Saturday, 6 April 2019

Daddy Makes A Mud Kitchen

Gav and I have been joking around about making one of these for a while. To be honest I didn't think he was remotely capable 😂
With all the deliveries we have had recently, we had a few spare palettes hanging around, so he thought it was worth a go!


He started off by cutting one in half. One side would be the kitchen top, and then other was separated into pieces to fill in the gaps.


Then the 4 cut off supports he used as legs. 


He then used a jigsaw to cut out spaces for the sinks. Yes plural! We knew the arguments would be too much otherwise 🙄


He was concerned that the wood would give them splinters, so he gave  every surface a good sand. 


Then he thought he would add on a few extras. Handles for knobs. A couple of switches, and some thin slices of a tree stump we had recently cut down. He then personalised it with their names 😀


I can't believe how amazing it looks! I'm so proud of him. This took him 2-3 hours to create, and the only things we brought were washing up bowls. I can't believe people charge £200+ for these! I love that they can say "my daddy made that!" (When they eventually talk😝)


Thanks for reading!
x

Saturday, 30 March 2019

AD | Our Favourite Family Meal

Meat is a huge part of our diet. Each day we try to vary the type of meat we use in our evening meal. A simple Spaghetti Bolognese is a firm favourite in our house. My basic recipe doesn't tend to vary, but I try to use recipes that can be flexible to throw in other bits to prevent any food waste.


Spaghetti Bolognese

5% fat Beef Mince - (Tesco 750g £3.79 / half pack used)
1 can of chopped tomatoes - (Tesco 28p)
1 tbsp Tomato Puree - (Tesco 50p)
1 heaped tsp of garlic paste - (Tesco £1 per jar)
Schwartz mix - (Tesco 50p)
Dried Spaghetti - (Tesco 20p)

1 Carrot (grated) - (Tesco 6p)
6 Mushrooms (sliced) - (Tesco 95p per pack)
1 Onion (chopped) - (Tesco 10p)

Cheddar (grated) to serve!

All that for less than a fiver 😊








Did you know?
Beef provides eight essential vitamins and minerals that support good health and well-being (Niacin, vitamins B6 and B12, riboflavin, plus iron, zinc, potassium and phosphorus). It is so important to me that I'm providing my children with a nutritional balanced diet.

This post is an entry for the #MeatMatters Challenge, sponsored by Simply Beef and Lamb. Learn more about the benefits of cooking and eating beef and lamb along with recipe ideas and inspiration here!

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Our Potty Training Journey (Phase 1)

I've been apprehensive to start potty training too early, as many moons ago I worked in a day nursery. Parents had been known to try and potty train their children way too early, and then the child would end up getting so disheartened by the continuous outfit changes and negative comments, that they would end up being fully potty trained much later than the other children. The boys will be starting nursery in September, so I know by then they'll need to be dry in the day. 

In preparation I'd done a little research online, and it's recommended that you introduce the potty to your child for a while before, to ensure that they aren't alarmed by something new. Maybe just leave in the bathroom, or their play area. 

We brought the BabyBjorn pictured below, and placed it in our bathroom. To our surprise the boys were instantly intrigued by it, and wanted to try it out. We placed Ollie on and he did a wee. It was tiny, and probably a fluke, but my goodness he was proud of himself. This instantly ignited the competitiveness in Harry, and he pulled off the same the following day. 
They began squabbling over who would sit on it, so we brought another in blue. We'd ask the boys morning and night whether they fancy trying. We quickly realised that we needed a physical reward, so we introduced skittles (sweets)! One wee, equals one skittle. Within a couple of days the boys were able to squeeze one (or multiple) out to order. Then to our surprise Ollie squeezed out a HUGE poo. We knew that needed more than a skittle, so the rule now is a poo gets you a Chocolate Coin. 

We have been kindly gifted some wipes from Kandoo that are flushable. The boys love pushing the button, and pulling out a wipe.  I would highly recommend as it makes the whole process exciting. 

We have also been kindly gifted a reward chart from Sally @totsup which the boys adore. We have been using this for more than just potty training.  

I can't believe how many photos I have on my phone of wees and poos, but I'm just so super proud. They issue we have is that they don't have the communication skills to ask, so we have to continually nag them to use the potty. We haven't braved outside the house yet, but it's definitely steps in the right direction. Watch this space!

Monday, 25 March 2019

AD | What's in my changing bag (grab bag)?


This is our grab bag within our Onco changing bag. Bepanthen has been an essential in my changing bag from day one. I was bought a tube as a part of a brilliant maternity leave hamper my colleagues put together. The mummy's told me it would be my most loved item. Pre-motherhood I wasn’t sure, but now I know exactly what they mean. We pop a little on at most nappy changes, and every night after their bath and they thankfully don't seem to get nappy rash. 

