GUEST POST LANA HAWKINS:HOW TO SORUCE UP YOUR GARDEN FOR SUMMERTIME FUN

While we all have different idea of fun, it’s certain that nothing can beat the joy of relaxing in your own backyard, surrounded by your loved ones with a drink in hand and the warm rays of the summer sun shining down. Of course, if you want to create the ultimate setting for relaxing, amusement and play, now is the perfect opportunity to get down to business.
 
Image Source: Flickr 
Landscaping Is Key

Is there anything better than freshly mowed grass and the smell of flowers to get you in the prefect summertime mood? Of course, if you want a luscious backyard, it’s important to regularly maintain your plant life, but also to add some novelty into the complete setting. A colourful garden full of fresh flowers can really transform a space, from giving it a splash of cheerful colour, adding a bit of life to the surroundings, and giving it that delightful scent. Depending on what you are trying to achieve, you can choose from a variety of flower options, from sumptuous begonias, a joyful collection of million bells or even some refined calla lilies. For those looking to create a satisfactory mixture of soothing shades, the pantone colour palette will make your garden a true calming haven.

  Image source: Flickr

Details Are Everything

When it comes to decorating any space, it’s important to remember one thing – the biggest effect is hidden in the smallest details. If you want to make your garden feel more alive, rather than spending money on traditional decorative pieces, try using your imagination and creating unique ornaments from broken planters, unused wood or old items from your house. Create unique pathways in your garden by mixing up different materials like gravel, turf or even wood mulch. Also, do not underestimate the power of illumination. Ambient lighting in the garden can make all the difference, so think about placing hanging lanterns or lighting up the pathways using mason jars. Use rusty keys to make colourful wind chimes or simply repaint your fence in different shades.

  
Image source: houzz.com (left), kidscornernursery.co.uk (right)

An Amusement Nook

There are two words that, when combined, can put a smile on everybody’s face, and they are: summer and fun. The two simply cannot go without each other and that is exactly why having an amusement nook in your garden is one of those must-have features during those long summer months. Summer nights are made for friendly get-togethers that simply cannot pass without a bit of grilling and a few drinks. Thus, a grilling station or even a cosy fire pit should be mandatory in a yard like this. Don’t forget to add a fully-equipped bar so you can enjoy cold cocktails while resting in the pool. Whatever you do, do not forget about the kids and add a children’s pool or a beautiful sandpit. You can always build a treehouse for the kids to enjoy or create a mini boot camp using some old tires, ropes and boards.
 
Image source: doublescribble.net (left), minimalisti.com (right)

Make It Pleasant

Lastly, you will want to create your own sanctuary of peace, a place where you can unwind, relax and simply get away from the troubles of everyday life. And luckily, you really do not need a lot of things to make this heavenly project a reality. Creating a comfy seating arrangement and adding some colourful cushions along with a nice garden table will be enough. A patio is a perfect place to make a calming haven, but you can always find peace in a hammock under a tree or a pergola with some custom made shade sails. Not only will it provide some pleasant shade, but it will also protect you from sudden rain or any other precipitation.

There is no better feeling than knowing you can open the door of your house and enter a magical land which exudes with smells of flowers and freshly cut grass. Where you can lie down and rest your mind, read a book and drink a glass of your favourite drink, knowing you are on holiday right there in the comfort of your home.

Author’s Bio: Lana Hawkins is an architecture student from Sydney. She enjoys writing about interior decoration and landscaping. Lana is interested in sustainability and green building, and that’s where she gets most of her inspiration from.



KEEPING YOUR TODDLER ENTERTAINED AT A WEDDING

  Buzz Feed

Wedding season is upon us, and the chances are you have at least a couple of invitations floating around in your home. Refining your wedding etiquette as a singleton or part of a couple is one thing? But once you have kids? It’s another thing entirely. Figuring out how to keep your toddler happy at an elongated event can be tricky. The day tends to be geared a lot more to adult activities. But there are ways to entertain the little ones coming..like a little colouring pack as their table gift.

