my Pulleymaid beadboard drying rack is. This is one of my favourite things in this room. It folds flat against the wall to store easily but comes forward as a drying rack which is great for me as with the boys swimming 3 or 4 times a week, Oscar having two dirty football kits on the weekend and the dirty kit bag coming home with Oscar on Friday with a swimming kit, a PE kit and a very muddy games kit inside I have plenty of space to dry the things that can’t go in the tumble dryer. Before I had the Pulleymaid I would hang it off cupboard handles and it would drive me mad, this keeps the utility looking neat and tidy all of the time and from the kitchen you cannot see the drying clothes. Win!

On the work surface on one side of the sink I have some pasta jars that we have had for years and my lovely Enesco Beatrix Potter Miss Tiggywinkle biscuit jar and on the other side is my trusty slow cooker, my Shark handheld vacuum which is perfect for hoovering up crumbs and cleaning your skirting boards with along with a recipe book stand where I keep any important forms etc on. I also have a weekly notice board which was from Next that has our yearly calender, letters and all of the boys clubs on the daily blackboards. I find it really useful.

I absolutely love my utility room and it so functional and makes all the household chores so much easier as everything you need is easy to find. I hope you can pick up some useful organisational tips from this post.

If you need any help with organising your home my lovely friend Leone has just started a new business called Cluttercation.  If you haven’t got time to get everything in order or just don’t know where to start, Leone can help you to achieve an organised and clutter free home! Quote SPRINGCLEAN1 to get your 10% discount before the 31st May 2019.

Image result for cluttercation

 

Get Ski Season Ready At AlexAndAlexa.com

Last week we took Oscar and Archie on a surprise trip to Rovaniemi in Finland to visit Father Christmas in Lapland. The trip had been booked for about 9 months but we managed to keep it a secret and then told them the night before at the hotel at Gatwick before we flew. I had seen from my weather app that it was going to be about -5 and could go as low as -12 so made sure we had everything we needed to stay warm. And with so many people going off skiing after Christmas and in the February half term AlexAndAlexa.com have everything you need to keep your children warm and stylish on the slopes. Thanks to AlexAndAlexa.com it was so easy to pick the perfect pieces for the boys, so we didn’t have to worry about them feeling the cold.

Firstly I picked their base layers, which without a doubt for any cold trip is a number one priority for any outfit. I picked them matching pairs from Tenson who sell a huge range of fantastic ski wear at affordable prices. Oscar and Archie’s came as a set and the Tenson base layers are currently in the AlexAndAlexa sale and you can use the code SHOP20 for an extra 20% off all sale items! I also chose Oscar some Tenson Moss Boots which come in either black or blue and they kept his feet lovely and warm. The boots are made from a warm and water-resistant material, which was perfect in the deep snow and the velcro closure made it easy to get them on and off. I was advised to get a size up to make sure they fitted in thick socks and this was great advice as they fitted perfectly!

For Archie I picked the Adidas Performance Blue Terrex Snow Boots. I loved the way they looked and knew Archie would love them as he loves anything blue. The boots have a waterproof climaproof® protection, PrimaLoft® insulation for maximum warmth for little feet and the adjustable strap over the laces gives a secure fit, while the grippy outsole offers added traction on snowy trails or sidewalks. Archie played in the snow for hours and the boots kept his feet warm the whole time. Under his boots he wore some Bart’s Snake Merino ski socks which not only looked great, kept the cold anyway and kept his little feet lovely and snug. AlexAndAlexa have a great range of ski socks in lots of fun designs.

When playing in the snow or skiing your hands can get so cold. When I put my hands in the snow last week stupidly without gloves on to make a snowball my lands literally throbbed, they were frozen. The last thing as a parent with your children in cold climates is them to get upset because they are cold. I knew we would be sledging and that Oscar and Archie would want to play in the snow so I picked some fantastic gloves for them from Molo. Oscar has the Molo Very Black Mackenzie Pro Gloves. Inside the gloves the lining is super soft and keeps your hands lovely and warm and on the outside there is a PU leather non-slip palm. They were easy for Oscar to put on and off on his own and I had packed hand warmers to use but we didn’t need them as these gloves are so good. I also picked a Molo pair for Archie, the Black Active Mack Gloves which again like Oscar’s were perfect and kept Archie’s hands warm whilst he played in the snow. Archie also wore his Molo Evening Blue Kate Hat which kept him so warm when we had to wear the snowsuits that were provided in Lapland.

