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.