© 2019 Seek My Scribbles. Powered by Blogger.

My Top Packing Tips for Moving House

Collaborative content. 
Moving house and looking for some tips to help you stay organised and sane? I've moved six times so far in my lifetime so here are a few tips I've picked up along the way...

Do a big clear out

Don't start packing boxes until you've had a look through your belongings and made sure there isn't stuff in there that you don't want or need. Doing a clear out before you pack for moving house could save you money, as it may mean you need fewer packing boxes and accessories. Fewer boxes may also mean you can hire a smaller van, so could make your movers cost cheaper too. Evaluate the condition of your unwanted items before throwing them away. Could anything be sold online to give you a little extra cash towards your move? Could your items be donated to a charity shop? Every little helps.

Start packing early

Whatever you do, don't leave packing until last minute. Think about the items that you want to take to your new home but don't necessarily need every day and seasonal items you're not currently using. These are things that could be packed up ASAP so it's one less thing to do nearer the time. Try and do a little packing every day in the run up to your move. It'll make you feel so much better!

As a side note, don't make the boxes too heavy - remember someone has got to be able to lift them safely. If your box is starting to feel heavy but is only half full, you can always fill it up with something a little lighter, like pillows / cushions or your children's soft toys.

Get creative with your packing

If you know you will be moving house in the near future, start saving any boxes and bubblewrap from deliveries you get that can be re-used. Although some moving companies supply boxes at an additional charge, it's worth saving money by using your own wherever possible. Think about what you already own too - clothes can be packed into suitcases and holdalls, your kids' toys can remain in their toy boxes etc etc.

Label your boxes

Labelling your boxes is important as it'll make unpacking them in your new home so much easier. I recommend not only writing what's in the box but what room you'd like it to go in to. If you are using movers, it may be worth labelling the rooms at your new property, so they know where to put your boxes. Make labels big, obvious and easy to read. I'd also label both the top and side of each box, so you can see them no matter how they are stacked.

You could go to the extreme and actually create an inventory, so you know what's in each of your boxes. I started doing this for our big move to Devon but gave up half way through. I definitely think it could be useful, if you have chance to be super organised! 

Decide whether you need movers

You will need to decide fairly early on how you are going to transport your belongings from your old property to your new home. You may be able to save money by getting friends and family to help you but if this isn't an option, you will need to consider hiring a van or using a moving company. We've done all three in the past but found that a moving company was essential when doing our biggest move from the Midlands to the South West. Although it was still a lot of hard work, they were there to load and unload the van, which meant that we didn't have to do all of the heavy lifting ourselves.

When choosing between moving companies, you will need to check their availability, the types of services they offer and compare their prices. It's worth shopping around for quotes to see who can offer you the best deal. I'd also advise asking any friends and family that have moved recently if they can recommend a company and reading some reviews online, just to make sure they offer a good service and can be trusted.

Create a survival bag / box

This may sound daft but trust me, a survival box will be your saving grace, your little glimmer of hope amongst the chaos, when you arrive at your new home. This is basically a bag or box containing essentials that you'll need AS SOON AS you move in. For example, a kettle, cups, tea bags, milk and biscuits. Because let's face it, everyone needs a cup of tea and a biscuit after a stressful move don't they? Oh and toilet roll. You don't want to be without toilet roll. Your toiletries should go in this bag, so you don't have to root around for your toothbrush at god knows what time and if you're a parent, pack a separate bag full of things to keep your children entertained (and snacks...always snacks) because there's nothing more boring than moving house for kids (well once the initial, yay, exciting new home bit has run it's course)!

Have you got any tips to share from your own experience of moving house? I'd love to hear them and you never know, I may need to put them into practice within the next year or so...exciting stuff!

Megan x
Collaborative content.

5 Things I'd have in my Dream Living Room

Image credits: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6
If you saw my recent post about my Dream Kitchen, you'll know I've been planning on sharing a lot more home-related content here on the blog. As I mentioned in the other post, we don't yet have our own house but it's something that's on the cards for the near future and well, it's got me all excited!

I really enjoyed putting together the kitchen designing post, so I thought I'd follow it up with 5 things I'd love to have in my dream living room. So here we go...
Image credit: ApartmentTherapy.com

1. Chesterfield Sofa

Sofas are of course a living room staple and although they are available in millions and billions of different designs these days, it's the the classic and stylish Chesterfield sofa that I keep coming back to. I think Chesterfields have such a smart and elegant design that compliments both modern and traditionally designed living rooms. Although they're available in velvet finishes, it's actually the leather-look I prefer and I imagine would wear better. The other half seems to be on my wave length and is already eyeing up secondhand Chesterfields on Facebook Marketplace, so I'm quite hopeful it's something we'll end up having in our future living room!
Image credits: Field and Nest // Sofa.com // ArchDaily

2. Large Windows

I'm one of those people that likes to have as much natural light as possible in my home. I just think natural light makes everything look and feel a little better, how about you? With this in mind, I'd ideally have a living room with either large windows that (hopefully) look out onto a beautiful view or patio doors that lead straight into the garden.

