July 2019 | Modern Mummy

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Home // How an extension can add much-needed space to a family home

When you’re a parent, it can feel like you’re constantly craving more space, and making some big changes to your family home can be brilliant for the whole family!

Coincidentally, many homeowners in England are now temporarily free to build bigger extensions without planning permission, so if you’re in England, now could be the perfect time to expand. Even if you’re elsewhere in the UK, an extension is still a great idea anyway! Here’s some ideas for how a home extension can add much-needed space to a family home.

The conservatory extension 
A conservatory is a rest area, and because they’re typically built onto the back of a home, there’s a great view with lots of greenery around and open sky above. Because conservatories are less busy than other rooms in terms of functionality, they can be a perfect place to store things like paperwork, receipts and even food and drink. Or if you're me, plants. Lots of plants! A conservatory also makes a great place to eat, with doors opening out into your garden in the summer, and all that natural light makes it a great place to use as an art studio if that's your thing.

Above garage extension 
Many homes have a garage that juts out of their property, instead of being tucked away within. It functions fine, but there’s an awkward gap above that would do well to be filled. Well, above garage extensions make that possible, building rooms that can sit quite nicely above the space.

Providing the existing foundations can support a new room built on top of them, this option can also be more affordable than building a ground floor extension. There’s less work to do, so costs are lower, but of course, there’s no guarantees your garage will be able to take on a new room above it as it is. Still, a new upstairs room will always be beneficial for space, and professional builders will be able to make that happen for an affordable cost. 

Small side and rear extensions
It’s not always the case that an enormous additional room is needed, and a less taxing add-on will suffice instead. In that case, smaller side and rear extensions might be suitable, which can function as a small sitting room. Because of their size, they can feel discrete and closed-off from the rest of the house, giving the parents a space that feels more private and tailored to their personal tastes.

The size of an extension isn’t everything either, so long as you’re creative and strategic with the space you have. For example, a small side and rear extension could also be fashioned into a bigger-than-usual closet, filled with things like shoes, clothing racks, umbrella stands, coat hooks and more. This might well free up clutter in your entrances, remove mess and trip hazards, and just enable you to have a tidier house. A side extension can also be used to make the rooms you currently have larger.

Adding space can minimise mess and chaos elsewhere. When families get bigger and more hectic, an extra room can go a long way in calming things down and keeping the home clean and tidy. There’s a wide range of extensions that can be built on top, at the back or at the side of your house, so decide what works best for you and move forward from there.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Style // Changing Your Workout Wardrobe to Suit the Seasons

With every passing season, people make drastic changes to their wardrobes to suit the current weather and to embrace the current trends. Despite this, many people (me included) wear the same few outfits when exercising or playing sport even though the weather can have an enormous impact on how you feel while exercising.

It is a good idea to change up your workout gear with each passing season as this will help you to exercise comfortably, plus it gives the chance to freshen up your look and feel confident while you are exercising. Here are a few key changes that you could make.

Colourful Leggings 
Spring and summer is a time that is all about life, energy and colour. You can embrace this by switching out dull black leggings for something more fun, colourful and eye-catching. You can find a wide range of stylish and practical women’s leggings and breeches online which will look great during the warmer months of the year and allow you to workout comfortably.

Exercise Shorts 
Similarly, when the temperature begins to soar you will not want to feel restricted by leggings or workout trousers. Switching to exercise shorts can help you to stay cool and help you to feel confident whether this is in the gym, on a run or playing sport.

Training Tops 
It can be hard to know what to wear when you are exercising in the colder months especially if you are outdoors. You will be cold initially but likely to get warm once you get going so you will want something that will help you to stay warm but you can easily take off after a while. Training tops are ideal for this and they can look great and be paired with anything too.

Headwear is not always necessary but can be smart if you are exercising or playing sport outdoors. During winter something like a beanie will help to keep your ears warm, but when summer comes round you could opt for a baseball hat or a visor which can be helpful in keeping the sun out of your eyes.

Workout Tanks 
Working out can get sweaty and hot especially in the summer months. Workout tanks are ideal for the warmer weather because you get flexibility and freedom and if you opt for a breathable material they can feel light and won’t stick either.

It is a good idea to change up your workout gear with each season particularly if you will be exercising outdoors. In addition to being practical, this is also a good way to freshen up your look and give you a confidence boost. Buying new exercise clothing should also give you the extra incentive to exercise regularly and achieve your goals too.


Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Create Your Own Sensory Garden

What exactly is a sensory garden? Well, a sensory garden is an outdoor space that's filled with a large variety of smells, textures, colours and sounds designed to interact with our senses. You can make a sensory garden to your taste and indulge your senses or to spark the interest of your children with the outside world. Whether you're after a peaceful shaded place to sit and read a book or your looking for the hustle and bustle of the vegetable patch creating a sensory styled garden is perfect.

Creating fun zones such as a games board made from different coloured slabs, having different smelling herbs and flowers, wind chimes in the background or berries to pick and eat are brilliant ways of creating a family-friendly sensory zone.

Have a look at these lovely ideas to help create a sensory garden for you and your family to enjoy:

Think About Sound 
The sound may not be one of the first things that you think about when it comes to your garden or gardening; however, it's a big part of the outside world. Of course, you have all the natural sounds such as leaves rustling in the wind, birds singing, water running and splashing on the ground in a thunderstorm but you also have the capability of adding in beautiful features such as trickling water into a fish pond or wind chimes that play a tune in the breeze. If you do install a pond into your garden, it's a good idea to research Pond Filters to prevent it from becoming dirty, and always make sure safety netting is used around small children. Listening to your garden can be relaxing and exciting at the same time, try sitting with the children and seeing what sounds they recognise.

Think About Taste 
There certainly is a lot that you can include when it comes to taste. You could get the children involved in choosing some vegetables, fruits and herbs to grow. Not only will they enjoy choosing what they're going to growing in their garden, but it also heightens the chance that they will want to taste them once they're ready. It's a good idea to have plants such as berries or herbs that you can also allow them to taste while you're outside. Once you've to grow a crop, it's also a brilliant way to involve them in the cooking.

Think About Colour And Texture 
Colour and texture can go hand in hand when it comes to creating an outside sensory space. They make a good mix when it comes to both building materials and plants. When you're looking to add colour into your garden a lovely way to create a personalised area for each of your children is to use an individual pot where they have space to add a few of the colours and textures that they enjoy. If you're unsure about the safety of some plants, speak to your local gardening centre for advice. For feel, there is an abundance of materials you can use to create exciting walkways, games zones or stepping stones. Why not have the children create their stepping stones using pebbles and glass beads for a good summer project?

These are just a few ideas to get the juices flowing with ideas for your sensory garden. Do you have any other ideas that you could share in the comments section below?

10 Top Tips For Moving To A New Country

If you’re thinking of moving to a new country and don’t know where to start then you’re in the right place. With so many different things to consider before stepping on your flight, you need to ensure you’re as prepared as you can be. Moving to a new country is incredibly complicated and if you miss out just one important step, you could end up delaying the process by at least a couple of weeks. To help ensure you’re as prepared as you can be, here are 10 top tips for moving to a new country:

Make Sure You Do Your Research Beforehand 
One of the best things you can do before moving to a new country is to ensure you do your research beforehand. Whether it’s researching the visa regulations or finding out the average cost of living, you need to be sure you’re making the best possible decision before you start to make arrangements. 

The best thing to do when it comes to your research is to separate it into the following sections - travel, accommodation, work, living, food and culture. If you research everything you can under each of those categories, you will have a clear idea of whether or not a location is for you. For tips and tricks when it comes to researching a location online, you can visit this site here.

Have A Number Of Locations In Mind To Begin With 
If you are still unsure where it is you want to move, having a number of different locations in mind is a great idea. Not only will it give you a chance to review the opportunities in each area, but it will allow you to make the best possible decision for you. If you have a number of different choices and you’re still finding it hard to make a choice, you might find the best option is to visit each place in person. Although it may eat into your budget and make take some time, you want to be sure you have the best impression of each location.

Think About Getting Your Visa Early
If you’re travelling to a country where you need to get a visa in order to work and live, you need to apply as soon as you possibly can. The best thing to do is make your appointment as soon as you know where you are moving to, as that is the only way to ensure you leave yourself enough contingency time. For guidance when it comes to applying for a visa, you can visit this site here. 

Look For Potential Jobs Before You Leave 
Another great thing to do if you know where you’re going to be moving to is to start looking for jobs. Depending on how long you have until you move, you may find that applying before you arrive is the best way to ensure you start your job as soon as you possibly can. If you are lucky, you may find that places are more than happy to interview you over Skype. Alternatively, you could always fly out to your new location for a couple of days to attend interviews. Not only will it give you a chance to get used to the area you’re going to be living in, but you may have the chance to secure work before you even step foot on the plane.

