Sabrina’s Top Twelve Ways to Save Money, Spend Less and Use Less Energy Around the Home

Welcome to todays lifestyle blogging article “Sabrina’s Top Twelve Ways to Save Money, Spend Less on Electric and Use Less Energy Around the Home”. With the rising cost of living and lots of other prices changing, I figured I would share the ways in which I, Sabrina, a single parent, save money on a daily basis. And by drilling some of these into your head and completing them daily, you will soon see how great they are and hopefully I can help save you some money! Lets begin!

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Close Your Curtains – either to keep the heat inside during colder months or to keep the heat out and keep your home cool during hot days. I often see people not closing their curtains in an evening and I wonder if they know how much energy they’re losing. As for the summer it works the same way, don’t open them in a morning to let the heat in, just leave them shut and return to a much cooler room than if you had opened them.

Time your Showers – We can all be guilty of letting the hot water run over us and our minds drift off into a tangent of thoughts and procrastinations. However by either setting alarms or by playing a timed playlist on your phone while you shower, you will be saving yourself water and electricity and even time! I personally have a selection of 30 minute music playlists, and I know that when I reach the final song my half an hour of bathroom ablutions time is up! Give it a go yourself and see how you get on.

Close Your Doors – even by pushing your doors within an inch or twos gap of the frame will prevent lots of heat escaping in the winter. I usually pop a door stopper on the other side of said door once we are in (for example) the lounge with no intention of moving for an hour or two. This stops children or pets pushing the door open too far and letting your heat escape into a hallway for example.

Invest in some USB Chargeable Lights – So I have several of these around my home and various types. I have bars in the hallways so I don’t have to bother turning any lights on, they have sensors so when you walk within range they just pop on. Useful for saving money on electricity! Also great if you forget to turn lights off because these USB ones turn off after 30 seconds to 1 minute (depending on brand). Other chargeable lights include ones that are freestanding and you simply charge them up and then turn them on and let them drain down. One that I have takes about an hour to charge but lasts up to six hours – great in an evening if I don’t need much light.

USB Chargeable Motion Sensor Light Bars

Light Bulbs – one weekend or day off pop around your home with another person. One goes up a ladder and checks bulbs and the other writes down on a piece of paper what types and if they are energy saving and how many watts are the maximum. Then, next time you’re out shopping go and buy the bulbs that are energy saving and cost less to run. These bulbs usually last for ten years or up to 10,000 hours – whichever comes first!

Watering a Garden – if you spend water from inside your home to water your garden it will slowly start to become a lot of expense. Instead buy one or two black dustbin type plastic barrels (roughly £14 each) and they come with a lid too! Use a watering can to dip into them and remove water as and when you need it. Set them up in a part of your garden where rain water can easily fill them up. You’ll be surprised how fast they fill on a rainy day! Use the water from the butts for your garden plants before turning your home taps on! It will save you money on your water bill especially if you’re on a meter.

Buy or Make Draught Excluders – I have one on the inside of each door of my home, they keep draughts out and stop your heat escaping through holes under doors. If you cannot afford one because they often retail at around £15 these days, and you are good at seeing! Then you could always try and make one out of some old clothes and some stuffing. Might be fun to do with your children!

Draught Excluders for Doors

Buy Thicker Curtains or Lined Curtains ready for Winter – I bought lined curtains for £15 in the fabulous Dunelm sale last year. And I also built a pole above my front door and put two curtains up there as well. One reason was to keep the heat inside during the winter because doors easily let your heat escape. Two is also from a security aspect, if you have a window next to your front door then people may be able to look inside easily, a curtain across prevents them from seeing anything.

Invest in Fleece Throws – I love a nice comfortable throw, but by putting a couple where you frequently sit down will also save you money. I have one folded up across the bottom of my bed, I have two on my sofa. If I’m cold in an evening I will put that over me or around me and not touch the thermostat on the heating. Maintaining an optimum temperature for your heating is also a great start, then use other things such as wearing another layer of clothing or by covering yourself up with a throw while sitting down to help save the pennies. Fleece Throws can start from as little as £4 each in places like Tesco and Dunelm, I bought 3 at £6 each last year. They are large ones and one covers both mine and my sons legs when we sit and watch television in an evening. Fleece throws are also easy to wash and fast to dry due to the material.

Clothes Airers and Camping Pegs – no I’m not mad! I’m letting you in on my clothes drying secrets! So for £20 or less you can buy a large freestanding clothing airer at a supermarket and a packet of camping peg hooks from a local do it all shop. You’ll be able to dry more clothes outside this way and in more weather types simply by pinning the airer down to your lawn with the pegs. This way it doesn’t blow over, but you can easily pull up the pegs and pick up the whole thing to move it indoors if the weather takes a turn. I regularly do this with small thinner items all year round if it’s windy and the sunshine is out. Any reason to not use the tumble drier I will surely take it! You can save lots of money by drying even half a load of washing outdoors.

Turning it OFF! – I’m a big believer in “if you aren’t using it then turn it off” and this goes for lights, appliances and electronics. There are only 6 things that are always on, either because they are constantly running or on standby in my home, they are the Broadband Box, the Sky TV Box, the Boiler, the Washing Machine, my electronic Doorbell and the Fridge/Freezer. Everything else is off, I only put the oven or microwave or drier on when they are actually going to be used. It saves me a ton of electricity by turning things off at the socket and not leaving them standing idle – plus with a small child you don’t want them turning on appliances that might get hot! So there are double reasons for clicking that off switch on the wall. It’s the same with main lights, if you leave a room just turn it off. Finished cooking dinner and done with that Oven? Just turn it off.

