Featured

Why I was #FitToBurst *LIVE* on Facebook!!

On Saturday 26th May 2018 I attended a surprise birthday meal with extended family for my nephews 16th. They choose to book a very posh I...

Helping With Your Littles School Projects - Without Doing It For Them!

If there is one thing most parents don’t look forward to, it is homework! We thought we had escaped all of this when we finished school. Yes, we love spending time with our children, but it often results in one of two things. The first is that we feel incredibly stupid for failing to understand what our child’s homework is even about. The second is that we end up doing everything for them, which defeats the purpose. With that being said, read on to discover how you can help your child with their science project without actually doing it for them.
Keep in mind the goal of the project

The first thing you need to do is consider the goal of the project. Why is your child doing this project and what are they aiming to achieve? They aren’t expected to produce something that is going to be worthy of a Nobel Prize. Projects are all about the learning and the goals at the end. By having this in mind, you can make sure that your child achieves everything that he or she is meant to from the project.
Choosing the right project

One area whereby you can really help is in terms of choosing a project. Often, there will be a general theme, but there is a lot of scope in terms of the sort of project that your child can do. This is why it is important to ensure they choose something that is right for them – something that they feel comfortable with yet is still a bit of a challenge and something that will help them to achieve the project goals.
Take a trip somewhere

Children go on school trips all of the time. There are lots of science trips for schools that are centered on progressing their development and helping them to learn in a more fun and interactive environment. So, why not do this yourself? Taking your child to a science museum or anything that is related to their project will help to open their mind so that they can have a more impressive outcome.
Make sure your child is the one to interpret the results

In terms of the interpretation of the results, this is something that should most certainly be left to your child. They should be the one that analyses what has happened and draws conclusions. If you do this, then you are essentially doing the work for your child. You can suggest things like using graphs or charts to make finding the conclusions easier, but don’t tell your child what the results indicate.
So there you have it: some useful tips regarding how you can assist your child with their science project without doing everything for them. If you follow the advice that has been presented above, you can make sure your child gets the assistance that he or she needs while ensuring that they still learn at the same time.

The Essential Guide To Giving Your Home A Boutique Hotel Suite Look

If you have been living with the same decor, furniture and colour scheme for the past decade or more, you might feel like it’s time for a change. Deciding how to configure your living areas, the sort of interior design trend you might follow, and the new furniture you might purchase could send you into a tailspin. One look that is always on trend is the boutique hotel suite look. Remember when you stayed in that swanky little boutique hotel not so long ago? The design was sleek, it felt opulent and luxurious without being too pretentious, and the furniture was super comfy. You didn’t want to leave.

If you think trying to emulate this look within your home would be too expensive, it’s time to reconsider. With the emergence of budget brands, online retailers and knowing the tricks of the trade when hunting out the deals for things, you can create your very own boutique hotel suite home without breaking the bank. It is all about creating the illusion of grandeur. Take a look at this essential guide to giving your humble abode a makeover and transforming it into something chic, classy and boutique.


The Bedroom

The major facet of any hotel room is the bedroom. While having a sofa is a bonus, and you love the expense of the double shower in the bathroom, it really is all about the bed. For a boutique hotel room look, you need to take your time choosing the bed frame and mattress you require. Head to your local showroom and try out any bed and mattress that you are tempted to buy. Spend a good ten minutes lying in the foetal position, on your back and even on your stomach if this is the most comfortable way to catch your z’s.

It pays to spend a bit of extra cash on your bed. A solidly built bed should last you a couple of decades or more, and those that have confidence in their craftsmanship will offer you a long guarantee of up to twenty five years. If you’re tempted to go big and have the space for it, a king size is the ultimate luxury. You may wish to try out metal frames or traditional wooden options. Go for darker hues as the lighter pine can look cheap and can be softer than the teak alternatives. To have as much money as possible don’t discount looking at ex-display models or those beds that are the final ones available within a range. You could pick up a bargain.


