Fun Ways to Keep Your Love Alive When You Have Kids

Being a mum is equal parts beautiful and challenging. You love your kids to pieces, but there’s so much going on in your life that sometimes you don’t know if you’re coming or going. Besides looking after your children in many different ways, you might have a career to worry about, housework to do, and a relationship with your partner to maintain. Finding time to spend with your partner can be hard, especially if they don’t live with you, but it’s essential to keep your love alive. If you’ve found that recently it’s been all about the kids, you can turn things around and make sure you keep the flame of your relationship alight.

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Set Up a Regular Date Night

One of the biggest obstacles to spending time with your partner when you have kids is finding the time. You can’t just take off whenever you want to, and often when you do have the time, you would both rather just go to bed after a long day. To help you make sure you get to spend time as a couple, set up a regular date night. Find yourself a reliable babysitter, with whom you can make a standing appointment. If you make prior arrangements, it’s much easier to go out together more often. You don’t even have to go out if you don’t want to. Just put the kids to bed, or perhaps send them for a sleepover, and have a quiet night in instead.

Try Something New

When you have a family, you can easily get stuck in the same old routine. After your first few years as a couple, the first rush of chemicals that helped you fall in love has waned, so it’s up to you to keep the spark alive. At The Anatomy of Love, they say that newness and novelty will keep the dopamine flowing (that’s the chemical that helps your relationship feel romantic). So you can both still feel excitement and love for each other. If you have a regular date night, don’t just do the same thing every time. Try something new, whether it’s a restaurant you haven’t been to before, a new activity or even escaping for a weekend getaway.

Spend Time as a Family

You don’t always have to spend time alone to solidify your relationship. Spending time as a family with the kids is another excellent way to work on your relationship with your partner. Although it’s not the same romantic atmosphere as when you’re alone, watching them in another light helps to strengthen your partnership in other ways. It’s not all about flowers and chocolates, and watching them with your children can give you just as much of a thrill.

Move to Small Romantic Gestures

When you first date, everything is often all about grand romantic gestures. But those things fall by the wayside when you have children, either because there’s no time or you just don’t want them anymore. When you have a busy family life, it’s often the small things that count, from making each other coffee in the morning to cuddling on the sofa at night.

Having children will change romantic relationships, but it doesn’t have to ruin them. Whether you’re parenting together or you’ve recently met someone new, you can find the time and way to keep the spark alive.

Great Tips for Creating a Unique Boys Bedroom

Boys can be even more exciting than girls when it comes to getting the design of their bedroom right. That’s why it’s important to get them involved in the design process. As a parent, you might be tempted to do it all by yourself without consulting your kids, but that’s not a good idea. It is their bedroom!

Make it a collaborative exercise! Here are some tips to set you on the path to designing a wonderful and unique boys bedroom.

Don’t Revert to Stereotypes

The days of girls having pink bedrooms and boys have blue ones are long gone. There’s nothing wrong with a blue bedroom, but it shouldn’t be a default setting. There are all kinds of design possibilities out there. Choose a design that will allow you to incorporate your son’s interests without being boring and stereotypical.

This goes back to the idea of letting your child have a say in the design of the room. They know what they want better than you do, so let them be creative and come up with their own designs and plans for the room.

Design Around the Bed

The bed should be the focal point of every bedroom, and that includes kids bedrooms! If you get the bed right, the rest of the room will quickly fall into place soon after. So, don’t reduce the bed to the dark corner of the room, think outside the box and create a design around it.

Luckily for you, there are loads of online resources to help find unique kids beds ideas. So, you have no excuses!

Consider a Theme

Coming up with a specific theme can be a great way of designing a unique bedroom. It can also make the whole process a lot easier because you have set parameters to work within, which narrows down your options. And we all know how much time can be wasted while we decide which lampshade we prefer.

The theme can take whatever shape you and your son like. It could be an outdoor theme, a space travel theme or a theme relating to a favourite movie or tv show. If you go for that last option though, be aware that they could grow out of it quite quickly.