Grow Your Own – Every year I try and grow things but this year I am pulling out all the stops to try and grow more fruit and vegetables. Combining my rain catching water tubs with a watering can, I can easily water the tubs I have created. Follow me on my social media for updates on this because I will be documenting photographically just how well we do through the Summer and into the Autumn. Even if you have a balcony not a garden, you can get vertical planters nowadays where you can grow things such as herbs, raspberries or strawberries, tomatoes and chill peppers. I don’t have a patch that I am able to dig up, so I am simply using pots to grow everything. Check out my Instagram for more photographs on how I am managing to do this. Also, teaching your children (if you have any) about the importance of nurturing something while it grows is an excellent life lesson.

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Thanks for reading this blog post today. I would love it if you would get in touch, write a comment below if you found any of this useful or you liked some of my ideas. Do you have any awesome ideas yourself for saving money?

If you implement any of my hacks yourself I would love to hear from you on here or on social media. You can tag me #SevernSabrina if you want me to see it too.

Have a great remainder of June!

✩ Sabrina ✩

Earth Day 2022 April 22nd Why Not Do Something Good


Earth. Our Home Planet.

Here are some interesting Earth facts to celebrate Earth Day!

Earth is the third planet from our sun.

It is the only known planet in our system to be known to harbour life.

Earth is made up of 71% Oceans and we still haven’t fully explored all of them.

Earths main 3 elements found on Earth are Oxygen, Iron and Silicone.

Earth has a powerful magnetic field.

Planet Earth is billions of years old – Wow! Get your head around that!

Making little changes can make a BIG difference to our world.

Here are some things you can do on Earth day and also from now on too, to make little changes in your life that can affect the planet in a positive way

Give up single use plastics such as cling film and find somewhere to recycle those plastics – do not add them to your normal refuse or they end up in landfill.

Do a Beach Clean Up – if you visit the Beach or are able to – take a plastic bag with you.

Plant a Tree on your land or find an arboretum that allows you to plant one on their land in memory of a loved one.

Go Meat and Dairy Free for at least one day a week to reduce your carbon footprint.

Make a Bug Hotel for your Garden, hang it somewhere appropriate and check it regularly.

Only use Recyclable or Reusable Bags at the Supermarket.

Shop Locally when you can do to support local business.

Walk somewhere and walk regularly, fresh air is great for your mental health.

Use your car less when possible, could you carpool or walk?

Go on a Nature Scavenger Hunt with your Family and look for endangered species.

Pick up Litter around where you live, it doesn’t matter how much you collect, every bit helps.

Do lots of Recycling at Home and be mindful of doing what you can to reduce your waste.

Feed the Birds today or buy a bird feeder for your Garden to help regularly.

Make a Bee corner or Bee friendly flower pot in your Garden or on your windowsill.

Thank you for reading this blog post today, I hope that I have inspired you to do something for our Planet this Earth Day! Have a wonderful day!

✩ Sabrina ✩

Talking About All the Different Ways that We Use a Tuff Tray at Home

Hello Severn Wishes Blog Fans! Today I am bringing you a Lifestyle / Parenting / Hacks / Product Review article I have written all about something I have now owned for well over a year!
And that item is… The TUFF TRAY!

These fantastic trays are usually found in a school setting, especially with younger children like those in a preschool or nursery setting, but due to their versatility they have been becoming more and more popular with mums who are able to do a lot with their children at home.

As soon as I heard about them I knew it would be a great investment for the future. I ordered mine in black but they do come in a variety of colours. I preferred the black due to it not getting stained or if we made any scuff marks with toys they wouldn’t be showing up as easily. Overall I’m really happy with the quality of the tray for what I paid for it. So far it has withstood a toddler doing all sorts on it and in it!
I chose to purchase without the stand so it was then just suitable for laying down on the floor.

Be it Sensory, Messy Play or just toys on a flat surface, the Tuff Tray is ideal for lots of reasons when you have little ones growing up. Here are just some of the many ways that we have used our tray this past year or so! Both in visual form and I made a little list too!

  • 1. Ideal for Craft to keep the craft pieces and mess contained in the tray borders.
  • 2. Great for when you want to do some Messy Play and use paint so it doesn’t get on the floor.
  • 3. Doing some experimenting with foods in toddlerhood? Keep those rice crispies, rice grains and other food stuffs within easy clean up-able reach. You can wipe clean anything off it.
  • 4. Using Glitter today? This tray is ideal to wipe clean after your picture making as the bits will all be contained within the tray walls. Sit your children outside of it and let the mess be inside (mostly).
  • 5. Potty Training? Stick the Potty in the centre of the tray on the floor, and it will be easy to clean spillages off the plastic rather than off your floor!
  • 6. Building Lego or Duplo or Blocks? It can be annoying for little ones if pieces are rolling away or falling over all the while! But on the tuff tray they won’t get far at all! It also means it is a flat surface for the building to become easier on little hands.
  • 7. Doing a Jigsaw? Be it an adult one or a children’s one? Do it on your Tuff Tray and you’ll be able to move it at a moments notice off the floor and then continue it later.
  • 8. Want to do some baking with the kids but you want to do it at their level? It is much safer to do it on the floor where nobody is balancing and this tray doubles as a big flat surface, just clean it with sterilising spray and let it air dry before you start any food preparation.
  • 9. Sensory Play can involve all sorts of things like craft or food stuffs, having it all contained within the Tuff Tray makes life easier for you and if you planned to do it for a few sessions over a week you could even leave it on the tray and just move the whole tray instead of packing everything up.
  • 10. Play-Doh can get messy and easily sticks to hard surfaces like tables or floors, but by using a Tuff Tray base for all of the items they are contained within its sides. If you choose to get a stand with your tray you can even have the tray at a suitable height for your little ones. Or you can do what I do and maintain it on a flat floor, whichever is easier for you.
  • 11. A Tuff Tray can be used outside for a water table or a sand table due to its sides being all the way around with no holes within its surface.
  • 12. Design a World – Use your Tuff Tray and things like chalks or washable paint to create a world, a map or a world for your children to put their toys in to and play. I have drawn a road on mine for my sons toy cars before now and also used elements like sand made of ground cereal to make a beach.


