Recalibrating and finding a balance



Work from home

Being self-employed can give you so much freedom which when you become a parent is something I am forever grateful for but equally working freelance and for yourself brings along a kind of stress you don't get with other jobs. Your income purely relies on your own ability and productivity and what is currently on offer. Some weeks you will be inundated with work and at other times it can be worryingly slow, although even so I wouldn't change it for a minute. 

I have been self employed for a few years now and I have worked very hard to ensure I have a constant stream of work and a steady income although this year I have faced a few obstacles that have certainly taught me a few things about life as a freelance writer and blogger. Firstly I didn't take any maternity leave when my youngest arrived on the scene 18months ago, this was simply down to not actually having time to stop working, to put this into perspective I had emails asking for when posts would be going live, new campaigns, job offers and invoice requests on the day I gave birth. This fast overturn of work and the speed at which blogging moves is both appealing but equally quite pressured and things like growing your family when your naturally a hard working individual throws up certain situations such as not wanting to fall behind or keeping on top of a job you have essentially created out of nothing. 

Welsh coffee shop

Having a new little man on the scene however didn't actually impact things too much especially as when your documenting parts of your life you can make it work but what I didn't expect was how much I rely on technology and that technology working and running smoothly. 

At the start of the year my Mac started running painfully slow,  then my email was hit by a virus causing more havoc. I took my Mac in to be serviced and they couldn't find a reason for it being so slow even though I felt the hard drive was on the way out I was reassured it came back fine on the tests so they completely wiped my laptop of everything back to factory settings and started again. Initially it was working fine then the issues started again and one day it simply wouldn't turn on, the hard drive had failed, what was worse is I discovered not everything I thought had be saved to the cloud actually was saved and because it had been working so slowly when transferring files to my external it often didn't save all of the files. Losing around 3 weeks worth of work may not sound like a lot but when you think of videos and edited photos some of which cannot be repeated or draft posts while trying to maintain all your current work commitments it's a whole lot. Luckily a lot of my clients were understanding, these things do happen and even though it was not my fault being self employed means the buck stops at you and no one else, which can be a blessing and a curse. 

Bodlon Cardiff

I have finally started to feel like I am back on top of things with the support from my family who have given me the much needed time to redo work, it's also made me realise how important it is to get a good work life balance because things do happen and you don't want that to cause stress that follows into the home environment. I have also found that it's not worth getting upset about things that are out of your control, to try and be more mindful of the small victories you achieve each day and to enjoy those little moments that will provide the calming balance you need.

Here are my top 7 tips for dealing with work related stress and when things go wrong

1. Breath
2. Get out of the house and go for a walk - stepping away from a frustrating situation really helps put things back in perspective.
3. Make yourself a clear and doable plan of action
4. Don't be afraid to ask for help from family and friends
5. Think about how you can prevent it from happening again - I'm thinking about leasing a laptop as well as getting better insurance for all my business related equipment because then cost of replacing things won't be an added stress.
6. Keep a good line of communication going with clients
7. Don't let it consume you and make time for yourself and your family.

If you feel stress and anxiety are really becoming an issue that is affecting your daily life than talking to a professional could be an option, wether on your own or as a couple as finding harmony in the home is important for all those involved. You can now access counselling or professional help online making it easier than ever and could be an option that would work well for you.

Coffee art


It is also really important that you streamline your workspace as much as possible, upgrade your laptop if possible and any other apps you need. Consider getting a Virtual assistant if your feeling especially overwhelmed. You could also think about working from the convenience of your home with a SharePoint site from and a cloud Desktop from the leading provider of hosted virtual desktop.

So with taking the last tip in hand this Monday we started a new tradition, it's Johns day off and each week we are going to explore a different coffee shop in around Cardiff. I had been to Bodlon, in Whitchurch before but not with John and  though it was the perfect spot to enjoy a flat white which some welsh cakes as well as pursuing all the local kitchenwares and Welsh products from food to hand made crockery, pillows and up-cycled furniture.

Flowers indoors


I think when it comes to working from home, growing a family, sharing bills and being creative, modern parents and especially mothers today wear a lot of different hats, that does mean at times some compromises need to be made to keep that workable balance between doing what you love, making an income and being hands on and highly with your children's lives but I love our busy and beautiful life and I know that 9 to 5 wouldn't suit either of us. I'm really excited about what the rest of the year has in store and where the job I love will take me and my family and I know that even when things occasionally hit the fan every now and then that one definition certainly comes to mind - Mamas are strong even when sleep deprived!

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5 Ways to Enjoy Bonfire Night with Your Children



For parents, Bonfire Night can be as stressful as it is exciting. Some children are able to embrace the excitement straight away, but keeping them safe while allowing them to enjoy themselves can be tricky.

