Super Stylish ShortStitch

The loveliest surprise landed on our doorstep a few weeks ago, the most perfectly curated box of goodies from ShortStitch, a unique styling service for busy families. ShortStitch call this, their 'Box of Yay!' the children and I certainly did to a little cheer when we opened the box to reveal it's rather stylish contents.

A few days earlier, I'd signed up to ShortStitch online, I filled in a form giving some details about the children's clothes size and answered some questions about the sort of clothes that they like. This was then followed up by a phone call by our lovely stylist Niamh, who asked me a few more questions about the kind of looks we normally go for, where I usually shop for children's clothes and importantly, if there were any specific items that the children needed.

Our Box of Yay arrived a few days later full of gorgeous pieces from brands such as Petit Lucette, My Twirl, Soft Gallery and ilovegorgeous, complemented by shoes and accessories from Manuela de Juan, etiquette and Rockahula kids. 

Little Miss E's stand out piece was definitely the beautiful sundress above from a gorgeous brand that I hadn't come across before called My Twirl. As the label says, the dress spins out beautifully as you twirl around, it's a classic dress, the kind that I know I would have loved as a little girl myself. Rufio adored the palm tree linen shirt from Petite Lucette which looks super cool with chinos and the canvas shoes below.

Niamh managed to get both children's styles absolutely spot on and I honestly couldn't have chosen a better selection myself. The children were thrilled with the selection and were so excited to try everything on. It was such a tough decision to chose a few pieces from the selection, I would happily have bought the entire box!

I have recently returned to work full time, for the first time since having my little ones and it's exhausting. One of the many many things that I miss is having a few hours to browse the shops to buy bits and pieces for the children.
Another big issue for me, is finding age appropriate clothes for my children, both of whom are very tall for their age. I did mentioned this to my stylist who took this in to account when putting together our box.

ShortStitch is a genius style solution perfect for busy parents. Now all we need is for them to come up with a mummy version!!

For more info visit www.shortstitch.com


Selecting the Right Dog for Your Family

A dog is a fantastic addition to any home. They bring a lot of joy and are especially good for children.
Over the past few years, studies have shown that children that grow up with dogs benefit in many ways from doing so. It didn't surprised me to learn that they are often healthier than children who do not have pets. Kids with dogs are more active and play outside more and consequently they also develop stronger immune systems.
Studies also show that pet-owning children grow up to be more empathetic. Typically, they are more willing and able, to take responsibility for others.  If you want to read more about why dogs are so beneficial for children, you can do so here.

How to choose a family dog
However, to be able to experience the benefits outlined above you need to find the right type of dog. Not all breeds make good family pets.

How good are they with children?
Most dogs like being around children. However, some breeds are more highly strung than others are which means they find it harder to cope with the ups and downs of family life. A good breeder like Douglas Hall Kennels will always take the time to point you in the right direction to make sure that you take home the right breed of dog.

Your family dynamic
Another important consideration is your lifestyle. If you spend a lot of time outdoors enjoying activities like hiking, a working dog is a great idea. They will be able to keep up with you and spend more time with you as a family.Whereas for a family that spends more time at home a smaller toy breed is normally a better option. Most of these little dogs only need a short walk and the chance to curl up with their owners on the sofa to be able to stay happy and healthy.

How much outdoor space you have
Another important consideration is how much space your dog will need to be able to live comfortably and stay healthy. Working breeds like to be outside, so for them, a family with a nice big garden is a better fit than one that lives in a flat. You also need to think about how your home is decorated. If you live in a property that is carpeted throughout, you do not want to own a dog that moults a lot.

How much spare time you have
If your life is hectic, the last thing you need is to spend a couple of hours every week grooming your dog or hoovering up pet hairs. For a family like that, a short-haired terrier would be a much better option than an Afghan hound.

Your family budget
Another important consideration is how much it would cost to keep your dog. If you are already living on a tight budget choosing a small breed would be a lot better than buying a Doberman that could cost as much to feed as a person.

As you can see, there is a lot to consider when it comes to choosing a family pet. However, it really is worth taking the time to do a bit of research and choose your family pet wisely.


Is it Time to Update Your Bathroom?

Most families have a room in their home that they are not particularly proud of, somewhere they would rather visitors did not go. In many cases, that room is their family bathroom.
The fact that many people believe that updating their bathroom is an expensive undertaking means that a lot of them continually put off this job. Sometimes they simply do not realise that this room is
in dire need of an overhaul.

You feel ashamed when guests need to use the bathroom
Perhaps the first sign that you need to update your bathroom is the one we have already mentioned. If you feel ashamed to let visitors in there, on some level, you already know that it is not fit for purpose, and that it is time to give it a makeover.

