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Mamma Musings

3 Tips for Getting Your Life More Organised, without Needing Lots of Discipline

There are all sorts of benefits to having your life relatively well organised – ranging from the fact you will be able to avoid the stress of rushing to meet deadlines, to the fact that you will be better able to invest time and energy in your hobbies of choice.

journal

Pic Credit: PIxabay

Of course, wanting to get your life a bit more organised is one thing, but actually making it happen is something else altogether. Too much organisation can be a stressful and stifling thing, and trying to get your life more organised using sheer discipline is often a losing proposition.

If you have ever worked in the hospitality industry, you might have noticed that it was significantly easier to serve up meals to strangers than to do it at home, at times.

The trick is that there are things other than discipline that are involved in getting things done.

Here are some tips for getting your life more organised, without needing lots of discipline.

Get yourself connected to external “accountability mechanisms”

The reason why you might find it easier to be organised, and to get things done, in a job context, has a lot to do with the external “accountability mechanisms” that are present in that context, which may be missing in your personal life.

In order to get your life more organised in general, figure out ways to implement accountability mechanisms that you don’t have direct control over. This might be an accountability buddy who expects regular check ins from you, or might even mean putting money on the line with a service such as StickK.

It’s easy to be consistent when there are external pressures, rewards, and punishments involved.

Listen to your intuition, and, to the best of your ability, try to only do things that feel meaningful to you

If you’re trying to structure your life in a way that you don’t intrinsically find meaningful or positive, you are bound to fail – and if you don’t, you will certainly be miserable at the very least.

Take some time to listen to your intuition, and to try to restructure your life to the best of your ability so that you are only doing things that feel meaningful to you.

The more meaningful something feels, in general, the easier it will be to do and stick with.

Develop the habit of getting started more quickly, and thinking about the process less

Paralysis analysis” is a very real thing, and it can certainly apply to maintaining structure in your life, and performing your daily routines, just as it can apply to everything else.

Perhaps the best and most consistent way of circumventing this issue, is to do what you can to develop the habit of getting started on things more quickly, and thinking about the process less, as a rule.

If you sit around and reflect on how much you’re going to dislike doing a particular chore, for example, it will be much harder for you to actually do it.

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Helping Your Child Stay Connected During a Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has undeniably been hugely challenging for people across the globe, in different ways. Some of us have lost loved ones, some of us have been made unemployed, some of us of lost our businesses and children have missed out on an education they deserve. While teachers are trying their best to ensure children are still able to learn, there’s still a strong sense of isolation and lack of motivation amongst many students. 

Lockdown restrictions mean that children are not able to socialise and blow off some steam in the same way that they used to. Ensuring your child remains connected during the pandemic, which seems to be showing no signs of slowing down just yet, is an important job for parents. Read on for some advice from an independent school in Hampshire.

Video calls are a great way to connect with family and friends during this time. Perhaps you could get in touch with some of the parents of your child’s friends and arrange a virtual playdate over Zoom or FaceTime. Older children might enjoy something like a pop-culture quiz with their friends, in which the winner receives a prize. 

There are lots of video games, like Fifa or Fortnite, and smartphone apps that enable social interaction. However, be sure to check the age rating. While you may not want to encourage your child to spend hours on end playing on digital devices, it’s a great way for them to keep in touch with their friends and have some fun in the process. 

Another option is a movie night. Netflix Party is a fairly new system that allows people to watch movies with other people from a different household by synchronising video playback. You’ll have to pay for a monthly subscription, but it will allow your child to send instant messages to their friends so that they can discuss the film. 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Preparing Your Child for the School Bus

bus

Pic Credit: Pixabay

When the time comes for your child to start catching the bus to and from school without you, you’ll both probably feel a little overwhelmed. It’s a big milestone and daunting watching your child grow up and develop that level of independence where they don’t need you by their side at all times. After a few weeks of them catching the bus, it will start to feel like a normal part of your routine, but there are some things you can do until then to help settle your child’s nerves (and your own). Here are some tips from a prep school in London.

As with anything, practise makes perfect, and it can also help settle one’s nerves. With that in mind, hope on the bus with your child as much as you can in the run up to them catching it without you. Show them how to pay, how to press the button when they want the bus to stop and where to get off. Teach them that when there are no available seats, they will need to hold on to a bar to help keep their balance. Practise the route to and from school so that it becomes more familiar. 

Find some time to have a one-to-one chat with your child about how they’re feeling about catching the school bus. If you ask them in front of their siblings or other people, they might not feel as comfortable being open and honest with you about their concerns. If they do share some anxious thoughts, try and put their mind at ease. Remind them that there will likely be other children from their school on the bus and the driver is a responsible adult. Teach them about some of the rules i.e., no talking to strangers.

