A porch is the perfect space to use a halfway point between people visiting and entering your home. From the moment you start to decorate your home, the main aim is always to have a warm and welcoming atmosphere that makes people feel at home and comfortable, and this applies to the porch too. Many people overlook the porch and see it is a wasted space, but it actually has a huge impact on the overall image people have of your home. First impressions always count, and your porch is the first point people see before they enter your home properly, so it needs to be as inviting as possible!

Keep Things Fresh

The benefit to having a porch is that more often than not, you have a small space with large windows that enable plenty of natural light to filter through and brighten the area beautifully. You want your porch to be a space that feels fresh and bright, and your décor choices will help you with this. For those porches large enough, introducing a chic oak console table in the corner to position a fresh display of flowers will instantly add that crisp, clean feel you want to achieve. This is also a great way of utilising the space, giving you an area to keep post, place your dirty wellies underneath and so on.

Be Bright and Bold

If your porch is a space that has a nice balance of windows then you can guarantee you’re going to have a lovely flow of natural light passing through from morning to night, but the moment the sun goes down this area can become a little dark and daunting. Whilst the porch is still classed as your interiors, many people overlook this and forget to add sufficient lighting to keep the area lit through the evening time. By adding a stylish lamp to your porch, you can create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for your home, giving it the perfect entrance. The moment people look at your home they will see a delicate glow from the entrance area which will automatically make your home seem cosy and inviting.

Make it Practical

Having a porch is ideal for dedicating a space for keeping shoes, coats, umbrellas and other random items safe and neat, without having to bring them into the main part of your home. There’s nothing worse than someone walking through the house, over your lovely cream carpets with dirty boots on, and this is where the porch comes in very handy. To really utilise the space within your porch and make it as practical as possible, you want to include plenty of storage space, some durable hooks and even some drawers to keep items neatly stored away. This will really help to keep the rest of your home neat and tidy, whilst still having everything easily accessible.

Open it Up

Whilst the majority of people use their porch as an additional room within the home, there is also the option to open it up and create an outdoor space that’s unique to your property. To give yourself an open-style porch, you can create an enclosed space that has no door or windows but contains a couple of seats and a stylish plant to add to the character of the space. This is perfect for those who want to enhance their gardens overall look and introduce a unique touch of landscaping to their home.

Cuddle Fairy

Mother’s Day is almost upon us bringing with it all sorts of thoughts and feelings as big days often do. I am delighted to share an guest post with you today from Hannah Chamberlain, Mental Health Expert by Experience & Founder of Mental Snapp

Mother's Day

“In the run up to Mother’s Day I’ve been delighted to see that a gem of a comedy has come back to the BBC for its second series. Stefan Golaszewski’s funny, tender sitcom Mum stars Lesley Manville and Peter Mullan in a masterpiece of understatement. Each time I watch Mum I’m in awe at the range of emotions that pass over Lesley Manville’s face as she plays the leading role of the eponymous Mum. What is striking is the depth and subtlety of what she thinks – and of how she almost never voices the conclusions she reaches. The supporting cast are brilliant in their self absorption, and they all circle round Mum, who is a miracle of self restraint. As I watch, I’m itching to speak for her, but I don’t need to, her face says it all.

 

It makes me think about Mother’s Day and storytelling. It makes me think about the importance of what we say and what we don’t say. I’m thinking about Mother’s Day in the context of mental health as I’ve been making videos about mental health and helping people tell their stories on film for the last twenty years. My startup, Mental Snapp, also enables people to actively manage their mental health using private video diaries. Mental health and Mother’s Day are a potent combination, and it’s a day on which emotions can run high, as I know only too well myself.

 

I have a story from Mother’s Day. On the first Mother’s Day after I became a mother, I wrote my mum a card. In it, I put what I’d realised after nearly a year of being a mum – not for me, but for her. I put that this wouldn’t be a perfect message, that this wouldn’t be a perfect card, that she would get again, as she had done for many years – what I could see I would receive myself now from my son throughout his childhood and maybe throughout his lifetime. What she would get is a botch of smeary words, a tangle of sellotape at the edges of the card, a thumbprint in the corner of the envelope and if she was lucky – and I hoped to be so lucky – a cake that had just about escaped being burnt. What I wrote to her was about the perfectly imperfect – or the imperfectly perfect. I cried as I wrote the card, imagining my botches of Mother’s Days to come and how I would treasure them, and hope to hold back my words as well as my tears.

