How To Get Your Home Ready For Spring

Spring is here and it is at this time of year when we start to think about a big spring clean or making some home improvements.  

White jug filled with tulips with some laid along side it

To help you prepare, here are three simple tasks you can do to get your home ready for spring… 

Give your heating system a health check 

Maintaining your heating system may not be an obvious task for spring! This little luxury helps to keep you warm over the colder winter months and once the sunshine arrives, it is easy to forget. You should, however, use this opportunity to make sure that all of your heating systems are in good working order for when winter rolls back around. 

If you have panel or convector heater give them a regular dust and wipe clean to avoid any dirt building up inside. This can cause an unpleasant burning smell when switched back on again. Also be sure to check that all controls and switches are working correctly. 

Regular cleaning and maintenance of your heating systems will help to keep them working properly and ensure that they keep going year after year. 

Give your windows a clean 

As the weather improves and the evenings get lighter you will want to make your home as bright as it can be. However, you may not have noticed just how dirty your windows have become over the winter months. 

So, a very quick and simple way to prepare your home for spring is by hiring a window cleaner or attempting the job yourself. If you do decide to take up this task yourself and require a ladder to reach your upstairs windows, be sure not to do it alone! 

Get the garden ready 

In the winter time, many areas of your home become neglected or aren’t used as often, such as your garden. By using this time to get your home ready for spring, you will ensure that you are well organised for enjoying the warmer weather as soon as it arrives. 

Now is a great time to clear away any garden waste, cut the grass and trim back any bushes or overgrown branches. You will then be ready to plant some flowers and really brighten up your outdoor space. 

Now, sit back and enjoy the spring.

Mummy Snowy Owl

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March Giveaway!

It's a new month so it's time for a new giveaway! 

The team at Danilo have kindly gifted this month's prize, a Peppa Pig calendar from their My First Calendar range. 

Flatlay of children's calendar

Designed to help children learn the days of the week, seasons and weather, the My First Calendar range is an ideal way to help them along the way.

Flaylay of children's calendar

I recently reviewed the Paw Patrol calendar and JJ loves it. It's certainly helping him get to grips with the days of the week and we're now having a daily weather forecast!

Close up of the days of the week on children's calendar

Close up of the seasons

Close up of the seasons on the calendar

Close up of the temperature chart on the calendar with a magnetic cloud

To be in with a chance of winning simply tell me what your little ones favourite Peppa Pig character is! 

Good luck!

Mummy Snowy Owl

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My First Calendar

Since starting school back in September, JJ has become a little obsessed with the days of the week. Is it P.E. today? Is it the weekend yet? What day is scooter day? But when is Friday? We seem to have the same conversations everyday about where we are in the week, and then there's the seasons! When is it summer? Is it warm enough for shorts? It goes on and on!

So, when I heard Danilo had created My First Calendar range to help little ones get to grips with the days of the week, months and seasons, I was extremely excited! Could this bring the end of the what day is it and what are we doing today questions?!!

The My First collection are the first interactive calendars aimed at preschoolers through to Key Stage 1 children and with a choice of Peppa Pig, PJ Masks and Paw Patrol there's a favourite character for everyone. 

We were lucky enough to be gifted with the Paw Patrol calendar and from the minute it arrived JJ wanted to have a look at it and plan out his week and set the weather!

The calendars are full of their favourite characters and offer enough sections to excite them and keep them interested everyday, but not too many meaning they don't get overwhelmed. 

The calendars are sturdy, wipe clean, with some magnetic areas and moving parts, making them very easy to use. You can start helping your little ones use the calendar and as they get older they can use it independently. 

For us it was some independent use of the calendar and then some guidance as I helped read him the weather and explain the different elements to the calendar. 

As JJ's currently poorly with Chickenpox he's already planned his Monday!!

Available for £8.99 and with free delivery directly from Danilo, it might just help your child get to grips with the days of the week too! 