The Bathroom

The second most important area of any boutique hotel room is the bathroom. Sometimes they are the size of a postage stamp yet they can still feel high quality, expensive and luxurious. Forget the wallpaper, and opt for a fully tiled look. The high gloss finish is clean and crisp. Whip up a mirror or two and allow the natural light from your window to bounce across the room. Don’t be tempted by harsh yellow lighting and instead install spotlights into the ceiling. These are inconspicuous and help make your bathroom ceiling height appear taller.

If you love a soak in the tub, consider the ultimate freestanding roll top variety. Ensure that you acquire those all-important personalised bathrobes synonymous with boutique hotels for when you eventually make your way out of your bubble filled sanctuary. You want your bathroom to become a haven of relaxation in the same way as a boutique hotel room. Get some fragrant candles, some massage oils, dim the lights and enjoy some chill out time while listening to your favourite calming tunes.


The Living Room

Many boutique hotel rooms come complete with a suite. A reclining sofa, a modern fireplace and white walls can lift any living space. Ensure that you don’t clutter up your dwelling and focus on the sorts of fabrics and soft furnishings that will bring a range of different textures to your space. Silks, wools and chenille can bring a range of tactile materials into your home leading to a cheaper way of creating an opulent and chic style.

Always ensure that if you have carpet that it has a thick underlay underneath, so there is a reassuring bounciness underfoot. If you fancy laminate, go for the oak floorboard look rather than the bog standard shiny MDF. Or you could forego the laminate altogether and shine up your original floorboards if you have them.

With a little thought, you can create the perfect boutique hotel room look for your entire home.

Pregnant On Public Transport | #ExpectingChange AD

Thumbnail Image: Me and my 5yr old posing in front of the red London campaign bus on a sunny day
Last week I was given the incredible opportunity to appear on a Mumsnet panel, in London with some of Britain's most fabulous Mummy Bloggers for the #ExpectingChange campaign by the Mama Mio Skincare Brand. The awareness campaign was launched after a study by the brand revealed that a disheartening -


60% of Brits believe it's necessary to offer their seat on public transport to a pregnant woman. 

This shocking figure comes with a shift in attitude with people having their minds fixated on catching up on social media, becoming totally emmersed in their mobile phones that they are far less aware of the people around them. Next time you take the bus/train, make a mental note of how many people have headphones in or otherwise staring at a screen. Many people don't even talk to each other on public transport now days. It's an awful shame.

So when I was asked to partner with Mama Mio, I jumped at the chance to be involved in such an important campaign. This is something if we don't get a handle on now, could be detrimental down the line to expectant mothers and their babies. Miscarriage rates are highest in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy than at any other time. As Mum's-to-be sometimes don't even show until near 20 weeks, especially first-time Mum's, they're not offered a seat on public transport because people just aren't aware they have a baby on board or if passengers do suspect, they don't offer for fear of offending incase they've got the wrong end of the stick!

My two daughters sat opposite me on the virgin train in the wheelchair space. They are giggly with excitement as we venture to London. Eldest is holding a rainbow unicorn and toddler is grinning in pigtails
We went down to London with the littles in tow, which is always an adventure. I quite like travelling on Virgin Trains as their wheelchair spaces and JourneyCare Assistance for people with mobility impairments like myself has always been on par. Once we landed in London Euston from Manchester, we dropped our overnight bags off at a nearby Premier Inn (accessibility review to follow!) and waited for the Accessible taxi Mumsnet had kindly organised.

Group photo of around 35 Mummy bloggers in front of the large red London campaign bus that brought them to the event
We arrived at Lewis Cubbit Park just in time to meet fellow Mumsnet Bloggers off the 'Afternoon Tea' bus hired for the event. This being my first time as a panelist at such an event, I was undoubtably nervous but I need not have been as the team at Mumsnet and the Mama Mio Skincare Brand were very friendly and welcoming. The girls had time to explore the park, filled with beach loungers and cute haystack benches for the audience before I was asked to go be fitted with a microphone. At which point I met the fellow panelists.