Then there are the children who are intimidated by the loud explosions and flashes of colour that Bonfire Night brings. For those children, Bonfire Night needs to be reintroduced to them, slowly and carefully, as something which is about more than loud explosions. Thankfully, though, there are many other ways that you can help your children to love Bonfire Night for the exciting time of year that it should be.

1. Make Safety your main priority 

It sounds obvious, but the most important thing to do when introducing children to bonfire night is to set a great example. If your children’s first experience with sparklers or fireworks is a safe enjoyable one and you explain how important it is to respect fire and sparklers than you are setting a good example for years to come.

But where to start with firework safety? There are countless blogs and articles all over the internet, but the best thing to do is to follow the government’s advice. The Met Office offers a simple, easy-to-follow ten-step guide on firework safety. Most of it is common sense, but there are a few key things to remember such as using a reputable supplier, storing any flammables in a safe and secure area, keep a bucket of water nearby and always supervise children.

2. Buy Quiet Fireworks

As a family who love animals we are fully aware that fireworks can be loud and cause them real distress so quiet fireworks are not only ideal for animals but also children who love the lights but dislike the noise, and there is a lot more choice than people often think. Multishot fireworks, a cascading waterfall of sparks, and even the good old-fashioned Catherine wheel are just some of the quiet options available to parents with children who prefer things to be a little quieter.

3. Try Glow Bracelets

They may remind you of 90's raves but glow bracelets and glow sticks are a perfect alternative for children as they are still bright and colourful but far safer when it comes to possible burns that can come with handling sparklers and they also have the bonus of lasting longer.  It's advised that you don't give sparklers to children under five especially as they get extremely hot and it's vital to teach children about safe sparkler use from a young age so you don't have any accidents. 

4. Cut out the stress by buying Online

Bonfire night is all about celebration and family time no matter how you wish the celebrate it. It could be that you simple have a few glow sticks and sparklers and then retreat inside for a comforting cup of coco, either way you want to make it as stress-free as possible. I find my kids get very overwhelmed and over excited around this time of the year when shopping in stores, there is simply too much colour and choice thrown in front of you so for us buying online is a easy and stressful way to ensure we get what we need with minimal fuss. As I said before purchasing them from a reputable buyer is extremely important and one of the UK’s biggest fireworks suppliers, extremely trustworthy, and a great place to buy fireworks online.

5. Make it a Family Event

Your children might feel calmer about the whole thing if they are able to invite their friends and family around for this autumn celebration. It might even be a great chance for you to introduce yourself to other parents, to invite some close friends, or to get the extended family over to your home. An occasion like this is a perfect opportunity to make some homemade mulled wine, to keep the adults warm and some nice pumpkin soup for the kids.

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For the love of Modern Period interiors


stunning sofa

We are edging closer and closer to putting our house on the market and we cannot wait, our time in our little welsh hobbit house as we refer to it as the ceilings are so low are coming to an end. We are all in need of more space, more light and in Johns case a doorway he doesn't bang his head on everyday. As much as the rustic appeal is to us and it really does, our home is a bit neither here or there in terms of location, only 20mins from the city on the edge of a small town so it doesn't have the slower pace feel as you would find in a more rural location and equally does not have the colour and culture of living within walking distance of the city.

We have also found over time our real passion and dream would be to find a small bay fronted Victorian property as we absolutely love the combination of a period property with a fresh and modern look that embraces the original features of that time rather than covers them up. I think the Scandinavian inspiration that has boomed in the UK interior market has helped with encouraging the combination of the new and old in a seamless and stylish way.

simple interior

There are a few companies that spring to mind that I feel hit the nail on the head when it comes to beautifully designed modern sofas, beds and larger furniture that are almost timeless in that they can easily be placed in a variety of different styled homes effortlessly. One of those brands is the Danish BoConcept and I've been told their Glasgow shop's designer sofa showroom is amazing, we are heading up to Scotland next year so I will get to see it first hand rather than drooling over them online.

The budget for our next home is not going to be massive but we are hopefully we can find something to suit our style and settled down in for longer than our previous homes which have always been purchased as projects with the view of living in them for shorter periods of time. I thought I would put together a little wish list of products that perfectly capture the fun, colourful and modern vintage approach we will take with our next home.

Modern living wishlist

1. Retro Alphabet print £45
2. Adelaide dining room chair £339
3. Modern Ball Clock Nelson £310
4. Osaka 3 seater sofa £2219
5. Bornholm Coffee Table £169 

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Don't commit another Gift Crime



With my eldest birthday this week and my birthday last week it has been a time of both giving and receiving in our household. When it come to Birthdays (and Christmas) we are very much about Less is More and rather pick a few quality gifts than hundreds of plastic toys which will break in a matter of hours. This means that the few gifts we do pick have to be both meaningful, practical and of course perfect for the individual receiving them, this does however causes some pressure on us to get it right, as it can be really easy to get it wrong.