 

Mother’s Day isn’t perfect. Kids aren’t perfect. Mother’s Day can take a toll on mental health, perhaps in some ways even more poignantly than Christmas or Valentines. There are mothers and not mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, up and down the country and around the world who have their hearts pricked to tenderness at this time of year when a single bent daffodil with a bit of ribbon around it might be given to them at a community event. It can hurt, it hurts me, mother of one, sister of one, daughter of one. No, Mother’s Day isn’t perfect.

 

What I’ve reflected on this year however, is a different type of storytelling. There are ways to tell stories that can feed us and some of that is to do with the kind of self restraint that Lesley Manville brilliantly portrays. As you would imagine, as the creator of Mental Snapp, I am a keen diarist, believing in the power of telling stories. This year my resolution was to do it in a slightly different way. My mother gave me a five year diary for Christmas, which has just enough lines in it for a bit of detail each day, but not too much. Since January 1st, I have used it to keep a gratitude diary. Some days it is easy to be grateful, some days it is hard. Each morning I describe what has happened the day before that I am grateful for. On hard days, sometimes I slip and something creeps in there that I am annoyed about or stressed with. I still surround it with gratefulness, but I have noticed on those days my gratitude is marred and I don’t start the day as well.

 

There are many ways of telling stories. There are ways to tell stories that nurture you and ways that don’t. Sometimes you have to be a wise editor. After all, you know yourself what is in the gaps. Perhaps you don’t need to say it. It is what I don’t say in the gratitude diary that is a major part of the story too. The good thing is that when I read the diary back, following each day I’ve completed this year with next year’s entry underneath, I won’t remember all the gaps, or maybe I will. Maybe I’ll decide that they didn’t matter so much after all.

 

I want my Mother’s Day to nurture me, so it can nurture those around me. So if I receive a card with a thumbprint, perform a botch myself, or if I know someone near to me is hurting that day, it will be what I don’t say as well as what I do that will be the making of the day. I hope to make those choices in a mentally healthy way, assuming generously, editing judiciously and carefully creating my stories of Mother’s Day. Stories are what we tell ourselves, they are about living artfully. Much like the ripples of emotion over the face of the kind of wise mum that Lesley Manville plays, they are more than words can say.

 

If you’d like to tell your Mother’s Day story to yourself, do download Mental Snapp, press record, enjoy telling your story – and most of all, choose the words that feed you. Happy Mother’s Day. “

 

Hannah Chamberlain is the founder of Mental Snapp, a free to download app that helps you actively manage your mental health using private video diaries and mood monitoring.

 

See more at:

http://mentalsnapp.com/

https://twitter.com/mentalsnapp

https://www.instagram.com/mentalsnapp/

https://www.facebook.com/mentalsnapp/

 

 

Download the app for yourself:

The App Store

Google Play

 

Availability and pricing:

Mental Snapp is free to download and can be used with limited storage for free. To unlock unlimited storage and extra features, users can subscribe for £4.49 p/m.

Sharing so openly takes a huge amount of courage so please do consider sharing this post by clicking one or more of the buttons below.

If you would like to share your story on this blog please get in touch.

 

clairejustine

California is a state so large, so grand, and so overwhelmingly wonderful that it takes a long time to explore. California is a number of different kinds of destinations all in one state, so a road trip with the family to explore this spectacular state is a choice well worth making.

If you’re going to soak up all the wonders of the Sunshine State in a single vacation, then you’re going to need a route that is planned with maximum efficiency in mind. The average length of a vacation for American families is just four days, but how much of the best and brightest of California can you really enjoy in such a restrictive timeframe?

A lot more than you might expect, especially if you’re prepared to rent a vehicle for the duration of your stay. Below is a busy but exciting itinerary

DAY ONE

STARTING POINT: San Diego

California

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No trip to California is complete without a visit to San Diego, making this vibrant city the ideal starting point for your four-day family trip. There are so many options as to what you can see and do in this fantastic city, including the world-famous zoo or an educational trip to the State Historic Park, so choose your activity of choice. In fact, this itinerary is designed to allow you the majority of the day in San Diego, so you can choose two sites to enjoy!

Around 6pm, it’s time to make a move— you won’t be spending the night in San Diego. Jump in your car for an hour and a half’s drive to…

NEXT STOP: Cleveland National Forest

California

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This rather confusingly-named forest is northwest of San Diego, and the route to get there is pleasantly simple. After a day spent in the bustling San Diego, the calm tranquility of Cleveland National Forest makes for the perfect place to spend an evening relaxing, as you enjoy the panoramic scenic views.

You can camp in the forest itself, or head to one of the nearby towns to spend the night. There are plenty of hotels in La Jolla Amago, which is perfectly placed for exploring the forest itself the next day.