Keep an eye out for one of these fab calendars in this month's competition!!!!

Mummy Snowy Owl

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Trampolining parks are quickly growing in popularity and are a great place for kids to burn off some energy! Having never had a trip to a trampoline park, we were excited when RedKangaroo invited us for a bounce at their Nottingham branch.

Outside of a warehouse type building with the signage 'red kangaroo'

With the sessions broken down into different ages, RedKangaroo offers times for all the family. Even the grown-ups can join in! We chose the Kanga Family session, which is aimed at children aged between 2 to 12 and their adults.

On arriving we were warmly greeted by the staff, where we were given our special socks and coloured wristbands, and our pre-filled waivers were checked. It was then time for a safety video! I'll be quite honest and say when we entered the room to watch the video I did wonder how it would keep the attention of all the kids! But it was short and to the point, and a brief follow up by a staff member showed it had sunk in with everyone in the room.

Above shot of a family's socked feet

It was then time to enter the trampolining area and enjoy our hour long session. As it was our first time there, we were amazed by how big it was! There were lots of different areas to try, including dodgeball, foam pits, gladiator beams, as well as the standard trampolines.

Back view of a little boy bouncing on a large trampoline

Daddy and little boy on a balance beam with gladiator style poles

There were only a couple of parts JJ couldn't go on due to his age and his wristband meant staff could easily tell us what he could and couldn't do.

Little boy bouncing from a trampoline into a foam pit as he Daddy watches in the background

Little boy landing in a foam pit

There was so much to try and it was great to enjoy something as family. The hour session was definitely long enough to enjoy all that RedKangaroo has to offer and we will definitely be going back soon!

Daddy bouncing on a trampoline

Mummy jumping on a trampoline

Little boy bouncing on a trampoline with lots of other trampolines surrounding him

As always with the days out I cover I like to share my top tips, so here we go.............
  • Pre-book your session! With a limited number of guests allowed in on each session it's best to prebook to avoid disappointment!
  • Pre-fill your waiver form! The form can be easily found online and saves time if you fill in before you arrive, but don't worry if you don't. There's touchscreens around the reception area that you can use instead.
  • Standard socks won't do the job! I thought that as long as you had socks on you were good to go but you have to wear the special gripper socks to avoid slipping!
  • Lock your things away safely! There are tonnes of lockers around the arena so you can lock away your shoes, coats and valuables. 
  • Don't bounce with your phone! We all want to grab that special picture of our little ones having a great time or showing off their skills, but for safety you'll need to stand to the side to take a picture. Don't try and bounce and take pictures as it's against the rules!
  • Take a drink! Bouncing is tiring and you'll work up a thirst. Take a drink or use the vending machines or cafe to re-hydrate at the end of your session.
  • Wear comfortable and flexible clothes that will cover and keep everything in! I went for a practical jumpsuit to ensure I didn't have to keep readjusting myself. JJ wore a long sleeve top and jogging bottoms and was also fine. Daddy on the other hand wore some cotton combat style trousers and split them jumping into the foam pit!!!!
We really enjoyed our time at RedKangaroo and plan to return when JJ is 5 so he can enjoy the large pieces of equipment, including the huge slide! We thoroughly recommend having a visit if there's a RedKangaroo near you!

Mummy Snowy Owl

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Tidy Stuff - 5 Ways To Store Lego

Lego is a wonderful creative toy. Kids can spend hours and hours playing and building amazing things, but lets be can be a nightmare to store and clean.

Assortment of Lego

I've already covered how to get the Lego clean in my How To Wash Lego post, so now it's time to share 5 ways how to store it and keep it tidy.

Giant Lego Bricks

Giant Lego brick
Available from Amazon and John Lewis, these giant bricks are stackable and its easy to spot where your Lego's stored! Prices depend on size but start around £9.99.