I have to say I am pretty lucky as John has really good taste when it comes to clothes, books and music and I am very rarely am I disappointed in anyway but that doesn't extended to everyone. I have always been brought up to be grateful for every and any gift received because at the end of the day it's a wonderful thing to be given something by someone else no matter how large, small or useful it is although some have in the past left me scratching my head.

I think some of the most perplexing Gift Crimes I have been on the receiving end of are when I was given a very pretty dress which in all regards was lovely except it was a size 16 and I am a size 8 and even with bringing out the sewing machine there was no way to get it to fit my shape. Other small items are bright pink socks, used pencils and a floral recipe book stand which lets just say was not my style.

The thing is we are all pretty busy people and finding cool and unique gifts for both children and adults can be time consuming so what would be better than a well curated website of the most stylish and unique gifts on the market, don't know about you but that sounds like a fantastic idea to me. A place that is time saving but will guarantee you to not commit any future gift crimes and also be known as the cool creative mom in the school yard. Well I would like to introduce you to Gift Wink, a website set up by mums for mums who want to nail the next birthday party they attend.

It's so easy to use and you can setup a birthday calendar and reminders so you don't forget those all important dates as well as wish lists which you simply add your favourite presents to if you want to reference back to them at a later point. I have put together a little wishlist for my youngest 2nd birthday next year as well as gift ideas for my eldest this coming Christmas but you can also curate and shop for the early teens, late teens and adults in your life.

Do you have any fun Gift Crime stories you want to share? Why not share it with Gift Wink on either Facebook or twitter using #giftcrimes before the 25th September to be in a chance to win a £50 Gift wink wishlist. Check here for more info

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My 40 before 40 List and making it happen




Having turned 32 last week it's reminded me how fast time flies by, it feels like only yesterday I was celebrating my 30th in the South of France with family and friends. I was pregnant at the time with my youngest who is now nearly 19months old and it feels like our feet have not touched the ground since he came on the scene.

Having always had itchy feet and following on from my father's passion to travel I managed to fit a whole lot of living into my life before turning 30 including celebrating New Years in more than 4 different countries and travelling to 25 countries as well as learning to drive, having a family, taking a cargo ship from Africa to the UK and loads in between. Although things did slow down slightly after having kids and traipsing around Europe with a backpack working at hostels as I went along was not so much an option anymore, now things need to be planned and thought out far more in advance. I do think putting pen to paper and making plans is the first step to realising them, so I have curated my 40 before 40 list, one or two of things I have already done post 30 and others are sightly wishful thinking as it would only happen if finances allowed, but we can all dream right?

South of France
My 30th was spent in Paris and the French Riveria 

Fitness and Outdoors and outdoor experiences

1. Climb Snowdonia, Wales Tallest peak
2. Canoe down the river Wye - DONE
3. Take a picture of the sunrise and sunset on the same day
4. Try Paddleboarding - DONE
5. Do a long-distance walk like Hadrians Wall
6. Do a treetop Zip Line adventure - DONE
7. Surf an Artificial wave - DONE
8. Go Hiking in Yosemite
9. Do a long-distance bike ride
10. Start a campfire without a match or a lighter - DONE
11. Take part in the Bog Snorkelling Championships in Wales
12. Go Wild Camping - DONE (Wild camped on the shores of a loch on Scotland)
13. Rope swing into a river or lake - DONE
14. Find a four-leaf clover
15. Take the family Geocaching - DONE

Learning and cultural experiences

16. Learn to sail a keelboat
17. Have a basic conversation on a foreign language
18. Complete Forest School Assistant training
19. Take the kids to the Opera or Ballet - DONE
20. Watch tennis live at Wimbledon
21. See a movie at a drive-in
22. Participate in a Flash Mob
23. Swim at the thermal rooftop spa pool in Bath

Share the love and giving back

24. Raise £250 for charity - DONE
25. Volunteer time to a charity and cause I believe in - DONE
26. Buy Coffee/lunch for someone who really needs it - DONE
27. Take my mother for an indulgent 3 course meal and say Thank-you for everything. DONE
28. Adopt a pet from the animal shelter - DONE
29. Plant a family tree together - DONE

Travel and seeing the world

30. Ride the Orient Express
31. Go skateboarding at Venice Beach
32. Take the Skybus to the Isles of Scilly- DONE
33. Spend a night in a Treehouse
34. Buy a camper van - DONE
35. Eat a Danish pastry in Denmark
36. Spend a night on Mont St-Michel, France
37. Visit the set of The Hobbit in New Zealand
38. Ride the bullet train
39. Touch a Redwood - DONE
40. Take a picture crossing Abbey Road Zebra crossing with the kids

Isles of Scilly

There are two more things I really want to do but feel these may only become possible when the children are older as they will appreciate it more 1. Walk the Camino Santiago and 2. Take the Trans-Siberian railway - these will be on my list of things to do before I'm 50.

