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Creating A Stylish But Functional Playroom: 5 Key Tips

Creating a playroom can be a great way to help create a space in your home for your children to enjoy their toys and activities. There are a few ways to help ensure you and your children get the most out of the playroom you create. To help you get started, we’ve put together the following tips and inspiration for designing the perfect playroom that’s both functional and stylish.

party-castle-neon-lights

Adding Customizable Features

Incorporating customised features in the design and decoration of your playroom can help to make your children feel more like the space is really theirs. This not only helps them to enjoy it more but also can create a sense of responsibility, which can help when it comes to dealing with problems such as tidying up and maintaining the space. Consider elements such as customized wall murals, or customized neon wall signs from Echo Neon to combine customised art and lighting in one.

You can customize using your kid’s names, or a phrase or song lyric that has meaning to you and your family, for example.

Effective Storage Solutions

It can be very easy for playrooms to end up looking chaotic and messy without the right kind of storage solutions to help keep toys organized and neat. Think carefully about the right kind of storage solutions that would work for the space you are creating the playroom in. For example, wall-mounted storage solutions, or integrated storage design such as benches or fold-away tables spaces. Consider which items you might want to have out on display or which ones you want to have stored away out of sight when they’re not being used.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Involve your Kid’s Input in the Design

Where possible, it’s a good idea to try and incorporate your kids in the design of the playroom to help make sure they are able to enjoy it as much as possible and be proud of their space. Allowing their input can help the playroom to reflect their personalities and interests, and provide them with the opportunity to be creative and problem solve. You can ask for their opinions on aspects such as color schemes, design themes, and different areas in the playroom such as arts and crafts or music zones that reflect their interests.

Using A Theme

Basing the playroom on a theme is a great idea to help create a room that incorporates the personality and interests of your little ones. It also helps to create cohesion when adding different design elements to your plans. Some great ideas for themed playrooms include designs such as under the sea, wildlife safari, or a favourite film or character. You can find inspiration for themed playrooms online and helpful design elements to make them work. Adding elements such as wall murals can help incorporate the theme and can either be completed by hiring a local artist or by yourself if you’re blessed with artistic skills.

Creating Zones

Creating zones within a playroom can help to make the space work more effectively and keep toys organized and easy to find. Using furniture can help to section off different zones and can double up as storage space such as bookshelves or toy box storage.

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Photo by @juliusjansson via Unsplash

Finland’s capital city, Helsinki, is visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists annually. These visitors flock to the city due to its stunning natural beauty, cultural attractions, and commitment to sustainability. If you’re planning a family trip to this picturesque city, you’ll be delighted to discover that Helsinki offers a wide range of kid-friendly eco-tours and nature excursions. These activities not only provide valuable outdoor experiences but also instill a love for the environment in your children while making a positive impact on our planet (and their health).

From lovely national parks to picking mushrooms to forest bathing, it’s not hard to find something to do with kids here that’s both fun and ecologically responsible. You should plan to rely on public transportation and walking to get around Helsinki to minimize your carbon footprint. And with all the exploring you’re bound to be doing, it’s a good idea to have a plan for your bags. Drop them off with a Bounce luggage storage service in Helsinki and get to wandering.

Nuuksio National Park: A wilderness adventure


Photo by Gabriella Clare Marino on Unsplash

A world-class wilderness escape is a mere 40-minute drive from the city center. Nuuksio National Park is home to tranquil lakes, lush forests, and diverse wildlife, so the kids definitely won’t get bored here. 

To add a little structure to your visit, Nuuksio offers various eco-tours and activities designed for children, such as guided forest walks, wildlife spotting, and even wilderness camping experiences. 

While exploring Nuuksio, your children can learn about the local ecosystem and the importance of preserving it. The park’s emphasis on sustainable practices, such as waste reduction and recycling, sets an excellent example for young environmentalists.

Finnish Nature Centre Haltia

On the doorstep of Nuuksio National Park, you’ll find the Finnish Nature Centre Haltia, which will provide the whole family with information about Finland’s National Parks. With a focus on experiencing nature using all five senses, this centre also hosts events and workshops regularly.

Learn about the various flora and fauna of the park and the wider region, as well as talks about moving in nature, outdoor adventure skills, and even join a guided tour of the adjacent park.

One of the most striking features of the nature centre is the building itself. Built entirely of wood (except for the windows, obviously), the rounded walls, glass-edged terrace, and well-maintained landscaping are enough to draw you in. 

