8 tips for life as a no car family with kids

Can you really do family life as a no car household? We live life as a no car family and get by just fine, but there are some things to think about and some things I wish I’d known about along the way to starting our family.

Here’s our lowdown to life as a no car family with kid!

8 tips for life as a no car family

1) Choose the right pram or buggy / pushchair for public transport

We chose our Silvercross Surf because it’s really nippy for public transport, with narrow back wheels and great all terrain turning it was a must for us, a pram needs to fit into tight spaces on buses and metros when you’re a car free family and ours is a breeze to push, I do a lot of walking so a nice easy steer is essential. The suspension allows for greater volumes of ‘stuff’ to be carried too. Downside? Really small space underneath for shopping, see solution in tip three!

2) Good coats and shoes are vital

Toddlers walk reallllly slowly! Consequently the whole family really needs decent coats and shoes, you can’t dash about with a toddler so you need to be well prepared for the weather, my toddler loves the rain, me, not so much, so I need a good raincoat to keep me dry so I don’t get as bothered by the downpour!

3) Make shopping easier with better storage

I invested in a great pram friendly shopping net that lets me use all thes space under the pram saving me having to shop daily, it’s not always easy to get it home but this way I can carry more than I’d manage just under the pram and it spreads the weight to avoid a dangerous shopping bag buggy tip that we’ve all seen happen and fretted over.

4) Plan ahead

So you can’t just nip to the shops for an extra pack of nappies/wipes/food whatever… When you can’t get out as easily as you might if you had a car you do need to plan ahead a little but it’s not a big deal if you get in the habit of list making and thinking ahead.

5) Make the most of gym-free exercise

No really, getting out and about in the fresh air without the luxury of a car is great exercise!

6) Relax your schedule

You just can’t do as much when you can’t hop here and there by car, but it’s actually quite nice to enjoy life at a toddler pace. So Joss and I only manage to get out for one activity each day? So what? She likes to nap at home in the afternoons and I like to cook, everyone wins and there’s none of that rushing about. I won’t lie and say some days we do miss out on things, another toddler group, softplay or we can’t ‘pop’ to the shops or swimming pool, but it’s all she’s ever known and she loves public transport!

7) Take a break mama/dada

I only learned this recently, yes you want to get the 2pm bus home and you’re tired but don’t rush about. I have learned to take the time to stop for a break before we head back, it’s not light work pushing a pram the 20 minutes home so Joss and I often stop to enjoy a drink or a sit down on a bench somewhere to just catch our breath before we head off again, lesson learned, I’ve got the energy to chase her about when we get home instead of flopping down knackered!

8) Consider carrying them

And finally, you could do worse than consider a sling as a public transport using / walk everywhere parent! Our baby carrier is so well used and has grown with her, it’s invaluable for days out without a car!

What about you? Do you have a car? Do you sometimes leave it home to enjoy a ride on the bus or train, or to walk? What are your tips?

Working away from your family

Home life

Being a parent working away from your family is really tough but you can get through it. This mumslist is brought from Sunningdale Park where I spent three days with work this week.

Sunningdale Park is an ex-civil service college, it’s stunning, has really well established trees, bunnies on the lawn, a gorgeous lake, but it’s missing something; my family!


Here’s my five tips for working away from your family:

1) Take them with you!

Consider whether you could take your family with you/have them visit – Hannah from Mumsdays travelled to Brighton with her husband and son recently so they could spend their free time outside of work together, this is a great idea if it can work practically for you

2) Quality time

If you have to leave them behind give yourself some quality family time before you go, Joss and I took a trip to our favourite museum and shared some really special reading and cuddle time before I went, and Daddy and I took some time to have a date night too, it meant I felt ready to go

3) Dump the guilt

I had to go on this trip, it was a big annual awayday and all staff have to attend, feeling guilty about going doesn’t help anyone and doesn’t make leaving easier, remember you’re paid to do it and plan in more of that quality family time for your return

4) Think team

Try to make life easier for those who are at home, they’ll thank you for it! I try to get ahead of the washing and get a decent shop in so that it makes life easier for my woring husband, he could have done this himself, sure, but we work better as a partnership and I wanted to leave him a step ahead so they could enjoy their quality time together on evenings after work, and so he could rest up a bit more when bedtimes arrived

5) Try to enjoy it and share your experiences

I don’t want to be the parent who brings something back from trips to make up for being away, instead I want to share my experiences with them and so I do try to enjoy a bit of downtime when I’m away, it’s something I do maybe three times a year but that still feels like a lot when you have a toddler at home that you really miss. Last time I travelled to London I took Joss’ favourite (OK not favourite, that would be silly!) toy with me and photographed him in and around the Big Smoke!

I can’t say it gets any easier to say goodbye but the return I got last night was so warm and welcoming that I appreciated my little family all the more!

What about you – Do you work away? Does your partner? How do you get by?