I always use to think that you make your own luck and to an extent that is certainly true although there also has to be a combination of being in the right place at the right time as well as taking an educated risk and I have found at times jumping in at the deep end has certainly reaped amazing rewards for myself in terms of friendships and life experiences.

A few of the things on my list are very doable on a small to zero budget such as geocaching with the family while others will require luck more than anything such as finding a four-leaf clover although some, however, will take a considerable amount of savings such as my dream to hike through Yosemite national park in the US or ride the Orient Express (I am passionate about trains and train travel so this really would be a dream come true), even if we saved for a few years I would probably fall short on some of these excursions.

Camping Scotland
Me wild camping in Scotland a few years back

One of my favourite travel-inspired films Eat Pray Love she mentions this story - There's a wonderful old Italian joke about a poor man who goes to church every day and prays before the statue of a great saint, begging, "Dear saint-please, please, please...give me the grace to win the lottery." This lament goes on for months. Finally, the exasperated statue comes to life, looks down at the begging man and says in weary disgust, "My son-please, please, a ticket."

That has stuck in mind ever since, I don't believe in waste but I also believe in taking a chance, even though I am not one for gambling at all I do think instead of having that bar of chocolate one or twice a week why not buy myself the chance of a life-changing win from the lottery? The only problem is I have a mind like a sieve these days and always forget to pop into my local corner shop in time for the draw and then I lose the enthusiasm to wait another week and plus with the cost going from £1 to £2 with fewer chances of winning has left me a little uninspired.

So when Lottoland invited me to try out their easy solution to this problem I was quite excited to give it a whirl. It's basically a website where you can purchase your Euromillions tickets online any time of the day but also have the opportunity to take part in Lotteries from all over the world including ones you would normally not have access too such as The Swedish Lottery, French Lotto, Polish Lotto and some with as little as 80p to enter with just as high jackpots and equal chances of winning. It also means that there is one happening every day of the week so if you want a quick flutter without having to wait days you can.

Bucket list

I have often thought what I would do if I had a huge windfall as I am not a very materialistic person at all. I know I would still work because that gives me purpose but it would certainly take the daily stress away and allow even more family time. I know I would also donate a large proportion to charities and random acts of kindness as well as being able to finish my bucket list with ease. What would you do if you won the lottery?

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5 Healthy Food Options to Pack for a Road Trip




Traveling to a vacation destination by car can add an extra element of fun to any family trip. However, traveling by car is not without its challenges, and eating healthy while on the road is one of the biggest you might face, from avoiding the possible health risks of eating fast food to ensuring the nutritional needs of the family are met. However, there are several healthy food options you can pack up and bring along that may help keep the entire family happy and healthy until you arrive at your final destination.

1. Breakfast Foods

Since you will be likely hitting the road early in the morning, packing healthy breakfast foods is important for allowing everyone to fill up and feel satisfied for the first leg of the trip. This can also help you log some miles as early as possible by skipping those long drive-thru lines at the local fast food place while you avoid greasy or fattening breakfast burritos at the same time.

While a thermos of coffee, tea, or juice is a must for you as the driver, packing nutritious breakfast selections for the rest of the family can be just as simple. Pack up some homemade muffins, whole-grain bread slices, hard-boiled eggs, granola and yogurt packed in neat jars and bags full of apple slices. Whole fruits, such as bananas, oranges, and grapes are also highly portable. Remember to pack some wet wipes and napkins in with these foods so sticky mouths and hands are not a problem.

Healthy breakfast

2. Snacks

Packing healthy snacks has several benefits as you head into the second leg of your road trip. Firstly, it can help you save money at rest stops, petrol stations and over priced vending machines. Secondly, you will be able to stop, eat, and pack up quickly when you have grab-and-go snacks packed in with your road trip kit.

As most parents know unhealthy snacks such as salty chips or sugary chocolate bars may cause your kids to feel bloated, over excited and exceed the amount of recommended sugar intake, you may want to skip bagged chips and cookies and opt for snacks such as baked pita chips, low-sodium mixed nuts, hulled sunflower seeds, and bags of cherry tomatoes or snap peas. All of these snack options are as convenient as they are nutritious, as none of them require refrigeration.

homemade muffins

3. Lunch

If you are planning to pack up a cooler to bring along food for lunch, then you have a number of options that are quick and simple to put together. You can prepare some foods the day before you leave, such as cooking pasta for a simple cold salad mix or buying and de-boning a baked rotisserie chicken to make a quick chicken salad when you stop for a picnic lunch.

