Why you need a morning routine

Hello my lovelies,

There is no doubt about it.  People who consistently stick to a morning routine are more successful.  There have been various studies that prove this.   But how does a morning routine make you more successful?

A morning routine, or lack thereof sets to the tone for the day.   A good morning routine sets the tone for a day where you are in control.  Basically, you want to drive your day instead of letting your day drive you. Think about it.  On those days where you’ve woken up late and your usual morning ritual has gone out of the window it’s been chaos.  You’ve been late for work, you didn’t have time for breakfast, you got stuck in traffic… see? Chaos!

But imagine a day where you wake up, get dressed (you showered the night before) and have a cup of coffee in the quiet before your kids wake up. You unpack the dishwasher ready for the breakfast dishes later and start breakfast before the kids come running through.  While the kids eat breakfast, wipe the counters, take out the recycling, feed the dog and get a load of laundry on. Dirty dishes go straight into the dishwasher.  While the kids get dressed, make the beds, take out something from the freezer to defrost and do a quick 5 minute tidy of the main living areas. By the time you leave the house, you’ve gotten quite a bit done, leave the house in a decent state for later and you feel in control.  Go Mom!

Before the school holidays started I decided to make these 6 weeks count.  I have been working on various techniques in order to get my home looking good, staying motivated and basically, training myself to spend as little time as possible cleaning on the weekends.  I can’t tell you have having a simple morning routine, especially during the school holidays is making life simpler.  I didn’t normally have a routine for the Summer.  But maintaining what I do during term time during the summer holidays means that by 8:30, I can go out for the day with my daughter and come home to a clean, peaceful home.

If you don’t have a morning routine, now is the time to start thinking about creating one. this is my morning routine:

Get up and make the bed

Make coffee (I don’t have to unpack the dishwasher because I did it before I went to bed)

Make breakfast and eat.  Take our vitamins

Tidy up after breakfast (dishes go straight into the empty dishwasher)

Take out meat for dinner to defrost

Laundry on

Quick tidy of the main living areas

While I’m in the bathroom after brushing my teeth, I swish the toilet bowl with the toilet brush, wipe down the mirror and basin with a bathroom wipe.

Boom!  You’re all set for your day. The kitchen is clean.  Laundry is on.  Dinner is defrosting. The bathroom is clean. The main living areas are tidy.  Your kids have been feed and are dressed.

Now that my routine is more established, I plan on working some personal development into my day.  So perhaps, wake up a few minutes earlier for some meditation with my coffee.  This part is going to take a while to establish because I can’t even think before my first hit of caffeine but I’ll work on it.

Get yourself into a morning routine and see how well your day goes.

As always, I’d love to hear from you, so leave a comment below.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

 

 

 

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From doom and gloom to va va voom!

Hello my lovelies,

I have been a woman on a mission recently.  I have been watching loads of Youtube videos from some inspirational women who have been sharing their organizing and housekeeping tips and ideas. I’m totally hooked!

You see, for some reason if my home is messy and unorganized, I feel stressed.  And anxious.  And miserable.  And one thing I’ve learned in my life.  ‘Ain’t Mama happy, ain’t nobody happy!’  I’ve been feeling completely anxious in my home for years but haven’t known how to get my home in shape.  Not only that, I have been so trapped in my own anxiety and misery that I haven’t been able to do something more permanent about the clutter and craziness.   Of course, I’d open a wardrobe, see it in a mess, tidy it and next week it would be back to being a mess. I couldn’t understand why.  The answer, is mostly because

a) you can’t clean/tidy clutter

b) you gotta have a long lasting solution – not just refolding everything in the same way and hope that it will stay like that when it’s never stayed tidy before

So, watching these Youtube videos has been really motivating for me and is really helping me to see how I can improve the organization of my home. Not only so that I can keep it more tidy, but also so that it becomes easier for my husband and daughter to keep things tidy.  Another thing I am finding so refreshing and amazing is that I can now open a cupboard and lay  my hands on exactly what I need withing 30 seconds.  Life changing!  I’ll be sharing some of these organization pictures with you over the next few weeks but today I wanted to show you how we transformed a ghastly corner in our living room.

