how be in more photos

How to be in more photos when you don’t have anyone to take them for you

One of the biggest obstacles to being in more photos, is not having someone to take them for you.

But don’t let that stop you!

Don’t use that as an excuse to stay behind the camera.

Here are some ways you can make sure you exist in photos, even if you don’t have anyone to take them for you.

How to be in more photos

 

 

1. Take a selfie.

I’m starting off nice and simple!  One of the easiest ways to get in a photo is to take a classic selfie.

If you want to get in a photo with your children then you can either all squeeze in close for a photo, or you can pull out your selfie stick so you can fit a bit more in your pictures.  Come on, admit it, you do have a selfie stick don’t you!  I honestly thought they were a bit, I don’t know, embarrassing I suppose.  But then I tried one, and loved it!  They just open up so many possibilities when it comes to taking self portraits on your phone.

 

2. Get reflective.

The other old classic for getting in photos is to take them in the mirror.

Most of the photos I have of me when I was pregnant were taken in the mirror in our bedroom.  And while they’re nothing special photographically, they are so special to me and I’m so glad I took them.

mirror photos

You can make this more interesting though, by thinking outside your bathroom/bedroom.

Look for reflective surfaces that you can use when you’re out and about with your children.  Big puddles can be good!  Or shop windows, car wing mirrors, anything reflective will do!

 

3. Try a  tripod.

If you have one, a tripod can be really useful for getting yourself in more photos.

You can set the camera up on the tripod and then either use a remote trigger or the timer feature to take photos of yourself.

At the moment I tend to use the timer, mainly because I don’t know where our remote is!  It can take a while to get the shot just right doing it this way, so be prepared to take a few photos before you get it spot on.  But it is quite a bit of fun!

 

4. Improvise.

If you don’t have a tripod then you need to get inventive.

I’ve balanced my camera on piles of books, chairs, the kitchen work surface, all kinds of places.  For this family photo the camera was placed on a bag that was sitting in Nerys’ buggy.

family photo showyouwerethere

If all else fails you can get some fab photos by simply putting your camera down on the floor!

 

5. Find someone.

If you’ve tried the ideas I’ve mentioned above and still aren’t quite happy with the photos you’re getting then you might want to find someone to help you.

I know, I know, the whole point of this post is that you don’t have someone to take photos of you!  But hear me out.  There are a few different ways you can find someone to take some photos for you.

Here are some options:

  • Ask a friend to come round and take some for you.  You can incorporate it into a playdate with your children!
  • If you’re a blogger reading this, then why not arrange a bit of a photo swap with another blogger in your area.  You can take it in turns to take photos of each other.
  • Hire a pro.  If you’re really serious about getting some amazing photos of yourself then look into hiring a professional photographer to take some for you.  If you take some time to look at various photographers’ websites you’re bound to find one with a style you like.
  • Ask a stranger.  This might feel a bit scary, but most people are more than happy to snap a quick photo for people if they ask.  You could try this if you want a photo of you with your children at the park, for example.  I’m pretty sure there would be other parents there who would be willing to help you out.

 

I really hope I’ve inspired you to take some action and get in some more photos.

If I have, then please do tag them with #ShowYouWereThere over on instagram and I’ll go and check them out!

arty-apple-review

Personalised aprons from Arty apple – Review

A really lovely parcel arrived the other day.  Inside a brightly coloured posting bag, was this box.

Simple but sturdy, and embossed with the Arty apple logo, I was really excited to open it up and check out what was inside.

arty-apple-review-packaging

I opened up the box, and unwrapped the tissue paper.  And I was so happy with what I found.

Personalised aprons for Rhys and Nerys.

The aprons are made from indigo denim which feels like it’ll last a long time, but it still feels pretty soft and comfortable for them to wear.  The neck and waist ties and lovely and vibrant, contrasting beautifully against the denim.  The boys personalised aprons come with bright blue ties, and a gingerbread man picture.  While the girls personalised aprons have pink ties and a cupcake.  I’m sure there would be no issue at all though if your son wanted a cupcake, or your daughter wanted blue ties.

Each apron is then personalised with the child’s name.
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Rhys and Nerys were both thrilled with their aprons.  I had to keep fending Nerys off so I could get some photos before she put hers on!

The aprons come in 2 sizes;  2-6 years and 7-13 years.

