Amelia Salmon

UK Parenting, Lifestyle & Beauty Blog. Mum to Darcy

Thursday, 7 June 2018

5 Summer Activities For Toddlers



With the warm weather now here, I am always looking for ways to keep Darcy entertained when we either need to stay at home or just some cheap we can do in the garden and crafting seems to be one the easiest.
Some fellow bloggers had some amazing ideas all of which I can't wait to give a go and I thought Ii'd share them with you.


Louise did a great blog post about how much her girls enjoyed footprint painting and it's as easy as it sounds, whats better is she had the paddling pool out so the clean up was so easy.




Creating a fairy garden you can buy the little fairy doors and paint them yourself - get the little ones to choose some pretty plants and some coloured stones like the ones you use in fish tanks - then get some plastic fencing from Poundland to put around it. I loved this idea, it's so sweet.. definitely think Darcy would enjoy this.


I've seen this before but completely forgot it was a thing..such a good idea and I love anything that is mess free to be honest! All you have to do is put paint on a piece of cardboard, wrap cling film around it and voila! So simple.






I really loved this idea as it is an activity you can do together with your little one, it's really easy and the link above takes you to a step by step guide on how to do it, they can pop it in the garden as a little decoration for them.



This a such a cute and inexpensive craft which I can't wait to do, we could be a little late for dandelions now but I don't see any reason why you couldn't use any flower petals. They make such a pretty gift for friends and family too!


I liked this idea because little ones can see the birds eating something they've made and it's something that you can all do together outside.


*All photos are from the links above them*

Amelia
xxx

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Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Review | Westcord City Centre Hotel Amsterdam

View from Westcord City Centre Hotel

Recently we went on a child free trip to Amsterdam *woohoo* it's the first time we've left Darcy to go abroad and whilst I was super anxious about doing so, it was so lovely to get away and have time as a couple. I knew she was in safe hands with my mum too, It's not for everyone leaving there children but it's so healthy and she really enjoyed getting spoilt by the grandparents.

I will do a whole other blog post on the trip to Amsterdam itself but I did want to touch upon the hotel we stayed in on its own rightful post.


We came to Amsterdam for Paul's 30th so it was a pretty special trip. We arrived very early, around 10am so I only expected that we would be dropping our bags off in the luggage room before we went and have a look around the city then come back at 3pm which was our check in time. The kind lady which I think from memory was maybe called Monica or Monique found us a room available  right there which was so nice as we were so tired from getting up so early so we could relax for just a bit. She was so friendly and welcoming, even rang the room to make sure everything was okay once we were up there which was something I'd never experienced before from hotel, I really felt they went above and beyond what I'd have expected from them. We were asked if we wanted breakfast but I always like finding a nice spot to eat so chose not to however we did walk through both mornings and it looked delicious so maybe we should have eaten there and we would do when we go again. 

The following day which was Paul's birthday after being out we came back to our hotel room to find balloons on the door and champagne chilling on our bed, this was just lovely. They must have realised this from our passports because we hadn't initially mentioned to them that it was his birthday, this was possibly one of the nicest touches any hotel has ever done. 

I suppose I haven't really spoken about the more specific things about a hotel, you know the stuff people really want to know, like was it clean etc? Yes it was, if I'm totally honest.. I wasn't expecting much.. when I stay at a city hotel I'm always thinking well it's just a base isn't it really, just somewhere to put your head for the night but yes it was very clean, very modern and very well looked after, it even had a nespessro machine! It was just the right size and had everything we needed. With the airline that we travelled with we needed to check in 30 hours before which meant we had to do it whilst in Amsterdam and the hotel had a computer with printing facilities which I was pleased about. Regarding location it was so centre, 2 minute walk away from Dam Square and Centraal Station so really perfect to get everywhere

All in all, this was the best hotel I've stayed at in a really long time.. they really look after there guests. I really want to go back! I definitely will be in the future. 