So overall the Tuff Tray doubles up as another useful hard surface within your home and is ideal for playing, learning and food preparing. Young children can safely sit within its boundary or outside of it leaning in in order to play. There are no sharp edges on the Tray and the hard plastic is coated so its easy to wipe clean after every use.
I purchased the standard (medium) size but it is also available in small or extra large depending on the supplier you’re purchasing it from. They are also available in many colours.
Prices range from £11 to £70 and all Tray prices do depend upon the colour, and the size and whether you wish to buy a stand with your Tuff Tray purchase.
They can be used inside or outside but I would recommend you keep them out of direct sunlight and harsh weather conditions and keep them inside a garage or shed when not in use in order to maintain the sturdiness of the plastic.

What do we use our Tuff Tray for the most?

Craft and Messy Play and Sensory Play mainly.

Thank you for reading this blog post today, I hope I have inspired you and if I have then I would love to hear what you and your family use your Tuff Tray for!

Enjoy the rest of your February!

✩ Sabrina ✩

Sabrina’s Kitchen Storage and Tidying Hacks and How to Make your own Labelled Storage Boxes

✩ Sabrina’s Kitchen Storage and Tidying Hacks ✩

My blog post today is all about Kitchen Hacks for Tidying and Storage! I hope you are excited! I love helping people to get the most out of their homes!

Have you ever seen those awesome flat pack storage ideas? IKEA sell a load of them, but you can also get them from good homeware stores too. Well I have a few awesome life hacks for you for the kitchen, using this type of storage essential! They are normally designed for clothing but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them in other rooms.

For Example. I use a Sock Storage for the kitchen drawer! I use mine for my Tea Towels and cloths! You can also use this style of storage for your bedroom drawers for a variety of items, not just socks, but anything that is around that size.

I use a large coffee jar as a vase, and I also use a large coffee jar and its lid for cosmetic pad storage.

Just because an item used to have one purpose, does not mean you can’t then use it for something entirely different. I am always reusing items around my home to suit my needs at that moment in time. Let us take a look at some of my hacks now.

I use a sock organiser for tea towels in the kitchen drawer.

✩ Other Kitchen Hacks ✩

Reusing and Repurposing Glass Jars

An empty Herb Jar makes a great kitchen pen pot, stick 2 magnets on the back and it will be attachable to your fridge! I use mine for pens and fridge magnets!

Do you drink Coffee? Some large coffee jars are made of very sturdy and strong glass, not only that but they are often nice shapes too. You can reuse these as Pasta Jars, Vases for Flowers, Cosmetics Storage and so much more. Do you have a use I’ve not thought of that you love or already do at home? Please leave me a comment I would love to hear your ideas too.

Small Fat Jars from such things as Salsa, Jam, Apple Sauce and Chutney etc are a great size for when you make your own Chutney or Jam at home. If you don’t do a lot of cooking you could repurpose these jars as kitchen storage, one for loose buttons, elastic bands and the like. One could be for chewing gum and mints, or even sauce sachets and seasonings when you get spare from a takeaway say. Reusing glass is very economical, especially now that places have started to do “fill your own” with refillable food items.

Kitchen Storage Hacks – Labelled Boxes

So since I moved house I wanted to create some labelled storage boxes for my kitchen cupboards, but I was shocked to see online retailers offering just the labels at £2 plus each! Boxes that had names printed on for you started at around £15 a single box! Then you had to pay postage! Queue me putting my face in my hands… On a visit to B&M in my nearby town I saw a sheet with some lovely swirled writing silver stickers on which said Laundry, Cleaning, Cloths etc. I bought one for £2 and got inspired to make tidying up boxes to go under my sink. But I wanted to do the whole kitchen at this point too!


I looked at my budget which was £20 and I figured out that I needed at least 8 boxes for my cupboard, if not more. I shopped around and found some fantastic letters on Amazon, a pack of 8 alphabet stick on glittery letters that would only cost me £4 with free Prime delivery. Get in! Yes! I ordered them and then went on the hunt for boxes. Having purchased Curver and Wham boxes in the past and being happy with their quality, I thought I wanted something similar. I used google to find that Wham were the only ones who did solid sided boxes that came in a range of sizes.

Once I knew what I wanted I matched their size to the width of my cupboards and searched for who was doing them on any deals. I managed to get them for just £1 a box while they were on offer online, and although I ended up having to pay for delivery it arrived in two days and I had just what I needed. I ordered 8 boxes of one size, 4 White and 4 Grey. Then I ordered 3 larger White boxes for my “Laundry / Cleaning” cupboard. I only have my kitchen and no utility or storage area, so every inch of space matters a great deal to me.

It took me 3 hours to stick down all of the lettering on to my boxes, working out which colour went well on each box so it stood out, and carefully making sure they were also in a straight line across the boxes. Then it took another hour sorting my cupboard out and placing the corresponding products into their labelled boxes. Overall I am really happy with how it has turned out, and I saved myself a ton of money in the process!

BEFORE
AFTER

Here are my before and after pictures for my kitchen cupboard, I can now see exactly what I have got and also when I am running low on something. As a single mother on a strict budget each month I find it very important to be able to do this effectively, meaning I don’t waste time looking through things every week. By having these organised boxes I can simply look at what remains in each one when writing out my shopping list.

