Friday, 13 December 2019

Public transport etiquette

Collaborative post

As anyone that regularly travels on public transport will tell you, there is a certain etiquette to abide by which helps to make what can be a packed and unpleasant experience a little bit easier to manage. It is hard to know what the do’s and don’ts are for someone who does not use public transport often which can make it even more intimidating. Here is all that you need to know.

Keep Conversation to a Minimum 


First, you should always try to keep conversations to a minimum especially if you are on a packed train/tube/bus. People do not want to hear your conversations when in a cramped environment like this, so it is best to stay quiet. While it is okay to listen to music on headphones, you should avoid having a conversation on your phone or playing music through your phone without headphones.

Keep Bags Out the Way 


It is frustrating when you are on packed public transport when somebody is taking up a huge amount of space with their bag. This is why you need to keep it out the way as much as possible and never place the bag on a seat which someone could be sitting on.

Respect Privacy 


As with any situation, you should always respect people’s privacy while on public transport. This means not staring at people, being respectful and not initiating unsolicited conversations.

Give Up Seats 


If you have a seat on public transport but there is someone that gets on that needs it more than you, such as an elderly person, pregnant woman or someone on crutches, you should always offer your seat to them.

 Keep a Clear Walkway 


If possible you should try to avoid being in the aisle so that there is always a clear walkway. This can be challenging during rush hour during which you simply need to be willing to move out the way and help people to get on/off if they are struggling.

Let People Off First 


One of the biggest gripes that people have when using transport is people trying to get on before people get off. This is because these people need to get off at that destination and also because it means that there are more people on the transport than need to be which takes up more space.

Short & Long Distance 


You may find that the etiquette changes depending on the type of transport and the length of the journey. For a short 20-minute train journey from Hatfield Herts to Stevenage, for example, you should try to get a seat near the door, keep quiet, avoid eating and give up seats to those that need them more.

It is important to learn the proper public transport etiquette as not to annoy others while travelling. Generally, using common sense and decency is key and it is easy to quickly get the hang of things after a few trips.

Waiting on a train platform
Photo caption Roman Fox via Unsplash

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Counting down to the end of term

The end of the term is nearly here already! It's been a long term, but it has really flown by. These last weeks before Christmas are always so manic at school with all their festive events. The children are so tired, and it's much worse with the dark mornings, miserable weather and a string of colds. We all definitely need a break!

Even though school holidays are full on when I have the children all day, I do love having them at home. I'm glad to have a break from the stressful school run, from making packed lunches, and from trying to get everyone to bed at a reasonable time. I find it so much easier even if it does come at a cost - by January I'll be ready for some of the peace and quiet and uninterrupted time that I normally enjoy during the week!

I always spend the last week or so of term preparing myself and the house - making sure that the housework is all caught up, we have plenty of food in, and I have a few blog posts written and scheduled - I won't have much time for my own hobbies and ongoing projects!

It's been a good term for the children. Harry had a bit of a shaky start as he entered year six, and he felt a bit overwhelmed with a new timetable and new responsibilities. He is completely settled now but it did make me realise that we'll need to think ahead and plan for when he starts senior school next year. We definitely need some planning and coping strategies that we can put in place to help him.

Mia is feeling much happier and settled in her friendships which is wonderful, she's always felt a bit on the outside when it came to the girls in her class so it's been really nice to see her form some new friendships this term.

We had a bit of a wobble a few weeks ago when the children told us that we didn't spent enough time together as a family. We do spend lots of time together (this was just after we came back from holiday!) but Ram does work away from home a fair bit and I must admit that I'm often distracted by housework, cooking dinner, or just my phone. So I've been making a big effort to try and save those things for when the children are at school. We've begun playing a daily board game after dinner, much easier now that they can stay up a little bit later and much more fun now that they are old enough to play some proper games!

Children visiting Father Christmas

Here's to a fun last few days at school, and lots of family memories to be made over the next few weeks!

Monday, 9 December 2019

Scandi inspired Hama bead Christmas mat

I've often looked at Hama bead projects and thought that they would make a great base for cross stitch, so I decided to experiment a little by making a small Hama bead mat and seeing how well cross stitch would work. I was really pleased with the result!

Hama bead and cross stitch Scandi inspired coaster

I wanted to create a Christmas, Scandi inspired design, so I used red and white beads to make a large base for the mat. When ironing the base you need to make sure that you don't over iron and there are still nice big holes in the beads that you can easily fit your needle through. I also like to place large flat pieces underneath something heavy, like a pile of books, while they are still warm. This means that when the beads cool the piece will remain flat and not warp.