Blog life and Inspiration

Quiet times as work busied up this week, but I’m getting back on it with a great post about my trip to Liberty of London, fabric love coming up soon! Here’s some inspiration in the meantime!


(Source: Liberty London’s Facebook page)

- See more at: http://mumsdays.com/mums-list-18-nap-time/#sthash.caKpCJMy.dpuf

I dream in citrine, where blog props find new homes

This weeks Mumslist comes to you from Etsy, namely my new store!

Real Life

OK, there’s not much on there yet but I finally set up an Etsy store. I Dream in Citrine does two things, it allows me to feel better about the vintage treasures I’ve accumulated over the years and it helps me move them on to new owners as blog photo props, now I just need to put some time into stocking it!

I dream in citrine


Blog life

I’ve had to accept that between now and September I can’t blog daily, and I’m OK with that. I’m hitting a critical point in my working year and that can take over into home life if I’m not careful, so I need to free up a bit of diary space to see friends and arrange playdates and may need to use the odd spare hour for reading instead of blogging. Popular posts continue to be my crafty ones, including these washi tape ones



I’m browsing/reading the Calm Things blog at the moment; I’m in a busy place so I need calming influences in my life!

- See more at: http://mumsdays.com/#sthash.QVf4yUtN.dpuf

Washi tape notebook pocket


washi tape pocket notebook

As I can be working on a wide range of research projects at any one time I like to use a different book for each one. I really rate Paperchase notebooks as they’re pretty good value and come in a wide range of colours and sizes, I add this washi tape notebook pocket to the front of each to store my notes and any interesting documents I pick up along the way.

This is one I made for our holidays last year; I added it to our travel journal to store our ticket stubs and leaflets which I use for scrapbooking. The nautical washi tape has had a LOT of interest, that’s Paperchase too!

You can do the same with any notebook you like if it has a sturdy cover, using just a piece of cardstock and some washi tape adjusting the measurements to suit your needs.

Washi tape nautical close up

I simply cut a piece of card to the height of pocket that I’m happy with, fold the bottom of the card up at a height of about one inch and then fold the card in three, taping the fold lines with my washi tape and leaving the top of the pocket open then taping all the edges folding the washi tape down the middle to make a sturdy pocket. I then stick the pocket into my notebook with strong glue.

If you like you can cut a notch out of the middle section of your card to make opening the pocket easier, I also added another strip of card to make a second pocket for smaller ticket stubs, handy!

(NB I buy a lot of stuff at Paperchase but this post is not associated with them!)


Poundland memo board hack

I’m really busy with work right now, so I thought to myself, you know what? You could really use an hour to procrastinate missus!

I used the time wisely to upcycle my old poundland memo board with some washi tapes; after a bit of repositioning my poundland memo board hack was complete!

Poundland memo board hack

Still productive as it’s a) useful for helping me organise and b) helps make a dent in my washi collection

Work 0 Play 1

Toddler Octopus Craft and Fuschia Flowers in an Octopus’ Garden

Joss and I took out crafting outdoors with a playdate this week, she and a friend made handprints which we cut out and made into fish with buttons for eyes, with some tissue paper and card (and washi tape, standard) we made an octopus for each of them.

under the sea toddler craft

While they were busy with toddler octopus craft I snapped a few of my yarden favourites, vibrant fuschias.

fuschia flowers fuschia flowers

toddler octopus

Fresh Lemon Balm Tea Recipe

Fresh lemon balm tea recipe

My fresh lemon balm tea recipe was a happy accident in the end, in the beginning it was a very very strange accident.

We bought a huge bunch of herb seeds in May and Joss and I planted them up. One pot ‘Melissa Officinalis’ did nothing at all. We planted everything outside and forgot about it, until a few weeks ago when Daddy declared that a patch of mint had now sprouted.

Ah, that must be the melissa I said (what do I know about plants?!) and so we enjoyed a rather odd mint sauce with our potatoes.

I was starving so didn’t mention the odd taste.

It’s not mint. Melissa Officinalis is lemon balm, hence our lemon sauce with our potatoes, not tasty.

What is rather tasty is this tea, and it’s lovely lemon scent makes it a really relaxing and refreshing summer drink, lovely enjoyed cool with ice too. Part of the mint family it’s also good for the digestive system, and is anti-viral so if you’re under the weather could give you a nice pick me up, and lets face it, tea is always a tonic!
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 photo 93142f35-6d39-479f-b3de-d94dbca68162_zps58499252.jpg

Mumslist feat Mollie Makes Blogging

Real life

Remember this post featuring Nelly’s gorgeous new piglets?

Well they got big!


This has been my week, Farm, home, lunch, park, Farm Saturday-Wednesday, then Wed-Fri it was work, home, dinner, Farm, park…

Not that I mind, it’s repetitious but Joss loves this latest routine and all this fresh air and running has yielded some good lie-ins!