For the first few days when your child starts catching the bus without you, it would be nice for them if you could walk them to and from the bus stop at the beginning and end of each day. This will likely help them feel a little bit more comfortable, knowing that you’ll be there to greet them when it’s all over. 

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Mamma Musings

Digital Museums for kids

Covid has thrust us into the world of home-schooling with s huge shock. It was not something which I had much experience of  or appetite for but I have ha to learn pretty quickly.  Compared to my own time in school technology has played a huge part and enables us to give he kids a really well rounded home school,  with huge variety and infinite options of topics, themes etc. I have seen a great mix of taught classes, workshops, and themed classes in languages etc. My kids attend an Irish and Spanish language workshop with kids from all over the world. I think its fantastic for kids and fosters a natural inclusive culture which society will benefit from in the long term.

Art and History

My pair love art and love history and one of the most interesting finds has been the existence of digital museums. One of the assigned projects for my almost  9 year old was a collage on the Mona Lisa I don’t think there would be many of us who haven’t heard of this famous piece of art, painted by Leonardo Da Vinci.

Mona Lisa Foundation

Like anything you try to research on the internet there is an overwhelming amount of information out there no matter what topic you try to search.  One excellent resource we leaned heavily on for this particular topic was the Isleworth Mona Lisa.  The Mona Lisa Foundation provides a wealth of information on this topic. An interesting fact which I didn’t know already was that both Leonardo and the Mona Lisa were both born in Florence in 1452 and 1479 respectively.  The Mona Lisa was a commission by her husband. Its a wonderful history to this amazing work of art.

Something which I have being doing is teaching the kids that you need to consider your source of the information in terms of its reliability. The old adage still rings true “don’t believe everything you read”. Its so important to trust your source.

EPIC Museum

The digital world has really opened up kids learning environment which has to be a positive.  Another resource which we love is the EPIC Irish Emigration museum another fantastic museum available digitally during the current global pandemic. The EPIC museum takes a look into the history of Irish Emigration all over the world.  Over 10 million Irish left their country to see out a better life and watching this history come to live is just fascinating.

Also available on their site are online events, virtual tours and themed downloads.  For example during Christmas there was a fantastic pack for kids which taught history of Christmas around the world.

The EPIC museum was recently voted no 1 visitor attraction in Europe and its not hard to see why.  

While we can’t travel at the moment, we do long for the day where we can visit both the Mona Lisa and the Epic museum in person in their own environments. However while its not possible at the moment, digital museums are an excellent alternative for kids and adults alike.

Note: This is a collaborative post 

 

 

Mamma Musings

Make Some Extra Cash by Selling Your Old Belongings

remote work

Pic Credit: Pexels

The New Year has rolled in and many of us are looking for ways to declutter our homes and get a little cash together after the busy festive period. You can achieve both of these things by selling belongings you no longer want or need online. Here’s a quick guide to show you how to achieve this!

Choose What You Want to Sell

Starting out, you’re going to want to know exactly what you want to sell and what you want to keep. This will inevitably involve some decluttering in your home. If you no longer use an item and it has no sentimental value, chances are you might as well sell it to get something else you will use!

Choose a Platform

If you’re going to sell your belongings, you’ll find that you can give yourself the best chance of finding a buyer by listing it online. Here, the whole world can view what you have to offer and can put in a bid or make a purchase if they see something they like. Of course, you’re going to have to choose a platform to sell from. There are a number out there, including Depop, Etsy and even Amazon for new products. But the vast majority of people do tend to opt for eBay. This is an easy to use online auction and shopping website where you can sell pretty much anything you no longer want – new or used. Of course, if you’re just getting rid of a few bits or bobs, this won’t be all too relevant to you, but it’s good to know that some people make a full time income from selling on eBay, with some eBay stores generating as much as £17 million a year through this site. Selling on eBay is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is list your products. Then people can start bidding on auction products or buy products immediately through the “buy it now” option. Of course, eBay does charge a fee for their services (usually 10%), but this is generally worth it.

Decide Whether You Will Ship or Buyers Will Collect

You need to know whether buyers will collect the item or whether you will ship it to them. This will allow you to add postage costs to the price of item if you are going to ship. Of course, it’s generally easier to post – especially if the item is large. You can compare rates on shipping for all sorts of items, from books to motorcycles, to get the best deal for your customers. If customers do want to collect, make sure you have received payment before handing the item over.

Put Effort into Your Listings

If you find you’re not getting much interest in your listings, it may be because they’re not up to scratch. You need to make sure that you have high quality images of your items and that you give plenty of information in the description, including condition, size or spec and more.