Not the best photos, you can tell I'm not a natural blogger when I forget to take photos,and when I do, they aren't great!
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Wednesday, 9 May 2018

3 Steps I'm Taking To Step Away From My Phone



Recently, I've read and watched online several influencers come forward and reveal that they believe they have an addiction to their phone. 'Addicted' I think, comes across as a very strong word so when you first hear it, it sounds a bit silly. It's been something I've been thinking about for quite a while now, possibly since Darcy was around 6 months old? Which is over 2 years then.. woah.

I've never thought of it quite as an addiction because I can put it down straight away if the thought ever comes through my mind that I'm currently spending too long on it, it's just it isn't much longer after that I've picked it back up again!
Sometimes it totally strikes me, what am I actually looking at!? I'm just aimlessly scrolling through other peoples life's and I don't ever really know what I am looking for. Self-fulfilment? Because if I needed that I've got my beautiful daughter right in front of me. I sometimes wonder what life was like before phones, because I can't even quite remember how I filled my time and it wasn't even that long ago! It's mad really isn't it. I do believe though in some ways the real reason I use my phone as much as I do is put a lot down to loneliness, I spend my days with my 2 year old and whilst there is certainly absolutely nothing wrong with that, I wouldn't change it for the world, I think I like to know what other adults are doing out there and it just kind of fills the gap of an adult being in the room.
I don't play games, well I have a couple of games on my phone but definitely don't go on them everyday, perhaps once or twice a week so I know my addiction doesn't surround that. It's purely around social media, when your hobby pretty much is social media it makes it a little bit difficult! I do need to cut down on the scrolling though. it's become such a habit that like I said earlier I don't even realise I am doing it! 
Steps I will be taking to make sure I cut down are:

1. Keeping my phone further away ie. leaving it upstairs when I am downstairs and vice versa.. not all the time but whenever necessary.
2. When I feel like I am about to go and look at my phone (for absolutely no reason) I'll replace that thought with something else such a book. I am going to start keeping a good book within reach because that isn't such as bad addiction.
3. Actually think about why I am about to use my phone, is it for something productive and useful?


After re-reading all of this ramble, I do know how silly I sound but I hope this is something somebody else can relate to!

Amelia
xxx
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Friday, 27 April 2018

3 Bookkeeping Tips to Help Mums Save Money


Let’s be honest, raising kids is expensive. The spend starts well before birth and never really ends. Whether mums go back to work or not, family budgets are squeezed a lot tighter, so knowing (and using) a few useful ways to track spending and save money makes life a lot less stressful.

A Simple System

Simple is always best, and as bookkeeping has a ‘businessy’ sound to it, many mums don’t think it can be any real help, or that it will be complicated and time consuming.

To set up an easy bookkeeping system you can use a notebook, Excel on the computer, or a combination of both.

In a notebook, you’ll need four columns on the page: one for the date, one for what you bought, one for how much it was, and one to record the difference it made in your bank balance. Just draw three lines down the page and head each column in the order given, so the date is on the left and the bank balance on the far right.


Start entering numbers by putting your current bank balance at the top of that column (use your bank statement or you online banking app). From now on, every time you buy something, jot down what it was, what it cost and when you bought it. Subtract the amount from your bank balance, and put the new balance in the row with the purchase.

Start a new page every month (or every week if you buy a lot and your pages are small) and always begin by putting your current bank balance in the top right column. Don’t forget to subtract standing orders or direct debits to keep the balance accurate.

If you keep an Excel spreadsheet, set it up exactly the same way. The advantage of using a computer is that you can make columns automatically add up.

Saving Receipts Can Help

Try and get into the habit of carrying your notebook all the time. A small one takes up hardly any space in your bag and it only takes a moment to jot down what you bought and how much.

Sometimes, though, you don’t have time to stop and write in a book. Receipts are your lifesaver. Hang on to them (and ask for one if it’s not offered when you buy something), and fill in the details once you get home and do have a moment.