I think if you have plenty of natural light, you can afford to be a little more daring with deeper colours in your living room. Although I've tended to favour white and pastel paint colour schemes in the past, I'm really loving deep blue feature walls for living rooms right now.
Image credits: Ideal Home // FarmHouseTouches // Emma Lewis Photographer

3. Log Burner

Something we've already spoken about having in our 'dream living room' is a log burner. Again, they're something that look great in both contemporary and traditional living room interiors and they also have a practical element to them too, as they help warm your home on chilly winter days (not that I can even remember what they feel like in the midst of this heatwave!)

Of course, having a young child means that we'd have to be really careful installing a log burner in our living room, however you can buy guards for them, to help prevent nasty accidents. I think as a parent, you just have to be extra careful and not leave your child unsupervised if the log burner is on.
Image credits: Pinterest // Fretwells // Homesthetics

4. Rustic Wooden Coffee Table

I love the look of chunky, wooden coffee tables that have a rustic / shabby chic thing going on. I can definitely see us either upcycling a wooden coffee table for our future living room or my other half doing a DIY project! A rustic wooden coffee table would fit in with the country-inspired decor we're both into and offer a great mix of style, charm and practicality.
Image credit: Barker and Stonehouse

5. Copper Floor Lamp

I've hung my nose over stylish copper floor lamps for years now but aren't some of them pricey?! Still, they are beautiful and would add a lovely modern touch to a more traditionally-styled room. I really like this copper floor lamp from The Range and it's certainly more reasonably priced than offerings from other stores online. My other half also quite likes the floor lamps with the tripod legs - I wasn't a big fan to start with but they're growing on me and could very well be an option for our future living room roo

So there we have the 5 things I'd love in my dream living room. What do you have or would you have in yours?

Megan x
Post may contain affiliate links.
I have done my best to credit the images used in this post to the original owners (with links) but if I have used your photo and the credit is incorrect or you would not like your photo to be featured, please get in touch and I will make the necessary changes.

Strictly Briks Brik Tower Toy Review

Out of all of Arthur's toys, I think his building bricks are the thing I enjoy playing with him the most, probably because there's an element of creativity to it and endless things you can build. I loved building blocks as a kid, so there's also a feeling of nostalgia that comes with them, especially when you see your very own child playing with them and think about the fact you're now taking on the role that your parents once did (and now do as grandparents.) Does that make sense or am I just spouting out a load of rubbish?
Anyway! Arthur's been having lots of fun playing with this fantastic selection of baseplates we were sent over the other week. They're from a brand you may or may not have heard of called Strictly Briks and they are compatible with all major brick brands. The Strictly Briks Brik Tower* comes with 6 colourful baseplates measuring 10"x10" and 50 stacking pieces, which you can use to turn the baseplates into a whole host of things. We've been using the baseplates to create houses on, along with other construction bricks Arthur owns but I think my favourite thing we've made so far is a multi-storey car park. Arthur was pretty impressed with it and loved being able to store all of his favourite vehicles on it.
The baseplates seem fairly good in quality and are compatible with other bricks Arthur owns from the likes of Mega Bloks and Duplo. They are also compatible with LEGO as far as I'm aware but it's worth mentioning that Strictly Briks is in no way associated or affiliated with the other building block brands I've mentioned here.
What I would say is that the stacking pieces are perhaps not quite as sturdy as you'd hope they'd be for holding up the baseplates. They do however have little slots in them, which you can use to store smaller pieces and accessories, which I think is pretty handy. Arthur doesn't actually have any of the smaller bricks or sets just yet but I think that'll change after a certain trip we're hopefully planning for the near future - but more on that another time!
I think if you compare prices, it's easy to see that you get more product for your money with Strictly Briks. This particular set is £17.99, which I think is fairly reasonably priced. Alternatives from other brands will cost a lot more.

If you are looking for baseplates for your child's building brick collection or fancy making one of these baseplate play tables I've seen on Pinterest, which look pretty awesome, then why not take a look at Strictly Briks on Amazon?

Megan x
*PR Item

Self Employed & Pregnant? Let's talk Maternity Allowance.

Collaborative content. 
I'd just like to start this post by saying I AM NOT PREGNANT. I am however self employed and was, when pregnant with my little boy Arthur back in 2015. When you're pregnant there are a million things that go through your head and I'm guessing one of the most common worries for many of us, is money.

I have to admit, I'd never really thought about what I was going to do money-wise if I had a baby because it wasn't something I could see happening any time soon. Then, of course I got pregnant and had to start looking into it all and that's when I came across Maternity Allowance! It's something that really helped me as a single, self-employed new mummy and so I wanted to share a little information about it for any one who is perhaps in a similar situation and evaluating their financial options.

What is Maternity Allowance?

Basically, Maternity Allowance is something you can claim if you are self employed and pay Class 2 National Insurance. You may also be eligible for it if you're employed but don't qualify for statutory maternity pay. Those self employed must have been so for at least twenty six weeks in the sixty six week period before their baby is due and earning £30 or more for at least 13 weeks (side note: these 13 weeks do not have to be consecutive.)

I think HMRC will give you chance to catch up on your Class 2 National Insurance if you are behind with your payments or they are incomplete. It's worth contacting them about this to find out for sure.

How much Maternity Allowance do you get?

As with most things, the amount of money you will receive in maternity allowance all depends on your circumstances and the money you earn. Providing you have paid Class 2 National Insurance, you'll usually either get £145.18 a week or 90% of your average weekly earnings for 39 weeks - depending on which is less.