It may feel like a bit of effort to get the ball rolling with this, but once you start making sales, it’ll all be more than worth it!

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Why t-shirts make the perfect gift

Whether it is a birthday, Christmas, a special occasion or just because, you really can’t go wrong with the old reliable T-shirt, whether its Men’s T-Shirts or Women’s T-Shirts the choice is endless. So how you decide?! Well I have put together so useful tips to guide you in choosing the best choice in apparel.

Meaning

Oddly enough the origins of T-shirt can be traced back to the 19th century where it was used as an undergarment. The word T-shirt entered everyday parlance in the 1920 and its stayed there ever since.  It wasn’t until the 1960s that that T-shirts became used a method of self expression, advertising and not forgetting holiday souvenirs!

Choices, choices, choices 

Turning to some of my top tips and im saying this as an avid T-shirt lover!

Gorgeous T-shirts from pixels.com

  • Length – very important consideration. How often have you seen T-shirts half way up somebody’s back when they move – not a good look!
  • Sleeves – a pet peeve of mine, the sleeves should not go below the elbow…no just no!!!
  • Material – good quality material is probably critical, it helps it hang nice, it prolongs the longevity and most certainly adds to the look.
  • Express yourself – This is what i love about T-shirts the ability to use them as a form of self expression. Whether that’s to show your support for a sports team, a celebrity, a good cause or even just that holiday memory you want to share. It’s certainly one of the main reasons why my own wardrobe is full to the brim with a selection of greet tees!

The T-shirt has been around a very long time and it won’t be going anywhere which is why I think it makes the ideal gift whatever the occasion.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post

 

Mamma Musings

What cool presents parents can buy their kids

Cool presents to buy for kids

We all know kids get super excited on special events and holidays. This is especially true if it is an event where they are expecting presents. Whether it is Christmas or their birthday, they just cannot wait to see what you have bought them.   While you can always ask your kids what they want for these occasions, it does take away the element of surprise. But are you struggling to think of the perfect present? 

In this post, we will walk through a few fun and stylish gift ideas that are sure to be a fantastic surprise present.

  • A Scooter

One of the most requested gifts from a kid is a shiny, new bike. However, many children, especially younger ones, don’t have the balance to ride successfully.

red scooter

Pic Credit: Vulyplay

So, why not gift them a 3 wheel scooter and make your little one the happiest kid in the world! Scooters are great for those not old enough to ride a bike, and nothing is easier to balance on then a 3 wheel scooter variant. 

Today’s kids might be crazy about Netflix, iPhones, and video games, but stylish scooters are the perfect way to encourage your children to get active outdoors. Scooters (and bikes) give them the freedom they may be needing. It is a wonderful way to get your kids to go out, hang out with their friends, and enjoy an adventurous ride, rather than playing video games all day.

A scooter is all they need to explore new places, creating fun memories that they will remember for years. Gifting a scooter to your child might not be a unique idea at first, but with all the styles and types now available, a scooter may end up being a bigger surprise than you think!

  • Binoculars

A pair of binoculars is likely not a present you would associate with fun. However, toy binoculars can generate a lot of fun and are durable too. Your kid will love using binoculars in spy games, and other make believe. They play being the secret agent, using a pair of binoculars to investigate crimes. 

Additionally, they can use binoculars to track an airplane or watch the birds sing and play in your neighborhood. Being a rather unique present, they are also cost effective.

  • A Piggy Bank
piggy bank

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Do you want your child to know the value of savings? A piggy bank makes for a fantastic gift then. Piggy banks are available in a broad range of styles and colors, as well as shapes and sizes.  Choose a piggy bank that your kids can associate with and become their bedroom companion. 

  • A Personal Diary

Research suggests that girls are more expressive than boys. They love to share their opinions and emotions. Although, it can be hard for them to share their thoughts in front of people. So, why not give them the private space they need by gifting a personal diary? 

Choose a diary with your kid’s favorite cartoon theme or color. As kids grow up, they face a multitude of emotions that they might not be comfortable to share with their families or friends. This is why a diary can be an amazing tool in helping them cope with their feelings.

  • Kids’ Graphic Tees

Kids are constantly growing out of their clothes, so they always need new ones. Clothes as gifts are always a good idea. These cool graphic tees designed by Threadheads artists and the League of Extraordinary Artists make for awesome gifts during the holidays, birthdays, and special events. You can choose from a wide variety of amazing designs, as well. Geeky tees, retro tees, cute tees, statement tees, and Japanese pop culture tees—you name it; they have it. Best of all, these are made from ethically sourced combed cotton, so not only are they supercomfortable, but they’re also guilt-free.