Small Touches

The small touches in a room can be what makes it stand out from others, so don’t skimp on them. You could get your kids involved in the process here too. Why not give them the opportunity to come up with their own designs to add to the walls?

Or you could get some family photographs printed on canvas and hang them on the walls. Posters and things like that will appeal to kids but try to limit these, instead, add more long lasting touches.

Storage

When you’re creating a design for a kids bedroom, it’s vital to incorporate storage into your plans. There’s nothing worse than a room that is carefully designed but has storage systems which look like they were an afterthought.

There can be interesting ways to hide your cupboards to make them fit in with the design of the room. Or you could build your own storage units if you like DIY.

Boys Bedroom – Art, Bed Linen, Cushions, Rugs & Toys

We are currently in the process of selling our home, exciting yes! But it means i have not been able to make the boys bedrooms in the house we are selling the way i would like. I have however started to virtually decorate my next home, which is great fun! I thought as i have been doing a bit of research on the net, i would share with you all some of the great items i have found so far.

For each of the boys rooms, i am basing the theme on these beautiful pieces of Art that i got personalised by minted.com. Rowan’s room theme will be ‘transport’ and Fred’s room theme is ‘outer space’.

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For the bed linen i have found these wonderful sets from Yorkshire Linen Co

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These bed linens really appealed as the transport (metropolis) set  looked a little more grown up for Rowan. I just love clean, fresh painted walls and the combination of grey and mustard yellow. And the outer space (blast off) set is very bright and vibrant for Fred who is still young and will enjoy the pattern design.

I adore the matching metropolis cushion for Rowan’s room and the rocket cushion i found on Debenhams would be cute on Fred’s bed as it doubles up as toy too!

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I have found these simple rugs in IKEA, which i love. I think a patterned/themed rug will make their rooms too fussy. The mustard round rug in Rowan’s room and the light grey round rug (which looks like a moon) will complement the duvet sets beautifully!

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Finally i think a lovely wooden statement toy would finish the room of wonderfully, contiinuing at IKEA, i found these cute wooden cars and this stacking ring (which in my eyes looks a bit like a rocket!) for Fred’s room.

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I just need to find lamps and lampshades and their rooms are virtually decorated! We just need to find that dream home now!

Fat Club 30 Day Challenge

So for those that do not know, i have been running the Katie Hopkin’s Fat Club on facebook since January 2015 as a result of appearing on her TLC show ‘Katie Hopkin’s – My Fat Story’. The group was something that i suggested to my friend Lydia who i met doing the show as we were getting a lot of feedback and we thought we could reach a number of people by creating a group… well 2 months later we have 2,867 members as of today!!

We never expected so many people to join, but it was one of the best things we could have done. I am so proud of the group and every individual in it! Each one with their own reason to lose weight/get healthy. Lydia and I were meant to help motivate and inspire members at the start but if i’m honest there are people in the group that motivate me each and every day. I actually move more now than i did when taking part in the programme!

So today, we are all going to step it up a gear and take part in this…. I thought i would write this post for anyone that may not have access to the facebook group.

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  • The first thing to do is gets stats; starting weight, measurements, before photo!
  • Now think at every meal about filling your tummy with healthy, nutritious foods that are going to make you feel good. If you know what you are eating is full of sugar/fat, don’t eat it! It’s only for 30 days!!
  • Plan your exercise goals, maybe add 10% more steps every couple of days so you are pushing yourself just that little bit more than you was before
  • Commit to just 30 days of wearing your #fatclub halo, imagine what you can achieve in 30 little days if you stick to the above simple rules.
  • Now join the party and share your recipe photos, quotes, sweaty post workout photos etc by adding to the facebook group HERE or add the hashtag #fatclub30daychallenge to your instagram photos or tweets.

NOW GET MOVING PEOPLE…. See you in 30 days for a healthier, fitter you!!!

Sponsor Me for BritMums Live!

