Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Our Fruity Family BBQ With Robinsons ♥

It's National BBQ Week and we were asked by Robinsons to host a fruity family BBQ, and being a family of fruit lovers and barbecued food, we were more than happy to oblige.

We do have a picnic table in our garden, however, Tyler insisted we sit in the sun, so we dragged the table and chairs from his playhouse outside and set up a lovely little seating area for ourselves. I think he loved it even more because he was pretending we were 'guests' in his house and he was having us around for dinner - adorable!

I love his imagination and he makes me laugh so much with his little sayings. Most of the time our days are so busy, and we rarely have the time to sit down and enjoy each other's company as much as we'd like to. So during our fruity family BBQ I really wanted to relish every opportunity I could to sit down next to the boys and talk to them whilst we enjoyed our healthy food and drinks. The glorious sunshine only added to the loveliness of these moments.

Fruit squash is the drink of choice in our house. I think it's the perfect drink to have on hand for kids as it encourages them to drink water, without them actually really knowing they're doing so. Some fruit squashes can be high in sugar, but Robinsons is different. Robinsons Squash contains real fruit in every drop and no added sugar.  

As a mother of young boys, whom I don't want having too much sugar, it's reassuring to know that there's such a wide range of no added sugar flavour options available, such as the Robinsons range. It's even better to know that they taste yummy too! Honestly, the Robinsons range is very refreshing and very tasty - the Fruit & Barley Summer Fruits being my own favourite and we drink it all year round, although it's particularly lovely to enjoy a glass through a straw on a warm and sunny summers day!

For our BBQ Tyler and I made some fruit skewers and he was delighted to help with the food preparation. That boy loves his fruit! He's always eating an apple - anytime he stays with his Nana he eats all her apples! He also loves strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and grapes and actually chooses fruit over chocolate - something which never ceases to amaze me!

He also loves his fruity drinks and Robinsons Fruit Squash is the perfect drink for him to have during the day - he even takes a bottle of it to school with him. He's always running around and very busy, so making sure he's well hydrated is important for me. I'm glad I've found a tasty drink that he's happy to guzzle down anytime he's feeling thirsty. I also find that giving him a glass with a straw just encourages him to drink even more - isn't it funny how kids find the greatest joy in the simplest of things?

Beau is now taking after his big brother and is loving fruit too. He was really loving the melon from Tyler and I's fruit skewers.

It was lovely to sit down in the sunshine with my little family after such a busy day, enjoying good food and drinks and having some laughs. It's these kinds of moments that make for the best memories.

I think we'll be having lots more BBQ dinners over the course of the summer. It's just so easy to have the kids playing in the garden, whip the BBQ out, cook off some delicious meats for everyone and let the kids build their own burgers or have some chicken with salads. The fruit was a lovely addition to our BBQ too and it was lovely to have Tyler involved with making the food - he's a very willing little helper!

Lets home for the sun and lots more family BBQ's!

* I'm working with Robinsons in a paid relationship. Find out more about Robinsons here https://www.robinsonssquash.co.uk/
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The Bittersweet Feelings Of A Baby's First Birthday ♥

Birthday's are such a joyous occasion, aren't they? Or are they?

I don't know about anyone else, but my own birthday's always seem to leave me in a bit of a deflated mood. Maybe it's because the older I've gotten, the years have sped by in lightning speed, leaving me feeling as if I haven't accomplished all that I should have 'at my age'... but when it came to celebrating my youngest son's first birthday, I thought it would be a day full of joy and happiness, and for the most part it was, but there was also this niggling, bittersweet feeling of sadness floating over me too.

I don't remember feeling like this when it was eldest son's first birthday - probably because with him, I was always looking forward to the next milestone, wishing his life away if you will. With my second son, I find myself desperately trying to hold onto his babyness, clutching onto every last baby trait I possibly can and I think this is all because the realisation has hit me that he very may well be my last baby.

After him there may be no more monthly milestone pictures to take, no big milestones to look out for, no more sleepy newborn cuddles, no more adorable little baby outfits and blankets - baby blankets are my absolute weakness, no more little baby feet, no more first birthdays to celebrate and no more pregnancies.

I think it's the 'no more pregnancies' part that is really playing on my mind and it's strange because I'll be the first to tell you that I hate pregnancy - the first made me feel like I was dying everyday and the second just made me want to sleep due to feeling like I was carrying a ton weight around - but do I really hate it after all?

