Thursday, 16 February 2017

From Drab to Dreamy: Simple Steps to Create a Beguiling Bedroom

When you walk into your bedroom, how do you feel? Does it leave you feeling cold or can you not wait to climb into bed, curl up, and relax? Your bedroom should be a tranquil space, which offers you respite from the chaos of the day. If your bedroom is more drab than dreamy, here are some simple steps you can take to create a beautiful boudoir.

Choosing a colour
Colours are not just important for their aesthetic appeal. The colour you choose can also play a major role in setting the tone of the room and adding ambience. Some shades perk us up while others encourage us to feel calm. In the bedroom, try and avoid bright colours and go for muted tones. If you love colour, you can always add splashes using accessories and soft furnishings. If you’re not sure about which colours to use, have a look at some paint charts, and try some samples. Always test shades in natural light, as they can look very different in the dark. White, grey, eggshell blue and lilac are popular choices for romantic, relaxing retreats. If you want to add more interest to plain walls, you can hang prints or opt for patterned cushions, curtains and throws.


Making your bed look fabulous
Do you look forward to getting into bed every night? If so, you’re not alone. Most of us can’t wait to hit the hay and chill out by the time the evening arrives. Your bed is probably the main focal point in your bedroom, and it’s well worth making an effort to ensure that it stands out, and grabs the headlines. If your bed looks tempting, it’ll be much easier to create that cosy vibe in your serene sanctuary. Start with your bed linen. There’s nothing better than getting into bed and settling down in fresh, clean sheets. If you’ve had the same bed set for years, now is the time to do some shopping. Visit some home stores and have a look online for options like bed linens from Richard Haworth. Once you’ve chosen some gorgeous bed linen, you can make your bed look even more appealing with cushions and blankets. Go for complementary shades and patterns, and don’t be afraid to mix textures. Furs, wool, and cotton work brilliantly together. Finish off that cosy, comfy look with a couple of rugs for the floor.


Adding that 'boutique hotel' vibe
If you’re keen to add a little va-va-voom to your room, embrace the boutique hotel vibe, and set up a seating area within your bedroom. Place a couple of wingback chairs in the window with a small round table or go for a modern chaise longue. So that at the end of a long day, you can catch up with your partner, watch TV or read a book in comfort.


If your bedroom is looking a little dull or tired, it’s time to inject some personality and create a room that is fit for chilling out, winding down, and resting up. At the end of the day, you want to be able to retreat, soak up the peace and quiet, and head to bed in a room that makes you feel calm and relaxed. Take these tips on board, and hopefully, you’ll be enjoying your new beguiling boudoir in no time at all.

Here's some snaps of my own bedroom - you can read about our decorative choices for this room in more detail here. We've opted for a calming monochrome palate, with accents of colour coming from the bed covers and the artwork.

Mrs Bishop's Bedroom

Mrs Bishop's Bedroom

Mrs Bishop's Bedroom

Mrs Bishop's Bedroom

This is a sponsored post.

How To Spend More Time With Your Children

As our children start school and begin to make their journey towards adulthood, it can seem we become a little distant.  No longer are we joined at the hip like when they were toddlers.  Maybe you feel sad about it or perhaps you think it’s better for your children to have more independence?  


toddler holding hands of parents


If you have had to go back to work part time, you work from home or you are a full time housewife life can get really busy, especially in the mornings and at bedtime.  Sometimes it can be like everything goes by in a blur and we suddenly realise we can’t remember the last time we relaxed together or had a proper conversation.  If you can relate to this then it’s time to look at ways of regrouping and how you can spend more time together between school and your commitments.


If you have time, a great way to see how your children are dealing with their growing freedom is to volunteer at their school.  Not everyday! (You don’t want to be that parent!)  Maybe only a handful of times in the academic year? Perhaps you could get involved in planning one of their school tours or find out if they need any reading assistants or lunchtime supervisors.  Reading with other children as well as your own is great if you have younger kids. Having mummy or daddy in the classroom can be a real buzz and they look forward to having you on their turf.


