Our family bed set up

Debenhams recently sent us new bedding to give our bedroom a mini makeover.

We’ve been through lots of configurations when it comes to sleep. Having bought a cot and a Moses basket with our first baby, we surprised ourselves by being three in a bed instead. Bedsharing proved a natural fit for our family so, though we got a moses basket again second and third time around for daytime naps (and it went unused!), we didn’t bother with a cot. Instead, we’ve sometimes been four in a bed, four in a bed and one on the floor, two in a bed, two in another and one on their own. Different set ups for different seasons. Currently, we only have twenty-two month old Delilah in with us. Ophelia, who’s four, occasionally joins us too but mostly prefers her own space. If Laurence is away, all the children join me.

It’s not perfect; I do love my space at night. I probably wouldn’t be adverse to twin beds instead of our king, though that might be the touched-out-ness of these early years talking. We even have separate duvets, partly so we don’t steal it off each other, partly because I run hot while Laurence runs cold. But for all the crowding, it’s also plenty lush, cuddling little ones to sleep, knowing even those who have outgrown the cuddling still find security in being near to me. And, of course, it won’t be forever. I came to bed to find Laurence holding sleeping Delilah and five years later, the memory of Talitha at that age is already blurry.

We’ve mused that Delilah might stay in with us longer than the other two did. We moved them out of necessity because I couldn’t bear to breastfeed at night while pregnant and they found it difficult to sleep next to me if this wasn’t an option. With Talitha, it was a simple transition. She was two, we’d just moved house, we decorated her room with her and she loved the idea of her own bed. Laurence was sometimes in with her if she woke but she mostly slept through.

Ophelia found this a lot more difficult. I fell pregnant with Delilah when she was 21 months old and, in retrospect, she just wasn’t ready for all the sudden change, whether because of age or temperament. We moved her out, I night weaned but she was up and unsettled every night for months. It’s easy to look back and say what I’d do things differently but, in reality, all I can say about it is that we did what we thought was best for us all at the time, we muddled through, and thankfully things are settled now.

But neither of us are ready for a repeat and we’ve both got so much more go with the flow with each child added to our family. As Delilah’s our last baby, she’ll likely stay in until she wants to join her sisters. So this is our family bed set up for the foreseeable.

In our last place, we had quite a high bed so used a bed guard with a towel rolled and tucked into the gap for added peace of mind. It worked but it felt like a function-over-style choice. When we moved we bought a low futon-style bed, complete with matching side tables. Initially we chose it so we could sit comfortably in bed with our cottage’s sloping ceiling but it’s also offered the benefit of causing less worry about little ones rolling out of bed or crawling off.

And it’s got us thinking a bit more about how we style this space so it’s actually somewhere we enjoy being, not the dumping ground our bedroom always used to be. Updating our bedding has definitely been a part of that. The Bedeck 1951 “Juma” duvet covers pictured here are a departure from my usual penchant for grey and white sheets. The South American-inspired geometric designs are eye-catching without being too busy and the combination of the ink blue pattern and deep green edging is cosy without dominating our airy bedroom. A child (or two or three!) may sleep here but it still feels like a grown up’s bedroom.

What’s your family bed set up like? Do you all sleep together or in some other configuration? Have you a massive bed? We used to love our extra king! It was definitely needed for a season. Let’s share some inspiration for others making it work with bedsharing.

For more posts about bedsharing, check out this golden oldie about bedsharing as a family of four and this book about nighttime and naptime strategies for breastfeeding families.

Thanks for sending me the duvet covers for this post, Debenhams!


Choosing the best floor for your family

This post is brought to you by Luxury Flooring

Delilah is now seventeen months and I’m open to the possibility that she could be pottying soon. Nappy changes are becoming gymnastic feats and she is so communicative about everything. When I mentioned it to Laurence tonight, we got on to the topic of what flooring works best for family life. After all, a big part of the reason I never managed to stick it out with elimination communication was that I psychologically couldn’t cope with the mess.