I guess I hate the way pregnancy leaves me feeling, but in reality, I love all the rigmarole that goes with it - the scans, the guessing what/who your baby will look like, choosing names, being looked after by my partner, the feeling of having something to look forward to, the sickening excitement of knowing you could go into labour at any given moment... am I ready to say goodbye to that? I know my partner is, but for me, I don't know if I'm fully committed to putting my womb into redundancy just yet.

A baby's first birthday is such an emotional time for a mother - and perhaps for a father too, although this wasn't the case with my partner. I think it's the first big step towards a baby really 'growing up' and moving on that path to independence and becoming a proper little boy or girl with a whole personality and mind of their own.

I love the baby days, or months rather, and am left feeling so sad that they have passed by so quickly, but also so grateful for the beautiful memories and days we've had together over this past year.

So if you're like me and feeling quite sad and bittersweet on your baby's first birthday, rest assured that it's perfectly normal and expected.

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8 Easy Tips For Creating A Photo Shoot With Your Children ♥

I'm not a professional photographer, nor do I claim to be, but I really do love having little photo shoots with my two sons and it's actually something I look forward to when we go on family days out or have an occasion or holiday to style for.

I love capturing them on camera - I don't think it's be wrong to call them my muses and I'm so happy that I begun having these little photo shoots with them and have been able to capture them through their ages, their adorable little expressions, personalities and memories with pictures that will last a lifetime.

Nowadays I get a lot of compliments on my photography, which always flatters me and brings a smile to my face, but back when my eldest was a baby I didn't even own a proper camera and my pictures were awful, but overtime I've found my way around a DSLR and have stumbled across some tricks to capture beautiful images of my boys.

I thought I'd share my top tips for any other parents out there who want to create a photo shoot with their own children and capture some beautiful images of their own (quite easily!) too.

For anyone who's wondering, I use a Nikon D3200 and have three lenses ranging from a 55mm to a 200mm. I have recently begun using Lightroom as an editor, but before then I used Fotojet and PicMonkey.

1. Make sure your children are happy and have their needs met before even going near them with a camera. I've learnt this lesson the hard way - you do not want to try and take pictures of a hungry or overtired baby, believe me! Make sure their fed and watered, have been to the toilet/had their nappy changed and aren't tired or due a nap.

I share my 'raining petals' pictures with the baby on my Instagram @dollydowsie - I must feature them on the blog someday soon too.

2. Bring along props. I honestly can't tell you how lovely props can be for really making an image all the more wonderful. We do a woodland Easter egg hunt every year and I always get compliments on my set up - even though it's just some fancy eggs on sticks and old fabric bunting, but they really help to make the image all the more magical - for the kids and for the people viewing the pictures.

You can see the set up of my annual Easter egg hunt photo shoots here.

3. Use nature as your backdrop. Honestly, I hate shooting inside and avoid it at all costs. I bring the boys outdoors and use the woods, meadows, fields and gardens as backdrops to my photos of them - and why not, it's free and oh so beautiful too. It also creates some great photo opportunities too when your kids start exploring the nature around them.

I use nature as a backdrop in almost all of my photo shoots and you can see more of my photography here and on my other blog Fawns and Fables.

4. Seek natural light. Again, this is me promoting the outdoors, but that really is where all the natural light is. However, if for some reason you can't shoot outdoors, take pictures as close to the windows as possible. Natural light really does make a photo and it's so important for capturing a clean, bright image, rather than a horrible dark and gritty one.

Our trip to Gougane Barra made way for me to capture lots of gorgeous pictures of my eldest son flooded in natural light. Some magical shots for us to treasure forever.

5. Embrace the candid. There once was a time when I thought taking a picture of children meant having them looking at the camera and smiling, these days I know that some of the best captures are the most candid ones, where they're looking away from the camera, have a sweet or funny little natural expression on their face and are just doing their own thing. Avoid getting your child to look at the camera and say 'cheese', those shots are ten a penny, letting them do their own thing is when the real magical moments are captured.

One of the most candid little photo shoots I've had with my boys was our trip to the woods on New Years Eve. I love these photos so much.

6. Shoot in sports mode. This is something I do regularly as I have two very fast moving little boys. Shooting in sports mode means that I can capture a batch of photos at once and they won't be blurry - even when my four year old is running away from me.

7. Set up a scene. This is something I'm fond of doing in my pictures and I love having a theme - that being flowers and nature. For the baby I love popping him in a sink bath with lots of bubbles and having lots of flowers around him. Dropping flower petals over him whilst he's lying on my bed is also a firm favourite picture of mine - and a fun game for him. For my eldest I love having him running around outdoors, climbing trees or playing with his daddy whilst I snap the two of them away.

