Shower Or Bath? The Big Bathroom Debate!

Which do you prefer? Shower or bath? Or does it depend on your mood? And/ or maybe the amount of time you have?

Shower Or Bath? The Big Bathroom Debate! title on faded water background image

Personally I love showers! They are quick, easy and refreshing. I don’t have enough time for a long soak in the bath. But to be perfectly honest, even pre Squiggle when I did have far more spare time, I still rarely picked baths; I would almost always opt for the shower instead. I think I just get bored too easily! I would rather spend whatever precious few moments I manage to grab relaxing and pampering myself in other ways.

So therefore, in my opinion, showers are ideal; they use less water, save time and just seem more convenient. Plus I love the smell of the fresh water as it pours down from the shower head and I enjoy the feel of the ‘waterfall’ on my skin. It is both relaxing and refreshing at the same time. I even meditate in there sometimes, it is the perfect place for visualisation!

Here are my reasons why I think showers are better:

• Saves time

• Costs less money

• More environmentally friendly/ less water usage

• Convenient

• I can’t hear the chaos going on in the rest of the house with the shower on!

• I am marginally less likely to be disturbed in the short amount of time it takes to shower!!!

• Sensory experience

Shower image

On the other hand, Squiggle’s dad prefers baths. He sees a shower as a necessity to be clean, smell good (or less bad – his words!) and often to wake himself up, whereas a bath is more of a luxury; somewhere to relax and shut off from the world. His top tip is to add bath salts or magnesium flakes.

He also wrote this tongue in cheek (I think anyway?!) list on why he thinks baths are better:

• Bath salts

• Bath bombs

• Bath paints (I’ll leave this open for debate as to whether he actually means for himself or for kids!)

• Face packs

• Bubbles

• Snacks and drinks

• Reading, music, tv

• Selfies

• Talking to people; either through the door, in the room or on the phone

• Seeing how long you can hold your breath under water

A bubbly bath

Hmmm, some of those can be done in the shower too though! And some are better out of the bath in my opinion! (Wet ipad anyone?)

Anyway, moving on…

As for Squiggle? Well, she prefers showers but she does also like to sit down too! So as I mentioned before, walk-in showers with seating would be perfect for her! But as we don’t have one of those at home, she simply uses our over-bath shower and just sits under the running water in an empty bath! Does anyone else do this? Or just her?!

Walk in shower with seating

Since the results are somewhat therefore tied within our small family of 3, I took to twitter to solve the debate! So which is more popular; bath or shower? The results are in! Drum roll please…

Showers are the clear winner with a whopping 88% of votes, in what was quite possibly the most pointless family debate we have ever had! But still fun… and dare I admit, actually quite interesting!

What do you prefer – baths or showers? Tell me in comments!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

My Dream Bathroom

Have you ever been wandering around somewhere like the Ideal Home Exhibition, or visited someone else’s home even, and started thinking about what your ideal bathroom would be like? Well, that’s me right now! This is how I would describe my dream bathroom…

A photo of a spacious bright bathroom with walk in shower. Title My Dream Bathroom written above.

A Decent Size

Ok, it doesn’t need to be huge. But I would like it to have a space to sit and to actually be able to move around, as well as some bathroom storage. One of our previous homes had the tiniest bathroom you have ever seen. I honestly didn’t think that I would mind too much – until we actually moved in and I realised how annoying it really was!

Storage

I mentioned this already. But storage is a must! Our current bathroom lacks any shelves or cabinets, which means that the windowsill and bath end up looking cluttered, plus our medicines are therefore in a kitchen cupboard downstairs instead. I hate not being organised! However, I will even go as far as to specify that what I really mean is practical storage – not the kind where you bang your head getting out of the bath or trip over it everytime you walk in… been there and done that way too many times!

Walk-in Shower

I love walk-in showers. When we went to Vegas several years back, our suite had the biggest walk- in shower ever; it was amazing! Honestly, I could have spent all day in there. Squiggle loved it too; she took her bath toys in and pretty much treated it much like her own personal splash park! She prefers showers, as do I, but she also really likes to sit down under the water as well – so a seat in the shower would be ideal for her.

