All Posts By

Mamma Fairy

Mamma Musings

Living Arrows 12/52 – Our new norm

Kahlil Gibran –  “You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

During 2018 and 2019 I took part in the fabulous linkie run by Donna from What the Redhead said. It is inspired by the above quote and runs each week. I really love reading other peoples post in this linkie so despite vowing for months to get back to it, I have finally decided to get back to wring more on the blog. 

Our New Norm

It’s all a bit surreal isn’t it? Hard to know what day of the week it is. Working from home for the foreseeable, kids off school for the foreseeable, social distancing the new norm.  One thing I have learned so far is that kids are super resilient. Every day my pair wake up full of life, happy out. The roles have been reversed they are now teaching me how to live a “slow life” , to enjoy the little moments, to live in the present, to not be stressing about rush here and there.

Our days are filled with board games, socially distanced walked, facetime calls with grandparents. Very different to the rush and fast paced of the ‘norm’ for us. So rather than fret and worry, we are doing our best to embrace this new norm for the next while.

So take care, stay home, stay safe and we will meet on the other side of this when im guessing many of us will have a renewed appreciation of life and our loved one. We can and will do this. Lets learn from the example set by our kids.

 

 

Living Arrows
Features

Practical Tips for Working from Home with Children

Glandore, Ireland’s longest serving & leading provider of serviced offices & coworking spaces, have very kindly shared helpful advice for those trying to juggle working from home whilst keeping their children occupied.   I am very thankful for their kind permission to share the below in these highly unusual times.

tips working from home laptop phone

Pic Credit: Pixabay

1.            Set up a daily structure: Childcare professionals’ advice is that routine is vitally important when it comes to maintaining happy children. If your children’s day starts at 8.30am in crèche or school, try to start their home care at the same time. Establishing a routine at home will help everyone transition to this new ‘norm’ more easily. If your children are used to breaks at certain times, make sure to build those into your day. As we all know, children’s attention spans are much shorter than ours, so exercise and snack breaks are important to schedule in, for both the child and the parent. Try to finish up your home crèche or school at the same time as their regular day. 

Top tip: set an alarm to go off, so everyone knows that it’s family time now. The alarm doesn’t have to be the sound of a school bell ringing, it could be one of your children’s favourite songs instead.  

 2.            Have a designated space for mess: The length of time that we will be working and schooling from home is unknown and therefore it is recommended to designate a school/crèche area in your home if possible. Children need space to play and that play can often be messy so it might be wise to make the kitchen your home childcare centre. With paint, glitter, Lego, dolls and action figures, children’s toys can easily take over the house. They are used to being in the same room for the day, whether in crèche or school, so keeping the home childcare space consistent will help with their sense of routine. Again, be mindful of your child’s attention span; they may only stay with an activity for 10 or 20 minutes depending on their age. This should also match the projects you are setting yourself; if you have something that needs your focus then perhaps leave that until everyone is in bed.   

Continue Reading

Fairy Travels

Creating an Adventurous Life For Your Family

It’s commonly assumed that a person’s adventurous side comes to life when they’re younger, and then, once they have children, they settle into a life of responsibilities and quiet joys. While this might be true for many people, it’s not as if it’s a force of nature that everyone must bow to. It is possible to have a life filled with adventure, even if you have three children and a full-time job. Want to know how? Check out our tips below.

Ask For More From Your Weekends

woman hiking with child in carrier

Pic Credit: Pexels

Life will give us what we ask of it, so why not ask for more? If it’s an adventure that you seek, then make the most of the weekends. You’re given two full days to live life to the fullest, so don’t settle for a couple of days pottering around the house. Instead, see what’s possible. What this will be will depend on your interests and where you live, but whatever and wherever that is, you’ll almost certainly find something fun and exciting going on near to you. It’s all about having a can-do attitude and mustering up that little bit of energy that’s required to make things happen.

Trips In the Outdoors

We spend so much of our time in urban areas, that we tend to forget that the bulk of the UK is rural. Indeed, only around 10% of the UK is built on — that’s all the roads, shops, homes, everything. So there’s a lot of land to discover! The outdoors can give us virtually everything that we seek, including an adventure. So why not look at taking a trip to one of the beautiful corners of the UK for a weekend of camping? You’ll need a few essential camping supplies, and a reliable car that can handle rural terrain; if your current vehicle isn’t up to the task, then take a look at Reed Autos and find something more suitable. You’ll find that a few days spent in the outdoors can provide a level of adventure that city-life just can’t provide. 