Our last house was mostly carpeted, a constant frustration to me. That carpet held on to every spill and every accident. Short of getting a steam cleaner in, there was no real way of getting it fully clean. I’d look at it, imagining how dirty it must actually be. It made potty training an extremely stressful experience and I couldn’t fully relax when the kids were eating in the living room.

Aesthetically, I’m really not keen on carpet anywhere but the bedrooms and there, only for the purpose of providing warmth underfoot. In fact, we hadn’t appreciated how much heat our carpets had offered until we moved into the period cottage we now live in. We finally got the stone and hard wood floors that we’d dreamed of. They’re easier to clean and really make the rooms they complete. I couldn’t imagine going back to carpet if given the option.

However, we’ve found we’ve had to learn how to live on them in winter without freezing. I suppose in a money-is-no-object daydream we might install underfloor heating. In reality, we’ll stick to rugs in the living room and playroom and living in slippers. Mind you, the children run about in not so much as socks and are not bothered in the least.

We wouldn’t consider it in this house but I imagine in a more modern property we would look at putting in laminate flooring. It’s easy to clean with a mop, with no annoying gaps between. It offers a sleek, smooth finish and can look convincingly like hardwood so you’re not sacrificing aesthetics. Laminate can also be a warmer option which is something to think about if you have babies crawling on the floor.

There are ways to make any floor work for the stage of life your family is in, whether that’s babies learning to use the potty or teenagers eating on the sofa while watching television. You just need to consider where your budget, your lifestyle and your style meet.

Image credit: Photo by Oana Hodirnau on Unsplash


Ten tips to keep your home safer this winter

This post is brought to you by Newview.

You never think your house is going to get broken into until it happens. Both Laurence and I know too many people amongst our families and friends who’ve been burgled to be cavalier and yet we could certainly do with giving it more thought. I’ve thrown together a few ideas here, which may be especially useful for those going away over Christmas and New Year’s.

Leave a light on
When away for a weekend or longer, leaving a light on can be a simple deterrent to potential burglars. If someone is taking care of the house, ask them to change which light is left on so that someone watching the house will be put off.

Make use of technology
If you have the money to invest, make use of technology that will turn different lights on intermittently so it appears that people are in the house. Sounds pretty Home Alone, no?

Get a hardcore door
Is your door really as secure as it could be? Solidor makes thicker doors which offer both the most efficient locking system and largest dead bolt available while also improving your home’s insulation.

Let your neighbours know when you’re going to be away
Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest. Let a neighbour know when you’re going to be away and ask them to keep an eye out. Of course, this only works if you trust your neighbours. My feeling is that people are generally willing to look out for each other but sometimes need the green light to do so. This is one of many great reasons to get to know your neighbours, something we’re working at.

Get a house sitter
Could you do a house swap or offer someone a stay in your house while away? A friend mentioned that when she used to be away a lot, she got a lodger so the house wouldn’t be unoccupied. Even having someone stop in once or twice a day to feed your pets (if you have them) could be helpful to deter preying eyes.

Don’t shout it from the mountain tops
I always go back and forth on this but perhaps don’t make it too obvious on social media when you’re away and for how long.

Be careful with Strava
Related to this, if you’re a runner or cyclist, it’s worth not turning on Strava until you’re well away from your house and making sure to turn it off before you get back. You may be telling people where you live and could potentially alert predators to when you’re not at home if you go out regularly.

Lock your back gate
This seems obvious but soooo many of us don’t do it, leaving our homes pretty vulnerable. You could go one step further here and add a motion sensor light to spook anyone who’s decided to try to climb over the back gate.

Make sure people can’t climb your fences
Equally, consider carefully how high your fences are and repair as necessary. A weak and wobbly fence could be a easy way in to your garden and back door.