Making an effort to stop for dinner is a tradition that seems to have been lost with modern life.  More and more of us are eating later or choosing to split dinner time into two sittings.  The children and then the adults.  Occasionally, we sit and eat watching TV but most days we eat as a family around the table, it is a really important part of the day for us! Personally, I think the loss of family mealtimes is really sad, so do try to bring this routine back into your life. If your partner works late, try to encourage him to get home early once a week so you can all have dinner as a family.  TV off, phones away, this is a time to talk about your day and learn more about your children and their individual personalities.  


smiling boy with ball


Weekends should be about fun!  Whilst busy mums and dads may want a lie in or some quiet time to get on with the housework, children will be full of energy and wanting to play.  Look at local activities around you then carve out a few hours of each day, without fail, to nip out and reconnect as a family.  You could try horse riding or climbing, even just going for a long walk together is enough to fill their lungs with air and help burn off some excess energy.


Don’t let time go by putting a bigger gap between your family.  Get a routine and stick to it.  Nothing should be more important than watching your children grow.  

This is a sponsored post

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Protecting Your Children from the Bedroom's Hidden Hazards

children sitting

Even the most vigilant parents can have a tough time identifying all of the considerable risks to a child that the average home may possess. Even when they think they are doing their best to protect their children, there are so many things that they may have overlooked. This is not helped by the fact that many products that are sold specifically for kids and the protections of children turn out to be less safe than one would expect.

Shockingly, around 500,000 children are injured in their own homes each year in the UK. Sadly, some of them will be injured fatally or develop life-long health issues as a result of their accident, and the bedroom is one of the most hazardous rooms in the home. So, what can you do to ensure your kids are protected in the bedroom?

Deal with Bedroom Hazards

One of the most common causes of childhood accidents in the bedroom is furniture. You will probably have heard about the six children who were not long ago killed by IKEA chests and dressers, which toppled over on them! If you have big dressers, bookshelves and wardrobes in the bedroom, it is important that you take steps to secure them to the wall. Most furniture comes with wall anchors that will prevent them from falling over when children do what they do and swing on, or try to climb up the furniture.

Bumpers
5607646371_876965bc0c_z.jpg

Bed bumpers and guards look great, and they stop your children from falling out of bed, but did you know that they can be extremely dangerous for children under 12 months old? Bumpers, along with soft toys and blankets in the bed, increase the risk of suffocation and strangulation, so remove them until your child is a bit older for a safe nights sleep.

Fit Baby Gates

Young children cannot be relied upon to stay put in their bedrooms, which is why it is so important that you take steps to secure them while they are in there. Fitting a safe, recommended baby gate is the only way you can keep kids in their rooms and away from the stairs, but you need to ensure that you fix the gates solidly to the wall. You should also choose a baby gate which is at least 22 inches high and which has slats that are under 3 inches apart, to prevent escape artist toddlers and to stop little hands and feet getting stuck.

Mattresses

One of the most important considerations you should make when kitting out a baby’s room is their mattress. There are lots of different cot mattresses available, from natural fibre mattresses to those stuffed with anti-allergy fillings, and the choice of material can either hinder or help your child sleep, but more important than the material of the mattress is whether or not it conforms to the BS 18777-10:1997. If it doesn’t, then it may not be safe for your precious baby to use.

Another thing to consider when buying a cot mattress is its size. If a mattress is to successfully support a baby, it should be between 8-10 centimetres deep.

You should also avoid using a second-hand mattress unless you know how it has been used and who it has been used by. That doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money on children’s mattresses because harrison mattresses are very affordable and they offer a lot of choices.

If you are using a fabric mattress, whether, for a baby or an older child, you need to vacuum it on a regular basis to get rid of any dust mites that could cause allergies.

Paint
nursery

Painting your new baby’s bedroom is one of those simple joys in life that mark a milestone and get you excited for the new arrival, but paint can be packed with toxic VCOs that don’t do anyone lest a brand new baby any good.

Thankfully, it is now possible to buy natural, eco-friendly paint, which although slightly more expensive than standard paint, does not contain any of the nasties you would find in the average can of paint. Use it, and you will all breathe easier at night.

Windows

Windows are a big hazard in any bedroom where a toddler might wander. So, it is always best to keep them locked if possible. Of course, when the weather is good, you may well want to let some fresh air into the bedroom, which is where a window guard comes in. Typically made from mesh, a window guard will allow you to open the windows in your children’s rooms, while providing a barrier to prevent them from taking a dangerous tumble.