Impossible to get clean properly
When things become badly worn, or too old, they become difficult to clean. If you find yourself having to spend hours cleaning the grout every couple of months the chances are you need to consider re-tiling.

A musty smell
The smell of mould in a bathroom is another sign that you need to renew something in there. Mould, even in a bathroom, is a serious issue, and not something you should just ignore. As you can see from this story, mould can make you very ill and even kill you, so you really do need to deal with the problem.

Too cluttered and messy
If you go into your bathroom and you cannot find anything, or it looks untidy, it is time to remodel the space and create some more cupboard or shelf space. You will be really pleased you made the effort.

You cannot enjoy a relaxing bath
For most people, their bathroom is a place to relax. A retreat, somewhere to spend a bit of ‘me time’. If you hate being in yours then something is wrong. You need to sit down and work out how to transform it into a room that you look forward to spending time in.

There is always a queue for the bathroom
Another sign that it is time to do something about your bathroom is if you can never get in it because there is always someone in there. That is a sure sign that you need to look seriously at the idea of installing a second bathroom or perhaps a shower room.

A new bathroom need not cost a fortune
If you recognise any of the above signs, you are no doubt now wondering how to remodel your bathroom without spending money you really do not have. Fortunately, the answer is actually quite simple.

The trick is to buy online from a firm like Better Bathrooms. This retailer has low overheads, and because they sell so many units, they frequently offer deep discounts. Plus, you can buy absolutely everything you need for the job, which means that you do not have to waste hours shopping around for the right bolts, or downpipe.


Making the Most of Your Photos

 If you are anything like me, during 2016, you took hundreds, if not thousands of photos. These days we are all shutterbugs, but, sadly, we rarely look at our photos, or do much with them. By the time I get around to organising my photos, I have sometimes forgotten important facts like where they were taken.

Share your photos more 

For 2017, the plan is to change that, and start to get more out of them. Being more organised is going to be key to my doing so. By getting into the habit of sharing them, and, maybe, posting some of them here, I am sure I will look at them sooner and, therefore, sort the good from the bad.

Turn them into artwork
Recently, I have also been looking into the idea of ordering canvas prints from Hello Canvas. This firm has honed their ordering processes to the point where literally anyone can upload their photos and have them turned into beautiful canvas style prints. The great thing about their service is that they will take any photo you send them and print it up in a range of sizes.

If you want to you can upload a few photos into an image editing service such as Photoshop and have fun creating your own works of art. Provided they are high-resolution and you save them in the correct format, you can use them to order a print.

Playing around with image editing software is fun, but you have to be careful because it is easy to waste an entire day just messing around with the filters. If you want to learn more about using software to create your own works of art you can do so here. If you have the time, try out the collage maker on that site. It is very intuitive, so in no time you can create something that you would be happy to hang on your walls.

Instagram: @mrsjoneslondon

Give them as presents 

Given that we do not have a huge home, I am not expecting to use more than a few of my photos as artwork for the house. However, I am hoping to have some of them turned into presents or the family. If you want to you can have them printed out and delivered direct to the person you are giving them to. This is a great option because it saves you both time and money.

Using old photos for Canvas Prints 

Another thing I may do is to help some of my older relatives to scan some of their photos. It is an offer I have been planning to make for a while, but just have not got around to making.

Going through old photos is always fun, and interesting. You usually learn a lot about the family and it is nice to let your children hear some of the stories first hand. Provided you make high-resolution scans of them, most old photos can also be sent off to be printed up and hung in the home.


Christmas Grotto at the London Transport Museum

Only 9 sleeps until Christmas day, and yet I still have so many things on my to do list!!! Luckily, taking the children to see Santa isn't one if them!
If you still haven't managed to book your little ones to see the big guy himself, then fear not! Head on over to The London Transport Museum where the Children can meet Father Christmas in his Grotto and then explore the museum. The museum has also arranged plenty of Christmas activities such as elf trails, workshops and story telling to keep little elves busy. 

Tickets for the Grotto are £12 for one child, £20 for two and £25 for three, when visiting together. I think this is really good value, especially when you take in to account the excellent gifts that the children received. E was given a slap band watch and Rufio a little wooden tube train that fits perfectly on their Brio train set. Needless to say, they were both thrilled.

We had never been to the museum before although loads of our friends had recommended it to us.  Now I know why and I wish I had taken the children there sooner. It is absolutely brilliant, in fact the children both asked to go back again the next day!

Now that school has finished for Christmas, a trip to The London Transport Museum would make a perfect family day out. To book your tickets for the Grotto and for more information on Christmas activities at the museum check out:  www.ltmuseum.co.uk/whats-on/events-calendar/christmas

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