Here's my beautiful hamper https://www.instagram.com/p/BQH8sefgAyq/ 💙💙


This post is an entry for the #BepanthenProtects Challenge, sponsored by Bepanthen. Learn more about how to protect baby’s sensitive skin on https://www.bepanthen.co.uk/ 

Disclaimer: Bag, nappies, wipes and cream were all gifted to me, but the opinions are all my own.  

Saturday, 9 March 2019

House Reno - Our Bedroom

This is our 'soon to be' master bedroom. Whilst that is being done, we are sleeping in the soon to be boys room. 

The walls were covered in wood chip wallpaper, and Artex on the ceiling. 

We ripped off the skirting, as we will be replacing with a slightly taller version. 
After removing all the wood chip *sorry, many, many, many hours removing wood chip*, we got  a plasterer in to skim the walls and ceilings. 

Plug switches are few and far between in this house. We got an electrician in to add a few more either side of the bed, and some where out television will be going. 

We have painted the walls and ceilings. We now need to rub down and paint the door, built in wardrobes and window sill gloss white. 

We also need to order carpets, and built in wardrobes. 

We have ordered a new bed, which is due for delivery in April. 

I'm super excited to get our space right.. but as soon as we have finished that room, it means its the boys room to do next! 😱AND MORE WOOD CHIP!

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

House Reno - The Back Garden

The garden has to be one of the areas that went through the most significant change over the first couple of weeks of moving in. 

When we moved in that garden hadn't been touched for years. I think the mower had been thrown around for the viewing back in September, but that was it.
It was heavily over grown with an empty pond. After removing a lot go trees and shrubbery, we realised that it was in fact two ponds, connected by a waterfall.

It had a greenhouse, that we listed on Facebook and someone came and dismantled and took away for free. 

All our family mucked in with cutting back. We had to purchase an incinerator to keep up with the sheer amount of garden waste we were creating daily. 




Although we haven't quite dug out all the stumps yet, the boys have so much more space to play already.



Last week we got the patio doors replaced. They were really old, and I really struggled to open them. We now have beautiful white uPVC sliding doors, and I'm so happy with them!
The garden is on a gradient, which we would like to flatten as best as we can. We have taken advice and it seems the best way is to first remove a large amount of soil, and then create different levels.

Long term, we ideally want to create a larger patio area. Raised flower beds around the outside edge. Then astroturf the lawn, so the boys can play outside all year round. I've also heard that you can hoover it. If you follow me on Instagram, you'd know in the summer I frequently vacuum my patio, so why not the whole garden. But for now that's all a dream!

Saturday, 2 March 2019

House Reno - The Front Garden🏡

Sorry for my lack of posts over the past couple of weeks. Who knew moving house could be so stressful? I'm going to try and upload an update of each space/room. For our first post I think it's right to show the front of our house, and what we have done so far...

The Before's
Right from the initial viewing we had strong opinions abut what we wanted to do to brighten the front up.
   
We really disliked the garage door colour, and wanted to cut back as much as we could to open up the front.

The Progress Working Progress
The driveway was covered in moss and mud. It wasn't initially a priority, but it was slippery when wet. It was too dangerous for the boys, so we borrowed my mum and dad's pressure washer. We spent about 5 hours in the freezing cold, but it came up lovely and instantly made the front look brighter.


Long term we'd love to change the driveway, but we will make do until we can afford to change it. I really like the look of block paving, or the resin. 


There was a large tree that obstructed the view of the house, which we took out very quickly. We'd only moved in two days before, so it was high on my priority list! 

Gavin treated himself to a chainsaw to aid the sheer amount of trees we needs to cut back to remove. This was the photo I took mid job. The boys loved watching "cut cut tree daddy". 



There was also a very large tree between ourselves and our neighbours, that Gav and my dad bravely took down. The neighbours were happier about it than we were! Apparently the sap was causing them much nuisance for their car and driveway.

Just a little stump left, ready for a number plaque

On the other side, the garden was extremely overgrown. It was a much bigger job and we ever anticipated. It's taken days with many hands, and we are still not finished. Our neighbours have been amazing, and everyone that walks past offers us their green bin for our garden waste (which of course we accept!). They are all so pleased that the house is being loved again after being empty for many years. Once we are clear, we want to put a pretty fence on our border to pretty it up. 

We have painted the dated brown wood to a bright white. And painted the garage door blue. We have installed new modern lights. 



This is by no means the finished, but I'm so proud of what we and our amazing families have managed to achieve over the past 6.5 weeks! 