Don’t leave keys under a flowerpot
It’s easy to think if you live somewhere idyllic that you can relax about things like this but leaving keys with a trusted neighbour could be the safer thing to do.


When a home replaces period timber windows with uPVC

We live in an old house. Our cottage dates back to the late 1800s and I still haven’t wrapped my head around that history. When we were house hunting, we really didn’t know what we were looking for so checked out bungalows to new builds to period homes. It quickly became obvious that we were both drawn to “character properties” and, while we just wanted to buy the right place, we’d prefer an older home if possible.

Now that we’re here, we’re at the starting point of learning to live well in and care for our little piece of history. We’re discussing tricks to reduce condensation, how to let the house breathe, how to maximise energy efficiency and whether we might update some of the windows flagged up by our surveyor as a potential fire hazard. The house already has uPVC windows but the ones in the middle floor only open a flap so they’re the ones concern has been expressed about and that we’d be looking to replace.

Certainly, we’re appreciating the benefits of uPVC and the drawbacks of timber having lived here for a couple of weeks, especially as we looked around another period home which had not replaced its period timber windows. Our new windows make the house warmer, quieter and better insulated, all surprisingly so for a cottage in the countryside. The glass is also a lot less likely to break. Our front door has a wooden frame and I must admit the rattling panes set us a little on edge, imagining one of the children running through it.

Our uPVC windows don’t at all detract from the quaint style of the house so we’d be looking for a similar match for the middle floor set. In the event that it is confirmed that we need to update the windows quickly, a look through Rose Collection sash windows offers us three options: UltimateRose, HeritageRose and CharismaRose. Each includes a timber effect sash so by going with one of these options we could even restore some of the house’s historical character if we wanted to. There’s definitely no compromise on style there.

We’re still unpacking boxes and finding places for things to live but it’s something we will have to give more thought sooner rather than later. Like so many things, hey?

Brought to you by Rose Collection


George Bedroom Makeover Challenge

The girls’ bedroom has changed a lot in the last few months. For a start, we decided to swap their room with the guest room which was slightly more spacious. We’ve also introduced a wardrobe (discovered by the side of the road – score!) and ditched their old chest of drawers for an easier-to-open to chest from the diningroom. All in all, it’s improved their room’s functionality but I do feel like an aesthetic makeover is due at some point.

With their input, I’ve put together a mood board of what their dream bedroom might include, using items from the George Kids Home range. Talitha wanted: “Dinosaurs! Blue and yellow because they’re my fravourite colours! Lots of fairy lights and maybe my own lamp?” Ophelia said: “Lots of amamals!”

Here’s what would make it to their dream George room. It comes up to a total of £376.

Kids Bedroom Makeover Challenge

These circus blackout curtains (£24), this kids bean bag (£20), this seahorse clock (£9), this purple and yellow lava lamp (£14), this zig zag print throw (£12), these bunk beds (£199), this blue desk and chair (£75), these owl string lights (£7) and this dinosaur cushion (£7).

This is my entry for the George at ASDA kids’ makeover challenge. Check out the hashtag #GeorgeousRoomChallenge on Twitter and Pinterest for more kids’ bedroom ideas.

This is a collaborative post


Five ways to make your home more kid-friendly

My own personal brand of nesting has less to do with cleaning the oven (though, yeah, should really get on that some time) and more to do with making our house as accessible as possible for the children before the baby comes. A little organisation goes a long way and making small changes not only aids their independence but hopefully means less stress when getting to grips with looking after a newborn again. In this vein, I’ve been gathering ideas for ways to make various rooms in our home more child-friendly.

Child seat and stool in the bathroom
This won’t be a change for us as we’ve had them for a while but now that two-year-old Ophelia is out of nappies, I’m really grateful that our in-build child seat has made the toilet an appealing alternative to the potty. With the stool, she can get on to the toilet on her own as well as wash her hands. Of course she still needs support with both these tasks but now that I’m less able to get on the floor or lift her, it’s an appreciated addition to our bathroom along with some extra accessories .