A photo of a walk- in shower

Privacy

My dream bathroom would have privacy. In particular, it would have a working lock. I get that the child safe locks on family bathrooms are really good for some scenarios. But do you know how easy those things are to just bust straight open without even realising the door was ever actually locked?! Ask Squiggle, she will tell you… since she has enough experience of doing that to me! And no one banging on the door either. Ok, I know…too far fetched… but I did say this was a dream bathroom!

Underfloor Heating

I would love for my bathroom to have underfloor heating. It is relatively cheap to heat and it feels so cosy! Enough said.

Eco- Friendly

Last but not least, my dream bathroom would be eco- friendly! So in addition to the underfloor heating, I would like there to be plenty of natural light and energy efficient lighting for when it is needed. But also, the biggest environmental consideration with bathrooms, is of course water usage. So anything that helps conserve water would be a must for my dream bathroom to be truly complete!

What would your dream bathroom look like? Tell me in comments!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

The Importance of Self- Care: Why the Bathroom is One of the Most Important Rooms in Our Home

As a parent, especially as a carer too, it can be difficult to find time to relax. Yet self-care is essential. And that is why, for me, the bathroom is one of the most important rooms in our home. Like for many people, it is a place of sanctuary; whether that is simply a chance to quickly grab two minutes to take a refeshing shower, to enjoy a long hot soak in the bath, or give yourself some much needed pampering time. Here are some fab reasons to retreat to the bathroom…

It has a lock!

For many family homes, this may be the only room in the house where you can literally lock yourself away and get away from it all, while still being in the comfort of your own home. The psychological impact of knowing nobody can barge in any second is actually just as significant as the lock itself. It means guaranteed space to yourself until you choose to leave!

Sense of privacy

Aside from the locked door, it is often more accepted and expected that people in the bathroom should be left alone. Granted, this isn’t always the case, but there is perhaps slightly more chance compared to other rooms… in theory at least! This means you can take some time-out in relative peace. (Hopefully!)

Water is relaxing

Taking a shower or soaking in the bath is a good way to unwind. The water soothes and helps to de-stress both your body and mind.

We all need a little pampering

Whether it is a luxurious bath filled with oils or salts, a gorgeous face mask, or simply doing a quick wax, it feels good to look after yourself. So treat yourself to some lovely pampering then leave the bathroom feeling rejuvinated, ready to take on the world!

A lady pampering herself in the bath

So how to make the most of this ‘bathroom time’ then? Well here are some top tips to make the most of your bathroom…

Set the mood

Dim the lights, add one of your favourite scents and turn on some music. Even if it is just a two minute sanity-saving trip to the bathroom, you could blast out one of your favourite tunes while you escape to let off some steam!

A lovely bathroom with typical bathroom features including a comfy stool

Make yourself comfortable

Consider having somewhere to sit (other than the obvious!) in the bathroom if you plan to be in there for some pampering time, as it isn’t exactly much fun being perched on the edge of the bath for long. A small bathroom bench, or even chair if your bathroom is big enough, would be perfect.

If you prefer showers, you could even consider getting a shower seat if you feel more comfortable sat down. Also, walk-in showers are essential to self- care for those with mobility issues.

A shower cubicle with seat

Don’t forget supplies

Grab yourself some snacks, and pour yourself a drink. Perhaps even take in a book or magazine. And of course don’t forget whatever bathroom goodies you intend to pamper yourself with too!

So there you have it! My essential guide to making the most of your bathroom for self- care, and why you should definitely consider the bathroom to be of the most important rooms in your home!

What are your best self- care tips? And why do you love your bathroom? Let me know in comments!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Strategies To Help Children Who Procrastinate

“Not now” and “later on” are common things that a household with older children or teenagers will hear. It could be relating to homework, chores, or just general helping around the house. And in many ways, it can be completely normal. Even us as parents can put off the less than desirable tasks as we have other things to do instead or don’t have the energy right then and there to do them. What is important is noticing if you or your child are an occasional delayer, or if you or they are a proper procrastinator and do so because of an underlying issue. Dealing with children that delay tasks for either reason can be a challenge, but knowing the difference and why your child does it can be even more of a challenge.

