There are plenty of style guides to be found in magazines and on the internet, that can help you achieve any look with your décor that you want to. However, there is a downside to sticking so rigidly to any one style guide. Sometimes, it might feel like you’re living in a showroom that doesn’t show the personality around your kitchen table. A little of your own personality should always be injected to make sure that a room feels “you”, no matter what style you go for. Here are a few ways to make sure that’s the case.

Find your style

One of the problems of following a style guide is that some people don’t really determine what their style is before they jump in. Finding your inspiration before you start making décor choices is going to ensure that you’re later happy with those very same choices. Watch home makeover programmes, browse through interest, take a look at before-and-after renovation photos. Do plenty of inspiration material binging and start collecting and collating those that stand out most to you. Rather than finding one “style”, you’ll find you have an eclectic mix of tastes that you could work to incorporate together. Checking out various ways to buy such as searching for a light or flooring website for example will help you see what’s available from vinyl to wood. Costing up is helpful before going ahead with your project so that you don’t get caught short by unexpected costs! 

Fit your hobbies in there

Do you have one hobby that takes up most of your time or a passion that you find inextricably linked to your very being? Then make a little space for it in your décor. It’s all about finding the boundary and not crossing it. Make a single subtle display, such as a wall lined with movie posters, if you’re into movies or a good place to fit a bookshelf if you’re a reader. You want it to be a subtle pointer to your personality, incorporating your hobby too much can end up a little overbearing if you don’t know how to hold back.

Make memories your pride

There are certain elements of décor that transcend a particular style, too. To many people, there are few better avatars of their own personalities and experiences than the photos they take or have had taken of them throughout the years. Creating a photo wall display in the home can immediately give any room a focal point that screams personality. There are a lot of ways to arrange them, such as making a grid, lining them up, or even hanging them, so you don’t have to feel like your options are too limited as to how you display them, either.

Give it some space

Whether it’s certain ornaments you love the most, some photos on display, or anything else, giving your personality some space is crucial. Set up a space all its own by using a display cabinet or a glass console table dedicated to the collection you want to put on display. Don’t clutter it and force it to share attention with some of the more traditional décor aspects of the room. This creates a competition for attention which means it won’t stand out as much.

At the end of the day, a home that doesn’t have “you” in it isn’t going to feel yours. Find the spaces you’re not using and think about how to incorporate your own personality.

 

 

Optimism is a great trait and can be a useful tool in helping to overcome hurdles in life. Contrary to what some might believe, optimism doesn’t mean never seeing the clouds on the horizon, but it’s about believing that you are able to blow them away. 

To create a leader in optimism means starting in childhood and as parents you can help carve out this path. Here are seven top tips in how you can contribute to raising a child to be a leader who is also optimistic. 

Top leadership activities for kids

There are loads of games to play that encourage children to have fun and grow, some as simple as playing outdoors on swings or ones that get them thinking in a manner that help them develop into contributing members of society. 

1. Get Active

This may sound like a strange suggestion but it’s been repeatedly proven that there’s a strong link between exercise and mood. Being active releases feel good endorphins which not only provide a short-term lift, they can also rejuvenate mental health in the long term too. 

When a child exercises they’ll experience the following surge in their mood and notice that they’ve been able to influence how they feel. This provides a real sense of control and authority, giving them the all-important optimistic outlook on life. 

 

2. Meditate 

This is good for kids in lots of different ways, including helping to create an optimistic mindset. Meditating decreases stress which can be harmful to both physical and mental health. 

As well as feeling calmer, your child will feel more in control which is one of the core components of optimism.  

 

3. Practice Gratitude

At the end of each day it can be easy to hang on to the negatives and forget about all the good things that have happened. Over time this can influence your mindset and start to damage optimism.

To counteract this natural human inclination, at the end of the day, it’s a good idea to consciously think about positives. Perhaps at the dinner table or when you are putting your child to bed, list three good things that have happened that day. It doesn’t matter how small the positives may be, the goal is to focus the mind on being optimistic and celebrating successes rather than brooding over things that didn’t go quite as well. 

 

4. Purposeful Play

Technology has its place in modern society and it can even be educational for children. However too much can be damaging and dulls the senses that you are trying to stimulate. 