But it gets even better than that from an eco-tourism perspective. The building was designed to require minimal lighting, cooling, and heating. They achieved this by paying close attention to window placement, the building’s orientation, and the structure’s shape. Additionally, to keep the carbon footprint low, Haltia uses solar energy from panels and geothermal energy from the soil to cool and heat the building.

Lammassaari Island

Helsinki, Finland by Santtu Perkiö (@santtupee)

Lammassaari Island, situated in northeastern Helsinki, is a haven for bird-watching enthusiasts and families who appreciate unspoiled nature. The island is only reachable over a 1.2 km-long trail made of wooden duckboards that travel over the marshes. Here, you and the kids can get to know the local bird population from the various bird-watching platforms, hides, and viewpoints. Spring and fall are the best times to view the collection of migrating birds.

Lammassaari promotes a “leave no trace” philosophy, so it’s a good lesson about protecting the local wildlife and vegetation. 

The name translates to Sheep Island, although don’t get the kids’ hopes up as this island doesn’t have any sheep. You’ll have to travel to nearby Kuusiluoto Island to see them, and even then, it’s only in the summer.

Linnanmäki Amusement Park

Photo by Juhani Pelli on Unsplash

We know, an amusement park doesn’t exactly scream eco-friendly and sustainable. But this one is different. Linnanmäki Amusement Park demonstrates a real commitment to the environment in a few ways. First, they have vegan items on the menus of every snack stand and restaurant in the park. Second, in 2023, the rides were powered exclusively using wind energy. And lastly, the park’s indoor locations use renewable district heating to keep things toasty warm.

Now for the fun part: the rides. Linnanmäki has over 50 rides alone, which should please kids of most ages. As for the games, there are more than 15 different varieties. And to combat waste, if you win a prize and don’t want to take it home with you, you can exchange it for an edible treat instead.

Another way that this amusement park is different is that The Children’s Day Foundation manages and maintains it. Through the money raised at the amusement park, this organization has pledged about €120 million to child welfare.

The park is open during the summer and periodically throughout the year, so check if it’s open before you arrive.

Sompasauna

For a unique and eco-friendly experience, consider a visit to Sompasauna. This community sauna near the city center is heated by wood and fueled by community contributions. Kids and adults are expected to help keep the saunas clean, get water, or even saw wood. Since the community runs it, there is no fee for a session, and it’s always open. If you have young children, you may need to give this one a pass, though. Some experts recommend saunas only for kids aged six or older.

Saunas are a way of life in Helsinki, and this is a perfect place to relax while appreciating Helsinki’s strong sauna culture. Surrounding the sauna, you’ll find a relaxed outdoor area with a DIY spirit, including art installations and a communal garden. It’s an excellent place for families to connect with locals and learn about sustainable, community-driven projects.

Conclusion

Helsinki’s commitment to sustainability and preserving its natural beauty make it an ideal destination for families looking to impart eco-conscious values to their children. By exploring Helsinki’s green areas, eco-friendly businesses, and even a sauna or two, your children can learn to appreciate the beauty of the natural world and understand the importance of protecting it for future generations.

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<strong>How To Save Money As A Busy Parent: Tips To Make Life Easier</strong>

As a busy parent, it can feel like you’re constantly spending money. From the weekly shop and clothes, to extracurricular activities and school supplies, it can be hard to save money. But it doesn’t have to be impossible. With a few simple strategies and tips, you can learn how to save money as a busy parent.

You can make life easier and still get what you need for yourself and your family. From cutting costs on everyday items to finding ways to save on your monthly expenses, there are plenty of ways to trim your budget and put some money away for a rainy day. So, ifc v;laZ you’re looking for ways to save money as a busy parent, here are some tips that can help.

Create a Budget and stick to it

A budget is the key to saving money. There’s no way to get around it. If you don’t know how much you’re spending or where your money is going, you won’t be able to save. You’ll also have no idea where you can cut back and adjust your spending if you need to. It’s not as difficult as you might think to create a budget, either. You just have to be willing to put in a little time and effort up front to make sure you have everything laid out and recorded. For most people, the hardest part of the budget comes at the beginning when you’re trying to track everything. Find a method that works best for you. Some people like to use paper and pencil; others prefer to use an app. Whatever method you choose, make sure you’re consistent and thorough.

Get Better Deals With Local Car Insurance Brokers

Car insurance can be a costly expense, especially for families with multiple drivers.