The thing is, if children are delaying these kinds of thing at home; by simply not starting them with enough time, not completing them, or not even bothering with them, it can cause them some challenges in life. It can mean lower grades, less freedom due to parental punishments, or the inability to take part in extracurricular activities.

A group of teenagers chatting happily

Some reasons why they will put doing things off could be:

• Boredom or lack of interest

• Poor time management

• Lack of self-discipline

• Lack of empathy and seeing the relevance of the task to them

• Fear of failure or anxiety

As parents, we need to identify why it might be that our children are putting off doing certain things, or just not wanting to do them at all. Do any of these reasons resonate with you? If so, then it is a good idea to intervene. Here are some ways that you can help your child to be more focused and productive…

Use Your Experiences to Share and Relate

Whether our children like it or not, we have been there and done that, so to speak, and can share some of our life experiences. You could talk about how to become a productive student and what changes you had to make when you went off to University, for example. You could share what you struggled with as you were growing up and what you learned, or strategies that helped.

Clarify Your Expectations

If your child puts things off because of anxiety or the perceived thought of failure, then make sure you are clear in what you expect of them. You are highly likely not expecting perfection; so let them know. Focus on the effort it takes to do something, rather than the end product, or the score, or grade.

Help Teach Problem Solving

Children with anxiety will be likely to make a small situation much bigger than it is, in their head. If they perceive failing at a certain task before they’ve even done it, then it could mean to them that they’ll instantly be punished or become unpopular. The scenario is not likely to happen, but the thought that it could might well be enough to put them off. Help your child to do some rational thinking about this and sometimes even talking about worse case scenarios will make them see it is not that bad. Also help problem solving skills and confidence by starting with smaller, more manageable tasks. You can also teach relaxation skills too.

If Anxiety Gets Too Much

If your child has anxiety, it is important to be understanding and support them in beating their anxiety, using approaches that help them feel able to do whatever it is they are trying to achieve. Gentle nudges out of their comfort zone without making it too overwhelming tends to be effective. If their anxiety becomes unmanageable, CBT and/ or self- help strategies can sometimes be very effective. If it gets to a point where anxiety is significantly affecting daily functioning though, please ensure you seek professional help asap.

*This is a collaborative post.

My Favourite Holiday Memories

I love thinking back to old holidays, reminising about my favourite moments and the funny times. An old photo, comment from a friend or even just a random memory popping into my head brings a smile to my face; holidays are often so full of moments to be treasured!

My Favourite Holiday Memories title with beach background

My first ever holiday (I think!) was a trip abroad to Majorca with my parents. I don’t remember a single thing about it to be honest, except that my mum was heavily pregnant with my brother at the time and I am pretty sure lied to be allowed on the plane! I remember seeing photos of her lounging on a sun bed and one of me wearing sunglasses on the beach. I looked so happy in the photos; so even though I was too young to actually remember any of it, I clearly had a good time!

My first proper holiday without my parents, aside from residential school trips in the UK and France, was to Tenerife with a friend when I was 16. I fell in love with it and it instantly felt like ‘home’. I was so drawn to it that I returned a couple of years later to live for a short time, working as a bar rep. There were loads of amazing, fun memories from those days, as I am sure you can imagine! I would love to return one day; perhaps to the otherside of the island though, as it is more family- friendly. www.holidaygems.co.uk have some fab deals if you are tempted by this idea too!

#TBT Tenerife days

A post shared by Katie (@living_life.our_way) on

Some of my funniest, and fondest, memories are actually of holidays closer to home though. There were girly weekends away with one of my favourite people in the whole world, which we still often giggle about now – years later. Or the Scotland trip we went on with my mum. And not to forget of course, the wonderful family holidays I have taken Squiggle to as well.

A photo of Squiggle and her mum on the beach playing in the sea

I can’t pick a single favourite holiday; I loved each one in different ways and for very different reasons. Each one holds lovely memories of precious moments with people I love, randomness and laughter! That’s why I love holidays so much!!!