Our living room, dining ro om and kitchen are open plan. It’s basically a big L shape and up until a few weeks ago, we shared this space with my dirty little secret.  By this I mean, the Bookshelf of Doom and Gloom.

It was just horrible.  So bad in fact, that I would chuck an old duvet cover over it just to hide the contents. I’m going to show you a picture, so you may want to sit down.

Are you ready?

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It was just plain nasty!  It was like a clutter magnet and sucked every bit of nasty clutter straight into it like a black hole. Something had to be done.  The problem was that in order to clear out this bookshelf, I needed to re-organize my kitchen cupboards and get rid of some stuff to make space for the things in the Bookshelf of Doom and Gloom that we actually used.

So one morning, after a good bolstering of Youtube videos and motivation, I get down to work. We’d bought a Kallax unit from Ikea which one of my Youtube guru’s Clutterbug and I was determined to have it in my living room before the end of the day.

I’m not going to lie.  It took me the entire day!  And two trips to do the charity shop to donate items.  The ENTIRE day.  To sort my kitchen and set up this gorgeous unit. But it’s sooooooo much nicer and not only looks pretty but it’s so functional.

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Some of my glassware made it into the unit along with my Christmas planner – the striped file and my home control journal in the other folder along with a few recipe books we frequent.

The drawers contain all our hair supplies that we use every morning like hair brushes, ties, detangler and the hair dryer.  The second drawer keeps our stationery for homework.

The bottom drawer holds all our school homework aids, work books, dictionary/thesaurus etc. The bottom drawer on the right holds all my seasonally changed candle holders and other decorative knick knacks that I like to change around.

I am so happy with the way it came out!  Now when I see it, I feel almost zen like calm!  I go into the kitchen and can immediately find stuff.  It’s a homemade miracle!

Now you’ll have to excuse my kitchen cabinetry.  We are still renovating our house and the kitchen, while it has been rejigged using the existing cabinets, is still in need of a complete make over.  We’ve scrubbed the cupboards out but they’re still gross inside.

But look!

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When I open the plastic cupboard door everything doesn’t fall out on me!  It’s so liberating!  The blue plastic baskets were purchased years ago and were in the spare room holding crap we long since got rid of so they landed up in the plastic cupboard to corral everything. The plain white bin on the right was bought a few days ago at Poundland. I bought a whole stack and you will see how handy they are in later posts.

And I’ve just realised that I’ve stuck the labels for the blue baskets on the wrong baskets!  Nevermind!

This was our junk drawer. Excuse the crap picture.

IMG_3945You couldn’t close this drawer. It was shoved so full of rubbish. Now it has 4 little baskets – I got these in a set of 2 at Poundland – that hold our flashlights and lighters for the BBQ and my various candles.  The other little basket hold the electric toothbrush charger that we always charge on the kitchen counter for some reason.  We also keep batteries in another little basket (with zip lock bags to separate some rechargeable batteries that have been charged and some disposable batteries to be taken for recycling) and the last bin holds ties and pegs for open packages in the pantry.  It still looks messy but it’s organised mess and I can lay my hands on stuff in a second.

Can you hear the angels singing?

Now I could show you under the sink but it’s just more organizing really and nothing revolutionary.

But I wanted to show you this clever idea to help your kids feel more accomplished and give you a break.  My daughter is turning 7 this week and can quite easily make herself some squash or get herself a snack if she asks.  But she wasn’t able to do this because not only could she not reach the snacks/squash, she would have to  wade through the nightmare of a plastic cupboard to find her cups.  Well, no more!

She now has a little cupboard with her things in it.  She has her sports bottles and cups with the squash ready for her to use. And She has a basket of snacks that she can choose from if she asks.  She loves this idea and says she feels like a big girl.  Aw! Mommy heart melt moment!

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If you’re wondering where I found these fabulous labels that you can personalize, print off and laminate at home, check out Clutterbug’s website where she has them free to download.

