Saturday, 31 December 2011

Oh no not more resolutions

Happy 2012 everyone xxx

The time is finally here for those new years resolutions you know those good intentions we all have !!!!!
This year my resolution is not to make any resolutions as i know very well that much as i may wish it this time next week i wont be a stone lighter.

Instead I'm going to think a bit more long term and put little baby steps in place. I generally want to be healthier and my first step to that is drinking more water, i would like to get fitter and that can easily be achieved with activities with my very active little boy instead of trying to cram a gym visit into an already over full day.

There are plenty of things to look forward to this year we will be moving house at the end of January and starting the mortgage challenge by moving and improving in the bid for mortgage freedom.

I'm looking forward to becoming a  #grooving mum a loveley weekly blog hop with other mums getting their groove back.

I have just joined photo 365 to take a photograph a day for a year a lovely way to record a year i think.

My biggest long term aim is the day zero project  to list  101 things i would like to do in 1001 days this is a really exciting project and i will update my progress on making it as mum.

This year will also see me celebrate a big birthday as in a few short months i will turn the big 40 how scary is that !

I wish you all a very very happy new year and look forward to hopping over to your blog soon xx

Thought of the day.................. Bring on 2012 I'm ready xx

Listography ~ Top 5 Photos of 2011

Another fantastic listography suggestion  from the lovely Kate takes 5 the theme this week is top 5 photos from 2011. This follows on so nicely from my last post about end of year rituals and again was good to look back positively on 2011 as it draws to a close.

It was difficult to choose only 5 but i did finally manage it so here goes.................

Gnobody laugh!

1.This is my favourite picture of the year taken at the gnome reserve a cute little place we visited whilst on holiday in Devon. Luckily for me and my other half listography only allows 5 photos so thankfully we are spared the embarrassment of our own gnome pictures. The one of my other half however is priceless as Little E picked him a pink gnome hat and i could not resist taking a photo of my other half having a cream tea wearing a pink gnome hat drinking from a tiny floral tea cup.

2. I'm sure my other half will be relieved as i have been kind and chosen this lovely photo of him instead as my second photo of the year. I love natural photos where you capture a moment without anyone  being aware your taking it.

3. This photo was again is from our week in Devon taken at Croyde beach i love the colours and again the complete relaxation that comes from a break from the old routine and having a holiday.

4. I have no idea who Fordy is but i love this photo and we are clearly happy sitting in his/her corner! This was taken after a lovely Sunday lunch in our favourite pub/restaurant called the lamb just down the road from us in Crawley. It must of been a good attempt at eating out as we are smiling there cant of been any toddler tantrums or food thrown at fellow diners on this visit!

5. Another one of my absolute favourites little E and his best friends every time i look at this i chuckle to myself as they look like mini teenagers hanging out im sure the boys are saying something like my friend fancies you.

So lovely to look back over the year in photos really difficult to choose just 5 but a really nice way to end the year. Why not have ago yourself and link up your own listography

Happy new year Everyone xxx

Friday, 30 December 2011

End of year ritual, the new year waiting room

The year is finally coming to a close all presents have been exchanged a months worth of calories has been consumed in a matter of days and children and parents everywhere are just starting to crash and burn after all the Christmas excitement.

The time between Christmas and new year is always a bit like no mans land a kind of waiting area for the new year to begin with all its promise of fresh starts and resolutions. I often find myself wishing it away as I'm eager to start a fresh with new plans and ideas but often then forget to use the waiting area to live the moment and find time of refection and celebration.

I was inspired by Holly Beckers end of year ritual to use the time to reflect on this years accomplishments before planning full steam ahead.

I think this is a great idea as often we just rush around always planning in our heads what we need to do next so much that we are not even present in what we are currently doing. We rarely take the time to see how far we have come or congratulate ourselves on what we have achieved too busy focusing on what we didn't achieve.

Looking back over 2011 is a bit scary my instinct is to dwell on and berate myself for time i feel i have wasted but if i look closely even the things that did not go so well have taught me valuable lessons and i have learnt new skills as a result so this is an achievement in its self.

I have made a lot of life changes this year and like many mums have realised that you cant have it all therefore to focus on whats really important and just let the rest go. I would far rather be enjoying time with my family than paying someone to look after them, this has meant having to creatively survive on less money but again in this i found new ways to use my skills.

