18 October 2018

Tidy Toys with GLTC

Over the last few years we have acquired so many toys and they were beginning to take over the house a little bit. Our playroom was bursting at the seams so we decided with Christmas and two birthdays on the horizon (meaning the inevitable influx of new toys!) that it was time to have a long over due clear out and make room for the girls to actually play. There were lots of toys taking up valuable space that the girls had now outgrown, as well as toys that they just weren't playing with because they couldn't find or access them very easily. 

This prompted us to look at our playroom storage and we realised that the girls needs had changed from when we first designed the playroom and that it was time for an update. Priorities when looking for solutions were style and functionality, the ability to customise for the girls changing needs, making the most of the space we have and ease of use. As always our first port of call was Great Little Trading Co who have a huge range of brilliant storage options to help tidy away toys and keep rooms mess and clutter free.

We chose the Abbeville Nine Cube Storage unit in white (also available in grey and stone and lots of other shapes and sizes) and teamed it with three Woodland Canvas Storage Cubes and three Ivory and Sage Rope Storage Baskets. I love this combination together, it looks really fresh and is also a little more grown up than what we had previously. 

Choosing the storage to go in the Abbeville Cube was actually the hardest part because there are lots gorgeous options colour ways to choose from - but this does mean you can completely customise the look to suit you. Our new Abbeville Cube has replaced two larger 4 cube units which sat side by side so has freed up a bit of floor and wall space meaning the girls have more room to play. In addition to the nine cubes you can also pop things on top to really maximise the space available, whether that's art supplies, more toys, or decorative items like plants and photo frames.

The great thing about GLTC storage solutions is that even if you don't have a playroom they work brilliantly in family spaces such as the living room and kitchen too, so you can style them to work with your room. There are lots of options to choose from and you can mix and match the ranges so you can effectively create a bespoke storage solution to work for the space that you have. Their furniture is so versatile and can be used to store all sorts of things; we love our Abbeville Storage Bench which we currently use for keeping shoes and bags in near the hallway.

The canvas cubes and rope baskets fit perfectly in the Abbeville Storage Cubes and you can squeeze lots in them; I find them particularly great for grouping together lots of loose bits and pieces Ours currently house things like Duplo, Playmobil, soft toys and imaginative play things. They are just the right size and easy for the girls to pull in and out using the handles and to pack away too. Best of all, when everything is put away in them the playroom looks so neat and tidy without any clutter in sight!

We kept the top three spots clear for books, some little suitcases which the girls keep their tiny world things in, and one spot to rotate a larger toys to inspire and invite play. I love the flexibility the Nine Cube gives us either to add or remove more storage as the girl's toys change meaning it's a piece of furniture which can grow with us.

We moved the play kitchen from the corner of the room next to the storage unit which has worked well as the doors can now open fully and there's more room for the girls to play alongside each other. It also meant we could use it's previous position to create a 'doll nursery area' with the play cot, pram and high chair altogether. 

We added a large Ivory Rope Storage Tub to this part of the room 
to keep the girls dolls and accessories which they play with every single day. It's much easier for them to find what they are looking for and to scoop it all up and pop it in the basket when they have finished playing and has freed up the cot and pram for them to actually play with when they were previously full of dolls. 

I love these baskets and feel like I could do with one in every room in the house, they are particularly handy for housing cuddly toys or something you have lots of - in our case dolls. They are really generously sized, hold their shape and stand up well as well as being available in a gorgeous range of neutral colours.

Everything now has a home, the girls know where to find things and it's much easier to tidy the playroom at the end of the day. Our home feels slightly less taken over, the girls have room to play and we have found a stylish toy storage solution that I love. Thank you for coming to the rescue once again GLTC!

Me x

*This is a collaborative post as part of our GLTC Testing Team Role.
We were kindly gifted the Abbeville Storage Unit and Storage baskets in exchange for an honest review.
All thoughts and opinions are my own*

16 October 2018

Mini Mamas and their Tiny Treasures

I love watching my girls play mummies - innately nurturing their dolls, dressing them, feeding them, cuddling them just as if they were real babies. It's a game they role play together most days and even more so since they were kindly sent three very sweet Tiny Treasures Dolls to look after. 

