As the seasons start to change again, many people start to prepare their homes for the weather that will come. They check the gutters are clear and the fences are painted. Of course, inside the house there is plenty to do too.
Checks on the boiler, clearing out the chimney, and a dozen other little chores can easily fill a weekend. When will you ever have time to freshen the decor? With summer and new light you’ll want to spruce it up, you’ll be noticing all those unfinished home jobs now. Here are my tips from natural looking laminate flooring (great for those of you with children or pets compared to carpets) to simple tricks like moving the furniture around to create a new look. It really is easy to create a new look ready for summer for a few sleek changes. 

Replace what is worn

If your wall art is looking frayed, it’s time to let it go. It’s impossible to create a fresh new look with ‘weathered’ items. The same goes with carpets & flooring. I think that I would go for a natural looking laminate flooring as this is so durable with children about.  

As for the walls? Repair what you can with options like filler. But if the bumps and cracks won’t sand down, it might be time to call the plasterer for a fresh finish.

Think about replacements

If you like to change things each season, then set your home up to make that easy to do. Pick furniture that is easy to move.

Choose sofas and cushions that are standard sizes so they can easily be covered and recovered when you fancy a fresh colour.

Make sure your base colour palette complements all the colour swatches you think you might lean toward when you want to change things up. Greys, creams, and olives all work well with a wide range of vibrant tones.

Painting yourself

If you choose to tackle the painting yourself, there are a few tips that can help you achieve a great finish. Start from the top down. That means, start with a satin or matt white ceiling. Here’s an example of what our finished boys room was like and the look we will go for in our living room.

Use wood paint for the doors, door frames, and skirting boards. Wait for all this to dry. If you spot spots of paint, you can use a baby wipe to remove them once they are dry.

Now use decorators tape to protect the white edges and block in your wall colour. You’re finally ready to get that roller busy!

Strong and subtle

Good decor usually features a strong accent colour and then several more subtle shades of the same. This also opens up the choices for soft furnishings or covers. So long as it matches one of those choices, it will probably work really well. You can do this for your window dressings, table cloths, vases, cushions, rugs, and wall art.

You might even paint the chimney breast in the strongest colour, or the wall around the window. A feature wall with lots of photos scattered all over is also a great idea and doesn’t cost much to do. 

Bold or block colours that are classic are great this season. We have just painted the boys room a denim blue with white skirting. It looks very strong and smart with minimum risk of grubby hands marks!

Moving around

Sometimes simply moving the position of your furniture can help to make it look like a completely different room. It can even help you to shift the focus in the living room. Lighting can do the same. Change the position or direction of the lights to highlight something else for a quick and easy change.

There are plenty of ways to freshen the room and even more ways to give the illusion you’ve worked hard on something new! Throws, cushions covers are a great way to give your seating a new lease of life/ I’m incorporating yellows and teals this spring. 

These are just a few ways that you can change up you home and your decor. If you try any of my ideas do let me know and I’d love to see some of your links over on my facebook page Free Spirit Living or tag me @chellemccann on Instagram.

 

I’d never thought of upgrading my previous change bag, after all I’d used it for my first born and had continued to make use of it as the years passed so we had got used to each other and did not consider making a change (not pun intended) when our second came along. However when I first saw the Skip Hop Duo Backpack I knew it was time, not only does it look good it also has a few features my previous bag was missing such as straps to attach to the buggy which I wanted to give me a spare hand again -perhaps more important with two children to manage now!
When the Duo arrived I was immediately impressed with the quality of the material used, it feels like it’ll last. The main pocket is large and although it did not come with a separate smaller change bag as some other brands do it does have inner pockets were you have a change mat (included) and two smaller pockets you can use for nappies/ wipes. You can then use the remainder of this area for whatever you wish – I’ve often put my supplies in here for both children and myself, it is large enough for a child’s lunch box and a large toy, but if you’re not worrying about what snacks your older child might need then there there is plenty of room for all of baby’s clothes/ toys/ bottles in here. There are also two smaller pockets on the front which I chose to use for spare clothes, a comfort toy and small essentials I might need like tissues and hand sanitiser. Another feature is two side netted pockets which I regularly use for items I need to access quickly such as a drink for me or my keys – they are very handy. At first I wasn’t sure everything I used to carry would all fit in comparison to the previous bag but the Duo did manage comfortably.
So now my bag is packed I tested it, and I really tested it. You name a generic daily task you complete and I’ve probably done it. We have travelled with it, done the school run, gone shopping, walked the dog, gone to parties and play dates. I’ve had it on the buggy, under the buggy, on my back… in all weathers. I did consider whether there would be a comfortable striding space with the bag attached to the buggy but have to say that this must have been considered at the product design stage as the strapping attaches to the buggy in such a way that allows the base of the bag to tilt towards the buggy to give your legs plenty of room, even my 6ft partner was pleased.
Something I never considered before however was what I would do with my change bag in a dubiously cleaned baby change area in a motorway service station, I would always try to balance it at the cleanest position I could and then struggle to get everything I needed out to change the baby before making the quickest exit I could – with the Duo this problem was solved as it was attached to the buggy and. ore importantly it gave me my hands back to get on with the job at hand. I could open it whilst it was still attached to the buggy and have access to everything without having to take it off from the nice, clean buggy it was attached to. It was a revelation and I knew I’d never go back to my old change bag after this.
I have to say I am impressed and it has never let me down. I may not have never thought of upgrading initially but since using the Duo I haven’t look back once.

