Life Hacks to Organise Your Life and Home – 3 Tips and Freebie for June 2017

Life Hacks for Your Home

I’ve picked up on a few life hacks and time saving tips over the years and I keep mopping them up from all over. Some seem like second nature. I wanted to share my little life hacks with you to see if they can help you with any part of your life. I’ve included 3 little life hacks for this weeks instalment.

One of my recent developments was a to do list sheet to help me organise my time more effectively. I use the sheet to record regular jobs and then I have others printed to record specific weekly jobs.

Freebie Printable

Weekly Planner  – To Do List

Please check out my other blogs and vlogs for details of other freebies. The best way to ensure you keep updated with all my freebies is to subscribe via email to my blog.

My Vlog explains this weeks life hacks and how I use my printable which is free to download from www.adelemary.com until the end of June 2017, thereafter there will be a small charge. So grab it while it lasts.

Don’t forget to hit like, subscribe and share. Follow me on social media for all updates form Adele Mary.

Cuddles with my Cuties Part II – Makes me Burst With Love

Cuddles with my cuties

Warning! Extremely soppy post! You may be at risk of either vomiting or needing your entire brood to be near for a warm embrace!

Cuddles. It’s strange that they are so wonderful. After pregnancy and postpartum recovery when your body just wants a break from it all, there they are to make it better.

Recently, I’ve found myself just stopping to give my babies cuddles. It just fills me with love and makes me want to pop!  Maybe it’s because having a tiny baby again is just so lovely: The busy hands, the illogical flip switch from happy to extreme sadness and the need for constant physical contact. It might be this contact that is making me love the cuddles. Whatever it is, I’m certainly appreciating my little ones more and more. It’s almost like I’m slowing down time to make sure I remember these special times.

Is George really 2?

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I remember holding tiny George loving how he was a new part of my life. I loved feeding him and watching his cheeky character grow and develop. He still is tiny (but bigger), more cheeky and certainly a card, but it’s all gone so fast. Age 2 is still young but now I’m reliving the tiny baby days I worry that I’ve forgotten so much. It’s all gone so fast. I miss the busy hands days and then we have cuddles. The cuddles make it ok again. I remember, he’s the George I love because of his journey. I’ve been there with him and cuddles are just a way of stopping to remember that.

Cuddles with Olivia

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Olivia loves to be held. She is 9 weeks old now… where did that go? She’s starting to hold her head up like a champ and she’s awake for longer… much longer. She reminds me of tiny tiny George and she reminds me of me. I’ve used a stretchy baby carrier with her so that I’ve been able to look after George as well and the constant cuddles has kept her settled. It’s also nice for me. She is always near and I can just stop to give her a warm embrace and a kiss on her head. I’m making the most of this.

Will it end?

Some children grow up and don’t want that togetherness that they have as children with their parents. Will my duo grow up to be that way or will they love to come home to cuddles? I want them to grow up to be strong and independent and would never want to discourage them from reaching for their dreams, but please, when they do come home, let there always be cuddles.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my cuddly love for my children. Let me know if it’s made you want to cuddle your precious ones?

Thank you for reading.

Cuddles with my Cuties part I

A Little Helping Hand


I’m glad George is starting young with his desire to help clean.

Shortly after this photo was taken however, he took the broom through to the living room. Maybe he needs a toy one??!

Mother’s Day Gift Creation

I posted earlier this week about a thoughtful gift that I bought for my mother for mother’s day.

My mum is a minimalist and so doesn’t like to be bought things that will generally end up catching dust around the house. She is saving for a summer house to be built in her garden in preparation for her retirement and so we have agreed that a donation towards that is the best gift… my mum appreciates practical gifts.

Rather than just giving her a card with money in it with mothers day I decided to get her a money box for her savings. I looked all over for a “summer house fund” money box but most money boxes of this kind were geared towards “new house” fund or “wedding” fund and so didn’t have the right look about them.

I tried Etsy and Amazon, my usual go to places for gifts and in the end I settled for a wooden construction toy to act as the money box. It was a 37 piece set.