When I finally got all the boxes into place I had wished I had found the time to do this sooner. It has made my cleaning and shopping life ten times easier.

Wow! Don’t they look great! I’m really happy with how they turned out!

I purchased the Wham Boxes online and the Letter Stickers I found came from Amazon UK.

I give the Quality of the Wham Boxes 5 and would buy them again.

Thank you for reading this blog post today and I hope I have inspired you to make some changes for the better, in your own home. It’s easy when you know how! Any questions just pop me a comment and I will happily get back to you.

✩ Sabrina ✩

The Transition of moving my son from a Cot to a Toddler Bed, my Tips and First Hand Experiences plus Reviews of the Purchases I made.

If you’re reading my blog today you might be in the same boat that I was last summer, which is wondering if it were time to make the move for your little one. The transition to a toddler bed is not one to be taken lightly, it is a huge step for our little person, and they deserve lots of time, patience and assistance from us (as their parent/s) to help them feel safe and secure in their new upgraded space.

Hopefully this article that I have combined with my review of the toddler bed that I bought, can help you to make informed decisions on what is best for you and your child/ren. Is it time? Only you will know by the actions and dependence your child currently has.

When the bed was finally in place…

When my son turned two I wanted him to start using a toddler bed and there were several reasons why I thought this needed to happen now. The first reason was that it was difficult to lower him inside his cot when he had fallen asleep in my arms, and he was now tall enough to consider trying to climb over. I didn’t want that to happen, so I purchased his first toddler bed after measuring up the space that I had in his bedroom.

I bought the Argos “Ellis Toddler Bed” in Grey, to match my sons furniture, and then bought a mattress online. I had chosen this bed for three reasons, the first being its height from the floor, the second was that it came with a drawer for under bed storage, and the final reason was because of the three quarter sides.

My son moves frequently in his sleep and I knew that it would be quite a while before he could sleep safely without any sides to his bed. This bed was a great size for the price and I would hope it to last him two years at least due to the length. The handy draw keeps tidy all of the towels and bedding I use for my sons room and it is easy enough to slide in and out on its rolling caster wheels.

Bed Frame size L144, W75, H57cm.
Required Mattress size L140, W70cm.
Clearance between floor and underside of bed 19.5cm.
Drawer size H18.5, W139, D73.5cm.

There are now limited stock on this bed but it does also come in different colours. Here is what I would give it on my review scores having used it now for a whole year.


Quality of Paintwork 4✩
Quality of Manufacturing 4✩
Quality of Finished Product 5✩
Correct Specifications 5✩
Product Design 5✩



Overall this product is excellent quality and although it was difficult to put together, overall we have been very happy with it. A fantastic size for toddlers and small children and my son hasn’t fallen out of it due to the great design with those side bars. Although he is average height for his age (at 3) he still has plenty of room left to grow into this bed.

The Transition from a Cot to a Bed – My Tips and Tricks

The biggest thing about change for toddlers is that it can be unnerving to them. They get anxious and have to get used to something over time, so don’t worry if this alteration in routine and sleeping area takes a few weeks for them to get used to. The best thing that you can do for the first few nights is to keep the routine the same, but just place them in the new bed. If you have a routine that ends with them being placed into bed keep doing that.
Then on the second week add one new thing now that the child is older such as, can they now get into bed themselves because they are old enough to do so? It will make them feel bigger if they do it themselves and gives them confidence, but only when they are willing to get into bed on their own.
Don’t forget to use positive reinforcement when they are on the bed or in the bed so that the praise gives them positive ideals of being in the furniture.
Saying things as “What a lovely new bed you have!” and “Now that you are two/three you can sleep in this special big kids bed” and remember to let them know that this is a good thing, a positive step and not one away from you. Definitely praise little one when they get into bed without you having to prompt them too!

Getting the child to stay in bed is another matter though. Don’t worry if they frequently get out of bed or even tumble out of bed half asleep for the first few weeks, wondering where you are (especially if you have had them sleeping in your room up until this point). And the beauty of the toddler bed is its distance to the floor. They usually are only between 15 and 20cm from the floor.
Make sure to implement rules in their new bedroom, such as no toys after bed time. The child is not too young at this age to be putting their own toys back into a box or tub or basket, so why not start them off if you haven’t already done so (good practice for preschool).
I have found that it’s also a good idea to introduce a clock or show the time to a child at this age, and tell them that at “7 o’clock” (or whatever your bedtime is) their toys are put away and your bedtime routine begins.
Personally we are in the room for 7.30pm but it can take up to an hour to settle my three year old, some nights a story or two is enough and other nights I’m still reading at the hour mark. But it’s just imperative that you keep the routine the same, even if the time differs slightly, it’s still the act of doing things in the order that they are used to, and the act of then getting them into their own bed.


Talk About Their Safe Space

I tell my son every single night that he is “safe in his bed” and he is “safe at home with mummy” and this has reinforced him to stay in his bed. For the first few weeks if he woke in the night he would come and find me because he wasn’t sure on things. Now he’s more than happy to climb into his bed and choose the stories he wants at bedtime. He knows that I’m never far away now, but his bedroom is a safe place for him to be. He doesn’t always come and find me now that he is older either. He often wakes (and I hear him) but he presses his singing toy and lays back down or he will have a sip of water from his bottle and then turn over and go back to sleep.
Again positive reinforcement is key when organising their safe space. When little one wakes up they want to recognise where they are and that it is home or safe, favourite toys or items around the room will help.

If you find your little one is struggling initially with the bed transition then you could choose to sleep on the floor in their room for a few nights. Whenever they wake up in the night make sure they know that you aren’t far away and they are safe. It is totally normal for most children to find their new surroundings daunting, but remember to just keep praising and comforting, they will soon get there. All children are different and it could take a few weeks of patience to achieve the end goal, but everyone should sleep better once that is over with.