I also set up seasonal scenes for my photos too, choosing particular flowers in bloom to show the season we're in, or falling leaves for an autumnal shoot. My Joys of Spring post on my photography blog Fawns and Fables has lots of springtime pictures of my boys.

8. Perfect isn't real. I think as parents we always find ourselves wanting the 'perfect' shot, but it's just not going to happen. There have been times when I've wanted my boys to sit down and just smile at the camera and it  only happens once in a blue moon if I'm lucky... but in reality, it's the shots where they're just doing their own thing, being their usual disruptive, playful and messy selves that results in the best shots. So just chill out and let the kids dictate their own pictures. It can be hard at times when you have a vision in your head of how you want a shot to look like, but it's worth it. Promise.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

My House Full of Boys | My Honest Experience of Raising Sons ♥

Our house is full of boys. As a female I am outnumbered three-to-one and I guess the appropriate term for me is a 'boy mum' - a term I'm always coming across on blogs and on Instagram, but is it a label I wear proudly, or an aspect to my life which I wish was different?

I thought I'd write about my honest experience of raising sons and share my feelings of being a mother to boys.

From a young age I always wanted my first child to be a son. I think this stemmed from always wanting a big brother, someone to look out for me - and for some strange reason I always saw a boy being the eldest child as 'the right way round' - don't ask me why because it makes no sense to me either, but this was the vision I had in my mind of the 'perfect' family scenario (for anyone who's wondering I'm actually the oldest child and have one younger brother, so this is a complete opposite to my own life experience).

When I became pregnant for the first time I knew straight away that I was having a boy. I had visions of blue and dreams about a dark-haired, blue eyed baby - who funnily enough turned out to be the straight, almost black haired little baby boy I gave birth to, Tyler Lee. He's now a blondie with curls for days, but he's definitely that baby I dreamed about.

I was so happy to be having a boy as my first child, after all, this was how I saw my 'perfect' family set up and the minute his gender was confirmed it was all baby blue from there on.

When I became pregnant with my second child, I lied about not having a gender preference, when in reality all I wanted was a little girl to complete our family. I've written honestly about my gender disappointment experience before, but when the sonographer exclaimed "you're having another boy!" to us, I couldn't have felt sadder at that moment in time.

I should have known that we were destined to have two boys though, because not only do I come from a male dominated family, but my partner does also. In fact, his family hasn't had a girl born for generations. My grandmother had six brothers - she was the youngest (perhaps my great-grandmother was also wanting a daughter) and she went on to have five sons of her own, two who sadly died as young babies. So our families are boys all round.

I've always wanted a daughter. I always wanted the experience of being a mother to a little girl and having that close bond with her. To be told I was having another boy made those dreams crumble - especially as I knew my partner didn't want anymore children. I think my exact words, through loud sobs in the car, having held my composure long enough to leave the gender scan clinic with some dignity was - "I don't want anymore bloody dinosaurs, cars or tractors" - which was a strange thing to come out with considering my eldest wasn't really into these things at all, but I won't lie, I was truly sad that I wasn't having a girl.

Now I have a gorgeous baby boy who's almost one, my darling Beau, and I really wouldn't change him for the world. He's a cheeky chappy, very happy and content with life and he's been a dream to mother. If I had the chance of having my always wanted daughter or having my Beau, it would always be Beau.

I think boys get bad rep - being seen as rowdy, loud, messy, dirty and boisterous and yes, they can be all of those things from time to time, but they're also extremely affectionate, loving, thoughtful, caring and endearing.

My eldest is very imaginative, loves role playing games and helping out with the washing and cleaning. He actually hates being dirty - even though he gets his clothes dirty in less than two seconds after putting them on and he doesn't see things as being for boys or girls, he's happy to play with everything and mix with everyone. I think this may be down, in part, to trying to raise him in a gender neutral way and letting him choose what he's interested in rather that forcing him into gender stereotypes - something I've also written about before.

The baby is car obsessed, he just loves rolling them along the ground - if it rolls he likes it! He likes nothing better than sitting on my lap, cuddling up and watching the TV with me and he's just as quick moving as his older brother. He's very much a 'mummy's boy' and I think he'll always be the baby, affectionately known as 'baby Beau' by his big brother.

