Making a bedroom into Mum’s zen place



Sometimes the stress of parenting means all you want to do is go and have a lie down in a darkened room…

But I’ve found that turning my bedroom into a haven of calm has helped a great deal in the last year.

My boys are getting big enough that they enjoy their own space. They have their own bedrooms, which they like to organise themselves, and spend lots of time in, being LEGO builders, den makers and creative crafters.

So they understand that since I’ve redecorated in the last few months my bedroom has become a grown-up space where kids are generally encouraged to knock if they need me – but I’m to be left alone if at all possible.

It’s just good to read a book, take a nap or even organise my wardrobe in relative peace and quiet.

There are plenty of bedroom decorating ideas online for inspiration.

But I’ve found the following rules have also helped me to create a space I really enjoy spending time in.

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Investing in your home’s interior


Since becoming a single parent, I’ve had to watch the pennies a little closer than usual.

It’s made me realise that my spending needs to count. I can’t fritter away cash on things which won’t last.

That’s why I’ve been considering how to invest in our home, with furnishings which will look stylish in years to come, but also endure the punishment that two children bring!

Making a fresh start for me and the boys has been important, and brightening up our surroundings has really helped lift our mood at a difficult period in our lives.

Here’s five ways I’ve invested in our home’s interior, knowing that the money I’ve poured into decorating will last the test of time….

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A Word for 2016


Starting the year with a word to live by seemed a good idea last January.

And when I chose ‘acceptance’ I had no idea of the significance it was to have – as a short while after I wrote the original post, my husband announced our marriage was over.

Acceptance became a huge part of 2015, as I realised he’d started to move on months before he told me of his intentions to leave. There was nothing to fight for, no going back. A huge part of my life was finished.

Taking stock of the last 12 months, it was all about accepting… and learning to survive as a single parent.

I’ve looked back on 2015 with positivity, but there have been moments when the sadness swamped me. To tell the truth, it still does, as every so often a wave of “How the hell did I end up here?” hits me full in the face.

But I’m here. And putting one foot in front of the other is all I can do.

So what plans for 2016?

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Bouncing back from the festive excess


Bleurgh! If you’re anything like me, you’ve lumbered into 2016 with all the grace of a drunken ostrich. Your stomach is flabby from too much festive eating, your skin is dry from the winter weather and your exhaustion is exacerbated by the continual night time that graces the chilly season.

Chances are your New Year’s resolution has been to get fit. But so far you’ve picked up a king-size chocolate bar every evening with your newspaper, gone home and watched reruns of Friends while lounging in your pants!

If the disappointed face of your local newsagent isn’t enough to make you want to get back into shape, then do it for yourself.

With a New Year comes a new you, so they say – wouldn’t you prefer it if the new you didn’t feel lousy from overconsumption?

I’ve come up with a few tips to help you look healthier and get fit by the time Spring rears its sunny head. Take a look.

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Goodbye 2015… and thank you


I lost my husband in 2015.

Sounds very careless of me, doesn’t it? Like I left him at the bus stop or something.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to belittle my marriage break-up. I guess I just use humour to cope with things.

But yes, when I look back at the year gone by, that’s probably the biggest event I’ll remember. That’s what 2015 has become in the milestones of my life. The year I ceased to be his other half and became “the ex”.

(And probably a lot of other, less-flattering descriptions which an impending divorce inevitably brings).

In the same way that old saying “Be careful what you wish for” tells us that an apparent blessing can be a curse, I’ve learned that what can appear to be a life-falling-apart disaster can bring with it so many gifts.

And it really is true that sometimes we don’t know what is best for us.

I’ve said a little this year about how life turned upside down, with a decision which was taken out of my hands, leaving very little option but to put one foot in front of the other.

As I journeyed through 2015, the landscape hasn’t been as bad as I feared.

Alongside the inevitable sadness, this past year has brought a lot to be thankful for.

And before I look forward to what 2016 might bring, it seems only fitting to send a big old thank you note to the last 12 months.

For the following gifts…

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What do your Christmas presents say?


When it comes to giving gifts, I hate to be predictable.

Socks, aftershave, bath salts…. they’re all very well but hardly memorable presents to endear you to friends and family.

I always like to pick items which say something about how I feel about them.

There are plenty of ideas in the shops which are either unusual or very personal to show that you care.

Here are some of the things I’ll be saying with my gifts this year.

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My top five family holiday destinations


When the cold weather and dark nights start drawing in, who can help but dream of sun-kissed beaches?

Planning our next vacation helps me to turn my focus away from the long Winter months and give us something to look forward to, once the Christmas tree is packed away and I’m hitting the gym to get rid of the festive excesses.

We’ve been lucky enough to enjoy some fabulous family holidays, and over the years I’ve built up a list of real favourite destinations with lots to do for the kids and adults alike.

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My Walt Disney World checklist


Resistance is futile when it comes to the magic of Disney.

Not a child – or adult for that matter – can fail to be seduced by Walt’s world.

And if my kids aren’t belting out “Let It Go” in a Frozen stylee, they’re beating their chests and singing “Oooh be doooo, I wanna be like you” like the little monkeys they are.

So it follows that Walt Disney World is on our wishlist of holiday destinations.

But since becoming a single parent, I’m aware that I can probably only afford one trip – and I need to make it count.

So planning is essential to make sure we get it right and make the kind of memories which will last a lifetime.

Here’s my checklist of things to do before heading to Orlando for that much-longed-for family trip.

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Spread the love & #PrayforParis if you want to



I got on my soapbox just a little bit this weekend.


Because of the number of people on social media sharing stuff like this




On the face of it, this cartoon is polite.

But don’t be fooled. The message is “you can stick your prayers… we don’t want or need them… we know how to express sympathy and solidarity – and your way is wrong”.

This was inevitably picked up by those against religion – be it Muslim or faith as a whole – as a way of arguing that believing in God(s) is the source of all evil and the reason for the world’s problems.

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Sending the right Christmas message



With social media making it easier to keep in touch, I’m finding many of my friends don’t bother with Christmas cards any more – preferring to post an online message of festive cheer.

But they still matter quite a bit to me, as a way of telling people I don’t see every day that they are in my thoughts.

I think they’re also a good way of showing the boys that life is about more than typing out a text or poking someone on Facebook.

Putting pen to paper is far more personal than a snowman emoji, and a better way to hold onto relationships that matter.

Christmas cards might be the one time of year I sit down and write to someone I haven’t seen in a while – summarising the news of the last 12 months and how the kids have grown, suggesting a meet-up in the future and even enclosing a family photo.

So Christmas cards are important to me. When it comes to sending them to my loved ones, I go for the following types:

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