After a night’s rest, it’s worth jumping back in the car again the next morning. Half an hour from La Jolla Amago (or less, if you’re camping at the forest itself) is the incredible Palomar Observatory. Take a tour of the facility and allow your kids to learn about how the three telescopes are being used to map the skies; a truly wonderful morning trip that the whole family will love. You’ll also have the chance to enjoy the stunning views offered by the forest, exploring the trails and perhaps even hiking Palomar Mountain if you’re in the mood for a challenge.

Just remember to leave in plenty of time to make the two-hour journey to…

NEXT STOP: Huntington Beach

California

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Huntington Beach is truly one of the most delightful places in California. After your time spent in the wilderness, you’ll be back at the seaside, and able to spend the evening wandering along Huntington Pier and enjoying the stunning seafood cuisine. While you’ll likely to arrive a little too late for swimming in the ocean, you can nevertheless enjoy the view of the sun setting over the waves.

Get a good night’s rest, as tomorrow will bring forth (what your children, at least, will consider to be) the most exciting day of the vacation…

NEXT STOP: Anaheim

California

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Realistically, Anaheim is only known for one thing— no offence to the city itself, but most people can’t name much about it… except for the fact it’s home to the Disneyland Resort. After a couple of days spent enjoying the natural wonders of California, now is a great time to indulge in something lighthearted and familiar.

The journey from Huntington Beach to Anaheim is pleasantly short, at just over a half hour. When you arrive in Anaheim itself, you can check into a local hotel if you don’t want to stay on the Disneyland resort itself. With your bags checked, you can head to the park for an incredible fun family day out.

Telling you what to see and do at the Disneyland Resort is largely pointless. First and foremost, the park is so varied that it’s impossible to choose just a handful of collections to visit, and your choices will largely be dictated by the age of your children. So you’re best to plot your own route, using an online guide. This will allow you to ensure you get to see and do all the things you want; the park is sprawling, so you’ll need to keep a careful check on the time.

After a day filled with excitement, head back to your chosen hotel for a quiet evening spent reminiscing about the time you’ve enjoyed so far.

LAST STOP: Los Angeles

California

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As with San Diego, no visit to California is complete without a trip to Los Angeles. Not only is the city one of the most vibrant and exciting in the world, it’s also home to LAX Airport, which should allow you to travel home on a direct flight.

The journey from Anaheim to Los Angeles is less than an hour; with good traffic, you should be able to make it in around 45 minutes. If you choose a night-time flight, then you’ll be able to spend the day exploring LA itself, which can be a nice cherry on the top of a thrilling vacation.

You could head to the beach, or stay in LA itself to walk the famous “Walk of Fame”. Alternatively, if the Palomar Observatory excited an interest in astronomy, then the Griffith Observatory is one of the most well-known attractions in the state. If you’d rather pick up some souvenirs, then heading for the shopping districts and The Grove can also be a pleasant way to round off your vacation.

In conclusion

The above route tries to take in all that California has to offer, from sandy beaches to rugged mountainous terrain. Enjoy your travels!

Post Comment Love

Indulgence is everywhere. From your local doughnut chain store to the wide array of Netflix specials that are released. From the comfort of your home living room to the relaxation of your favorite book. Some of these could be classed as indulgences and activities for growth in the same fell swoop, so distinguishing between them can sometimes be hard. However, if you feel your life has become mostly filled with indulgence (at least in your free time,) it’s easy to feel like you’re not progressing anywhere.

Brighter Pastures

Pexals

In order to empower yourself, you must partake in the journey of life with your eyes wide open. It means taking an adventure regardless of your age, because that is just a number. It means pursuing your goals to the extent that you find them rewarding. It means instead of sliding into comfort as the dominant exercise in your life, you get out and challenge yourself in a way that means the most to you. Empowerment is defined by how well you are able to face the unknown and hold your strength in its presence.

If you’re a mother, you’ve held a career for a period of time, or you’re simply a good person, you can absolutely state that you have the inner strength and power to become empowered beyond your wildest dreams. Here are a few methods for doing so:

Drop Everything And Adventure!

Do you ever get the feeling that the routine and order of your life is getting slightly stagnant? It might not be, but the continual repetitiveness of it might be bringing you down just a little. Heading on an adventure can wipe your fatigue slate clean, and come back grateful for the comfort and security you have built for yourself. However, how should you begin? Climbing Kilimanjaro? Trekking around Everest?