It can also be fun for your kids to create their own picnic lunch creations by setting out several ingredients and letting them use their imaginations. For example, make a mini-taco bar by setting out bagged shredded cheese, mini shells, homemade salsa, avocado dip, and pre-cooked chicken. Each child can choose what he or she wants and even the fussy eaters in the family can be satisfied.

baby picnic

4. Dinner

If you need to push through the last leg of your trip and will not have time to stop at a restaurant for a leisurely sit-down meal, there are a few options you can make ahead of time and then pack in your cooler. Lean sloppy joe meat and whole-wheat rolls make for savory sandwiches, and a baked and cooled meatloaf can be eaten either on bread or with a small crudité and hummus. For dessert, home-baked cookies made with Hampton Creek Just Cookie Dough, which is egg-free and low in sugar, can be a tasty yet healthy treat.

5. Drinks

It can be easy to give into the convenience of bottled or canned sodas or juice pouches while on a road trip, but since these can contain a lot of sugar and artificial ingredients, you may want to consider other options instead. Bottles of water infused with fruit can be a satisfying alternative to sugary juices and it can steep right in your cooler as you drive.

Hitting the highway for a road trip with the family can be quite an adventure, but it does not mean you have to stop eating healthy. Packing up these tasty yet healthy options can help to ensure everyone stays fit and full so you can arrive at your vacation destination happy and healthy.

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Top 3 Family Friendly Destinations for Winter Sun




Being a South African expat I find that even after nearly a decade living in the UK that the winters are still a struggle, as much as the magic of snow will never fade the idea of those short days and long nights and the biting wind that lingers just a little bit too long for me are always hard. I find my main coping method to this is seeking out a little winter sunshine as it's surprising what a week or two away in a different country, culture and climate really does wonders for the soul and goes a long way to breaking up those cold winter months.

If you are a regular reader to my blog you will know we always travel as a family so that is always a factor when deciding and planning trips away. It doesn't necessarily mean we need everything tailor towards children but knowing where ever we decided to go that children are welcome is important to us wether it be a city, beach or culture break. I have put together our top 3 destinations if your looking for a does of sunshine this winter.

Spanish Island
Beautiful Tenerife offers a lot for those who enjoy the outdoors

1. Tenerife

Tenerife is one of those destinations I actually prefer to visit during the off peak seasons when it's a little bit more relaxing and quieter yet you can still take advantage of the stunning beaches and endless sunshine even during the winter months. With November and December temperatures averaging at around 24 degrees this is perfect for families with young children as its a very manageable temperature and warm enough to enjoy swimming in the sea and hotel pools. The colonial towns are also a fantastic place to explore the islands history and get a dose of Spanish culture and for those who like a little bit of adventure than why not take the cable car up Mount Teide, the tallest mountain in Spain and be inspired by the break taking views from the top. One of the major pros of going to somewhere like Tenerife during the winter is the amazing offers

Lisbon is perfect for sunny cultural city break

2. Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon has been on our list for a while and you may be surprised to see it on this list as it's more a city break destination that anything else but here are the reasons why - firstly it's less than a 3hr flight from the UK making it fairly quick and easy trip with small children. Also over the past few years it's seen a bit of a food revolution and become a real hot bed for pop up restaurants and street food which is the perfect way to dive straight into that warmer and more carefree Portuguese culture. It's not the hottest destination on this list but with November temperatures sitting happily around 14 degree it's an improvement on the UK's 7 degrees for the same time of the year as well as nearly doubling the UK's daily sunshine hours.

Boulders beach in Cape Town is a must see spot for sunshine and Penguins

3. Cape Town

Having grown up in Cape Town I can say from a personal stand point that November through to February is the most beautiful time to explore one of Africa's most southernly cities. It maybe the longest flight time but on most long distance trips children are well looked after and if you need some tips of keeping kids entertained while travelling do check out this vlog all about that. With an array of things to do including crystal clear beaches, hiking up Table Mountain, a safari adventure or enjoying some wine and eating al fresco at a concert in the Botanical Gardens, Cape Town has plenty to offer families under the never ending blue skies.

Why should winter feel like an endurance? Why don't you make it that exciting time of the year when you take your annual family holiday, its the perfect way to keep spirits up when your flagging little from the rain and cold as well as the post Christmas blues. Have you been anywhere interesting during the winter months?

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Street Style - My Kanken


Mama style

Since my youngest has started running around like really keeping me on my toes I have dropped the changing backs and wanted to opt for something more practical but also very stylish to carry our day to day essentials. Of course, the first thing that came to mind was a Kanken by the Swedish outdoor brand Fjall Raven, a backpack that was designed in 1978 and has continued its popularity through it's simple and modern design.