I love the fact that my boys are brothers - as the saying goes "because I have a brother I'll always have a friend". They're very close and Tyler is very protective over his little brother (he's really taken his big brother role in his stride) and the baby thinks he's absolutely hilarious. I've loved watching their sibling relationship grow and I love that they'll always have each other.

I think it's the superficial things about being a 'boy mum' that I find most difficult. I honestly hate clothes shopping for them, I rarely find anything I really like and I detest the fact that dark colours, dinosaur prints and vehicle motifs are always pushed down my throat by clothing brands - there's more to boys than just these things you know... I can't say I don't longingly look at beautiful little vintage dresses on Etsy and feel some envy that I'm not able to buy them instead, because they're much more appealing to me! But I'll get over these things and live in hope that one day highstreet clothing shops might cater much better for boys - otherwise the handmade sellers I buy from will still be kept in business for a long time to come.

I do sometimes worry that as they get older and they're interests change, that I'll find it hard to keep up with them, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. That horrible phrase - "a daughter is a daughter for life, a son is a son until he finds a wife" also plays in my mind, but I hope that I'll have raised my boys well enough so that they won't forget me - even when they do have another lady in their life.

I love my boys dearly and wouldn't change my 'boy mum' status for the world. I can't say though that if we ever did have another baby that I wouldn't want it to be a girl, because then I'd just be lying to myself. But for now, I have two boys and they are my absolute world.

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Monday, May 29, 2017

We're Doing Alright... ♥

As parents, we are constantly scrutinised, not just by other people but by ourselves too. In fact, I am my biggest critic and 99% of the time I feel as though I'm not doing a good enough job as a parent.

I think the fact that I'm a blogger highlights my shortfalls in parenting even more to me. After all, aren't we as bloggers, supposed to share inspiration, ideas and information to our readers and social media followers? For me it's the other way round though, I would love advice and reassurance from followers of mine, but am usually too embarrassed to bring up a subject - or even if I do post about something, I find myself deleting it almost instantly for fear of being judged.

I've now been separated from my sons for almost two days and this separation has allowed myself - and their father - to really think about our parenting skills and how well we're doing in life. Things my mother has said in these two days have really struck a cord with me too.

The reason I've been away from the boys is to do with this blog, this blog which was created to document all our memories together. I never dreamed that my thoughts, ramblings and photography would ever lead to the opportunities which it has and honestly, at times I feel as though I could really make a career out of it... other times (the majority of the time) I feel as though my star will never shine as brightly as the other amazing, inspirational parenting bloggers out there.

My mother said to me - "Why didn't you think about having a career before you had kids?" Well, I wouldn't really have this 'career' without the kids. They have spurred me on to try and make a go of things, they've ignited my passion for photography and they inspire me every day to try new things, get out and about and try and be the best mother I can be.

Finding the balance between 'work' and motherhood hasn't been an easy ride though and I'm constantly having to sacrifice one for the other, the boys always coming out on top. The picture at the beginning of this post is essentially my life at the moment - one child in hand, one child on hip. These boys have consumed me completely and being a parent to young children makes it almost impossible to be a person in your own right... but I'm trying.

Most of my days are spent alone with the boys. I have almost no friends and most of the time I feel as though I have no one to speak to about anything - gossip, general chit chat, worries... Their dad is almost always at work and is almost killing himself with tiredness so that we can live somewhat of a decent life.

I could feel his sadness when we spoke about the boys these past two days. He feels like an absent father, when in reality, all he's trying to do is provide for us.

I'll be honest, the amount of hours he works really gets my back up at times. I'm the sort of airy fairy person who thinks that time together is far more important than money, but in this day and age it's impossible to have any sort of a life without a proper wage. That doesn't make it any easier to console a crying four year old who just wants his daddy though...

My mother has been minding the boys for the time we've been away and last night she said to me - "Now I know why you always want Jacek to come home from work, it's hard going minding the two of them, there's always something to be done" - and this was coming from someone who brought up two children on her own. To finally have that recognition from her that it is hard to parent two young children, almost on my own on a daily basis, really hit home.

I may not be the type of mother who's always up for doing arts and crafts, or playing endless games. I bloody hate making dinners and I'm an awful cook anyway - my sons will never be heard saying that my roast dinners are the best. I can be a shouty mum and not as patient as I should be. I can get worked up and panicked easily when things aren't going my way. I'm too meek for my own good and can never make a big decision without asking advice from my own mother first - it's as if I don't even realise I'm a parent myself at these times - time to grow a back bone I think, but I bloody love those boys with every morsel of my being and I try really hard to be the mother they deserve.