  • Streaming Subscription

In today’s internet-driven world, nothing could excite your kid more than the subscription to their favorite live streaming platforms. You can buy your kids a one-month subscription for any popular streaming subscription from Netflix to Disney+. 

Choose the genre they like to watch the most (most likely the cartoons channel) and help them find new favorite shows or movies. 

Just remember to enforce time to go outside and be active. While a streaming subscription is a popular gift, you do not want your kids spending all the time in front of a screen.

  • Toys 

You can’t go wrong with toys, but how about can you narrow it down when the selection and options are so vast! Well, I have done it for you. I asked my pair to come up with the top 5 picks for this year. For reference my kids are almost 9 and 6.

  • RC stunt car I mean you can’t go wrong with a remote control stunt car. This pick is a much more modern and cool take on the stunt car and comes with at a very reasonable price point.
  • RC racing car the nearly 9 year old is really taken with the remote control racing car. I have to admit it is very cool, its a level up on the stunt car in terms of pricing but looks like a great option for the older kids .
  • RC robot both kids fell for this robot and at £19.99 this is very good value.  This looks very cool and would make a lovely birthday gift.
  • RC Dinosaur my youngest is dino made so this is right up his street, I mean what’s not to love about a remote control dinosaur. At £59.99 it is at the pricer side of our picks but it comes loaded with functionality and hours of play.
  • Robot Dog a cheaper option than the dino is the robot dog. I was telling the kids I had a robot dog as a kid and they roared laughing, ok not as tech advanced as this one but it was one cool toy for its time. This is very cool and reasonably priced for what it does and would be a really lovely gift for Christmas or birthday.#

 

  • Musical Instrument
child playing music

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Not all children are interested in music. However, most kids love toy musical instruments, especially a piano. Whether you are celebrating their birthday or enjoying Christmas with your family, a musical instrument makes a wonderful gift idea for the young ones.

Buy them a toy piano and guitar and allow them to play their favorite song. Even if they are not interested in music, they will love to experiment with these instruments. 

Plus, it may foster them learning the real instrument later in life.

  • Room Décor Materials

A less-known fact about children is that they love to decorate their rooms. Haven’t you seen your little ones trying to paint their bedroom walls with their favorite sketch color?

 If you want to buy your kids something unique and interesting, then room décor materials can be a great idea.

Provide them with photo frames that they can hang on their room walls and help them find their favorite pictures. Other room décor ideas are wall stickers, cute mugs, fridge magnet, Disney characters, and more. Let them decorate the room the way they want to make it truly theirs (but do not forget to still supervise!)

 

 

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Top Tips for Setting up a Home Office

This year’s pandemic, has forced many of us to work from home. We’ve had to transform our living rooms, kitchens and even bedrooms into makeshift offices, in order to continue working safely.  Although working from home has its benefits, like no long commutes and working in our pyjamas; home isn’t always the most practical workspace. A makeshift office on your dining room table may work as a temporary measure, but these working conditions can have a negative impact on your productivity and wellbeing in the long run.

To help you stay productive and comfortable when working from home, here are some top tips on how to set up the ideal home office:

Sitting comfortably

laptop

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Whether you have a desk or you are using your dining table, you need to ensure that you are sitting comfortably. Adjust the height of your screen so that it is at your correct eye level. This will help to avoid eyestrain and posture issues. You will also need a comfortable chair. This is really important because you are going to be spending many hours sitting on it. Don’t just settle for a stool or a dining room chair; invest in a proper office chair which can be adjusted to your needs.

Adding the right lighting

Think carefully about the lighting in your home office and choose a room that has a good amount of natural daylight. The right lighting allows for better productivity, so try setting up your work space near a window if possible. If you’re working late into the evening you may also wish to invest in a suitable desk lamp. This will help to reduce eyestrain and keep you focused when you are putting in those extra hours.

Having the right equipment

Have a look at some better equipment options like multi-functional devices. These are an excellent choice for home offices because they include the functionality of numerous devices in a single machine. This not only helps to decrease your carbon footprint, but it will also reduce the amount of space required for printing, scanning, and other document management tasks. 

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Preparing for your child’s birthday party

When you’re hosting a birthday party for your child, you’re likely to experience emotions on every end on the spectrum. From high stress to total happiness when you see their little face having the time of their life, it’s a bit of a rollercoaster. Here’s a few tips to hopefully cut out much of the stress, and leave you to enjoy their special day with them.