Storage Boxes

Lidded box with a Lego pattern

Ikea, Poundstretcher and Amazon are just three of my go to's when it comes to buying storage. Go with plain or themed standard boxes or a portable carry case, with the latter ideal if you only have a small amount of Lego or they like taking it to the grandparents with them! Prices start around £8.00.

Lego Table
Children's box type table with sliding top
If you have the space a special table is a great way to go when it comes to Lego storage. Combining somewhere to build and a place to store, a Lego table can help keep everything in one area and hopefully keep the mess to a minimum. The one pictured is currently available for £49.00 from Very and Amazon.

Storage Bag

Lego storage bag laid out flat and filled with Lego
Our Lego goes in a large bag that we hang on the back of a door, but I'm considering change it for a bag that doubles as a mat. Like the table it helps keep everything in one place and brings the hope that the cleanup will be much quicker and easier! Plus it's a bargain for £6.99!

Drawer Units

Plastic drawer tower
Best priced at Wilko and Poundstretcher, drawer units allow lots of storage for Lego bricks, people and base plates. Varied in size and starting at around £11.00, these are ideal if you have a playroom or a corner of the house completely for toys.

So, now we've covered how to store and clean your Lego, hopefully your Lego stuff will now be tidy stuff!

Mummy Snowy Owl

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3 Tips for Personalising Your Home (So That It’s Not Just a Generic Living Space)

'Home is where the heart is', as the old saying goes, but with many of us shopping in the same places, more and more of us are living in homes with similar interiors and our homes are become a little bit generic, rather than personalised environments which bear our own unique mark.

Interior of two double white doors, against white ones with a pale netural floor

When your home is the kind of place that really reflects your personality and life, and is filled with personal curiosities, family heirlooms, your own artistic creations (or your child's), it's likely to be a much happier and more fulfilling environment for you. It's also likely to be a lot more interesting for visitors.

When your home looks like it just came out of a catalogue, it might be difficult to really settle in, feel connected, and express yourself fully.

Here are some tips for personalising your home, so that it's all about you and not just a generic living space.

Pick what you want!

Whether you're getting your furniture out of a catalogue or from a large store, the key causes of a home not being very personal is that people pick what others like or have, or what's in style. Exercise your power of choice and pick what you really want!!

Many of us get into the routine of going with the flow and picking what goes instead of expressing ourselves. If you want to make your home more personal to you it's time to pick what you want. What you really, really want. It doesn't matter if your family and friends don't like it, as long as you do.

If you don't like something, especially if you picked it be neutral and trendy, then change it. We went from a trendy grey wall to some quite jazzy wallpaper and we love it, but some people don't. So, if your budget allows, change that dull wall, disliked carpet or plain accessories. Maybe you've got kitchen flooring you really don't like, well change it, and why not try vinyl planks for a luxe look? Develop your tastes and preferences.

Think about your dream home!

Before you can achieve your dream home you first have to be able to actually envision it. 

Coming up with a vision of your dream home isn't a necessity for having a personalised home, but it can certainly help you to develop a sense of how to structure your home, what decor to buy and what colour schemes you might like. 

If you don't have a very clear idea of what your dream home looks like, why not buy a few home and lifestyle magazines, think about your favourite settings and maybe have a scroll through Pinterest too! Bring in little elements for your dream home to your current home as a remind of what you'd like in the future.

Become a master at the art of decluttering!

It can be difficult to let your personality shine through in your home if it is permanently submerged in clutter.

By getting comfortable and familiar with the are of decluttering and removing everything that makes your home feel less like the place you want to be, you can create a space for your more meaingful and beloved possessions to shine through.

This also means that there is more room for your unique style to flourish and shine. 

Now, time for cuppa and a quick scroll of Pinterest at interiors!

Mummy Snowy Owl

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6 Facts About Fertility Everyone Should Know

Regular readers will know that this blog first started as diary of our fertility struggle and I've recently decided to do more posts on the subject. Fertility is something lots of people struggle with and I'm a strong believe in being open about our journey and to stop the subject being taboo.