Ensure Comfort

Make sure that they are comfortable on a firm but soft mattress and that the room is an optimum temperature. I still use our Gro-Egg from when he was a baby to tell me the room temp! My son had sleeping bags until he was two and a half, he was happy to sleep in them until he got older then he kept trying to take them off. I gave him his own thin pillow at three years of age, and I now put him in Pyjamas and a blanket over him. I have bought a toddler duvet this summer ready for the colder winter months, now that he is old enough to be able to push it away from his own face.


Keep Stories Gentle at Bedtime

I have found that stories that talk about bedtime or going to sleep are best at bedtime, other books can just excite little ones too much. My son has an absolute favourite book about a bear and a baby bear and he’s on his way to going to sleep, and we read it every night. I can now recite it from memory while he falls asleep in my arms (that is how many hundreds of times I have read it). But it’s such a lovely and gentle book that talks about how much mummy bear loves little bear and she is never far away no matter what he is getting up to. Consider what you are doing during your bedtime routine and make sure that there is nothing that is causing your little one to become more awake as opposed to be falling asleep. The best books we have found come from The Works.

My sons favourite book that I highly recommend, we found it at The Works.

Thank you so much for reading this blog post that I have written today, I do hope that you have found it informative and if my lifestyle experience with my son can help you in some way then I am more than happy to share it.

✩ Sabrina ✩

Argos Tester Review of the Chad Valley Bright Stars Pop Up Play Tunnel

I am fortunate to be an Argos Tester, this means that I often get items sent to me for the purpose of an online review. I test products and take photographs of them before submitting my findings and thoughts to Argos. For February I was offered Children’s Toys. I was excited at the thought of testing something that my young son would be a huge part of, and his opinions would matter during the reviewing process.

#ArgosTester #ArgosTesters #ArgosTestersCommunity

I have written this article about a product that I have been supplied for free, in order to test and then review it. This is my experience with said product and my honest review about the product which is listed below. I have already submitted my product review to the Argos Website when this post has been published.

My Honest Opinion on the Product

I have been rather happy with the overall look and quality of this product. The Pop Up Tunnel is something that doesn’t only entertain my toddler, but we can add learning into play and he also gets exercise indoors on poor weather days. It is bright and inviting and my son wanted to play with it immediately after I had set it up for him. I look forward to setting it up outside in the summer too on some outdoor play mats. I think it’s an excellent product for the price it is available at, and most children would have the imagination to be able to use it effectively. Because it folds away neatly it even fits into our large toy chest so it takes up no additional room. This product is ideal for any parents who may have a toddler or young child with lots of energy like mine. The best features are the ideal length (it is not too long to overtake your floor but long enough for a toddler to crawl through and have lots of fun), its bright colours and fun stars pattern, the genius tabs at either end so it can be securely fastened and put away for another day, and finally the imagination factor of it!

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Sabrina’s Top Tips for Using this Tunnel for Learning during Play

Once your child is used to the tunnel and is having fun with it, then there are several ways you can use it to increase learning while your child is playing. Words such as “Through” for them crawling through the tunnel is a good one, as well as “In”, “Out” and “Under”. You can also name the various Colours such as “Red”, “Yellow” and “Blue” and the “Stars” on the pattern too. See if your toddler can indicate which is which and say them back.

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Usage of the Product

The tunnel is made from material that is not waterproof, and is only wipe clean, so it is best used indoors and on a soft surface such as carpet, a rug or play mats. Keep food and drink away from it in my opinion. It will move around and slip easily on a wooden floor so perhaps look at where is safest in your home to set it up. Always supervise your child or children when using toys. The tunnel can be used outdoors in dry weather but I would suggest it was still set up on play mats still to avoid the material getting torn by anything sharp or pointed.

Product Name: Chad Valley Bright Stars Pop Up Play Tunnel

Product Details: A Red, Yellow and Blue Tunnel with White Stars. Ideal for children aged 2 years and over. Pop Up means it has minimal assembly required and also folds away neatly using the tabs at either end to secure and store reasonably flat. It is advisable to supervise children at all times while using this toy tunnel and to keep any sharp toys or furniture away from the material to prolong use. It can be used indoors or outdoors, but should only really be used on a flat and soft surface indoors, ideally set up on play mats or carpet. Due to the nature of the material it should be stored appropriately. Play Mats that can be set up outdoors is also a good idea when planning to use this outside because this tunnel is not waterproof.

Product Dimensions: H42cm W80cm D42cm

Product Description: Ideal for bringing children into a world of imagination. This tunnel can be anything they want it to be, and you can also use it with other items such as when children want to build a den for example. A tunnel to a secret dinosaur world, a secret passageway out into the world of spies… this can be whatever your child can dream up.

Argos Website Link: Chad Valley Bright Stars Pop Up Play Tunnel

Argos Website Price: £8.00 (Correct as of 14th February 2021)

My Argos Tester Review Submission

My son was over the moon with this bright & fun tunnel he loves anything with stars on. It took no time to set up & easily packed away again, tabs either end secure it together almost flat so storage is no issue when not in use. A lovely item filled with possibilities with a bit of imagination, good for learning, teaching & great exercise on days we can’t get out of the house.

If you are interested in finding out more about this product then please click the link above in my Product Details section to go to the Argos website.

Thank you for reading this review, have a lovely day.