If you stick with the same insurance company year after year, you’re likely overpaying. In fact, many people who have maintained continuous coverage with the same company don’t even realise they could be getting a better deal by shopping around and comparing rates with other insurance providers. If you’re looking for ways to save money as a busy parent, you may want to consider switching to a local car insurance broker. Insurance companies like these often provide cheaper rates than what you may be able to get through your current insurer. You can find local brokers by searching online for “car insurance near me”, or you can check out this comparison site that compares the top car insurance brokers in your area.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Buy Second-hand

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Some things are best purchased new, but others are better off second-hand. For example, kids grow out of clothes quickly. Instead of spending money on new clothes all the time, consider buying them used. Kids’ clothes often look brand new when they’ve been outgrown, and they can be found for a fraction of the cost.

You can also sell clothes your kids have outgrown, too, to help offset the cost of buying them second-hand. You can find used toys and other items at charity shops and online marketplaces, too.

This post is written in association with Quote Zone.

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How Can The Weather Affect Skiing Conditions?

Is there anything more thrilling than a skiing trip?

There’s an undeniable romance in the idea of spending the day cruising snowy slopes on lofty Alpine peaks, before retreating to warmth and comfort of a log cabin and settling in beside a roaring fire.
That sounds perfect, right? For many, it truly is. However, the mountains can be dangerous places.

How Can The Weather Affect Skiing Conditions?  Photograph by Greg Rakozy
Photograph by Greg Rakozy

Conditions can be unpredictable and often extreme. Not only can this pose obvious dangers to a skier’s health and wellbeing, but the weather can also affect the quality of the skiing itself. You could be forgiven for thinking that all snow is the same and is fine for skiing either way. We’ve put together a guide to help dispel some of those myths. Keep reading to find out more.

Different types of snow

Snow can come in all kinds of different forms. From soft powdery snow to hard icy snow, to slushy, wet snow. The type of snow you encounter on the slopes can have a significant impact on your skiing experience.
If you asked an experienced skier, chances are that they would tell you that powdered snow is the best kind for skiing. Powdered snow is freshly fallen, untouched snow that offers a silky-smooth skiing surface. Powdered snow is preferred by experienced skiers as it allows them to generate speed quickly and easily, while its soft surface allows for more dexterous turns and fancy tricks. Beginners may also prefer to ski on powdered snow, it’s soft enough to act as a cushion if they were to fall.
Powdered snow that has seen a lot of traffic can turn hard and tough, this is known as packed snow. This might not be as enjoyable to ski on as powdered snow, but its strength and solidity can make for a more stable skiing surface.
It can be difficult to predict what kind of snow awaits you on the slopes. However, using a weather forecast platform like Piste Pro can give you an idea of how much snowfall is set to hit your destination of choice. Make sure to check it out before you set off on your trip.

The temperature

Obviously, it needs to be cold to snow. You don’t need to worry about that, you can be rest assured that it will be cold up on the mountains. However, particular temperature ranges can have an affect on skiing conditions, so it’s worth knowing what to expect.
Most experienced skiers report that the best temperature for skiing lies somewhere between -7 and -1 degrees Celsius. In this range, the snow will remain firm enough to ski on without melting or turning soft, while it will still be warm enough to enjoy a day’s skiing provided you are wearing the appropriate clothing.
Any colder and you could be in for a difficult time on the slopes. Clothes can only do so much, at low enough temperatures you’ll still feel the cold, and being out in these conditions too long can lead to serious consequences, such as frostbite.

Visibility

Visibility is crucial on a skiing trip. You’ll often be travelling at high speeds through treacherous terrain, being able to see where you are going is vital to avoid obstacles and other skiers. The sun can often affect visibility, reflecting off the whiteness of the snow and causing glare. Low cloud and fog can reduce visibility as well and make for dangerous conditions.

Conclusion

A skiing holiday can be an incredible experience. However, poor weather conditions can often turn a dream holiday into a perilous situation. Ensure you know what to expect and that you are aware of how the weather can affect skiing conditions.

This post is written in association with Piste Pro.

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Make The Most Out Of A Week In Johannesburg With These Useful Travel Tips

South Africa is one of the most exotic and action-packed family holiday destinations in the world. It comes with the promise of adventure and thrills. There are so many facets and sides to this fascinating country that for the first-time visitor, it can be hard to know where to even begin.

