Whilst we navigate this time at home due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, I hope to bring you some pottering ideas, DIY tips, home and garden projects, ways of wellbeing, family activities and a bunch of helpful links. You maybe juggling homeschooling and working from home which is no mean feat, so you may be interested in ideas on making a practical office space along with fun learning initiatives for toddler to primary age kids.
I’m at home with my family of 4, my partner and two girls aged 3 and 5, so for me marketing and blogging is one of the things I love doing if I get a spare minute. It helps me feel connected and in some ways it’s my escapism and positive way to wellbeing!
Setting up your work from home space…
Not everyone will have the luxury of an office space, so in many cases it’s being clever about where you can utilise a nook, section of the garage, kitchen table or an existing room for yet another purpose ! If you run a small business from home while keeping an eye on children, you may need your work space near the kitchen or living area. One of the most clever solutions I’ve seen is converting a hall cupboard or closet to utilise the shelves for a modern workstation during a time when you can’t go out and buy a desk! Here are some tips for how to make a work space your own by up-cycling what you have already!
- Wrap cereal or old shoe boxes in left over bright wrapping paper, fabric for desktop storage.
- Pick fresh scented garden flowers for your well being or move an existing small potplant onto the desk.
- Organise your projects by making a pin board from left over polystyrene,softwood, layers of cardboard and cover with fabric.
- Paint left over soup cans for rustic pen organises.
- Repaint an old picture frame and place positive affirmations or a picture in the frame.
- Relocate a spare lamp from a bedroom for more light.
- Repaint an old file storage cabinet into a brightly coloured office piece.
- Cake stands can also make great features for putting all your desk accessories on.
Garden ideas for Autumn
As summer starts to wind down and we head into the lovely Autumnal phase with warm sunny days and cool nights. There are so many important jobs around the garden that will make a difference to your home and spruce up the summer wilted garden.
- Remove dead plants from garden borders and clear weeds.
- Give hedges a final trim.
- Plant out any potted plants you have already purchased camelias, winter vege, hedges etc
- Lawn care – It’s all about getting summer lawns back under control…continue to mow at a good height 5-6cm, de-thatch by removing any dead grass matter with a rake, turfix to control weeds (if you have any), and after a period of time overseed and fertilise if you have any on hand.
- Vege gardens – remove dead summer plants and turn over ready for winter vege planting such as broccoli, cauliflower, all round carrots, onions, kale, spinach and Asian greens.
- Propagate seeds for planting out in a few weeks time.
- Plant Spring bulbs.
- Don’t be tempted to feed all plants as it promotes new growth that will soon be susceptible to frost. A small slow release feed for fruiting plants and citrus is a great idea.
- Make a DIY compost with all the grass and plant matter, this can be reused back on your garden in a few month time
- Lightly prune roses, spray aphids and scale with slightly soapy water under leaves.
- Repair fences, gates and decking.
Now is a great time to tackle a number of small jobs around the house or plan future projects. You’ll feel totally rewarded ticking off any jobs that have been staring at you for a long time! Whether it be decluttering the house, making a pegboard for the garage tools, sorting out the loft, choosing paint colours for a project from Resene online, researching a kitchen project, cleaning the house exterior, painting the fence, staining the deck, sanding wooden window frames or internal doors ready for painting, washing curtains,de-limescale bathrooms, new layouts for bedrooms, fill ceiling cracks and wall blemishes… there are many jobs that you may have the tools and products for sitting in the garage or shed! For bigger project planning and inspiration here are some further interest articles all on Design Your Home NZ.
- Inspiration gallery for Bathroom, kitchens, living room, nursery, outdoor and more
- 2020 colour trends update
- Design tips – building a new home, kitchen design planning, bathroom renovation, Home decor colour selection
- Home design books and media
- Lighting and design trends for 2020
- How to Zen your garden
If you’re wanting to sell your home in the near future here’s a recent blog article I wrote on small jobs and bigger renovation projects to consider. Declutter, declutter, declutter…overall this will have a considerable effect on making your home space appeal to others by not having all your own trinkets and excess on show!
