It’s easy to spend every Friday and Saturday night putting on a movie and sitting on the sofa mindlessly flicking through our phones. Being parents to young children we know it’s not always easy to make the time for each other, especially after a hard day of looking after the boys, it’s the ultimate down time. So it’s important once a month that we make time for date nights. We don’t have that many options when it comes to babysitters, and we never use them just to go to the cinema or go out to dinner because we save them for big events when we really want to go out together. With Valentine’s Day fast approaching I thought I would share 15 stay at home date night ideas for anyone who isn’t able to get a babysitter, or perhaps if you aren’t able to leave your children to go out. There’s just as much fun to have together at home.

– 15 Stay At Home Date Night Ideas –

Cook together – this is one of my favourite things to do. Getting something like a Hello Fresh box means you have a step by step guide to a surprise meal you can cook together with a glass of wine in hand. I love this as my husband doesn’t cook things from scratch very often so learning how to cook makes for a fun night in together.

free date night ideas for valentine's Day nights in with no babysitter

Wine or beer Tasting – pick up a selection box of beer and find out the history behind each one – marking and describing them all as you go through each taste.

Watch your wedding video with your wedding wine, or look through photos of your first holiday together chatting through your favourite memories.

Gift your loved one a little present, a book they might find interesting or a new posh candle they’ve been lusting after. It doesn’t have to be an expensive gift, just something to show you’ve thought about them in the lead up to Valentine’s Day. Check out my Valentine’s Day gift guide video here.

valentines day date night in ideas for couples who don't have a baby sitter

Have a couple’s spa evening complete with back massages and soaking feet in a foot spa. Maybe even share a bath together, candle lit and relaxing without the children wanting to get in and squirt you with water!

Play YouTube Karaoke! Click Here for ideas.

Set up a dessert station where you can make exciting ice cream bowls filled with loads of different sweets, or hire a chocolate fondue kit to dunk strawberries into.

valentines day date night in ideas for couples who don't have a baby sitter

Play video games if it’s something you don’t normally do! Something like the NES Mini can bring back memories of playing nostalgic video games like Mario Bros!

Make cocktails, pizzas or a cake! Get creative and make sure you eat at the table with a couple of lit candles so you make the effort to have a proper conversation about things rather than watching TV.

free date night ideas for valentine's Day nights in with no babysitter

Plan a holiday together. Look through guide books, check Trip Advisor, work out budgets, look at online photos and get excited about planning a special trip.

free date night ideas for valentine's Day nights in with no babysitter

Play a board game, it’s amazing how fun this can actually be when you play a game together, especially with a glass of wine!

free date night ideas for valentine's Day nights in with no babysitter

Build a fort – an oldie but a goodie!! Everything seems better when you’re surrounded by fairy lights and big fluffy cushions!! Make a floor picnic of cheeses and picky bits and enjoy snuggling up with some popcorn and a movie after.

Look at an old photo album together and reminisce about the times you spent together during that time. Or look back on old family photos and tease each other about how awful their clothes/hair/style was when they were growing up!

free date night ideas for valentine's Day nights in with no babysitter

Make Lists! Bucket lists, places you want to visit, favourite things about each other, favourite outfits on each other – they all get you talking and are a fun way to engage each other during the evening.

21 Questions – Stuart and I filmed a couples questions video during Vlogmas and it was so much fun attempting to guess the right answers! Make up the questions and take turns trying to answer them about each other.

free date night ideas 21 Questions - Stuart and I filmed a couples questions video during Vlogmas and it was so much fun attempting to guess the right answers! Make up the questions and take turns trying to answer them about each other.

I hope you liked these date night in ideas, pop over to watch the video here. Have a happy Valentine’s Day xx

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You may have seen my New Year’s resolutions video recently where I resolved to have less stuff, so I am really getting into minimalism this year and I wanted to share my tips for how to be a minimalist! There’s a video up on my YouTube which I will link below, which contains 12 hacks to help you on your way to being a minimalist, but to get you started here are 5 quick and easy tips. Please let me know in the comments if you have any more ideas or hacks which you find help you be more minimalist and have. less. stuff.

How to be a minimalist 12 hacks to get you started

– one –

Know why you are doing it. To keep yourself on track. Whether that is because you want to save money, to live a less cluttered life or perhaps you’re looking to buy a house and need to downsize. Put it down on paper so you can return to it when you need some inspiration to keep it up.