On top of his base layers Oscar wore a long-sleeved t-shirt and then his AI Riders On The Storm Navy tracksuit. Oscar gets so many comments on how cool he looks when he wears this tracksuit, it is his absolute favourite. The AI Riders range is just so cool and with the goggles in the hood which are protective eye patches everyone asked where it was from. The tracksuit comes as two separate pieces; the sweatpants and the hooded sweatshirt. The tracksuit is super soft and is made from soft cotton and kept Oscar warm the whole trip. The top has added details as well as the goggles, a yellow pom-pom on the top and breathable hole designs for when your hood is fully zipped up. The sweatshirt is £119 and the sweatpants are £89. Loving the AI Riders range as much as I do I also got Archie a Winter coat too. We picked the AI Riders On The Storm Blue Down Navy Lining Goggle Hood Coat. Archie absolutely loves it and finds it so funny when we are out to zip it right up and show everybody. Again it has the removable protective goggles and the yellow pom-pom and has two zip up pockets as well. All of the AI Riders items come with a protective bag to store your goggles in when they are not in use. The coat is lovely and padded and wherever Archie wears it whether its in the snow or watching Oscar play football in the wind in the rain he is always kept warm and protects himself from the wind and rain with his zip up hood.

Under his coat, on top of his base layers, Archie wore the most adorable long sleeved top and jumper from the Moschino Christmas collection. These are all in the AlexAndAlexa sale at the moment and I have even brought it in the next size up all ready for next Christmas. The jumper and top are so festive and he has worn them to see Father Christmas at Harrods and to the panto and will be wearing them tomorrow on Christmas Day. He loves them!

Oscar wanted to chose his own coat so sat on their website for ages and in the end decided to be matching with me and picked a Moncler Black Bady Down Hooded Coat. It is SO warm with thick, cosy padding and a detachable hood. It looks great with a tracksuit underneath or when your off out smart in jeans or chinos. On the arm it has the Moncler badge on top of a small pocket and has two zip up pockets as well. This seasons Moncler ski range is to die for. I love the new Abeville coats and matching Salopettes, they will look great on the slopes! Oscar also has the Moncler Grey Maglia Lupetto Fleece which he wears all the time with Jeans and it is a smart jumper but keeps him lovely and warm too.

If you are going Skiing or venturing off to somewhere cold AlexAndAlexa.com will make kitting your kids out so easy. With their amazing sale on at the moment you can pick up some stylish steals! And don’t forget to use the code SALE20 to get an extra 20% off all sale pieces, but be quick before the sale ends!

 

This post is in collaboration with AlexandAlexa.com

 

Blogmas Day 3: Christmas Dining Table Inspiration

I cannot wait for Christmas this year! Oscar is so excited and Archie understands all about Father Christmas this year properly for the first time, so its really magical. This Christmas as usual we have both sides of the family for lunch, there are 12 of us around the table for lunch. Christmas is my favourite time of the year and I love adding personal touches to make it as fabulous and as special as possible for everyone.

I have been searching on Google for Christmas table ideas over the last few months and found so many great ideas. I have decided to stick with my usual Gold colour theme to match our fabulous Pines and Needles Christmas Tree. This is our second year of having our gorgeous tree delivered and dressed and its a show stopper! I’ve picked up lots of little bits from Christmas fairs and garden centres and online as well and thought I would share a few ideas with you. We also went to the Ideal Home Show at Christmas where I brought some new decorations.

For the last few years I have used Gold chargers on the table that I brought from Next. This year I wanted to get some gold place mats instead and again brought them from Next, one side is a shimmered gold and the other is glitter gold. I prefer the shimmer but you could alternate each mat to jazz it up a bit. They come in a pack of four with the coasters for £20.

I also follow a lot of independent sellers on Instagram and Facebook and ordered some lovely personalised wooden Christmas tree place setters from Pretty Personalised who sell lots of personalised gifts.

Last year I had a beautiful centrepiece made by Love Flowers in Rickmansworth and it looked amazing and smelt divine! I think it was about £100 and I will definitely be getting another one this year.

Last year I also found these cute wooden personalised napkin rings and brought thick disposable napkins from Marks and Spencer to put inside them. They have similar ones available from Not On The High Street, a set of 12 is £48.

To go with my Gold theme I also have Gold Cutlery from Viners. The sets come in lovely display boxes and are £135 a set for four people. The only annoying thing is I can’t put them in the dishwasher so have to wash them up by hand.

I hope I have given you a few ideas. I would love to see your Christmas Dining tables and any great ideas you have, so make sure you share them with me!