The skill of being creative with less money inspired me to start blogging and  making it as mum was born, i am the least technical person i know so had to learn a new skill from scratch and I'm so glad i did, i have met some wonderful people and found lots of wonderful blogs. I followed the little mummy free blog course and found it really easy to follow for a novice like me and definitely recommend it to anyone thinking of starting a blog.

Following the mum blogger course also gave me the confidence to try become a mumpreneur this again is a fantastic course that helped me to re asses my skills and see how i could be a great mum and earn an income.

This course for me turned up a surprising result as i realised that i could use my retail visual merchandising skills and my love of property to move and improve and set the mortgage challenge (there's money in the house)

My mum has become housebound this year as is very poorly and i look back over the year and see that although i have felt stressed and often overwhelmed by responsibility i have done a great job of holding the family together and I'm really proud of myself for that. I am glad that my mum gets to stay in her own home for as long as possible with the care and support i can give her.

I love designing and decorating and my favourite project this year was definitely my little boys room that was achieved on a really tight budget and is something to look back this year on with pride.

I'm also proud of being the best mum and wife i can be, I'm very far from perfect but i do the very best i personally can do to ensure i have a happy and healthy family.

Before i started writing this post at first glance 2011 was a year i thought i was pleased to say goodbye to but on closer inspection i see how many precious moments pass in a year that barely get the praise they deserve and it truly is worthwhile spending a few moments in the new year waiting room and being grateful for the present moment before welcoming in the new year.

Take a little time  to reflect and celebrate 2011 and feel free to share your thoughts and comments.
Lets hope 2012 brings as many good things our way, Happy new year everyone xxxxxxxxxxx

Thought of the day.......... Live the moment

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Listography - What makes Christmas Christmas

Listography - What makes Christmas Christmas

Being a fairly new bee blogger I've been wanting to do listography for awhile but linking is way too scary for a new bee, at last I've been brave and here goes.

1. I'm not normally a fan of  television adverts i usually do my best to avoid them , However the iconic holidays are coming cola ads are different they are so festive and they have kept to the same format since my childhood. There is something nostalgic and happy about them that reminds me of being a kid and seeing them always leaves me feeling festive they kind of start Christmas. We managed to see the truck this year as it visited our town and my little E was so excited although slightly confused as he asked the girl in the red suit if she was Santa............ Boys!

2,  Every year me and my little E have an outing together to the local pottery to paint a bauble its lovely little keepsake to mark each Christmas of his life. They have his hand print on so are something to treasure forever and lovely personal decorations to bring out every year.

3, I really love candles and twinkly lights they give such a cosy Christmas feel, my favourites are a set of wish candles that come out every year and whoever blows them out gets to make a wish.

4,  A walk Christmas eve night, we love to wrap up warm and go for a walk  its lovely just walking round a couple of streets and seeing every ones Christmas lights . There is a house in the next street to us that is so beautiful its set slightly back from the road and all white lights looks like a Christmas fairytale.

5,  I love the magic of Christmas eve the little routine before my little E goes to bed, the reindeer food he scatters on the front garden the mince pie and glass of Baileys left for Santa. Seeing him dragging his stocking upstairs and hanging it on his bedroom door and the last little look out the window he does for Santa. Children make Christmas Christmas.

What makes Christmas Christmas for you why not have ago at your own listograhy at Kate takes 5

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

There's money in the house!

The last few years for us as a family have been challenging to say the least, like most people we are really feeling the burn of the rising living costs, redundancy and expensive child care that leaves the average family for want of a better word stuffed!!

My husband was made redundant literally hours after the birth of our little E (hows that for timing) and after a rather traumatic birth i was left too ill to return to work quickly. We sort of muddled through with my husband doing his best to cover my  little shop while looking for new employment himself.

 He eventually found new employment but sadly around the time he started back to work my  my mum became seriously ill and on her leaving hospital i became her carer. We had to make the difficult decision to sell my business as there is only so many hours in a day and with elderly care and childcare costs being so high it was just not cost effective. We therefore like many families are living on one wage trying our best to get by. cut a very long story short and spare the gory details,we had to move mum from her home she had lived in for 48 years only weeks after moving home ourselves.  Its been a roller coaster few years and the learning curves have been steep but somehow as a family we managed to hold it all together and I'm proud of us for that.

