Sunday, 25 July 2021

Seven Ways for a Busy Mum to Save Time

Seven different ideas of how you can be organised and save time to make family life efficient and enjoyable.
Photo by CDC on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

Any mum can tell you that it can be relentless trying to keep the home running smoothly, the kids happy and dropped off to all the places they need to go and also to work or volunteer as well.  Or maybe you're busy supporting your husband behind the scenes as his work takes him out of the house for long hours or periods of time.

Whatever your family situation is, when you are looking after a home, children and possibly pets too, things can get really manic and we all need a few ideas of how we can streamline and be more efficient with our time. Just think how great it would be if you could put aside a couple of hours a week from your chores to spend on yourself, doing whatever you fancy. Maybe having a nice long bath, a coffee with a friend or a trip to the pilates studio.

Do your shopping online

Let's start simple, shopping online is a real timesaver and it can also be a money saver too, which is a win: win situation. If you find a supermarket that you like, you can set up your shopping list and add it to the cart each week and then just add or drop a few items to make sure you have everything in for your weekly menu. 

You can choose the time that suits you and your shopping arrives right at your front door. I then have a trundle truck by the door that I unload the shopping into and can wheel it into the kitchen, and get the kids to help me put it away. Depending on the age of your children you can either make this a fun learning activity, talking through the colours of the vegetables, or perhaps counting items, or with older children, they can earn screen time credits or pocket money by being helpful.

Batch Cook

You know what they say, cook once and eat twice, or if you are really good at batch cooking, maybe even eat far more times. Everyday family meals like bolognese, hot pot, chilli, curry, soups etc can be cooked in great big batches and then either frozen as individual meals or maybe in a portion size big enough to feed the whole family - whatever suits you best. 

I have a friend who spends one Sunday afternoon a month preparing meals for the whole month for her family. She says it is the best thing she ever started and proves a real-time saver, as all she has to do on a daily basis is maybe cook some rice or veggies to go with the main course that just needs reheating. Of course, you have to have a super big freezer to do this, but if you have space and enjoy batch cooking then why not?

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Staying at the Macdonald Frimley Hall Hotel, Camberley, Surrey

Reviewing our one night stay at Macdonald Fromley Hall Hotel in Camberley Surrey during July 2021 in Covid times

{This is a review post, but I paid for the night stay myself, so I haven't been requested to write this}

My Mum and I have a tradition of staying in London together to celebrate Mothers Day each year, sadly we had to cancel for 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. We really missed our girlie time and were desperate to spend some time together without the kids constantly wanting our attention, but with my Mum having COPD we were a bit cautious to travel into London yet and thus we opted for a night away together, but not that far from my parents home!

I've stayed at Macdonald Frimley Hall Hotel a couple of times before, once with my husband and once with my daughter as a Christmas treat, both have been lovely stays, so I was happy to book again for a night for my mum and me.

I'm on the Macdonald Hotels mailing list and before Christmas, I had a mailing that allowed me to buy a gift certificate and receive a 20% top-up. So I paid £40 and got a £50 voucher. Then once lockdown eased and they released rooms for sale again I was able to book a standard twin room for £114 for one night for us both to stay and enjoy breakfast and a three-course meal too. I think this is a great price and it is the kind of price I have secured before too, so always look for the deals. Also, make sure you go via Quidco and earn some cashback too, it is 5% currently. 

We could have chosen to use the leisure club too, within the cost of our room, it has a fully equipped gym, 17-metre swimming pool, sauna and steam room. You can book spa treatments and I had a massage when I stayed back in 2014 and it was very good and there is a nice chill-out area for afterwards where I enjoyed a herbal tea. Of course, we went whilst it was still in the time of Covid regulations, so you had to make bookings for using the areas. We didn't make use of these facilities on this occasion as we already had a full itinerary planned.

Friday, 16 July 2021

8 Ways to Help your Ageing Parents

Photo by James Hose Jr on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

It's a reality for many of us, our parents are getting older and for some their health is starting to deteriorate and maybe you even now feel like the adult in the relationship. Your parents ageing and changing can be a difficult and painful process, especially if something like Alzheimer's or dementia plays a part.

