We all know that keeping our homes safe for our children and ourselves is really important, but how do we make sure our gardens are just as secure? This post shares a few top tips for garden security that are easy and cost effective.

Securing your Fencing

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Naturally, if you have young kids or pets like dogs or rabbits, you’ll want to make sure that they’re safe when out in the garden with secure boundaries and privacy. If you don’t have the luxury of thick hedges, and even if you do, you’ll want to invest in sturdy and good quality fencing with strong foundations in the ground to bridge any gaps in home boundaries. Dig deep foundations according to manufacturer guidelines, and potentially use concrete or cement to secure the bases.

Remember: In the UK there are certain regulations in planning law that set the limits for how high we’re allowed to have our garden fences. The highest you can have a fence without planning permission is 2 metres, which will include any top trellises or and support for climbing shrubs.

Gate Security

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Gates need to have at least two secure lock mechanisms – bolt locks at the top and the bottom are standard, but having a padlock to avoid little hands trying to unlock them will prevent them unlocking the gate from the inside. Security experts like Barrier Components have a great range of gate security fittings you can check out. Strong hinges are also a necessity to reduce the risk of trespassers or damage in extreme weather conditions like strong winds. The same 2 metre limit applies to gates also. If you have a large dog or just want privacy, a tall gate is a good idea to keep the dog in and potential snooping eyes out.

Top Tip: Do your best to keep locks, bolts and hinges out of reach of young children as they could become a pinching hazard or a risk to security.

Child-Proofing Ponds

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The more explorative child may find themselves in trouble if there are no boundaries around a pond or a water feature. Simply adding a small fence can effectively discourage children from curious ventures into the pond. But, for utmost safety, you’ll need to either supervise your child in the garden, or block off the pond altogether to avoid any mishaps.

Before you start to secure your garden think about all the potential risks children may face – think about splinters or gaps in fences, and make a list of each area to tackle one by one.

Disclosure: PR collaboration

DC Super Hero Girls

As you will have gathered from my recent post featuring Jack’s superhero themed bedroom makeover, we have a huge Super hero fan in our household. Jack’s room is full of his favourite superhero characters from batman to superman, iron man to captain america, yet sadly there are no ladies to be seen!

With Phoebe also showing an interest in superheroes (she loves to play with anything her big brother plays with!), I’m trying to address the gender imbalance and show them both that there are super strong female superheroes too such at Wonder Women, Batgirl, Supergirl and Poison Ivy. Thankfully DC Super Hero Girls is on hand to help me out.

Celebrating all things ‘Girl Power’, DC Super Hero Girls is the latest animated series from DC Entertainment, featuring a dynamic group of Super Heroes on their journey of discovering the power of their unique abilities and friendships. With characters such as Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, Batgirl and Poison Ivy, you can follow the girls as they navigate the twists and turns of Super Hero High School. We love the dynamic characters, from strong and fearless to edgy and fun; there really is a character for everyone!

The DC Super Hero Girls YouTube channel makes it easy for your little ones to watch their favourite characters on-demand and from any device and for even more fun, there is an extended online experience on the DC Super Hero Girls website where children can play games, download free printable activities and find out more about each character.

To celebrate the launch of the new DC Super Hero Girls series, I have teamed up with DC entertainment to offer you the chance to win one of three £100 Visa Gift Cards.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note this giveaway is being managed externally, so please ensure you read the terms and conditions on the rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

Disclosure: I have been compensated for my time in writing this post.

Joie Every Stage Car Seat

For the past couple of months, we’ve been putting the Joie Every Stage Car Seat through its paces. Joie are infamous in the car seat market for manufacturing affordable, excellent quality car seats and having reviewed their Joie i-anchor last year which we loved (and still do), I was excited to see how the Every Stage matched up.

The Joie Every Stage Car Seat, does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a car seat suitable for every stage (Group 0+,1,2,3) and can be used from birth until approximately 12 years old. This is a massive selling point and saves you the hassle and cost of splashing out on a new seat every time your child has a growth spurt! 