If you’re currently trying for a baby, or would like to start a family at some point in the future, you’ll find the following infographic particularly helpful. It contains six facts about fertility that have been compiled by a fertility clinic in London and may help you improve your chances of conception.

If your journey to conceive is just starting or you're well into it, good luck, and if things don't seem to be going right have a chat with your GP or a medical professional.

Mummy Snowy Owl

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Here's Why Indonesia Should Be Your 2019 Travel Destination

Are you still thinking of where to go for your big vacation this year? I'm sure that you've already got a few ideas whizzing around your head, but whittling it down to just the one could be proving difficult to do. 

Well, I could make things easier for you (or harder if you're indecisive!) and share a place that is proving to be really popular in 2019......Indonesia! It's the perfect spot to travel to if you want to experience the relaxation of a tropical beach getaway, but there are also lots of great activities and things to see and do! You certainly won't be bored!

Two wooden paddles boats on a super clear sea with rocky shore in the background

Of course, that isn't the only reason why Indonesia should be on your travel to-do list for this year. Here are a few more really great reasons that might just persuade you to book your trip right now!

It's Super Cheap

Money is always a big factor that many people consider when trying to pick a vacation destination. After all, traveling to a city or country that is renowned for being very expensive might be completely out of the question for some travelers. Thankfully, you won't have to drain your back balance when traveling around Indonesia. The most expensive part will be the flights. Accommodation is very cheap, especially if you are staying for an extended period and go for a longer stay rental in the rumah dijual di jakarta area. 

Food and drink is also very cheap too. In fact, if you eat at the many street food stalls you will find that you won't have to spend much eating out at all.

There's So Many Islands To Discover

One of the best things about Indonesia is that it is an island nation. In fact, the country is made up of around 17,000 different islands! Wowsers! So, as you can probably imagine, there will be a lot for you to explore! 

Each island has a very distinct culture and personality, making it well worth spending a couple of days on different islands. Most visitors to Indonesia do a bit of island hopping, which gives them the chance to see so much more of the country. 

You Can See Komodo Dragons

One of the main reasons why so many people decide to travel to Indonesia is because they will have chance to see the famous Komodo Dragons. Theses huge lizards are native to the country and can't be seen anywhere else in the world. You'll be able to see these fascinating creatures on the islands of Komodo, Rinca, Padar, Flores and a few of the smaller islands.

There are lots of tour groups that organise trips to these islands especially to see the dragons, and traveling with a company will be more convenient than trying to arrange the excursion yourself. 

There's Brilliant Local Food

Many visitors spend a lot of their time on the Indonesian island sampling local food and delicacies. No matter where you go in the country you will find lots of tasty things to sample.

As I previously mentioned, there are a lot of popular street-food markets in most towns and cities, and these are the perfect places to stop off for a cheap bite to eat. There are also some great restaurants where you will be able to enjoy a sit down meal too.

Street stall with a close up of the skewered food.

You'll Visit Amazing Temples

Lots of people also head to Indonesia to take in its unique history and culture. Part of this is the many different temples that are dotted around the country. Most of them are open to visitors, and you might even be able to venture inside.

The also make fantastic backdrops for your travel pictures, and if you're into social media they are sure to make your Instagram followers green with envy! 

The Beaches Are Great Chill Out Spots

There are so many things that will keep you busy in Indonesia and if your ever find your travel get a bit too hectic, you can always take a break by heading to the nearest beach. There are some really great beaches on the various islands, most of which don't get too busy. You'll feel like you are the only one on a tropical island! 

The most popular beaches feature cocktail bars and other great amenities but still manage to not feel too commercial. You'll also be able to take part in some fun water sports like scuba diving and surfing. 

So, as you can see, there are so many great reasons why you should plan a trip to Indonesia! It's definitely going on my bucket list!

Mummy Snowy Owl

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Living DNA - The Results!!

