Ways to Have a More Peaceful Life

20 Ways to Have a More Peaceful Life

Activities For Adults, Mindfulness Tips, Self-Care March 21, 2018

I was getting snappy this afternoon; I’d had enough of the onslaught of requests from my kids. So, I decided to have a cup of tea in the garden and be still for a while. It’s windy but I’m wrapped up and watching the girls’ windmills go round in the breeze. Here are a few ideas of ways to have a more peaceful life:

1. Have a cup of tea and a biscuit in your garden.

2. Don’t allow housework after a certain time of the day.

3. Listen to Nick Drake and Tim Buckley.

4. Go to a place with shades of green everywhere and let it calm you.

5. Book appointments with yourself to have a bath, pamper yourself, go for coffee alone, read a magazine in its entirety. It is as important as obligatory appointments.

6. Have a long shower with lavender scented products (when your kids are asleep, if you have kids.)

7. Care about people’s problems, but be there without fixing everything for them.

8. Drink less caffeine and more herbal tea when you’re winding down for bed.

9. Make more time to read on paper instead of on a screen.

10. Do puzzles, crosswords and word searches.

11. Use your hands more and let your mind switch off. Start a picture journal or if words are your thing, write down all the beautiful details of your day.

12. Listen to recordings of sea sounds if you can’t get close to the real thing.

13. Learn about types of flowers and trees. Get books from the library and teach your kids too. Go for nature walks with them and identify them.

14. Make your own fairy garden or gnome garden. Use a pot if you don’t have a garden.

15. Take an umbrella and go for a walk in the rain. Let the rainwater wash away your worries.

16. Go for walks with no destination in mind.

17. Make your own bunting with fabric scraps or coloured paper.

18. Take a basket to the beach and collect pretty shells and stones.

19. Read books about mindfulness.

20. Make your own bread. Kneading it is cathartic and you can add any interesting ingredients you like.

Hope you manage to incorporate peacefulness into your day in little ways 🙂

D6985FDE-ABC5-4097-A5CF-467D25A1703E.png

 

 

Advertisements
Messy Crafts For Kids - Model Boats and Sea

Unprofessional Crafts for Kids – Cereal Seas and Butter Boats Junk Modelling

Cheap Activities For Kids, Crafts For Kids March 19, 2018

I always see images online of beautifully-presented crafts for kids, and I have to wonder, were the kids really involved in their production or were they watching TV next-door? I prefer unimpressive works of art that the kids make with little instruction and that perhaps don’t look Pinterest-worthy but were fun to make.

We had a day of more one-to-one time than usual today between myself and my older daughter while her sister was sick and sleeping. So, we made this monstrosity, I mean, masterpiece that I will always cherish!

We used junk in our house, a limited selection of three paint colours and five million stickers.

Materials

3079CC0B-2628-4E7E-8346-37452F1A2B6C.png

A cereal box

Small random boxes – eg, butter tubs, egg boxes

Toilet roll tube

Ball of wool/string

Lolly sticks

Glue

Paints and paintbrushes

Glitter

Stickers

Buttons

Whatever you want 🙂

Steps:

Cut cereal box down one side so it opens out flat. Cut off all the sticky-out bits.

Cut small lengths of wool. Stick pieces of wool to the card and make them wavey, like waves. Leave part of it blank for “the beach.” Get your child to colour a piece of paper yellow. Add gold glitter/ glittery paint/glitter glue. Stick it at one end of the flattened box.

Paint around the “waves” with blue paint and white/grey/green if you have it.

078F0E18-D7E8-49FD-A3CE-00B48066DDEE.png

Paint the empty boxes and toilet roll tube whatever colour you like. Leave it all to dry.

When your kids are bored again, this gives them a second activity to complete 🙂

Stick buttons/beads on to the sand for shells.

 

Glue the toilet roll tube onto one “boat.” Glue a lolly stick with a flag made from leftover cereal box on it to another box boat. Set them in the sea.

Add sea-themed stickers if you have them. You could add any number of items you like: make a lighthouse with a kitchen roll tube, play doh fish and seals, pipe cleaner people or add pasta shells for shells.

My daughter added a whole packet of sea creature stickers and the sea is no longer visible beneath them, but at least she had fun.

 

Ways to Enjoy a Mellow Morning

7 Ways to Find the Joy in a Mellow Morning

Activities For Adults, Self-Care March 19, 2018

I think it’s important to have a mellow morning at least once a week. It’s a rare indulgence in my house since we’re always rushing off somewhere. This morning I sat and enjoyed strong coffee, not allowing myself to feel guilty about the fact my kids were unattended while I wrote; they are well able to amuse themselves. Here are a few ideas to have a morning at your own pace:

1. Make yourself a teapot of tea or a cafetière of coffee

Sometimes these things are reserved for the arrival of guests, but you should treat yourself too. Sit at the table with a cup and saucer, some tea lights and soft music and treat yourself like you would a visitor in your house.

