If you follow me over on Instagram and saw my recent post about decluttering, this post is for you!

Over time, it’s completely normal to accumulate a lot of items. However, if it gets to a point where you constantly have to rummage around for a good few minutes to find that one thing you’re looking for, or there are several tripping hazards throughout your house, then you probably have too much stuff.

There are several reasons why clutter can start to pile up. An extremely busy schedule, laziness, or procrastination can all be possible causes. You might not even notice how many items you’ve gathered over the years! Whatever the reason, it’s a good idea to clear out some of these things. There are several benefits to doing so.

Free up space in your home // 

Probably the most obvious benefit of decluttering is that you’ll have more space in your house. Most people want a spacious home with enough room to relax. However, this is not always possible so maximising space is crucial, especially in houses where space is at a premium. Why have valuable space taken up by things you don’t use?

If you have a lot of stuff lying on your tables, shelves, counters, and floors, it can almost feel claustrophobic, and you won’t be able to freely navigate your home the way you’re supposed to be able to do. By getting rid of these items and properly organising them, you’ll feel less crowded and who knows? Maybe you’ll discover that your home has enough space for you and that there’s no longer an urgent need to upgrade to a new home?

Breathe new life into any room //

By getting rid of some of your items, you’ll figure out what you truly love and develop a better understanding of your unique interior style. If there is a lot of stuff in your home, it can be difficult to truly appreciate the look of your rooms, which will then act as an obstacle to your interior design dreams.

With many items lying around, there will be numerous different styles that might not necessarily flow together well. Paring down your items will invigorate a room, giving you a fresh viewpoint. Now, take a step back to really examine your home and your interior vision. By doing so, you’ll have a clearer picture of what you want.

Save time and money // 

Having a lot of clutter lying around doesn’t just detract from your home’s beauty, it also costs you quite a bit of time and money. Just think about the time it takes to clean everything. Dusting and hoovering, which is one of my most hated chores, is so much easier now that I have less stuff around the house.

And what about the money you spend to maintain your clutter? For example, think about clothes that need dry cleaning, polish for certain decorations, and subscriptions to magazines you don’t read. Also, if you want to move in the future, reducing the amount of items you own will lower the cost of hiring a removal company. Decluttering is a fantastic chance to make some money too! You can sell your unwanted items online or at a car boot sale.

Boost your mood and focus //

Clutter acts as multiple stimuli that all compete for your attention. This overstimulation can actually reduces your ability to focus and process information properly. Avoid this problem by tossing out some of your clutter. You’ll improve your focus and thus increase your productivity.

There’ll no longer be the feeling of being overwhelmed. After all, I’m sure you know how stressful it can be if your place is super messy and chaotic. Combine a clean space with an effective organisation system and you’ll boost your efficiency significantly. And once you’ve completed a task quickly and well, there’s that amazing feeling of accomplishment!

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I was going to start this post with a few profound thoughts on Mother’s Day, but it would seem that at the moment my ‘sleep-deprived brain’ is stopping all erudite musings so I’ll keep it simple!

I love Mother’s Day. Especially since becoming a mummy myself and I get breakfast in bed and a lie in (who am I kidding?!). It’s also a day for me to say a big thank you to my own lovely mum who is utterly fabulous. She was my rock in the months after J was born when I was clumsily trying to figure out the whole new-mum thing and since joining the motherhood, it has given me a whole new appreciation for her.

So with Mother’s Day fast approaching, time is running out to find the best way of saying a HUGE thank you to that special woman in your life for all she has done. For those struggling to find the perfect gift, I have pulled together my pick of the best gift ideas and whether you are looking to splash the cash or working to a budget, there are ideas for every wallet.

MOTHERSDAY

A // Jenny Wren Chocolate Box, From £6.50

Perfect for Mother’s Day, Jenny Wren’s unique chocolate boxes contain 12 delicious hand-finished Belgian chocolates and truffles. They are one of the only chocolate gift boxes that you can buy for under £10 and still look super pretty. I can vouch that the boxes are also loved by little ones once they’re emptied for storing all their keepsakes! They are currently on offer in Sainsbury’s for £6.49 and I’ve also seen them on Amazon, in Booths and Ocado too.