Mama style
Wearing Kanken backpack, Toyshop chambray, Jojo Mama Bebe dress

Sometimes when I do go out I opt for a smarter bag but these are perfect for when your busy and on the go, plus the choice of colour waves is amazing. I decided to opt for this fun blue one which adds a pop of colour to any casual outfit. Today I paired it up with a Chambray from Toyshop and a dress from Jojo Mama Bebe and necklace from Anchor and Crew.

As daily backpacks go these are these are slightly more pricey than normal high street brands (but far more durable) retailing at around £67 but if you shop around like I did and try out Love the Sales you can pick them up for £45 which is 33% less. For those who have never heard of Love the Sales I highly recommend checking it out as it's basically a site that curates all the current sales of all the brands you love including designers such as Ralph Lauren sale and Alexander McQueen


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Getting Storage Savvy



room storage

There is nothing that I love more about interior design than savvy storage solutions, in fact I am attracted most to small spaces that work very well, have ingenious features that get the maximum out of each space. As like most freelance workers my office is somewhat on the very small size so it needs to be well planned otherwise it easily gets cluttered and messy and when we move I hope to not only have a larger working space but also have the chance to increase the size through ingenious solutions.

In the UK most of us are limited to square footage when it comes to our homes offices as well as business premises and retail properties and therefore getting creative and learning how to make the most of those spaces is key. In the future I may opt to rent a small office space and everyone knows when it comes to retail or commercial properties you pay per square footage and the more you pay the less profit you make.

Whether it's a commercial property or a box room in your own home first thing you need to do is get exact measurements of your space to know what you are working with, then have a clear idea of what you want to achieve and what the space will be used for, once you have these things worked out you need to really sit down and think about how you can utilise it to it's maximum potential.


Never underestimate wall space as this vertical space is just as important as floor space and is key when it comes to things raised storage, shelves and cupboards and display areas. Another fantastic way to double the storage of any room, if heigh allows is creating a mezzanine floor which could provide that much needed room and is a great solution for both residential and commercial properties as it instantly opens up another level.

So for those who don't know what exactly a Mezzanine floor is, it's basically a raised platform, if you have ever watched location Phil often refers to them as bed decks, but in terms of a property used for business this could provide the perfect spot for an office, extra storage or studio space and the great thing is they come in all different sizes from a few meters across to as large as a warehouse. The main pro to getting something like this put in is there are some fantastic local companies such as Warehouse Storage Solutions in Yorkshire which can custom build a mezzanine to your exact specifications and can instantly help transform your business and solve your space issues. Mezzanine floor is one of the most popular storage solutions for businesses, by installing a mezzanine floor you will be able to maximise your available space without incurring any extra cost. There are types of mezzanine floors for example Mezzanine floors for warehouses, retails and for offices.

You should also have no fear that it will become an eye sore either as mezzanines can be very stylish and chic, think warehouses conversions or industrial chic and in terms of increasing the value of any type of property you should look at a mezzanine in the same way you would with a loft conversion as it's basically utilising and maximising the space which is always a plus when it comes to estate listings.


So what other ways can you increase the storage space of a small room or commercial premises?

1. Don't have anything unnecessary and keep clutter to a minimum as both of these things will make it feel smaller than it is. If you do have a mezzanine in place within your business than use one floor for storage and one for display and don't let the two overflow, this way your customers have a clear viewing area, as they say first impressions count so keeping the are clean and professional looking is key. You could also instal a temporary partition to divide areas.

2. Have items that are both practical but also double up as extra storage, such as stools and box chairs where you can lift the lid and store items within the furniture.

3. Use the wall space you have available for shelves, cupboards and also a place to display artwork. Also think about getting customs bespoke pieces made to size if you have an awkward alcove that could be put to good use.

As I have said earlier always think vertically, get creative and there is nothing wrong with trial and error when it comes to designing a room, commercial business, office or creative studio space. As long as you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve, think a little bit out the box than most problems have a solution and remember if you can't extended outwards than look upwards and the possibility of a mezzanine. Also gaining expert advice from those in the know such as Warehouse Storage Solutions who have more than 20yrs experience and are there to help you find a solution to any problems you may have.

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Summer in Cardiff City



Magical bus

Street for circus

So the summer holidays are officially over and even though the weather was a little hit and miss we still managed to do loads of fun things in the Welsh capital. I was lucky enough to attend a few events, try out some new places to eat, spend time with friends and local bloggers, so I thought I would share a few of the happy moments captured over the summer holidays.