These sound like pretty massive endeavours for someone who might not have ever partaken in an expedition like this. How on Earth are you supposed to organize this yourself? With services like Kandoo Adventures at kandooadventures.com you might not have to. Adventure needn’t be over complicated or risky, using many services that provide you with an organized yet adventurous and unrestricted experience can help you take your first tentative steps around the world. Upon your return, it won’t be long before you’re bragging to all the other ladies at the hair salon.

Implement Slow Change

It could be that you may not feel entirely happy simply heading to pastures new straight away. We are creatures of habit, and that means understanding how to implement small change to veer the course of our life. It could be that instead of relying on online dating, you head to a speed dating venue once a month. It might be you decide to become more social attending music events or simply arranging nice events for you and your extended family. Other people are often a great predictor of adventure because learning about them is often the most complex and enticing thing you can imagine.

That being said, try to implant yourself into new social situations! You’re never too old to join a new hiking group or join a book club. If you’re interested in writing, why not join writing communities on Reddit and Facebook and contribute to them often? You can never tell just how wide spanning your hobby could truly get, and what new, wonderful people could become a fixture of your life.

With this in mind, you are sure to enjoy the unknown of adventure, both social and physical. The Netflix series can wait.

Pink Pear Bear

We are in the run-up to Mothering Sunday when mums are made to feel special for what they contribute to their families and society. How does it feel for those women who do not have children? My blog is very much about giving women whatever their circumstances a voice so I am delighted to host this post from Stephanie Phillips who set up World Childless Week last year.

World Childless Week

“At the age of 39 I found out that my husband and I would never be parents. The pain was instant. The doctor’s words had the same effect as letting off a grenade in my heart. My dreams of who I was and the life I had hoped to lead were shredded and thrown in every direction.

I buried my pain and hid my emotions for several years. How could I talk to anyone? Everyone seemed to be a parent. My life turned a corner when I discovered Facebook had support groups for the childless not by choice. People understood me and validated my thoughts and emotions. I started to grieve and in turn I started to heal.

As I explored the new me and where I sat in this world I looked elsewhere for recognition of my childless label. I was excited to discover that both the UK and USA had fertility awareness weeks. My excitement withered as I realised these weeks focused on helping people find their happy ending. Where were the articles for me, for people who would never be a parent?

I had an idea. Why not start a week for the childless not by choice? My head was instantly filled with questions and doubt. How do I start? How do I get people involved? Would anyone want to participate? Would I make a fool of myself? I was scared. I posed my idea to a few childless friends and they reassured me it was a good idea, so despite my concerns I decided to throw caution to the wind and go ahead. I wanted to raise awareness and I wanted to help people find support so perhaps it could work.

On the 31st July 2017 I created a Facebook page and just six weeks later the first ever World Childless Week took place from the 11-17th September.

My fears had been unwarranted and people wanted to participate. Some contributors were confident enough to add their name but most wanted to remain anonymous. Over the seven days I posted just under 100 articles, blogs and posters.

Each day had a different focus. As well as articles explaining facts and expressing raw emotions of sadness two days focused on our worth in society and moving forwards. The hardest day for me was to write about my own worth, I admit this is something I still struggle with today.

Over the week the articles were read by over 123 000 people and #worldchildlessweek was tweeted over 1.2 million times. Those figures still take my breath away. I’d hoped to reach a few hundred people.

Now I have a World Childless Week website and today issued the first newsletter. I’m still scared because this is not the me I know. I’m not as confident as people think. I’m not someone who is the centre of attention at social gatherings. It feels like such a big responsibility to improve on last year.

As I am typing away two thoughts have just come to my mind. Firstly I don’t need to worry about the numbers. I need to go back to my original reasons for starting World Childless Week. I just need to focus on helping people find support. Secondly more people than I dreamt of participated last year and I know they want to participate again this year. They are supporting me. It’s time to forget my worries and move forwards knowing I am not doing this on my own.

1 in 5 women reach the age of 45 without bearing a child.

Most of these women are childless not by choice. We are a growing minority that is unrecognised by society. We are part of every family and every nationality. More of us are starting to speak out and we are getting heard. World Childless Week is not about me. It is about the childless not by choice community supporting each other and working together.”

www.worldchildlessweek.net

You certainly do become part of a mums’ club when you become a parent. Even if you feel isolated as so many of us do, most find ways via parenting forums, blogging or whatever to access support. If you are a mum reading this, perhaps reflect on whether you inadvertently exclude women without children. If you are a woman who does not have children, do check out the World Childless Week website.

World Childless Week

Sharing so openly takes a huge amount of courage so please do consider sharing this post by clicking one or more of the buttons below.

If you would like to share your story on this blog please get in touch.

 

 

 

 

Mummy in a Tutu