Joie Every Stage Car SeatFurthermore the Every Stage Car Seat has a whole plethora of features and safety benefits:

  • Suitable from birth, the Joie Every Stage Car Seat is used in a rear-facing position for your newborn and can continue to be used rear-facing until your child is 18kgs (approximately 4 years old). If you prefer, the seat can also be used in a forward facing position when your little one reaches 9kg (approximately 9 months) but rearward-facing car seats are up to five times safer than forward-facing car seats in a head-on collision, so having the option to keep your child rearward-facing until four-years-old makes the Joie Every Stage Car Seat a brilliant buy. Unfortunately Jack is too big to use the seat rear-facing but having trialled it with Phoebe the only issue at this stage that we encountered relates to the seatbelt. As the seat is fitted in the car with the car’s own seat belt, the seat belt passes the door side of the seat which causes a slight barrier when placing your little one in the seat and means you have to lift your baby over the belt to put them in the seat. This isn’t such an issue when your little one is a baby but as they get bigger and heavier, it might prove to be more of an issue.
  • The Joie Every Stage Car Seat is really easy to install throughout the different stages. There are three different installation modes: Baby Mode (birth to 18kg, rear-facing) , Toddler Mode (9kg to 18kg, forward-facing) and Junior Mode (15kg to 36kg, forward facing).

Baby mode:

When rear-facing, you need to adjust the angle of the child restraint to position 5 and the seat belt is used to secure the seat in place. Your little one is then secured in the seat using the 5 point harness.

Toddler mode:

In toddler mode the seat is secured by passing the seatbelt through the back of the car seat and buckling it into place and once again your little one uses the 5 point harness to secure themselves.

Junior mode:

In junior mode, your little one will use the car’s own seat belt to secure themselves and the 5 point harness is redundant. Ingeniously the harness doesn’t need to be removed, but instead is cleverly stowed away in the harness hideaway compartment behind the seat pad. This is the mode we currently use for Jack.

  • The seat is very easy to adapt to your growing child and thankfully the multi-height headrest and harness system adjust simultaneously and require no re-threading of the harness. The 10 position height adjustable headrest can be swiftly lifted up and down one-handedly using the lever at the top of the seat and once you reach position six, the AutoAdjust side wings widen as the headrest is raised to accommodate your growing child.

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  • The Joie Every Stage has been designed with plush fabrics and cushioning and has deep padded sides in both the seat and head area to offer the ultimate in protection and comfort. In addition, for babies and smaller children (up to 9kg), Joie provide an infant insert to offer extra support for their little heads and necks.

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  • The seat has 5 recline positions; 1 in rear-facing mode and 4 forward facing to offer tilt options at every age. I find it easier to recline the seat before Jack sits in it if I know he’ll have a sleep on a longer journey, however it can be adjusted when he’s sat in the seat, it’s just a little more difficult to do.

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  • Built in side ventilation increases your little one’s comfort.
  • There are handy little pockets on the sides of the seat for your little one’s must have travel items. Jack’s usually contains some form of whistle (much to my delight!), a notepad and pen.

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  • The colour coded installation paths confirm that you have correctly installed the seat which is really helpful and gives you total peace of mind.
  • The seat features enhanced side impact protection with Guard Surround Safety panels that can be folded into the seat when not required. The seat itself also has a reinforced steel inner shell to increase its structural integrity.

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The following video shows you how the Every Stages adapts across the different stages and highlights its brilliant features.

Colours

The Joie Every Stage Car Seat comes in four different colours – Eclipse, Two Tone Black, Urban and Salsa. 

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Value for money

At £200 I think the Joie Every Stage Car Seat is excellent value. If you buy this seat and use it from birth until your little one is 12, that works out at just under £17 a year which is incredible value for money.

In Summary

We have all been really bowled over by the Joie Every Stages Car Seat. As parents , Andy and I have been really impressed with the excellent quality, numerous safety features and ease-of-use, but most importantly, Jack finds it really comfortable, even on long journeys. It’s also lightweight making it easier to move between cars which is a huge bonus for us as we are constantly swapping the seats between our cars.

I wholeheartedly recommend the Joie Every Stages Car Seat and I’m looking looking forward to seeing how it grows with Jack and Phoebs over the coming years.