Being away from your children can really help to put things into perspective. Yes there are days when I'm wishing away the hours until bedtime, when I just want someone to take them for a few hours so that I can get things done and actually feel like a human being, not just a cook, cleaner and entertainer for two small humans. There are moments when I cry over guilt, worry and anxiety for them both and it can be an emotional rollercoaster being their mother, but I would never be without them. They are my world.

So if you're like me and are constantly doubting your parenting skills, thinking you're a bad mother or are even like my partner and feel like an absent father... believe me, YOU'RE DOING ALRIGHT.

As long as you're providing a loving home for your children, being the best parent you can possibly be and aren't seeing your children as often as you'd like because you're simply working to provide for their needs, then YOU'RE DOING ALRIGHT.

It doesn't matter if you're not crafty, or if you're not really into playing games or if you can't afford expensive gifts, toys or clothes, when it seems everyone around you is able to get their children whatever they like. Children don't remember the material things, they remember the memories and as long as you're spending time with them - be it snuggling on the couch in front of a film, going on a walk to the shop or skimming stones with them down on the beach (something I remember doing with my dad when I was a child) YOU'RE DOING ALRIGHT.

So let us as parents stop doubting ourselves. Life is short and I'd rather spend it making memories and being content in the fact that I did my best, even though I wasn't perfect. We're trying and that's what matters most. WE'RE DOING ALRIGHT.

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

One For the Lonely Mothers ♥

Oh hello there.

I'm going to presume you stumbled or clicked onto this blog post because you feel lonely.

Please don't be embarrassed, you're not alone. I feel exactly the same way and have done for awhile now...

Like you I wish I had friends, like proper friends, who I could have some drinks and chats with and call up when I just want to talk about the stupid stuff that's on my mind. I'd also love to have a friend to have a laugh with, a proper good old belly laugh... because I haven't had one of those in quite some time now and I miss being fun and carefree.

In all honesty, just one friend would probably do, a best friend, like other people have and I wish I was as lucky as them. Don't you?

It's funny isn't it, how you can feel so lonely yet not get a minutes peace in a day? The baby's babbling and the four years old amazing stories just don't make up for the lack of adult conversation though do they, no matter how cute they are.

Since having my sons my social skills have almost gone into extinction and I've become so socially awkward - made even more awkward by the fact that my four year old is the friendliest little thing going, it's like he's forcing me to speak to people. So believe me when I say I know how hard it is to try and talk to the other mums and dads, but God am I grateful when it actually goes quite smoothly and I get to chat to another adult for awhile - one who isn't my partner. Not that there's anything wrong with him by the way, but it's nice to speak to someone in the 'outside world' for a change, isn't it?

I love bumping into the friendly mothers at my son's school. The ones who are a bit older than me and probably know I'm awkward and lonely because they probably felt this way at some stage too, so they make the effort to help me join in. Do you know the ones? I hope you have those school gate mums in your life too, because they're a lifeline in a long day of being by yourself with small children.

Did you ever even think it would be like this? Being at home all day on your own, clung to your phone because it's your only source of chat with other people, albeit 'virtual people', but people nonetheless. What would have done if we were mothers back in the 90's with no internet or a smartphone? I dread to think, because if we still feel lonely with all these 'sources' of communication then is there any hope for us at all?

It's not real communication though is it? Nothing beats speaking to people face to face does it? I miss my girly nights out and mid-week meets ups with my friends for water (I'm one of those weirdos who doesn't drink hot drinks), chats and gossip. Those were the days... I miss those girls and somedays I'd love to get in touch, but when so much time goes by I think I'd just look like a food getting in touch out of the blue now.

Do you hate weekends too? I see them as just being two more days to have to find somewhere to go on my own with the kids whilst my partner works. I wish I had friends with kids too to meet up with and chat with while the children played. Instead I put up the teepee in the garden, make 'picnics' for them and sit out with them whilst I comment on people's pictures on Instagram... It's not ideal but it'll have to do, there's no one else to talk to.

Loneliness is the worst feeling in the world and I'm sorry that you feel just like I do. I'm sorry we don't both have the friends we wish for. I'm sorry that this feeling is part of our adventures in motherhood. I wish things were different for us both.

I'm not going to tell you to join a baby and toddler group, go to a gym class or any other social suggestion that other people make in the effort to try and get you to go out and make friends, because if you're anything like me then you couldn't think of any worse places to go on your own. What I will tell you though is that you're not alone.