Clothing to keep them cool

This point is especially important for summer events. Clothes that will make your toddler hot or uncomfortable is a no-go. So, while there may be a dress-code for adults, a toddler will likely be free to wear what they want. As long as they look smart enough on any formal photos, of course! How about if your toddler has a special role in the wedding, like a bridesmaid or flower girl? Then toddler flower girl dresses and bridesmaid dresses are your best bet. If they’re an older toddler, just put a pair of shorts underneath so they can play comfortably later!

  Buzz Feed

Suitable sun protection

With summer comes the sun, and with the sun should always come sun protection. Be sure you lather up your toddler a few times in the day if the sun is predicted to be out. Even if it ends up raining, there is no harm done! 

  Buzz Feed

Take your own fun and games

We parents know that it is not easy entertaining a toddler! Some couples will have set up activities and games for the kids to enjoy, but not all will have done. So, go expecting there not to be anything to keep the toddler entertained. Take your own fun and games with you. Is there anything you already own that takes multiple players? Other parents of toddlers will really appreciate it if you turn up with these. Consider taking a set of play clothes too, so after the formalities they can play comfortably.

Leave early evening

Even if you have been invited for the whole event, consider if the couple wouldn’t mind you leaving early evening. The chances are they won’t. First off, they will probably be very understanding to the fact you have a toddler. Secondly, leaving before the evening meals means that they save money! If it really is important that you stay at the wedding, make arrangements so your toddler can leave. Maybe you could have a babysitter come and pick them up and take them to your accommodation for a couple of hours. 

  Buzz Feed

Make the day fun for them. Explain what’s going on in a fun way. The princess is marrying her prince, in a magical castle, where all the flowers are enchanted… Then give them a disposable camera and set them a list like the one above! You’d be suprised how kids find the most basic things more fun, when they are given a story to narate it with! 



TIPS FOR BUYING A HOUSE

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Source

Well its official we pick up our keys on the 24th of June..we are homeowners. It’s been a long time coming but we made it. So I thought I’d share some tips we learnt along way with you guys so you can find your dream home.

Calculate what you can afford
Knowing how much to spend is obvious when buying a home, but you’d be surprised how many buyers miss this or find that dream home that’s over their budget and go for it anyway.. We knew we wanted to have a little money left over to be able to decorate the place and buy some new furniture..so when we went looking, we actually looked at properties slightly below our budget. We were lucky enough to find one too leaving us a little bit of spending money.
Head to your local estate agent and ask to speak to an independent mortgage advisor. They’ll be able to provide you with all the information you need, and help you find the best deal. They are completely unbiased and will do all the hard work for you. You’ll need to pay a small fee, but it’s a small price to pay for the savings you’ll gain in the long-term. Also check to see if your work offers any benefits. Richards work came with a benefit of getting free mortgage advice which was great.

 

Location, location, location
The location is one of the most important decision you’ll make when buying a house. Where do your friends and family live? Will you have to jump in a car every time you want to go somewhere? Is there a school nearby? It’s not always affordable to live where we want. we were given the tip that you can change a house you can’t change where you live. So if your dream house isn’t in the nicest area. Maybe go for the smaller he good neighbourhood which you can expand and decorate to make it your perfect home.

 

Consider your needs and wants
Writing a list of things that are essential, and a list of things that are desirable. Depending on your budget, you could put stuff such as ‘a full bathroom’ in essential. Perhaps ‘off-street parking’ in desirable. This will depend on what is a deal breaker for you. Keeping notes is a good way to stand your ground when you see a property that you love but isn’t right for you.