B // SevenSeventeen Candle, From £14

You can never go wrong with a gorgeous scented candle, especially one that is made from natural plant wax, smells divine and looks super pretty too!

C // Chlobo Cute Charm Elephant Bracelet, £66

I adore this hand-made Chlobo bracelet from Browns Family Jewellers with its round beads and pretty elephant charm which symbolises peace & good luck. It can be worn on its own for a fresh and dainty look or add a few others to build a style statement with meaning.

D // The Willoughby Book Club Subscription, from £34.99 for three months

Does your mum love reading? If so, this book subscription service from The Willoughby Book Club is the perfect gift. All you need to do is give them a brief lowdown on your mum and what types of books she likes and each month she’ll receive a new book in the post.

E // Magazine subscription, £ various

Give your mum the gift that keeps on giving with an annual subscription to her favourite magazine. You can choose from hundreds of titles and she’ll love you that little bit more every month when it lands on her doorstep.

F // Aber Falls Orange Marmalade Gin, £23.95

The ideal gift for your gin-loving mum. Inspired by the Tropical Glasshouse at the Treborth Botanic Gardens, this gin is bursting with the pine flavour of juniper, a refined balanced sweet and bitter flavours of oranges, with background flavours of marmalade. With a subtle tartness on the palate, this light, delicate gin offers a citrus hit and warming aftertaste. The perfect gin for a refreshing G&T.

G // Solu Reed Diffuser, £15

I’m a huge sucker for a diffuser or ten dotted around the house and these Solu diffusers are just lovely. Available in the full range of Solu fragrances including Lime, Basil and Mandarin, Pink Champagne and Pomelo and Black Fig and Vetiver, they not only look good on the mantelpiece but smell divine too!

H //Sansevieria house plant, £17.50

You only need to browse instagram to see how ‘indoor plant’ crazy the world has gone at the moment and The Little Botanical is your one-stop shop for all things gorgeous house plants! From pretty succulents to this little beauty that will purify your air, your green-fingered mum will love anything from The Little Botanical.

I // Grey Hari and The Gang Cowl Neck Statement Hoodie, £42

Another instagram favourite at the moment amongst bloggers and influencer are these super comfy hoodies from Hari And The Gang. Available in pink, nude and grey they make the ideal Mother’s Day gift for your lovely mum.

J // Boden Adela Sandals, £70

It’s never too early to think about Summer sandals which is why I’ve included these pretty little things in the guide. Available in rose gold, sunset (red) and navy, they are the perfect sandal for your mum’s summer outfits.

K // Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer, £299.99

A complete re-think in the way hair dryers are designed, the Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer will change your mum’s beauty routine forever. Friends that have one, rave about them claiming that it drys their hair super fast without frizz; that sounds like a winning formula to me!

L // Jo Malone London Blackberry & Bay Cologne, £90

I adore this classic fragrance and so will your mum. Not the cheapest perfume on the market, but this is worth every penny as it smells divine.

M // Escape canvas utility bag, £85

This unique, canvas utility bag is perfect for weekend adventures and I LOVE it!

N // Eleanor Bowmer Leopard Print Tea Towel, £9

I adore Eleanor Bowmer and her fabulous wares and these 100% premium cotton tea towels are prepared and finished to the highest standard. Made from the best grade cotton they are super absorbent and perfect for every day use and they will brighten your mum’s kitchen up a treat!

O // Flower subscription

Another subscription idea for you, this time beautiful blooms. There are numerous companies that offer ‘letterbox flower subscriptions’, but my two favourites are Bloom and Wild and Beards and Daisies. You can choose between a 3, 6 or 12 month subscription and she’ll love you that little bit more every month when a gorgeous bunch of flowers lands on her doorstep.

P // Monica Vinader Riva Diamond Hoop Ring, £135

I’ve had my eye on this ring for a while so I’m sure your mum will love it too! With its irregular hoop shape the ring is made from sterling silver and features stunning pave set diamonds.

