After we had our living room renovated two years ago, we bought a new sofa to make the room feeling even new. We had previously had a leather sofa, but wanted something smaller and less bulky. But we still wanted plenty of room for sitting. We found the three-seater fabric sofa above and were thrilled. Once the sofa arrived, the living room felt 'complete'.

But lately I have been having serious feelings of dissatisfaction towards the living room. It just didn't feel right. So I decided to re-arrange our living room (I say 'we' but Husband did the heavy lifting while I managed). The main part of this re-organisation is the sofa. I liked that the sofa was the first thing to catch your eye upon entering the living room. But the room did not feel right. It did not feel cosy. I realised that the sofa was critical in making the living room feel homey.

We moved the sofa to the wall closest to the door (we didn't have the option of too many walls due to a window on one wall and the telly and its cables/wires on another). We have spread the furniture around the room. I have also reduced the amount of toys we keep in our two green baskets as they were overflowing. The baskets now fit on the bottom two shelves of the cabinet which helps make the room feel less cluttered. Part of the issue has been that our fabric sofa looks a bit tired. In hindsight I feel that leather sofas are so much better if you have young children (easy to clean and don't look so sad and rumpled quickly).

And I am so pleased with the way my living room now looks. The sofa makes so much more sense on the side wall. I no longer feel like all the seating is pointed at the television. The furniture is distributed more evenly around the room rather than being on just one wall. So how do you like my 'new' living room?

Is Your Sofa The Heart of Your Living RoomIMG_9897IMG_9650IMG_9665IMG_9657IMG_9678







Octonauts Polar Vehicle

First, let me tell you that Dubz does not even watch Octonauts. But he loves imaginative play. And he adores his new Octonauts GUP-I Playset. He has been playing with it everyday for the past week. And for someone who normally only plays with dinosaurs and Star Wars toys, this is impressive. He has even asked to take the playset with him to bed, but I convinced him that he would be okay to just take the seal to bed (we don't know the names of the characters, I think the orange creature is a seal but I'm not 100% sure).

The GUP Playset has three modes of play. It can race around in water bear mode, and It go upright in scout mode. Dubz mostly plays with it in command centre mode. He opens up the playset and uses the hub to organise the rescues. At first I thought that £39.99 was a lot to pay for this toy. But then I noticed how well made it is. Dubz has dropped it several times. Not one part of the toy has broken off.

Dubz has already asked for more Octonauts toys. Maybe Father Christmas will bring him some. Does your little one like Octonauts? What are those animals? Maybe Dubz and I should watch the show and found out what these creatures are and why they're sailing around.

Octonauts Polar VehicleOctonauts Polar Vehicle


We were sent the Octonauts polar vehicle for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.





Seeing Sites in London

On Sunday we packed a weekend's worth of activities into one day. And though we were exhausted by the end of the day, we managed loads of fun activities. If you only have 10 hours to spend in London, then this would be terrific day (with or without your family).

Breakfast: It's the most important meal of the day, doncha know?! While Dubz and Husband had the breakfast baps, Moozles and I ate yummy pancakes with bacon. It can be tough to find fluffy American pancakes in the UK, and Garfunkel's served some delicious pancakes.

Morning: I went to Madame Tussauds once as a teenager, when I visited London with my dad. It has changed a lot in 25 years. And besides the celebrity waxworks, they now have a section dedicated to Star Wars and Superheroes. Dubz is obsessed with Star Wars, so he was beyond happy. Moozles' favourite part was the 4D Marvel Superheroes film. These were my two favourites as well.

Lunch: More yumminess at Garfunkel's. There is a children's meal deal (on offer for lunch and dinner). One main course, plus dessert and a drink for only £6.95. The meals come with a choice of vegetables, chips or the salad bar. It is so tiresome going out for a meal and you have to pay extra for your children to eat vegetables.

Afternoon: Open-top bus ride around London with The Original Tour. e have been meaning to do this for ages and just haven't gotten around to it. We all loved the bus tour and it was Husband's favourite part of the day. It is lovely to see the sites, whilst relaxing after a busy day. My three-year old, Dubz, was pretty tired after this (around 4.30pm), so Husband took him home. Then Moozles and I continued with our group of bloggers to the London Eye. I have been on the Eye several times, but it was Moozles' first time. She enjoyed being up high and seeing the gorgeous views of London. And we were quite lucky to have had such a sunny day.

Dinner: From the Southbank, we made our way to another Garfunkel's (there are 13 in London). Moozles was excited to go back to the salad bar. I was excited to be drinking Prosecco and wine (not at the same time, obvs). Moozles and I shared fish and chips, so that we would have enough room to have dessert. My girl and I have our priorities in order! After dinner we walked along Waterloo Bridge before taking the train home. The London sites look so magical at night.

I just want to say thank you to Garfunkel's for planning such a fab day in London. I had never eaten at a Garfunkel's before. I won't lie. I thought the food was going to be a bit rubbish. But I was pleasantly surprised to find delicious food at a reasonable price. My daughter asked why we had never been there (we eat out a lot), and even begged to return. We definitely will! Even though we live in London, there are still so many places we haven't visited. Lucky for us, we have more than 10 hours in which to visit London.