What are your favourite holiday moments? Tell me in comments!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

How To Set Yourself Achievable Goals

Whether you’re looking to implement big change in your life, or just looking to make small steps towards being a better version of yourself, setting goals is paramount. However, there’s a difference between setting achievable goals and giving yourself unattainable targets. Ambition is an enviable trait – and ensuring your hard work leads to accomplishments is the reason behind goal setting. So, how do you create achievable goals for yourself, and ensure you see them through to their conclusion?

How To Set Yourself Achievable Goals title with faded tape measures image

Set targets to reach your goal
It doesn’t make a difference whether you’re chasing one or numerous goals – getting started will always be the most difficult part. It can be a daunting proposition, looking at the goals you’ve written down and wondering how you’re going to achieve them. For this reason, it’s recommended that you split your goals into further micro-goals, or targets. This way, you can start small and build on those early successes. Once you get started, you’ll soon find that the psychological benefit of completing each of these smaller targets toward your goals drives further determination.

Create detailed and specific targets to meet your goals
It’s important to clearly understand what you need to do. The more information you can include, the easier it will be to follow. A specific target gives you more focus. One commonly used example of this is if you’re planning to save money. Rather than ‘save £2,000’, incorporate more detail to keep your eyes on the goal: ‘save £2,000 for home renovations’. Then set the specific targets: ‘save £600 for new hardwood flooring, £1000 for new kitchen units, and £400 for re-painting the whole house’. The added detail and smaller target totals make it more achievable, whilst keeping you focused on why you’re saving.

A desk with planners, notebooks and organisers

Give yourself a timeframe
Further adding to the emphasis on detail, giving your goals a specific timeframe is an important factor in motivation and accomplishing targets. They also encourage action. Take, for example, a ‘flash sale’ email from your favourite brand, telling you that you can get an unmissable offer if you buy within the next 24 hours. The likelihood is that most of us have been persuaded by this before, and this is because the time-bound offer triggers a psychological reaction. Setting yourself timeframes for your goals works in a similar way. If you know you’ve only got a certain amount of days to achieve, you’ll be spurred on to put in the work. If your target is open-ended, it can easily fall to the bottom of the pile.

Put them down on paper
Having your targets written down provides you with something to refer back to. If you’re lacking in motivation, look back at your goals and remember why you set them in the first place. Seeing them in black and white makes the goals feel real, and helps to keep you focused one step at a time. Keeping them at the front of your mind allows you to focus on the bigger picture.

Lost sight of your goal and missed your targets? Don’t beat yourself up, or let it slip back further. Remind yourself of your next targets and review/ amend them if they feel too unrealistic. Focus on achieving the targets one at a time with your eye on the end goal you’ve set yourself and get back on track. Without these constant reminders it’s easy to let goals slip, which is a definite no-no. Start with a simple list, then edit and grow as required.

Make your goals realistic
Arguably the most important aspect of setting yourself goals: make them realistic. If your goal isn’t attainable, why set it in the first place? It’s a slippery slope when you become over-ambitious. Confidence is crucial, there’s no doubting that, but if you aim too high you risk knocking this confidence and subsequently giving up. Simply put, it can do more harm than good. Start off small and, once you have more experience, you can aim bigger and better. Many people set end-goals and put too much focus on getting there. It’s easy to forget that the journey is where you learn and develop. Whether it’s professionally or as a person, never take your journey for granted. Celebrate each target reached!

Weight lifting

Measure Your Progress
This is an obvious one, but it’s easy to forget if you’ve got multiple goals to track at once. Measuring your progress is important for many reasons. It helps keep you motivated – if you’ve lost weight for example, you’re more likely to feel confident on your progress and continue to work hard. If you’ve not hit targets, you know you need to put in more work in order to achieve your goal within the set timeframe. There are hundreds of tracking templates for almost anything, all you have to do is a quick Google search. Keep track of how you’re performing, and adjust your plan to make sure you accomplish what you need to.