A few month's ago I reviewed the first part of the Living DNA ancestry testing. With the ability to breakdown ancestry to 80 worldwide regions, including 21 with the UK, Living DNA gives one of the most deep and accurate results around.

Image of a DNA strand

Having closely followed the instructions, I send my swab off for analysis and awaited the results. When they were ready an email dropped into my inbox and I quickly logged into the website to see the results and they didn't disappoint!! They were AMAZING and so in depth!

Overall the test shows that my heritage is mostly European with a touch of Asian but the results are so much more detailed that. A couple of clicks can take you from global results to regional and sub regional.

Discovering the Regional breakdown helped me to discover that part of my European heritage is Eastern European and the Asian part comes from an area known as Sindh.

The Sub Regions told me the exact areas that I'm from and show that I have ancestry from areas including the Midlands, Scotland, Cornwall, Devon, Cumbria and many more. My Eastern European heritage stems from Finland and Western Russia. The Sindh part is the area that interested my family and I the most, as it confirmed our family heritage from the area and put a stop to any dispute!

Each of these dots identifies a sub region of my heritage.

Image of a human body made up of different coloured spots

Living DNA has proved the ancestry we knew about but has also shown us so much more than that. The Motherline results also give the genetic story of my ancestors as far back as the first human migration 75,000 years ago. 

Map showing migration points and lines

Living DNA hasn't just shown me my family tree, it's gone as far as showing me my actual human family tree and that's pretty amazing.

Mummy Snowy Owl
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How To Help Your Child Learn A Foreign Language

Learning a language can open up a whole new world for your children. But where should you start? Mill Hill School share their top tips on how you can help lay the foundations for your child’s foreign language learning success…

Open palm of hand with fingers tips with little faces and hats on them, along with speech bubbles and hello in 4 languages

Start early                      

The earlier you introduce a second language, the easier it will be for your child to learn it later on. Start by introducing your chosen language to your child by learning a few words at a time.

As soon as your child starts to learn new words and begins to develop their vocabulary, start to point out to your child that food, animals and objects can all have two names. You can also use children’s music and television shows in a second language to encourage learning.

Use flashcards or labels

Using flashcard or labeling objects around your house is a quick and easy way to help your children learn the names of everyday items in another language. Simply purchase a pack of ready-made flashcards or make your own labels using sticky notes and a bold marker. 

Reading the labels, whenever your child spots them around your home, will help them to store the names of the objects in their memory.

Online lessons and apps

There are many useful and often free online courses and apps that will allow your child to learn from the comfort of their own home. These resources can help to make learning a new language more fun and engaging for children by using interactive games.

These simple starting points will help to provide the essential language learning tools.

Learning languages doesn’t need to be a tiresome task. It is important to make the process fun and interesting for children. Try to incorporate language learning into your everyday lifestyle and use fun activities to increase attention and focus.

Mummy Snowy Owl

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Trying To Achieve A Tidy Home

Whether you're kid free and working, managing a brood of little ones as a stay at home parent or doing something between the two, keeping a tidy home can be hard work.

When I was kid free and working full-time I always struggled to stay on top of laundry and ironing. Now, as a parent, it's keeping toys tidy and crumbs off the floor!

Flatlay of cleaning supplies

Before going self-employed in June 2018 I worked part-time and over the week I would try my best to keep things tidy and clean, and often fail miserably. Friday evening and Saturday morning would be our main cleaning time and it always felt like a boring and stressful start to the weekend. 

Things changed when I went self-employed and with working from home I felt I could manage things a little better, or so I thought. With no strict schedule apart from collecting Joseph from school I seemed to be cleaning the same things over and over and missing certain spots or jobs around the house. 

The days got more filled with housekeeping and less with work. As much as I wanted a tidy home, being on top of the washing doesn't pay my bills and I need to create a manageable schedule.

Cleaning and tidying has become really popular on social media, especially over on Instagram and in the autumn I started to follow some of the accounts for inspiration and motivation. 