The money can be paid into your bank account every fortnight or every four weeks, depending on your personal preference. I think I had my Maternity Allowance (£145.18 per week) paid fortnightly as this suited me better.

Is Maternity Allowance easy to apply for?

If you want to apply for Maternity Allowance as a Self Employed worker, you'll need to fill out a form and can do so any time after you are 26 weeks pregnant. The form is called an MA1 (available on the GOV.UK website) and you can either print it off, fill it in and post it or fill it in online.

Providing you have proof of your income (e.g. Self Assessment Tax Return) and proof of your baby's due date (this could be a letter from your midwife or a MATB1 certificate) then you should find applying for Maternity Allowance pretty straightforward. Your midwife should know what the MATB1 certificate is, as it's a document that is use to verify your pregnancy and confirm the due date.

You should get a letter with their decision to approve or reject your claim with twenty four days and if you are eligible you'll just have to confirm the last day you plan to work.

If you run into any problems or have any questions, then it's worth ringing the Maternity Allowance Contact Number for extra guidance. I'm simply speaking from my own experience and the information I found elsewhere online.

Do you have to apply for Maternity Allowance?

Maternity Allowance is optional. If you want to continue working in the 39 week period, then you will be unlikely to receive Maternity Allowance, as according to GOV.UK you are only entitled to work for 10 days on Maternity Allowance, which are called 'keeping in touch' days.

Any amount of work done on a single day, whether it is a couple of hours or a full day's work is counted a one of your ten KIT days. I don't think you have to provide any proof of earnings for these days but it's worth keeping track of the days you do work just in case. If you decide you want to work more, you can always cancel the remaining of your Maternity Allowance. It's worth using these days to check in on existing clients that have decided to stick around and ensure they know when you will be back working again.

Will Maternity Allowance benefit your family?

Maternity Allowance isn't a lot of money, so you may feel that you would rather work, however as a single parent (even with amazing support and help with Arthur from my parents), the idea of carrying on working as I had done before, or even just working part time after his birth, just wasn't possible for me. Of course, everyone's situation is different and you have simply got to do what is right for you and your family. I do believe Maternity Allowance is a huge help for those self employed, who wouldn't otherwise be able to earn money at the end of their pregnancy or in the weeks following their baby's birth. So it may be something you want to consider looking into yourself if you are pregnant and self employed.

Megan x
Collaborative content.

Creamy Kefir-Quark Tzatziki Recipe

 Tzatziki is one of my favourite dips. It's light and refreshing; perfect for dipping vegetable sticks and pitta breads into. I also think it's lovely on wraps and burgers - especially if you're after something a little different from the more traditional table sauces.

The other day, Bio-tiful Dairy got in touch to see if I'd like to try their Kefir-Quark* product and use it to make a creamy Tzatziki. Kefir-Quark wasn't a product I'd actually heard of before and that's probably because Bio-tiful Dairy is the first brand in the world to make it! For those who may not have come across it before either, Kefir is a 2000 year old bio-live drink and Quark is a high-protein fresh cheese. The product itself boasts numerous health benefits: it's great for the gut, it's high in calcium and it's packed full of essential minerals and vitamins, including B2 and B12.
I had a little taste before I made the Tzatziki and it was really very pleasant. It reminded me a lot of Greek Yoghurt and I imagine it'd be lovely with fruit and seeds as a breakfast or lunch, if that's something you're into!

But if like me, you want to turn it into a tasty Tzatziki, then check out the simple recipe below...

Kefir-Quark Tzatziki Ingredients (makes enough for 6):

300g Bio-tiful Kefir-Quark
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic cloved (minced)
1 large cucumber (grated)
1 tbsp fresh mint (chopped)
Seasoning to taste

*I actually halved this recipe so I could use the 150g Bio-tiful Kefir-Quark pot sent to me.*

Kefir-Quark Tzatziki Recipe Method:

  1. Grate the cucumber and place into a colander, sprinkle with salt and leave for 30 mins
  2. Drain and wipe the cucumber with a paper towel to get rid of excess moisture
  3. Blend together the grated cucumber, garlic, lemon juice, mint and black pepper
  4. Stir in your Kefir-Quark

Mediterranean-inspired meal with Kefir-Quark Tzatziki

I was really impressed with the taste of the Kefir-Quark Tzatiki; it was fresh, light and very authentic! We decided to have a Mediterranean-inspired meal so that we could make the most of it and ended up with a rather tasty selection of food, as you can see below...
The Creamy Kefir-Quark Tzatziki was the perfect accompaniment to our Med-inspired meal and it's something I'll definitely make again in the future.

If you fancy having a go at making it yourself or simply want to give Bio-tiful Dairy's Kefir-Quark a try, then it is available to buy in Waitrose, Whole Foods and online at Ocado. Bio-tiful Dairy products are also stocked in many other supermarkets all over the country. For more information, head to the Bio-tiful Dairy website.

Is Kefir-Quark something you'd try?
Megan x
*PR Item

5 Tips to Help you Grow your Hair

One thing I've noticed as I've got older is that the hair on my head doesn't grow half as quickly as it used to (wish I could say the same for the hair on my legs but unfortunately that still grows at record speed...Nice Meg. Nice.) I particularly noticed my lack of hair growth after having my son, when I experienced postpartum hair loss, particularly around the front of my scalp. Thankfully over the last couple of years, my hair has been growing again and although not at the rate it used to, it's doing well and is almost at my 'goal' length.