So in those moments of sadness when the kids are running you ragged and you wish you call someone up and organise a night out... you're not alone. There are thousands of us that feel the same, so don't be embarrassed.

Hopefully one day our paths will cross with some of these people and we can have those chats and friends we so wish for. Until then, take care of yourself. You're just as important as your little ones. Hang in there mama.

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Birdwatching With Children | A Beginners Guide ♥

Birdwatching is one of the best activities for getting children of all ages outdoors and exploring, simply because birds are everywhere and the little ones really do get excited when spotting new birds flying about or foraging for food in bushes and on the ground.

When I was a child, one of my jobs at home was to refill the bird-feeders every weekend. Our garden was always full of birds and I loved spotting them coming to get some food or building nests in the many bird houses and nooks we had around our garden and yard.

In primary school, we were shown videos about birds, were taught all their names and what they looked like. I'm not sure if nature is such a big subject on the curriculum now, but looking back, it's lovely to think that my first school years were so wholesome and we were being taught to love and admire the world around us.

My mother told me from a young age that robins are a sign that someone you love who has passed on is around and I remember taking delight in spotting a robin when I was a little girl. This is a little saying I now say to my own sons and I really do love when we come across a robin or two on our outdoor adventures - as does my eldest, who now loves to pick berries off trees to scatter on the ground for the birds. Whether the birds actually eat them or not is another story!

Whether spending time in your own garden, strolling through your local parks or gardens or have a woodland adventure, this handy beginners guide to birdwatching by experts Kennedy Wild Bird Food has everything you need to know to help your little nature lovers embrace the love of a new hobby and interest in birdwatching.


*This is a collaborative post.

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Friday, May 26, 2017

5 Income Making From Home Ideas For New Mums ♥

Now that your baby has arrived, it may be hard for you to work from a distant office at least for some time. However, given the pressure of life, you cannot just sit down at home until you wean your baby. There are several income generating ideas that you can try as you take care of the young kid. Here are some of them.

1. Open a Daycare Center at Home

If you love taking care of the young children, you may bring some more from the neighborhood and take care of them together for a fee. In fact, most of your neighbors would appreciate having their kids taken care by someone they can trust and one who lives in the immediate area.

Many local authorities allow you to start a daycare center and enroll a given number of children without getting a license. Therefore, you can start with bare minimum items and grow as the number of kids increases. It is an easy business to start if you have some space in your compound. Moreover, you can make it a full-time business should you get high demand for daycare services.

2. Creating and Selling Handicraft

If you had learned something about knitting, beadwork, batik, or interior design, you could set up a home office where you make attire and handicraft for sale. There are many online resources that you can use to learn and hone those skills. You can sell the items online or collaborate with the local antique or handicraft shops. As the business grows, you can diversify to several forms of items to open up new markets for your goods as you take care of the small kid at home.

3. Make Money Freelancing

The gig economy is the perfect description of the future of work. This where you sell your skills to companies that are in need of such services online. Almost every skill can open doors to the freelancing world. You can create content for websites and blogs, transcribe audio to written scripts for businesses in your area, offer marketing advice online, and make cash by taking part in surveys, among other tasks.

Evaluate yourself and determine the area in which you can fit in. You may visit a few companies and make an offer or use freelancing sites such as Fiverr, Craigslist, and Upwork. Consider approaching firms in your locality to write content for their blogs and sites or manage their social media accounts. You can then work on the tasks assigned from the comfort of your home.

4. Make Money in Online Forex Trading

Stock and binaries trading are attractive methods of making money that offer better returns than keeping your cash in savings and long-term accounts. Despite the risk of making losses, you can make a substantial amount very fast by investing money wisely.

When getting started, look at reports on market trends to help make informed decisions. There are regular stock reports online, which can give you a preview of how the market looks like. After this, open an account with a trading website such as CMC Markets from which to buy and sell stocks or binaries.

You can the start trading online by buying and selling your stock as per the trends in the market. After that, it will be possible to increase your investment as you learn the ropes.

5. Work as a Virtual Assistant for your Employer or Another Firm

If you were employed before you gave birth to your kid, propose to your employer to hire you as a virtual assistant. The tasks here include reading emails, responding to them, handling customer complaints online, processing orders, or maintaining the company blogs.

You can also look for a virtual assistant job for freelancing websites. This job gives you the flexibility of working while nursing as long as you complete the number of work hours you have agreed with the client.