I asked for both of ours to be in the smaller size and am really happy with how well they fit both Rhys and Nerys.  The neck tie is a little bit on the long side for Nerys, but we just twisted it up a bit after we put it on her.  And I like the fact that she will grow into it, rather than worrying that it’ll get too small for her quite quickly.

arty-apple-review-personalised-childrens-aprons

I really love the fact that the details on the aprons are stitched on.  Sometimes you see things like this and the name is printed, or ironed on and it just doesn’t look that great.

These on the other hand look lovely.  

The stitching is perfect, and really stands out.  Overall I’m just really impressed with the quality of these aprons.

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After the children had posed for a few photos we decided we really needed to put the aprons to the test.

So we did a spot of baking.

We decided to step away from our usual fairy cakes and have a go at making some flapjacks.

I’m trying to let Nerys really get stuck in now when we bake together.  Which meant there was golden syrup being drizzled everywhere and oats being played with (my fault really, for using oats in the past for sensory play!).

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The apron did its job perfectly though.  I was more relaxed knowing that Nerys’ clothes were protected, and it meant that she could wipe her oaty hands on it rather than on herself.

Look at that face!  That is the face of a very happy little girl.

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And the flapjacks were really good.

Nerys tried them the next day, and even put her apron back on to do it, so she didn’t drop crumbs down herself!

We absolutely love our aprons, and think they would make a really lovely gift for any children who like to help out in the kitchen.

In fact, all of the products from Arty apple are just gorgeous and would make lovely presents.  Amy, the lady behind the sewing machine, makes a really lovely selection of items for babies and children.  If you’re after something for a new baby then you should definitely go and check out the beautiful bunting and blankets that Amy has to offer.

There’s so much to choose from you’re bound to find the perfect present.

Disclosure – We were sent the personalised aprons for the purpose of this review, but all words and opinions are my own.
Family Fever
things to do to show children love every day

5 things to do every day to let your children know you love them

This is kind of stating the obvious, but I love my children.

I love them with every part of me.

But there are times when I wonder if they are aware of quite how loved they are.  They hear the words a lot, from both me and their Daddy.  But sometimes I think hearing the words isn’t quite enough.  I think they need more than that.

So I’ve come up with 5 things I can do every day to make sure they know I love them.

5 things to do everyday to let your children know you love them

5 things to do every day to let your children know you love them.

 1.  Say it.

Say “I love you” as much as you can.  This is a nice easy place to start if you’re anything like me.  We say “I love you” several times a day.  And when it comes unexpectedly you can just see their faces light up.

If you spend a fair bit of your day away from your child then think about leaving them a note in their lunchbox, or hidden in their bag, telling them you love them.

 

2.  Hug it out.

Give them a hug. And let them be the first to let go.

Generally just let them be physically close to you.

I know there are times when that much physical contact can just get too much.  I know I’ve had days when I’ve felt really touched out by bedtime.  But as much as you can, let them be close to you.

Cwtch up close on the sofa when you read or watch tv together.  Hold their hands as you walk.  Any time they reach out to you for contact, give them what they need.

 

3.  Ask them about their day.

On the way home from school, or nursery, or as you get them ready for bed, ask them about their day.  And really listen to their answer.  Ask follow on questions, and echo back key points they make so they really feel that you understand.

If you don’t get much from them when you ask “how was your day?”, then try asking about their favourite thing that happened that day.

 

4.  Let them overhear you saying good things about them.

Talk to your partner about something good your child has done that day, but make sure you do it so that they can overhear you.  Don’t make it obvious you’re doing it so they can hear you, let them think that you don’t know they’re listening.

Hearing you happily telling someone else about how great you think they are is a fab way to boost their self-esteem as well as letting them know how much you love them.

 

5.  Be visibly happy to see them.

There’s a photo that’s been doing the round recently.  A nursery in Houston put a sign up on its door telling parents to get off their phones when they picked their children up.  I don’t like the way the note was worded, but I do agree with the sentiment.

Of course there are times when we might have to take an important phone call just as the school doors open.  Or we might have a baby with us who need our attention at that moment.  But I do think it’s really important to make an effort to stop what we’re doing and greet our children with a big smile and a hug when they come out of school.

They need to know that we’re happy to see them!  The same goes for other situations too.  Look up from what you’re doing when they come in the room, and flash them a smile.  And when you first see them in the morning, try and move past the brain fog and grumpiness and say good morning to them with a happy voice.

