Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Guest post - How to be a summer yummy mummy

In my next post for support the smalls I'm handing the blog over to Scarlett Fashion. I know the summer is nearly over I have had this for a couple of weeks but the extension has distracted me so don't think they are behind the times- it's me!

School holiday have started now and summer is well under way. We have seen some great British weather, the type that makes you wonder why you bother leaving the country, unfortunately it is not guaranteed.

Whether you're a stay at home mum or you’re still be in the office everything throughout the six weeks and I'm sure feeling guilty that you’re not at home (like I am!) Despite being super busy and trying to juggle a million and one things, you still want to stay cool and look like a yummy mummy. The summer is a great time to do it as you can dress down, be feminine and not have to go to great efforts to achieve it!

The Maxi dress is a must! It covers you down to the floor, so you don’t have to worry about shaving your legs or getting your pasty legs out! Most maxi dresses are loose, so you can stay cool, not have to worry about it clinging to you and easy to move around in without worrying something will fall out. My little girl is two and still wants to be carried everywhere. She’s getting heavy now, so I always need to consider this when I’m going anywhere. The maxi dress is great for that because I don’t have to worry about my skirt being pulled up, or my top being pulled down! Also, maxi dresses are best with flats. I hate my legs with a passion, they are short and dumpy, so wearing flats when I’m showing my legs, emphases my bad points even more, so it is nice not needing to worry in a maxi and I can pop on some pumps which makes it so much easier to carry Scarlett around. The maxi dress look can be quite boohoo, so you can complete your look with an oversize bag which can carry all of your kiddie junk!

Here is my attempt at modelling a couple of my favourite maxi dresses:
Pineapple crush maxi dress

I love my make-up, and almost never go without, but in summer I either try and get a bit of a tan, or if not, just fake it. Then I can get away with just a light touch of make-up. Always wear water proof eye-liner and mascara; it just avoids any unwanted smudges throughout the day. Blusher/bronzer and I personally always have my favourite lipstick or gloss on.

It sounds like a cliché, but you really do need to feel comfortable yourself in order to be a yummy mummy. If you are wearing something which you feel is too tight or ill-fitting or generally not practical with kids you will not be happy with the way that you look. As I am a great believer that you shouldn't have to change when you have children. You are still the same person and enjoy the same things, but practicality does have to come into it and unfortunately those killer heels may have to be put aside for child free evenings.

For me, the “yummy mummy” look is all about dressing in a style which you feel comfortable in and still wanting to look your best even though you now a small person in tow.

I’d love it if you take a peek at my fashion and lifestyle blog

Disclosure: I have not been compensated in anyway to publish this guest post.

How to retain working parents

I am a part time working mum and my husband is self employed yet we both have the most valuable perk as working parents. If you are an employer looking to retain colleagues who are parents then you need to know that the biggest benefit they crave ......flexibility! This flexibly shouldn't come t the expense of a lower wage either.

I don't mean going easy on them because they didn't wash up everyone's mugs or make the tea. If you want those 'best boss ever' comments which retain staff then this what you need to do.

1) Have flexible start and finish times - Most childcare providers don't open the doors until 8 and they may still need to commute to get into work. Likewise most finish at 6 so they can't afford to risk getting stuck in traffic and leaving their child past collect time. This will result in a stressed employee and potentially no childcare which equals no worker.

2) Allow working from home - Trust that they will actually work and not lay in bed until 10 am. The chances are they would have been up since 5.30 am and they know they can not open the laptop with a small child in eye shot. For the childless boss let me tell you a laptop is better than sweets to a child so the parent will have childcare arranged on working at home days. The benefit to the parent is they wont have to pay for the childcare during the commute and they will see their children more.

The best thing about working from home for me is that when I finish at 4 I still have time to take the boys to the forest, park or beach. That quality time is priceless!

3) Understand that kids get ill - When a child especially a young one is ill the most important thing to the parent is to make sure their child is ok. This will be at the forefront of their mind quickly followed by the deadline that is due on the same day.  Sick children = no childcare.