With this in mind, I thought I'd share a few tips on how I've been growing my hair. I'm the first to admit there's nothing revolutionary about these tips but they have worked for me personally and may encourage you to change up a few things in your routine. Plus they avoid taking supplements, which I've personally not found necessary. Of course everyone is different and if you are having real trouble with your hair or conditions like hair loss, you may want to look into the cost of a hair transplant and seeing a professional. But for those just looking for the basics, read on!

1. Have your hair trimmed regularly

Having your hair cut when you are growing it may seem counterintuitive but regular trims can actually improve the condition of your hair. The more healthy your hair is, the more likely it is to grow quicker - it's as simple as that! I'd advise asking your hairdresser how often you need trims if you are looking to grow your hair but research tells me that 10-12 weeks seems pretty satisfactory.

2. Minimise heat on your hair

Hair straighteners, curling tongues, blow dryers and all those wonderful heated appliances we use to style our hair and get it looking fabulous, can actually damage it too. Heat styling can cause breakage, which deters hair from growing properly. Obviously products like heat protection sprays and serums can go a long way in minimising damage, however I've definitely noticed that my hair is healthier and grows quicker now that I'm using less heat on it.

Giving your hair a break from heat styling should help to improve it's condition. I try and only use heat on mine if it's a special occasion and have become quite comfortable and happy with my natural hair - it's pretty straight anyway!

3. Avoid scraping it up into a ponytail too often

When I was experiencing postpartum hair loss after having Arthur, I did probably the worst possible thing I could do for my hair and that was scrape it up in a ponytail every day. As a new mum, it seemed like a practical thing to do. I didn't have time to wash it as much and just wanted it off my face and out the way but actually having that hair tie in constantly probably did more harm than good and may have stopped my hair from growing back as quickly as it could have. Opting for looser ponytails or using a clip rather than a hair tie is said to be better for your hair.

4. Use gentle and more natural shampoos and conditioners

Washing your hair too often is said to cause damage to it and will therefore prevent fast hair growth. Of course you need to have a clean scalp and roots in order for your hair to grow but what you do not need to do is strip your hair of all of its natural oils. I'm the first to admit that I definitely wash my hair too often as I just can't bare the thought of having greasy hair. I do try and skip a day in between, if I'm not going out but it's something I really struggle with, having fine hair that gets greasy so quickly.

One way I do try and make up for this is by using gentle and more natural shampoos and conditioners. I tend to avoid the big salon brands packed full of chemicals and instead choose haircare products from places like The Body Shop, Lush, Superdrug (own brand) and Kind to Nature, which tend to use more natural ingredients that can also promote hair growth, like Argan oil!

5. Don't overbrush your hair

If you are looking to grow your hair, you need to find the balance between not brushing your hair enough and brushing it too often. Brushing is essential for stimulating the scalp and releasing natural oils that promote healthy hair but overbrushing can cause damage and may lead to an increased loss of hair. I try only to brush my hair in the morning for a few minutes, to remove any knots and tangles. The Tangle Teezer is still my favourite brush, as I feel like it does the job without pulling too much hair out. I've also recently rediscovered the BeFri brush by NanoKeratin System, which is great for gently brushing wet hair. I'm just not sure if this is a product that's still available in the UK, as it was a couple of years ago that I was gifted it.

What are your top tips for growing your hair?

Megan x

Potty Training: More Tips & Tricks

A couple of month's back I shared a post all about potty training my toddler and the experiences I had / things I'd learnt  from it, as a mum. Fast forward to the present day and Arthur is completely potty trained and dry at night. It was a gradual process for us to get him to this point, so I wanted to share a few more learnings for any other parents currently potty training their toddlers...

Tips for no nappy at night time

Since my last update I'm pleased to say Arthur is now dry at night! If you're currently deciding whether to see if your toddler can make it through the night without an accident then my top tips are to:
1. Use a mattress protector.
2. Pop a towel under their sheet for extra protection.
3. Have spare sheets ready just in case they do have an accident and you need to change their bed in the middle of the night.
Arthur still often wakes up briefly in the night and needs settling back to sleep, so when we were first attempting no nappy at night time, I was actually sitting him on the potty when he woke up to prevent accidents. I'm surprised we even managed this as we were both zombie-like! This only went on for a few nights, before I realised he could go the whole night (providing he'd not drank loads before bedtime) and just use the potty when he first woke up in the morning instead.

Toddler potty poo trouble solution

I'm so going to have to delete this blog post before Arthur is old enough to read it but like many toddlers, Arthur had trouble pooing on the potty to start with. I'd go as far as saying he's always had a little trouble with pooing but nothing that has required any medical intervention or treatment! So obviously doing it on the potty has been a big thing for him and I feel like he was almost scared to do it and it was making him more and more uncomfortable.