Today I finished my Family Control Centre which looks fabulous!  I’ll show you that next time.

For now, just know that organizing like this takes time but it’s so rewarding when you feel less stressed.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

Basic Pikelets

Hello my lovelies,

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Today I wanted to share one of my family’s favourite breakfasts.   We’re creatures of habit and usually have things like over easy eggs with toast fingers, cereal or toast with some sort of spread – all of which are super easy to make in the morning.  When I am not too tired, I’ll make up a batch of pikelets the night before and freeze half the batch.  If any pikelets aren’t used for the next day’s breakfast I’ll simply pop them in the fridge for snacks or for breakfast over the next few days.  This recipe is super quick and easily doubled for the freezer.

150g self-raising flour

55g caster sugar

1/4t bicarbonate of soda

1 egg

3/4 cup milk (I use almond milk to make these dairy free for DD)

1t white vinegar

15g melted butter (or dairy free spread)

Place the flour, sugar and bicarb in a bowl and mix together well.  Make a well in centre into which you will crack the egg.  Add the milk, vinegar and melted butter and combine until smooth.  I like to use my hand mixer to do this but it’s easily done with a good old fashioned wooden spoon.

Heat your frying pan, and lightly grease it with a little oil that you spread around with a piece of kitchen towel.  The pan should not be dripping in oil. You need surprisingly little oil and probably won’t need to re-grease the pan again unless you have doubled the recipe.

Drop tablespoonfuls of batter into the pan from the tip of the spoon to make nice round pikelets.  Allow room in the pan for spreading.

When bubbles start to form, but just before they burst turn the pikelets with a spatula and cook on the other side until golden brown.  Slide the cooked pikelets onto a plate, cover with a clean tea towel and repeat with the rest of the batter.

We serve our pikelets with different spreads depending on our mood.  Sometimes we’ll have them with some butter /dairy free spread and strawberry jam or with syrup and blueberries.  DD’s favourite combo is dairy free chocolate spread and sliced strawberries. Don’t know it until you’ve tried it. Pure heaven!

As always, if you try my recipe, please let me know how you got on. I’d love to hear from you.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

 

 

More Harry Potter Christmas crafts

Hello my lovelies,

I’m back today to show you what I’ve been up to the past couple of weeks.

I made a niffler!  He looks a bit like a pot bellied duck but I could only find a pattern.  Zero instructions. It was an extremely frustrating week.  But he’s finished and my daughter loves him.

We’re calling him Ned.

Ned the Niffler.

And as you can see, he’s ready trying to nick my belcher chain.

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Yesterday, Missy and I spent some quality time making these potion bottles to hang on the tree. Thankfully, we didn’t need to use a glue gun for this.  Did I mention that my glue gun blew up.  In my hand.  Bang!  Smoke!  Me:  *freak out*

Glue gun: 1

Me: 0

We used super glue to glue the corks in instead of hot glue.

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Please excuse the dust on our wood burner!  Super embarrassing!

Besides the potion bottles that I got from The Works for £1, I had everything else for this craft project at home.

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I bought the labels from an Etsy shop a couple of years ago when I participated in a Harry Potter craft shop.  I’d say all in this project only cost me about £2.50

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I’m still in the process of making the gillyweed label which didn’t come with the set from the etsy shop.  Once that’s done,  I’ll have a little set of 6 potions or ingredients for our potter tree.SONY DSC

Next up, a Dobby figurine made out of felt.  He’s probably going to be as good as the niffler!

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

 

Foolproof home baked bread in minutes!

Hello my lovelies,

It’s the school holidays here in England and that means 6 weeks of scrambling to find activities for my child that won’t break the bank. Thank goodness for Pinterest and Facebook viral video’s! I found a really cool video for bread in a bag and just had to make it.

Yesterday we baked bread in a bag and it was a-mazing! Light, tasty and super duper easy to make.  In fact, my 5 year old daughter did 95% of the work!