Wish the child a speedy recovery and depending on the severity of the illness you can be sure that they will still try and meet that deadline even if it means working till gone midnight cuddling a small child whilst balancing the laptop on the arm of the sofa.

Children who are new to childcare will get sick a lot - it will balance out they wont be as ill when they start preschool (in theory!)

4) Flexi time - does it matter when the works gets done as long as it's done? Child care is expensive so given the option I'm sure a lot of working parents would welcome the option of working some evenings to save nearly £5,000 a year on one days childcare - yes that is the cost (outside of London) for one days childcare for two children. This is why I sacrifice a couple of evenings a week for an extra day with the boys. I get to spend precious time with them and save a fortune!

5) Don't assume they aren't interested in their career just because they can add the letters MUM or DAD to their CV. Flexibility will only keep them for so long, probably until all the children are at school but then it wont be enough. Don't over look them for opportunities ans assume they aren't interested. They may be craving more!

Saturday, 16 August 2014

My dream living room

With the digging complete and the builders whizzing through the build of the extension our thought have turned to how I would like our new living to look. The thing that I'm most excited about is bi folding doors and we would like the solarlux doors in white costing £4,197.60 for 3 meters from Alchemy projects.
Photo courtesy of Solarlux
The second thing I have longed for since my parents had an open fire is a wood burning stove.
Nothing will feel cosier in the winter than the log burner flickering away in the corner. Even better because this little beauty priced at £1,400 from stoves and fireplaces

Although we are keeping our black leather sofas if I won the lottery I would the buy a couple of these
from next at £1,050

Next up is this rug from John Lewis £95 along with a canvas of Portsmouth's skyline from artpause for £59.99. The apollo light from BHS would look stunning in our vaulted ceiling for £250 and these bean shaped tables from Dwell for £149 would fit in nicely too.

This is my entry into the Heart Home Good To Be Home competition.

Good to be Home Dream Room Competition

Friday, 15 August 2014

Mummy can scoot too

That's right I have an adults scooter too and I can not be happier - simple things right? The lovely people over at micro scooter kindly sent me an adults scooter to try after seeing how much fun the boys have on theirs. 

When it arrived I was keen to get it in action straight away but I will admit I struggled to figure out how to get it to unfold with boys hounding me at the same time so I put it away until the husband was home.

It's simple and I was being dumb as you just press two buttons (one blue, one silver) on the folding mechanism and hey presto it's open! 

The handlebar grips unflip and slot into place and the handlebar can also be adjusted by using the quick release mechanism. It also locks out when fully extended and you have to press the button to get them go back down again.  Before I could even get a look in the husband was off in the street with the boys whizzing down the ramp in our road.

I quickly commended a go myself and my first impression was the footplate seemed to be a bit small but I quickly got used to it and settled into how to position my feet. The boys loved us playing with them on the scooters.

We have spent many evenings and days exploring with the scooters and I loved being able to keep up with the boy when he went zooming off. The young one isn't fast on his yet so the husband and I took it in turns to wait with him whilst the other had races with O.

Like the boys scooters the adults one feels sturdy and smooth. The wheels are quite and it goes faster than the kids - much to my nephews annoyance as we were racing each other. He wasn't complaining when I let him have a go on mine though.  

The scooter stand is a nice extra which means my scooter can stand tall alongside the boys and the mud guards means I won't get covered in crap!

The other good thing about it being a micro scooter is that the parts, including the bearings, can be replaced as and when they wear out. I plan to able to scoot to school with the boy on my working from home days when the young one will be in childcare. I would love to strap the young one to my back in a sling and scoot off on adventures with the boys on our days off so I'm on the look out for a safe enough solution. I have had a crazy idea about attaching his bike seat to the scooter post but I think it would be too unstable!

As soon as the young one is off whizzing around like his brother we will be investing in another adults scooter for the husband. Needless to say I love it, the husband loves it and my father in law loves it! 

Check out my video showing how to set it up and some fun family shots of us enjoying our scooters together.

Disclosure: I was sent an adults micro scooter for the purpose of this review but all opinions are honest and our my own.