Take accountability
There’s nobody else you can blame for your failures (or your successes) other than yourself. You’re responsible for whether your goals are accomplished or not. Others may be responsible for minor setbacks, but your overall success is down to you. Hold yourself accountable and work hard to achieve your goals!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Mothers Day Gift Guide & Giveaways

Mothers Day is just around the corner; so whether it is a gift for your own mum or mother figure, you are in charge of getting something thoughtful from the kids, or you are simply looking for ideas to treat yourself this Mothers Day (and why not!), here is my gift guide full of inspirational ideas…

Mothers Day gift guide to title with image of botonique, rock and ruddle hairbrush, extra bright star gift set and hersey & son silver star pendant jewellery

Botonique (Non-Alcoholic Drink)

Botonique is a non-alcoholic drink that is perfect for mums to be, anyone looking for a healthier alternative to alcohol or just don’t drink for whatever reason! It looks like Proscecco, but has herbs, spices and citrus blended with sparking water and pear juice to create a unique flavour. In addition, it also contains a blend of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, which alcohol is known to deplete. This means it has some great health benefits; it provides anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, alkalising, detoxifying and hydrating qualities. It also contains just 1/6 the calories of wine too, with no added sugar, artificial sweeteners, flavours, colours or preservatives.

Cost: £6.99 per 750ml bottle.

Botonique bottle with 2 champagne flute glasses

Giveaway…

One lucky reader can win a bottle of Botonique. Simply enter via rafflecopter below. Ends 31st March 2018. T&Cs apply. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rock and Ruddle (Hairbrush)

This stylish brand of hairbrush comes in a selection of creative designs and makes a cool, unique gift that can be personalised too. It comes in two sizes; travel size or full size. They are made from ethically- sourced boar bristles (so note; not for vegans!) and are good quality brushes that are great for your hair.

Cost: £20 – £30 (exact price depends on style/ size).

Rock and Ruddle hairbrush with pretty bird design

Star Name Registry (Name a Star)

Give the gift of a star with Star Name Registry! You can name a star after your loved one as a unique and special gift. These come in a range of prices depending on which package you choose and they make a perfect last minute gift too! You can read more about them on my previous blog post and I have a giveaway to win an extra bright star gift set over there as well!

Hersey & Son (Silver Jewellery)

Hersey & Son is a traditional UK silversmith (one of the last in the country!) established in 1955. The range is made by hand in their London- based workshop and includes tableware, photo frames, wine coasters and jewellery. Most pieces can be personalised too. These beautiful items make a gorgeous gift.

Cost: £20 – £600

Giveaway…

One very lucky winner can win a lovely sterling silver star pendant with an initial of the winner’s choice (worth £45)!

Hersey & Son star and initial pendant

Hersey & Son star and initial pendant (Birthstone gem not included in giveaway)

To be in with a change of winning this amazing prize, enter via rafflecopter below. UK only. Ends 4th April 2018. T&Cs apply. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What is your perfect Mothers Day gift idea? Let me know in comments!

*All items included in this post were gifted for either review or giveaway. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Why not servicing your car is a false economy

With the mounting costs of family life, things like your car’s annual service can seem like an unnecessary expense. Servicing your vehicle isn’t compulsory like an MOT, so it’s easy not to prioritise it. What’s more, if your car is running fine, with no obvious problems, you can fall into the trap of putting off your service to save money.

However, not maintaining a regular service interval can often be a false economy, as a service aims to ensure your car runs efficiently and economically. What you think is saving you money in the short- term, could actually cost you far more in the long run.

At an MOT, the majority of checks are aimed at making sure your vehicle is safe, whereas a service is more focused on the overall maintenance of your car. The garage will check vital parts for signs of damage or wear and will check fluid levels and top up as required. They’ll also carry out an oil and oil filter change to maximise engine efficiency. By ensuring you stick to your service schedule, problems may be picked up early which may reduce repair costs.

However not maintaining regular servicing can also result in a number of other problems which are highlighted in the following infographic from Stoneacre

A useful infographic about what happens if you don't service your car.

Be honest, how often do you service your car at the moment? Are you more likely to keep up a regular service schedule now? Let me know in comments!