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I measured out all the ingredients in 3 stages so that it was easy for my daughter to add them into the zip lock bag.  She had so much fun!  All you’ll need besides the ingredients, is a large zip lock bag and a few plastic tumblers.  The recipe is in cups which, surprise, surprise I couldn’t find yesterday so I used one of my daughter’s ikea plastic cups which worked perfectly.

So, here’s the recipe and method:

Foolproof bread in a bag

Into a large ziplock bag, add  1 cup of flour, 3 tablespoons white sugar (next time I’ll use 1/2 this mount as it seemed a little sweet to me), 1 pkg rapid rise yeast and 1 cup of warm water.

Seal the bag letting out the air as you go and then comes the fun part.  Play with the ziplock bag and massage it in your hands so that all the ingredients combine.  My daughter LOVED this part!

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When it’s combined, set the bag aside for 10 minutes.

Now open the bag and add 1 cup of flour, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Once again, seal the bag letting out the air as you go and play with the ingredients in the ziplock bag and manipulate it in your hands so that all the ingredients combine.

Open the bag and add a cup of flour.

Seal the bag again and manipulate to mix the flour in.

Lay the bread dough on a floured surface and gently mould into the shape of a bread loaf. Place into a greased loaf tin.

Cover and allow to rise for at least 45 minutes in a warm place.

Bake at 190 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Once baked, turn out onto a cooling rack and wait five minutes before devouring with butter and jam!

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Bright blessings,

Mama R

x

 

 

 

 

My Fair Vintage tea shop

Hello my lovelies,

I have found the most amazing little cafe ever!  It’s just a tiny bit fabulous and I’m so excited to share it with you. It’s called My Fair Vintage and it’s found in Caterham, Surrey.

Everything about this place is straight out of my dreams  vintage tea shop dreams, and I adore it.  Aren’t those cute hanging tea pots and tea cups cute?

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As you walk inside, you are greeted with vintage loveliness and a cosy warm feeling of homecoming. Everywhere you look, there are gorgeous little trinkets and homewares to buy and beautiful vintage looking tea shop decorations that make my inner Pinterest maniac purr in delight!

Just look at those hand painted chairs and tables and the hanging honeycomb decorations…

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This picture is taken from their Facebook page and shows their toe curling Christmas deccies. I’m gutted I didn’t get a chance to visit during the festive season but have definite plans to go this year.

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Alice in Wonderland inspired homewares that I was sooo tempted to buy… and just look at that grogeous painted welsh dresser. It’s for sale, as is other furniture around the store.

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More gorgeousness!  But would you look at that red velevet cake!  The proprietress bakes all the cakes and scones from scratch. She’s a real cake baking master. Paul Hollywood eat your heart out!

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Let us bask for a moment in the  gloriousness that is this cake.

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On the day we visited, there were plain scones, fruit scones, victoria sponge cake, chocolate mini egg cake, coffee and walnut cake, carrot cake and what looked like lemon drizzle cake. How can anybody make a choice?

In the corner on the way to the kitchen is this vintage sweet shop where lovely sweeties are weighed by the pound. Dotted around the shop are sweetie cones filled with nougat, fudge and brightly coloured gem coloured candies.

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There’s a list of teas to choose from but I’ve always loved my breakfast tea which is what I ordered. I adore that everytime I visit I get a different tea cup.  All of the tea cups and pots are mismatched and unique. My daughter loves chosing her table based on which tea cup she wants to drink from.

Swish family Robertson

Swish family Robertson

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She calls My Fair Vintage the Posh tea place because she gets to drink tea from these lovely cups and can actually strain it through a little silver strainer. Fascination in the extreme to a five year old princess wannabe.

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The menu is everything you would expect from such a lovely tea shop.  The kitchen is tiny yet they manage to prepare such lovely meals at very reasonable prices. And all prepared from scratch.

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I’m taking my good friend here in April for her birthday for afternoon tea and I’m excited to say that it was made possible because My Fair Vintage are able to cater so ably for those with food intolerances and allergies.

