March 2019 | Modern Mummy

Thursday, 28 March 2019

How to Make Your Child’s Birthday as Great as Possible

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We all enjoy celebrating birthdays but birthdays for kids are particularly special – partly because they’ve had so few of them, and partly because their imaginations and sense of wonder are typically so much more active than those of us grown-ups.

For a kid, a birthday party isn’t just an excuse to have some good food, and relax for an afternoon. It’s a special occasion completely set apart from ordinary life, where adventure and excitement can happen.

If you want to help make your child’s birthday as great and memorable as possible, here are a few suggestions for things you can do.

Hire a magician to perform at the party 
Good magicians are amazing, and kids are naturally fascinated and in awe of the very idea of magic anyway, hence the incredible popularity of pro magicians as performers at children’s parties.

Thanks to the Internet, it is an incredibly straightforward job identifying and contacting professional party magicians in your area. This list, for example, may well have done most of the legwork for you:  https://www.alivenetwork.com/bandsearch.asp?style=Magicians

Be sure when you’re hiring a magician that they come well reviewed by other parents, are good at working with kids with different personality traits, and have more than a few tricks up their sleeve. Generally speaking, the more interactive the experience, the better.

If every child is encouraged (but not forced) to join in the act, and learn some tricks, you may spend the next few days having to humour them while they demonstrate card tricks for you. 

Play Centres and Soft Play
Children’s play centres have all-encompassing, full day fantasy experiences for special events such as birthday parties. It’s just a matter of doing your research and finding out what companies there are in your area.

Typically, companies and play areas will tend to follow a particular theme. You may, for example, find a company that follows a mediaeval theme, where your kid gets to be “King” or “Queen” for a day, while their friends act as their knights and courtiers.

Other great ideas for theme options are superheroes, sci-fi space exploration or laser tag in a Mad Max-like wasteland. These events will create an atmosphere that is powerfully different from everyday life, which means, the experience will be a real adventure.

Let them invite all their friends around for a camping sleepover 
If you have a large garden, one great way of arranging your child’s birthday party is to invite all their friends over, set up a central bonfire (closely supervised by an adult, of course), arrange some games, and have a “camping event.”

The great outdoors is a powerful source of inspiration for a child’s imagination, and many kids will automatically like the idea of doing their own thing “without the grown-ups.”

Of course, since the event will be at your home, you’ll be able to check in and supervise appropriately, and your child (and all the others) will be able to get back into the house if and when they want.


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Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Who Said Your Kitchen Had To Be An Art-Free Zone?

Anyone who’s made a masterpiece in the kitchen would say that, sometimes, cooking can be art. Done right, a plate can quickly become a canvas. Even so, the kitchen is a pretty art-free zone most of the time (unless you live in my house that is!). For lots of people, this is a matter of practicality. Some of us just don’t have the space for prints on our kitchen walls. Even if we did, they’d get splattered by food drops in no time. And, who wants to spend a fortune on a print which is sure to meet such a messy end?

That said, if, like me, you love incorporating art into your home, this lack in the kitchen could soon get you down. At the very least, it could see this room sticking out against the rest of your decor. Plus, who doesn’t want something nice to look at when they cook? Lucky for you, even if wall prints are a no-go, nothing is stopping you bringing some art to the space in the following ways.

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Use your fridge 
Putting kiddie art on the fridge has been a kitchen staple for decades. But, have you ever considered taking this fridge-art theme a little further? There are plenty of postcard-sized prints available in any art store. You may even find that keeping an eye on things like postcards could see you securing some gems for less. Then, all you’d need is some simple magnets to secure your prints to your fridge door. Get the layout right here, and this could soon become a key design feature in your kitchen. Even better, you could switch those prints around to suit your tastes without too much hassle.

Get artistic with your tiles 
It’s also worth noting that artistic kitchen tiles are all the rage. Bold prints are now making appearances in near enough every sheek restaurant. Whether you invest in kitchen wall tiles or options for your floor, floral or patterned designs can work amazingly here. By purposefully mismatching patterns, you could have a lot of fun here. And, as simple as that, you could bring a touch of the artistic right into the heart of the heart of your home.

Hang prints from your cupboards 
Whether you’re struggling for wall space or are worried about getting messy, hanging prints from your cupboards could be the ideal compromise. This takes up no wall space, so it's perfect for the cramped kitchen. By only hanging on cabinets up top, you also ensure that those prints are out of reach of any stray food. Not to mention that this is a simple way to add interest to an otherwise dull kitchen staple. Have fun with this by choosing bright ribbons for the hanging. You could even colour coordinate these with the rest of your kitchen.