It's taken a little time but I feel like we've finally cracked it, thanks to the help of a Playmobil elephant. Now, I know this sounds ridiculous...but hear me out? Basically, the elephant challenges him to a poo and not one to be beaten, he does one every time the elephant asks, without fail! Since I introduced this rather wacky but wonderful little ritual at potty time, he's been going so much more frequently. He's not had any tummy aches (as far as I'm aware), he's been far less bloated and so much more comfortable!

My point of sharing this was to hopefully help any other parents out there that may have a toddler that struggles to poo on the potty. If you introduce something fun (no matter how weird) and maybe even make it a bit of a funny challenge, it could encourage them to sit on the potty for longer and make them more willing to try. The more they do it, the more they'll get used to it and hopefully the easier it'll be come.

Other potty training tips:

Buy the next size up in underwear - I want to teach Arthur to pull his own boxers up and downbut he's been finding it difficult. He's still young so it's not a big problem but I decided to him the next size up in underwear (3-4 years), which isn't THAT much bigger but has allowed him to do it a little more easily. He still needs help but it's a case of the more he practices, the easier it'll become.

Always pack spares - I never leave the house without a spare pair of pants and bottoms for Arthur because even though he rarely has accidents (I can't even remember the last he had), you never know when they can get caught out! Which brings me onto my next point...

Ask when you're out - If we are in a new place or Arthur is involved in playing with his friends, I try and remember to ask him if he needs the toilet, in case he's distracted and not thinking about it.

Get them used to going to the toilet with other family members - I thought it was important that Arthur was as comfortable being taken to the toilet by other family members, as myself, as even though I'm usually with him, there are of course going to be times when he's being looked after by someone else. I also think doing this will hopefully help when he starts pre-school in September and I won't be there for those few hours.

Potty train when the time is right for YOU and YOUR TODDLER - I think parents sometimes feel a bit of pressure to get their toddlers potty trained ASAP. When I saw my health visitor, for Arthur's 2-2.5 year check, although polite and lovely, she insisted that NOW was the time to be potty training him or I might miss the boat, which made me feel like I had to start the very next day.

But with a weekend of outings planned and a lot of stuff going on, I decided it wasn't quite the right time and waited a week or two until we were BOTH ready to give it a go.

There's also no right or wrong way to do it - it's about finding what works for your toddler. Some kids are happy on the potty, others want to use the big toilet. Some kids do it straight away, others may take a bit longer. You'll just need to see what they're ready for and what they're comfortable with. It's a massive learning curve for them but easier if they are interested in doing it - which is why it's important to wait until they're ready and not feel the pressure, just because other mums may be potty training their kids earlier.

I'd also say that potty training probably won't turn out to be as bad as you might think. I was dreading it and so nervous about taking Arthur out without a nappy on but besides a few accidents (to be expected) and a massive-poo-in-my-hand situation (I'll just clarify that it was Arthur's poo and leave it at that) it's gone as well as it could and hasn't been half the battle I thought it'd be!

Megan x

Easy ways to update your toddler's bedroom on a budget

I had so much fun planning my little boy's nursery when I was pregnant and thanks to my mum and dad's hard work, my dream became a reality. Together, we created the most beautiful mint green nursery, complete with cute prints, fluffy furnishings and the most stylish Ikea rocking chair.

Fast forward a couple of years and we're now living in a different house and my little boy is very much a toddler! Being in a rented house, I've not been keen to decorate - especially now that we're in talks of buying our first family home, however it has got me thinking about Arthur's next bedroom and how I can create something fun, stylish and practical for him on a fairly low budget. With this as my inspiration, I thought I'd share a few ways you can easily update your little one's bedroom, without spending a fortune! There's also a few ideas well-suited to those who are currently living in a rented home, where painting the walls might not be an option.
Matalan Unicorn Bedding - £7.00 // Next Peter Rabbit Bedding - £20.00 // H&M Fruit Patterned Bedding - £19.99

New bedding

One of the easiest ways you can brighten up your toddler's bedroom and give it a little more character is with new bedding. A few months back, we changed Arthur's cot for a toddler bed, as he'd finally outgrown it and as a special treat (and hope that he may sleep better in his new bed) I let him pick out some new bedding. We went for this Peter Rabbit toddler bedding set from Next - it's gorgeous and really added some colour to his room. It's also double-sided so you can have two different looks! I think quite a few companies make toddler bedding like this and I think it's such a great idea. When we move house, I'll definitely be letting him pick some new bedding as I think it's important to get him involved in how it looks - after all, it will be his!

Just as a little side note: I mentioned toddler beds and since this is a post about toddler bedrooms on a budget, I thought it'd be relevant to share this fantastic toddler bed and mattress bundle from George at Asda. I bought it for Arthur and it was one of the most affordable toddler beds I could find. I was a little skeptical that the quality might not be all that great but I'm pleased to report it's fantastic! It's a good size, the mattress is comfortable and the bed has been designed and finished to a high standard. I also love the look of it and think it'll fit nicely into most toddler bedrooms, no matter the decor!

Wall stickers

Another simple and affordable way to update your toddler's bedroom is with wall stickers! A quick search online will bring up thousands of different designs for you to choose from and some can even be personalised with your child's name to make them even more special. Aside from adding colour and character to toddler bedrooms, wall stickers are also great for those living in rented accommodation because they can be placed on the wall and then peeled off at the end of the tenancy, without causing any permanent damage to the wall itself. 