One final gift idea that will go down a storm with your mum this Mother’s Day, is this lovely ‘Mother Organic Collection‘ from Neal’s Yard. A gentle selection of skin-nourishing, organic products, from an elasticity-boosting balm to a relaxing bath oil, this gorgeous collection will definitely put a smile on your mum’s face on Sunday.

236102311I hope this Mother’s Day gift guide has given you a little inspiration. What will you be buying the mum(s) in your life this Mother’s Day?

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Bathrooms are one of the most important rooms in the house; they can be a great room for expression, but they also need to incorporate safety and child-friendly fixtures when you have kids to think about. You don’t want to have to buy a new bathroom suite every time your little ones grow out of it though; it’s much easier to stick to a few decorating tricks instead. Let me know in the comments if you have any more to add.

Don’t be Scared of Colour // 

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Paint is inexpensive and can easily be changed as your kids grow up, so this is an ideal place to start with decoration ideas. Having all white and chrome fixtures with a splash of vibrant colour on the walls can be a great way to brighten things up and make the bathroom a fun place for kids, and you can incorporate it into their use too. Use colour-coordinated storage boxes under the sink for each of your children, with matching toiletries to encourage them to tidy up and take care of their things. You can even incorporate the colour into safety features, like matching anti-slip rugs. You can find more design ideas using colour here.

Think About Themes // 

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Creating a themed bathroom doesn’t have to be overbearing. Simple wall wave stencils and distressed white fittings can create a fun beach hut theme. Or, use white as a main colour with red and blue highlights for a nautical theme, but add unusual features like a porthole for a window. This is still fun for kids but is far more understated and can be turned into a more modern, adult theme as the kids grow older.

Transform Storage Solutions // 

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Storage is a really key thing to consider for a child-friendly bathroom. With a number of people sharing one bathroom, it can get quite messy, so you really want to choose a good storage unit that offers more storage space for the eyesores that collect in a bathroom whilst still giving you the functionality you need such as these brilliant units from Hudson Reed.

Add a Pinch of Fun for Pennies // 

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Image Credit

These decorating ideas aren’t supposed to last forever, so consider investing in some cheaper, colourful fittings that can easily be replaced as your kids age. Ikea’s lime green crocodile shower mat and colour-spot towel hangers will be fun for the kids, and won’t break the bank.

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Today, about one in six British couples has trouble conceiving. Although trying to get pregnant can be emotionally challenging, stressful and upsetting, a lot of progress has been made over the past few decades and there are now several solutions to help you start your family.

The treatments you’ll need will depend on what is causing your infertility, for example, whether this is due to issues experienced by the male partner, the female partner or both. Of course, you’ll also have to take into consideration your own preferences, as well as your budget. Read on to discover a selection of the available options and fertility treatments that could help you to finally have your baby.

Egg or sperm donation //

Sometimes, couples experiencing fertility issues may consider getting pregnant with donated eggs or sperm, whether this is via artificial insemination at home, in a clinic or IVF with donor sperm and/or eggs. This is far from being an easy decision to make, as this option means that one or both partners won’t be genetically related to their child.

There are several factors that lead couples to choose donation. This might be because one or both partners are carrying genetic disorders which could be passed on to their baby. Older women or women with severe infertility may also need to undergo IVF with donor eggs in order to conceive (using either their partner’s sperm or a donor’s).

If the issue lies with the male partner, the couple can consider getting pregnant using donor sperm. There are multiple causes of male infertility. These include low sperm count, the inability of the male partner’s sperm to fertilise the eggs or the inability to produce sperm in their ejaculate.

Fertility drugs //

If you have trouble ovulating, your GP may prescribe fertility drugs such as Clomid. These stimulate hormones which trigger the ovaries to release one or more eggs. It’s often the first fertility treatment that women undergo, usually for 3-6 months, before moving on to other treatments if there is still no sign of pregnancy. Your GP may suggest you combine these drugs with one of the treatments outlined below to improve your chances of conceiving.

Artificial insemination //

Those whose partner has low sperm motility, low sperm count or poor sperm quality, may try artificial insemination (also called Intrauterine insemination or IUI). For this process, sperm (which needs to be washed) is inserted into the woman’s uterus using a thin catheter. This can take place at a fertility clinic or at the doctor’s surgery. If, after multiple attempts, you are still not pregnant, you might be advised to try IVF instead.