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Camping with the Craig's

In an effort to save money, Gavin convinced me that camping was the way forward. I've never camped before, nor do I have any desire to, but it is a passion for Gavin, and he'd love the boys to experience it. I've agreed to give it a go (twice(because the first WILL be a guaranteed disaster)), and then if I still don't like it it'll be boys trips from then onwards.

In great attempts to make my experience as great as it can be, Gavin has spent many an hour trawling the internet for the perfect equipment, at bargain prices.


THE TENT

We have gone for the enormous Vango Marna 600 XL 6 Person Tent. It has a zipped porch area at the front, perfect to safely storing the boys buggy, without taking inside the floored tent. And hopefully for summer evenings, sat in a chair sipping on dark fruits cider. 


The mid section, is the living space. And then to the rear in the bedroom. It can be separated into two rooms, for when the boys get older and want their privacy. Unfortunately the room dividers won't block out the snoring, or farting from the boys in my life!

This is it! We have also purchased the added Vango foot print (groundsheet) and Vango carpet, to make it homely.


SLEEPING

Gavin knows that for me to stand any chance of enjoying the camping life, I need to get sleep. We got 2 x Double Air Bed and 1 x Single Air Bed. They are the EuroHike ones from Blacks, with a built in air pump. We tested them in our living room, and they seem alright!


Equipment

We have brought two adult chairs, and two child chairs. We're still looking for a storage unit or some sort, along with a inflatable sofa, if anyone has any recommendations?


EATING

We have picked up a collapsable washing bowl/chopping board, water containers and crockery (all in the sale). Gavin's parents have an old cooker from when he used to go as a kid, which we have tested and it still works. Gavin treated himself to a Weber go anywhere BBQ, which will be perfect for rustling up a tasty dinner every night (we can even use it as a small fire afterwards.)


The Plan

Gavin and his family often went camping to Devon when they were younger. One of his friends has highly recommended a campsite in Dorset that he wants to try as well. 

Please drop us a message if anyone has any recommendations for good family orientated camp sites/equipment/tips!

Wish me luck....GULP!

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

OMG we're actually moving!

This all started way back on the 23rd July. My dad sent me a link to a property up for sale on our estate, that he'd seen when walking our family dog. This wasn't unusual of my dad, but this time when I ignored the message he queried whether I liked it. My response was "Oh of course it's the dream. Liveable, but great potential", and it seemed way out of our price range. 

As mentioned before, we had gone through a year long battle to get planning permission for a loft conversion. We live in an area where you have to ask permission to do anything to your property😖 The stress of it all was taking it's toll on us all. The house is feeling smaller, and it felt like one thing after another. 

Fast forward to mid September, when I took the boys out for a stroll we noticed that the house my dad mentioned was still on the market. Out of pure curiosity we booked a viewing on (Wed 26th Sept), and even took my mum and dad along for the nosey. I was expecting it to be dreadful, but instead I liked it. Don't get me wrong, wallpaper needs removing, there's elderly grab rails everywhere, the kitchen is very dated, and there isn't a bath, but it instantly felt homely. No nasty smells, and I could tell that the previous owners had cared for it. 

We all came away shocked, and a little smitten. We were crazy right?  The property was almost in touching distance, but we would be short money wise.

That afternoon we called a local estate agent to value our property, and he came the following day (Fri 28th Sept). We needed him to be honest of what we could achieve money wise, but also not shatter our dreams. Thankfully he came in bang on the bare minimum we needed. He said he'd have an offer on the table within two weeks, which we were desperate to believe.

All hopes started to fade away, when he couldn't get a photographer until the Wednesday, and he took until (Fri 5th Oct) to get them back. The vendor of the property we wanted, would only accept offers from people who had accepted offers on their property already.

During the week Gav and I had been talking, and we had both dreamt about being in the new house. I felt like I was becoming more and more attached, and yet the dream was slowly fading away. We'd even check the sign outside the house most days.

Finally on Friday 12th October we had two people booked in for a viewing. As it was so early on, I didn't really hold my breath. Well guess what. The first person left and made an offer within an hour. We had the second person booked in that afternoon, who equally loved it. We accepted an offer, and instantly put an offer in for the house and it was accepted too.


After a longgggg (not very patient) wait we finally exchanged on Thursday 20th December, and agreed a moving date for Monday 14th January.  

Even though our journey with this house is nearing the end, we have had some of the most amazing times in this house. Gav and I have lived here for eight years. We celebrated huge events like our engagement, our wedding night, finding out we were pregnant, we bought the boys home from SCUBU.... There's so much love in these walls, I hope the next family get the same happiness here, as we did. 

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