 

So there you go, 5 things we can all try and do every day to show our children how much we love them.

If you want to go a bit further with this then you can read this post I wrote a while ago about love languages.  Once you’ve worked out what love language your child speaks then you can find even more little ways to show love in the way that they need you to.

Do you do any/all of these things with your children regularly?  Are there any other little things you do with your children to show your love?

This post has been linked up with KCACOLS.

 

3 tips to help you stick to your new year's resolutions

3 tips to get back on track with your new year’s resolutions

So, we’re a few weeks into the new year.  How are your resolutions going?

If you’re like the majority of people out there, you’re flagging a bit.  You might even have abandoned them already.

But don’t worry, I’ve got three tips to help you get back on track.

3 tips to get back on track with new year's resolutions (4)

 

 

1. Rephrase your resolution.

This is pretty interesting.  Studies have found that if you pose your goals and resolutions as questions then you’re more likely to change your behaviour.  So, rather than just saying “I’ll exercise twice a week”, you ask yourself “Will I exercise twice a week?” and then actually answer “yes”.

If you feel a bit strange talking to yourself like this you can get a friend to ask you the question, then you just have to answer “yes”.  Doing it this way has the added benefit of creating a bit of accountibility, as your friend will know that you made this promise.

But the studies show it works just as well if you just say it to yourself.

One of the authors of the paper, Eric Spangenberg, believes that the reason it works might be that being questionned about our intentions puts some pressure on us to follow through.  In other words, because we’ve answered that yes, we will do it, we then feel obligated to stick to that.

 

2. Partner up.

Following on from the first point, another great way to get back on track with resolutions and goals is to find an accountability buddy.

A study carried out at the Dominican University of California found that doing this can really improve your chances of sticking to your resolutions.  They asked participants to write down their goals and then send regular updates to their buddy, letting them know how they’re getting on.

Over 70% of the participants who did this ended up reaching their goals.  

This is amazing, especially when compared to the participants who didn’t have an accountability buddy.  Only 35% of that group met their goals.

So, ask around your friends and family and find someone who is also after some new motivation to meet their goals this year.  Then get going together and hold each other accountable.

 

3. Scale back and break it down.

One of the main reasons that people don’t stick to their resolutions or meet their goals, is that they’re just too big.

We often have unrealistic ideas of what we can achieve, or the timescale that we can achieve it in.  So we might start the year stating that we’re going to hit the gym 5 times every week.  That we’ll lose a stone by the end of January.  Or that we won’t drink any alcohol for a month, and will also cut out sugar from our diets.

These kinds of goals pretty much set us up for failure.  They’re either too big, require too much of a sudden, drastic change or they’re just not possible to achieve in a short amount of time.

So we get discouraged and quit trying altogether.

If you’re finding that, a few weeks into the new year, you’re feeling like you’ve already failed at your goals then just stop.

Rethink them.  Scale them back a bit to make them more realistic.  Give yourself a chance!

 

So there you have it.  

Three things you can try to make this the year you keep your resolutions and meet your goals!  Please do leave me a comment and let me know what you’re planning on achieving this year, and what you think of these ideas to help you get there.

 

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Getting organised – Stick to Stigu review

One of my big missions for 2017 is to get more organised.

Nerys will be going to a pre-school class 5 mornings a week from the end of February, and I’m very aware that this means I’ll have 2 sets of school things to keep track of!

I’ll have to remember who needs wellies on what day.

I’ll need to keep on top of homework, and snack money, and signing (and returning) important forms.

I’ll need to know what day of the week books need to go back to school, and make sure that both children have clean uniforms to wear each day.

And that’s all before I even start to think about my blog and my business and keeping our house in check.

There’s just a lot whizzing round in my head that I need to get down on paper so I can start to feel a bit more organised and in control of everything!

So at the end of last year I started looking round for the perfect planner to help.  I’ve always had diaries, but often find they go unused for large parts of the year because they don’t quite fit my needs.

But I think I might have cracked it this year, with the Stick to Stigu planner.

I’ve seen several rave reviews of these in the past, and thought they looked fab when I checked them out on the Stigu website.  So I was thrilled with they agreed to send me one, along with a to-do list pad, to review.

stick-to-stigu-planner-review

There are several things I liked straight away about this planner.

Firstly, I love the colour and design.  I know that sounds a bit superficial, but if I’m going to use something regularly I do like it to look appealing.  And I just love the fact that this year’s planner goes so well with my blog’s colour!