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I wasn’t sure what to expect but I knew I would have to assemble the kit for my mum as I wanted to give her a money box not a toy. I’m glad I did have a go at building the kit first as I needed to sand back one of the pieces to get it to fit perfectly.

After a dry build I decided to reassemble but this time gluing the pieces together. I left one side of the roof off so that she could access her savings.

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I was quite pleased with the end result and I put some money in to get her started. After it has been used and the summer house has been built she can even turn it into a winter bug hide so it benefits the biodiversity of her garden… yay me for getting a green gift!

As you can see the money goes in between where the two roof parts meet. This wasn’t clear on the photo on Amazon and I think I would have preferred to have had the roof parts meet and then left a gap between a couple of the roof slat parts. I wasn’t able to modify the box further though.

I do like puzzles and I think if my son had been a little older we could have enjoyed doing this together. I’ll definitely be keeping this company in mind for cute wooden construction toys in the future.

 
If you are interested in looking at the kit its made by a company called Igroteco and you can find it here on //ws-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=GB&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=lomyab-21&marketplace=amazon&region=GB&placement=B01BF8RDSC&asins=B01BF8RDSC&linkId=&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true” target=”_blank”>Amazon. I am affiliated with amazon but this is an honest review of what I did with the product and the issues that I needed to solve to make it work for me. It was £15.99 when I purchased it and it had free delivery – no Amazon prime though sorry.

 

Mother’s Day Now I’m a Mother

Mother’s day has always been a very special day for me. I knew my mother would get some love and appreciation for being the wonderful person that she is and that was something to look forward to. Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to think that my mother feels loved and appreciated all year round, but mother’s day is when we can actually stop and enjoy the moment.

I became a mother in April 2015 so I have enjoyed one mother’s day with my amazing Son. It felt strange having the limelight of the day shifting onto me. I’m now heavily pregnant and it is entirely possible that I may end up having the gift of another child this year.

What is important to me is that my mother and mother-in-law both feel love and affection as well. I simply could not enjoy the day if I felt like they didn’t get their appreciation. I am looking forward to a special day with my son though, after all next year he will be sharing the day with his sibling… possibly this year too.

The best way to get around this feeling of having to split the time between all of us amazing females is to get thoughtful gifts. Some of the most thoughtful gifts need not be the most expensive either. I often find that I spend less when being thoughtful. I don’t do it to be a penny pincher but it benefits both the recipient and my pocket so win-win. Also, I don’t mind going over budget on people when I think I’ve found a gift that’s right for them.

One year I bought my mother some silicone kitchen utensils. She was absolutely made up with them as she didn’t know you could get a mixing spoon in silicone. My mother hates touching wet wood and so her wooden mixing spoon was something she hated using in the kitchen. I gave her a wood free cooking experience that year and she was positively made up with happiness, even though it might seem strange as a gift idea.

My mother may read this post so I don’t want her to get an idea of what I’ve got her this year, but I’d like to think that she will see I’ve been thoughtful and that I love her very much.

I’m grateful for the time I get to spend with my mother all year round. I have friends who don’t have that privilege so it is important to me that I make the most of what I have and be grateful.

Happy Mother’s day 2017

5 Ways I’m Going To Be Different On 2nd Maternity Leave

I’m currently 37 weeks pregnant and I finish work in my 38th week anniversary. The past few weeks I’ve taken it a week at a time and I think I have one more week left in me. I’d love to be at home now relaxing but I want as much time with my baby after the birth as possible. 

I can’t afford to stop working after having my children so I know I’ll be returning to work. I’ll be going back part time this time (I went back full time after my first as I intended to have another baby quite quickly). I learned a number of things with my first baby and with my first maternity leave so I hope I’ll be able to make it through with more confidence this time.

1. I’m expecting to be terrified again.

When I gave birth to my little boy I loved him straight away but there was an anxiety that I wasn’t expecting. It seems that almost anything you do caries a risk factor for SIDS. No parent wants that and so finding tha balance between advice and what works is nerve racking. I think the anxiety is just a form of mothers worry as I still have it now to some extent. I’m hoping that I can enjoy the moment more this time around knowing that this anxiety is coming. 