If you’re planning to visit the nation’s capital Johannesburg, you’re no doubt brimming with a mixture of excitement and nerves. It’s a city that’s often spoke of in legendary tones, it is rich in history and steeped in culture. If you’re heading there for a holiday and you’re not quite sure what to expect, check out our guide with the top tips for spending a week in Johannesburg.

Unsplash photo from
Kwena Mashale

Be on your guard

Johannesburg has long held a reputation for being a city awash with crime and social problems. While the city certainly has a checkered past, it’s no more or less dangerous than many other major metropolitan hubs. That being said, you must remain vigilant at all times. Criminals anywhere see tourists as easy and attractive targets, both for their unfamiliarity with the local area and for their habit of carrying around valuables like cash, passports, or cameras.

Busy areas like the city’s main train station, Park Station, can be hotbeds for pickpockets and thieves. Keeping your valuables in a money-belt secured under your clothes can be an effective way of protecting them from pickpockets.

Before you set off, ensure you’re covered with a travel insurance policy. For example,  a travel insurance company like Staysure will cover you if your valuables are lost or stolen, as well as offering cover for cancellations, lost baggage, or medical expenses.

Where to stay

Johannesburg is an enormous city, with a metro area population of 6 million, it is the largest land-locked city in the world. It is made up of several distinct neighbourhoods and areas, each with their own unique characteristics and quirks. Where you choose to stay will depend on the type of holiday you’re looking for.

Rosebank and Melrose are probably the cities safest areas, perfect for a relaxing holiday with no worries. If you’re looking for a little more culture, consider staying in Bryanston or Randburg, there you’ll find plenty of stores, coffee shops, restaurants, and museums. 

For younger people looking for something cooler, Maboneng is trendy neighbourhood with art installations, live music, and rooftop bars.

The language barrier

You will find English speakers in South Africa. However, you’ll also encounter many more dialects, as the country has an incredible 11 official languages. The most common of these are Zulu, Xhosa, and English, so it will be worth your while learning some words and phrases before you head off.

nomvula-moepya-botanical gardens Johannesburg via unsplash
Botanical Gardens (Nomvula Moepya)


Using the native language will help endear you to the locals in the area. It will demonstrate that you’ve made an effort and that you are appreciative of their hospitality, you should be pleasantly surprised to see that effort returned in kind.


Conclusion

Johannesburg is a city with many sides. It has been somewhat unfairly maligned in the past, deemed an unsafe, dangerous place where walking the streets is not advised. While, like any major city, it does have some riskier areas, there is so much Johannesburg can offer no matter what kind of holiday you’re going on. To make the most of your time there, choose the best neighbourhood to stay in, learn a few phrases in some of the many local languages, and be aware of your surroundings to guarantee yourself a memorable stay.

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Summer Fashion with SimplyBe

Planning your summer styling

Vi writes:

“I’m not  sure about you, but I am well and truly in holiday planning mode! Our summer  holiday is the highlight of my year.  I only need to feel some sand between my toes to have had a great holiday!
With the days getting longer and evenings lighter, I can almost feel summer on the way! Like many people, I like to have a wardrobe update for summer, and when SimplyBe.co.uk got in touch I couldn’t resist starting my holiday shopping!”

 

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Choosing your holiday fashion.

Family holidays can be chaos, so I like practical yet fashionable clothes to wear. I always pack a couple of summer dresses, as they can be thrown over a bikini, or teamed with a pair of heels! And travelling in the UK – I always pack a lightweight cardigan or jumper too…
One dress can be worn multiple ways, and it saves on all important luggage space!

What to wear while you travel?

Whether you’re travelling by plane or car, comfort and style are essential! I like to keep my style simple, so I usually opt for linen trousers or my favourite jeans combined with a vest top and a jumper. I love this brightly coloured jumper, it is really flattering to wear and the colours are so summery!

Summer Jumper

Bit too warm for jumpers? Opt for a tunic instead, ultimate comfort with your leggings and perfect to sling over your swimsuit poolside! I love the detail on this one from Joe Browns;

Image: simplybe.co.uk

Summer Dresses

I always pack dresses as they are so versatile, just add accessories and one dress can have
multiple wears! If you’re on a budget when buying, opt for one classic style and a then a fun style too.

I chose this beach dress as it is lightweight – perfect to stash in your hand luggage in case of lost luggage. It also means it can be hand-washed easily – important if you have small children armed with ice creams while you’re away! (It machine washes nicely too!)

