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Decorating a Shared Bedroom

I love playing around with interiors, though where we currently live has limited space; with just two bedrooms, my children have no option but to share.  At present, this isn’t a problem. They are seven and eight years old and spend relatively little time in their bedroom anyway.  At the moment, they have a cabin bed each, but we are redecorating at the end of the month and will be giving them bunk beds instead so we have more space for storage in the room. We love this Stompa Uno S bunkbed from Room To Grow for its style. To go with the bed, we have two of these single mattresses, which are great value and super comfortable.

As the bed frame is white, I am looking for the rest of the furniture to also be white; I have bought white shelves for books and trinkets, ordered a white bookcase, and will be choosing two wardrobes and one large chest of drawers shortly.  With white furniture, I can afford to be a little more adventurous with the walls.  We are using Valspar paint probably in sea green colours to coordinate with their new blind.  The carpet will be a neutral colour with a brighter rug on top.  I particularly love the ranges available from Rug Mountain, and can imagine that this one would get lots of use from my little boy:

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To add another splash of colour to the room, I would like to use these letters from Not On The High Street to spell “siblings” across the chest of drawers:

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I prefer blinds to curtains and have been struck by the VELUX collection (find out more here).  I would like something colourful but not patterns; preferably in line with the colour scheme.  The area in which I am struggling is lighting options.  There are so many to choose from but the majority are either typically girly or very boyish.  What I would like is a pale blue or green coloured shade, preferably without any images on.  If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to know!

I have seen a wall light that the boy would absolutely love.  I really do not think it will fit with the colour scheme of the room, but I may have to get it for him anyway!  He’s superhero-mad at the moment and this would make him so happy:

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He will also need a shelf at the end of his bed to house his money boxes (he has quite a collection!) and other random stuff that he seems to collect out of nowhere.  Miss J will be getting the room’s built-in store cupboard to use as her den.  It currently has doors but these will be replaced by a beaded curtain for easier access and so she can safely spend time in there.  She loves her “secret space” beneath her cabin bed so this gives her the option to keep that privacy whilst giving me more options with the limited space on offer.  The boy will keep his train table in the room and house his huge vehicle collection in the storage drawer beneath the bunk bed.  We will probably keep the car mat too.  As for soft toy storage, I am not too sure.  The children both love their stuffed animals but I am not keen at all. They collect so much dust and are bulky, which makes it tricky to store them.  A shelf above their window may possible work to store some of them, and their favourites can stay at the end of their beds.  A white toy box would be lovely, if we have the space leftover.  Finally, I would like to create a photo wall behind their door – I have so many lovely photographs of them that sit on my hard drive and aren’t seen often enough.

Room to Grow also have some gorgeous storage and playtime ideas that I would like to take advantage of, including wigwams and playhouses, like this beauty:

I think that covers the majority of my ideas.  The colour scheme is clear in my mind and I am just really excited to get started now.

 

 

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Giraffe, Portsmouth

Situated on the Waterfront at Gunwharf Quay, about as close to the Spinnaker Tower as is possible without physically touching, sits Giraffe.  With its outdoor seating area overlooking the boats and birds of Portsmouth, the location is rather picturesque, as well as undeniably convenient.

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Having never visited a branch of Giraffe previously, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but was immediately pleasantly surprised by the vibrant interior colours and art work.  We were greeted by the charmingly ebullient manager who seated us at a gorgeous round booth in a prime location.  The children were given activity sheets and crayons to occupy them whilst we ordered and awaited our starters.

giraffe 9I opted for chicken tacos whilst James chose the hua boa, which he stated were “every bit as good as in China”.  The tacos were full of flavour with tender chicken and plenty of accompaniments.

giraffe 10The food was all delicious; James’ main was a beautifully presented lamb tagine whilst I had chicken escalope with a side of topped potatoes; these were so good!  Jasmine enjoyed her chicken wrap and both children had ice cream for pudding.  The children’s menu contained a fair amount of choice, which is always lovely to see, and also meant that Sonny could find something that catered to his incredibly fussy palate!