2. I am going to fight back on people that question my decisions more… especially on breastfeeding.

As a first time mother I was paranoid I would turn into someone who became so over protective that I would hold my baby back. Or even become so different that my friends and family didn’t recognise me any more. I really tried hard to strike a balance but I still feel like I was misunderstood and it left me feeling lonely sometimes. There is no shortage of advice out there for new mothers but it is amazing how many people take offense if you don’t agree. It’s almost like you are treated as ungrateful if you say “thank you but I don’t think that applies to me/my baby”. The biggest issue I had was from people who didn’t understand breastfeeding. I exclusively breastfed my boy and to begin with it wasn’t easy. I enjoyed doing it and despite the sacrifice of having less me time as I needed to be close to my boy I felt it was worth it. 

Others would say that I needed to get out more. When I explained that I could manage an expression or two as a break away from him (he fed frequently) I wouldn’t be in a position to leave him for too long as my milk production would suffer. This would make me dread leaving him for a long time, not because I didn’t want to let my hair down, but because I knew I would have almost a week of getting my routine back and it just seemed too arduous. It loomed over me so I could never really enjoy myself. Maybe I’m just not as milky as some mum’s. I’m ok with it though. I’ll get to have plenty of party time in the future. 

Some people do get offended by this and their comments to convince me to give my baby a bottle instead grate a little. So on that note I’m going to start telling people they are being insulting. If they are taken aback then hopefully they will think about what they have said. Being a mummy is hard enough without having your judgements questions so frequently. 

3. I’m going to keep myself challenged

At the end of my last maternity leave I had a great routine going. I had groups I visited with my boy and I felt in top of my life and how my family was working. It took me some time to get to that point as I lacked early confidence to get out and about. I know I can do it now so I’m going to be a busy bee. This isn’t for everyone though. I’m the type of person that likes to be doing things and having a varied day. It keeps me mentally challenged and this keeps me happier as a person. 

4. I’m going to accept help from more people.

There is often a flood of people who want to help out when your baby is born. This can be overwhelming. I am quite independent and part of me resists help as I see the constant offer of help as someone saying “you aren’t coping very well”. I dig my heels in and say, no I’m just fine. 

The truth is, helping me out just means they get to spend a bit more time with my utterly amazing and charming baby…I mean who wouldn’t? As long as I get enough mummy time, why not let others share in my joy. On the plus side it might even mean less ironing for me to do as well.  I should make a list of jobs now. 

5. I’m going to be generally more confident

I know going from one child to two and it will be a bit of a shock, but hey I’m going to handle it, just like I handle everything. 

I might look back on this post in a year to see how I did. What would be on your list? 

Starting Your Own Business- Work From Home – my story about selling online, direct to customers and dropshipping

I want to start by saying I’m not trying to sell you anything. I’m going to mention some of my online businesses but I’m just wanting to share my business journey.

I’m sure you’ve seen these stories and feeds popping up all over the internet and particularly in social media. I may get targeted for these types of feeds more as I am a new mother so they may be encouraging entrepreneurs as the thought of going back to work is quite horrible when you’ve been on maternity leave.
I must say, YES! I’d love to work from home, spend lots of time with my family and have an income supporting my family so I can provide for their financial needs.

I already have a successful career. I am a secondary school Science teacher. I enjoy working with young people and inspiring them to be the best they can be. Young people are themselves inspiring… even the naughty ones (every child is special). Unfortunately, there is too much interference from the government for what is required in teaching now and it is making doing the job much much more difficult than it should be. Despite loving the teaching aspect (which includes marking and feedback), the other unseen aspects are becoming a destructive force in my life and I’m struggling to see how I can continue in the profession and remain whole as a person. I need to be mildly happy at work so that I can come home and be the best mother and wife that I can be.

I have achieved quite a lot in my chosen career and as such I have a healthy level of self belief. Whatever I do, I work hard and do it well. It’s this self belief that leads me to believe that if I focus my energy into my own business, I could actually do quite well.