Incorporating art into your home isn’t always easy, but there are ways around any problem. By taking the effort to find them, you could enrich every room in your house no end, kitchen included.



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Friday, 22 March 2019

Spring Gardening Tips

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Gardens can become incredibly difficult to manage at times. Your lawn can become a little too much to handle, you may have planted a few too many summer plants and you might have invested too much into your garden furniture and are now having a hard time with its upkeep. Whatever the situation may be, here are a couple of tips to help you manage your garden and stay on top of all of your tasks.

Cut down on the number of gardening projects 
It can be overwhelming to see so many unfinished garden projects such as incomplete beds of flowers or DIY projects that have been seemingly abandoned. Try not to bite off more than you can chew and consider investing in a little professional help to get projects finished quickly so that you don’t need to worry about them.

Consider getting some low-maintenance plants 
There are plenty of great plants for lazy gardeners or gardeners that simply can’t dedicate much time to overseeing the growth of their plants. Some examples include azalea which is happy to grow even in the shade and moist soil, and sunflowers that are very easy to care for especially if they have easy access to the sun.

Get some garden furniture covers 
Even if your garden furniture is already weatherproof, getting yourself a set of covers for it can help you prevent dust and debris from clinging to it and making it dirty. This means you can spend less time maintaining your garden furniture and you can simply just remove the covers when you want to use it. This can also prevent certain types of garden furniture from fading in the sun. Of course, if you’ve yet to replace the typical plastic furniture with something more modern, then a cover won’t be very necessary.

Change your lawn for an artificial one
There are plenty of companies such as New Lawn which offer high-quality artificial grass that can serve as a replacement for your existing lawn. You’ll no longer need to mow your lawn, you don’t need to water it and it doesn’t turn dull nor does it change size. You can keep your bills low since you don’t need to maintain it, and it makes the perfect surface garden furniture. Another good advantage is that you won’t be affected by pollen if you’re particularly sensitive to hayfever. 

Hire a gardener 
Although it seems like an expensive investment, a gardener that comes in occasionally every week isn’t very expensive and can take a lot of stress off your mind by taking care of your garden. This is a great idea especially if you’ve got a lot of plants to take care of or if you’d just like to see your current arrangement of flowers kept in good condition until the end of the season when you plan to replace them. Gardeners can also offer you some sound advice especially if you’re new to gardening and don’t have much idea on how you want to approach your garden design.


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Thursday, 21 March 2019

Money Saving Ideas for Family Holidays


There's no denying that when you've got a family, money is tight! With all the general cost of living at an all time high, and then the cost of after school clubs and hobbies to keep kids entertained - and lets not forget all those SNACKS, travel is a luxury that many can't afford.

ABTA, a travel industry data company, released its annual Holiday Trends report recently. The report told us a lot about how Britons are spending their travel money, but one of the most exciting findings was that there are a substantial number of people who can’t afford to travel at all, even though they’re in work. Data suggest that one in five people don't have the funds to take a holiday, according to telegraph.co.uk and that many other people are looking for ways to reduce the cost of their vacations. 

Despite their popularity during the 1970s and 1980s, package holidays have made a big come back in recent years. Fewer people can afford to go off the beaten track and make their own holiday plans: often the only way to get away is to do everything in a big bundle that’s economical for the tour providers - and not necessarily what holidaymakers would choose if not constrained by budget.

Twenty per cent of people can’t afford to travel. Why? Let’s take a look at some of the things that you can do to get the cost of travel down and take back your standard of living.

Do A House Swap 
The most expensive part of taking a vacation is usually renting out the accommodation. Property owners make a fortune in rents during the peak holiday season, often charging vacationers many times the price that you would expect to pay for similar accommodation year round. Costs in popular resorts close to amenities can go crazy high.

The good news is that there is a way around this, especially if you know someone who owns a property in a desirable holiday location. In a house swap, you can give them your house, and you get theirs in return. If you live in a big city, like London, and they live somewhere exotic, like the French Alps, you may think that they’ve got the raw end of the deal. But, remember, many people like taking city breaks and would like to visit London, were the price of hotels not so high. Do what you can to sell a house swap and see what you can get in exchange for your property.

Use Vouchers 
Sites like NetVoucherCodes.co.uk are a savvy holidaymakers’ paradise. These sites help you find great deals on all kinds of holidays, saving money on everything from travel to accommodation to tours of your destination.