Electrical Sockets

Toddlers will stick their fingers in anything, including electrical sockets and there are few things which could be more dangerous to their health! Even if you are vigilantly watching your toddler, you only have to turn away for a second for disaster to strike, which is why you should always fix electrical socket covers over every socket in their bedroom and in the rest of the house too! It will give you peace of mind if nothing else.

Choking Hazards

Always check the bedroom for any choking hazards before you allow your children in there. Everything from Lego bricks to batteries can have serious consequences when they are swallowed, which is why you should keep young children’s rooms clean, tidy and you should regularly sweep/vacuum the area for any small bits that could have fallen to the floor.

Baby Monitors
baby monitor
Even if you do everything right and you think you’ve removed all hazards from your child’s room, there is still a slight chance that something could go wrong. Especially when your child is a very young. With that in mind it might be a good idea to keep a baby monitor in the bedroom. These days, you can get baby monitors that show video as well as sound, and they are a great way of keeping an eye on your young ones as they sleep. Peace of mind as a parent is vital and by taking these steps to ensure your child's safety, you will rest assured that they will remain safe.

Although there are many hazards in the home, they can all be avoided with a little vigilance from you - nevertheless it’s better to be aware of the dangers than missing them and have an accident happen.

This is a sponsored post.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

A beautiful personal illustration by Helena Mackevych...

I've been eagerly waiting to be able to share this post with you - I'm so excited to introduce to you the wonderful work of illustrator Helena Mackevych (Nice Things by Helena). I came across Helena's work by the power of social media, and as soon as I saw her beautiful style I knew I just had to commission her to create a piece for our home. 

illustrations by Helena Mackevych
Illustrations by Helena Mackevych

I've always been passionate about art, especially illustration, and there is something so splendid about discovering an artist you love and them being able to weave their magic using a picture/photo/place that means something special to you. 

Helena's distinctive style reminded me of lots of my favourite books as a child, so many of which I still enjoy reading today with my own children. The way she captures colour, expression and mood in her work is so enchanting, and you can't fail to smile when your see her pieces. 

Helena works from your personal photographs, re-creating them using watercolour paints. Firstly, she produces a drawing in pencil for you to check before she inks and paints it. Paintings are done on 300gsm hot pressed smooth watercolour paper and are painted with artist quality watercolour paints. Once finished she will email/message you a picture of the finished painting, before sending out the original by First Class post. 

I commissioned Helena at her busiest time of year (early Dec) and the finished painting has been with me for over a week now. I imagine her timings vary depending on how busy she is, so I'd always err on the side of caution and get in early if you need your painting by a specific date/occasion. Mine was a gift for my husband Liam, and wasn't for any specific occasion, so I'd assured her I was in no rush and would happily wait until the New Year. 

I chose a very special photograph of Liam and our daughter Connie, wearing their super-cute matching stripe PJ's (from Matalan's #GetYourStripes campaign for Alder Hey Hospital). I absolutely adore this picture of them, and it evokes such happy memories of our first Christmas season with our baby girl completing our little family. 

Liam and Connie Bishop - matching stripe PJs
Liam & Connie in their #GetYourStripes PJs

Helena did an absolutely amazing job of re-creating our special photo in watercolour, and now hubby has seen it (and adores it!) I am so excited to be able to finally share it with you!

Pencil sketch by Helena Mackevych
Pencil sketch by Helena Mackevych

Liam & Connie by Helena Mackevych
Final painting by the super-talented Helena Mackevych 

We've now framed this special commission and it has pride of place in our kitchen, for all to see! It's only been up for a couple of days, and already everyone who has visited our house has commented on how wonderful it is. 


Liam & Connie by Helena Mackevych framed
Framed and ready to display! 

our Helena Mackevych painting
Pride of place in our kitchen! 

I cannot recommend Helena enough, she was an absolute pleasure to work with on this little surprise for hubby, and I am utterly overjoyed with what she has produced for us. It is a very special painting which we'll treasure forevermore.

If you'd like to commission a watercolour of your own from Helena then contact her via her Facebook page Nice Things By Helena or her Instagram account

illustrations by Helena Mackevych

If you could choose a picture for Helena to re-create, which one would you choose? I'd love to know! 

Mrs B x


Thursday, 2 February 2017

Avocado, Chickpea & Feta Salad Recipe

Avocado, Chickpea & Feta Salad Recipe


I am totally mad about this recipe - it is truly delicious, super filling, full of healthy goodness. It's my go-to quick lunch and it is absolutely bursting with tons of zingy flavour. 