One thing I firmly believe though, even though I want to leave teaching, I shouldn’t start a business as an escape plan, I should start a business because I want to work in that industry. Otherwise I would not have the passion to make it a success. I need to be driven by positive energy rather than negative thoughts.

Convincing my parents (who have stuck to the same job their entire lives) and others that this is a good thing for me I’ve found to be challenging. Why should I work so hard to have a successful career only to walk away from it. I must be mad or just unable to cope with working (so just give up and be a housewife). I can tell you this instant… I know myself well enough to know that I’m not suited to being a housewife. I have friends who do that job and I admire them for how amazing they are at making a home but I just know that I need to do something else for me to be fullfilled. I am also passionate that I want to generate an income. There is a secret competitive part of me that wants to make more money than my husband who is also had a successful career. I don’t think he minds this idea (he’d rather that be my passion than buying expensive handbags for instance).

So what should I do? Well I’ve actually got a few things that I am trialling.

1. Artwork – I’m an artist that produces simple drawings. They tend to be based on childhood memories or my favourite films. I have a website www.adelemary.com where I can sell my artwork but to be honest, after I set this up I realised that I enjoy art as a hobby and making a business out of it would drain me creatively. So I’m happy to keep making artwork and selling it online, but I’m not bothered about becoming the next Damon Hurst.

2. Doughnuts! – I am a registered food producer and I make gormet doughnuts for sale at local farmers markets. I’ve called the brand Punk Doughnut. I don’t have a website as I’m promoting on Facebook, instagram and twitter. I set this up during my pregnancy and I’ve really enjoyed it. Designing a product, making it and selling it to a customer who enjoys it has been extremely fulfilling. The only problem is there has been a bit of investment at the start and I’m quite heavily pregnant at the moment so I’ve had to put a pin in the business as I’m not physically able to transport and sell the doughnuts as I’ve had some complications. I also realise that I am not going to be able to do any business whilst I am a new mummy again as I’ll be focusing on my newborn.

3. My latest interest has been dropshipping. There are many industries which offer drop shipping and the idea is quite simple. I sell a product through my own website or through an online market place such as Amazon or EBay, when an order is placed I send the order to my dropshipper who sends the order out to my customer. I can set the price I want to sell the product for and I pay the wholesale price from my dropshipper. The difference is my profit. Sounds like a no brainier.

I looked into various different industries to focus on and as I’m rather interested in home decor I favoured home decor and furnishings, including gifts. I set up an Amazon seller account (which is very simple) and uploaded some listings to get selling.

I’m still developing this idea as I’m learning a lot the more I do. Here are a few lessons that I’m happy to share if you are thinking about dropshipping on Amazon:

a. The Amazon fees will take up the majority of your profit margin making it difficult to find products that you can sell competivitly.

b. Many dropshipping companies charge you for an account. I think this is because a lot of people are trying dropshipping and there will be many people that dabble in the industry and just give up. I completely understand this. I’m not at a stage where I’m confident with my market to commit to one of these companies.

c. Amazon require EAN numbers (basically official barcodes). Every product needs one and not all dropship companies provide them. You can buy EAN numbers from Amazon or other online shops from about £1 per number. If you want to sell lots of products on Amazon this cost will add up and also eat into that already narrow profit margin, reducing your viable products even further.

d. You will get a lot of traffic to your products as Amazon is a go to place for many people these days. This means you are more likely to be seen if you sell through Amazon. However, there are many other sellers selling the same product and unless you are selling at the lowest price you are unlikely to get a sale. This means prices are competitive and you are going to reduce that profit margin even more… this means even fewer viable products.