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When i began blogging back in March 2013 i started to hear about BritMums Live, it sounded amazing and i was certain i was going to attend the event the following year. However the following year, i decided to have another baby and as he was still so small and i was breastfeeding i decided that i would go the following year… so 2015 is hopefully the year i attend BritMums Live!

BritMums Live is a two day social media conference and blogging event that brings brands and bloggers together.

For me to attend BritMums Live i will need the help of a sponsor.

How Can You Help?

I’m looking for a brand to pay for my BritMums Live ticket  which is £95. I would also need one nights accommodation in a local hotel & train fare from sunny Devon – (hotel approx £100, train fare currently £75).

The brand would need to be a good fit for Fun Being Mum – they would need to be family friendly and a company that I would be happy to promote on this blog.

I would be more than happy to discuss partial sponsorship, if you are unable to sponsor the full amount.

What Will You Get In Return?

I would display the brand logo on my blog sidebar throughout 2015, this would be linked to the brand’s homepage.

An initial blog post introducing my sponsor.

Regular blog posts talking about my sponsor. Introducing new products or just general information, including link to webpage.

Tweets, Instagram and Facebook Shares where applicable

I will wear branded clothing or bag when attending Britmums Live.

I will be happy to review products of my sponsor and host competitions throughout the year.

Guest posting on your brand’s own blog or website.

I would love to have an ongoing relationship with my sponsor throughout the year. I don’t want this to be just a ticket to BritMums, i would like to build a solid relationship with the brand i am representing.

All the suggestions above are completely negotiable and I’m also happy to consider any further collaborations you’d like to put forward too.

If you would like to work with me on Fun Being Mum throughout 2015, please get in contact. I’d love to hear from you and to discuss this opportunity further.

Why Shopping For Your Kids Clothes Online Could Be Better For You

Kids are great fun, even though they are so expensive! Having children really does make your house feel like a home. There is endless play and laughter, as well as the odd silly moment. Of course, when there is a lot of play, clothing tends to get worn out a little quicker. If you have more than one child or other children in the family, hand-me-downs are often an essential way to keep the cost of dressing your children down. Sometimes it is nice to treat the little ones to some new items. There may be a special occasion to dress up for, or you are all just a little bored seeing the same outfits again and again.

Shopping for children’s wear is great fun, especially when they’re not around to distract you! There are also some great kids clothing stores online you can browse through when the children are in bed. You may be looking for some funny baby clothes or something humorous for the older ones. Whatever you are hoping to find, have a look online to save you time and energy hitting the high streets.

The internet is a great resource for buying clothes that you just can’t find on the high street. The shops are open twenty-four hours a day to make your browsing more convenient, and you don’t have to head out into the car and all that nasty weather to pick anything up. It also means you’re not making rushed decisions when the kids start to cause mayhem in the store! So why are so few of us buying clothing online? Most of us worry about the hassle of returns. Yes, returning items that don’t fit may be a problem, but online stores are doing more and more to make that hassle easier.

Often, online stores will email you a returns label to print out and stick to the original packaging. Then all you need to do is drop it off at a local collection point free of charge. Some sellers will even have a courier come to your door to pick up what you don’t want. When you are a busy mum with a big family, it can be very handy to shop this way, because everything can be managed from home when the kids are at school or in bed.

There will always be those times when you need something urgently and can’t wait for next day delivery. Heading out to the high street or even the supermarket for clothes can be handy and even essential at times. Often there are sales racks so you can get yourself some bargains while you are out.

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If your children have a growth spurt, it might be easier to take them along for a quick fitting and measurement. It saves you from ordering any clothes or buying something that may now be too small for them. As children get older they may enjoy shopping, and you can make a family day of it. All kids are different, and they do change. Shopping with them now may be a headache, but in a year or two it may be just the quality family time you need.

 

Busy Working Mum? Great Ideas For Finding Ideas For Family Activities

Being a working mum can make it really tough to put together activities for all the family. You barely have time for cooking and cleaning, but you have to make sure you have helped the kids with their homework. You’ve got to get them through the bath, and prepared everything for the next day. There never seems to be a second to think, let alone make plans and organise some quality family activities.