Like many cities around the UK there has been a real food revolution, especially with the more unusual, interesting and quirky, seeing a rise in food trucks and street food which accumulated in the Street Food Circus serving up some delicious bites on the weekends in Sophia Gardens. So of course we made sure to stop by after a wonderful walk in Bute Park and while the boys enjoyed the Brûlée Bar we enjoyed some halloumi bites and local craft ciders.

Pizza making

Two of my favourite events and meet ups over the summer were firstly a Pizza and Cider pairing night at The Stable which has become one of our favourite spots when we are in the city with the kids as they offer some great salads, use fresh and local produce as well as offering nice small thin crust children pizza's which is always a treat for them. They also have a huge array of craft ciders and beers and the well informed staff are always on hand. On the night I got to catch up with one of my friends and local blogger who also happens to be an incredibly talented illustrator Laura from Cardboard Cities. We also had a lot of fun getting in the kitchen and making our own pizzas as well as learning all about how cider is made from some of the best in the business. 

Another highlight was spending the evening with some lovely local parenting bloggers, trying out the newly opened american style fast food diner Five Guys in The Red Dragon Centre. I have to say I'm not much of a fast food kind of person, we don't really do the Golden arches and other such places but this is certainly a step up from that. It's clean, well designed and easy to order with a fairly straight forward menu and friendly staff and perfectly located right next to the cinema. While I really enjoyed the Cajun chips the vegetarian option was very disappointing and if I am going to opt for fast food it should feel like a treat but on this occasion it fell flat. Saying that however there was positive feedback from the meat eaters on their choices and the milkshakes looked amazing. 


Just before the end of the School holidays a new stationary store - Smiggles in St Davids 2 put together a morning of fun arts and craft activities for some bloggers and their children. It was the first time we had been to the store and the first thing that hits you is all the creative and colourful products, they certainly take children stationary to a new level and my eldest loved designing his own backpack  with all the other children.

makeup workshop


I was also very lucky to fit in a little "me time" with an evening of makeup and pampering at Debenhams and getting some fantastic advice from Dior, YSL and Urban Decay. In less than a week I will be turning 32 and with each year I get older I realise the importance of good skincare as well as what a lifesaver a decent concealer and foundation is once you have children *hello tired eyes*
It was also fantastic to have a little preview of some new products such as colour tinted mascara from YSL and I also got to try the bigger badder Perversion mascara from Urban decay and Poison Girl perfume from Dior. 

What did you get up to this summer?
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Learning, labels and morning hacks for busy parents




This September has been a very exciting, emotional and equally daunting month for us as a family, not only is it a double birthday month as both my eldest and myself turn a year older but also our eldest is going to school, yes thats right school! If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know we have homeschooled our nearly 6yr old up to this point so you may ask why the change, why now? Well we have always approach learning with an open mind and this decision has been a family one with everyones feelings and emotions being accounted for and we feel this is the right decision for our dynamic as it stands right now, I will be sharing more about our decision and change in direction on a separate post very soon.

This has also been the first year things like uniform and stationary have had any real impact or meaning to us as is an efficient morning routine involving two kids dressed and out the door at a specific time and things like the idea of labelling clothing, shoes and all the other items that go along with a child going to school has never been on my mind before. Suddenly so much to do and not much time and I can see how it could easily become overwhelming which is why products that make your life little easier of key at times like this.

Back to school

One of first Back to School hacks I have discovered has been Stikins - they are AMAZING! I have found when I have written my eldest name in his waterproof jackets or shirts they quickly fade in the wash and I simply don't have time to sew loads of labels into each jumper or jersey. Stikins from Label planet send you printed adhesive labels which are really sticky and long lasting and pretty much bond to every kind of fabric and material without the need to iron, they are also extremely reasonable in cost at £6 for 30 labels including postage. They are also perfect for lunch boxes, folders or even favourite toys should you have little ones attending playgroups.

school shoes

I put these to the test by putting two label in my sons shoes and getting him to wear them out and about for two days to see if the labels dislodge or faded in anyway and I am happy to say they stayed put with no fade, which is just what you want. So simple and such a time saver and here are a few more things that are working for us at the moment in terms of time saving morning hacks for when time is of the essence.

1. Organisation is key - have your car keys by the front door (I always seem to lose mine), have the children clothes ready as well as your own, meaning you can just get up, get ready and go with minimal drama.

2. Have some back up "breakfast on the go" options such as homemade healthy bran muffins so if you are running late you know your child won't be going to school on an empty stomach.

3. Keep the morning time simple and screen free, this way things say relaxed without over stimulating your little ones which could lead to meltdowns.

4. Stay calm and breath - personally I find if I'm stressed it certainly has a knock-on affect with the kids. Even if your in a rush try and stay calm because as we all know kids will go the pace of a snail if they know you are running late.