The lovely team over at Tenstickers have been kind enough to offer me some vouchers in exchange for mentioning them in this blog post and I decided it would be the perfect opportunity to pick some up to use in Arthur's next bedroom. I chose a few geometric animal designs, as providing he's happy, I thought a woodland animal themed toddler room might be quite fun! Obviously, I'm going to wait to use them but I'll be sure to share my experience with them in a future post. 
Image credits: ImagineOurLife.com // Childhood101.com // Parents.com


One of the cheapest ways to update your toddler's bedroom is by making them a little gallery with string and pegs! You could buy them a few illustrations to peg or you could simply use their own creations from home, playgroup or pre-school painting sessions. Kids love to show off their artwork, so what better way to do it than in their own toddler bedroom?
Image credits: ABabyOnBoard.com // ZCreateDesign // InkeHeiland.blogspot.com

Shelving and Storage

New shelving and storage solutions can contribute to the overall look of your toddler's bedroom and allow you to make the most of the space you have available. I've seen so many fantastic shelving ideas for kids rooms on Pinterest from spice racks come book shelves to crates and buckets that have been transformed into unique off-ground shelving for toys. A quick Google search will also bring up some lovely shelving for kids rooms - you can buy it in every shape and design, from houses to clouds and it makes a lovely stye feature.

Whilst we're on the topic of storage it's worth mentioning that storage boxes can really make a difference to your toddler's bedroom too, especially if you choose them in a creative design. Ikea is fantastic for kids storage and I particularly love the colourful bucket designs that not only look cute but have plenty of room for more bulky toys. I saw on Pinterest that some parents have added a flat top to the storage and transformed it into an activity table for kids to play with their trains and do crafts et, which I think is such a lovely idea.
Image credits: PureWow.com // TheCrazyCraftLady.com // IkeaHackers.net

A lick of new paint on shelving and storage units can also make a real difference. I love the idea shown above of the shelving unit that has been painted to make a car park for the kids cars. It's fun and creative but also practical and will hopefully encourage kids to clear up when they've finished by parking their cars! You never know your luck.

Shelving and storage doesn't have to be pricey and you can even consider upcycling storage boxes and units to cut down the costs and give them a new lease of life.

Do you have any tips for updating a kid's bedroom on a budget? I'd love to read your suggestions in the comment section or tweet me @meganjane03!

Megan x
Collaborative content.
Post may contain affiliate links.

I have done my best to credit the images used in this post to the original owners (with links) but if I have used your photo and the credit is incorrect or you would not like your photo to be featured, please get in touch and I will make the necessary changes.

The ebay Midi Dress

Hands up if you've already got your hands on the ebay Midi Dress? It's a beauty isn't it? I've definitely got my £8.99's worth out of it during the heatwave and I imagine it'll be a wardrobe staple throughout the summer too.

If you haven't got a clue what I'm talking about, let me introduce you to the ebay Midi dress. It's a dress I've seen all over Twitter, Instagram and Youtube. A real favourite with bloggers.

It's a  lovely summer dress, WITH POCKETS (yes that deserved all the caps) that comes in a variety of designs. I chose the sunflower design as it screamed summer to me and I get so many compliments every time I wear it, hence why I thought I'd share it here on the blog!

I've never been sure about wearing midi length dresses - I don't have the world's smallest or most toned calves and I feel like they cut me off in the worst possible place. HOWEVER, midi dresses are everywhere at the moment and the designs are too pretty to miss out on. Plus I'm at a stage in my life where I'm not quite as self conscious as I used to be (I think motherhood and being in a stable, loving relationship have played a positive role in that,) so I'm forgetting any hang ups I have and rocking the midi dress anyway!
Anyway back to the dress...at £8.99 you can't expect the world's most luxurious material. It's Polyester and feels a little on the cheap side though not at all uncomfortable, even on the hottest days! It also looks lovely, so I don't think the material really matters at the end of the day, especially considering the price tag. I think it's machine washable though to be on the safe side, I tend to hand wash mine and then hang it to dry.

With some ebay dresses, I think you have to be a little wary of sizing as sometimes they come up small. Though with this particular dress, I risked buying my usual size (UK size 10) and it fits perfectly.

I tend to wear my dress in the day time with sliders but you could definitely dress it up a little with heeled sandals for evening wear. There are so many beautiful patterns to choose from (as well as plain coloured styles) and it's oh-so-tempting to treat myself to another!

Have you bought the ebay midi dress yet?

Megan x
Post contains affiliate links.

#ColourYourPersonality | What does the colour of your home say about you?

Collaborative content. 
What's your favourite colour? Mine's pink. If I had the choice there would be plenty of pink in my home. But seeing as we're currently living in a rented house, it's not really practical. I'd like to say it's a colour I'll use when we eventually move into our first family home but I'm just not sure the other half would ever go for it...would yours?

When it comes to choosing the colours for your home, I do think it goes beyond simply picking your favourites. It's about finding colours that work in a particular room, help to bring out its best features and contribute to the overall look and vibe you want to create. I think it's true that the colours we choose for our home can say a lot about our personalities though and this is something that Julian Charles have explored in their latest campaign #ColourYourPersonality.