– two –

Use up all of your products before buying new ones. I am terrible at this one! I get to about a third less and I never use it again – I need to get better at this! Often they are expensive skincare items so I now make sure I am finishing things up before buying new products!

– three –

Make sure you clean your car out every couple of days. You could work really hard at cleaning your home and space around you, but if you don’t extend this to your car – your office even, then the feeling of a less cluttered lifestyle can be put back every time you get in your car to go anywhere.

 – four –

Tackle the small stuff first. Gain momentum by doing the easy things first and getting a good feeling from having achieved that. Start with things like your handbag or condiments cupboard then move onto the hard stuff like the wardrobe and linen cupboard!

 – five –

Go and unsubscribe to all those emails you don’t want to be receiving, all those people you met once on holiday but don’t actually ever see, and all those people who have a negative energy. Getting rid of all the online noise will help you cut down on what activity you have to actually be dealing with online and leave you more time for the things you do want to see and the things you enjoy looking at.

Come and take a look at my 12 Minimalist hacks video over on my YouTube for more ways to live a less cluttered life. Thank you for watching! xx

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It’s no surprise that when we were telling people of our plans to take our 10 month old baby traveling we were met with a lot of shocked expressions and “wow you’re brave” comments. And of course we were concerned about certain aspects of it and knew we’d need some tips for traveling with a baby. But I can honestly say that it was so so easy. It really wasn’t any different to being back home, apart from adjusting to the time zones and a couple of difficult bed times. So if you are in the position to be able to take your baby on a long holiday then please don’t be put off.

TIPS FOR FLYING WITH A ABABY OR CHILD

The flight;
I wrote some tips here on how to survive the flight. During our first 9 hour flight Henry only slept for 45 minutes so we certainly needed some serious distraction tools. For us snacks worked better than toys. We were able to make a box of raisins last about an hour at one point! We took 6 flights in total and Henry was brilliant, so much better than I anticipated in a confined space at funny times of the day. My main tip would be to try to get the bulkhead so that you have a lot more room by your feet for them to have freedom and you can get the bassinet for them to sleep in if you can get them down. If you expect the worst, they will probably pleasantly surprise you!
Our 7am flight from LA to Vancouver.
Jet Lag;
I won’t lie, the first 4 days were very early starts. He would wake at around 4am and be ready to start the day playing! And it was also tricky when we returned home. If you’re looking for tips to readjust your child I would recommend the following;
Try and give them the first day to catch up on their sleep when they want to if like Henry they didn’t sleep much on the plane. Don’t book too much in, take the time to adjust.
Give them as much daylight during the day time hours, this adjusts their internal body clock most effectively if they are back to front.
Try and stick to your home routine as much and as quickly as possible, gradually introducing a later or earlier bed time depending on which way they are out.

tips for travelling with a baby

Timings;
Day 1 of our return;
Henry was spot on to his pre trip routine the day we got back – 2 naps and bath and bed at 6.30pm – talk about a false sense of security! At 9pm he woke up and would not go back to sleep despite shushing then almost an hours walk out in the pram. We came to the conclusion that he was just not ready for bed and so we allowed him to get up and play for a couple of hours before trying him back again at 11.30. At this point Stuart and I hadn’t slept for over 37 hours so we were tired little bunnies. Luckily for us Henry slept in until 11.30am – so 12 hours, just the wrong times!
Day 2 – Awake at 10am, bedtime 9pm
Day 3 – Awake at 9am, bedtime 8pm
Day 4 – Awake slight slip back to 10am, bedtime 9.15pm
Day 5 – Awake at 8am, bedtime 7.30pm
Day 6 – Awake at 7.30am, bedtime 7pm
Tomorrow let’s hope for normal 6.30am wake up and 6.30pm bedtime!
My main advice would be, don’t book anything too intensive in for the first few days. This will help limit the stress for both you and your baby. We were lucky that we were staying with our friends in Chicago for a week, so we had loads of space for him to play in for those first few early starts, and we could limit our adventures until he was settled.