I also really like the size of it.

The diary I had last year was just a little too small for me.  I didn’t feel I had the space I needed to write things down and clear my head.  The Stigu planner, on the other hand, is 240mm x 190mm which is just a bit bigger than A5 size.  So it will still just about fit in my handbag if I need to take it out and about with me, but it just feels more spacious inside.

stick-to-stigu-planner

For each week you have a blank page on the left for writing down your to-do list for the week, or important things to remember, or for a bit of a brain dump at the start of each week.  Then on the right side you have the week printed out with several spaces marked out for each day for you to put in meetings, school functions, birthdays, etc.

At the front of the planner is a page to write down your goals for the year, for mind, body and soul, which I really quite like.

And it also has 32 blank pages at the back, which is just so handy for scribbling down notes and blog post ideas.  And there’s even a little pocket on the back page that you can use to keep leaflets, notes from school, etc.

stick-to-stigu-planner-inside-review

What really makes the Stick to Stigu planner special though is the little notes and quotes and tips that are included on every page.

Every week there’s a new quote to inspire you, or make you smile, like

“Be like a wildflower: grow in all the places people thought you never would”.

And you also get a lovely idea each week of a way to help you renew, relax, reflect, switch off from your to-do list for a while.

These include bits of advice like this:

“Your comfort zone is your danger zone.  The most dangerous place in the world for you to be is in your comfort zone.  Yes, it’s cosy and familiar, but it can lead to stagnation.  We need to stretch ourselves mentally and physically so that we make space in our lives for growth”

And practices like this:

“Inspire yourself.  Stick to 5 minutes when you need to feel positive and centred.

  • Breathe through the nostrils if they are clear, otherwise it is fine to breathe through the mouth.
  • Ascribe a colour or quality to your in-breath that has positive associations – e.g. turquoise/sparkly/like a fresh breeze
  • As you breathe in imagine that quality filling your lungs and permeating every cell.
  • Ascribe a quality or colour to the out-breath that for you has negative connotations – e.g. grey smoke/brown sludge/icy wind
  • As you breathe out feel that negativity leaving every cell of your body.
  • After a while imagine the out-breathe taking on some of the qualities of the in-breathe, until eventually they are the same

Now you have super-charged yourself with positivity, get out there and face whatever challenge is waiting for you!”

Now, come on, are there any other diaries that inspire you like that?!

stick-to-stigu-planner-review-inside

I’ve had my planner for a few weeks now, and I really do love having the space in the planner each week to write down all the things that I need to get done that week.

But I also find that I feel a bit more on top of things if I write down a to-do list for the next day, before I go to sleep at night.

So I know that I have it written down that I have to take Rhys’ books back to school that day.  And that I need to pop to the shops to get milk.

And that’s where the Stigu to-do list pad comes in.

Now, I know I could just carry on doing what I’ve been doing, and write my little lists on scraps of paper.  But there’s something about using a nicely designed, proper to-do list pad that just feels so much nicer!

stick-to-stigu-to-do-list-pad-review

What I love about this pad is that there is only actually room for 10 tasks on each sheet.  So I can’t overload myself with unrealistic lists of things I ‘need’ to get done each day.  I can pick out the top priorities and put those down.

And then there’s the lovely little box that I get to tick when I complete one of the jobs – so satisfying!

I also really love that the to-do list pad includes ‘breathe’ every time.  I love that little reminder every day to just chill out a bit, take a step back, grab a minute to just stop and breathe.

stick-to-stigu-planner-to-do-list-pad-review

So far I’m really impressed with the planner and to-do list pad from Stick to Stigu.

I think I have a pretty good chance of getting more organised this year using them.  I’ll make a note in my planner to write a post at the end of the year about how I got on!

If I’ve inspired you to get more organised yourself, then head over to the Stick to Stigu website to pick up a planner of your own and see what other fab products they have on offer.

 

Disclosure – I was sent the planner and to-do list pad for the purpose of this review, but all words and opinions are my own.

Family Fever
twitter-egg-box-christmas-craft

Egg box Christmas tree craft

We are now officially finished with school for the year.  Which means I have to find things to do with the children to keep them entertained until school starts again in January.

I mentioned the other day that I’ve put together a Christmas week box for the children, which has got a little activity in for each day of the week.

But I still need to find other things to keep them busy.

And this Christmas craft has been perfect.

