Just like your interior, your outdoor living space also deserves to receive a couple of improvements that can enhance your backyard’s appeal and improve your home’s total monetary value.

There are many reasons why you should improve your outdoor area:

An outdoor living space makes for a great venue when there are family gatherings and special events, so treating it with one or more improvements can help you amplify its aesthetic appeal that you and your guests can enjoy.

An outdoor living space is also good for your physical and mental health, and several additions will enhance your backyard’s capability to benefit your well-being.

Below are some of the best ways to spruce up your backyard and make it even more attractive and enjoyable:

Hang Outdoor Lights

Perhaps the most affordable entry in this list, hanging decorative outdoor lights is an excellent way to add ambience and style to your backyard. Other than that, it also provides a classy type of illumination for your outdoor living space once the sun sets, which means that getting some outdoor lights giving you a balance in both functional and aesthetic benefits. Whether you hang the lights across the trees, around the tree trunks, on the fencing, or over the patio – lights are a flexible decorative element.   

Install a Pool

Although swimming pool installations are an investment, they are the ultimate backyard amenity that can transform any outdoor living space into something extraordinary. In addition to their remarkable aesthetic impact, backyard pools (whether above ground pools or inground pools) also offer a little bit of something for everyone – from kids who are looking to play and escape the summer heat, to adults who want to swim a few laps for exercise, to teenagers who want to host a fun poolside party with their buddies. Just make sure to hire concrete pool builders with a proven track record, like Steller Pools in Canberra, to guarantee a high-quality job that will last long.

Add a Playground

Do you have children or grandchildren? Build a safe and fun backyard playground for them to enjoy during their free time. Not only will a backyard playground enhance your outdoor area, it will also promote social development and independence to children, helping you spend less cash on expensive activities and day trips, and allow you to get more things done around the house without having to set supervised playdates in the neighbourhood playground. For the ultimate playground, include swings, slides or climbing walls. Similar to installing a pool, hiring skilled playground installers is important to ensure the safety of your children while playing.

Build a Fence

Enclosing your backyard with a fence is a low-key, good way to add a sense of completeness in your outdoor living area. Aside from its aesthetic benefits, a fence can also protect your outdoor area from intruders and add a layer of privacy that serves as an obstacle to the prying eyes of nosy neighbours. If you want, you can increase the attractiveness level of your fencing by adding a variety of decorative elements, including hanging vines, flowery plants, succulents in framed boxes, painted crates, and birdhouses.

Get a Fire Pit

What better way to spend a weekend evening than by sitting beside a warm fire pit in your backyard together with your friends or your significant other? Whether you opt to make it a DIY project or hire someone else to build it for you, getting a fire pit is an affordable way to enhance your outdoor living space. And aside from providing a cosy place to relax during cold nights, throw in a few pieces of furniture and outdoor decorations beside your fire pit and you have the ultimate hangout spot.

When I returned to work after having Olivia it meant big changes for our family. 

In preparation, I had to put together a checklist well in advance of what needed to be done and what to pack for Day Care to help minimize potential problems and to make the transition easier.

It is hard though to find a collaboration of everything so below I am sharing a full list of tips and what worked for Olivia and I for other Mom’s also transitioning a child to Daycare.

“Be mindful that Infant Daycare, ages six to twelve months, the age most babies are going into daycare and requires a little more pre-preparation at home.”

 Getting your baby to take a bottle

Getting baby to take a bottle

This can be a hugely stressful experience for any Mom planning to return to the workforce.  Introducing a regular bottle early on (generally not before 6 weeks of age as during this time babies and Moms are still learning to breastfeed) can be helpful in getting them to accept a bottle long term. Offering a regular bottle to your baby once or twice a week helps your baby to accept a bottle long before it’s required.

Bottle Checklist

Make sure you get some daycare labels and send in enough labelled bottles for the day plus an extra in case of an emergency. If your baby drinks formula, send it in pre-measured in each bottle. If you use powdered formula, your daycare provider can add water at feeding time. 

If your child is breastfeeding, try and set up a breast pumping routine before your return to work and if you are sending breast milk, ask your daycare how they want you to pack it.

Most babies are ready to start drinking water from a sippy cup between 6 and 9 monthsand to prevent tooth decay the American Dental Association recommends transitioning from a bottle to a training cup by your child’s first birthday.  Pack two sippy cups, make sure they are labelled with dishwasher safe and machine washable name labels.

Packing day care food if not supplied

If the food is not supplied at the daycare your child is attending ask your provider for a list of suggested foods as well as banned foods.  Research some Healthy Lunch Ideas, pick foods that are easy to pack and that don’t need to be reheated.  Make sure you label all containers.

Getting baby to sleep in a crib

Getting your baby to sleep in the crib and getting them to stay asleep in the crib will ultimately be less stressful on your child as opposed to a daycare worker doing it. Start a bedtime routine at around 3 months old if you haven’t already.

Crib Checklist

Sheets, blankets and pacifiers. Some daycares require you to provide crib sheets and blankets for your child. Although some centers have laundry services pack an extra set of each to be on the safe side.  Label these with iron on clothing labels and if your child loves their pacifier pack extras and make sure to use not just name labels butname labels that are waterproof.