e. Remember you don’t hold any stock. It’s good because you don’t have to invest anything upfront. This means you have to keep informed about stock levels from all your drop shippers so if a customer orders something through this your Amazon shop then you should be able to fulfil the order. If you have issues with fulfilling orders then you can have your account suspended. Some dropshipping companies provide to many sellers like you as well as wholesale customers, so popular items are likely to go out of stock quickly and unless you are able to manage stock levels from multiple suppliers you can get into a sticky situation with your shop… fast. It is for this reason that dropshipping sellers have a bit of a bad name on some forums as people setup their Amazon/EBAy shops without much thought about stock management and upset potential return customers for those products. I have started small so that I can learn how best to manage my stock. I am trying to be responsibile but this means I have fewer products on sale than I would like to.

f. The companies who offer dropshipping and have the most desirable products tend not to trade with Amazon/EBay only sellers. These “more desirable” companies tend to offer products with a more attractive profit margin and/or higher end goods. If you sell only on Amazon you’ll need to sell from other companies who already supply to Amazon resellers and are competing with you on price… goodbye more profits.

g. When you google dropshipping you will get lots of people saying how easy it is to get set up and there are pros and cons for selling on Amazon/EBay. Most people will say, make it on your own. I have come to to conclusion that this is the best course of action for newbies too.

Even though it will be more difficult to drive traffic to my site and get that sale, I haven’t enjoyed the faceless, brandless selling on Amazon. I mentioned earlier that when I do something I want to do it well. If I’m going to sell something I want to develop a brand and market identity. This is so important for any business. Im going to expand my art website to include orher home decor products and develop and drive my own brand. It will take more time and it will be harder work as I will need to make improvements to my website to allow me to sell these products but I’m not interested in doing things the easy way. I want to do things the right way. Success doesn’t come easily which is what I think a lot of these “work from home and earn an income” make it sound like.
This is just my personal reflection. I’m at the start of my business journey at the moment. I’ll hopefully be posting more about my successes in the future. I am enjoying the learning process so even if I have some setbacks, I’m happy that I’m learning as I will be a success in the end.

If you’re thinking of setting up your own business I hope you’ve found my comments useful. There are many avenues for business out there and I wish you the best of luck.

Loving Home Automation

Many moons ago (2004) I purchased a voice activated remote control for my then boyfriend (now husband). It was pricy and don’t work very well.

It seems that now we have finally reached the time when we can now start to integrate these devices in our lives without getting too frustrated. I don’t really use voice activation on my phone so I guess my starting point was the Xbox one. Turning my whole to system on using just my voice has become common place now. I still get frustrated using voice activation to go through the menus but that’s fine. My 21 month old now says “Xbox” whenever he sees a tv screen. One day it will start recognising his voice… then I’ll be sorry.

We’ve had the Xbox for a couple of years and thenaround November last year we introduced Alexa into our house (the Amazon echo). I thought it would be a novelty that would just wear off but I’m actually quite liking it. I tell her to add items to my shopping list as I’m cooking and run out of ingredients and she does! (It’s the small things that make me happy). She tells me stories and jokes: I’ve not been brace enough to make a purchase using her yet though.

Within 2 months of having Alexa we started to look at more home automation technology. We now have Philips Hue bulbs in our living room, kitchen, hallway and bedroom. You need a Hue bridge for this as well but it’s easy to install.

Now I can control my lights by just asking Alexa. My son is amazed… he’s going to have some fun when he can speak properly. I’ve set up extra themes to suit what I want from my lighting. In the living room we have spotlights and lamps. We have dimmed red lighting for cinema theme, ambient yellows for chillout theme and then some practical themes such as “ironing” which lights the spotlights where I iron but leaves the rest of the lights dimmed for someone else to chill and watch TV at the same time. I also have my guitar a practice spotlight that serves the same purpose.

Along with the basic bulbs and bridge we have a motion sensor set up in our hallway. There is only one switch for the light and you need to walk to the other end of the hallway to turn it on. Now the light will turn on when it detects someone walking down which is great!

In the bedroom we have Hue lamps and a programmable switch. The settings give us reading lights, on, off and toilet lights. The toilet lights give us dimmed red lighting for going to he loo in the night. It means we can keep our night vision and not be woken up by bright lights. I’m also expecting my next baby in s couple of months so this setting is going to be great for those night feeds.