The time has now come though that something needs to change, i  need to be able contribute to the home again whist still being the best mother,daughter and wife i can be.

Having re assessed we realised that the thing to do was to move again and release the equity created by  the improvements we have made to our current house and then buy another home that  needs improvements.

We have found in doing this we can pay 25% off our mortgage from the equity created by the improvements we have done on our current home which brings the monthly payment down on our next house, this is good at a time most of the other house bills are rising!


The key to getting the best price out of your home really is in the presentation, America definitely have the right idea it is normal practise when selling a home in the states to call in a home stager before they call an estate agent. I hope its something that will catch on over here as it definitely works that's why house builders use show homes as they are wise to the fact presentation sells. I think sadly most UK estate agents are stuck in their ways and will  still reduce the asking price rather than suggest to a seller improvements they can make to achieve a good price.

We really needed to get the best price for our house to help our situation so i pulled out all the stops and styled our home ready to sell, and sell it did we got a good offer in just over a week after going on the market.
 So our mortgage challenge begins we are determined to move and improve again a few  times to eventually pay the mortgage off . The hunt for the new property was finally over today when  we had an offer accepted on a property ironically  two streets from our current one fairly identical just in need of TLC and as a result of needing work  a staggering price difference from our own.

Hopefully I've inspired anyone hoping to sell in the spring to get out the paint brushes finish those half done jobs and edit your clutter to create space before calling the agents in, if you cant face it alone hire some help i promise it will be far more effective than a price drop later.

I'm really excited and cant wait to get to work on our new home next year and I am so pleased to have finally found a way to make it  financially work as mum.

I have a feeling this may be a whole new blog in the making, watch this space x
Thought of the day.....................   A home is where the people you love live.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Elf rewards, the magic of getting a toddler to sleep

I think i have finally found the solution to toddler sleep struggles...................

We all know Santa only brings presents to good boys and girls and most definitely only brings them to children when they are fast asleep in their own bed.

 I feared Santa would not visit our house this year as bed asleep is something my toddler is not keen on  . I have tried most recommended techniques to get him to bed and to stay in bed, including reward charts and the super nanny sleep technique without much success.

Last night after reading several stories there were still no signs of sleep and  E asked if we could  talk about Santa and that gave me an idea..................

We talked about Santa and how he visits good boys and girls when their asleep on Christmas eve and so he knows who has been good he sends a special  Elf  called the sleep Elf to check who is sleeping.

 Suddenly sleep sounded like a good idea and little E did not get out of bed once too busy dreaming of the sleep Elf.
I thought this good behaviour deserved an Elf reward so i made a tiny little Elf stocking from fabric remnants and filled it with a chocolate coin and put it on little E's pillow.

 I think if the little sleep Elf visits every night in December and leaves  Elf rewards we will hopefully have a new improved sleep routine. This  makes a lovely little Christmas tradition as well and adds to  the magic of Christmas.
If your suffering with toddler sleep struggles give the Elf rewards a try it just may be the magic ingredient you've been looking for. I hope this ideas useful please feel free to comment and add other suggestions to sleep struggles xx 

Thought of the day......................... The magic of Christmas x

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Christmas keepsakes, family traditions, baubles, odd socks and babygrows and of course presents !!

 Its officially the start of the Christmas count down and the first box on the advent calenders have been opened. I have been meaning to retrieve all E's first baby grows and baby socks  from the loft as i was going to make a family heirloom advent calender with them by cutting off the feet and numbering them. I thought this would be a lovely tradition something we could bring out every year and what else do you do with baby's first clothes if like me  you cant part with them.

I was inspired by this gorgeous sock advent calender what a fantastic use for odd socks or baby's first items.

Pinned Image

Sadly i never made it up the loft in time so dashed to the shop for a boring choc box and have promised i will definatly make time for one of these next year.

I have however managed to redeem myself and was more organised with another Christmas tradition every year we make a numbered hand print /fingerprint pottery bauble to mark every since E's birth. Its a lovely tradition to have as first there is the enjoyment of making it together an the trip to the pottery kind of marks the start of Christmas for us.