Your parents will have played a large part in your life, helping you through adolescence, assisting you as you leave their home and set up your own home, maybe babysitting your kids and being a\a source of love and wisdom throughout your life. Now, it is time for the tables to turn and for you to be a support to them. However, it is really important to offer this support and care in the right way, as you want them to maintain their dignity and feel in control of their own decisions.

Here are eight ways you can help your ageing parents -

1. Be respectful

This is so important, they're still your parents and they won't want to be treated like children, even if their mental capacity is diminishing you still need to ask permission to undertake any of the tasks you'd like to help them with.

2.  Listen to them

Very similar to number one, make sure you listen to the wishes of your parents. Don't take over and start making choices for them if they have the capacity to do so. Let them take the lead and tell you what they need, how they want your help etc. Their choices may not be what you would do but what does it matter if what they are choosing is safe and affordable? It's still their life, they're just getting older. 

3. Give them your time

Then as well as listening to their wishes, give them the time so you can listen to their hearts, to their stories, to the past. Just before my Nan passed away I went to stay with her for a long weekend and it will be a treasured memory for me forever as she talked to me all about her past. About growing up and looking after her siblings, meeting my grandad, bringing up my mum and her sisters. It was wonderful to hear so many of these tales and there were some my mum had never heard before too. 

4.  Adapt their home

From a practical point of view, there may be adjustments that need to be made to make their home suitable for them to continue living in. Whether it is a stairlift or walk-in shower Age UK Mobility can help. There are so many small changes that can be made in the home to help, such as changing bulbs to brighter ones to make reading easier, buying large clock faces, putting in a ramp at the door, adding a bannister or lowering a kitchen work surface. 

You may also want to talk to your parents about setting up a safety net, like getting an emergency call button or rope installed. Or maybe buying them a wearable medical alert system.

Image Credit: Age UK Mobility

5.  Help them downsize if they'd like to

The family home may not prove to be the best home as your parents get older, or maybe it is just too big for them now. It would be such a blessing to help them find a new home that suits their needs better, maybe a bungalow or assisted living flat. My Nan lived in a wonderful complex as she got older with communal rooms and activities, but she was still independent and lived alone. Make sure you investigate all options, don't make assumptions, actually have a look around different options. 

6.  Sort through the loft/ shed/ garage

I'm hopeful that my parents are not going anywhere for a long time yet but my Dad is already on a mission to sort out and clear down all the areas in their home where things have been stored and hoarded for the last forty years. You can help your parents to sort through their belongings and ensure that they are only keeping the things they use and those that bring them joy. I know this can be a very hard job as my friend's parents are downsizing currently and she has been house sorting with them for months now. 

7.  Get on top of the paperwork

Most people don't like having to think about future eventualities like losing a loved one or losing their health but they are realities of life and as you get older they become more timely, so offer to help your parents get all their paperwork and financial affairs in order. Have they got a current will? Have they got a living will recording their wishes? Are all the essential details gathered together - like bank details, property deeds, shares, insurance, life insurance, pensions etc?

8.  Seek their wisdom/ advice

Then lastly we go back to where we started and it is so important to remember that these are your parents and they love you and still wish to nurture you. When you have something going on in your life and you need a listening ear, or you need some advice go and ask your parents. It may be that you don't take their advice and that's OK, but it will be worth so much to them that you trusted them and wanted to spend that time seeking the benefit of their years of life experience. 

I hope you've found these tips useful and you are able to use them to maintain a great relationship with your parents. 

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Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Five Important Things Everyone Should Know about an MOT

Photo by Sten Rademaker on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

So come on, hands up, who knew that MOT stood for Ministry of Transport? I certainly didn't, it is one of those acronyms that is so embedded in everyday life that you never even stop to question what it means. The Ministry of Transport test was introduced in 1960, and those first tests were voluntary, conducted on cars older than ten years and only checked brakes, steering and the lights. Despite this, more than half of the first vehicles tested failed their tests! You can see why they felt it eas necessary to introduce this new measure. 