1. Discuss the theme

Picking a theme makes preparation much easier. You can tailor the decorations, entertainment and even the food. For some parents this is a breeze – you know what they love so you can guess their choice right away. If your youngster is a little trickier to predict, let them help to pick – it is their day after all! Put some choices forwards to them and let them choose, or work together to think of fun ideas and draw them out of a hat. 

If your child’s birthday falls in the winter, throwing an ice-skating party can make for a fun and exciting way to celebrate their birthday. Kids will have a blast playing on ice and then drinking a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows when they get cold. Invite the children’s parents, too, so there will be more people to keep an eye on your little guests. Don’t forget the party essentials for an ice-skating-birthday bash, such as winter-themed invitations, decorations, menu, and party favors.

2. Pull together an invite list

Once the theme of the party is decided, next it’s onto the invite list. This can be the bane of many parents’ party planning, because the list has to end somewhere. It’s difficult to whittle a long list down if you’re hosting it at home and can’t accommodate everyone.

3. Write up and send out the invitations

You can make this a fun DIY job, or buy some that match with your little one’s chosen theme. Making them together can be a beautiful way to bond and let them get creative, and it makes it more personalised for the guests you’re inviting.

4. Organise the entertainment

Booking entertainment of course depends on your child’s preference. It also depends on the theme of the party (it’s got to be consistent, right?). For example a princess theme and a visit from a little girl’s favourite Disney princess goes hand in hand. Find something to suit your budget, and find something you know your child will love. Of course, you might be going for something a little more relaxed and might not have a direct form of entertainment in place. That’s also fine, but make sure you’ve got enough planned to keep them occupied!

5. Make a schedule

Planning ahead mitigates the risk of any hiccups on the day. Plan how you’re going to decorate, plan the food you’re going to make and plan for any fun activities that will be taking place throughout the party. In terms of food, it’s worth preparing some that you can freeze earlier in the week, to stop a mad rush as the time of the party get closer.

6. Buy your supplies

It’s always better to over-buy than to run out. Depending on how old your child and their guests are, you could end up catering for parents as well as children. For this reason, you should sufficiently stock up on enough food and drink for the duration of the party. A full toddler is definitely better than a hungry one! If you’re doing party bags, you can buy pre-made or prepare your own.

7. Clean the house twice

It’s obvious to most that you want your home to make a good impression on guests. A tidy kitchen, pristine wood flooring, and glistening windows – they make all the difference. However, a big clean the day before – or even worse, the day of – the party can be stressful. If you do a thorough clean a week or so before, you’ll hopefully only need to give it a once over before guests begin to arrive.

8. Practice ‘thank you’s’

You little one is likely to be receiving presents. It is their birthday, after all. To make sure they’re polite to their friends, practice saying thank you and make sure they understand its importance. This is obviously worthwhile generally, but it’s especially significant at their birthday party.

Most importantly, try and have fun with it. Don’t take it too seriously and enjoy spending time with your little one and their friends.

 

And finally if you need some budget friendly inspiration for gifts check out Motherhood the Real deals post here

 

Note: this is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

How Does Moving Schools Affect Your Child?

kids at school

Pic Credit: Pixabay

There are plenty of reasons why a child might have to move to a different school. They might be underperforming at their current school or being bullied by another child, or perhaps their parents have to relocate for work. Maybe they are just naturally progressing from a primary to a secondary school. Whatever the reason, the transition can often feel quite daunting for youngsters, especially if they are dealing with challenges in their personal life at the same time. I have teamed up with a prep school in Hertfordshire to explore this in further detail below so that parents can be better equipped to help their child navigate the changes.

Of course, there are lots of changes a child will have to get used to when moving to a new school. There’s the building itself, but your child will also have to adapt to new teachers who may use different methods or follow a slightly different curriculum. If your child is either behind or ahead in their classes, they may start to lose interest in their lessons. With that said, parents and new teachers should really pay close attention to how well the child is or isn’t adapting to their new environment and potentially provide extra tutoring if necessary.

If your child had close friends at their old school, they will probably be quite upset about having to leave them behind, and nervous about meeting new people. If you think that might be the case for your child, try and help them stay in touch with their old friends. If they can’t meet up in person, video calls might be a good option, or you could even encourage your child to go old school and write letters. This will help them feel less alone through the transition. If possible, and age appropriate, you could try and get the contact details of some of the parents at the new school and arrange a play date or two so that your child has an opportunity to make new friends in an environment where they feel more comfortable.

Try and use positive and optimistic language around your child when talking about the transition so that they can feed off of your uplifting energy. Talk to them about the amazing opportunities they’ll have at their new school, like the fantastic playground or amazing sports facilities. If they see that you are confident about the transition, they will adopt the same attitude.

Note: This is a collaborative post