Tiny Treasures Doll Review

Tiny Treasures dolls are incredibly life like with lots of lovely features which the girls have really responded to. We have acquired quite a collection of dolls over the years but I have never seen them as taken with a doll as they are with their Tiny Treasures.

Tiny Treasures Doll Review

The girls were thrilled to receive a set of Twin Babies and a singular Baby Doll with Pink Outfit and Hat as well as some gorgeous spare outfits to dress them in. Ivy, Daisy and Jackson (as named by their new mummies) arrived in boxes shaped like car seats with actual buckles fastening them in, a small detail which immediately made the dolls feel less like toys to the girls and more like real babies. They played with the boxes for ages, clipping them back into their car seats, it was a real novelty for them.

Tiny Treasures Twin Babies in their car seat box

Unclipping them from the car seat box and giving them a cuddle the first thing they commented on was how cute they were with their bright eyes, adorable outfits and lots of hair! I love that there are no wires, plastic clips or string fastening the dolls into the box and that the girls could get them straight out themselves. Toy packaging can often take away the joy of receiving a new toy as a gift when you have to pass it to an adult to wrangle it out of the box when all you want to do is play with it.

Phoebe cuddling her Tiny Treasures Baby

The dolls are cleverly weighted to feel like holding a real baby but with soft bodies and smell like baby powder. They are heavier than other dolls we have but also more comfortable to hold and I noticed that the girls were naturally popping them up on their shoulders and cradling them more as a result. Their limbs and head although plastic are soft and floppy which makes them easy to dress, their bodies are fabric and not anatomically correct. 

Ellie dressing her Tiny Treasures Baby

The dolls have a full head of soft hair which the girls have loved brushing, it makes a nice change from the bald babies we have had in the past and adds another element of play. I've noticed that they put their Tiny Treasures in the high chair more than they do their other dolls and will feed them play food which is perhaps due to them having hair and resembling an older baby.

Phoebe feeding her Tiny Treasures doll in the high chair

The dolls came with Birth Certificates to fill in and a newborn hospital name tag which are really lovely touches and make them especially perfect for a new baby present for a child expecting a sibling. Their eyes also close when they are laid down and they come with a velcro fabric nappy on, both of which add elements of imaginative play such as putting their babies to bed or changing their nappy.

Bedtime for baby

The girls were also kindly sent a Bedtime Cuddles, Out and About Bunny and Dinosaur outfits for their babies. This would usually mean that dolls are brought to me to be undressed and dressed but the girls have been able to do this themselves due to the design of the dolls and clothing which is far less frustrating for them and great for me! The additional outfits are really cute and there are lots to choose from as well as additional accessories including baby carriers, changing bags and even a sleep sack.

Tiny Treasures additional outfits, some of the nicest dolls clothes we have seen

The Tiny Treasures dolls and accessories are such great quality and good value for money with hours of play value. Play is so important so it's great to find a toy that appeals to all three of them and watching them play together so nicely and being such wonderful mini mamas is really lovely to see. The girls just adore them and have hardly put them down since they arrived. They may not have fancy features like crying, talking, walking,crawling etc but they do what good toys should do which is ignite a child's imagination and inspire play. 

Tiny Treasures Dolls and Accessories are available exclusively at Argos, you can see the full collection HERE.

What's in the box?

  • Twin Babies come with 2 x dolls wearing babygrows and hats, hospital name tags a birth certificate and a teething toy each
  • Singular Baby comes with 1 x doll wearing a babygrow and hat with hospital name tag and birth certificate

Key Features

  • Soft bodies
  • Smell like baby powder
  • 44cm long
  • weighs 2lb 10oz
  • weighted to feel like a real baby with floppy limbs and head
  • sleepy eyes
  • Soft hair
  • Lots of additional accessories available
  • Recommended for children age 3+

Me x

*We were kindly sent the Tiny Treasures Dolls and outfits in exchange for an honest review. 
All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

11 October 2018

The Mental Load Of Motherhood

I read a quote the other day about modern mothers and how they are more overstretched than ever before and it really resonated with me. At the moment as a working mum of three I juggle many balls, wear several hats and often feel totally and utterly overwhelmed by my daily responsibilities. My head is full, overflowing with things to remember and to tick off lists. 

The mental load of motherhood

My days start early and I'm lucky if I sit down much before 9pm, in between then I feel like I'm tackling some kind of assault course, rushing around from one thing to the next, stretched so thinly, with hardly a moment to catch my breath. 