In vitro fertilisation // 

IVF, which involves surgery, is probably the most tiring and expensive option of all the fertility treatments. However, it has a higher success rate than IUI (although this largely depends on your fertility and age).

In vitro fertilisation is usually only recommended after all other treatments have failed. Women in their late thirties or over 40, as well as those with severe infertility problems, such as tubal issues, endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), can also benefit from IVF.

Usually performed in conjunction with fertility drugs, this fertility technique involves the retrieval of a woman’s eggs which will be fertilised, at a later date, using sperm in a laboratory. Once this stage is complete, one or more developed embryos are transferred into the woman’s womb.

If the male partner experiences a very low sperm count, he might be advised to try Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). This is when a single healthy sperm is injected directly into the egg via a tiny needle. Then, just as with IVF, the embryo is implanted into the uterus.

Know when you should pay a visit to your GP //

When to go see your doctor depends on your age, your level of fertility or any medical issues you might have, as well as how long you’ve been trying for a baby. If you’re a woman under 35, you can wait for a year before visiting your GP. If you’re over 35, you shouldn’t wait for more than six months. If you are 40 or older, or you have experienced infertility or several miscarriages in the past, pay a visit to your GP as soon as possible.

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I originally shared this post on my blog a couple of years ago but with the holiday season looming and knowing how many people have no idea that Parental leave even exists, I wanted to share it again. 

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Not to be confused with ‘Shared Parental Leave, (Ordinary) Parental Leave has gone relatively under the radar and a lot of parent’s aren’t aware of it. I wasn’t until last week and now I’m over the moon about it! Parental Leave is a right to take time off work to look after a child and can be used to spend more time with your little one(s) and strike a better balance between work and family commitments. Some of the reasons you may want to take Parental Leave include:

  • you want to take some extra leave after your Maternity or Paternity Leave
  • you’d like to spend more time with your child
  • settling your child into new childcare arrangements
  • looking at new schools

Entitlement //

You’re entitled to 18 weeks’ unpaid leave for each child and adopted child, up to their 18th birthday. Unless your employer agrees otherwise, the limit on how much Parental Leave each parent can take in a year is 4 weeks for each child and you must take Parental Leave as whole weeks rather than individual days. (If your child has a disability, you can take the leave in shorter periods than one week).

A ‘week’  is equal to the length of time an employee normally works over 7 days. For example I work 3 days a week, so a ‘week’ of Parental Leave for me is 3 days.

Eligibility //

You are eligible for Parental Leave if all of the following apply:

  • you have worked for your current employer for at least a year by the time you want to take the leave.
  • you are named on the child’s birth or adoption certificate
  • you have or expect to have parental responsibility
  • you’re not self-employed or a ‘worker’, eg an agency worker or contractor
  • you’re not a foster parent (unless you’ve secured parental responsibility through the courts)
  • your child is under 18

Notice Period //

You must give 21 days’ notice before your intended start date and unless your employer requests it, this doesn’t have to be in writing.

If your employer feels that the leave would disrupt business too much, or needs more time to arrange suitable cover, they can postpone your leave for up to six months but they must explain why they have postponed your leave within 7 days of the original request and they have to suggest a new start date that must be within 6 months of your requested start date.Your employer cannot postpone your leave if you apply to take some Parental Leave immediately after your baby’s birth, they don’t have a ‘significant reason’ to do so or it means you would no longer qualify for Parental Leave, e.g. postponing it until after your child’s 18th birthday.

What happens if you change jobs? //

Parental Leave applies to your child and is not related to your job, so should you change jobs, it’s up to you to keep a track of how many weeks you have used up and inform your new employer how many weeks you are carrying over from your previous job. Obtaining evidence of a new employee’s Parental Leave record, could be nigh on impossible for a new employer, especially if your child is in their late teens, so the focus will be on you to be honest about how much Parental Leave you have taken with previous employers.If you can afford to utilise Parental Leave, I think it’s a wonderful thing for parents. It allows me to have an extra 36 weeks off with Jack and Phoebe until they reach 18 and I’m sure it will come in incredibly handy during those long summer holidays. Although it is usually unpaid, it might be worth asking your employer if they offer paid Parental Leave as suprisingly some employers do, so check your employment contract and keep your fingers crossed!