You can find all the latest news from Joie on their Facebook and Twitter pages and to see the full range of their brilliant products, check out their website.

Disclosure: I was very kindly sent the Joie Every Stage Car Seat free of charge for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are my own and I’d still rave about it even if i’d paid for it!

Like most people, we spend an awful lot of time in our living room. It’s where we relax in the evenings, watch TV and entertain and although I adore its neutral farrow and ball hues and classic, timeless furnishings, I sometimes lust for new surroundings and have been thinking a lot lately about giving it a good old makeover.

Pinterest (you can follow me here by the way!) is brilliant for interiors inspiration and helping to visualise an interior project’s end results, but it can also be quite confusing as there are just so many beautiful images many of which are from contrasting designs. For example I love the minimal, clean style of Scandinavian design, but on the other hand I’m also a huge fan of the smart, country look too.

We live in a Victorian property at the moment, so the ultra modern look really doesn’t suit our home but I’ve created a mood board featuring items that have caught my eye recently, should a makeover be on the cards in the near future.

Living room moodboard

1 // Life is a bed of roses poster, Dot & Fox Printshop, £40

2 // Gold Pineapple Table Lamp, Graham & Green, £125

3 // Blush Pink Chevron Cushion, Zazzle, £23.45

4 // Hue Pendant Shade Copper & Navy, Made, £29

5 // Elegant Gold Round Wall Mirror, Primrose & Plum, £180

6 // Neptune Chichester 6ft Grand Bookcase, John Lewis, £2545

7 // Cycas Revolutas Plant, Ikea, £7.50

8 // Tom Dixon Orientalist Scented Candle, John Lewis, £80

9 // Blush Drop Vase, Southwood Stores, £7

10 // Collins & Hayes Remus Sofa, Fishpools, £1699

Disclosure: PR Collaboration

  • Kellie KearneyApril 24, 2016 - 8:50 pm

    That John Lewis bookcase is beautiful. Oh the things I could do with it!ReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabyApril 25, 2016 - 8:22 am

      I know, it’s soooo nice isn’t it xReplyCancel

  • Rebecca | AAUBlogApril 25, 2016 - 10:46 am

    I love anything with chevron stripes, so I love the cushion. Lovely picks!ReplyCancel

  • Alex Lamb & BearApril 28, 2016 - 5:31 am

    You’ve picked some gorgeous things here! I love the hints of baby pinks with gold metallic xxReplyCancel

Jack was just over two years old when Andy and I found out we were expecting Phoebe. We were all obviously overjoyed but I was really worried how Jack would react to having a little sister and wanted to prepare him as much as possible about her impending arrival.

Thankfully there are lots of fabulous children’s books available that offer little ones an insight into life with a baby and help children explore all the different emotions that can surface when a sibling appears. I found many of these books invaluable when I was pregnant with Phoebs and Jack thoroughly enjoyed reading them but here are our favourite six books for preparing a toddler for a sibling:

Books for preparing a toddler for a new sibling

1 // There’s a house inside my mummy, £5.24

Written in verse, this little board book tells it how it is through the eyes of a toddler. It’s simple, beautifully written and your little one will want to read it over and over again.

2 // My New Baby, £3.59

Part of a series designed to help new siblings adjust, My New Baby is a definite must read and has fabulous illustrations for your little one to relate to.

3 // I’m a New Big Brother: A Pirate Pete Book, £5.24

Part of Ladybird’s successful Pirate Pete and Princess Polly toddler range, this book was Jack’s favourite partly due to the sound button that features a baby’s giggle. I’m a New Big Sister is also available.

4 // What’s in Your Tummy Mummy?, £5.99

I adore Sam Lloyd’s books and this is no exception. Witty and interactive with flaps to lift, your little one will love it.

5 // I’m a Big Sister, £4.79

This book is beautifully illustrated and is brilliant for letting your older child know she has a very important role to play when there is a new baby in the home. I’m a Big Brother is also available.

6 // The New Baby, £4.99

Another lovely book with beautiful illustrations, The New Baby is uncomplicated, easy to follow and the perfect book for introducing the concept of a new baby to siblings.