I always thought that his type of technology would never catch on but having experienced it I don’t think I’d like to go back. It’s not necessarily the voice activation that I like as much as how customisable he whole system is to making my home that bit more “mine”.

If you are thinking about home automation, the Philips Hue system has been great for us. Im thinking about doing some YouTube demos of how we have our lighting. Let me know if you’d be interested in this.

Mum just happy my home is becoming more homely for me and my family. I just need to plan an occasion to use my disco lights now.

Hank you for reading. Have a lovely day xx

 

Omlet Qute Hamster House

img_6707I love having a hamster for a pet. Po is so adorable and loving. He loves cuddles and coming out to play.

The only problem is, when you look around at the hamster cage market you find a range of cages that go from quite dull and boring to something straight out of a Roald Dahl book.

Po was bought just before my husband and I went into nesting mode for our new baby.  During nesting we redecorated the entire house. We tore down walls and ceilings, it wasn’t just a paint job! After all the redecoration we were struggling to find a place in our living room for our hamster cage.

Omlet came to the rescue. There are a few colour options but we went for the Walnut style Qute design costing £89. The colours of the unit fitted in with our decor and gave us an elevated table for a lamp. Even though it isn’t designed for a corner we placed it in one anyway and I think it looks nice. What’s great is how Po is now a feature in our living room and we can easily watch him play around.

There is a handy compartment for food, bedding and a hamster ball at the bottom which fastens with a push magnetic catch. The mechanism is quite sturdy and feels good quality.

It is also super easy to clean out with the sawdust tray sliding out like a dream and the cage parts can be removed easily. The wheel and water bottle are also easily removed for cleaning and filling. Sometimes Po’s little feet drop through the cage section under the water bottle which makes me feel sorry for him though.

Po loves to burrow and the deep tray means that we can give him a load of shavings for bedding and because the sides are so high there is no mess thrown out on the carpet… win!

Po also loves burying his food so as soon as we fill up his bowl it is enptied into various hiding places. It makes it look like we don’t feel him but we do. He is a spoilt little fur ball.

All in all I think this is a great little unit if you want to have your pet intergrated into your home. Did I mention the wheel isn’t squeaky either.. big plus.

Check out the other designs at omlet here https://www.omlet.co.uk/shop/hamsters_and_gerbils/qute_hamster_cage/?gclid=CjwKEAiA8dDEBRDf19yI97eO0UsSJAAY_yCSXc_MLsI5wRY-K2j-UuDsGAU2gDGtSbvbOD8hq87ZchoCLhPw_wcB

 

My New Table Lamp

Up until now I have kept design items in my home quite minimal and basic. I like clean lines and blocks of colour. A part of me always wanted a little more opulence though.

I actually went out to buy a pendant lamp for my staircase. The staircase opens out into my living room and the fixture that was there was broken by a wardrobe delivery a while ago. I decided that I wanted something more than just a plan shade and came across the Bella range in Next Home.

I loved the mink coloured shade but the droplets of glass gave the shade the opulence I was looking for.

Whilst shopping we came across the table lamp. As it happens the lamp has two bulbs. The top bulb is a bayonet fitting and the bulb in the base has a screw fitting. We are in the process of buying automated bulbs so the bayonet is not an issue but we are still waiting on the adapter for the base.

The shade is nice and simple which I do like in a lamp. We were a little disappointed that there was a slight blemish on the shade at the front which cast a slight shadow but we have adjusted the shade so it doesn’t show at the front. I was thinking of returning the lamp but I was so excited to have it the adjustment allowed us to live with its tiny flaw.

In situe the lamp looks beautiful. I think the base looks similar to a jellyfish.

The photos show various different colour settings from our Hue bulbs.

I’m not sure if the cabinet that my lamp sits on it too high for the lamp as it is quite tall but I love the light and patterns that it casts.

Im looking forward to my pendant lamp shade arriving now.

Here is the link to the next home shop where you can click and collect or order straight to your home. I’d still recommend trying to get into a store to see the lamp for yourself as I don’t think any of the photos do it justice. http://www.next.co.uk/g504132s3#999168