This information is subject to change and has been written as a result of my own research at the time of writing. For more information check out https://www.gov.uk/parental-leave/overview

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  • Mini TravellersAugust 21, 2015 - 6:44 am

    You know I wasn’t aware of this at all, so thanks so much for bringing this to my attention. #sharefridayReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabyAugust 21, 2015 - 7:34 pm

      I was actually told my employer and overjoyed when I heard the news! xReplyCancel

  • HelpfulMumAugust 21, 2015 - 12:28 pm

    I didn’t know about this! Sadly as I’m self-employed I don’t get any leave.ReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabyAugust 21, 2015 - 7:35 pm

      Ah that’s a shame xReplyCancel

  • JessOctober 19, 2015 - 6:34 am

    I found it all so confusing when I was trying to sort mine out, I had holiday to take too so trying to figure it all out was hard, this makes it much more helpful to understand! I do think Dads should get longer off work, I know it would’ve helped me out massively! XReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabyOctober 19, 2015 - 9:48 am

      I agree, although they can now share normal maternity leave which I think is great. This is just an added bonus on top of that xReplyCancel

  • chantelle hazeldenOctober 19, 2015 - 6:58 am

    a very helpful and informative post.ReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabyOctober 19, 2015 - 9:48 am

      Thanks Chantelle. xReplyCancel

  • JodieOctober 19, 2015 - 7:35 am

    This is definitely useful information. I was quite thankful to have a hubby who was selfemployed and went back to work after just a weekend of being off with us. It gave me the space to bond in my own way.ReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabyOctober 19, 2015 - 9:47 am

      A weekend, Wowser. The bonding does sound lovely though xReplyCancel

  • GeorginaOctober 19, 2015 - 7:49 am

    I wasn’t aware of this at all! So glad I read your post- my husband will be really pleased to know this! Thank you xxReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabyOctober 19, 2015 - 9:47 am

      Glad it’s been of some help Georgina, I think it’s such an important allowance, especially for partners too. xReplyCancel

  • KateOctober 19, 2015 - 8:04 am

    I had heard of parental leave before but never knew it was as much as 4 weeks a year. That’s so handy to know, especially for things like settling into nursery etc.ReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabyOctober 19, 2015 - 9:46 am

      I was pleasantly suprised when I found out and so good for partners too. xReplyCancel

  • Emily LearyOctober 19, 2015 - 9:23 am

    Informative guide. There are details here I wasn’t really aware of.ReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabyOctober 19, 2015 - 9:45 am

      Thanks Emily. I think it’s one of those topics that most employed parents may not know much about but is so important to know about.xReplyCancel

  • KerryOctober 19, 2015 - 9:33 am

    A very interesting and helpful post, thank you for sharing. I’m on maternity leave atm and although don’t need parental leave it would have been handy a couple of years ago when i had Amelia xReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabyOctober 19, 2015 - 9:44 am

      It’s handy to know isn’t it. I think it’s one of those things that most employed parents may not know about ( I didn’t first time around with jack) but will come in very handy, especially during the long summer hols / settling in at school etc. xReplyCancel

  • FabiolaOctober 19, 2015 - 11:05 pm

    Very interesting! We don’t have Parental Leave here in my home country.ReplyCancel

  • Emma TOctober 20, 2015 - 10:21 pm

    Ooh interesting. I vaguely knew about this, but don’t know anyone who’s taken it up. It could come in handy for time off for additional holiday cover. Don’t suppose you know if the contractor is as a contractor one someone else’s behalf, or if that includes someone working for the company for a fixed term?ReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabyOctober 22, 2015 - 7:18 pm

      I don’t know for certain sorry, I would check out the link and maybe call to ask.ReplyCancel

  • KerryOctober 24, 2015 - 7:37 am

    I have applied for parental leave in my work & it’s been declined, they state that it’s at a time when it’s not good for the businessReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabyOctober 25, 2015 - 9:51 am

      Oh no! have they given you an alternative? xReplyCancel