Panelists on stage under a canopy in Lewis Cubbit Park, London. Left to right; me Fiona Anderson sat in my powered wheelchair wearing a floral jumpsuit and sun hat, Candice Braithwaite - a wholesome black woman with shaven hair, Alison Perry who's heavily pregnant wearing a moss green wrap maxi dress, Anna Whitehouse - in sunglasses with volumised blonde hair teased to one size and lastly Amie Shearer, panel host from Mumsnet wearing a pretty navy polkadot dress
On the panel with me was the famous Anna Whitehouse of Mother Pukka, Candice Braithwaite of the #MakeMotherhoodDiverse movement and Alison Perry of 'Not Another Mummy Blog' and popular podcast host. All of which are such incredible women and are just as lovely in real-life as we all imagine they are by their social media presence. Which was refreshing!


You can re-watch the panel discussion here as it was broadcast via Facebook *LIVE* at the time of the event.

It was a very diverse discussion on priority seating, not just from the perspective of pregnant women but looking at it from all sides. That's why I was asked to go on this, incase you're wondering as you may of thought. "Wait, doesn't Fi take her own seat?" Yes I do, but I'm also not just a wheelchair user who uses public transport almost every single day, I'm a disabled Mum of two young child who are almost always with me on it! So in that respect I have a very unique experience of having issues with public transport because of misuse of the priority wheelchair space, but also as a Mother who's youngest still uses a buggy. I board with both. Up until this point when you think of public transport for wheelchair users, the media has primarily highlighted the divide of wheelchairs vs buggys for the wheelchair space, nobody has thought about the minority group of disabled parents who fall into both categories.

The main things I wanted to gain from my participation in the #ExpectingChange campaign were;

  1. Increase awareness of parents with disabilities. That yes disabled women have the same wants and desires to start a family and do so! 
  2. That any argument over priority seating on public transport can be rectified by being adults about it. Speaking up when you're pregnant or have an invisible disability (as neither are always obvious) to express your need for a seat. If there's many people equally in need, a compromise can still be met as long as we remain respectful of each other and compassionate for each others circumstances. 

We are all trying to accomplish the same thing at the end of the day, which is just to get from A to B.

I want to say a big Thank You to Mumsnet and Mama Mio Skincare for wanting diversity on their panel and asking me to represent disabled parents on public transport. For accomedating my travel and accommodation needs as a direct result of my disability, aswell as covering expenses.

I have no doubt in my mind what the comments will reveal when I ask this question because I know my audience very well. But for the campaigns sake.... Would you give up Your seat on public transport to a pregnant woman? Either by noticing she is or if she asked you directly?



Mumsnet forum logo that redirects you to their website

Storage Woes As Your Little Grows

Thumbnail Image: Variety of soft toys in all shapes, sizes and colours in a childs bedroom
Family life will always have a huge impact on your home. With the little ones being messy causing organised (or disorganised) chaos, trying to keep this place looking good feels like a constant battle, with meeting ourselves coming back it's deflating to look around to see it not looking any better than when you started. As time goes on, though, toys, clothing, and all sorts of other items will need to find a home. With your little(s) growing, they will be getting through a huge amounts of goods, leaving you with loads to throw away. To help you to avoid this, this post will be exploring some of the easiest ways to keep a hold of your little's possessions as they grow up.

The Select Few
It’s unlikely that you’ll want to keep everything your child uses throughout their life. Instead, this sort of action is for the sentimental things that take us down memory land, such as with toys your little adored once upon a time, having a huge impact on their later life. By saving just the most important and meaningful of these items, you will have loads more space at your disposal. Of course, though, you have to be careful here, as it can be hard to tell what is important to a young child.


Tip: You can get large decorative memory/keepsake boxes from TKMaxx in the baby section (in-store ONLY)

Roof Space
Thanks to the shape of most roofs, there is often a large pocket of wasted space found in the tops of homes. Lofts, eaves, and any other storage space like this can prove an invaluable resource when you’re storing things which won’t want left out taking up valuable space but you also want kept safe. Safety is paramount when you’re doing this, though, and it will be worth making sure that you have the right tools you gain access to this part of your home without any risk.

Self-Storage
For those who simply don’t have the space in their home, like flat owners, there is one last option to try. A local self storage company will be able to give you loads of support through the life of your child. Nowadays, services like this are both affordable and secure, making them perfect for families who care a lot about the possessions they keep. It will be a lot easier to live once you have less in the house.