Every year the bauble is different and unique and you can really see  your child's development and the older they get the more decoration they can do for themselves. Its lovely when the Christmas decorations come out to look back on the previous years works of art. I'm not sure how many years E will do this with me especially being a boy but I'm aiming for at least 12 so at least we have the 12 days of Christmas.I will then bribe him at 18 and 21 for a special occasion top up!!

We have a miniature real Christmas tree we brought when Elliott was new born and it seems to grow enough every year to accommodate the current years bauble addition. Its his tree to decorate as he wishes and then we finish off will his special hand print baubles. This starts the decorating in our house and starts building the excitement for little E the main tree and decorations will go up in about a week.

When we went back to collect our bauble we made a couple of inexpensive but priceless presents a hand print vase for nanny and some fingerprint cuff links for daddy that are subtly done so he will actually wear them! If your stuck for Christmas ideas personal presents like these are a great idea. We went to Daisy roots pottery in Witney Oxford to make our items if your local i highly recommend them. There are many places like this across the country and if there is not one near you there is a gap in the market for you if your an entrepreneurial mum!

A lovely personal present for Daddy for only £10

Feel free to link up and share what your Christmas traditions are and any items you have made with your children for Christmas.

Thought of the day........................................Children grow bigger everyday cherish every moment.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

I can see where this days going.......... I wonder can santa help

Sometimes as a mum you can tell exactly how the days going to go before you even open your eyes from that  lovely dream where your lying on an exotic beach somewhere and all around you is peaceful and calm.

 This dream must be stored in the pre child memory bank as peace and quiet is something of a distant memory and exotic beach days  will have to wait for a time that motherhood is a paid  profession.

In my dream i hear the sound of the ocean as water gently drifts to and fro and then the sound of ..........waves crashing !!!!

I leap out of bed eyes still closed and walk in a daze in the  direction of the sound of the ocean and i do indeed find an ocean or more accurately a paddling pool with floaters! in a room that was once my tranquil bathroom.

 It seems E decided after using his potty for all necessary business that the very same full potty would make a much better stool then the one i provided to reach the taps. Needless to say the potty with him on it tipped over and he managed to turn tap on full blast on his way down.  He sits on the floor all innocent and says i was just washing my hands like you taught me to mummy, well what do you say to that.

 All cleared up we make our way down stairs for a drink i need my morning cuppa today more than ever . I am just about to switch the kettle on and i put my foot in a puddle i don't even need to look down as the aroma tells me all i need to know that is no one remembered to put the cat out!
I can definitely see where this days going.................................

By the time Ive cleaned up again we are running late so i skip the cuppa and go on to operation clothes on which is a mission in our house. E has a clothing aversion and if you can get him in them in the first place there off again by the time i have my own on.

 Finally we are dressed and fed and i go to the fridge to get the lunch bag to find instead a very empty fridge and no lunch bag . So a shopping trip pre nursery is called for................... Finally I'm back very much looking forward to the long awaited cuppa and you guessed it............................
No Teabags !!!!!!!

So ...................

Dear Santa , if your listening I've been a very good girl this year and i love my family very very much but please please please can i have a day off for good behaviour. A good nights sleep in a bed where there is no danger of finding an action figure in my pillow case and most of all to wake up to a lovely cup of tea  that does not involve any  cat pee.

 Thank you xxx

Thought of the day..................................   Dream a little dream !

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Nautical boat bedroom on a budget recycling and upcyling

It is possible to create a gorgeous nautical boys boat bedroom without breaking the bank with some savvy shopping recycling and upcycling.

I have always loved the timeless charm of the nautical theme especially for a Little boys bedroom as it can easily be added to and updated and be made more grown up over time.

So when the time finally came to say bye bye to the nursery in favour of a toddler friendly boys room i set to work to create a nautical boat bedroom on a tight budget.

The key things to consider for a child's bedroom are storage and lots of it !! A wipe able floor that leaves enough space for play. A blackout blind for those summer nights where it still looks like day time at 9 o'clock at night.  I know summer nights seem along time ago at the moment but you will thank me when your enjoying a glass of wine instead of arguing with a child that it really is night time.

The first thing we did was remove a very useless built in cupboard that was large but did not really provide accessible storage. We also removed the green carpet that we inherited from the previous owners. Carpets are not a great choice for a child's bedroom as any spills or toddler explosions!! cant be wiped up and don't get me started on the smell that forever stays in a carpet long after a tot has mastered the potty. Last but not least carpets  don't really provide a great surface for toy cars etc.