If you’re planning on having a couple of months to adjust before you start your job, you might want to think about research the types of jobs available to you in the meantime. Although you won’t be able to apply for anything, it will give you a clear idea about the salaries and positions that are available to you. After all, you need to be certain you’re making the right choice.

Find Temporary Accommodation For When You Arrive 
If you don’t plan on looking for permanent accommodation right away, finding a temporary place to live is important. Depending on where you’re moving to you may find that accommodation is much cheaper than your home country, however, it is still important to be aware of whether or not you’re getting a good deal. For an example of a great deal, you can view these Setia Alam houses here.

Let Your Friends And Family Know As Soon As Your Plans Are In Place 
One of the hardest things to do when you’re moving to a new country is to tell your friends and family that you’re leaving. Although they will be happy for you, it can be hard to accept that you’re going to be on the other side of the world. The best thing to do is to tell everyone as soon as you know for certain that you’re moving. If you want to involve them in the process of moving, you might want to consider telling them a little earlier.

Pack Lightly, You Don’t Need To Take Everything With You 
When it comes to packing for your big move you need to remember that you don’t have to take everything with you. You’re going to be able to find the essentials once you arrive in your new home, so don’t overpack.

Go To Events And Join Networking Groups To Make Friends 
If you think you’re going to struggle when it comes to making new friends, consider going to events and joining networking groups. The best thing you can do is find people that have a common interest, making clubs and groups one of the most effective ways to meet people in a new country. If you’re lucky, you may find a another expat just like you.

Most Importantly, Enjoy Yourself 
Finally, you need to be sure you’re going to enjoy the experience! Moving to a new country can be stressful and emotional, so you need to be sure you are making the right choice mentally.

Do you want to move abroad? What do you need to think about to ensure your move goes as smoothly as it possibly can? Let me know in the comments section below.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

How to Encourage Creativity in your Children

There are so many benefits to your children being creative, and I think the most important one is that it's a great way for them to be able to express themselves. This can have a hugely positive effect on a person’s life; it helps develop a good, strong sense of confidence, and creating or engaging in something expressive from time to time is great for your mental health. In this post I'm going to share some of the best ways that you can hope to foster creativity in your children.

Understand It’s Already There 
Kids are already creative; they already have a creativity that they need to bring out - it’s not a case of trying to force a quality they don’t have. Everyone has the ability to be creative in some way or another, although some people do seem to be more in tune with it naturally than others. By understanding that it is something that's already there and not trying to make them do something they’re not interested in, you will just need to provide the space in which they can express themselves.

Designate a Creative Space At Home 
One of the surest ways to ensure that your child gets creating is to designate a space just for that at home. If there is somewhere that your child knows they can always go to in order to start creating something, then they will be much more likely to do it, and will find it easier to make an actual habit out of it. My kids are lucky because we have the cabin which we built exactly for that purpose - it's full of all the art and craft supplies they could possibly want and I encourage them to use this space whenever they want to.

Keep It Simple 
It helps to understand the psychological side of creativity if you want to be the parent of a particularly creative child. Psychologists argue that you can make creativity more likely by keeping it simple, as it is the simplicity and fun of it that children really enjoy, and that is what leads to a much more creative outlook in general. That means playing little creative games with your child and ensuring that they are able to do so themselves. Activities which are kept simple are more likely to stick with them, and to allow their imagination to run wild in the way that you would probably hope too.

Find A Club 
If they start to express a real, genuine interest in one particular art, craft or activity, then you might want to seek out a local club for that exact act, so that you can start to encourage them much further in their newfound creative output. That can really be just about anything, ranging from painting and drawing classes to allowing them to join the Royal Academy of Dance and express themselves in that way. Similarly, if you think they might want to learn an instrument, there is nothing wrong with finding them a teacher or a local school band to play in, to see whether that is suitable for them. You might be surprised to discover there is one thing that your child seems to just naturally adore, and that is what you should ideally be focusing on most of all to encourage their creativity strongly.

Ask Questions 
When your children do start creating things, it’s important that you spend some time with them engaging with them about their creations. Ask them loads of questions about their creations and see what they say about them. Although at first they might not be able to say much, this process will actually prove hugely important for encouraging them to learn how to think about creativity, in a way which will help them to improve it in the future. By asking them more and more complex questions as they get older, you will be aiding and participating in their development as a creative individual, and that is one of the most important things you can possibly do.