Hand-Me-Downs
Finally, as the last option to consider, keeping toys, games, and clothing in the family is a great way to avoid throwing them away. It’s likely that there are people younger than your kids in your family, and this gives you a great chance to hand down the things your littles used as they grew up. Of course, some items won’t be good enough for this, making it important to think about before you dive in.
Hopefully, this post will inspire you in keeping your kid’s possessions going long into the future. It can be easy to make the mistake of throwing these things way, only to regret the decision later down the line. Basic and simple items can be some of the best tools when you’re holding onto memories, making it hard to reminisce without them.

How much sentimental baggage are you holding onto of your children's childhoods in Your home? Share with us in the comments below 👇

Growing A Garden Your Littles Can Be Safe In!

If this recent heatwave in the UK has taught us anything, it’s the importance of outside space when you have a family. Sure, it’s hot inside, but it’s a whole lot hotter indoors. Hence why most of us have lived outside in recent weeks.

Of course, as parents, outside time with the kids can be a fraught experience. You may worry about them wandering out of the garden, stumbling across things they shouldn’t, and generally making mischief. In fact, if you haven’t updated your garden in a while, these things may stop you from opening those backdoors. It’s certainly unlikely you’ll feel comfortable letting your kids play outside.

In truth, though, keeping the doors locked in this heat is cruel and unnecessary. To make sure you can open up and (attempt) to get a little cooler, consider these three garden upgrades.

Fencing

The confines of the garden are the first worry for most parents. You need to know your kids won’t find a way out and wander into the road. To put those worries at ease, consider upgrading your fence. It may be that you can merely replace broken panels and secure your garden that way. In extreme circumstances, you might even need a complete replacement. There’s no denying this could get pricey, but this heat is set to continue. So, don’t hesitate to at least get someone in to give you a quote. The chances are that it’ll be a small price to pay for your peace of mind.

Oil tank

If you live in a property with an oil tank, this should also be an area of concern. Unlike your fence, your oil tank in itself can cause harm to your kids. A leak here could pose huge health concerns, right in your back garden. If little hands find their way into patches of oil, they open themselves up to a whole load of health risks. To make sure it doesn’t happen, check the condition of your tank. If it’s older than ten or fifteen years, you should look into replacement oil storage tanks as soon as you can. Even if you don’t think your tank should need replacing, make sure to check here often. The moment a crack or leak occurs, your kids are at risk.

Shed

Your garden shed will house a whole load of dangerous tools. From saws to pitchforks, it’s likely all in here. As such, the last thing you want is your kids gaining access. Yet, an old shed probably has holes galore, and your children will be able to fit through many of them. Plus, we all know how curious kids can be. This is a forbidden area, so they’re sure to use any in-point. To make sure it doesn’t happen, you should upgrade as soon as holes start to appear. Place temporary blocks in the way for the time being, and start searching for a more sturdy structure. Only then will you be able to open the patio doors without worry.

5 Simple Ways To Adapt Your Kitchen On A Budget

[THUMBNAIL IMAGE: Electric height-adjustable kitchen worktop]
When you have a disability, it can make some tasks far more difficult. The average person tends to take for granted things like getting dressed, getting up and down stairs, walking to the shops or even getting out of bed in the morning. Depending on the disability you have (whether it’s mental or physical) these are things that can take a significant chunk of your day. One thing that can be particularly difficult to those who aren’t completely able- bodied or use a wheelchair to get around is using the kitchen. Of course, you can have full specialist kitchens built to a lower height which are fantastic, but not everyone is in a position to have one built. Perhaps you share a home with people who aren’t in a wheelchair, or maybe you’re renting and ripping out the kitchen isn’t an option. It could even be a case of not being able to afford one, not everyone is in a position where they can pay for a full kitchen refurb, and let's face it most things that are "Disabled-friendly" aren't anywhere as friendly to your bank account! If that’s the case, here are a few things you could consider adding to your kitchen to make prepping, cooking and cleaning more accessible for you.