Remember to be patient

Choosing a home isn’t easy. Being patient doesn’t just apply to people on a budget either. There are so many options on the market, and especially when housing is selling quickly. It’s difficult to know where and when to put your money. Remember to stay calm, take some time out and appreciate that it might take a bit of time.
Being a first-time buyer isn’t easy, by any means. But sometimes, as you invest more it can get even harder. If you’ve got a large family and needed more space, it’s not always easy to find. Also, if you’re looking for something modern, but live in a village, you might not have many options at all. Perhaps it’s time to consider a bespoke home. Here are 10 signs you should invest in custom home designs.

Use your head, not your heart
With that in mind, you need to stay head strong when buying a property. It can be a hard, long process. Sometimes you might feel like giving up, but keep going. Finding a property miles away from where you want to be with lots of space for a good price can be difficult. Do you want to be there? Think about it in the long-term. Are you going to end up spending hours in the car every day to get anywhere?
Using your head, instead of your heart is crucial when choosing a property. If you decide to go for something that isn’t a wise decision, you may regret it in the future. Avoid a costly mistake by thinking rationally, and having support from friends and family.
Happy hunting



CUTE WAYS TO ANNOUNCE YOUR PREGNANCY

First thing first, don’t go thinking this is a pregnancy announcement, I’ve just about recovered from having Arch, so give me a few years…but I do regret not making more of a big deal regarding our pregnancy. Bar family we didn’t tell any friends, or you guys until I was about 21weeks.. I wanted to make sure that the baby was ok..and for me and Richard to get our head around becoming parents. But when I did tell I did it in a post..here. If you don’t have a blog though, how do you go about it? 

When you announce your pregnancy, the way you do it will depend on a number of factors. You’ll need to think about who you’re telling, what the situation is and where you are when you do it. For instance, if you expect your husband to start crying his eyes out at the joyful news, you probably don’t want to tell him when he’s having a pint with his friends. If you’re with your mother and you’re pretty certain she’ll start screaming for joy, then telling her while you’re both watching the ballet isn’t ideal. Use your common sense so you can make this a pleasant experience for everybody involved. If you’re telling work, you’ll need to approach that differently to how you’ll tell your loved ones and family members.

  You The Daddy

It makes sense to tell the most important people to you first. Then you can find a fun way to tell the world. Some people choose to announce their pregnancy on social media, you can make this fun and artistic like the idea above.

 Buzz Feed

When it comes to work, you should tell your boss before you tell your workmates. Telling them first is common courtesy and will allow them to put plans in place for the time you leave. When you tell the rest of your office perhaps you could hand out cupcakes or cookies with the message on them. Just be sure not to keep the annocement short and sweet, you stil need to be able to do what you’re paid to do while your there. So maybe arrange a celebratory drinks (non alcoholic for you) after work.  Hative

Why not take a fun and creative photograph? You can send this photo via email, post it on Facebook, and even send it through the post if you like. You can then use it at the start of your baby’s photo album. People like to use things like chalkboards, fun rhymes, and riddles to break the news in photographs. You can include your family, other children or even pets like the image above.

  The Party Posse

When it comes to the people you’re most excited to tell, you could give them a fun gift. You can do this when it comes to your partner, parents, and even grandparents. If you’ve found out you’re pregnant early on, why not buy a small gift box and place a pea inside? You can then present this to your partner and tell them it’s the size of their baby right now! You could also buy a gift like those shown on sites like http://www.zoeyspersonalizedgifts.com/announcement-ideas/.

Buying an ornament for family is a great way to break the news, especially at Christmas time. Give them something they can open and put on their tree. If it isn’t Christmas, don’t worry – you could always purchase a snow globe or make your own unique gift.

  Today

Getting your current kids involved is really cute, and they feel involved with the baby right from the start this way. You can have them announce the news to relatives, give gifts, or even wear t-shirts that have the message on them. If you’re going to a relative’s house, consider dressing them in t-shirts that have the message on them, and see how long it takes them to notice. I love the above picture! 

Have fun with it, it’s a special time that deserves to be shared. 