Limit the amount of screen time your child can have every day and instead pick an activity which is more challenging, such as Lego. A toy that’s been around for many decades and still holds the same amount of appeal, with Lego your child can tackle a challenge. Whether this is one you set, something they choose themselves or simply building something following the given instructions in the Lego box, finishing a Lego set can provide a real sense of accomplishment in a child. 

This self-belief that they can achieve what they set out to do becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as your child believes that they have the ability to succeed. 

 

5. Being Kind to Others

Altruistic acts do just as much for the individual as it does for those who are receiving the help. Being kind to others is its own reward, bringing a sense of purpose and of inner harmony. 

When you do something to help another person you receive the benefit of seeing the outcome, and you receive a surge of feel-good hormones that help to minimize stress and strengthens your resolve to do the same again. 

This has a genuine place in developing optimism as it reinforces the view that a child’s own actions can change the world around them. 

 

6. Model the Behavior

No matter what you say, if your actions deliver a different message you will never get the child to take you seriously. To get any youngster to listen, you need to be the living embodiment of everything you’re trying to teach. 

Model determination, optimism and positivity and that attitude will be observed and absorbed by the child. 

7. Keep a Journal

Writing in a journal or diary each day and keeping the thoughts positive and uplifting can be a good way to train the mind to think more optimistically. If you’re ever in doubt about the positives of the past, a quick flick back through the journal will reveal all of the good things that have happened. 

Practicing the positives will help to filter out the negatives and create a lasting memory if your child ever needs an instant pick-me-up. 

Mindful Optimism 

Being optimistic means seizing control of your destiny and believing that you have the power to succeed, even when the path appears a little bumpy. The above seven top tips will help your child to acquire these skills and ultimately become a leader in optimism. 

About the Author 

Matt Morrisey is a writer and a teacher. He enjoys writing about kids toys, outdoor children’s games at www.StarWalkKids.com where he contributes. 

As a mama to three children, making us a family of 5, holidays seem to be aa distant luxury. I have been told it can be done so here are a few tips I have gleamed from others in the know that will hopefully make me feel more confident about travelling together.

Travel Options:

If you are budgeting this summer then why not go retro and grab a coach somewhere. Its good to have a few ways of travelling to make it fun for the kids. We often forget how good National Express is and how much of a bargain it is for small trips – check out some bargains by using an app or voucher site.

Research!

Check out reviews for airlines to resorts. Make sure you know where you and your family will feel welcome and have all you need on hand. Kids clubs to babysitters, spa for Mama – make sure you have a check list of individual as well as group needs.

Websites like TotsToTravel cater for families and so will make you feel more at ease on getting the right kind of holiday for you.

Make sure they are occupied on the journey.

My sister was recently sent the Apramo Travel Buddy for her car. This is a great option to keep bottles and activities for long car journeys in. They are easily reachable.It fits loads in, has separate drinks holders and most importantly is super easy to clean! My nephew loves filling it up!

 

The only downside is that it didn’t fit her middle seat as it needs to attach to an across the lap seat belt and her middle seat has the full seatbelt. I am hoping to use it later in the year as I will be learning to drive and I think this will mean the journey will be less distracted if everything is in reach for the children to get!

Create a holiday bag for each child.

This could have a new camera (think polaroid)  for each child and a scrapbook so they can document their holiday on the go. Have a daily prize for the most unusual shell, the best photo etc and make it into a daily project for each to relieve any boredom! It also means you will have a book full of memories to look back on!

Also pack snacks, favourite toys and of course you may want a tablet computer/headphones loaded with books and films for moments where they can’t run around and be their most energetic self!

Engage with them throughout 

From the booking process to the main event make sure they know all about where you are going. This is a good time to make sure they know full names and telephone numbers. Discuss stranger danger and find suitable items like a buddy band where you can write your information. We know you’ll have eyes like a hawk on them but it is best to be prepared.

Don’t let them pack their own bags!

Surely you have had that experience before?

When the Irish Fairy Door Company heard that Fizz was feeling a little down in the dumps towards the end of the school year last year they offered to send her a few things to perk her up. There was no offer to review, they just wanted to give her a smile!