Image: simplybe.co.uk

The palm print is fabulous, last year palm prints seemed to be really fashionable, and I have a feeling it’s a trend which will continue for this summer too! It’s an easy to wear dress which is really flattering!

A linen dress when I go on holiday is essential, it’s my go to for city visits. Linen keeps me cool, but smart too. Add espadrilles or your favourite sneakers for the perfect sightseeing outfit!

Image: Simplybe.co.uk

This dress is a linen mix which makes it less likely to crease, when you come to pack it roll rather than fold it to keep the creases out! This is a great value dress at £22, and as a classic style it can be dressed up or down as you need.

 

 

This article was written in collaboration with SimplyBe, Vita was gifted a selection of garments to review.

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Kitting yourself out for the 2017 Autumn Season

Kitting yourself out for the 2017 Autumn Season

Autumn LeavesNow is a good time to quickly get the warmer clothes that you own out of your wardrobe and double-check whether it all fits. It is already getting chilly, so you do not want to leave it too much longer to prepare yourself for the colder Autumn months. Once you have done this you will be in a position to make a list of what you need to buy and go shopping. Most retailers are already stocking autumn coats, jumpers, boots and shoes. If you go shopping now, rather than leaving it for a few weeks, you will get the best choice. Usually, the best items sell out quite fast, so shopping sooner rather than later for what you need really is the safest option.
Photo credit Alex Wing

Coats and jackets

This year, there is a particularly good choice of coats and jackets available. A lot of designers have taken classic coat cuts and had a little fun with them. Combining the old with the new has produced some really great results. For example, traditional parkas that are made from bold floral fabrics.

Kitting yourself out with hats and scarves

Scarves-by-kelly-sikkema-72695However, if you do opt to buy one of these unusual jackets you may find it quite hard to buy a hat and scarf that matches. Fortunately, items like this are not hard to make yourself. In fact, making a scarf is a good first project for someone who is new to knitting. If it comes out a bit wonky it does not matter. No one will really notice when you are wearing it under your new coat or jacket.
Photo by Kelly Sikkema

Jumpers and cardigans

If you are more experienced you may want to have a go at knitting yourself a jumper. There are some really good patterns around for knitwear items. However, if you want a coatigan it might be worth buying one instead. The fact that they are as long as a regular coat means that knitting one could take you a few weeks. Often, it works out cheaper to buy large of items of knitwear from the shops rather than make them yourself.

Jeans

It is always worth having at least one pairs of jeans in your wardrobe for the colder months. These versatile items of clothing are ideal for keeping you warm so that you can continue to enjoy outdoor events and activities through the colder months.

This year, many fashion designers have been inspired by the fashions of the 80s. That means that the jean cuts are a lot looser than they have been for the past few years. Today’s, high-waisted tapered jeans are really comfortable to wear as well as looking great. They look just good worn with a t-shirt and a homemade jumper, but work just as well when paired with a suit-style jacket.

Dress trends for 2017

If you prefer to wear dresses, you are in luck, this year. Many of the warmer fabrics are back in vogue. Jersey is a particularly good option for the autumn. It is soft and comfortable as well as lovely and warm.

For a special event or party, a nice velvet dress is perfect, and they are more widely available than they used to be. However, you do need to be careful how you take care of velvet clothing. This short video tells you all you need to know about caring for this lovely fabric.

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How to make a Halloween Leaf Wreath

How to make a Halloween Leaf Wreath 

Thank you for visiting, this marvellous craft can now be found HERE

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Pen for writing on conkers – available here in the UK, here in the US

Well; that’s the weekend… conkers and scary skulls; this is what I’ve been doing with 12yo whilst 13yo seems to be drowning in homework – hardly fair right? So we’ve left him to it at home and walked up to tennis; the weather is wonderful and we’ll be scrumpy-ing some little apples we’ve spotted on the way home… Oh incidentally: we have a “plan” for our conker skulls; will keep you posted… Meanwhile do keep your #halloweencrafts 🎃 coming for judge @innerchildfun #kidscrafts101 and your #sgiew_potplant shots too so that @komoonko can find them 🌿 . #sgiew #conkers #autumn #littlestoriesofmylife #flatlayforever #fromwhereistand #potplant #cactus #cactuslover #slowlivingforlife . Hosts – we should have a party! @babbledabbledo @redtedart @willowdaygram!

A photo posted by Ali Clifford (@incredibusy) on

autumn-leaves-wreath_incredibusyAli also writes at aGreenerLifeforus.com

halloween leaf wreath skulls