I hope everyone has had a positive and happy start to the school year and if you have any hacks that help you to get out and to school in one piece please do share.

Thanks to Stikins for providing us with labels to review and make our start to the school year that little bit easier. 
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Travel essentials - Staying Safe in the Sun



As we wave goodbye to summer and start getting our heads around the idea that Autumn is almost on our doorstep we still need to take precautions when it comes to the sun and looking after our skin, especially if you are planning a winter sun break abroad. In the south of Wales it's been very up and down recently with some unseasonal hot and sunny days and these abnormally sunny spells are what catch people out. Like most parents in the UK as soon as the clouds part we are out the door, exploring everything the Welsh coastline has to offer but just because we are now in the latter stages of summer it doesn't mean you can't burn and therefore precautions still have to be made if your planning a couple of hours outdoors or even a short break in the coming half term, home or away.

Having grown up in South Africa we often had talks and lectures on the importance of sun care as skin cancer is a real problem there which is no surprise as Cape Town, my hometown, has very long and hot summers and mild winters. I spent many many days surfing and topping up my tan on the beaches and especially in my teenage years I have to admit I rarely used sun cream, something which has certainly changed over the years as not only do I want to make sure my skin stays safe from burning (and premature again) but also my children's soft and sensitive skin.

The problem is, like most, we all have a pet peeve towards sticky sandy skin, especially my youngest who doesn't like anything sticking to him which is a bit of a problem when going down to the beach and using standard suncream as immediately every grain of sand stays on you. So I was excited to see that Garnier Ambre Solaire has brought out two new products that not only combat the sticky sand situation but also a lotion that can be applied to wet skin which is perfect when your kids are running and jumping in over waves or into a pool.

When it comes to travelling wether it be a day trip locally or a Holiday in a foreign country practicality is always key and if something doesn't work I am certainly not going to carry it around with me all day so I was keen to put these two products to the test. Firstly the Anti-sand spray is very easy to apply and absorbs very quickly and didn't seem to irritate either of my little ones skin. It really did seem to stop the sand from sticking and is also water resistant and is great to use on my younger boy, while my eldest enjoys water and you can't keep him still for long so the wet skin lotion is great for children who don't have the patience to wait around as it can be applied on both wet and dry skin and again absorbs instantly. Both products are hypoallergenic, 50+ SPF and have been tested under paediatric control.

We are hoping to make a break for the sun either just before or just after Christmas to possibly Morocco, Croatia or Greece, which will mean lots of sunshine and lots of time spent on the beach and I know I will be packing these sun creams. Just also remember if you are going to be heading to a hot destination soon keep hydrated, avoid midday sun and remember to apply your sun cream, especially children as you only need to burn three times to increase your chances of getting skin cancer in the future.


  I was kindly gifted these products for the purpose of a honest review 
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Cool kids on the block


Cool kids

Wow is it's just me or have the summer holidays just flown by! I cannot believe we are officially into September and soon instead of jumpsuits and dresses we are going to be going for our scarves and gloves and picking up Pumpkin Lattes to warm ourselves up. Another big milestone for most is the start of a new school year and that means picking up all those Back to School essentials. Even if your little ones are not school ready perhaps they attend nursery, play groups or even home school sessions, either way now is the time to get rid of the old and bring in the new when it comes to stationary, creative craft supplies and of course clothes and shoes that are going to stand the up to active kids no matter what stage of learning they are in.

If you read my blog regularly you will know we love style and fashion, especially heritage brands so when Dr Martens got in touch to as if we would head to their Cardiff store to check out their back to school range for kids I may have done a little dance in the kitchen. I mean who doesn't have some kind of emotional connection with this iconic brand? Both John and I do and I probably wear my low cut Docs at least once a week so the prospect of picking up my eldest first pair was very exciting.

Dr Martens

Dr Martens Cardiff

Dr Martens kids

Let's just be honest here, if you put your kids in Dr Martens for their first day of school you can be rest assured they are going to be the coolest kids in their class if not their year, but you need to get in there quickly as when we visit last weekend the manager said they are already running low on stock and they are selling like hot cakes and it's easy to see why. They range from Toddler size 3 right through toe Youth size 5.5 and have a variety of styles, accommodating those who cannot yet do laces with easy straps or zips. Personally I really loved the Chelsea boot but my eldest was determined on having a pair of their classic boots which even though is laced up has a zip on the side which means even younger children can get these on with ease.

Back to school

I was worried that my eldest might find the initial breaking in period uncomfortable but in actual fact we have struggle to get him to stop wearing these, even on the warmer days we had this past week. These are also so well made that they will last as long as his feet can fit in them which is always a major bonus when it comes to kids. 

Back to School

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