Bassetts Omega 3+ Multivitamins

Every morning without fail Oscar and Archie have always had vitamins with their breakfast. As soon as they turned three they have had the chewy multivitamins. Giving them one that tastes good is always key as then they will willingly eat it.

Bassetts Vitamins have just launched new Omega 3 + Multivitamins Orange Flavour Pastilles for 3-6 year olds. I gave them to Archie and he ate it straight away and said they were yummy. Each pastille is soft and chewy, so easy for little ones to eat and they smell so fruity too.

Each pastille contains Vitamin B6 which supports normal psychological function and Vitamin B5 which contributes to mental performance, which is so important when Archie is constantly on the go all of the time and learning new things all the time.

One of the best things about the Bassetts Vitamins Omega 3 + Multivitamins Orange Flavour Pastilles for me is that they have no added sugar! Knowing Archie is getting a smart start to the day without any added sugar is great. They are made from natural flavours and colours and taste so orange and fruity.

We have been trying the new Bassetts Vitamins Omega 3 + Multivitamins Orange Flavour Pastilles for a couple of weeks now and they are just part of our daily routine. I would highly recommend these multivitamins to help support a smart start to the day which also taste good.

We have had great fun getting creative as Archie could demonstrate how he think the multivitamin tastes. After all, being healthy should be a way of life for children which enables them to have fun and make the most out of each and every day.

A packet of thirty multivitamins is only RRP £5.50 which is a small amount to pay to support Archies. There is a next stage that Oscar takes which is for children age 7-11. 

*Just a reminder, food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a healthy and balanced diet.

 

This post is in collaboration with Bassetts Vitamins.

Elephant Parade London 2018

When I first saw on Facebook that the Elephant Parade London 2018 was coming to London this Summer I couldn’t wait for the holidays to take the boys into London to look for them.

I have loved the Elephant Parade statues for a while now and a few years ago brought our very own herd. One for me, one for Daddy and one for each of the boys. They have so many hand painted gorgeous designs to choose from but I chose ‘A love story’ and the biggest one is one of only 88 made. We have the the 10cm (£39.95) the 15cm (69.95) the 20cm (£99.95) and the large 30cm one (£259.00). We absolutely love them and love that 20% of Elephant Parade net profits are donated to elephant welfare and conservation projects.

‘Elephant Parade® is a social enterprise and runs the world’s largest art exhibition of decorated elephant statues. Created by artists and celebrities, each Elephant Parade statue is a unique art piece. The life-size, baby elephant statues are exhibited in international cities and raise awareness for the need of elephant conservation.’

Now for this Summer you can take a walk around London and spot the hand painted gorgeous Elephant’s for yourself. There is also a pop up store selling replica elephants at 20 South Molton Street City of Westminster London W1K 5QE.

The Elephant Parade London 2018 runs from the 21st June until the 18th July 2018!

‘The Elephants around London will then be auctioned off at a high-profile dinner and auction conducted by Sotheby’s Harry Dalmeny, on 28th of June at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, attended by members of the Royal Family, key conservationists and society figures. Money raised will help protect Asia’s endangered elephants and support projects that protect not only wild elephants and their habitats but the people who share their landscapes.’ I would so love to own a giant version of one to have in the garden!

Enjoy the parade and I can’t wait to see your photos!

#Blogmas Day 2: Our Family Christmas Traditions

Our Christmas traditions start for us on the 1st of December when Oscar gets home from school and the fairies have brought our Christmas decorations. Our Christmas tree and decorations have always gone up on the 1st of December. When I was little my brother and I always woke up on the 1st to our tree and decorations and I can still remember just how amazing and magical that was and wanted to do the same for our boys. In their bedrooms they have snow globes and Christmas duvets and their stocking ready for the end of their beds on Christmas Eve.

When they wake up on the 1st the boys wake up and our two naughty Elves, Eddie and Ernie are back to stay with us until Christmas Eve and get up to lots of mischief. They bring Oscar and Archie a letter and come through the Elf door which must never be touched as the secret door leads back to Father Christmas so they can let him know how they are behaving. They always bring the boys their advent calender’s too. They each get a chocolate one and a toy one too.

On Monday we are going to see the big man himself at the Harrods Grotto. I always rush to book this in September/October as soon as I get my ‘You can book now’ email. We have been every Christmas since Oscar was born and I love getting the family photo taken every year. After we have been in the grotto Oscar and Archie always get to pick a Christmas tree decoration each and I always buy the Harrods Christmas Bear decoration too. We then walk around to Pizza Express for dinner. The boys love it and we get to see all of the Christmas lights around London on the drive home. Again this is something we did as children, going into London at Christmas to a big department store grotto.