You can combine two or more income-generating activities as long as you do not push yourself so hard that you lack time for your baby. Just like in any other work, deliver beyond the customer’s expectations to keep getting more clients in your trade. Moreover, keep learning and perfecting areas where you may be weak.
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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Family Holiday Ideas | An Ocean Cruise ♥


I've shared some lovely family holiday ideas on the blog before, as well as our own family holidays over the years, but today I thought I'd write about a holiday we haven't experienced yet, but one which I think is ideal for families - ocean cruising.

Our annual family holiday is something we look forward to all year round - from the moment we get back from the holiday we've just had actually. Travelling is something we really enjoy and we believe that it's important to share the joy of travelling with our children, after all, what better way to learn than experiencing the world?

We live in one of the most popular cruise ports in the world and seeing the big, luxurious ships come into and dock in the harbour on an almost daily basis during the summer, has left me longing to take my family on some ocean cruises of very our own and experience a different kind of holiday, at sea.

Jacek has already been on a cruise around the Mediterranean and he can't speak highly enough about it. He's made it all sound quite whimsical - being on one holiday on a big, beautiful ship, but waking up in a new destination almost every morning - sounds wonderful, right? This all sounds so appealing to me, because although I do love travelling, I'm not overly fond of the whole transport of it all - taking young children on busy trains and long bus rides isn't a joy of mine. So the ease of cruising sounds amazing to me.

I think an ocean cruise holiday is something we'd all enjoy. Having a cabin to relax in, pools and other attractions to enjoy on the ship - all in close proximity so the children would be well entertained and being able to explore the different destinations that we sail into. It sounds so idyllic to me and the perfect holiday option for a family.

The Caribbean would be my ideal destination for a cruise, stopping by all those beautiful white sand islands would be an absolute dream, but I also love the idea of a Norwegian fjord cruise - like the one Hayley from Sparkles and Stretchmarks and her family enjoyed, would be amazing too. Imagine the photo opportunities of that beautiful landscape!

Also, with ocean cruising, there are cruise destinations all over the world, meaning that if you and your family already have an area or destination that you'd like to explore in mind, you can almost guarantee that it's covered by a cruise route (unless it's inland of course!).

An ocean cruise is something we're definitely going to experience as a family for one of our holidays one year. It's just something that we have to save up for and I know that the experience, luxury and adventures we'll have, will be well worth the money.

Have you and your family ever been on a cruise? Can you recommend any beautiful destinations?

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The Garden of My Dreams ♥

These days I always seem to spend my time wandering around gardens - whether it be my own, my parents or local gardens open to the public. My love of flowers and nature always has me wanting to get out and about, discovering new beauty spots and pretty plants and flowers to photograph.

I think it's so important to get some fresh air every day, especially for the little ones and as I'm now a mother of two very active and playful little boys, I think having a lovely outdoor space for them to enjoy is so important.

We currently live in a rented house with a pebble covered garden - not exactly ideal for little ones or very comfortable for sitting out in during the summer months, hence why I always prefer to go out to my parents huge garden on sunny days, it's beautiful out there and is very close to how I would envision my dream garden to be - very cottage inspired, full of flowers and lots of places to explore.

I've spoken on the blog before about how I'd love for us to grow our own fruit and vegetables as a family, so a greenhouse would be a key element in my dream garden. I'd also love a cosy seating area with a veranda on top, possibly to have wisteria growing on as I think that's such a beautiful flower and love how it hands down.

Although I would love some neat lawn in my dream garden too, I've also envision having a wildflower meadow of sorts too - perfect for me to gaze at and a perfect photo opportunity spot too. I think some quality landscape design would really help me create my vision.

I like gardens with a bit of chaos to them and love seeing a carpet of wild flowers with splashes of different colours in flowerbeds. My dream garden would have lots of poppies, giant daisies, lavender, crocuses, daffodils and hyacinths, all of which make for perfect photo opportunities in the different seasons, as well as being pretty to look at too.

So those are the things that would feature in the garden of my dreams. I hope one day when we have a house of our own that we can make all these things a reality and have an outdoor space that we can all enjoy.
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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

12 Months of Beau Samuel James ♥

I've taken a picture of this beautiful little babe of mine, every month on the 19th ever since he was one month old. I love having all of these together to look back on and even though the pictures aren't as perfect as I hoped or envisioned, I love that I have these keepsakes of him and how he changed each month in his first year. I love this cheeky, happy little babe so much.
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5 Ways To Beautify Your Outdoor Space ♥

Outdoor home decoration is every bit as important as interior decoration and as an outdoors lover I definitely stand by this.