My favourite are two quite different to each other. One being Gemma over at The Organised Mum, along with her #teamtomm movement, and the other being the queen of cleaning Narnia's, Mrs HinchBoth have helped me create routines that suit me and try products I wouldn't have thought of trying. 

Mrs Hinch has made me more willing to try different products, which has helped me get things that haven't been properly clean for ages to shiny and spotless. My previous method had been if anti-bacterial spray, bleach or Cif doesn't work it can't be cleaned.

Over at The Organised Mum, Gemma has helped me really get to grips with managing the cleaning and having a tidy home. Gemma's method, known as TOMM (The Organised Mum Method), splits your cleaning into manageable parts, with daily jobs of 15 and 30 minutes Monday to Thursday. Friday is a focus day, where you get to grips with certain areas and give them a good sort out. My home has been tidier as a result and our weekends are free to enjoy as a family.

I still seem to have a lot of stuff though. We all do. But I think this is part of the problem for many of us. Everyone has a lot of stuff and as much as we might want a minimalist life, it's not always that practical. Whether it be books, toys, clothes, shoes, bags or paperwork, we need a place to put this stuff to keep our homes tidy. A place to stash things when you have visitors, so you don't look like crazy hoarders (even if you secretly are).

Over the years I've become a fan of little hacks, especially those that help you keep a tidy home, and I've created a couple of my own. So, as I start to declutter a little more and tidy our stuff, I'm going to share some with you. After lots of you loved the Lego cleaning post, I thought I'd start with some storage hacks for those little bricks.

We've all got stuff, it's just a case of knowing where to store it or stash it!

Mummy Snowy Owl

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Boots Made For Memories

Having fun means making memories, which often means exploring. We frolic through the trees quite often, and to do that, we need boots. They keep our feet warm, they're comfortable, and they provide support when we want to trollop through the leaves.

I always make sure I have a good pair of boots around for adventures such as these. Here are some of the tried and true styles that work for style, comfort, and use in all outdoor exploring weather.

Lower shot of a woman's walking a track wearing flower printed boots

Dr Martens
Dr Martens are well-made of real leather, and the stitching is a signature trait. They come in all colours and a few different lengths. Not only are they built to last, but they look stylish with just about anything.

You can wear them with your jeans while hiking, but you can also pair them with shorts for casual weekend wear or a skirt for work. Top them off with some fluffy, over-the-boot socks, and you're as trendy as you'll ever be.

Windsor Smith
The contemporary label is an everyday essential. It has a genuine leather upper and several styles of elasticised gussets on the side for added comfort. These aren't as heavy duty as the Dr Martens, but they are oh-so-cute.

A low heel makes them much more practical than something high, but still gives you a bit more support than something entirely flat.  They slip on, so they're perfect for keeping by the door for a quick jaunt outside.

Classic and rugged, Timberland produces premium boots with great traction. They are workhorses offering urban fashion and comfort technology. The rubber outsole offers flexibility and support, while staying fashionable.

The hardware is rustproof, so you can wear them in all weather. They're also insulated to keep you warm and dry. They were originally designed for industrial work site, but now you can enjoy those features in all of your adventures. 

Blundstone boots are unique because they're unisex. You and your hubby can match, if that's your thing. They are made from genuine leather with elastic gussets for comfort, but they also feature shock absorption technology.

They have a rustic look that's in style right now but built for the outdoors. The square toe gives your feet room to breather and is especially good for wide feet. The branded pull tabs make them easy to pull on and off.

Alias Mae
These boots mean business. They are made of genuine leather, just like the Dr Martens, but the padded collar makes them comfortable, even with low profile socks. They offer a distinct, chunky style that's unique and stylish.

No matter what style you prefer, these boots are perfect for dressing up or dressing down. You can wear them almost anywhere, and they are essential for everyone's closet.

Mummy Snowy Owl

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