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The food was really filling but I couldn’t leave without sampling the Eton Mess 😉

giraffe 13Overall, the service was excellent and the food was all cooked to perfection; we were so impressed.  I am pretty fussy so it is rare that every dish I order during a meal out ends up being to my taste, but I truly enjoyed everything I tasted at Giraffe, including the hot chocolate I had to finish.

giraffe 12The menu prices were fairly atypical of a decent restaurant chain and I would have been more than happy to pay what our meal amounted to.  I think it is fair to say we are a family of Giraffe converts and will be back for another visit before too much longer!  Thank you for having us 🙂

We received a complimentary family meal for the purposes of this review; all thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own.

 

Hallowe’en Made Easy with Personalised Gifts Shop

In two short, autumnal days, it will be October and the countdown to Hallowe’en will be on. Though not a huge fan of the Americanisation of Hallowe’en celebrations in the UK, I do enjoy the festival as an excuse to have fun with the children, and I adore the process of bringing the outdoors in by choosing a pumpkin and using conkers and leaves in craft projects.  This year, we are planning a Harry Potter-themed party with a couple of close friends and will also be engaging in a few seasonal traditions, such as visiting a local pumpkin display to choose the beasts we wish to carve.

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If you are yet to make any plans, you may be interested in checking out this Hallowe’en checklist from Personalised Gifts Shop.  A totally free downloadable pack of ideas and resources, it will come in so handy for October half term when the children are bored and need entertaining. Containing ideas on films to watch, music to listen to and games to play as well as pumpkin decoration inspiration and even a parkin recipe, it is well worth a download!

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I particularly love these no-carve pumpkin ideas for smaller children or those that have sensitive skin, sensory issues or just don’t enjoy getting their hands dirty.

Have you made any plans for Hallowe’en yet?  I would love to hear them in the comments.

Buying a Family Car

A family car is one of the biggest, most important purchases you will probably ever make, and it is destined to feel like an overwhelming decision.  The sheer choice of vehicles on the market is mindblowing to begin with, so other factors are bound to fall by the wayside.  However, it is really important to remember to check out your new car’s history, and not just its aesthetics, before you take the plunge (assuming you are buying second hand, which is the only financially sensible option, frankly).

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Utilising an online search tool is probably the quickest, easiest and most foolproof way of checking whether the car you have fallen in love with is really the vehicle for you, or simply too good to be true.  HPI Check, for example, find information on outstanding finance, stolen car details and number plate changes among many other features.  If any one of these checks flashes up something dodgy, it will save a hell of a lot of heartache, not to mention money, further down the line – personally, I would rather check it all out before making a purchase than leave it to chance and find out the hard way!  Then, once the boring important stuff is out the way, all you need worry about is the fun stuff, like whether your new car can carry off eyelashes or not….

Have you ever used an online checker?  I would be interested to hear your experiences in the comments.

Simple Ways to Make Money Online

With a young family to support, finding ways to save and, more importantly, make money is always at the top of my to-do list.  Making money online is one of the quickest and easiest ways to boost a household income.  I have tried a number of things in the past; here are some that have worked for me:

Setting up a blog – If you have something to say and are looking for a platform, setting up a blog could be the way to go.  Making money in this way takes time, effort, patience and tenacity; it certainly won’t become a profitable business overnight.  This means that you really need to start by being keen to write about things that interest you.  This could be parenting, travel, arts and crafts, anything really – if you are passionate about your subject, the readers, and subsequently the financial rewards, will follow in due course.

Being a secret shopper – sign up to a secret shopping agency and regular opportunities to undertake assignments will drop into your inbox.  It can be anything from enjoying a meal in a pub to asking for mortgage advice – no two assignments are the same and there is a fee available for completing each one.  Granted, it isn’t a huge amount of money, but every little helps!

Selling clothes your children have grown out of – whether it be via a Facebook group or eBay, selling preloved children’s clothing is a huge market.  Investing in higher quality items for your little ones, such as clothes from Next, Boden and Little Bird by Jools, can pay dividends when it comes to the resale value; excellent condition second-hand Boden clothing, for example, can sell for almost as much as they cost new.  However, bundles of non-branded clothing in good condition can also sell really well, so the key is to take care of any items your children wear (easier said than done, I realise).  It is perfectly possible, and relatively easy, to set up a profitable online business buying and selling preloved clothing, though there are a couple of salient points to consider first.  Initially, it is useful to research delivery options; regularly sending packages means that you really need a fast, reliable and cost-effective service (I use TNT Express and can highly recommend).  If you are making money in this way, you will also need to register as self-employed in order to declare your earnings.  Read up on this here.

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Do you have any other suggestions?  I would love to hear them!