Fortunately, the internet has plenty of ideas to help save you time coming up with interesting ways to keep all the family entertained. There are plenty of sites to choose from, depending on the kinds of activity you all like to do together. You may be into art and crafts, or music, or gaming. If you are into something a bit more physical, there are plenty activities you can do with the family. You may want to book a weekend away, or make a whole holiday of it. Whatever you choose to do, it will need to be for all the family whatever their ages.

Active family holidays can be easy to book if your children are close in age. If they are not quite so close in age, you can take on activities to incorporate your youngest. For example, bike rides can include small children if you use a child seat or trailer. Check with your holiday rep or booking firm to see which activities are appropriate for the whole family. Active holidays needn’t be scaled back, as most can be adapted to incorporate everybody.

Arts and crafting can be great fun and a good way to spend some quality time with all the family. Remember, the younger the child, the shorter the attention span to a task, so take things in bite sized chunks. As this kind of activity can get quite messy, you may want to put down some old newspaper or wipeable table covers to avoid stains. Kiddy aprons can be bought in the art store or online to protect the clothing too.

Debenhams Flowers Mother’s Day Bouquet Review

If I’m honest I wasn’t looking forward to Mother’s Day this year, Ollie is very busy with work and in order to meet a few deadlines, he needs to work some weekends… this includes Mother’s Day weekend *sob* (he did ask me first before committing to the project so it’s all good). However Debenhams Flowers contacted me and asked me whether i would like to review one of their Mother’s Day Flowers Bouquets – this has made the day a little brighter for me now :)

I went online and then had to make the tough decision on which bouquet to choose. They were all vibrant and beautiful. My favourite colour is purple so i went for the ‘Scented Bliss’ bouquet which contains scented lilies, roses & veronica. My flower delivery soon arrived and i was greeted with my bouquet, it was well packaged and the flowers were fully in tact.

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The flowers are so pretty but there is a lot more greenery in them than what i expected. The bouquet looks a little different online.

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The roses are more pink than the lilac that they look online but beautiful none the less, they are a little brown around the edges but i think this has to be expected from flowers that have travelled through the post. The veronica is vibrant, however a few were wilted on arrival and 4 days later have still failed to unwilt in the water and flower food. The lillies are still yet to open, but i am sure they will be gorgeous when they do!

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My bouquet looks superb in my window, it truly is a beautiful Mother’s Day bouquet.

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Debenhams Flowers are offering a 25% discount code* for Fun Being Mum readers. Go to Debenhams Flowers and use the code DFBLOG25 on checkout.

*The only bouquets exempt from the discount is the ‘Flowers By Post’ range. However, this is only a small range

My Life In A Box – #safestoreyourmemories

I love keeping everything, it drives my husband to despair. We have hundreds of works of art that the boys have created, 3 years worth of painting, drawings, model rockets, cards… you get the idea. Both boys have a memory box as i know they will love to look back on the early years, the ones that are so important but impossible to physically remember.

When i saw that Safestore were running a blogger competition to fill a box full of memories, i knew that this was the project for me.

The box arrived and i then ventured down memory lane…

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I decided to add bits from poignant parts of my life, this is what my #safestoreyourmemories box looks like now…

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I’m going to go in chronological order and show you in more detail what is in the box.

Firstly, i was never very academic, so when i managed to get a place at the university of my choice, i felt so proud of myself! I went to University College Worcester (now Worcester University). I not only met the 3 best friends a girl could possibly have, i also met Ollie my husband there – he gave me this toy on our first valentines day together, he’s called Buster! I got a 2nd class Psychology Degree, so i have included my Uni t-shirt, which i lived in as a student and my degree scroll.