When it comes to vouchers, you have to be open-minded. You won’t always get money off exactly what you want, but if you can be flexible, you can often make huge savings. Sure, you might have to get a plane at a strange time of day or stay in accommodation several miles outside of the resort of your choice, but those compromises are usually worth the tremendous savings.

Stop Using Hotels 
While hotels are a nice place to stay, they’re not the only place that offers accommodation. Airbnb, for instance, allows you to stay in people’s homes at a fraction of the cost of hotel rooms or even holiday cottages. If you’re a solo traveller, you can often find rooms in some far-flung locations for less than £20 per night, especially in “Outer Britain.”

Start Hosteling 
Granted, hostels might not be ideal for a family holiday, but if you’re going solo, they offer fantastic value for money. It’s often possible to stay in a hostel for under £10 per night, as long as you don’t mind sharing a dormitory with other people.

If you’re going with friends, some hostels offer private dormitories for six people or less. These dormitories come with shower facilities and access to a shared kitchen, allowing you to make your breakfast in the morning.


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Wednesday, 13 March 2019

5 Tactics That Will Help You Achieve A Thoroughly Modern Family Garden

Imagine a garden that looked neat and tidy with minimal effort, but still provided an attractive outdoor space for you and your family to enjoy! Well, that is precisely what a modern style garden can do, as long as you design and create it right. Luckily, this is a topic you can find out more about in my post below.

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Minimise the grass 
One of the characteristic features of a modern garden design is that the amount of lawn is reduced. It's not that is abolished altogether mind you, it's just that grass tends to look a great deal neater and be easier to maintain if it's contained. To that end, many modern gardens combine squares or rectangles of grass, along with paving and decking, creating a function, yet minimal look.

Of course, to keep your grass look at neat as possible you will need to both install it and maintain it in the right way. When it comes to laying the turf, it is well worth spending the time and effort to ensure the ground is as flat and level as possible. Something that will not only enhance the look of your lawn but also make it super simple to mow.

Additionally, try to steer clear of more organic lawn borders and beds and go for clearly delineated borders with wood, concrete, or raised beds instead. Then with a little work with a garden strimmer you will be able to keep the edge look sharp and clear no matter what the time of year.

Create some shade 
Next, if you are looking to create a workability family garden with modern features, making sure that there is some shade where you can all eat, or simply just enjoy being outside is a must.

Of course, you have a range of option available to you for this including creating a covered terrace or even using a large piece of canvas to create a sail that will shade the space underneath it.

 

Grow your own 
Another feature that modern gardens need is the ability to provide produce for the home, something that is likely to only increase in popularity as time goes on.

Of course, it is often a greenhouse that is key to achieving a viable crop, as this help to provide seedlings with the necessary heat, light, and humidity that they need for a healthy start in life before they are planted into the garden proper. Sadly, the issue with this is that until very recently greenhouses have not been a feature that blends well into a modern style garden.

Luckily, with products like Cultivar greenhouses now on the market this needn't be a concern. In fact, you can even get custom built greenhouses in a very modern style that will enhance the look of your outside space, rather than looking out of place. Something that means growing food even in modern style garden is something that is achievable for many families.

Water features 
A key aspect of many modern style gardens is the integration of a water feature such as a fountain, pond, or even stream. Of course, the execution of this needs to match the style of your outdoor space, and that means moulded Rocco fountains with cherubs are out.

Instead, consider integrating a sunken pond in a rectangle style into your design. This being an addition that can not only look aesthetically pleasing but break up the lines in your garden, and add some texture as well.

 

Alternatively, you may wish to install a modern style foundation, something that you can get in either spherical or rectangular designs. These can be particularly effective too, as they provide a relaxing trickling sound, and can be run on solar power, and without direct access to a water source. Something that means you can position them anywhere in your outdoor space for maximum effect. 

Temperature control 
Finally, while family gardens of the far future may be space where we can control the temperature completely, we aren't quite at this point yet. However, including features in the garden such as a fire pit or outdoor heater can help you ward off the cold, and get as much use as you can from your outside space all year round as a family.

 

Of course, fire pits will need to be installed in a manner that not only fits with the modern design but is safe as well. Alternatively, outdoor heaters can be positioned high above seating areas which means there are much less likely to pose a safety risk for younger members of the family. Something that perhaps make the latter a more practical addition to a modern, family garden.



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