*This is a collaborative post.

Living Greener In Your House

Living a little greener throughout our lives is something we think is hard to achieve. Companies like to croon all the time about how energy efficient they are, and yet when you have all that money behind you it seems so easy to keep that up! However, a huge lifestyle change doesn’t have to be in swing here, and some simple changes are just as effective as taking to a cabin in the woods. We already know a child friendly home with a bit of flair is possible, but what about living as green as possible whilst still being comfortable?

A vase of flowers on a wooden table in a large bright room.

Check Your Appliances

Checking your appliances means going around your house in the last five minutes at the end of the day and making sure everything is turned off and unplugged. It’s something simple and yet so effective, and you’re not going to be donating valuable hours to it. You see, even when something is plugged in and switched off, there’s a very good chance it’s still using power, considering how popular the standby function is these days.

At the same time, make sure everything you use has a good energy rating. When something is in the A band for electrical use, you’re not going to be wasting any energy simply as a byproduct of chilling your food in the fridge for example. And that also ends up saving you some pennies, which all add up at the end of the month.

Start Recycling Everything

Of course, not every material out there is yet capable of being recycled. But recycling as much of your waste than ever before means you’re going to be doing a great bit for the planet.

Sort through your clutter! If something is using the space you need to live harmoniously, it’s definitely going to need passing on. Make some effort on reducing your carbon footprint; don’t throw away anything that could be avoided. Make sure any electronic waste you have laying around, either on the side tables or in the attic, are being disposed of or sold off. Those old laptops are never going to see the working world again anyway! Sometimes you can make some cash, sometimes you just have to part with an object responsibly.

Open Up Your Curtains

If you have curtains, make sure they’re open for as long as they can be during the day, and then close them at night. Keeping a room warm is a lot easier when you’re using the insulating material over the windows to full effect after all. You won’t have to turn on the heating so much when you’ve got your curtains on a tight schedule, and it just takes a bit of arm work to pull them open and closed when the time comes to it.

There’s a lot of little changes you can make to your daily routine to make sure your house is as green as possible. Try to incorporate these moves as soon as you can to save you time and money.

*This is a collaborative post.

Random Acts of Kindness Day & Valentines Day: Spread Some Love!

Happy (belated) Valentines Day and happy Random Acts of Kindness Day everyone! Firstly, an apology. I had good intentions, I genuinely did. My ‘Spread Some Love’ theme for this year was meant to include a bunch of giveaways for you all; I contacted companies, started to arrange the details… then we were hit with a family bereavement and that sent Squiggle’s anxiety spiralling. With a mental health crisis on our hands, naturally everything else just got thrown to the wayside. So I hope that you all appreciate the sentiment ‘it’s the thought that counts’ and know that I would have done this – and will as soon as we are back on top!

However, in the meantime, Squiggle wrote a message…

Paper heart cut out with message 'Happy Valentines Day! I love Everbody!' written in pink felt tip with hearts over it.

Squiggle had her own ideas about how to spread love too, which fitted in perfectly for both Valentines Day and Random Acts of Kindness Day combined! These were entirely her own initiative of course, which is particularly why I was so touched by her thoughtfulness.

Her first idea is to buy some small plush hearts to give out to people wherever and whenever the mood takes her. So sweet! She also told me to put the heart message (pictured above) in my coat pocket so she could randomly hand it to someone. Lastly, she made a point of smiling, waving and verbally greeting or complimenting everybody she saw in some way. For an autistic child with severe anxiety disorder this is huge! She pushed herself out of her own comfort zone in order to be friendly to others – I am so proud of her!

As for kindness to her family, she gave us this…

Happy valentines day message with lots of colourful hearts drawn and written by Squiggle.

Two hearts - one sweet and one chocolate - in a bowl.

Now this may not seem like much, but Squiggle bought these in Ikea a few days beforehand and thought ahead to Valentines Day by saving some heart ones specifically that she had chosen for us. The fact that she went out of her way to do that and chose to give away something she had meant so much! Like the saying goes; ‘if a child gives you a rock, cherish it. It is all they have to give!’