✩ Sabrina ✩

A Week of Positive Things – Sabrina’s Tips for having a more Positive 7 Days at Home

A Week of Positive Things

Sabrina’s Top Tips for having a more Positive 7 Days

Everyone seems to be feeling a bit low lately, it’s bound to be the Winter Blues mixed in with everything to do with the Pandemic. There are so many people who have found themselves working from home again, and many young people who are studying at home again too. With all this time stuck at home there are lots of anxious feelings and negativity, so I’m here with some suggestions to try and put a positive spin back into your home environment!

So here is my solution to tackle the blues, try to take half an hour out of your day as a family unit, every afternoon for the next week, after work is over and after the schooling is done for the day. Pick one of these ideas of mine to do together, a different one every day in any order you like.

I guarantee they will have you feeling more positive by the end of day 7! You can do them in any order you like! Or do one of them twice if it’s a hit! If you play along please comment on this post or on my socials at the end of the week and tell me which activity your family preferred and whether these activities did in fact work for you and increase your family’s positive attitudes.

  1. Go for a Walk (Weather Dependent) and play a game as you go! Ideal for parents with younger children who are still enthralled by the nature of “eye spy”. But the fresh air and endorphins combined should make all of you feel better too. Older children may want to go for a jog or a bike ride if that’s more your thing, so long as it’s half an hour outdoors with your family, all together.

  2. Watch a Funny TV Show or Cartoon. Laugher really can help you to feel better, even for a brief moment, so why not stick on a tv show or a favourite cartoon that never failed to make you laugh and giggle together. Tom and Jerry is a good one!

  3. Bake or Make Something Delicious! I have a ton of recipes on my blog and some don’t even take that long to do. So why not make some chocolate crispy cakes or even some rocky road, something simple and even something that doesn’t require baking to save you time! Then you’ll have a tasty treat for a few afternoons to come! See what you’ve got in the cupboard! Here is my baking section HERE.

  4. Get Creative. You can do one of two things with this creative activity depending upon the age of the people in your household. Either, do a rotating draw-off where by you each start with a piece of A4 paper and one coloured pen (all varying colours) and you keep rotating the papers every minute, do this until 4 minutes is up. Everyone should’ve drawn on each of the pieces of paper. No talking! See what you’ve come up with! Share them with me on social media! #SabrinasCreativeCrafts
    OR
    You can play the Sentences Game. The idea is to make up a creative story, it should be funny, and you once again rotate the papers. This time you want long strips and not A4. Cut a vertical A4 in half twice or get your strips. Once the first minute is up and the first sentence has been written, you all fold over the section and pass it on. When the time is up you each open up the papers to find a story.

    For example;
    There once was a man who couldn’t find his shoes.
    I think I want some KFC he thought.
    He headed off in the direction of the sunset.
    In the end his dog ran away and joined the circus.

    If you have teenagers then you could play the game another way, this is called CONSEQUENCES, you start by writing on each of the papers the following things, add extra if you have a large family so that everyone will get a go at each section when the papers are passed on. They usually go like this…
    ___
    Met
    ___
    At
    ___
    They said ___
    What happened next was ___ OR The Consequence was ___

    Then unroll it after everyone has had their turn and the sections are completed, then take turns in reading them out. See my photo below this list for an idea of what it would look like when you finished! Warning my examples may cause laughter!

  5. Photos! Another fun thing that would brighten your spirits is to look back at any photo albums that you have or digital slideshows. You could even play a game while you look through them. Every time that your mum is seen with sunglasses on she gets a point, each time someone hasn’t got their hat on when they should you lose a point! First person to spot the water in the photos gets a point. Etc etc! Make up some rules before you start and say that the first person to 10 points gets out of doing the washing up tonight! Or the winner chooses what’s for dinner the next night! Involve one another in every day things.

  6. Write a List of Goals and Aspirations for 2021 – but only write the do-able ones! For example, I want to bake a cake for mums birthday. OR I would like to walk a mile on the next weekend that is dry and sunny. When you achieve something, even if it’s a little thing, you feel so much better about having accomplished it. Setting some realistic goals now for the year might seem silly when we don’t know what’s around the corner, however even if the goals are just for the people in your bubble, it’s still doable. Put them up on your fridge or board and tick yours off when you have completed it.

  7. Make a Meal Together. No matter how old you all are there is something fun about making dinner together. May I suggest something that everyone can get stuck into such as Fajitas, Curry, Sausages and Mash or Lasagne (dietary requirements permitting). I have tons of recipes on my blog if you need inspiring! But making and preparing food together before you eat it can be a real bonding experience, and it can also be important for teaching younger children where foods come from or that by mixing this with that you achieve this outcome. Food is something that has been so important during the first lockdowns so I thought I would continue on with that and try and get you back into your kitchen to make something you love together. Check out my Recipes HERE.
Why Not Try And Make My Delicious Cookies? Click the link in section 3 for the recipe!
The Consequences Game – Imaginative Fun for the older children in your family.

I really hope that you’ve enjoyed this blog post and that you would like to participate in my week of positivity. If you do participate in any of them or attempt to get those in your bubble to do so, then please let me know how you got on! I can’t wait to see if you make anything as well 🙂 tag me online! And thanks for joining me!

✩ Sabrina ✩

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The Three Additions To Your Wardrobe You Never Realised You Needed, Until Now! Since I Bought Mine I Cannot Do Without Them!

Sabrina’s “How To Get More Space In Your Wardrobe” Post.

Most of us have far too many of something in our homes, be it clothing, shoes, bags or other items that take up space. Usually hidden away in our wardrobes or cupboards… Personally I am a Boots and Dresses kind of woman! And why shouldn’t I be able to enjoy my nice items. After all, I worked hard for them… So if you’re like me and you haven’t had the pleasure of knowing any of these items in your home as yet, then check out the rest of my post below. One of these might just change your life!