2. Make a special breakfast

Make filled croissants, pancakes or fancy eggs. Take more time over what you’re eating when you can. Sit for as long as you want before you get ready.

3. Lie in the bath and stare at the ceiling

There is something calming about being submerged in water. It gives you time to collect your thoughts and the sound of water is a peaceful way of blotting out stressful sounds.

4. Read Under A Blanket

How often do you get to read without interruptions? Granted, if you have kids this will be harder to achieve, but encourage them to do the same and appreciate inactivity.

5. Stare dreamily into space

Maybe this only appeals to me because I’m a day dreamer, but I think it’s good for your brain to just let it have some down time and just look at your surroundings while you think about unimportant things.

6. Make listening to music an activity in itself

People usually make listening to music a background activity. Let it be the main one so you can focus on it and allow yourself to stop multi-tasking

7. Do Calming Crafts

Some crafts require a lot of brain power, while others let your hands work while your mind rests. Try cross stitch, decoupage or even those knitting dolls for kids. Repetitive crafts don’t demand much for you but help you to destress.

Take your opportunities for a slow start and allow yourself to stop being busy all the time. When you have to face business again, you’ll be better-equipped to cope with it.

 

 

 

Ways To Make Time To Read When You’re Too Busy To Read

8 Ways To Make Time To Read When You’re Too Busy For Reading

Activities For Adults, Reading March 17, 2018

I aim to read more than I actually ever do. It’s hard to get immersed in a book when you have young kids and a multitude of distractions coming up on a minute-to-minute basis. I still like to have somewhere to escape to when I’m mired in mundanity.  When you have little time, you have to sneak your reading in in small snatches. Here are a few tips to read more with less time.

1. Read in Unexpected Places

My favourite place to read is in the bath. It’s the perfect time to get peace to read since you’re already lying in one place (provided your kids aren’t awake.) I keep books on the kitchen counter too, so I can read a page here and there as I’m waiting for water to boil, etc.

2. Don’t Tackle Huge Chunks of Text In One Go

Plan to read a poem in a free moment, or a short story. Read a chapter at a time so you are still making time for stories. Don’t expect to complete a 300 page novel in one sitting. Expecting to achieve this will only lead you to abandon attempts at reading altogether.

3. Read With Your Kids

If you have kids, read alongside them. Read one of their stories aloud and then encourage them to “read” to each other using the pictures while you read some of your book too. Get used to broken reading if they are around.

4. Go To Bed An Hour Earlier

Plan to go to bed a little earlier so you can read in bed. It’s one of the best places to read because there are no distractions and it’s comfortable too 🙂 (if you can stay awake.)

5. Read Instead of Checking Your Phone

Cut the amount of time you spend staring at your phone and spend it reading something valuable instead. Put a book somewhere as accessible as your phone, so when you reach for your phone, you think to pick it up instead.

6. Read With Your Morning Coffee

I found a book about squeezing artwork into your day by drawing your breakfast each day. I guess if you don’t have the energy to embark on that, reading would make a good substitute. A bonus is that it makes you sit down and slowly enjoy your coffee instead of gulping it down on your way out the door.

7. Find More Substantial Magazines

I find that magazines like The Simple Things send you away with ideas for your day and it is easier to find time for a short article than more in-depth reading, without missing out on solid writing and storylines.

8. Read Books That Combine Text and Image

Sometimes books with imagery are easier to dip in and out of. You can pick up ideas books, design books and travel books to flip through in a spare moment. The pictures break up the text and make it feel less insurmountable.

Enjoy fitting in ways to be a bookworm in a busy world: it’s better to read little than to read nothing at all 🙂

 

Budget Recipes - “Fried” Chicken

Budget Recipes – Crunchy “Fried” Chicken

budget recipes, Kid-Friendly Meals March 15, 2018

This recipe is so simple to make and always goes down well with my kids. It sounds a bit strange, but when it is cooked the cornflakes don’t taste like cornflakes! They just make a crunchy coating.

Ingredients:

8 Chicken legs

2 eggs, beaten

3 handfuls of cornflakes (I just value range ones and they work fine)

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp mixed herbs

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes

Pinch of salt

Pinch of pepper

Method:

I quite often cook the chicken in advance and then add the coating and heat it because I find it adheres better to the chicken legs, but you can just use raw legs.

Put beaten eggs in one large bowl. Crush cornflakes in your hands into another large bowl. Add all spices and seasoning to the cornflakes and mix well.

Turn one chicken leg at a time in the bowl of egg and then the cornflakes. Set on a baking tray. I sometimes grease it or use foil because the tray is not fun to clean after. Cook for 20-30 mins at 180c if the chicken was pre-cooked or 40-50 minutes if it was raw.