I was recently sent the campaign eBook and it was full of interesting ideas about the colours we are drawn to and what they could say about us as people. Those drawn to pink are 'warm, friendly and approachable' with inviting homes. Pink is said to show that you have a 'maternal side' and are someone that others go to for help. The bit that really rang true with me was 'you always see the good in other people but not necessarily yourself.'

As well as sharing insights into how colours can be connected to our personality, Julian Charles have also offered tips on how to style particular colours in your home. Deep blue is a colour I'm really drawn to at the moment. I find it really calming and I've actually pinned a lot of feature walls in that colour on my Home and Interiors Pinterest board. It was interesting to read that blue is actually the strongest feng shui colour and is recommended for use in bedrooms (particularly children's) as it can encourage a better night's sleep.

Another colour I've always liked is green and it's actually my mum's favourite colour too. I think sage green is lovely and very on-trend and I also love leafy green shades too. I imagine injecting green tones into my home with plenty of house plants dotted about. I think green is good for the soul - there's something just so refreshing about it!

Julian Charles describes green as a 'calming colour' that demonstrates patience and loyalty. People who love green don't tend to stick to house trends and are confident in buying what they like. I had to giggle at 'your house is full of wonderful knick knacks' as this isn't really me (I'm slightly more minimalist) but it's my mum down to a T.

I think the #ColourYourPersonality campaign is a really interesting one and it's got me thinking in more depth about the colour palettes we'll be choosing for our future family home.

I'd love to hear about your favourite colour. Is it the one you use most in your home? And do you think it reflects your personality?

Comment below or tweet me @meganjane03 using the hashtag #ColourYourPersonality

Megan x
Collaborative content.

Personalised Blaze and the Monster Machines Book Review

Ask Arthur what his favourite TV show is and I can almost guarantee he'll say Blaze and the Monster Machines. It's a show he's loved for a good while now and although he's gone through phases of watching Paw Patrol, Shimmer & Shine and other Nicklelodeon shows in the past, it's Blaze he always goes back to.

About Blaze and the Monster Machines

For those who don't know, the show is basically about a Monster Machine called Blaze and his best friend / driver AJ and the adventures they get up to in Axle City. Blaze has lots of other Monster Machine friends (you'll see a few pictured in my photos) and also a rival, called Crusher, who's always getting up to no good and causing many predicaments for Blaze and his pals. As a parent, these TV shows do get on my nerves a little but I can see why they appeal to kids. I quite like the fact that Blaze attempts to teach kids things about science, technology, engineering and maths. The songs are admittedly catchy (I've realised I've learnt the words to many of them without even knowing) and I feel like Arthur has learnt some rather big words for a two year old that I'd never even use in real life like 'trajectory.'

Personalised Blaze Book

As you can imagine, Arthur was absolutely delighted to see that the lovely team at Penwizard had sent him his very own personalised Blaze and the Monster Machines book*. His little face lit up and he couldn't wait to have it read to him. In fact, I believe I had to read it three times before we were allowed to do anything else, the day it arrived!

Create your character

Like with the personalised Paw Patrol book I featured in my Father's Day Gift Guide, Penwizard allow you to completely personalise the look of your son or daughter's character in the Blaze book too. You can select everything from the colour and style of their hair to the colour of their clothes and eyes. With this particular book you'll also be asked the city you live in and your child's birthday, as these feature in the story.

The story

The Blaze and the Monster Machines story follows one similar to one of the TV show episodes, where Gabby (the mechanic in Axle City) has her tools stolen by Crusher and his sidekick Pickle. Blaze goes on a mission to get them back, with the help of his best friend AJ and your son or daughter! Arthur loved seeing himself as a character in Blaze and really got into the story, shouting out words when prompted and pointing at the pictures.

The story itself is quite long, so if your little one is quite young, prepare for them not to reach the end. We're at a stage where Arthur will now happily sit and listen to a book he's interested in like that but I think it would have been a different matter a few months ago! Having said that, don't let it stop you buying the book because it's perhaps one little ones can grow into and if they watch Blaze, they're bound to love it anyway!

A great gift...

I think the personalised books from Penwizard are a fantastic buy for kids, particularly if they're into the popular Nicklelodeon shows. They'd make a great gift either for your own child or as a birthday present for other little ones and the fact they're completely personalised makes them all the more special.

The Blaze and the Monster Machines personalised book costs £14.99 for a softback and £19.99 for a hardback. Penwizard have also kindly offered 10% off purchases of the book using the code BLAZE10.

What do you think of personalised books for kids?

Megan x
*PR Item

Dream Kitchen Designing | What I'd love...

Collaborative content. 
Before anyone gets too excited for me, I don't have a house...yet! But it's something we're talking about. Something that will be happening in the not too far away future. And it's inspired me to start creating and sharing some more home / interiors content here on the blog. Now, before I get into telling you all about my dream kitchen, please note the 'dream' bit. Luckily the other half and I seem to share a lot of the same loves / hates when it comes to interiors but I know that there'll be times where one of us has to compromise...so this dream kitchen I have in my head could totally change. Also, we don't even have a house yet so it really is just me throwing a few ideas out there of things I like, inspired by the wonder that is Pinterest, of course! Anyway, I'll just shut up and get on with it...