Unless you’re keeping receipts for a business, you can bin them once the information is transferred into your bookkeeping records.

Family bookkeeping is a lot different from business bookkeeping in this respect. For a business, you do need to keep all your receipts, and may find an accountant or professional bookkeeper helpful in setting up a system that’s more suited to business needs. An accountant would also have valuable advice if your family finances are more complicated, for instance if you have investment income. But for purely family budgeting, you can safely throw away your old receipts (except when they’re for warranties or you might need to return an item).

Making Use of Your Records

Saving money is a lot easier when you can see where you spent it. Maybe your restaurant or cafe bill is way bigger than you thought (one cup of coffee in a fairly basic cafe can run up a bill of around £40 a month), or top-up grocery shopping is costing as much as the usual ‘big’ shop does.

Having a written record of everything you spend money on lets you pick a category (say days out or coffee with friends) and just add up the cost of those items. You can quickly figure out how much you could save if you did things differently, and also how much you’re willing to change habits so you can meet savings or other financial goals.


Once you get the habit of tracking money, it can even be fun and rewarding. If you have older kids who get pocket money, teaching them how to track what they spend it on will also set them up for good money management and budgeting skills in the future.


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Monday, 16 April 2018

Why Its Normal To Be Anxious About Your Childs Future




It's hard not to think about your child's future, how you want them to grow up and how you want to raise them, your hopes and dreams for them but I find it so hard to ignore the current change in society and just how quickly times have changed. I consider myself as a pretty young mum, Darcy was born when I was 21 so I didn't have long since I experienced my own childhood, but in that short space of time social media really kicked in as well as many other things. The effect social media is having on teenagers  (and younger!!) is crazy, I'd hate to have had all this pressure on likes ect, the whole 'popularity contest' at school was bad enough and this does really concern me for Darcy. 
I like this blog to have some sort of positive to every post so I'd hate to write something blurting out all my concerns and worries, post it and then be like thanks for reading byeeee. So what I will say is I do think we as parents will learn to parent in a slightly different way to how our parents did, partly because it's a generation change but we also have social media to take in to consideration now. I found it interesting to see that I wasn't the only one worrying about this when I asked fellow bloggers and actually pretty reassuring, I learnt that social media wasn't the only thing people were anxious about and some things our parents may of worried about with us too. I think also, as a parent we will always have something to worry about anyway because that's just what we do!

My daughter has a lot of allergies and I worry about another child using that against her in the future, as I've seen videos of this happening on social media sometimes. - Katy

I worry about my children's self-image because social media often portrays a 'right' way to look and act. It concerns me that they might lose themselves a little (or a lot) trying to confirm to this. - Cass

I worry about just how young children are becoming sexual and the unrealistic expectations of boys. Even primary school girls are being encouraged to send topless or nude pics to their peers. I am so glad they didn't have this when I was young and I really hope I can give my girls the confidence to say "No". - Kate

I worry that social media makes it harder to form real world meaningful relationships and worry what this will mean for future generations - my kids included. - Kate

I worry about, if they choose to go, whether they will be able to afford to go to university. And then whether they’ll be able to get on to the housing ladder. - Pete

I worry that they will never learn how to read a map & get hopelessly lost without any signal! (Seriously!!) So I’m going to teach them. - Louise

I have three children, one of whom has severe learning disabilities. I’m afraid for his future because he is incredibly vulnerable and open to exploitation. Who will look after him when we are no longer around? I don’t want all the burden on his two sisters so am always thinking of and trying to plan for his future. - Alice

I'm Mum to 6 year old twins and 7 month old twins, I am embarking on a home educating adventure. This makes me anxious. What if I'm not clever enough. What if I cant cope with being with all four children 24 /7. What if i keep them in school and they cant cope with it. I am anxious about everything. - Nina

 I am petrified of my kids being cyber bullied. Some people are so nasty over social media, I am so worried that my kids will be targets one day. Saying that, my worst fear is one of my kids being one of the bullies - which I honestly hope NEVER happens. But social media is getting worse. - Beth

Gaming and it’s power of addiction I find it really scary that kids are outside less and less. - Kate

I do hope that we as parents worry less. or at least find a way to be able to worry less because I can't see  social media going away.