Water dispenser
We bought a glass mason jar dispenser last year and (when I remember to refill it) it’s been brilliant for the girls fetching their own water. They love using it. Ophelia can mostly use it on her own though sometimes Talitha helps her. I even think they drink more water as a result.

Labeling boxes
While I try to regularly declutter so they don’t have an overwhelming number of toys and to have things displayed on shelves because out of sight is out of mind, we have boxes for multiple objects like puzzles, games and duplo. Labelling them has meant that the kids know where things are and are more likely to find ways to entertain themselves. It’s also made clean up easier for all of us.

Visual checklist
I’m terrible for remembering to remind them to brush their teeth and use the loo when we’re leaving the house. It often feels like enough to remember myself! So we’ve pinned up a visual checklist of stuff that has to be done before we go out and before we go to bed. We’ve had it for a while now and so far they are loving it and it’s actually making life run much more smoothly. The drawings means that even Ophelia knows what’s on there and loves getting things done so she can tick them off – most of the time, anyway!

Make your home more child friendly

Accessible clean up
My kids are still at the stage where they enjoy cleaning – as long as it’s self-chosen! So if they spill something, they’re happy to wipe it up. We use old rags instead of kitchen roll and store them in a low drawer so they can access them as they need then put them in a bucket underneath the kitchen sink, ready for the wash.

Have you made any child-friendly changes to your home? I’d love to hear your ideas.

Teaming up with Tesco for these insights


Buying and Selling a House

We recently came to the end of our three-year mortgage agreement and have been going through the arduous process of renegotiating. Obviously, it was on our radar for a while, cue lots of discussions about what we should do. Sell up and buy another house, maybe upgrading or going for a fixer upper this time? Should we move to another part of Bristol? Should we think about whether somewhere totally new is where we’re meant to be?

I’m sure we’ll continue to have these discussions (we never seem to completely settle) but for now, having a new baby is enough without the stress of moving or even of renovations this close to the due date (I’m 35 weeks now). So we’re staying in this house and thinking about what we can change over time. To be honest, even a thorough decluttering will be enough of a change!

With buying and selling on my mind, it’s been interesting to look through Carpetright’s Property Guide and Survey. They’ve put together tips on buying and selling a property as well as a survey that you can complete to enter with a chance to win £500 in vouchers and a hamper.

The house we’re in now is our first property. When we were looking to move out of renting we looked at maybe twenty houses or even upwards of that. It honestly got to the point where it felt like it didn’t really matter which we bought, though obviously it did. We’d set our eyes on moving to South Bristol, a bit more centrally but were put off by the fact that we wouldn’t be able to afford anywhere with a decent garden.

Meanwhile, closer to where we were currently living, the houses are much bigger, the gardens excitingly spacious – vital as we’ve got so much into gardening – and it feels like we’re in the countryside in some bits, even though it’s a quick drive or bus journey into the city centre. All of this was going for far lower prices. Granted, property in our area has shot up since but it probably still compares favourably. Anyway, we decided to stay put and it’s absolutely been the right decision for us so far.

The first point in Carpetright’s buying guide is to work out what you can afford and this was key for us. We already knew that we were going to be home educating as well as having more children (Talitha was a toddler at the time) so we wanted to get a mortgage Laurence could pay on his own. Although I do work, I earn very sporadically and not enough for us to rely on. The pressure of a mortgage based on a double income would have dictated our lifestyle in ways we weren’t comfortable with.

Looking at their selling guide is a bit daunting. I can’t imagine our house ever being clean enough or toned down enough for a sale, though I’m sure we’ll manage when we eventually do, especially as our area is becoming so desirable. The cats might have to live outdoors for a while!

Are you thinking of buying or selling? Do take a look at Carpetright’s guides and don’t forget to enter the survey to win.

This post is sponsored by Carpetright