We always put together and decorate a gingerbread house (I buy a kit) nearer to Christmas for everyone to enjoy on Christmas day. I buy loads of sweets and icing and we have great fun in the kitchen making our masterpiece. Its a really cheap and fun activity to do with the kids!

This year I have started a new tradition, a backwards advent. As Oscar is old enough to understand about charity and realises how lucky he is each day of advent we put something in our box each day, whether it be a toy, toiletries or food and on Christmas Eve we will take it to a food bank or charity collection for another family to enjoy at Christmas.

On Christmas Eve we always go to Oscar and Archie’s godparents house and they make pork baps and we sing carols around the piano and the children all play and have a great time. They always have a fantastic 10 ft tree and its just such a lovely house full of Christmas cheer. This is why Oscar wanted to start playing the piano as our friends children had lessons and would play a song each. As Oscar has been having lessons this year he has been practising ‘Jingle Bells’ ready to play for everyone this year. He is really excited! We then go home, the boys bath and get into their pyjamas and then we leave a mince pie and a glass of milk for Father Christmas on their plates they made at a pottery cafe and a carrot outside for Rudolph and then off to bed.

Please comment and share with me your family Christmas traditions!

Merry Christmas!

 

The Vileda Clean

Anyone who knows me knows I like to keep our house nice and clean and I love a gadget that can make it quicker and easier. Having two little boys its not easy to keep everything clean and tidy and nothing drives me more crazy than when the sun shines on the patio doors and you can see little hand prints all over them. Then I wipe the windows clean and the next morning when the sun comes out they are covered in streaks, it literally drives me potty. So when Vileda asked me if I would like to review their Windomatic it made my day! Before I tell your my full review obviously as a blogger I get sent various products to review but the Windomatic is one of those products that I love so much and use everyday and actually makes cleaning the windows a quicker and so much easier task for me.

When the Windomatic arrived I plugged it in and charged it up. One charge can wipe up to 60m² . As soon as it was ready to use the first thing I did was clean those dreaded patio doors. You simply spray your windows with water, then wipe them then use the Windomatic and the suction vacuums up any condensation and leaves a streak free window. You can also use it on glass, mirrors and surfaces to clean up any spillages. I also used it on my granite work surfaces after cleaning and they were sparkling and streak free! After cleaning all of the windows I was genuinely thrilled with my new Windomatic. You might think what a saddo, but seriously the Windomatic is blooming amazing. All my windows are sparkling and as it is so quick and easy to use that when I spot a little hand print on the window I can clean it up in seconds, which for someone like me it pleases me greatly!

Using the Windomatic is so easy as it is super lightweight and not to big to carry around the house. The head of it is really flexible making it easy to move around the window and clean right in the corners. I have quite a lot of windows in our house and even in the smaller openings at the top of some of them you can clean every bit of them as the head fits and moves perfectly.

As you can tell I absolutely love the Windomatic and give it 5* rating. I couldn’t recommend it anymore, it really is a fantastic product that will make cleaning the windows in your home quicker and easier.

Another product I will quickly mention is the Vileda 1-2 spray mop. I saw it in Waitrose a couple of weeks ago and brought it. It is fantastic! You simply fill it with the cleaning solution and then use the spray on the handle and then mop as you go. It is convenient and quick to use and every morning and evening I clean the kitchen floor with it and its great for after meal times with Archie and then at the end of the day I wash the microfibre mop pad in the washing machine. It leaves the floor smelling fresh and so clean!

You can purchase the Windomatic for only £49.99 with free delivery HERE.

Disclaimer: I was sent the Vileda Windomatic for the purpose of this review. However all opinions are honest and my own and I absolutely love it!

Oxfam’s Donation Drive

As we are currently in the process of building our new house I have really started to declutter and sort through everything so when we do move it is as stress free as possible without moving things we don’t need anymore. So when I was asked by Oxfam to take part in their Donation Drive campaign it was perfect timing! Oxfam’s Donation Drive launched on the 26th August and is running for a month. Their campaign is to encourage the great British public to donate what they no longer need or want to one of their 700 Oxfam shops, because they turn those donations into cash to fund their truly amazing work fighting extreme poverty and suffering across the world.