tips for travelling with a baby

Packing;
We certainly didn’t travel light, and that was mainly due to the amount of time we were away for and the 2 extreme climates we had to dress for – Canada in April and California in May! If you are struggling with luggage weight limits I would recommend that you try not to bring too many of the same thing, such as sleep suits and vests as there will always be washing facilities within the hotel or nearby. You shouldn’t need towels as all hotels have them for both showering and swimming. Think about how many days you may have by the pool or on the beach as these days you won’t necessarily need a full outfit for them on top of their swimming outfits (sadly ours wasn’t such a holiday this time!). Think also about your traveling days as you could think about using a sleep suit for the aeroplane rather than an outfit (my experience is that they get utterly filthy from crawling around on the floor during the hours of waiting for planes.) Here are my top 3 products I wouldn’t go away without.

tips for travelling with a baby, the review

Driving;
It goes without saying to time your naps around your traveling needs of course; as you would do at home. But this was really key for us as a couple of days we had a lot of ground to cover. We would set off straight away after breakfast so Henry would have 1hr 20mins plus another 40 mins or so of being amused looking out of the window. Then a break for lunch and a play somewhere he could get out and explore, followed by the same during his after lunch nap. This only happened a couple of days as usually we would limit our driving to 1 sleeps worth every few days.
 tips for travelling with a baby
Day time Activities;
It was really important to us to make sure Henry was getting enough mental and physical activity as possible, so if you’re feeling the same I’d suggest you do some research to see where local soft play and children’s centres are. In America they have “Children’s Museums” which are fantastic and we were given passes by our friends in Chicago to the local one there which was packed full of amazing activities for all ages of children, Henry had an amazing time exploring. We found loads of these around the States. The beach was also a huge hit for our boy who’d never felt the sand between his toes before and on cooler days he would spend hours playing with it, fascinated.

tips for travelling with a baby

After 6 weeks, 6 flights, and 4 time zones we certainly learnt a lot as well as seeing a fantastic array of beautiful sites, and these are just a few tips, but please get in touch if you wanted any further advice for your upcoming trip. Try not to let the planning and preparation stress you out and enjoy the memories you’ll be making with your family.
 tips for travelling with a baby the review
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superhero style decor toddler room ideas

For a mum, there aren’t many priorities that top making things special for your children. That can mean anything from a special gift to a fun experience, or anything in between. But one way you can do something special for your child that will really last is by putting some special design touches on his or her bedroom.

Sometimes, bedroom design actually falls by the wayside. You might set up a nursery with calming colours and soft décor before a baby is born, but after you might not think to do a full-scale re-design; instead, you might simply add new things to the room as your child grows up. That’s all good, and if the child is comfortable and happy that’s really all that matters! But if you have a young child beginning to develop his or her own interests, you can really have fun crafting a room to suit those interests.

Here are a few fun ways to do it!

red star and gnome toddler bedroom accessories

Emphasise Favourite Colours

As I mentioned, a lot of parents will put a good deal of thought into a nursery design, and paint (or wallpaper) colour tends to be a bit part of that. Should you do baby blue for a boy, and pink for a girl? Or what about a slight variation with pale green for a boy and pastel purple for a girl? Or should you choose something more neutral like a pale yellow or a soothing off-white for the room? These are questions a lot of us ask when we have a baby on the way.

The fun part about watching a child grow older is that you no longer have to answer these questions! The child can. Some time ago Elle Décor posted a gallery of inspiring children’s rooms. While there’s a lot to glean from the designs, one thing that stands out is colour. Each featured room has one or two defining colours, and they’re not just rooted in the pink and blue stereotypes. The lesson here is to see what colour (or colours) your child might have a preference for and design accordingly.

superhero and comic book magazines in frames for toddler decor Fun Tips For Decorating Your Child's Room

Build Low Cabinets Or Shelves

Sure, the idea of carpentry doesn’t sound like you’re creating a magical wonderland for the little ones. But I remember watching a friend’s toddler play a few years ago and being overcome by the cuteness of the little girl arranging her toys neatly on a shelf that was about up to my knee! It’s since occurred to me that children like to collect things, and they deserve the space to organise those things.

For this reason, I’d recommend building some small, low cabinets or shelves into your growing child’s room—and this actually isn’t too difficult. Aside from basic building materials, you’ll just need screws and a power drill. Screwfix’s inventory of Makita drills can help you to get an idea of what such a tool can accomplish. These drills feature the latest technology and can quickly do the work that might take you hours manually, which means any old mum (or non DIY Dad like my hubby!) can turn into a suitable carpenter to build little shelving for kids!