Blog and Inspiration

Rolling these two together this week, I treated myself to Mollie Makes Blogging because I couldn’t get to Britmums (boo!) I was glad I had a voucher as £9.99 for a mag is a lot but I’ve dipped into it all week!


I love Mollie Makes and blogged about the shoeclips I made with my latest kit, I loooove them!


Do you regularly buy any magazines for inspiration?

- See more at: http://www.mumsdays.com/#sthash.G7Ecz7rZ.dpuf

I accept my Liebster Award with thanks!

Thanks to the lovely Hannah at Mumsdays who nominated me for a Liebster Award!


A Liebster Award is an award for bloggers, a way to say, hey, I like your blog! It’s a bit like a chain letter, I answer 11 questions from Hannah and then nominate more bloggers with less than 500 followers to answer my 11 questions, here goes!

What is in your handbag right now? (no taking that half a kitkat out)

My purse, phone and keys, a pair of Joss’ socks, some almonds, a diary and many, many sweet wrappers that need to go!

Why did you start blogging?

I started out blogging 18 months ago as a way of keeping a record for my little girl, I wanted to track our journey through parenthood and I’ve always enjoyed writing so it was a way of keeping my mind busy and engaged during maternity leave. I am one of these people who have many varied interests but I found taking time out of the world of work freed me up to be a more creative homemaker both in play, cooking and craft; being on a tighter income but valuing eco-friendly approaches meant I had to be even more creative with money, blogging about it all kept me sane!

What do you find most challenging about blogging?

Not being very good at self-promotion! I love what I do but I have to put on my big girl pants to get it out there!

Who is your blog idol? Present company accepted

It’s hard for me to choose just one, I have so many, but I drop into Lulastic… each week, I love her thrift posts but more than that it’s her commitment to honest to goodness writing and eco-living that I really admire!

What’s your favourite – Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest and why?

I get more enjoyment from Facebook but I get so much inspiration from Pinterest that I’d have to choose pinning! I’m here if you’d like to follow me!

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I’m a real home body and love Bill Quay, it’s my spiritual home the North, but I have family in Holland and it has such a great feel to it that I’d love to be with them more too, I’d live half and half here and there given the chance!

How many kids would you like to have?

I get asked this all the time at the moment – this and, are you planning another! I will sidestep this in the way folks do the sex question in the Guardian, I ain’t telling!

If your house was on fire (and everyone was safe, dog, cat, kids, etc), what would you grab?

Joss’ memory book and my jewellery box would probably be about it, I’m not terribly attached to things in the way I was pre-family life, hubby, dog and kid, the rest would be a nice to have but nothing I’d really be mindful about grabbing!

What’s the best film you’ve seen in 2014 (doesn’t have to be recent!)?

Intouchables, set in Paris the brilliant Francois Cluzet plays an aristocratic quadriplegic looking for a new care assistant, Driss, an out of work street-smart young guy turns up looking for someone to sign his Social Security papers to prove he’s seeking work. Phillipe offers him a trial as his carer and the rest, well you’ll have to see for yourself but it is phenomenally good, phenomenally!

What thing (quote, book, song, movie, idol, etc) get’s you motivated to be the best you can be?

Should I go with a dishonest answer or a cliche?! Before every public speaking engagement, big event/anything where I need a confidence boost (which you lovely lot know I really do not enjoy putting myself through) I put on some music and shake it out, favourites include Lee Moses’ Bad Girl (if you’ve seen the most recent series of Girls you’ll get this even more) Voodoo Child, something really funky! I also have a quote above my desk by Maya Angelou


This applies heavily to the work I do with charities and in supporting them to campaign, both sides have given me strength when I’ve needed it. I also draw a lot of strength from my latest tattoo, it’s no happy accident that I can see it when I’m writing, it spurs me on to stay grounded and says to me “I shall not sink”

anchor tat

What is your signature dish?

I really need to write up the recipe for this, my leek, fennel and potato gratin is my fave thing to eat ever, it’s the most comforting meal, so I love to cook it as I know it’s gonna hit the spot!

So my questions:

1 What do you enjoy most about blogging?

2 Do you have a favourite thrifty tip?

3 What do you like to do to relax?

4 What did you want to be or do when you were growing up?

5 Where do you take your inspiration from for blog ideas?

6 Do you have a favourite song or piece of music and why?

7 Which five people living or no longer with us would you invite to your dream dinner party?

8 What one thing would you tell your sixteen year old self?

9 What’s your biggest blog challenge?

10 What’s your fondest memory?

11 Will you share your favourite ever blog post with me please?

I’m tagging these lovely folks and I hope they’ll accept their award and blog their responses!

Jenny from wethreeplustea a new blog but very entertaining

A blog I came about through Love All Blogs, the very sweet Dorothy Whiskers who writes an online mag for 6-10 year olds which I think is a brilliant idea

and finally for services to recycling and some blooming great ideas Vicky Myers Creations