If you’d rather it wasn’t spicy, omit the chilli flakes.

This goes well with chips, wedges, garlic potatoes and vegetables. My kids always add their own thick coating of ketchup.

 

 

 

 

 

Cheap Places To Go With Kids In Northern Ireland

Cheap Places To Go With Kids In Northern Ireland Part One

Activities For Children, Northern Ireland March 15, 2018

All of these ideas are going to be centred around Belfast and the East side of Northern Ireland, due to my ignorance of what lies in Fermanagh and Derry! So if you live in that area or are planning a trip near Belfast hopefully this will provide you with a few ideas.

The Ulster Museum and Botanic Gardens

If you’re lucky enough to find a parking space within walking distance (!) this is a great place to go with kids. They have an art room, a nature room and a room of antique toys. The cafe is good for a parental coffee reward and the gift shop for window shopping. The gardens are right outside and have a palm house, tropical ravine (it’s closed at the moment for restoration) and I always liked playing on the bandstand and the rose garden as a kid. Note: the museum is closed on Mondays. Entry is free.

Seapark in Holywood

I still don’t understand why Holywood is pronounced Hollywood but it has a well-placed playground with a sea view anyway. The grassy expanse is good for picnics in better weather and you can walk along the seafront after letting your kids play. The playground was recently redone so there is lots to do.

8B9B81E2-4999-4B6A-A7F9-13147BE4BD19

Greyabbey village and the Abbey

Greybbey is great for kids. My kids call it “the rocks” because they like to climb on the ruins. There is something about letting them do this that feels a bit sacrilegious, but at least they’re enjoying themselves. There is a herb garden to walk around and smell the scents with your children, teaching them names of herbs. Morbid as it may be, my kids like exploring the neighbouring graveyard too. You can follow it with a look in the antique shops if you’re feeling brave around breakables and you can an ice-cream from the shop/coffee or treats in Alchemy or one of the other cafes. (Or have a picnic if your kids are particularly wound-up that day.)

9651CF06-68E1-451B-8BA3-362FE72380EC.png

Portaferry/Strangford Ferry

If you’re lacking funds, the ferry might be preferable to the aquarium in Portaferry (fun as it is.) I took my kids to both and the ferry was much more popular with them. It was £2 return for all of us on foot. You can leave the car on one side, go for a walk or get fish and chips and sit at the harbour. It’s a novelty for the kids and a day out that won’t put you into your overdraft.

Hope these ideas were useful. I will follow this post with others as part of a Northern Ireland series of things to do with kids 🙂

 

Things to do on a Screen Free Day

Things To Do On A Screen Free Day

frugal living, Simple Activities Without Technology, Things To Do Without A Screen March 12, 2018

I hate having too much screen-time. It leaves you feeling unhealthy afnd drained. I think it interferes with what could have been a productive day. I’ve been seriously limiting my screen usage recently and in the spirit of that, I decided to compile a list of alternatives to using a screen:

Nature

Go for a long walk and leave your phone at home. You will realise how much more you notice the things around you when a phone isn’t absorbing your attention.

Go to a park, forest or beach and appreciate nature without interruptions. Collect items as little souvenirs. Draw pictures of them.

Paint a picture, outdoors.

Have a picnic under a tree with friends. Each bring an item to make it simple.

Have a hot drink on a bench, watching the sea and think.

Exploration

Find a car boot sale. Sell your own items or look for new interesting ones.

Go window shopping for books. Get ideas for your reading list. Read the blurb and see if you find something new. Buy them more cheaply online or look out for them second hand.

Go on a train journey, get off at the last stop and see what is there. Take pictures.

Go to an open farm and spend a quiet afternoon with animals. It helps to slow down your mind.

Culture

Go to a museum and take real time to read about the exhibits.

Listen to a podcast. Note down ideas you get from it.

Listen to music and read about it while you listen. You might find something new you like and learn some interesting facts about the band.

Go to the cinema and watch an international film with subtitles.

Read a newspaper, on paper, in peace in the library. They also have coffee mornings where you can do this and get free coffee 🙂

Imagination

Make your own flower arrangement with various cheap bouquets of flowers or flowers you find outside.

Lie on your bed and daydream like when you were a kid.

Try making home-made ice lollies. Freeze fruit inside ice cubes to make them pretty. Treat yourself to a fancy drink.

Research your family tree or record stories about relatives for future generations to read. Make photo albums and scrapbooks.

Draw out a design of your perfect room and then work towards making it look like the picture.

Make presents for people you know. Make up baskets with personal notes and items in them to cheer them up.

Create a new space out of an unused corner in your home. You could add in a mini office, a crafts’ corner, a coffee corner, a place for yoga, etc.

Collect shells on a beach and made a seaside display to remind you of summer holidays.

 

I hope this gives you some ideas of more valuable ways to spend time and relax. How do you like to spend your screen-free time?