 Diapers and clothing

 I recommend packing 8 to 10 labelled diapers, a full container of wipes and if required diaper rash ointment or cream.  If you are using cloth diapers, make sure to include extra plastic pants and a resealable bag or container for the dirty ones.

Children get messy so pack extra clothing

Make sure you put name labels on bibs and bodysuits and pack extras.  If your child is a toddler, they will be doing craft, learning to feed themselves or potty training.  Make provisions for this by packing at least two sets of extra clothing.  If potty training, include a full package of underwear, practical pants that a child can independently pull down and extra socks.

Pack at least one hat, all with name labels for clothes.

Did I miss something?  Do you have any additional recommendations for a child starting Daycare?

Moms around the world are always looking for ways to create a cozy home that all members of the family enjoy and making sure everyone looks forward to coming home and making it a place that supports success and encourages overall happiness.

Your son, daughter, and even your husband will absolutely enjoy and appreciate a comfortable living environment, so I have put together a couple of simple tips that can transform your home into something extra cosy.

Add a Little Touch of Nature

Making a house cozy

Adding plants to interior spaces can not only increase oxygen levels, they help add life to a room and make a space feel calming and homey. Aside from that, it also has the ability to reflect light and brighten up dark walls. In order for you to achieve the best possible level of cosiness using plants, place several of them on top of your decorative furnishings, in front of windows to give and outside/inside feel and in corners of the room.

Switch to Soft Lighting

Traditional lights are great for illuminating a space during nighttime, but they can be harsh on the eyes at times. However warm-toned LED lights as well as being the most efficient form of lighting also provide a cosy candle-lit glow that is enough to gently illuminate a room without making your eyes feel uncomfortable. You can switch to soft lighting by replacing the standard light bulbs.

Get a Rug

Rugs made out of wool or synthetic fibre are well known for feeling good on your feet and having an aesthetically pleasing appearance, layering them on strategic spots around your home is enough to add a nice dose of cosiness for everyone. Flat-weave and sisal rugs are popular options when the weather outside is warm. I love how you can a whole room by changing the rug. I buy my rugs online to get the best possible value.

Add Seating to a Bedroom

When a bedroom has a cosy single couch sitting on the corner, it helps give the space a lounge-like vibe that will tempt anyone to just sit and relax. Vintage leather seating and single lounge couches are both excellent choices if you want to cosy up a bedroom in your home. Because apart from being incredibly comfortable, their good-looking appearance helps change the feel in a particular space.

cosy up a house

Incorporate Fuzziness

Do you know what’s even better than fur when it comes to cosiness? Faux fur! Whether it’s a wall hanging, a throw, or a carpet, faux fur will help make your home super cosy and luxurious. What’s even better about this material is that your faux fur options are almost unlimited as you can do various things with it, like drape it over the arm of a sofa or layer several of them over a foot stool.

As parents we all want nothing more then to get our children off devices and out doing something over the school holidays. However with hundreds of school holiday options, workshops, camps and activities, it is hard to know what are the best school holiday programs available that offer real value to our children.

To help like-minded parents I have researched and put together the school holiday program options that offer real value to children based in Sydney.

Eliminate the Fear of Public Speaking

school holiday programs sydney

According to several studies, glossophobia, or speech anxiety, is one of the most common phobias found in adults. That is why this school holiday program is rated number one. Enrolling your child into public speaking classes in Sydney gives them confidence while they are still young. Sydney Speaking School offers courses in public speaking for kids of various ages. Their experienced speaking coaches, along with their student-centred teaching, means that your child will learn how to confidently deliver speeches and clearly present ideas in almost any environment.

Enjoy Activities Alongside the Beauty of Nature

Sydney Olympic Park is fun-filled offering tons of awesome activities, ranging from science workshops and adventure camps to sports programs and archery classes catering for all children. You could enrol your child in something different every day and they cater for all ages.

Learn How to Write Code

Sydney School Holiday Programs

Code Camp offers summer holiday programs that cover everything from the most basic and important programming concepts, up to HTML, CSS and JavaScript skills for building websites, 2D games, or augmented-reality games. By the time your child’s stay at Code Camp is over, your child will know how to design and build their own application or website with ease. These programs also gives your child a solid foundation of programming, setting them up for the future.

Learn How to Play Golf

What better way to keep your child active during the school holidays than with fun and engaging golf camps and clinics? With the help of their highly qualified PGA trainers who also happen to coach some of the Northern Beaches’ top golfers, Pittwater Golf Centre offers anything from a school holiday program and a mini chef golf camp to 1- or 2-day golf clinics – all are applicable for children ages 5 – 13 years old. By letting them attend the centre’s camps or clinics, your child can learn the game of golf for life and open up more possibilities for them involving the sport in the future.

Now that I am working full-time I’m starting to rely on my crock-pot alot!

This is an easy peasy “dump it all in” sort of recipe that is right up my alley now that I don’t have time for faffing around with food, but still want something nutritious for my family.

Vegetable Chilli

1 onion
lots of garlic 
6 mushrooms
2 courgettes 
2 carrots
lots of a leafy green vege. like kale or silver beat
Chop the vegetables and add:
1 tin of tomatoes
1 cup vegetable stock
1 can chilli beans
a good dash of cajun seasoning
and a good grate of pepper

Let this cook on low for 8 hours.

We ate it with corn chips, grated cheese and sour cream – nice over rice or in taco shells too!