4 ASOS OUTFIT PICKS GREAT FOR CITY BREAKS

I love ASOS, it’s quite possibly the only online shop I buy my clothes from, other then Ebay. ASOS is great for us plus size girls too, as the majority of their collection goes up to size 18, and their plus size goes up to 26. Returns are free, if you pay for premium, which is £9.99 a year, you get free next day delivery all year, which means you can try as many clothes as you want without worrying about postage costs in the comfort of your own home. So here are 4 outfits that I am totally loving.

ASOS-outfit-4-blue-dream

Ok so firstly I am in love with those shoes…blue velvet crush. God I wish I could walk in heels..i’m worst then bambi on ice. Anyway, this outfit is bold and badass and is totally the choice for an afternoon walk around a Parisian flea market..or grabbing some gelato and sitting by Trevi Fountain making wishes.

Dress £50, Shoes £45, Sunglasses £35, Clutch Purse £88.

 

ASOeleganceS-outfit-3,-quirky-

My idea for this outfit, was a romance meets effortless chic. You might think the jacket is an odd choice, but I love the relaxed grey jersey of it. It casuals this outfit up, but still looks super cute. Jersey jacket with nude scallop heels…yes please.

Dress £25, Jacket £24.99, Shoes £29.99, Bag £28.99.

 

asos-outfit-2-wisoy-city-break-fun-

This lace jumpsuit is just gorgeous, and perfect for wondering downtown New York, and maybe grabbing a rainbow bagel…FYI I am totally going to try and make some rainbow bagels with funfetti cream cheese..

Jumpsuit £85, Jacket £75, Shoes £35, Bag £30.

ASOS-outfit-1,-

Ok so this is a little out there, bright yellow tee with a bright pink skirt, and those shoes…yes this is daring and out there, but it’s also fun and whimsical and perfect for spending the day in Brick Lane, visiting little galleries and taking in culture. You can also keep your art supplies in that awesome back pack too.

Skirt £30, Tee £12, Shoes £25, Bag £20.

We are off to France at the end of the week, so I may have ordered a few cheeky things, so who knows might have some fun doing some outfits posts while I’m away..depending on my face… as it’s not be so great recently!

 

 



PAPERWORK PAPERWORK PAPERWORK

 

edhv-wendy-plomp-ceiling-Paper_Cave1

Classic Play

Oh my god buying a house is a long complicated process… Now don’t get me wrong, I feel so lucky that we are in a situation where we can buy a house. So lucky. But man..this stuff is complicated. Plus me and Richard aren’t paperwork people…in fact we both suck. It didn’t help that during the whole process, we have had passports to order, a variety of insurances, sorting out postal votes…so much paperwork. I liked to think I’m pretty organised, bar 2 birthday ( out of like a ton) only 2 presents have been sent late, which is super annoying because I got presents weeks in advance this year..but paper work…falls to the bottom of the pile.  But it’s all pretty much done, well the house paperwork is, the rest is still on my pile. I’m getting there..But I think I’ve come up with some ways to enjoy future paperwork.

WINE: Or your beverage of choice around when filling in forms…though maybe stick to like 2 glasses, so you don’t fill out your name as bugs bunny or something like that for shits and giggles.

PAPER CHOICE: Maybe if the form isn’t overly important, print it in a different coloured paper, I think everyone would appreciate a house deed printed on mint green paper…might not be legal, but makes it more fun no?

TREATS: Similar to the wine option, but this could be anything. Filled out that insurance form or claim? bam get yourself a new top. I think this is a pretty good incentive to get your paperwork done.

JUST DO IT: Or maybe we just do it. Because if you’re in a situation like us, the quicker it’s done, the quicker we move into our new little home…then we shall have wine to celebrate.

 

 

 

 



LOCAL FLORAL LOVE

I have to say, I do love this time of year, with all the flowers budding, especially cherry blossom. My walk to the park that I take almost daily with arch, see me go past about 20 cherry blossom trees all spotted over, and right now it’s just amazing. The petals flying over everywhere, the different colours. Can’t complain!

So here is some floral love appreciation, of some pretty spots where we live.