It’s really easy so you can do it with little ones, but is still fun for older children too.  My two are 5 and 2, and both had a lot of fun with it.

So, without further ado, I give you our egg box Christmas trees!

egg-box-christmas-tree-craft

What you need:

Empty egg boxes.

Scissors.

Green paint.

Glitter glue, or star stickers, or whatever you have handy to decorate your tree.

Pipe cleaners.

egg-box-christmas-tree-craft-craftswithwynsors

What you do:

Cut the egg boxes up into individual ‘cups’.  Depending on what kind of egg box you have you’ll end up with slightly different shapes but any kind should work for this craft.

Once the pieces are all cut out, get out your green paint and go to town.  If you don’t have paint you could always colour them in with crayons, or felt tips.  Or cover them in bits of green tissue paper.  Whatever you’ve got that’s green will do.

egg-box-christmas-tree-paint-green-craftswithwynsors

Put the pieces aside and wait for the paint to dry.

Once it’s all dry you can decorate the pieces of your tree.  We used glitter glue on ours but, again, you can use whatever you’ve got at home.  Star stickers or sticky gems are good options.  Or you can just shake some normal glitter over them.

craftswithwynsors-eggbox-christmas-tree-craft

If you’ve used something like glitter glue then you’ll need to wait a bit for that to dry.

Then, pierce a hole in the top of each section.

eggbox-christmas-tree-craft

Get a pipe cleaner and start threading the pieces on to it to build your tree.

craftswithwynsors-christmas-tree-egg-box-craft

And that’s it!  You can stand these up as fun decorations on your mantlepiece, or you can put a loop in the top of the pipe cleaner and hang them on your tree.

egg-box-christmas-tree-craftswithwynsors

We all really enjoyed making these, and I think the end results look pretty good!

What I particularly liked about this was the skills that the children worked on while making them.  For Nerys it was a great chance to practice her fine motor skills, and I loved watching her concentrate so hard on threading the pieces on to the pipe cleaners.  And for Rhys, who has never been a fan of getting things like paint on his hands, it was a great chance for him to experience that and realise that it’s actually ok.

And for both of them it was a great craft for letting them get creative and I loved watching how they both approached the activity.

If you’re after more ideas for Christmas crafts then go and check out my fun button christmas tree card and snowman gift tag, and my cotton wool snowman ideas.  Or you can go and check out these suggestions from Wynsors, they’ve got quite a few suggestions on there to see you through the holidays!

We were sent the materials for this craft as part of Wynsors #craftswithwynsors Christmas celebration, however all ideas and words are my own.

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Easy and fun snowman craft #BostikBloggers

Looking for a fun and simple wintry craft to do with your little ones?  Look no further!

I give you the cotton wool snowman.

easy-fun-snowman-craft

I was lucky enough to have a snowman shaped piece of white foam which is perfect for this activity.  It makes things so, so simple if you can find some like this that are basically giant stickers.  You just peel off the backing and you’re left with a lovely sticky snowman, just waiting to be covered in cotton wool.

You don’t have to use something like this though.  You can just cut a snowman shape out of a piece of card and cover it in pva glue.  Still pretty simple.

Then you just need cotton wool and some buttons and ribbon for the details on the snowman.

cotton-wool-snowman-buttons-toddler-christmas-craft

So all you need to do is grab all your little bits of cotton wool and get sticking.

Nerys really enjoyed this part.  She took her time choosing which bits to stick down, and made sure that all the little gaps were filled in.

toddler-snowman-craft-cotton-wool

Once the snowman is completely covered in cotton wool you can add his buttons.

We used sticky dots to stick our buttons on.  They’re so simple to use, Nerys could do it all by herself.  Basically, just peeling off the backing, sticking the dot onto a button, then peeling away the other bit of backing.

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Next, get a piece of ribbon and wrap it around the snowman’s neck, like a scarf.
toddler-craft-snowman-ribbon-scarf

Finally, add some more buttons for the snowman’s eyes.

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And there you have it!

Nerys is so proud of her snowman, and she had so much fun making him.  She keeps asking to make more, so I think we might end up with a whole family of snow people by Christmas!

snowman-craft-cotton-wool-buttons-bostik-bloggers-snow

If you fancy making some more festive crafts then check out my post on making snowman gift tags and Christmas tree cards with brightly coloured buttons.

I was sent a box of craft materials to create this post, but all words, opinions and creations are my own.