Here are five things you should know about your MOT -


Three Year Rule

Instead of ten years, vehicles in much of the UK must be subject to an MOT test when they turn three years old. In fact, my car has just had its first test a couple of weeks ago and I'm pleased to report, it passed with flying colours. Some vintage cars are exempt because they do not have modern technology inside them and because they tend to be used sparingly for specialist vintage events, which means they are very carefully looked after the rest of the time. In Ireland, it's slightly different and cars must have an MOT after they turn four years old.


Twenty Checklist

Rather than just brakes, steering and lights, an MOT now thoroughly examines a car, checking everything from the wheels and tyres to the suspension, to the electronics and emissions. Every aspect of the car that could potentially render the driver or other road users unsafe is checked, and just one item failing will result in a fail for the overall MOT. Many people like to book a service concurrent with the MOT test so that the mechanic can fix any issues as he does the service, leaving the car even more MOT ready than before.

Monday, 12 July 2021

6 Occasions when a Delightful Sweet Gift is the Perfect Answer

Photo by Analia Baggiano on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post} 

It's not always easy to decide what you should send to someone when they are celebrating a special occasion, or even if they are having a hard time, but sweet treats are an easy solution and these delightful sweet gifts will be welcomed by most people. Here are a few ideas of wonderful sweet treats that make perfect gifts -

1.  Graduating High School

Many young people are finding that there is no prom this year as the Covid restrictions are still making things tricky, so why not treat your child and their friends to their own graduation party in your garden and have them enjoy a bumper sweet hamper as part of their fun. I can just see the display now with the sweet hamper as the central focus. Why not use it as a backdrop to a photobooth style area, with fun props for use when taking silly selfies with their mates. You can also make some gradation certificates and even give them a little trophy or medal each for surviving schooling during Covid!

My recommendation would be for a Sweet Hamper Company Huge, Huge XXL Sweet Hamper, which is £69.50 and contains over 70 different kinds of sweets, so they'll be something for everyone to enjoy, no matter what their taste. There are retro sweets, old-fashioned sweets and more modern brands so, a really classy and balanced mix of sweets.

Or if you want more variety, you can go for the Huge XL Sweet and chocolate hamper for more variety in the contents of the classy wicker basket. This hamper would cost you £64.50.

Sunday, 11 July 2021

Early Summer Reasons to be Cheerful

Hey friends, it feels like a while since I last wrote a reasons to be cheerful post and shared all the little joyful things that have been going on in my life. In fact, I just checked and it was 24th May, so that's about seven weeks ago and it's no reflection is what has been going on. Life has been good, but it has also been busy and I haven't had the time to focus on writing a post just because I love to share and because being grateful really fills my heart and lifts my mood. 

I can't possibly write about all the good things that have happened in the last seven weeks, so here are just a few -

1.  Having a great time at church - we went this morning and it was fabulous, with a really good sermon, superb lively worship and some guest missionaries who are back from Chad currently. We only joined this church about 9 months before Covid hit, so we still feel quite new, but getting to know people and getting involved in serving as part of church life is great.

2.  A couple of days with my mum - earlier this week I went to stay with my parents and then Mum and I had a night at a hotel too. We visited Kew Gardens for the first time and spent loads of time walking, chatting, shopping and eating. It was so good!

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Tips on How to Handle a Disrespectful Child

Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

 {This is a collaborative post}

Some children act disrespectful, imitating what they see in a TV show or video. Or some young children of school age may be imitating their classmates. They may roll their eyes or utter the word, ''whatever,'' when you ask them to do something. Others pretend not to hear you. In the disrespect range, these actions are quite mild. But if your child is displaying physical aggression, disregarding rules, and doing some name-calling, these are already serious issues, and you need some additional help.

Seek professional help

Whether your child is displaying mild or serious behaviour, it is vital to address the disrespectful behaviour as soon as possible. If you allow it to continue, they are likely to carry the attitude and become ruder as they grow older. Take your child to a child behaviour therapist for an evaluation to help get to the root cause of their disrespectful behaviour. Their actions may signify that they need help in learning socially appropriate ways to communicate effectively, dealing with their frustrations or managing their anger. Seeking help could be the kindest thing you do for your child if you are concerned that their behaviour is more aggressive than that of the average kid.