Shoe Storage – Stackable Boxes with Mesh Fronts

I first bought these boxes when I was in university, so I could stack up my shoes against a wall. When you live out of one room space is definitely key! They were fabulous! Especially because I could fit a double shoe of anything flat into one box due to my little size 4 feet! Fast forward to the 32 year old me (covers eyes with hands) and I still use these, but now they go in the space underneath my ottoman bed. Out of sight but also neatly packed away. I even bought three different colours so I knew that Purple contained Boots, Teal contained flats and Black contained Shoes…

(Coloured ones are usually only available in store and do change every year). I love being organised! And I love tidy!

These boxes are wonderful! Mesh fronts allow the footwear to breathe, they have Velcro sides on the front panel for easy removal and they can even be stored flat when not in use. So many reasons to love them! Place them under beds, inside cupboards or wardrobes, the possibilities are endless. I have even stacked up to 6 boxes on top of one another with light shoes inside, they are sturdy too.

I bought mine from Ikea, they still do them. Currently you can get Grey or White, a set of 4 costs just £7. What a bargain! They measure 22cm x 34cm x 16cm, so it is worth measuring your footwear before purchasing. I think they are a great space saving alternative, especially because it stops you having shoes stacked up all over your hallway.

I do tend to wipe the bottoms of my shoes and let them dry fully especially if they were wet after use, before putting them away again inside the boxes. If you have a little space somewhere that you could convert to a shoe area these are definitely worth considering.

Wardrobe Storage Options

As someone who has quite a number of lightweight clothing items, I found that my wardrobe was quickly filling up every time I caught up on my washing. I began researching ways in which I could maximise my space.

There were two options I could use, the first were Hanger Space Saving Bars (aka Hanger Heroes or Magic Hangers) and the second were Coat Hanger Connectors. I decided to try both, I begun with the Connectors and then bought the Bars, and it has more than doubled my wardrobe space. You must make sure your wardrobe rail is suitable for additional weight though before buying these items.

Coat Hanger Connectors are wonderful small pieces of strong plastic, you slide the one end (the loop) on to the top of a hanger and the longer section hangs down so you can push a second coat hanger through it. I used them for lightweight t-shirts and cardigans. I have managed to hang 6 items in a vertical row, long term, and none of them have broken as yet.

Depending upon the height or your wardrobe or your freestanding pole, you can figure out what would work for you. They are ideal for lightweight t-shirts and shirts and can save you lots of space. They range in price from around £4 for a bunch of 20 of them.

The final items that I want to review are the wardrobe bars, or hanger heroes as they are also known as. You can purchase these on Amazon and from Must Have Ideas. I have bought from both companies, and they were both of equally strong metal and good quality materials. These range in price but you can get metal ones for around £12 and upwards for 6 or more.

I kept seeing these advertised and I really needed the extra room when I moved house. I went from built in wardrobes to zero wardrobes! Having borrowed a metal freestanding pole and rail from a family friend, until I can go wardrobe hunting! I found that these worked really well to give me much needed space!

Depending upon the weight of your clothes you can fit a minimum of 8 items per hanging bar. I have found I can place 14 lightweight items on one, including using the thinnest and most lightweight plastic hangers that I own too. As you can see in my images I have tried to use thin hangers and ensure I don’t place heavy items on the bars.

Once your bars are filled you gently remove one hook and lowed one side down. When the bars were all flat along the metal rail I had no space remaining for other clothes. When I have released one side of each bar, as you can see below, it has freed up a huge amount of much needed space.

I have no idea how I ever managed without these amazing inventions! I am so much more organised now too! I have long sleeve tops on one bar, short sleeve tops on another, cardigans and thin jumpers on a third one, the list goes on! You get the gist!

Obviously you need to judge how much weight your own wardrobe could take. I would be tempted to reinforce my wardrobe honestly if it were a plastic pole.

In this image below you can see my 6 bars in a row. The only irritating thing is that if you place more than 6 items on it, sometimes the hangers slip down out of the notches into the ones below. I think that’s because of the weight and angle that they are at with the more you put on. My suggestions are to play around with the weight and with what hangers fit on best. The far left are rubber coated metal hangers and the rest of them are thin lightweight plastic ones.

I give every item I have mentioned in this blog post a 5 star rating, they have allowed me to live a more organised life and make my bedroom tidier too. I think it’s important that the space that we sleep in isn’t too cluttered. I am working on trying to get myself some furniture in order to make that a reality. Until I am finished with my renovations though, these pieces will help me to keep at least some areas of it tidy!

Thank you for reading this Review today, I hope you have found this post interesting. If you would like to ask me any questions about the items I will do my best to answer them for you. Until the next time, thank you for reading and see you on my website again soon!

✩ Sabrina ✩

If you like the look of these items then make sure you’re following me on my social media channels because some of them will be featuring in my Christmas giveaway in December!

Product Review of the Fur Friend, the Simple Effective Way to Remove Unwanted Hair, Fur and Fluff from All Around Your Home


I bought this product on a bit of a whim actually! There were two reasons why, the first was because I kept seeing it advertised on Facebook and it intrigued me.

And the second reason was that I was so fed up with spending an hour a week hoovering my chairs, sofas and the beds of my cats. Their fur was getting over all of my home when it was hot, because they were malting everywhere! So I thought what the heck, let me give this a go!


I bought from the UK based company Must Have Ideas, and the item is called Fur Friend. It was advertised as being able to lift hair from most soft furnishings and it will stick to the Fur Friend. The handheld product also comes with a holder, which is not only to store the handle inside when not in use, but it also acts as a cleaner. The static of the fluff and fur that initially sticks to the handle, gets pulled inside the holder when the friction happens between the handle and the sides inside of the device. Please see my images below which may help to explain this all a little better.