[IMAGE: Man in manual wheelchair at the kitchen sink using a lever tap to run the water]
1. Find the right taps
Kitchen taps with a pull out attachment have long been used in commercial kitchens as they’re great for rinsing, washing vegetables, filling pots and filling larger vessels that don’t fit in the sink such as mop buckets. These are also great for people with disabilities, they can be pulled out and used while standing or from your wheelchair. If you have a condition like arthritis, it’s worth getting taps which have an easy on/ off swivel as you don’t need the grip strength to swivel it on and off. Making it an adaption that'll work for all members of the household.



2. Use a perching stool
If you don’t use a wheelchair but still have limited mobility and find standing painful/tiring then one option would be to use a perching stool. These have supportive backs and arms to keep you safe from falling, and can be adjusted so you’re sat at the right height for your worktops. Also aiding you you to prepare food and cook at the hob.
3. Invest in some utensils and appliances
Opening jars and cans can be difficult and painful, and in some cases impossible for those with certain conditions. Thankfully there are aids and appliances on the market which can increase grip and leverage and allow you to keep your independence in these kinds of tasks. From bottle and jar openers to specially adapted scissors, graters, tin openers and more there’s more out there than you might realise. The items you need will depend on your conditions and ailments so do some research and see what’s available to you. I particularly recommend Amazon for this!

4. Improvise on a lowered worktop

If getting a snazzy height adjustable worktop and hob is just not realistic. A good short term solution is to use a hospital over-the-bed table or small computer desk on wheels, add it to your kitchen as your own dedicated prep space. The beauty of this is it's a multi-functional work space and easily moved around.

5. Hob inaccessible? Bring it to you!

Many people with disabilities love the beauty of having portable hot plates to use on an accessible cooking surface at their level. Pair it with number 4 in this post and you're away!

What are some of your favourite adapted kitchen gadgets?



Share in the comments!

Perfectly Practical Home Solutions

We all deserve a beautiful home, a place we can feel genuinely happy coming back to each day. If yours isn’t up to scratch it’s easy to write off revamping it, thinking that you don’t have the time or energy to keep it looking nice. But it’s not the case, sure - it might not always look like a show home but if you make smart choices you’ll find it easier to keep clean and tidy. Here are a few ideas.

Opt for hard floors over carpets

Carpets are nice and cosy and feel soft underfoot, but they’re far from the most practical floor covering. They’re breeding grounds for all kinds of bacteria, they hold onto stains, smells and wear out much more quickly than other floor coverings. If you want something that’s going to be more practical then a hard floor such as wood, laminate, natural stone or ceramic tiles will all be a better option. These kinds of floorings are particularly good downstairs, that way you don’t have to ask guests to take their shoes off and people can live freely without worrying about damaging the carpet. You can quite easily mop muddy footprints, spills and everything else without any lasting damage. You have the option of laying rugs to keep the place feeling more cosy, if these get ruined or wear out they’re far cheaper to replace than a whole carpet.

Go with a leather sofa

There’s no doubt that leather sofas are more durable and hardwearing than their fabric counterparts. They can be wiped down if any spills are made, and as long as you go with a good quality leather then it will be incredibly hard wearing and stan the test of time. Choose a style that’s timeless rather than trendy, that way it will last you for years to come without looking outdated. Something like a black Chesterfield sofa for example will always look stunning, it will go with any decor changes over the years and match with any colour or style that you have in your home. While there’s still care involved with a leather sofa, it won’t hold onto things like pet smells like a fabric one and is will generally last you a lot longer.


[IMAGE: Brown leather 3 seater sofa in a modern white living room]

Find the right storage systems

One thing that will have your home looking messy and cluttered is having things that don’t have a proper place. Without the right storage systems, it’s easy to use an item and either leave it lying around or cram it in a drawer or cupboard which starts to overflow and cause chaos. Have good storage systems everywhere in your home to help avoid this. A cupboard downstairs could be fitted with shoe racks and hooks and be used as a mini cloakroom. A boiler cupboard in the kitchen could be kitted out with shelves and turned into a pantry. You could use a storage footstool or ottoman to store things like blankets or inconspicuously store kids toys in the living room. When everything has a place, it’s far easier to keep things tidy and avoid clutter accumulating around the home.


If there was one bit of advice you could give someone looking towards more of a minimalist lifestyle to keep the home low maintenance, what would it be? Comment below 👇