I love this recipe so much because it combines so many of my favourite foods, plus it has roots in both Mexican and Greek cuisine, my two faves! 

You can knock it up in just a few minutes of chopping and mixing, so it's perfect if you don't have much time. As well as making an amazing lunch it is also a great base for a dinner, or it's the perfect addition to a buffet table or picnic box. 

FETA, CHICKPEA & AVOCADO SALAD

(Serves 2)

Ingredients

1 can chickpeas (240g drained)
100g feta cheese, crumbled
1 avocado, diced
1 red chilli pepper, fine dice
3 spring onions, finely chopped
20g coriander, finely chopped
juice one lime
salt and pepper 

Method

1. Mix the chickpeas, feta, diced avocado, red chilli and spring onions and mix well. 

2. Sprinkle over chopped coriander, mix again.

3. Pour over the lime juice, mix well and season to taste. 

418 kcal per portion

I served my salad with some stir fried bok choi (Chinese cabbage), but it is so versatile it would go so well with a whole host of extras, or stands alone as a meal in itself. 

DELICIOUS! 

Enjoy lovelies, 

Mrs B

xxx

Avocado, Chickpea & Feta Salad Recipe
^^ Why not PIN THIS for later^^


Wednesday, 1 February 2017

What was in our January Degustabox?


Degustabox

It's that time again - spilling out the contents of my January Degustabox which arrived last week. 
January 2017 Degustabox contents
January Degustabox Contents:
  • Quinola Mothergrain - Ready cooked organic and fairtrade pearl quinoa with split peas. 
  • Aspire Drinks - 2 x healthy energy, calorie free, sugar free beverage. Containing green tea. 
  • Finn Crisp - thin crisp breads with crunchy seeds and sea salt. 
  • Natvia - the 100% natural sweetener that's sweet like sugar without the calories. 
  • Protein Boost - Strawberry flavoured milkshake containing 20g protein.
  • Fruitella 30% Less Sugar - fruit chew sweets.
  • Yushoi - Coconut & Chilli Yushoi Snapea rice sticks are a delicious alternative to potato crisps. 
  • Crabbie's Scottish Raspberrie Alcoholic Ginger Beer
  • Popchips Ridges - Smoky bacon flavoured ridged crisps.
  • The Chia Co - 2 x small sachets of chia seeds 
  • Littles Coconut Coffee - liven up your cup with natural island coconut infused instant coffee.
  • Pip's Real Hot Choc Co - Hot Chocolate coin for making a deliciously indulgent hot chocolate. 
January 2017 Degustabox contents
My absolute favourite item in this months box was the Little's Coconut infused coffee, it is blooming delicious - so nice that I will definitely be buying it again when I see it in the supermarket. It tastes so indulgent and has so much flavour. I love being introduced to brands I've never heard of through my Degustabox subscription. 

Littles Coconut Infused Coffee
We all loved the Popchip Ridges Smoky Bacon, the popped not fried' potato snacks are so moreish, and at less than 100 calories per portion they're a winner in our book. 

We aren't big sweet eaters here in the Bishop household, but my twin sister Jo is a sweetie-fiend so she gladly accepted a gift in the shape of a bag of Fruitellas, waste not want not and all that. 

The protein shake came in handy as a post-workout refuel for me: I'm hitting the gym twice weekly at the moment and am so far only dipping my toes into the world of protein shakes and supplements. 

The Finn Crisp crisp breads were really brilliant - shaped like tortilla chips, they are a perfect healthier alternative to chips and dip. We dipped ours into reduced fat hummus for a balanced snack. Yum! 

I'm excited to try the Pip's Real Hot Chocolate coin - I've popped it in a safe place (away from husband and children) and will relish it as a treat on a cold February night. 

Another cracking box! I wonder what will be in next month's box? Exciting! 

---------------------------------------------------------

Would you like to give Degustabox a try? If so you can receive a whopping £7.00 off your first box by using code:

1VRVA

at the checkout! 

Enjoy lovely peeps...

Mrs B

xxx

For more info on Degustabox follow them on their social media channels:
Degustabox social media

(We were sent our January Degustabox in return for this honest review.)