You follow the direction of the arrow as you move across the furniture and furnishings and then when your handle is getting full up you insert it into the handle. It will be a tight fit, the friction of the micro bristles between the sides and the handle will pull the fluff off as you remove it. Gently pulling the end of the handle off will reveal all of the hair and dust that you’ve collected. Easy to empty by hand and put into your bin then. This device is reusable infinitely so long as you keep cleaning it out after every use.


As you can see in this image of my cats bed, I have cleaned the one side of it only, you can really see the difference between the sides. This didn’t take me more than a couple of minutes to clean the hole bed either. This product saves me time, and it also gathers all the hair neatly at the base of the holder so that I can remove it and bin it easily.


I have used the Fur Friend on Cushions, My Sofa Suite, Cat Beds and Throws. It has removed 99% of hair, fur and fluff. It is so much more effective than lint rollers (which I had bought previously) and there is no waste with this either. Better for your wallet, better for the environment and it’s actually faster and more effective than hoovering too! It used to take me an hour to hoover all the cat beds and cushions with the brush attachment. This takes me between 5 and 10 minutes to do all the beds and then just 30 seconds to empty it.

I can highly recommend this product to everyone, and especially if you have pets with long hair and fur. It has changed my cleaning routine for the better.


Thank you for reading this Review today, I hope you have enjoyed reading about the Fur Friend. Search Must Have Ideas online to find out more about this product and where you can purchase it.

I bought this item for £12.99 with £2.99 Postage in August 2020.

✩ Sabrina ✩

At Home Storage Hacks for Parents, How To Keep All The Kids Toys Stored Tidy and Neatly

Featuring…
Aldi Stars Boxes
Argos Silver Grey Boxes
B & M Dark Grey Fabric Boxes

I think every parent will agree with me when I say “mess is a fact of having children” but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a tidy home when the children are asleep, or for when relatives come around! And can I just say, Square Furniture really excites me, its versatility knows no bounds!

But first, Tidy Hacks! When my son was only twelve months old I began a routine with him which involved us tidying up once we have finished with certain things. It started with me showing him then handing him the item and encouraging him to copy me. So… Books went back in his Book Tub and toys went back in the Toy Box. He soon realised that it was important to tidy up. My son took to it really well, he even puts balls back in his ball pit now, and has done since he was eighteen months of age. Instilling this notion early enough has paved a way for a toddler who understands how important it is to put something back when you have finished with it. My first TIP is to allocate boxes for different items, such as, the Grey box is for books, the Red box is for Cars, the Blue box is for trains and the Green box is for animals.

There is no right or wrong way to have your home, however one thing is for sure, cleaning it is far easier when everything has its own place. Boxes are filled and put back on to shelves. I love furniture and I love how it brings a room together too. I have a large wooden chest in my lounge along with several small lidded boxes to store my sons toys in. I always like to have that option to tidy things away completely, in case I have family over for example, or I may need the space to do messy play.

In my son’s bedroom I have several pieces of furniture that are square and contain various storage tubs and boxes. They look neat and tidy and are easy enough to maintain. The boxes are made of fabric and are often purchasable in many styles and colours to maintain the theme for your chosen bedroom. Great for anywhere in the house, such as hallway or living room too. Do you have any Square Furniture? I think they’re just great!

I have always been a fan of the clean lines that square furniture gives you. And with so many places now creating the relevant boxes to go into these holes, you have a wide range of choice to make your home how you want it.

B & M Boxes


Excellent Value for Money Square Storage Boxes

Argos – Great Quality and in a Variety of Colours and Patterns. Boxes are in packs of 4 with 2 Sizes Available. And prices start from £14.00 for 4 boxes. Argos also do lidded Square Storage Cubes in fabric and a leather look, which can double as seating for children in a bedroom too.

B & M – Fabric Boxes and Velvet Boxes, Good Quality but Less Choice Available (I only found Bright Pink, Blush Pink, Dark Grey and Silver). The Velvet ones were £7 for a pack of two and are very soft and of good quality. The fabric boxes are not as nice but definitely do the job well enough though and are ideal for toys, they were £5 for a pack of two.

Aldi – Special Buys Baby Event – Stars Boxes – Multiple Colours Available and were £3.99 each box. They were only available for a limited time.

Ikea – Several styles of boxes and tubs available from Ikea and many colours and patterns as well. They range from £3.00 upwards for a single box and the range is called Drona.

The furniture I purchased for my sons room is from Argos. But Ikea do a similar range as well named Kallax. Due to the Pandemic it has been far easier for me to get a delivery or click and collect option from my local Argos stores, mainly because its almost a two hour drive for me to get to an Ikea store, so I would rely on an online order and delivery.


My final TIP for keeping a house tidy is this, get one box out at a time, and teach your child/ren that once they are finished with that box, it gets packed up and placed back on to the unit or into the bedroom it came from. Then they can get another box of toys out to play with. In-still this idea at a young age and they should keep respecting their play space long enough to keep wanting to tidy up after themselves. These types of storage are so easy too, there isn’t anything complicated about it. You just need a system of what goes into what box, but you could always get labels for them too!

Great Value Square Furniture

Argos Home Squares range from £24 to £120.
Colours Available are Putty (Light Grey), Oak Effect, Black and White.

Ikea Kallax Square furniture range is from £19 to £129.
Colours Available are Black/Brown, White, High-Gloss White, Oak Effect, White Stained Oak Effect and Grey-Wood Effect.


Thank you for reading this blog post today, I hope I have given you some inspiration on how to make your own homes more tidy by using square storage to its full potential.

Check out my Instagram for more inspirational images on storage and tidiness.

✩ Sabrina ✩