When a person approaches your home first thing he or she will notice is it's surroundings and garden (if you have one) and for the majority of us, keeping the outside of our houses looking lovely is just as important as having the inside looking beautiful.

Everyone knows I'm a flower lover and after becoming bored with how drab the outside of my house looked, I decided to invest in some beautiful pink window boxes and pots, to plant some beautiful seasonal blooms in.

I can't even begin to tell you the difference it now makes to me, pulling up outside my house and seeing some pretty flowers outside. I've even received compliments on the look of my house and they're really lovely to hear.

It's been proven that quality of life improves significantly if you are living in a clean and neat environment and I know I'm always a lot happier when my window boxes are in full bloom outside and the house is clutter-free (which is quite rare, I do have two small children after all...).

I thought I'd share some simple yet effective ideas on how to spruce up the outside of your house and your outdoor spaces.

Focus on flowers
Although most homeowners prefer having a neat lawn, it can sometimes come across as quite plain - I know I pass houses on a daily basis and notice the lack of colour in their gardens. It's my dream to have a wildflower garden someday, so I'm definitely not a fan of the neat lawn look.

Planting flowers is a simple way of making your house stand out and inject some personality into your garden and the great thing about flowers that you can remove them and plant something else if you get fed up or want a seasonal look to your outdoor space.

You don't even need to have a garden to grow flowers or plants. Window boxes are a great option, as are plant pots outside your door and I think the whole of London has photographed that fab house in London with the wisteria climbing up it's wall and gates (house of dreams!).

Hedge's can help as well
Like flowers, a hedge surrounding your property can be a great way of giving a beautiful look to your garden, however, there is another and better reason why you should get one - privacy!

If you don't want prying eyes looking into your garden (who does?!) then this is a great way to seclude yourself and close off your space, making it perfectly private.

A hedged garden is also a great option for those who have young children. A hedge helps to close off the garden and keep children in, leaving them able to play safely without wandering off - I grew up in a house with a hedged garden and it was the perfect play area.

Get a pool
Now, for someone like myself, having a pool is the stuff of dreams, but for most homeowners the thought of having a pool can have a lot of negativity - they can be expensive, they need a lot of maintenance and fixing over time and things such as pool pumps and accessories can be really troublesome.

Regardless of this, pools are something that should always be considered even if it’s only a dream. A pool can be an amazing focal point for a back garden and the rest of your garden can then have some landscape design to compliment the pool area. They are great for kids and for swimming and I know a pool would definitely be something we'd get if we ever had the money.

Pretty patios
Most homeowners see a patio as space where you put several tables and chairs and where your family can get together for drinks or meals al fresco, but a patio can also serve as something else.

It can be a special, semi-covered area of the backyard where you can retreat during summer. It is the best way to enjoy the sun and breathe fresh air. I've seen so many pretty patio ideas on Pinterest, with people using lights and verandas to create cosy, beautiful spaces and I would love to have a space like that in my own garden.

A lick of paint
Paint colour choices for your house and front door can make a big impact on the look of your home. My dream house would be pale pink with white windowsills and a white door, but I've seen rows of pastel houses and ones with shocking pink doors which look absolutely amazing!

It's amazing what a lick of paint can do to totally transform the look of your home - inside and out.

I hope I've given you some inspiration for embracing the outdoor areas of your home and making them a beautiful space for you to love and enjoy all year round.

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Beau Samuel James Is One ♥

My happy, cheeky, loveable, chilled-out and smiley baby is ONE!

I have to admit, I've been quite emotional this week thinking about him turning one. Our year with him seems to have gone by in a flash, yet it seems like he's always been part of our lives and he's fit into our family just perfectly.

There's never a peep out of the little babe and he's almost always happy. He's been a dream, a dote and a darling and I couldn't have wished for a more perfect little baby to grace our lives.

When it was Tyler's first birthday I wasn't really into photography, nor was I skilled at all at taking pictures. So now that I'm quite passionate about taking pictures, I really wanted to make sure that I captured some images of Beau that really summed up his happy, funny spirit and I think I've done just that.

He was very happy crawling and sitting next to the beautiful purple wisteria, cascading down a wall at a beautiful local garden. His little knees were covered in grass stains and all he wanted to do was eat petals and the dirt around him - oh to be one!

This little babe of ours is happiest when he's left to wander and explore and his character is the most loveliest and amusing to watch. He's a joy.

Happy first birthday little love.

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