Be A Role Model 
As with anything, you can encourage your child by actively being a good role model in that area for them. If they are getting frustrated with not being able to draw, show them how you used to think that too, until you realized it was just a matter of practice. These stories and the way that you place yourself in their minds really make a difference to how they are going to approach their creativity, and your goal basically should be to encourage them to develop a confidence which will allow them to try their hand at everything, even if they don’t always succeed in the way that they would like. You want to make sure that they at least feel good trying something out, even if it means that they are going to fail occasionally. In fact, learning to fail might be one of the most important lessons there are in life, as it is from creative failures that creative splendours usually arise like a phoenix.

Work With Materials 
One good way to encourage a practical artistry in your children is to take a material or an art supply of some kind and challenge them to come up with a number of different potential uses for that material. The process of doing so is one of the best creative things that a mind can do, and if you can start your children doing this early on, you will find that you are really helping them to develop their creative sense well. The more ideas they can come up with for a particular material, the more that they are exercising their creative muscle, and that is absolutely something that they are going to find useful in later life in a variety of settings, not least anything that they need to do which might be seen as creative.

Allow Them Free Time 
Much of a person’s best creative work arises from their time spent alone, and that’s why you should aim to allow your children to have plenty of free time by themselves if you want them to be more creative in general. Actually the process of being alone from time to time is a very important one, and one that remains important throughout life for a number of reasons.

Allow For Messiness 
Creativity shines when you are allowed to forget about the normal rules for a while. That doesn’t mean you should have no rules - but you should allow for some messiness during those times you have specifically set aside for being creative. By allowing your children to be messy, they will be much more likely to freely create, and that produces better work and is more enjoyable than having to literally colour in the lines all the time. Colouring in the lines in a useful skill, but so is being able to know what to do with the space outside of the lines - and in many cases, that is where the real creativity seems to lie.

Celebrate Creativity 
Finally, if you raise your children in a household where they see you actively and openly celebrating creativity every day, they are only ever going to assume that it is something to be cherished, admired, and practised. That will make for more creative children, which will in turn bring about many different benefits throughout their life. Celebrating creativity will show them that it is okay to express themselves as they wish, and there are few things more important than that.

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Fun Tips For Getting Your Kids Into DIY

Last month a fluffy little piece of news did the rounds about how millennials have terrible DIY skills in comparison to their baby-boomer parents who learned their craft from their own parents, the “make do and mend” generation. A number of articles did the rounds in digital media, scathing millennial Dads (curiously, there was no mention of Mums) for not owning a cordless drill or a stepladder or being able to carry out basic home and vehicle maintenance. The articles all cited the same source; a survey from alarm.com. Needless to say, it was shared, discussed and criticised on social media in what has become the 21st century news cycle. Many millennials say they’ve never had the chance to practice their DIY skills because for their generation, owning their own property is an unattainable pipe dream.

Still, while the articles themselves admit that they should be taken with a grain of salt, they got many parents thinking about the practical skills they need to teach their children. After all, we all want our kids to grow up as independent and self-reliant as possible. With that in mind, here are some fun and engaging ways to get even the youngest of kids into DIY and set them on the path to independence

Choose a project that will benefit them 
Kids can struggle to engage with tasks if they don’t understand the point of it or what they stand to gain from it. With this in mind, choose one that benefits them. This might be making changes to their bedroom like putting up shelves or sewing a new blanket. It could be constructing a fun piece of furniture or even painting and decorating their bedroom in the colour of their choice.

This will help them to understand how building their skills can help them to realise what they see in their imaginations.

Let them get their hands dirty 
99.9% of the time, we do what we can to avoid our kids getting dirty. After all, the last thing we need is to spend half an hour cleaning mucky hand prints off the curtains or hand washing muck-splattered delicates.

DIY allows kids the opportunity to get their hands dirty for a good cause, so let them go for it.

Teach them to use tools 
From a kid’s perspective, tools are just toys for grownups. And, let’s be honest, they kind of are. But instead of letting young kids play with pretend tools rendered in soft plastic, let them get a feel for the real thing. Of course, we don’t recommend letting your four year old go crazy with the Black & Decker drill. But they should at least be taught the rudiments of how to use tools properly and safely. 

Let them know, there’s no shame in deferring to an expert 
Even the most confident and assured DIYer knows when it’s best to defer to an expert. There are some circumstances where attempting a job yourself could either do more damage than good or even be dangerous. Kids need to know when it’s the right time to call the folks at Drainboss, or your local roofer or electrician. It’s perhaps the surest form of accident prevention.

Start to sow the seeds of skill building now, and you can help ensure that your kids grow up as independent problem solvers who won’t get lambasted by older generations on social media (whatever that’ll look like in 25 years).
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