ABSTRACT-LANDSCAPE- IMAGES-ON-THE-GROUND-FLORAL-LOVE-PETALS-CHERRY-BLOSSOM SPRING-TIME-CHERRY-BLOSSOMPETALS-CHERRY-BLOSSOM-AND-DAISY-SPRING-TIMEBLUE-FLOWERS-SPRING-TIME-FLORAL-LOVE

I’m not sure what we did before camera phones..and before instagram too….I’m looking forward to getting a couple of these blown up and framed for the new house. Turning your instagram posts into art work is so easy!



MY LIFE THE LAST FEW WEEKS IN PICTURES

So with Arch not sleeping, the whole household being ill, and the crazziness which comes with buying a house, I have no energy left at the moment to do anything, so sorry dear readers that I have been neglecting you..it sounds stupid but I just feel like that as soon as we are in the new house, with the office finished…everything will be so much easier…why I don’t know..but I just need to believe that everything will fall into place..ok.

So bar the lack of sleep and the rather large possibility that I may have a stomach ucler due to stress and general lack of energy…yes I’m being dramatic..it is what it is..lets move on….I have had some rather lovely day outings with the family!

 French Toast with nutella and raspberriesGroundworks hitchin good food
Patty and bun aray goldneon sign sexy nuded patty and bun london

We have eaten some pretty intense food! I made French toast with raspberries which looked super pretty…I then drenched it in Nutella which was just insane. Archer enjoyed it too, managing to get Nutella every where..

We did a trip to Hitchin to the same coffee place we did for archers first day out, the food and coffee still being amazing! 
I’ve also spent a bit of time in London, where we are at patty and bun. Quite possibly one of the best burgers I have ever eaten. I also had a grapefruit cocktail which was just to die for. So if you like a burger and don’t mind rustic decor with some added neon lights, I mean how cool is that neon sign?, then head down to Patty and Bun in Soho.

Cool baby ArcherDaddy And ArcherDaddy and archer fun

We try to pack in as much as we can on Richards days off, either going out for the day, swimming, goings for walks. I find archer is easier to occupy when we are on the move. If we stay in, he goes a bit crazy, as seen in the photo above. 

Archer passport photoshoot

Did a little mini shoot for archers passport picture. Decided to put my degree to use instead of spending £14 paying someone else to do it. To behonest it came out really well. I used the large tool of paper we have as a back drop, did but some large windows for natural light, and held a toy above my head to keep archer looking up. Arch looks super cute in them, helps that I wiped his face and put him in some over fancy clothes! 

IMG_7006

We went on the swings for the first time…looking rather mismatched as he had already form through 3 outfits by then..and I only had these bits left in the change bag..oh well. Think he’s pulling off the English gentlemen who loves Christmas and sailing look quite well! 

IMG_6990IMG_7051
So we celebrated Richards birthday, my cake wasn’t the best, but hey I attempted it in the evening when it had been a pretty long day…tasted good though which is the important thing right? Richard also rather enjoyed his present from Archer..a Lego Wall-e…it’s super cute right? 
I’ll try to post again soon..who knows maybe I can get a streak going. 



DIY CLOTHES IDEAS 

I love a good DIY project, and recently I’ve been thinking about getting my old sewing machine out and having a play at making, or up cycling some of my old clothes. So of course I looked to trusty Pinterest for some ideas and tutorials.

  Naughty Shorts 

A vintage dress can look so pretty especially when carefully prepared by it’s owner. You can find so many lovely fabrics that can complement this look. The internet is a great place for inspiration and sewing patterns to match. With sites like Pinterest bursting with inspiration and DIY’S. Like this one. How to make a vintage dress from a sheet! 

  The Littlest Studio

A skirt might be one of the easier projects to try first if your a sewing newbie. Picking a Bright coloured fabric and futuristic fastenings from companies like Scovill will give you a variety of different finishes. This look above would work well at any time of the year. Just use different fabrics for the different weather.