Image credits: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Terracotta paint

News flash! - I now like coloured walls. A couple of years back, I would never paint a wall any other colour than white and the thought of it filled me with dread but things change and I now think coloured walls look pretty cool. I think finding the right paint colour can be difficult and let's face it, it's a fairly big commitment. Though I guess you could just paint over it if you hated it. But anyway...I digress!

I've been saving so many paint colour ideas on my Home and Interiors Pinterest board from Moody Blues to Sage Greens (both of which I absolutely adore) but the colour we've been discussing for the potential future dream kitchen is terracotta. When my other half first suggested it, I have to admit I immediately wanted to shut the idea down. Images of a yellow and terracotta kitchen at one of my childhood houses instantly flooded my mind and even though my parents insisted it was fashionable at the time (maybe it was guys), it's not a colour scheme I'd like to see again. Ever.

But having looked at some terracotta walls on Pinterest, I've got to say, I've really warmed to it and think it could look beautiful! There's something warming about terracotta and I love that it's a little bit different. I think it could work well with rustic wood shelving, copper pans (more on those in a minute) greenery or even soft pink accessories (though I think I really am living in dreamland for that one!)

Image credit: AO.com

Herb garden

My house plants board on Pinterest is flooded with indoor herb garden designs and ideas. I love a herb garden - as weird as that sounds. There's just something so nice about having fresh herbs to throw into your cooking. And I plan to do as much cooking from scratch as possible to save us money! I think herb gardens are a great way of adding a little greenery to your kitchen and bringing the outdoors in. They're practical AND stylish. I think this is an idea I'll be able to sell to the other half without any trouble.

Image credit: Chairish.com

Copper pans

Something we're definitely in agreement on is having copper pans in our dream kitchen. It's just a matter of finding ones that are good quality yet won't break the bank. I've seen a fairly reasonably priced set of non-stick copper pans at Argos and as they're still on-trend every brand and store seems to have their own version right now. But if you have a good set of copper pans, I'd love a brand recommendation!

Exposed stone / brick wall

When I picture my dream kitchen, an exposed stone or brick wall is always present in my mind. I love their rustic, natural beauty and think they're a great for giving your kitchen both character and style. I'm all for leaving them their natural colour but I also think they look great with a white wash of paint, especially if the kitchen itself is a little on the dark side.

Image credit: WallSauce
Of course, there is the option these days to fake it! Wallsauce have a fantastic collection of brick and stone wallpapers, which are available in a variety of designs and look so realistic. All of the wall murals by the British company are made to measure and available to print on a choice of wallpaper finishes (including peel and stick ideal for rental properties). I think the designs look fantastic and they are definitely something I would consider using in my dream kitchen, if the real thing isn't feasible!

Image credit: RealHomes.com

Kitchen island

My dream kitchen would also have an island for food preparation. We currently have one in the house we are renting and it's so useful. I think kitchen islands (especially those with drawers and cupboard space) are a really practical feature but whether or not we have one will all depend on the shape and size of the room itself.

What design features would you include in your dream kitchen?

Megan x
Collaborative content.

A Weekend Well Spent #5: Strawberry Picking in Somerset

Last weekend, we decided to jump on the Instagram bandwagon and go strawberry picking! Arthur loves strawberries and was so excited to go (even though I'm pretty sure he didn't know what he'd really be doing) and luckily there was a place not-too-far-away, between Taunton and Bridgwater in Somerset.

Thurloxton Fruit Growers is a family run business that has been offering 'Pick Your Own' since 1973! Starting with just one acre of strawberries, the business has significantly grown over the years and now produces a wide range of fruit and vegetables across 25 acres. As well as delicious strawberries (some of the best we've ever had) they also have raspberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, loganberries, gooseberries and rhubarb all available to pick.

It was a really beautiful place and the blazing sun made it all the more glorious! We had fun finding and picking the best strawberries and there were plenty of opportunities for beautiful photos. Most of the photographs featured in this post were taken by my other half (check out his Instagram here). He has a real talent for it and has taken some lovely ones of me and Arthur (I've shared a few on my private Instagram) which I'll treasure.

Arthur really enjoyed picking the strawberries to start with but after about ten minutes, he'd lost interest and wanted to do something else. He'd spotted a tractor near the entrance and was desperate to have a sit on it and well, we couldn't blame him because it was pretty cool, as far as tractors go! We managed to distract him for a little while, making it a competition of who could pick the best strawberry and the promise (bribe) of an ice cream was enough to win his attention long enough to enjoy and complete our pick!

Although it's normal for toddlers to have limited attention spans, don't let it put you off going strawberry picking, as it's such a lovely thing to do as a family! Rachel over at The Illustrated Teacup Blog has shared some fantastic tips on how to survive pick your own fruit farms with a toddler in tow, so be sure to head over there and have a read before you go.

We almost filled a basket of strawberries and spent around £6-£7, which I think is very reasonable. All of the strawberries were excellent in quality and tasted delicious. We finished them off today, with me using the very last few to make some more homemade ice lollies!

It was a lovely family experience and something we'll definitely do again. Thurloxton Fruit Growers was the perfect place for it, so if you are looking for somewhere to Pick Your Own Fruit in Somerset, I definitely recommend it. You can also enjoy a tasty ice cream or refreshing drink after your pick and they take card payments; making it all the more convenient.

Have you been strawberry picking or is it something you'd like to do with your family?

Megan x