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I bring my daughter here at the end of every term as a little treat for working so hard and being well behaved at school. In July, I’ve decided to start a new tradition with her of coming here for afternoon tea.

Who wouldn’t want a bit of this!

On the day we visited, we tucked into this gorgeous chocolate cake.  It’s honestly the chocolatiest, moistest most decadent cake I’ve ever had.

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We landed up sharing the cake and the Bacon, brie and cranberry panini between us because I knew my little one would never be able to eat the cake and a whole sandwich.  Worked out well for me though because I got the best of both worlds!

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I honestly cannot recommend My Fair Vintage enough. Over the past year I’ve been visiting they have surpassed all my expectations and never failed to delivery not only excellent service, but quality food and a special experience every time.  Check out their Facebook page for opening hours and the latest news.

I hope you’ll visit and find it as fabulous as I have.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

Tulley’s Farm Christmas Experience

Hello my lovelies,

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted and most of it has been working, renovating our house and starting a new job which means I’m now working full time!  More on that another time!

I wanted to share with you our kick off to the festive season.  I’d heard that Tulley’s Farm did a fantastic Christmas experience but I really didn’t expect to be so blown away!

It was a cold, rainy, blustery day and despite all of us getting over the flu we decided to go and see Father Christmas anyway.  We arrived at 9:40 to collect our tickets and had fun taking pictures and dancing. Everywhere was decorated and had been made festive.

We revieved a kids passbook filled with a map and lots of info as well as an Elf Hunt.

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Before our Tractor ‘sleigh ride’ we spent our time wandering about the festive delights.  First we decided to beat the queues and write our letter to Father Christmas at Santa’s Post House. The Post Master was brilliant and really embraced his character.

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While I was busy helping DD write her letter to Santa the Post Master gave DH a letter from Santa to put under my daughter’s pillow in way of a reply.

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All she wanted for Christmas she told me was for her Scout Elf Snowflake to come back this year… watch this space for more Elf Antics!  I loved how the Post Master even posed in character.

It was really silly of me but I videod us going through the post office into the sorting room and through the winter wonderland to post our letter in the official north pole post box.  I should have taken photographs but sadly I was too busy videoing it!  I still have no idea how to insert video’s in to here!

On our elf search there were lots of things to see

We spent loads of time with the reindeer while DD asked loads of questions. She’s going to be an amazing vet one day.

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When it came to meeting these guys DD was suddenly very shy and wouldn’t even look at them prefering instead to climb all over Daddy!

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There was a short wait for our tractor ‘sleigh’ ride to see Santa and we occupied ourselves by making funny faces!

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And talking to the elves

At last we were on the tractor ‘sleigh’ and DD thought that singing Jingle Bells was just ludicrous

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At Santa’s grotto Father Christmas was fast alseep and the children had to wake him up so he could tell me them as story.

I was so impressed because everything was so well decorated and thought out and even Father Christmas looked so realistic!

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We had a lovely picture taken with Father Christmas then  waited a short while before we got back on the tractor ‘sleigh’ to go and make our presents.

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Which turned out to be – Build your own bears!

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We also bought the photograph which I thought was good value for money for such a large picture at £8.

After we had warmed up with some mulled wine and a mince pie from a vendor, we watched the puppet show which was all about doing nice things for those we love.

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We even watched the singing chickens!  Yes, chicken!

We could have gotten something to eat there but it was busy and we were cold and hungry so we went off to Smith & Western (one of our favourite restaurants) for brunch.

Here a tired little girl snuggled with her new kitty friend Daisy that she got from Father Christmas.  DH caved and bought her a dress for Daisy which was £9.95 which considering the prices at the Build-a-bear-factory, this was cheaper.

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All in all, this was a wonderful day out and a lovely Christmas experience.  It was not cheap at £12.95 per child and £7.95 per adult but it was worth every penny because even us adults enjoyed it. And the fact that they get such a high quality gift as well made it worth it.

I give this Christmas experience 8/10

Stay tuned over the next few days for most festive fun,

Bright blessings,

Mama R

x