Seeing Sites in LondonLondon in 10 HoursLondon in 10 HoursLondon in 10 HoursSeeing the Sites in LondonSeeing the Sites in LondonSeeing Sites in LondonSeeing the Sites in London





We were invited to experience Garfunkel's and the London sites in return for this review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.




My Guest Bathroom MakeoverWe bought our home about two and a half years ago, and the only reason we could afford to buy in our area is because the house was mostly a wreck. The only room that didn't need major work is the ensuite bathroom in the loft conversion. As it is the guest room, and on the second floor, we do not use this bathroom very often. But every once in a while I go up there and look at it in dismay. It is just not to my taste. It is so beige and blah. So I decided to see if I could give it a mini-makeover for just £70.


My Guest Bathroom Makeover

As you can see, the bathroom is quite neutral. Unfortunately, I am not a fan of cream. I like things white and bright. And I prefer things squarer shapes. And look at that sad, and dying, plant. Ugh. It's not the nicest bathroom for guests. The main problem with this bathroom is that there isn't a bath screen on the tub. It's fine if you are having a bath, but most guests have showers which makes the bathroom very wet. So we decided to install a bath screen and add some nice accessories. We can't afford to do anything about the tiles, but I have tried to brighten up the room.


My Guest Bathroom MakeoverMy Guest Bathroom MakeoverMy Guest Bathroom Makeover My Guest Bathroom MakeoverMy Guest Bathroom Makeover

My Guest Bathroom MakeoverThere is quite a bit of green sprinkled throughout the house, and I wanted to bathroom to also have green accents. I replaced the tiny blue bathmat for a large green mat from Ikea. It is super soft, and was a bargain at £5.99. I popped into my local Homebase last week and found a lovely little plant to cheer up the ledge. I had an old green pot that wasn't being used. While at Homebase, I also picked up some fluffy white hand towels. I love white towels. It might not sound practical, but I do.

Last, but certainly not least, we put in a bath screen. I had expected the screen to be much more expensive than it was. It was priced at £54.99, but is now on sale for £43.99. It looks to be of a very good quality. The screen arrived last week and Husband (who works in an office but likes to give DIY his best) put it up on Saturday without any problems. The bathroom looks so much better now. I wish we had done our mini-makeover sooner. What do you think?


We were reimbursed by Homebase for our purchases, but all opinions expressed are entirely my own.




Monthly Monday Melfie

October really creeped up on me this month. September was so busy. And I didn't take many selfies. So I thought I would share a photo of Moozles and me from The London Eye yesterday.

I want to thank everyone who has taken part in this linky in the past year. I started this linky to encourage myself, and others, to get in photos with your children. But this will be the last month for Monthly Monday Melfie. I just don't have the time anymore. But I hope to see you all join in on Twitter and Instagram. Maybe on a Monday? Please keep taking those selfies.

Let's see how you are getting in the picture. It can be a selfie on your phone, using a selfie stick or setting the timer on your camera or phone. As long as your camera roll has photos of you lovely parents with your lovely children. Grab the badge below, link up and tweet up. If you tag me into your tweet (@CalifornianMum), I will re-tweet you. #monthlymondaymelfie

Californian Mum in London


Wifi on the go

I would like to say that I keep my time on email and social media to the evenings. But alas, I'm kinda addicted. I like to see what's going on on Instagram, chat with friends on Facebook and check in on email. At my daughter's swim class, waiting at the school gate, relaxing at a cafe or even on the sofa. It's especially useful on train rides when I need to get a few bits done, or even if I just feel like goofing off.

Normally I have enough 3G, but sometimes I run out and have to pay extra. :(  But for the past week and a half, I have been trying out the Huawei Mobile Wi-Fi unit. Not only can you use it with your mobile, but you can also use it with your tablet or laptop. It is a great little device if you are often away from Wi-Fi but need to stay connected. Not only  can it go six hours without a recharge (by mains charger), but you can use it to connect up to 10 different Wi-Fi gadgets. You pay a monthly fee for the device, which gives you as much date as you might need.

Having a mobile Wi-Fi unit means I can now take my Wi-Fi only iPad out to play. Oops, I mean, for work. Another item that has helped take my iPad out of the house is my Bluetooth keyboard from Caseflex. Pop in some batteries and in one minute of set-up, you can use your keyboard to type easily on your tablet. My iPad has mostly been used for kids' games recently as I could not deal with the annoyance of emails and web searches on the touch screen. I will definitely be reclaiming my iPad back now.

So, any other social media addicts out there using or needing these gadgets?

Wifi on the go Wifi on the go



I was sent the mifi device and keyboard for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.




Making More Mummy Friends

This week was the autumn mums' meet-up I had organised (and the second meet-up, with the first one being a picnic in August). Five lovely mums, and their darling children, came along to Richmond Park for a play and a natter. This is not the kind of situation that I would normally put myself in. I'm a bit awkward with strangers and I have to force myself to be friendly. But since my mid-20s, I have forced myself to be a friendlier person. This has led me to some really good, and sometimes unexpected, friendships. After all, you're never too old to make a new friend.