The new alcove that was created by losing the built in cupboard increased the rooms floor space and gave us a handy alcove space for a wardrobe and drawers.

I mentioned we were working to a tight budget so the flooring we decided on was a vinyl that had the appearance of driftwood. Vinyl for a child's bedroom is perfect as its wipe able and has the advantage over laminate that it is cheaper and also quieter underfoot which is good when kids are running around and also if you need to creep in when they are sleeping.

The next challenge was to find some inexpensive furniture and accessories etc i generally have expensive taste i therefore find i get better brands and more for my money if i search second hand or upcycle or recycle items i already have.

Children grow out of thing so quick that you can pick up little used pieces of furniture on eBay and as usually the item is restricted to pick up only therefore your only bidding against a few people in your local area. Other useful resources for buying are net mums nearly new and gumtree where you can look in your area for bargains.

So with a few selective searches on eBay, net mums and gumtree i managed to pick up a John Lewis gorgeous blue and white wardrobe bed and drawers set, white company bedding and a Laura Ashley blind and rug. I then re purposed a white unit from another room into a toy box/ reading seat by making  a seat pad out of a pillow and making some cushions out of fabric remnants. I used the blind as reference for colour when choosing paint for the wall and used a diy stores own brand paint which i found cheaper and just as good as the expensive big brands.

Finally the finishing touches, i really wanted to turn the bed into a boat with a sail so i scoured the charity shops and picked up two shower curtains which were the perfect fabric for a sail. I used the eyelets on the shower curtains as nautical detail down the middle and the natural slope of the ceiling to get the sail shape. I then used curtain tape to add more detail and sewed it in place to cover the raw edges of the shower curtain. I finished off by adding a boat style number plate with my little boys initials and date of birth using gingham fabric remnants. Using more fabric remnants and curtain tape from my sewing box i made bunting to hang across the bedroom beam. I then just finished off with further finds from charity shops such as metal buckets, little boats etc to add the finishing touches. Boat pictures using fabric remnants to tie the room together and finish off.

Im really pleased the room was created on a budget as the result is a balance of the old and new and items that you cant buy in the shops.

Thought of the day........................  Upcycling is very uplifting

Monday, 7 November 2011

Hedgehogs garden hoggitat

   Hedgehogs are at risk of becoming extinct in the UK so we were very blessed this summer to have a mum and baby visit our garden every night. They became very tame and came to our back door every evening to wait for a meal of catfood and milk.

Nino our cat was more than happy to share with them and they became really good friends who shared and played nicely. I wish it was that easy to get a toddler to learn the same skill as this is a real issue for E at the moment !!!

   October and November is the time for hedgehogs to hibernate for the winter and many it seems don't make it through to spring either getting run over in search of a safe haven or not finding good enough accommodation.

   We therefore decided to build them a hedgehog house in our garden to keep them safe and snug and out of harms way. Planning permission not needed for this particular type of extension however as usual a reliable builder was hard to find!!  Realising that my other half was not going to build in time we went for a mid range shop bought one called hoggitat from the garden center.

   I managed to get a general labourer in the form of a willing toddler to collect up the needed leaves and twigs to furnish the hoggitat to a high specification. This was a great way to teach E about wildlife and seasons and he loves the outdoors and as an added bonus we got the garden ready for winter.

 The hedgehog extension is complete and carefully situated in a quiet sheltered spot in our garden. Hopefully somewhere snug inside their new home is two warm cosy hedgehogs, I really want to peak in and check but don't want to disturb them. So i will have to wait till the the spring when hopefully one evening they will once again wait at my back door with the cat looking for dinner.

Thought of the day...............  Even in the smallest garden magic happens


Thursday, 6 October 2011

Balloon race great party and fundraising idea

                                                                         1,2,3 race !
 A couple of weeks ago it was E's 3rd birthday with a Ben and Holly's little kingdom theme. You may remember he helped me make the Gaston ladybird cake and pass the parcel featured in upcyling wallpaper post!

 The weather in the UK being so unpredictable for a garden party and our house (as we found out last year)is just is not big enough to hold 10 toddlers and 20 adults. So we decided to hold his party at the local leisure center which  amazingly worked out cheaper than having it at home was less stressful and someone else clears up the mess.