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Meeting Ollie was the best thing that has happened to me, we are true friends and have lots of fun together. In 2006, we had a choice to spend our savings on a mortgage or travel the world… we went for the latter! We saw many countries together and share so many memories still to this day. We collected paintings and fabrics from each country we visited so we could put them all in our own house one day. We now have artifacts all around our house. This red fabric was from Luang Prabang in Laos. Just seeing and smelling the material takes me right back to the stall on that market.

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Once travelling was over, we decided to grow up and bought our first house together, a year later we got engaged… which meant one thing… a HEN PARTY!!

I had the most amazing hen party, surrounded by family and friends. My gorgeous cousin Jenna put together an amazing memory book for me, i will cherish it and look at it often!

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A couple of weeks later, i became Mrs Alcock. I organised every final detail of our wedding and it truly was magical. I remember going shopping with my Mum for my veil and tiara. It was a shop in Birmingham and i remember we went for a Subway near the bullring whilst we decided which one i should go for! I also chose an Aston Villa garter, i am a Brummie of course and had to make sure everyone knew which football team i supported, even if i was now living in Devon!

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The saying is true to form… first come love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage! In 2011 and 2014 we became proud parents of our little boys Rowan and Fred. They are everything to us, their happiness is what we strive for everyday and so far i think we’re not doing too bad. I had to include the baby soft blue blanket that kept both our winter boys warm and of course the very first photos of them… their scan photos!

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Finally a photo of my lovely lttle family, everything in that box has indirectly brought me to this photo. It reminds me just how little our boys once were and how sleep deprived Ollie and I were! (Fred is 11 days old in the below photo) it was only last year but feel like forever ago *sob*

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I hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane with me… it’s been emotional!

Disclosure: This is my entry into the Safestore bloggers competition #Safestoreyourmemories 

What To Do When Baby Has Eczema

When your baby is crying and won’t stop, all parents would get into a panic. The crying of a newborn can be very intense and invokes very strong reactions in all of us. We all want it to stop, because we know our little one is in distress. We fear they are in pain and worry that they are ill. Usually, crying can be stopped with cuddling, feeding and changing. But sometimes our babies just won’t stop for all those things, and we need to figure out why.

Many children, particularly very young babies, suffer from eczema, both my boys have experienced baby eczema. It is a skin complaint that makes you feel very itchy. This in itself can lead to upset and confusion in a baby that cannot do anything to make this unpleasant sensation go away. But when baby can scratch those itchy parts, suddenly they can feel pain, and they can also cause nasty infections. A newborn’s skin is so fragile it can tear very easily, even with baby’s own nails. If this happens, the broken skin must be looked after carefully to ensure infection doesn’t set in.

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Baby eczema can be very unpleasant, but if your newborn has scratched it, they could be very sore and unhappy while it heals. See your clinic or GP for advice as soon as you can. They may be able to give you some cream to help, or even dress the area if it is particularly sore. Preventing baby from being able to damage the area is key. You can try using scratch mitts, but these may be hazardous if they fall off while you are not looking. An alternative could be swaddling, but this restricts baby’s mobility altogether.

If the eczema continues as baby grows older, you may need to seek a regular prescription for treating it. However, all young children go through phases of scratching themselves. This is not indicative of self-harming, emotional problems, or eczema, but is usually just an awakening of the different sensations of the skin. A simple draft may lead to a casual scratch. Eczema can be seen on the skin as red and dry patches. Over time, the patches will heal and disappear, sometimes forever. Some sufferers see them return again and again. If the eczema starts to ooze or pus, it could be infected. You should then see a doctor for medical intervention.

Eczema at any age can be very irritating, even though lots of sufferers say they get used to the sensation. Baby eczema is different because every sensation for a baby is brand new. It isn’t nice for us as parents to see other people frowning at our baby’s appearance either. We will love them just as much no matter what they look like, but it won’t stop us worrying when the eczema makes them cry. Providing your baby doesn’t scratch the sore and itchy patches, they should be fine. A good cuddle and some soothing conversation can work wonders for a baby that is upset too. For most babies, the eczema simply disappears forever in a matter of weeks.

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