Adventurous Holidays Abroad

There’ll be times when you want to go on fun family holidays: the question is, what kind of holiday will it be? While there’s plenty of fun to be had by taking a trip to a sunny destination for a week of fun on the beach, that’s far from the only option. If you’re looking for adventure as a clan, then take a look at visiting those destinations that are more off the beaten path, or that have adventure running through their veins (any mountain area, for example). Another option is to look at alternative trip options, such as those offered by Workaway or HelpX. You can meet interesting people from all over the world, learn a new skill, and all-around find yourself in interesting and adventurous scenarios, without even trying.

Incorporate the above tips and adopt an adventurous, ‘anything is possible’ attitude, and you’ll find that your family life is filled with plenty of memorable and exciting moments. 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Tips for Taking Care of Your Jewellery

Everyone knows that person (or maybe it’s you) who has all their jewellery shoved into one box. It’s full of tangled up necklace, miss-matched earrings and likely a lot is broken. When properly taken care of, your jewellery can last for many years and stay in the same condition it was when you first bought it. If you invest in beautiful, quality jewellery pieces, you want them to last, so that one day you can pass them on to someone else. 

Use these tips to take care of your jewellery pieces and ensure they stay in tip-top condition. 

1.      Store in a cool, dry place

pocket watch

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Humidity and moisture are the biggest enemies of jewellery. Couple that with heat from either the sun or internal sources and you’ve got a potentially volatile situation for your precious pieces. Over-time heat can degrade certain materials and sunlight can distort colours. Humidity can lead to tarnishing, so keep it in a cool, dry space. 

2.      Keep chalk in your jewellery box

If you have quality silver pieces, like those from Fjewellery.co.uk, store them with a bit of chalk. Chalk is known for its ability to absorb moisture, so it will ensure that your silver stays completely dry. On top of that, it can also filter out chemical residue that could cause damage to your jewellery. Chalk will not cause any damage to your pieces even if some of the dust gets on them. 

3.      Don’t stack it

Stacking jewellery on top of each other is asking for damage. When you pile things up, it can lead to chipping and scratching. Store your jewellery in a way that your pieces aren’t being thrown against each other every time up put something away. Any plated jewellery will easily chip, and even your non-plated items can become scratched. If you’re storing necklaces than they will become tangled and can easily break if you’re piling them all together. Instead, hang your necklaces and get a jewellery box with individual slots for your rings. 

4.      Avoid swimming

Don’t wear your jewellery when you’re swimming. Whether you’re at the beach or in a pool, both contain harmful substances that will damage your jewellery. If you’re at the beach, the saltwater will get into all the nooks and crannies of your jewellery. It can be extremely damaging and hard to clean out. Beyond that, the moisture will encourage tarnishing. If you’re swimming in a pool, you’ll be subjecting your jewellery to chlorine damage and the chemical can wear away at your pieces, making them appear dull. 

5.      Store diamonds on their own

Diamonds are the hardest stone on the planet. Though they might not feel it to the human touch, they are much harder than any other gems. If you have sapphires, emeralds, rubies or any other stones or crystals, make sure you keep them separate. Diamonds can cause severe damage to the surfaces of different gems and scratch gold and silver jewellery. Store your diamonds in their own pouches to keep them from coming into contact with any other pieces in your collection.  

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Home & Interiors

ENERGY STAR APPLIANCES CAN SAVE YOU MONEY BY LOWERING YOUR ENERGY COSTS

Save on Your Energy Costs With Energy Star

One of the complaints I hear from some folks thinking about a new appliance is that Energy Star certified appliances are too expensive and don’t really save you a lot of money on your prepaid energy bill.

Well, the first part is true. Energy Star certified appliances are more expensive because they are more energy efficient. The part about them not saving you a lot of money is… well, wrong. The truth is they do save you money. However, consumers must face the hard part: educating themselves about the appliance they are looking to buy. Just because something has the Energy Star label on it doesn’t mean it will save you money if it doesn’t do the job you need it to do. Different consumers are going to use different appliances different ways. You need to keep you usage habits in mind when you go shopping.