They sent us a worry plaque which arrived with Evie-Bee and her fairy door! All address to Fizz rather than me to make sure the parcel was super special to her. Of course it was and Evie Bee has been a best friend since! When Fizz feels like she cannot talk to us she leaves Evie notes and we reply as her. It makes it easy to talk about worry and feelings without any pressure. In fact she was super disappointed a few weeks ago when Evie didn’t reply (she hadn’t spotted a hidden note!).

Fast forward a few months and they also sent a no more worries kit. This kit is perfect as it can travel around with us and Evie where as the original worry plaque is a bit too big for that. I love that the kit is so thoughtful with a feelings journal included which means if your child isnt able to share their anxious feelings with you they can write them down and choose when they feel they can share.

Sometime I find it hard to communicate with Fizz so things like this often open a door of communication that we are struggling with. At 8 years old there is a lot of change going on for her especially now she has two younger brothers here and there are the fights for attention and to be heard. I find that 121 time with each child is a necessity for the wellbeing of our family. Every voice needs to be heard, understood and connections built between us.

Do you struggle with talking to your child about their feelings or do they clam up when you try to talk to them?

Many of us have fond memories of being children and being lucky enough to have access to a garden in which we could play. Combining the open space and varied flora of a well thought out garden with a child’s limitless imagination opens up entirely new worlds of possibilities for them. With our kids spending more and more of their lives, like us, with their heads buried in screens, anything we can do to encourage them to spend more time outside and in nature is to be encouraged.

No matter how big or small your garden is, with a few relatively simple touches, you can turn it into a versatile space that your kids will love. Here are some of the most effective things you can do to make your garden more child-friendly.

Let Yourself Relax

The first thing you need to do is to take a deep breath and come to terms with the fact that your own standards are probably going to have to drop. You may have had some grand ideas of using floral displays, water features, and statues to create your dream garden. If you want this to be a space where kids can play freely, though, you are going to need to bite the bullet and accept that plants and statues are likely to be damaged.

Maintain a Safe Perimeter

You will want to ensure that young children aren’t going to wander out of your garden and towards a busy road. This can be done by installing fencing around your garden, which you can order from a website like Fencestore. They stock cheap fence panels, but they are still sturdy and will form an effective barrier without spoiling the look of your garden.

Be Water Aware

This is especially important if you have younger children and toddlers in your house. Water features, including fish ponds and fountains, can look really beautiful. However, as any parent knows, very young children should never be left unsupervised around water. Even a bucket of water is a potential drowning hazard. If your garden already contains a pond, it’s important to make sure your kids understand the dangers, and that you place barriers around it.

Use Zoning

If you have enough space in your garden, you may well want to dedicate some areas for your children’s use and leave some room free for the adults. Clearly delineating these zones means that you can give yourself a nice, quiet spot to do your reading and relaxing, while still being able to supervise the kids. Try and keep your kids’ play area near to the house so you can easily observe them while they play.

Choose Equipment Carefully

The equipment you choose for your garden, if any, will depend on your children. Obviously, their age and capabilities will play a role in determining what is and isn’t suitable. But you should also consider their tastes and personalities. Not all eight-year-old girls want to do the same things; some will want to play on a swing, others a slide and the really adventurous ones might just want to go bug hunting.

Keep Costs Down With DIY

There are all kinds of DIY projects you can do to enhance your garden for your kids. For example, building them their own tepee gives them a sheltered space in which they can read a book, play on a tablet, or even just get away from the grown-ups for a bit!

Stay One Step Ahead of Their Development

Parents get used to this idea quite quickly. Whether it’s shoes, school uniforms, reading books, or anything else in your child’s life, you always have to be prepared for the next step. Kids grow up faster than we realise. Before you know it, the toys that they were once inseparable from have been relegated to the shelf or the back of a cupboard. When you are looking at adding play equipment to your garden, you should consider how long it will be useful to them for. The longer something will last, the more it is worth spending on it. Don’t go overboard on buying an expensive swing that they won’t be able to use in a year.

Work With What You Have

Most of us don’t have huge gardens to work with, as much as we would love to. While there are a lot of things you can do to alter or enhance the space you do have, it is also important to understand the limitations of your setup and to work with them.

And there you have it! With these words of advice in mind, you are free to let your imagination, and your children’s, run wild. The more involved they can be in the actual design process, the more they are likely to enjoy the final garden you end up with. Remember, when a garden is designed with true care and love, it can provide an experience for your children quite unlike anything else.