 It did however seem a shame to not be outside if it was a nice day so we added a twist after the party if the weather was good we would go to the park for a balloon race.

  The party was a real success having it away from home was a winner as i was able to spend time with the birthday boy instead of spending half the day making food and the other half clearing up.

 The weather was kind to us and after the party everyone made their way to the field next to the park for a balloon race which was a real hit the children were so excited watching the balloon's soar through the sky on a clear September day. Once the balloon's were out of sight the children all ran to the park and everyone spent another hour together enjoying the last few rays of summer.

 A couple of weeks have passed and already the party seems like a distant memory and had given up hope that any balloon's would be found or that anyone would  contact me. Then suddenly today i had several lovely emails from kind people who took the time to reply one even gave me the exact map reference point. So far the winning balloon is Josephs that made it all the way to West Sussex and was found on the 5th October. The birthday boys balloon is still out there somewhere waiting to be discovered so keep looking.

 In the past week i have been blown away several times by human kindness, first my town turning pink for breast cancer, then other blogger's coming together to turn their blogs pink and now strangers taking time to complete a little boys party game .

 Maybe if the ballon race has inspired you i have added a link for a company that do ballon race packs and are kind to the environment. A ballon race can be another great fund raiser to bring a town together maybe hold a pink ballon race for breastcancer awareness.

Thought of the day...........  small gestures can make a big difference

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Turn your blog pink to support breastcancer awareness

Breast cancer awareness month

    My home town of Witney turned pink for a day to help raise awareness and funds to help fight a disease that effects so many families every day. It was fantastic to see retailers pulling together and turning their windows pink . This window display at church green cafe in Witney wins my vote for best window and sums up how we all feel about the disease "pants to breast cancer ".


Many retailers were donating profits for anything pink purchased and the shake shop had pink specials where  we ordered a titilicious!

 As well as the shops  there were lots of fund raising activities dotted round the town such as biscuit decorating, lucky dip and various stalls.

A fantastic day in the October sunshine supporting a great cause, why not get involved and do something pink this month.

I know what effect cancer can have on peoples lives my husband is lucky to be here today having survived stomach cancer. My best friend has lost both her mother and father to cancer in the last six years. Charities such as against breast cancer are doing fantastic work supporting families and raising funds and rasing awareness for early detection.

To help raise awareness for such a great cause please help by turning your blog pink for October. You could have a pink theme or maybe write about an event your hosting  or how breast cancer has effected your life.

Please take time to have a look at the against breast cancer link below as early detection of the disease is really vital.You can  find  important information on what checks to make.

I have asked five friends  to turn their blogs pink and to pass the baton on to five more friends and to link back here.

Everyone welcome to join in link back here your pink blog post xx

Thought of the day ............................ get involved and change lives

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Upcycling wallpaper roll ends for childrens craft projects

Meet the upcycled wallpaper people !!!

  A really simple fun children's craft project using  wallpaper roll ends, magazines buttons all things we keep thinking they may come in handy someday. Well my someday came today when faced with a toddler who was needing entertaining and fast!

The back of wall paper is great if you need large pieces of sturdy paper as i did for this project and is a great way of saving money  and upcycling.

Then all you need to do is using a crayon draw round your little one in various funny poses. While your cutting round the outline get them tearing up various wallpaper roll ends and old magazines. E loved this as for once was getting praise for ripping things to shreds and making a mess.

We then used children's scissors and craft glue to make clothing for our new friends. My button box was raided for eyes but E loved the buttons so much most friends have eyes in their knees top of their heads and all sorts.

 I often wish i had eyes in the back of my head and ten more pairs of hands but that's a whole different story.

 The upcycled wallpaper friends are now life size people walking up our stairs and brought a smile to our faces, and the strangest look from the postman when he dropped off a parcel.

Free children's craft project a great way to recycle those i will keep it just in case items.

Another use for wallpaper roll ends is pass the parcel wrapping paper as i found while party planning continued and i realised i had forgotten to stock up on gift wrap. Well there can only so many brain cells remaining after childbirth and so much multitasking a  women can do !!

Thought of the day.................  Re purposing items is so much fun and saves the day in party planning!!


Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Ben and Holly's Little kingdom, Gaston birthday cake and little kingdom cupcakes

My little Elliott turns 3 this weekend and loves  Ben and Holly's little kingdom, he wanted a Ben and Holly party to celebrate with his friends.  I put on my thinking cap  and we had a fun afternoon designing and making cakes.

 We finally agreed on a Gaston the ladybird birthday cake surrounded by  Elf and fairy cakes.  Although baking is not my usual type of creativity here's how we got on..........

 Once again  my trusty multi purpose shower curtain got an outing, this time as a table cloth to make clean up a bit easier ! E loved helping out and being involved in his party preparations, first of all we made cupcakes for the fairy's and elves. While the cup cakes were cooking we set to work on making Gaston the ladybird.

How to make Gaston.......

         We used two oval baking trays and filled with basic sponge cake mixture to make an oval ladybird shape.

          Once the cakes had cooled  we made butter icing and jam filling and put the two cakes together one on top the other.

          Using pre packed  red icing Elliott rolled out enough icing to cover the whole cake. I then put the icing on the cake and trimmed off  the excess leaving an uncovered area of cake for Gaston's head.

E then helped to roll out the black icing for Gastons head which joined next to the red icing to cove the whole cake. I covered the join and neatened up the edges using strips of rolled icing. Every ladybird needs spots so using a play doh cutter we cut out circles of black icing and dotted them all over and gently used the rolloing pin over the whole cake the smooth out the joins.

 Gastons face was made using 2 small balls of icing with white chocolate buttons inside for the eyes and a little red icing for his mouth and cheeks and licorice for his antennas.

     We then decorated the cupcakes using ricepaper cake toppers of all the Ben and hollys little kingdom charactors and put them round the edge of gaston.

   There were 2 fairy cakes that would not fit on the board so we did a little bit of quality control tasting and were really pleased with our efforts.

I love to hear from you, comments make my day so feel free to link up below with your comments and ideas.xx

   Thought of the day.............   Try something new everyday you may suprise yourself !



Thursday, 15 September 2011

Free fun outside in the sun

I'm a real fan of finding new uses for items and finding new things to do with the children. So this was a great afternoon as it checked all those boxes and a bonus of  enjoying the last few rays of summer at the same time.

Toddler painting in doors usually results in a weeks worth of clearing up and  walls being re painted usually brown my little ones favorite mix it all up colour!

 So it was great to get out doors and create some really big messy art.  I however am quite fond of my decking remaining brown so we brought out the trusty old shower curtain as a large painting mat. Keeping in the re purposing theme we used left over wall paper as big sheets of paper.

Stones to holding the paper down also got painted s so i ended up with a lovely little paper weight as an added bonus.
Being outside E could be really free and messy, we did a large tree and he finger painted leaves. I helped him with masking tape to make a star he painted all over and then we peeled away to make a flag. We did splash paint,  potatoe printing and then finally foot printing .

We had a lovely afternoon
Easy clean up free craft fun, yes really!!

Washing line art gallery looked so pretty.

We let the pictures dry while E enjoyed a nice bath and the trusty shower curtain had a spin in the washing machine ready for its next non shower related use.

A lovely afternoon spending quality time with my little one  and spending no money doing something different.

Thought of the day .............The best things in life really are free.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Easy trustfund top up

  My little boy is obsessed with 1p and 2p coins he finds them everywhere like a little magpie and he usually has around 10p in his pocket everyday.

He has money money boxes   everywhere and we just keep adding to his collecting by putting in the annoying coins that fill your purse and pockets.

 Soon my mum started helping then my husband put a pot on his desk at work and others started to
add to it as it appears everyone hates these little coins in their purses and pockets.

                                                              Buckets of money!

 Finally today got round to counting up his stash today and was amazed to find £48 for under a years collecting a nice amount to add to his trust fund.

 We also manage to get him 12% interest a year by putting it in a high interest Halifax child account that pays out once a year, i then move it once interest added into his trust fund and get the interest again from this account by adding it just before his birthday.

 It really is money you wont miss and  will be a nice amount extra in the trust fund for university or something.

Thought of the day.......... So it really is true the pennies do add up x

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

lucky dip list!