Fun Tips For Decorating Your Child's Room

Consider Bunk Beds

Bunk beds don’t always seem to be the most practical options. Indeed, unless you have twins or you have young children close enough in age to share a room, they might seem wholly unnecessary! Yet, if you recall being a child yourself, you may remember being fascinated by the idea of bunk beds. There’s just something exciting about them, whether it’s the promise of a friend staying the night at some point, or simply the tiered element they add to a room. One bed on top of another, to a child, may as well be a fort (which of course is great fun).

There are innumerable ways to design bunk beds, though in the end you’ll probably need more than materials and a drill for this one. You may need some outside help (or you may just have to make a purchase), but for some inspiration, the extraordinary bunk bed designs featured at Architecture Art Designs can all be of service. Some of them are truly outstanding.

ikea kallax set up and storage ideas in children's bedroom

Supply Special Animals

I know, this sounds oddly specific in the context of room design. But let’s face it: every child loves stuffed animals! And better yet, larger stuffed animals essentially function as furniture (or at least pillows) for a small child. So it’s always a fun idea not only to stock a child’s room with stuffed animals as a form of decoration, but to find some particularly special ones to do it with.

If you want, you can always go for your child’s favourite stuffed animal, or else simply find some big cuddly ones you enjoy yourself. But a company called Budsies also offers a particularly special approach which I actually really love the idea of as the boys get older. They build custom stuffed animals based on children’s drawings (whether or not they resemble actual animals at all). It’s great fun, and something that your child will appreciate to no end. In fact, you may even find yourself tempted to build one or two on your own!

superhero style decoration in toddlers bedroom Fun Tips For Decorating Your Child's Room

I hope you like these ideas, I’d love to hear any of yours or see some of your little one’s rooms as I am gathering ideas for when George moves up into a “big boy bedroom” from his nursery so I’m looking forward to designing that with his tastes in mind!

This post was written in collaboration with Erin Marshall.

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str10

It’s the perfect time of year in the UK to take the family out Strawberry picking. The vibrant red fruits are at their juiciest and the boys love to be out in the open and running around freely in the fresh air.

We try to go every year, and now George is walking he loved it just as much as Henners. Toddling along enjoying the freedom and safety of the fields, giggling as we chased him around the lush green beds laden with succulent treats under every leaf.
strawberry-picking

Where to go Strawberry Picking in Hampshire;

There had been a short break in the weeks of rain we’ve been suffering in the South so we decided to get out and head to our favourite spot in Hartley Wintney, Hampshire to go to strawberry picking with our close friends, and George’s Godparents, with their little boy too.
strawberry-picking
West Green Fruits is just 15 mins outside of Basingstoke. It’s a family run business with a huge 20 acres of farmland boasting an extensive range of fruits to be picked including Strawberries, Raspberries, Rhubarb, Gooseberries, Black & Redcurrants, Blackberries as well as New Potatoes and some Summer vegetables. The staff are all really friendly and Henry loved having a little sit on the tractor at the entrance when we arrived.
strawberry-picking-hampshire
George confidently stomped his way around (in that tummy out, shoulders back “geezer” manner that all new walkers adopt!) for a good part of our visit, until he began to tire and began squishing all the rogue, discarded fruits each time he flopped down onto his bum. So we popped him in the carrier where he was happy to hitch a ride.
strawberry-picking-hampshire
Just checking this one passed the strict quality control measures Stuart had set in!
Henry guided his little brother through the fields hand in hand, showing him where all the best ones could be found (albeit then swiftly eating them himself!) It was just lovely to watch and it’s so nice seeing their bond grow each day.
cute-brothers
We came away with 3 full punnets of fresh fruit and 2 very full little tummies; smiling faces stained pink, happy with their day’s work.
It’s so important to teach the boys where their food come from, and going to a PYO doesn’t just teach them that, it also helps support local farmers and businesses.
strawberry-picking
The Strawberries will be around for another few weeks and then the raspberries will be ready in all their glory. Why not take your family for a visit to your local farm?
strawberry-picking
Sunshine, fresh fruit, and a free family day out; can’t get much better than that.
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