Oxfam

They are asking the public for donations of: clothes, music, books, homewares – tableware, linen, rugs, curtain etc (not electrical equipment) and accessories (jewellery, shoes, scarves, shoes, belts, bags, braces etc).

So I started downstairs and went through the house room by room. I was pretty ruthless and before I knew it had piles of black bags ready to go to our local Oxfam shop in Rickmansworth. This time of year is always when I have a big clear out as with Christmas only a few months away, I know the boys will be inundated with more toys and clothes! With the big move hopefully in February I am more conscious of the amount of stuff we have and take the rule if I haven’t used it in the last two months then its going!

I really find decluttering and organising really therapeutic and am so happy when I know all our unwanted things are going to help other people. It was also great to get Oscar involved through sorting his old toys and teaching him about charity and helping others. We ended up with so many bags that Greg had to help me take to the Oxfam shop as I couldn’t carry it all on my own!

When you drop off your unwanted things to the Oxfam shop by then gift aiding the donated items – this is called ‘Tag Your Bag’ your unwanted items will be worth 25 per cent more.What I really love is that when you ‘Tag your Bag’, Oxfam will let you know how much money your stuff has raised and you can get yourself some Nectar points too.

So get organising and donate your unwanted bits and pieces to your local Oxfam store over the next month and take part in the Donation Drive.

“I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.”

 

Aloka SleepyLights Review

A few weeks ago we were asked to pick one of the fun designs in the Aloka Sleepylights multi-coloured LED light range from Potwells. I knew Oscar would love the Robot design and when Oscar came home from school to find his new light set up in his bedroom he absolutely loved it. There are 26 lovely designs to choose from and six of these designs are now stocked at John Lewis and Mothercare.

John Lewis stock these designs:

Mothercare stock these designs:

So what is so great about these new amazingly fun children’s lights…… Firstly Oscar loves having a remote control and lays in bed constantly changing the colours and leaves it on a different colour each night. You can also leave it to rotate through the 12 different colours and the light gives off a soft and calming glow which is perfect for bedtime. Having the control is great for younger children too who can use the control which is great for practising their fine motor skills and learning all the different colours as well. The lights also have a side-lamp feature which leaves your light on a bright white glow which is also great for when you are reading a bedtime story and need a bit more light.

The light also has a dimmer function which is great and you can choose from four varying levels of brightness, it also has a sleep button which will automatically lower the light to create the ideal calm and dreamy environment to fall to sleep in. I also set the timer to turn the night light off after an hour saving the need to enter the room to switch it off as the evenings are lighter at the moment although Oscar sleeps with the remote under his pillow and turns it back on if he wakes in the night.


Oscar’s favourite light setting is the bright blue but my favourite without a doubt is the beautiful rainbow light show! Archie likes watching the light show too I am going to order the Giraffe light for him as it is perfect to have in a nursery.


The Robot Aloka SleepyLight has an RRP of £39.99 and I think is great value. Not only does it look great in Oscar’s bedroom but buying a SleepyLight will last you for years when using it from newborn.

Disclaimer: We were sent the light for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are honest and my own.

The Great Little Trading Company Play Table Review

Our Play Table from The Great Little Trading Company has been without a doubt the best thing we have ever brought for Oscar to play on and store his toys in. On his third birthday we brought him a wooden train set and the man in the toy shop told us that Oscar would play with it a lot more if it was up higher on a permanent table rather than on the floor on a mat. I searched the internet and saw the one on The Great Little Trading company website and was sold. Not only was it large enough to set up his train set, it had a reversible play surface, a printed unisex design on one side and a blackboard on the other. It also has two huge storage draws that can fit so much in and store Oscar’s toys away easily and neatly.


I ordered the table online and it was delivered within 3 working days. I put it together on my own and the instructions were really easy to follow. I then covered it in Oscar’s duvet so that we could surprise him when Daddy got home from work. Over the years it has changed from a train table to a Playmobil table. Having the play table means Oscar can have his toys out all of the time rather than having to put it all away and get it all out again. Having a baby now that is 13 months and is crawling it has been a god send that Oscar’s toys can be up on the table and out of the way instead of on the floor where Archie could get them.


The table itself is really well made and honestly I don’t know what we would have done without it, there would be toys everywhere. Obviously we brought ours a few years ago and there is now an updated version which is the Eden Play Table that has an updated play surface design and the table comes in either natural wood or white.

The Eden Play Table

If you are looking for something a play table that is sturdy and will last the test if time, then this one from The Great Little Trading company is the one for you!