The big energy loads that are going to make a difference when it comes to Energy Star compliance are refrigerators, air conditioners, furnaces, washing machines, and water heaters. Take for example water heaters. Water heating can account for 14%–25% of the energy used in your home. Generally speaking, consumers have three options (not counting solar) when it comes to water heaters: the standard tank, an energy star compliant tank, or an on-demand system. Water heater tank will heat the water but they have the hidden cost of stand-by energy use. In other words, they keep the water hot while its waiting to be used. The only way to save money on a tank is to make certain that the energy used to heat the water has as much thermal energy wrung out of it as possible.

The Department of Energy estimates that in 2018 most residential hot water in Texas is heated in a hot water tank heater that is 5-9 years old and does not have a heater blanket installed. A 50-gallon standard electric tank water heater costing about $200 rated at 0.86 to 0.95 efficiency can use $370 to $410 per year.. Electric heat pump water heaters can cost 3 to 8 times more but use half as much energy to provide the same amount of hot water (compare these two hot water energy guides for a standard and a heat pump from Lowes). Gas waters are also available with similar comparison results. One of the chief differences is that more efficient heat transfer means it is more difficult to vent cooled exhaust so heaters now have fans built into them.

Most tank heaters will last about 10 to 12 years depending on the water. Like it or not, the tank will eventually rust out and begin to leak. The best way to beat this is by using a whole-house tankless on-demand system. By heating water only when it’s needed, gas tankless water heaters cut water heating expenses by 30% to 60%, while also providing continuous hot water delivery. The drawback is they cost about on average 5 times more (about $1000; not including labor and additonal parts). Lifetime averages are 20 years. The point is that if you can cut your yearly bill in half, you are saving money. Let’s look at the costs this way:

If you go the tankless route, you can also eliminate the expense of replacement every ten years and save even more. Either way, you DO save money with Energy Star appliances and add value to your home.

Note: This is a collaborative post
Features

3 Signs Of A Strong Blog

blog letters

Pic Credit: CCO Licence

If you are hoping to make your blog a success, there are many things that you are going to have to focus on to make that a reality.  Whether you are looking to monetize it, or just run a good blog for the sake of it, much of what you need to do will be the same, and it is all the kind of thing that you can work on whenever you like. Many people who run blogs are not aware of much of this, but the best bloggers are, and if you want to be one of them then these are all issues you will need to think about too. In this article, we’ll go through three of the signs of a strong blog – as long as yours has all these, you are probably moving in the right direction. If not, you have work to do.

Good Name

One of the first things you will do is to name your blog, and it is also one of the most important. After all, people are going to talk about it, and you want them to be able to remember clearly what it is called and that it will be something that sticks in people’s minds in conversation. You also want to be able to get the appropriate URL for that name too, so you should seek out domain names at the same time as trying to title your blog. Otherwise you might be scrambling round to try and make it all fit together later on, and that will generally be much harder to achieve. Do it all to start with, and you will find that it is much easier to get right.

Simple Design

In many respects, the design of the website that hosts the blog is the most important thing, as it dictates how many visitors you are going to get and so on straight away. You need to try and keep this design simple above all, as it is simplicity that ensures that people can find their way around it and so on without hassle. It is also going to mean that they are much more likely to enjoy their experience of the blog itself. If you are having trouble with this, consider hiring the professionals to carry out your web design for you. That way, you can be sure of its success and simplicity.

Constant Content

Your readers are going to want to have a lot to read, so you have to make sure that you are constantly updating your blog as often as you can. That doesn’t mean multiple posts a day, but certainly posting one item a day is not going to be a problem. This will also help to keep you high up on the search engines results pages, which is going to be one of the main ways in which people find you. Create constant high-quality content, and you will find that your blog is much more popular indeed, and much more successful.

Note: This is a collaborative post
Features

Should You Buy a Used Car Warranty?

Fixing a car

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Used car warranties can be useful should a vehicle become damaged, but this doesn’t mean that there aren’t factors that need to be considered beforehand. 

Regardless of whether you’re purchasing a vehicle for the first time or looking to take out a warranty on a vehicle you already own, there are some considerations that should be made before committing to a used car warranty. 

What Does a Used Car Warranty Cover? 

The cover a used car warranty offers can differ depending on the provider chosen. There can also be some confusing terms and conditions which can almost seem contradictory to some. 

As there is no way of determining what could go wrong with a vehicle, there could be instances when some faults aren’t covered. 