Amelia
xxx
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Thursday, 29 March 2018

The Terrible Twos - 5 Tips To Help You Survive


I hate moaning about Darcy, but man are kids testing sometimes!! Darcy is currently going through a phase where it seems as though she is playing some sort of game with me.. like she is seeing how far she can push me. Boy do they push you. It's not like she is a throwing huge tantrums kind of girl and that isn't the problem, the kid has a terrible attitude, has become so rude and is just generally like a teenager before her time. It must be some sort of phase... i hope??!!

I am still learning what my parenting approach is and sometimes I think it changes from day to day because I want an easy life which is completely lazy parenting, i know, i know. Certainly no expert over here but there are a few ways in which I tackle her (not literally)

Time out - I don't use this that often but I find it really effective when it does come into place. Can give you much needed break too for a couple of minutes and also to think about your next move if needs be.
Distraction - This is a good one if you want your child to be quiet quicker but not always good depending on the kind of behaviour and if they needed telling off. Getting a toy out and talking in a silly voice is usually a good one.
Offering Choice - Darcy likes to have a bit of responsibility, she's a very independent girl.. sometimes I find offering too much choice can be overwhelming for them and cause it's very own little tantrum but giving no more than two options can give them a sense of feeling like they got there own way.
Sleep - The main root cause of Darcy having a difficult day and being a bit of a nightmare is usually because she is tired and to be honest I think we as adults can relate to this, sometimes it's good to have in your head an excuse for there behaviour especially if like me you feel like you're totally failing sometimes.
Patience -  I think if you asked me the question 'What is the biggest thing you've learnt since having a child?' my answer without a doubt would be in the words of take that 'have a little pateince' this is my survival through tantrums, luckily I'd consider myself as a pretty patient person, I've often felt it wearing thin though!

Hope these tips provide you with some sort of survival - if all else fails.. then there is always Gin. For you.. not the baby! 

Amelia
xxx
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Wednesday, 14 March 2018

3 Reasons Why You Should Book Tenerife As Your Next Holiday





We've been to Tenerife 3 times now and I would never of considered myself as someone who goes on holiday to same place all the time but I've really grown to love it here. The all year round sun, the fact you can go holiday in December to somewhere within a 4 hour flight away and come back with a tan! I've never visited any of the other Canary islands and I think that I would like to, so from someone who has visited Tenerife a few times and knows the Costa Adeje & Playas Las Americas area pretty well I thought I'd give you 3 reasons why you neeeeeed to go.


As I mentioned first of all, the weather is a very good reason as to why you should go, we went back in December and I just couldn't believe that I came home with a tan, which I definitely didn't expect. I mean, yeah we had a couple of miserable days but it was just glorious to be somewhere hot two weeks before Christmas.

The food is another great reason to visit, so many beautiful restaurants and it's the ones without people standing outside trying to entice you that you want to visit, we found a hidden gem which had gorgeous tapas dishes, you will find so many of these places and you should try all the food even the ones you're not sure you'll like because you might surprise yourself!

It's probably the most family friendly holiday destination I have ever visited. This is quite important to factor in when planning your holiday, there are so many boat trips you can do, days out (water parts, jungle parks, zoos, ect) they are so friendly towards children and I think Darcy was given a lollipop from the staff 10000 times a day, it makes you feel so much more at ease when you know you're welcome, especially in restaurants when its's not the easiest place to keep a child quiet.

I've written a blog post all about our trip to Tenerife so check it out, I can wait to book our next holiday here.


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