My day yesterday looked something like this:

  • 6am - 8am get up and get the girls breakfast and clothes for the day organised and on them
  • Unpack and re pack the dishwasher
  • Put a load of washing on
  • Make Lottie's packed lunch
  • Log on to the computer and change phoebe's school dinner because she's changed her mind about what we pre ordered
  • Plait the girls hair and make sure they look extra smart for school photographs
  • Help/ask the girls about 10 times to brush their teeth
  • Get in the shower and get myself ready for work
  • Grab some kind of breakfast for myself and eat it whilst drying my hair
  • Ask the girls 12 times to put their shoes on
  • Load coats and bags into the car
  • Get everyone out the door and in the car 
  • 8:15 drop the Ellie and Phoebe at breakfast club
  • 8:30 drop Lottie at play school
  • 8:44 get to my desk with a minute to spare
  • Work until 2:45
  • Get in the car and collect Lottie from playschool at 3pm
  • Go and collect Ellie and Phoebe from school at 3:15
  • Get home at 3:30
  • Unload the car
  • Feed hungry children after school snacks
  • Tidy away the breakfast things that are still on the table from this morning
  • Unload the washing machine into the tumble drier
  • Put another load of washing on
  • Start the tea
  • Break up various disagreements between the girls
  • Help the girls with various things
  • Comfort tired children 
  • Help the girls with their homework and listen to them read
  • 5pm serve tea
  • Tidy up tea
  • 6pm run the bath
  • Bath the girls whilst meal planning for the week and doing the online food shop 
  • Put the girls in their pjs and dry their hair
  • 6.45 bedtime stories
  • 7pm snuggle/wrangle the girls into bed
  • Go downstairs to tidy up and sort out dried washing
  • Pay various invoices for childcare
  • Respond to party invitations
  • Order birthday presents for birthday parties
  • Reply to messages and emails
  • Get the girls school bags ready for the next day including fresh water bottles and forest school kit
  • Cook dinner for Oli and I 
  • 8.30 ish eat mine
  • Realise its 9pm and decide that I'm too tired to stay up
  • Take my makeup off 
  • Hop into bed
  • Read a few pages of my book until I hear Oli home safely
  • Fall asleep in seconds waking up sporadically thinking of what I need to do the next day...
I get that it's pretty normal, ordinary, stuff and that lots of people are doing this every day but that doesn't mean that day after day it doesn't feel overwhelming, or invisible for that matter. There are so many things that I do for the family that I don't think anyone is even aware I do, invisible but vital tasks that hold everything together. 

This mental load is totally and utterly exhausting and a full time job in itself, throw working part time four days into that as well and I'm done. I make lists, I try and squeeze in some self care when I can but most of the time I'm just getting through the day. No matter how organised I try to be with lists and notes and letters all over the fridge and in my diary I still forget stuff and drop balls which makes me feel like a bit of a failure. I only have to have a quick scroll on social media to feel that amongst all this I'm meant to have a beautiful home, do enriching things with my children, keep healthy, look stylish...etc all while having my shit together. I find myself wondering how everyone else does it all to be honest - while I run around like a headless chicken and miss the days a bit where I only had to think about me. 

Oli is out the house working so hard 60 hours a week so it naturally falls to me to take on the bulk of the home stuff and manage logistics when it comes to the children. I know I need to be better at asking for help from people around me but I don't always really know what help I need and then it gets to a point where I crash and the smallest little thing will be the straw to break the camels back.  It often happens after a rather awful stretch on Oli's shift pattern and solo parenting weekends where I then feel like I've been doing everything on my own for more than usual without so much as a minute to myself. Stopping is often what I need to do at this point, be alone, clear my head, try and lighten the load where I can and start afresh.  

Thankfully a long run of long days out the house for Oli often means the opposite of that usually follows where he's home more and we can share the load. I don't know what the answer is to be honest other than to accept that this is how this stage of life is, relax at every given opportunity and know that actually we're really very lucky and that compared to many our 'problems' really aren't problems.  I know I'm doing my best, so I know I need stop being so bloody hard on myself and just let stuff go. One day I might just figure out how to do that.... That, or hire a live in maid, chef and PA... but if I gave them the job description of my average day above I wonder what their salary expectations might be!

Me x

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