This can happen in scenarios where poor workmanship has been shown, as well as damage attributed to general wear and tear. 

How Much Does a Used Car Warranty Cost? 

In many instances, it has been shown that even the cheapest car warranty can be £100 more than the average cost of a repair. 

However, there can be instances where some could find that the car warranty, they take out can be up to as much as ten times the cost of an average repair. 

This isn’t to say that a car warranty can’t be beneficial, but it can take a lot of research to ascertain what type of warranty is best suited, and by the time the policy has been tweaked, it could become more expensive than first thought. 

The Jargon Associated with Used Car Warranties 

Another issue that many have with used car warranties is some of the jargon that is used. The following is a breakdown of some of the jargon used when perusing car warranty options. 

  • Age Limit: Some used car warranties can have restriction in relation to the age of the driver.

    blue car

    Pic Credit: Pixabay

  • Claim Limit: The aspect of a car warrant details the maximum amount awarded with each claim. 
  • Betterment: If a repair or new part has made the car more valuable, then a further cost could be incurred. 
  • Consequential Loss: Instance where one car part affects another, which isn’t always covered with all used car warrantied. 
  • Excess: The percentage that a vehicle owner must pay in relation to repairs. The amount charged can depend on the type of vehicles as well as the level of cover the policy offers. 
  • Garage Choice: Some used car warranties may dictate that only approved garages can be used, which gives the vehicle owner less choice when it comes to the cost of the repairs. 
  • Mileage: As well as other limitations, the amount of distance travelled so far could also have an impact as to how much a car warranty is. 

Should You Buy a Used Car Warranty? 

Given the many factors that need to be considered in relation to a car warranty, it’s safe to assume that they’re not for everyone. 

However, if you are considering a used car warranty, then it’s of the utmost importance that a regulated provider is used. This will ensure that a cooling-off period is in place should the warranty not meet your requirements. 

Features

Affording Your New Car!

Everyone wants a brand new and shiny car to travel around in, but getting to the point of being able to afford it isn’t always smooth sailing. You want to be able to get behind the wheel of a car that’s all yours (used or new), and you want to be able to afford the new car, too. You don’t always have to buy a vehicle outright, though, and that’s important to know.

car keys

Pic Credit: Pexels

You may need a car for convenience, or you may need it for leisure trips up and down the country with your weekends. It’s easy to think about the vehicle you’ll cruise in, but it’s not easy to consider how you’re going to pay for it. So, let’s check out the ways that you can start to consider affording your new car.

Dealership Finance

Did you know that most dealerships will offer you finance, such as https://www.lrc4x4.co.uk/finance.php? Wherever you buy your car from, you shouldn’t have a problem looking at the finance options available for your particular vehicle. Financing your vehicle can come in many different ways, but it’s going to help you to work out what you can afford each month on finance and go from there.

Personal Lease

You can choose a fixed amount to pay on a personal lease. However, you don’t own the car, and you will need to either extend the lease or you give the car back at the end.

PCP = Personal Contract Plan

Usually, these cost less each month, but rather than paying the main price for your car, you agree to pay the amount of cash between the sale price of the car and the resale price. At the end of the plan, you need to hand the car back. If you want to keep it, you pay the resale price!

Personal Loans

You can take out a loan to afford your car, but many people prefer not to go for the personal loan route. You would need to have good credit, and you’d need to think about how you would plan to pay off the car if you lost your job.

Those options above will help you to get the car that you want, but you also need to think about saving money when you have the car that you choose. You can be more economical in your choices of car size, the best fuel, and how much you plan to drive. The longer you drive, the more you spend money on your car. You can also save money by choosing pre-reg vehicles. These cars are brand new and bought at a discount with the dealership. 

Lastly, you can save money on your new car by selling your old one. You can also look at exchanging your car with your dealership and paying the difference in a new one. It’s a great way to save some cash, and your vehicle will be one that you love off the lot! There are savings to be made: go and make them!