Related post - Ironing tips for Hama beads

Then you just need to stitch your design through the beads using embroidery floss! Be aware that it can take quite a bit of floss to complete the design. I googled for Scandi inspired images to get some inspiration.

Using cross stitch with Hama bead projects

The back of the piece looked quite messy when it was finished, so I used a small piece of felt on the reverse side, glued into place. This also helps to make sure that all the ends are secure. Just be careful to choose a shade of felt which matches the mat, as it may show through the holes.

Backing a coaster with felt

 Now I have a lovely little mat which makes a great festive coaster for my Christmas hot chocolate!

Hama bead and cross stitch Scandi inspired coaster

If you liked this craft, you might also like my Scandi inspired Hama bead battery candle holders which are designed to hold battery powered tea light candles.

Scandi inspired Hama bead battery tea light holders

Friday, 6 December 2019

Christmas gift ideas for readers

This blog post contains Amazon Affiliate links

If you are looking for a fun or useful gift for the reader in your life this Christmas then look no further - I've collected together a lovely range of book and literary gifts that you may not have thought of, and that will definitely be appreciated by the book lover on your gift list!

Gift guide ideas for readers

For reading in bed


Bed is my favourite place to read, it's warm, cosy, and away from the rest of the house. We don't have many cushions so it can get a bit uncomfy, I'd love a proper support cushion so that I could sit up properly! I've also got my eye on one of these portable tables that you can prop up over your lap, the perfect place to keep a notebook and pen, a drink, and a plate of biscuits!



For reading on the move


When I go on holiday or for travelling I always take my Kindle, because I like having access to as many books as I can, including new titles and old favourites, so I always have something that I'm in the mood for reading. I find a waterproof case really useful, it's great for reading on the beach or by the pool (and I also use it at home for reading my Kindle in the bath!) A personal reading light is always useful, as the ones on planes don't always point where you want them to or might disturb fellow travellers. If you are reading while sitting in once place for long periods I like this tool that holds the pages open without causing you cramp in your hands



To mark a place


You can never have too many bookmarks! I know that I have loads, and yet I'm always hunting for a scrap piece of paper to use when I need one! You could buy a lovely personalised bookmark, or even have a go at making one yourself.



To make sure that books come back home


My library is very fluid, I'm always lending out books and passing on the ones that I've finished with. If you want to make sure that a particular book always returns to you it's a good idea to mark it in some way, whether that's with an embossed stamp or just a simple book plate.



To store and display the book collection


I love having my books on display, and there are some really unusual bookshelves around if you are looking for something a bit different. I can't also never have too many bookends, they are a great way of making your shelves look tidier, especially if you like to display other items as well as books.



To share a love of reading with the world


Finally, some fun items to make sure that everyone knows about a love of books and reading!



I hope that you find some inspiration here!

Photo credit - Prasanna Kumar via Unsplash

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Hama bead Christmas wreath hanging ornaments

Hama bead Christmas wreath ornaments craft

These simple Hama bead Christmas ornaments are made using a basic wreath design. All you need is a circular pegboard (either the small or large size) and a selection of Hama beads in different shades of green along with a few red beads. If you only have the one shade of green, that will work too, and you could use different colours instead of red for some variety. For the decorative picture behind the wreath I used old cut up Christmas cards, and added a small piece of red ribbon to make a bow for the bottom.

First you need to make your Hama bead wreaths, and they are very simple to make. Once ironed, while they are still warm, I like to press them under a couple of heavy books while they cool to make sure that they keep a flat shape.


Small Hama bead wreath design and pattern

I chose to use a Christmas themed picture to fill the centre of the wreath, although I think they would work just as well if you left them empty! I delved into my collection of old Christmas cards which I cut up each year for making gift tags. You could also use Christmas wrapping paper, or pictures cut from festive magazines. You need a picture with a design small enough to fit neatly into the centre circle. Cut the picture to size and glue to the back of the wreath, I used white PVA glue to stick them firmly. You might also want to add a circle of coloured card to the back of the wreath so that the back looks neater, or you could even glue two of these ornaments back to back so that they can spin freely and look good on both sides.

Hama bead mini wreaths for hanging ornaments

I finished my Hama bead ornaments with a small bow made from a narrow red ribbon and glued into place. 

Hama bead wreath mini Christmas ornaments

Then all you need to do is to add a loop for hanging. I used red embroidery floss and used a needle to thread it through one of the Hama bead holes at the top. Even if you have ironed your project more than I have and the hole has started to close you should still be able to poke a needle through, or else you can just use glue or tape to attach the string. And you're done!