I have just found the best way to work through the to do list.
 Sadly i still dont have the answer to finding more hours in the day but i have found a fun way of getting jobs off the list. The to do list was huge and many of the jobs were equally impotant and equally been put off for far too long and i did not know where to start literally so............

i wrote the long long long list which in its self was a relief  i then cut the list up added a few nice things to it such as long bath and pedicure!! Put all the little strips in a bag and did a lucky dip

could not believe my luck to pull out pedicure but feeling guilty i picked again and promised that if i did the next pick i would then treat myself to pedicure. I am now very pleased to report i have finally got a buisness facebook page set up and very lovely toes. Both things have been to off far to long and really did not take long when looked at on their own instead of  as a mountain of jobs.

 I nearly wavered when i was not 100% happy with photos then remembered the 80% rule and reminded myself that 80% happy was a great start and was better than not starting at all.

A recommended fun way to work through the id rather not  do list if like mine its got tooooooooooo long .

Thought of the day ................ One little baby step is a step in the right direction and one step leads to another.

Photo by flickr

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

babies dont keep

Its so easy as a new mum to run yourself ragged trying to keep to the same standards you had pre baby in less hours a day. I just wanted to share a poem a good friend of mine shared with me just when i needed it back when E was 6 months old. I came across it again today and wanted to share it as maybe it will be viewed by someone else exactly when they need it.

Babies don't keep poem

Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow...
For babies grow up,
we've learned to
our sorrow...
So quiet down cobwebs...
dust go to sleep...
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep!

 I really love this it puts it all in perspective, enjoy being a mum . You will never look back and think i wish i had cleaned more, i think our only regret will be our children growing up to fast enjoy the moment .

I know we have to have a safe hygienic environment to bring up our babies and children so to keep on top of the essentials only this is what works for me.

Ive been trying 20 Min's all change this is that anything can only be done for 20 Min's so if I'm cleaning the kitchen after 20 Min's i stop  the kitchen is 80% cleaner than it was and that's good enough.

Thought of the day...........    the cobwebs can wait.

Biorb fish tank saves the day .... night!

  Sometimes in life just what you need is already there. Remember the sleep struggles i was just about to purchase a night and day lamp in the hope we may all get some sleep when i had my own light bulb moment..... We have a fish tank in our kitchen that from 7 am the tank is on a white light then at 7 pm turns to blue for fishes to sleep, this is exactly the same principle as the sun and moon toddler lights, so we have safely moved this into our little boys bedroom and hooray he wont get up till the fishes are white as he does not want to wake them and now proudly tells everyone he sleeps with his fishes.

 E has a nautical boat bedroom so the tank looks great in his room. The tank we have is a Biorb life , i thought it was great before now its my best friend.

Thought of the day make use of what you already have!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Just cant sleep

 I must be mad its 1.30 am and im blogging as i just cant sleep,this is ironic as having lived through 3 years of a child with sleep aversion you would think i would be tired and i am.... just like him over tired!
 The worrying thing is in around 3 hours the child who knows no mercy will be back up again and bouncing off the walls.  I think even super nanny would find this one a challenge... anyway have done some research and there are clocks for toddlers with night and day i will give these a try and let you know how i get on.

Thought of the day.... sleep when baby sleeps

Monday, 22 August 2011

Hello world

Welcome to my first ever blog, having had an eventful first few years of motherhood and muddling my way through often hanging on by a thread. I thought i would share my journey, how even in tough times with less money and not enough hours in the day it is still possible to have fun, save money,find time and live stylishly.

  Before i became a mum i spent my days in retail management and visual merchandising and along the way studied interior design.

 I think i lost my sanity when i was pregnant as i thought it was a good idea to buy a shop!  Never never  never make any major changes while pregnant as becoming a mum is literally life changing in itself.

 I have learned more in the last few years than i learned in the rest of my life put together. Its been a roller coaster but i  feel very blessed to be where i am now. I would not change a thing, I have  a lovely little boy who brings me joy and he challenges me to learn more everyday.

  I hope you will enjoy my blog and join me as i find creative ways to make it as a mum. How to survive stylishly even with less income, getting the work life balance right and much much more. My creative side is still alive even since losing a few cells in my pregnancy and i hope to share tips and advice for design, creating with kids and lots lots more.

 I look forward to getting to know you x

Thought of the day....   Making it as mum