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Features

Managing Your Small Business Independently

Running your own small business can be such a rewarding experience, but tackling all of the various tasks and responsibilities can be an almost overwhelming experience that can discourage you from continuing with such hard work. Staying in control of your company is so important, and you have to make an effort to take steps towards organisation and productivity combined. Luckily, it needn’t be so difficult to manage your small business independently when you have the right tools to do so, and there are a few simple tips and tricks that you can make the most of to aid you in your quests. So, if you’re ready to find out more, then read on to uncover some of the best tips and tricks that you can make the most of today! 

door open sign

Pic Credit: Pexels

Write It All Down 

One of the most beneficial activities that you can take part in to ensure that you can keep control of and properly manage your small businesses is to write everything down. Whether this means making a detailed daily plan of the tasks you must complete, or taking a note of all of the important things you have to remember such as customer details or supplier phone numbers – you can’t expect yourself to be able to remember all of the information that you get each day, as this is extremely overwhelming. It’s a good idea to purchase a large notepad with lined pages that you can carry with you at all times, as just writing things down on bits of paper here and there means you’re likely to just lose them all over time. Writing all of your tasks down will also give you the opportunity to tick each job off as you complete it, which can be such a motivation and encouraging process as you see the page begin to fill up with ticks! 

Outsource Online Support 

Even though you may not want to seek out the help of another employee for whatever reason, outsourcing some online support could help you to stay in control of your small business. There are many mundane tasks that an owner or manager is often left to tackle, yet there are many other options that you can explore that can offer the perfect solution. Whether you seek out specialist IT support that can help to keep your online site up and running without the need for your intervention or set up some ELMO cloud payroll services that can deal with your financial commitments from a remote location, don’t feel the need to suffer through all of these tasks on your own when you can easily get quick short or long term help. 

Managing your small business independently has never been so simple when you are able to make the most of the top tips and tricks detailed above! Make sure you always have a trusty notepad handy to jot down all of the important details, and tick off your tasks as you go for extra motivation! 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Working from home – one year in

Once my second son was born I knew working from home would be really important to me and im delighted my current work/ blog situation allows this to happen. However working from home does have its pro and cons and I knew from the outset setting boundaries would be the most important part as it can be so easily to get consumed by work and end up using every waking minute to log on, check emails etc.

So one year in I though I do a post considering the pros and cons from my own experience:

Pro’s

  • I love being able to drop the kids to school/ activities. Yes I probably am that parent who is enthusiastically encouraging from the sidelines!!
  • If one of kids is sick etc, im not stressed about organising emergency childcare etc, I can be there.

    laptop on desk

    Pic Credit: Pixabay

  • My time is my own – I can work early mornings or late at night but key is to be disciplined. Say you decided to do 5 hours a day…you need to cut it at that otherwise the temptation is for it to drift to much longer days. I can be guilty of “just checking an email” which turns into either a job being done an hour or two can have lapsed.
  • Chatting to fellow remote workers/ blog buddies one of the things that crops up most is a better work/life balance which is what I have been striving for, for many years now. I know Laura of Miss LJ Beauty  agrees for her too living in a really remote location makes working from home a no brainer for her. Rachel from Coffee Cake Kids  agrees too being able to attend sports days, school events was a key driver for her in choosing working from home.
  • No rush hour traffic!! My bus stop was half way along the route so I never got a seat!! Standing on a jam packed bus is no fun.
  • Recently I have seen technology improvement’s such as a messaging platform which enable me to remain close to my customers despite being physically distant from them.

Con’s 

  • Ill be honest I miss the camaraderie of the office, the water cooler chat, the coffee break gossip! Lately I have been giving consideration to the use of serviced office spaces local to me while the kids are at school, something like Click Offices Dublin where you can rent either a designated desk or a hot desk space. Great idea for people like me who like to work for themselves but also like the idea of social side of the office. Human interaction can be a deal breaker for some and one of the reason they don’t like the idea of working from home.
  • Another con for me is that there is no “down time” the feeling of leaving work behind as you skip out the door at 5.30 on a Friday.

    computer keyboard

    Pic Credit: Pixabay

  • A lot of people have asked do I worry more about my mental health being home full time.
  • Distractions – coupled with the necessity to be disciplined I find sometimes at home I might say “oh ill just stick on this wash or make the bed” them im back working rather that being more disciplined and getting it done in the hours I had allocated to work.
  • Having worked in an office for many years, then working at home for yourself it can be easy to miss the support services such as IT, Facilities etc particularly when things go wrong!!

On balance I love the flexibility of working from home, I feel so much more present in my kids lives and I don’t have the fear of missing plays/ sports days etc, work life balance has vastly improved.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post