Hama bead mini wreath ornament tutorial

If you liked these Hama bead Christmas ornaments, then you might also like these Hama bead and ribbon baubles!

Hama bead and ribbon Christmas bauble ornaments

For more Hama bead Christmas crafts, take a look at my selection of Hama bead Christmas crafts for children.

Monday, 2 December 2019

The crafting projects that I'll be working on this Christmas

I love crafting at Christmas time. I'm an indoors sort of person anyway, and when it's cold and dark outside I'm always happy sitting somewhere warm with a craft project on the go. This Christmas I have a few things lined up that I want to work on, and hopefully I'll be able to get a few of them finished!

My current large project is my Persian Tiles crochet blanket which I received for Christmas a couple of years ago. I've been working on it in bursts and I'm doing really well with it - I only have three octagons, eleven triangles and the border to do. I've already sewn together the pieces that I've finished and it's looking really good, it's definitely given me the motivation to get on and get it completed.

Persian Tiles crochet blanket nearly finished

Then I have a few Christmas themed craft kits to work on. I bought this mini cross stitch kit from Hobbycraft last year. They quite often have some reasonably priced little cross stitch kits, usually cleverly displayed by the checkout so that you can't miss them as you enter or while you are queuing. It's a sweet little design, I might turn it into an ornament or small framed picture.

Hobbycraft mini Christmas cross stitch kit

I received these felt Christmas ornament kits to review earlier this year, and while I've finished the owl I still have the others to work on. They are quite quick and easy to complete and there is plenty of scope to experiment with different colours and stitches to make them unique.

Felt Christmas ornament kits

I definitely want to make gingerbread houses again this year. I've always got on well with making them (the trick is to use royal icing, and to make it nice and thick) and it's a lot of fun. They taste delicious too! For the last couple of years I've made two mini houses so that the children have one each to decorate, maybe this year I'll make one all to myself!

Selection of our gingerbread houses

And finally of course there is one Christmas crafting project which I'm really pleased to have completed well before Christmas - my Christmas ABC Sampler. I was always intending to have it finished ready for Christmas 2019, and right on schedule it's all framed and ready to be displayed proudly by the fireplace.

Christmas ABC cross stitch sampler

Will you be working on any crafting projects this Christmas?

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Review - Hidden Wonders and Wild in the City - two new kids books from Lonely Planet

I received a copy of these books to review. This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Today I'm sharing a review of two wonderful new books from Lonely Planet - Hidden Wondersand Wild in the City. We are big fans of Lonely Planet books in this house and these two are great additions to our collection - they are both brilliant books for children to browse through and pick up all sorts of interesting and fun facts.

New books from Lonely Planet kids review

Hidden Wonders

Hidden Wonders brings together a collection of strange and wondrous places from all around the world, both natural and man-made. There are 150 delights to be discovered, like Hidden Beach which is only accessible through a water tunnel linking it to the Pacific Ocean, or Lake Hillier in Western Australia which is bright pink! Some are places that anyone can visit, but many of them are a little more difficult to get to.

Hidden Wonders from Lonely Planet Kids

This collection of the planet's wildest and weirdest places is divided into sections according to their lines of longitude, and each attraction has a dedicated page with such enticing photography and descriptions that you want to rush there and see it immediately. I'm fairly well travelled and almost all of these places were new to me - it's an amazing book to spark a desire for exploration and discovery!

Hidden Wonders book review inside

Wild in the City

Wild in the City shares the secret lives of more than 30 extraordinary creatures that share our cities. Although the city might seem an unlikely place for animals to thrive, there are a surprising number of animals that have learned to make the most of city life, whether they have recently moved in or have learned to adapt to their surroundings.

Wild in the City from Lonely Planet Kids

The book features animals from around the world, from the Red Foxes that we are used to seeing around where we live, to more intimidating creatures like the Reticulated Pythons that roam Jakarta or the Polar Bears that wander the town of Churchill in Canada. The book is beautifully illustrated, and is divided into sections that cover each type of animal, for example mammals, reptiles, bugs and birds.

Wild in the City book inside

There are several pages dedicated to each animal, along with information about how the animals survive in this environment and how they are affected by human activities and buildings. There are also tips for spotting them, and the signs to look for that point to their presence. The book includes lots of information as to how we can make sure that our cities are a home for both us and the local wildlife.

Children's books from Lonely Planet Kids

Both of these books would make a wonderful gift for a child this Christmas!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...