I saw a tweet recently that made me laugh a lot:

https://twitter.com/EmmainWndrland/status/836118930506805248

With Belle, it would be the other way round:

(Apologies Emma for blatantly copying your tweet for this blog post.)

I would say that getting her to drink enough is the source of about 87% of my parental stress, alongside getting her to go to school and her refusal to eat any foods that aren’t beige. She has a smoothie for breakfast, but she’ll often come home from school, having had about three sips out of her water bottle, and nothing else for the entire day. I honestly don’t know how she does it. If I don’t drink water throughout the day I feel noticeably different – headachey, sick, and generally awful. I don’t understand how she can go through a whole day without it even occurring to her to have a drink.

Are all teenagers this terrible at drinking water?? View Post

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unusual smoothie recipes

Belle is definitely a creature of habit.

Everyday I wake her up at the same time, and then again ten minutes later, and again ten minutes later, until she finally manages to drag herself out of bed. Whilst she gets dressed I go downstairs and make her a smoothie, a sandwich for her packed lunch and get her out a multivitamin. Although I realise that she is perfectly capable of blending her own fruit, it makes me feel like I’ve ticked off ‘parenting’ for the day, and I can then go about my business with a clean conscience.

Her smoothie of choice is banana and strawberry, with a dash of Naturya lucuma powder, which she says tastes of apricots. I also slip in a little bit of liquid evening primrose oil in a bid to reign in her hormones, although I have to say I’ve not noticed the difference.

Belle is not impressed if I deviate from the standard smoothie recipe.

I, on the other hand, love variety, which is why I love writing a blog for a living. In the last fortnight I’ve written about my pelvic floor, baked rice crispy cakes in Camden, riden around London in a Volvo watching TV, and made a terrarium in the Hello Fresh offices, all in the name of ‘work’.

Hahaha! Someone is definitely going to cotton on one day and make me get a job at the council.

But smoothies.

Smoothies are a super-duper way of getting a bit of variety into your diet. It’s dead easy to experiment with a smoothie, as you can just chuck in any damn thing you please. I’ve been having a play over the last week or so with the Breville Blend Active Pro personal blender. It’s one of those whizzy little blenders (quite literally), that act as a blender and flask in one. All you have to do in the morning, or before the gym, (ha!), is to pop your ingredients in the Blend Active Pro, whazz it up, and then pop on the lid. You’re good to go! View Post

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It is not difficult to find the inspiration to give your home a makeover after watching a few TV shows or browsing home and lifestyle magazines, but what you want to try and do is find a style and look that is more than a passing fad.

Here is a look at how to get it right with your furnishing choices. There are some tips on finding the best way to dispose of your unwanted furniture that no longer fits your needs, plus an insight on defining your interior decisions.

Give your furniture another chance

The first thing to say on the topic of getting rid of any old furniture that no longer fits your style or needs is that it is always worth taking the time to think about your options before sending it to an untimely end.

If you really don’t want the item anymore you could donate it to a charity or nonprofit organisation who will be able to find a new home and a new lease of life for your furniture.

There are other options to consider, such as using sites like Craigslist to generate some extra cash towards your makeover plans, or you could potentially refurbish or repurpose the item and learn to love it again yourself.

Making new plans

Once you have decided to dispose of the old items and reimagine your home’s furnishing, you will want to start drawing up some new plans and work your way through a list of ideas.

You can visit a site like Plum Goose for some inspiration on styles that you might like to see in your home. You can also ask yourself some relevant questions to get a clear idea of what is right for you in your home, both now and in the future.

Clear preferences

A good starting point would be to think about all the various colours, patterns, and textures that you really like, as these will prove to be a good guide to how you put everything together.

If you consider yourself to be a bit of an interior design novice you could take a lead by looking at some of the various styles that have proved their popularity over time.

If you like something that is a bit cutting edge and definitely has a modern twist then contemporary furnishings that are predominantly sharp and angular in their look, will be a good fit.

If you consider yourself more of a traditionalist, you are more likely to want to fill your home with well-chosen antiques complemented by rich dark redwoods.

Other clearly defined styles include a casual look, which is all about comfort and earthy informality. Plus a country home look which is instantly distinguished by soft florals and painted woods around your home.

Hopefully, these will have given you food for thought and set some ideas in your head about how you want your home to look and feel.

Changes to be made

Once you have got a clear vision on how you are going to refurbish your home you will have to make some big decisions about what items of furniture you want to try and work into the arrangement and what is going to have to go.