We are right next to Brighton Racecourse and this time of year there is so much wildlife around to see on our daily walks around this green area of Brighton. We were sent the Outdoor Adventure Range from Brainstorm to help with our nature walks and we loved using them over the last few weeks.

We were sent the night time vision torch, magnifying glass and binoculars. The second two have been pretty much part of daily life since!

Jedi loves the magnifying glass and spotting caterpillars, snails and all the things along the ground/below knee height. Fizz decided the binoculars were hers and has pretty much become a bird spotter (and some butterflies too!).

We have yet to use the night-time vision torch as it is still light at bedtime but I think towards the end of the summer we will get this out to use again.

Here are the photos of our daily adventures!

We would really recommend these products if you want to encourage your child to learn about nature, natural habitats and also responsible ways to protect nature as they will create great discussions whenever you use them!

 

 

In our house we are a big fan of introducing small chores to the children in exchange for a small treat or pocket money. As the youngest of the family and at 2 Beatlebum often wants to join in so when we were sent the Caddon Deluxe Henry Hoover to review he was super happy at being able to in some way help me around the house.

The set is quite a lovely little pull around set and both boys have loved to grab the trolley and help mummy on their days off. I love that at no point do they say it’s mummy job and instead embrace their little role of helping out. It is so light and easily for them to pull around and quite sturdy at the same time.

The set has everything you need to clear up and the boys have used it to clean up craft sequins from the carpet, mopping our balcony floor in the rain and more. The mop bucket has seen random characters drowning but its fab at transporting them to their toy boxes!

The set also fits altogether for easy storage and looks quite neat next to our toy box – I know a lot of parents worry about having bigger toys but this is a smart looking set as well as practical!

Available online at Argos for £24.99 this is a fab little set with hours of fun and also is a great introduction to having pocket money jobs too!

As part of the Brighton Fringe Fizz was invited to review a comedy club for kids at Brighton Komedia. As she’s getting to the age of telling jokes and finding out what is funny or not then I thought this would be perfect for us to go and have some mummy and daughter time at. Throughout May and June there are some fab things on that all the family can enjoy!

The comedy for kids show isn’t a regular feature at the Komedia but it should be! The compere was the right amount of silly and fun with a few jokes for the parents at the same time and he was great at bringing the show together. The kids loved his skit where they started the jokes and he tried (and sometimes failed) to finish them.

Our favourite act of the show was a teacher/musician called George who incorporated music into his act. He was funny and very interactive with the audience who laughed so much during his set.

The final act was a play on murder mysteries and detective stories. We did feel this fell flat a little towards the end of the act as it was quite drawn out and needed quite a bit of audience participation.

We would definitely recommend going though. We had a great hour enjoying this together (well done Komedia for putting kids snacks on sale too!) and we will definitely go back in October when the show is on again.

For more details of what is on at Komedia during festival season visit www.komedia.co.uk/brighton/may-festival/

Tickets are low costs and very reasonable. Here is what you can see now!

Oskar’s Amazing Adventure

Sun 20 May 1.30PM (DOORS 1PM) & 3.30PM (DOORS 3PM) £9/£7 CONC/£27 FAMILY OF 4 AGES 2-8

Sourpuss

Sat 26, Sun 27 & Mon 28 May STUDIO 11AM (DOORS 10.45AM) £8.50/£6.50 CONC & CHILD/£25 FAMILY OF 4 AGES 3-8/BABIES GO FREE

Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre: The New Show For 2018

Sat 26 May STUDIO 3.45PM (DOORS 3.30PM)