Activities for kids (toddler-primary)
We’re all in need of a hand when it comes to keeping the youngsters busy. No doubt many primary aged kids have come home with school packs too but the key here is to find a balance and have a good dose of patience as this time can be challenging and stressful for them too. If you find the home school routine isn’t working on a particular day, pack it in and just have some fun in the garden, make Easter craft, do a yoga session or workout with them, bake something together, take a stroll around your neighbourhood, do science experiments, read stories, help prepare meals or simply cuddle up and watch something on the T.V. Tailor activities toward topics your child likes. For early writers get them involved in your regular tasks… helping to write the food list or being in charge of taking the bins and recycling out with you. Make sure they fill the fresh air bucket on a regular basis before new rounds of indoor activities or media.
Help them to feel connected with their friends and family through Facetime, WhatsApp, Messenger or Skype. Old fashioned phone chats with Nanna and Poppa are great too, you could help them to write an email to an Aunt or family friend sharing what they’ve been up to. Other great tech ideas could be getting them to design their dream bedroom on paint.net or dig out an old video camera and get them to make a documentary!
Greg Straight a well-known NZ artist has been super kind and created a bunch of boredom buster’s with clever kiwiana drawings you can download from his website for FREE. He’ll be doing a number of these over the coming weeks, simply print off and the whole family can colour in.
Continue to empower your kids to master milestones like learning how to ride their bike in garden, tie their shoes, follow a recipe, help look after house chores. Other fun family activities could be virtual concerts with extended family, Sing Star competitions, digging out family-size puzzles, mega Lego builds, treasure hunts in the garden, obstacle courses, egg and spoon races, table tennis competitions, charades, night sky evenings with marshmallows, camp out in the garden, do easy DIY or gardening together. There are some great blogs and Facebook pages out there to help you further with ideas… Here’s just a few: Homelearningnz, The dad lab, Play Ideas, National geo for kids, Joe Wicks’ free live-streamed PE lessons , easy recipes at My kids lick the bowl, live zoo cams at Edinborough, Chester, Marwell and Dublin and over 50 activities thanks to Chester zoo.
Whilst we’re spending this time at home you can still feel connected and chat to others…
- Learn how to blog by creating your own Facebook page or group based on something that really interests you.
- Join a community Facebook page for neighborhood updates.
- Start a friend or street Messenger group. I have a group with my besties and we share highs and lows and have a good laugh, it’s so good for us during this time.
- Start a friend exercise group through WhatsApp! Choose a couple of different exercises each week and motivate each other to get moving. It’s alot of fun!
- Acceptance… this is and will continue to be an emotional time for all, so recognising this is a good place to start when it comes to your mental health. Live in the present and try to think of the positive things you can do at home. Grab a notebook and make a list of some projects you could do inside and out in the garden. Do you have a desire to learn a new craft but never had time? Languages, a new computer skills, online how to paint classes, become a gardener, have a go at mowing the lawns?
- Music- my go to place in times of stress is the Meditation relax app from android, there are many others out there such as Calm, Noisli, Pzizz or Slumber Slumber which all help you relax, calm anxiety, soothe stress, calm kids and uplift. The music can be played in the background whilst you use other phone apps and there is a timer so you can fall asleep at night to soothing tunes.
- Headspace – Mindfulness is essential for your everyday life and this app is packed with hundreds of guided meditations on everything from stress to relationships. Stories, soundscapes, and music to help you sleep soundly. Plus you get a new meditation delivered to your phone everyday.
- Pamper yourself and your skin. Take the time to exfoliate and apply a face mask and hydration creams. Enjoy a long soothing bath to relax and make you feel good. Apply an uplifting perfume even if your at home. Check out this blog for natural homemade face masks such as milk and oatmeal and ELLE have a great avocado mask recipe too.
- Parenting stress – check out The Parenting place website for tips from their family coaches and sign up to the e-news, plus there are lots of good things across at the SKIDS website. Perhaps you could order an audio book or digital read from Audible. Two exceptional child psychologists have authored two great books, Dr Vanessa Lapointe’s Parenting right from the start, focusing on the toddler years and Calm parents happy kids by Dr Laura Markham
- Try Les Mills free 30 days workout on demand!
- Kayla Itsines a successful Personal trainer does a great Android app called SWEAT for circuits, yoga and 100’s of short workouts for all levels of fitness. Try the BBG beginner 8 week workout!