If you are working to a budget it might be that your hand is forced and you have to keep some of your old furnishings but give them a facelift to fit in with your new plans.

There is no problem with mixing old and new furniture and you can achieve a good look by doing that if you think about matching colors, styles and textures in the right way.

It is also well worth being realistic with your design ambitions so that they fit in with your current lifestyle. If you have a house full of pets and kids, that is is clearly going to play a part in helping you decide what is practical as well as stylish.

The main thing to remember is that if you are creating a style and a look that you are going to be happy with for the foreseeable future you need to take your time and above all, trust your own instincts and judgment, as it is your home and you who will be enjoying the fruits of your labor.

Making the right furnishing choices is not that difficult if you simply think about what you really want your home to look like.

Sebastian Kaur is a home designer who has a big love for soft furnishings! He shares his style and decor tips around the internet.

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Money making ideas

Today’s world is tough, and making ends meet is a challenge for people from all walks of life. Stay-at-home mums, working mums, and pretty much everybody in between, mums or not, are all looking for a way to make a little extra cash. Fortunately there are several ways you can generate income if you think out of the box or a little more creatively.

Social media platforms, including Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter are a good way to generate secondary or even primary income, depending on how successful you are at using them. This is, however, far from being the only option in this day and age.

Flexible Income Opportunities

The great thing about today’s alternative workplace is how flexible it is. You can usually set your own hours and how much time you can spend – whether you are capturing data or making things to sell. It’s really all about fitting income-earning opportunities in with your lifestyle. You decide how much you need to earn, and thus how much effort you need to put in.

The other way that working outside of offices is becoming more flexible is in the kinds of things that can be done. Any skills that you have or objects that can be sold will find a place. A lot of this is down to apps or sites you can use, but there are still offline options too. The real key is to stay alert and imaginative; think about the resources you have at your disposal and what it is you can offer, and then find a way to market that and earn some money!

A Few Suggestions

You know what is available in your local haunts, and where you could advertise services and products offline. If you’re going the online route there are lots of places to look too. To start you off on what to look for, some great ideas are listed here:

  • Complete online surveys.
  • Advertise your services as a tutor, dog walker, house sitter, babysitter, odd job performer or even just a companion.
  • Find out if any companies require local distribution of pamphlets – literally going door-to-door and stuffing post boxes.
  • Diligent students can sell their notes to their less-than-diligent classmates.
  • Teach courses online, or from your living room if there is a lot of local interest.
  • Sell wares at online marketplaces or locally; if you’re very creative you can make things or if you have a treasure trove of antiques or objects of interest you can sell them.
  • You can also sell old books, CDS, clothing and technology, with the huge added bonus of decluttering your home at the same time.
  • Advertise your services as a copywriter or proof-reader
  • Plenty of websites are looking for workers willing to do paying, but boring, data entry jobs.
  • Rent out spare space in your home to lodgers or travellers.
  • Volunteer to be a mystery shopper or product tester, or test new websites and then provide feedback for money.

The options are truly endless – just get creative and decide what works for you!

Image – ideldesign/shutterstock

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I had a rather fun day in London on Monday. In the afternoon I was driven around London while I got a sneaky look at the first episode of Big Little Lies, (read about it here), and in the morning I whipped up some Easter treats with the very lovely Olivia Wollenberg, founder of Livia’s Kitchen.

If there was ever a day when I felt incredibly lucky to make my living from blogging, then Monday was that day. (Also, having a whole box full of treats to share made me very popular with the film crew in the afternoon.)

Olivia has recently moved Livia’s Kitchen into a new kitchen office space near Camden. It’s Instagram heaven – lots of light streaming through big windows, white walls and cute kitchen gadgets. I was slightly nervous when I turned up, as Olivia is pretty successful, and I thought she might be scary, but she was anything but. As she told me the story of how she went from being a neuroscientist at Great Ormond Street to cooking up crumble in her parents’ kitchen, I think I may have fallen a little bit in love with her. She was just so genuine and warm and lovely – I want to buy all of her stuff now, just to make sure her business thrives.

Livia's Kitchen

Olivia’s approach to her business really resonated with me, as it felt so similar to my own. When I started my blog back in 2009, as a marketing tool to help establish myself as a journalist, I had no idea what I was doing. Literally no idea. I went into WHSmiths, wrote down loads of email addresses from magazines, and just emailed editors. View Post

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