  Freshly Given 

A  blouse is a wardrobe staple for anyone. They can look amazing teamed with skinny jeans as well as skirts. You can consider different fabrics for this style and use a whole host of sewing patterns to complete the look. I think a pretty look would be to consider a lovely floral print. Perfect for the summer months ahead. The one above is made using an old shirt, something you can easily pick up from a charity shop!  

 Handy Little Me
A jumper is an inspired choice for winter. Do you remember your mother or grandmother teaching you how to knit? It’s  now the perfect time to put those skills into action. Again it would be advisable to follow a pattern or some form of instruction. It is also worth knowing your measurements to make sure sleeves and neck lines sit just right. But the link above will take you to a great blog which is full of patterns and tutorials.

  Everything Golden 

  Sew Much Ado

Apart from in textiles class (years ago)and a few alterations to some vintage outfits, I’ve never really made any outfits from scratch. So I’m thinking I might start with making something for archer. Baby clothes must be easier…I mean the size alone must help? No? Anyway enjoy some of the cute ideas above for  baby outfits. 

  Premeditated Leftovers 

Maternity clothes can be a cost that most new mothers could do without. So making them is a great way to save some money. It can be quite easy as the fabric you want to use should be breathable and light. You won’t need anything particularly tight fitting as comfort will be a priority. The handmade look can work well with a growing baby bump. Plus maybe you could reuse the material after and make something for your little one? 

I’m going to attempt to make some little rompers for arch. I’ll let you know how they go! 



A FEW REASONS TO LEARN SOME DIY SKILLS 

  Oh Happy Day

DIY can produce some impressive results and all without having to call in a professional. With the internet and instructional YouTube videos, there is more opportunity than ever to learn this valuable skill. DIY can range from simple but necessary projects like fixing hinges and cabinets, right through to installing a new kitchen! But learning DIY can take some considerable time and effort. A beginner’s level can be achieved quite quite. But if we want to develop our DIY skills then we should work hard to maintain our motivation. We should remind ourselves of the benefits of learning DIY and we will find it easy to keep enthusiasm!
When we first begin to learn DIY, we might not recognise that this is a great universal skill. We can benefit our own household and help friends too. We may even find additional uses in the workplace too. We can choose to do odd-jobs for friends and neighbours as favours. But some DIY hobbyists get good enough to command a small fee. Or at least a favour in return! Wherever you are in the world, being able to fix, upgrade, and improve is a valuable skill. Calling in a professional can place a lot of stress on a household. Additional bodies coming and going. Excess noise and early start times can all be irritating. Especially if it is a simple job and could have been by learning the skill yourself. Taking control of your own skill set can be very rewarding. It can have physical benefits such as keeping active and seeing the fruits of your own labour. But it can also give us a sense of accomplishment, purpose and value.

For many people, inviting a stranger into their home, even a professional, is difficult. They may be elderly or vulnerable in some way. They may dislike having someone in the home that they can’t watch all the time or may struggle to communicate with. But the reality is that we are all likely to need repairs some time or another. Knowing a family member or friend who can help can be a lifesaver. Learning DIY would make you that trusted and helpful person they can call. People who are good at DIY are often valued members of the community. They save people hassle, money, and provide a sense of security. DIY has tangible benefits within our own household. But it can also make a genuine difference in the lives of others.

Many new skills can be frustrating because we don’t progress at the rate that we would expect. DIY is different. If we’re paying close attention to instructions, we will be amazed at what we can achieve with our own two hands. Even a complex kitchen installation can be easy with a company like http://www.ikitchen.co.nz. We do the labour ourselves but are overseen at a high level. It’s the very best way to learn. With the right tools and professional instruction, we can quickly achieve a near professional level ourselves!

Learning DIY has the obvious benefit of saving money over time. For expensive modern family life, this can be a major plus. Some materials will cost an initial outlay. But we will no longer be a slave to overtime or last minute call out charges!