What do parents do to unwind at home?

A month ago I started a new job and went back to working after being on maternity leave, 3 months earlier than planned! I still do classes with Erin 4 days a week and we’re both always so busy. Rattan Direct recently got me thinking about how John and I, and other parents, unwind at home. My bed is certainly somewhere I unwind but that’s because I’m asleep!

unwind

Rattan Direct have put together a survey to get an idea about how parents unwind at home. It’s a really simple survey to fill out and it will only take a few minutes to complete. If you would like to take part, please follow the link below:

SURVEY

The survey is broken down into three key areas, which are:

1. What parents do to unwind around the home?
2. How are you going to celebrate Christmas this year?
3. Has Brexit actually affected your spending habits around the home and garden?

Here is how I would answer those questions:

I actually find it really hard to unwind, even if I am at home. On an evening when I’m not at work I tend to sit in front of the television with my laptop and get on with some blogging. I don’t stop until midnight. It’s not until I get in a really hot bubble bath that I do start to chill out. Maybe it’s because I feel like I’m shut off from the world in there.

This year will be our first proper Christmas in our own home as we’ve previously visited family instead. This year is also Erin’s first Christmas so we aren’t going anywhere. We’re going to spend the morning in our Christmas PJs and helping Erin and the dog to open their presents. I cannot wait to see how both of them react.

unwind

Honestly, Brexit hasn’t really had much of a personal affect on me and the family in any way yet. I’m not sure it will. It certainly hasn’t made a difference in me overspending on presents this year!

Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with Rattan Direct

Creating a cosy bedroom

When we  bought our house we knew it was somewhere that really needed doing up. The previous owners hadn’t looked after it very well and there’s quite a lot of work to be done. We started off well, doing up the spare bedroom and Erin’s room. We also completely gutted the gardens and changed them completely. However, since being pregnant and having Erin, things sort of stopped. We ran out of time and money. Just recently though, I gave our bedroom a bit of a spruce up with some new bedding.

bedroom

Our bedroom was actually the first that I painted when we moved in, although I just painted on top of what was there already. I painted the room lavender and cream as I needed to get rid of the hot pink the crazy people had it as before.

Bedroom

Our old bedding

We’ve only ever had one set of bedding that actually matches the colour of the room. It has been driving me mad for ages. So, I bought some new reversible bedding and I am so happy with it!

New bedding!

New bedding!

We bought this as a king size set from Very.co.uk for £25. It also comes in red or grey and the matching fitted sheet is available too.

Both the duvet cover and the fitted sheet are a lot thicker than I thought they’d be, making them perfect for autumn/ winter. We only have a thin duvet due to co-sleeping and this set really makes our bedroom warmer and very cosy.

Some bedding sets don’t feel very nice after sleeping in them for a few days but this one was still super soft and comfortable after a week.

My only negative really is that the colour is not the same as the picture on the website.

Picture from Very.co.uk

I actually prefer that the bedding is darker than I’d expected but I know this won’t be the case for everyone.

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For not a lot of money we have managed to make our bedroom feel a lot nicer than it did before! Erin is also a fan!

Garden storage from Keter

One of the first tasks when we bought our house was to tackle the garden. Last year we managed to finish clearing it all, get some decking laid and also get a pretty big big of lawn laid as well. It all looked beautiful until Jackson destroyed the grass with his poison pee. Anyway, the one thing we lacked was garden storage.

We have a shed at the bottom of the garden but it’s such a mess. It has woodworm, a rotten floor and a massive hole in the back where something keeps digging its way in or out. This is how it was when we moved in. We know it needs to go but we need a store for firewood at the minute.

Last month we splashed out a little bit and invested in a Keter Storage Box. Ideally, I really wanted a new shed and a wood store but we don’t have the money for that right now. This was the next best thing.

Garden storage

The Keter storage box is pretty much what you’d expect it to be; a storage box for outside. This box is actually made from plastic so it is weatherproof. This was the main selling point for me. I can’t be doing with more rotten wood.

The storage box took hardly any time at all to put together. John and I did it together because of how big it is. We managed it in less than half an hour. Most of the pieces slot together and there are only a few screws, even if a few are in awkward places.

Garden storage

The storage box is really sturdy and has so far survived some quite strong winds. Although we haven’t gotten round to it yet, you an add a lock if you want so the box is super secure. We only keep the dog food and rabbit hutch things like hay in there at the minute though.

garden storage

There is also an option to add a shelf to the inside. However, all the instructions state is buy plank of wood and screw in. The wood is not supplied. We haven’t bothered with this.

I honestly love our garden storage box. It’s got so much room in it and holds loads. I can see this being used for Erin’s scooter, bike and other outdoor toys when she’s older.

Unfortunately, these aren’t cheap even though they’re made from plastic. Ours was about £90 I think when we bought it. I didn’t mind though because it’s something that will last ages and we can move it around when we want.

I’d actually like something else from Keter and maybe do away with the wooden shed altogether one day. This is the perfect garden storage for us, especially while the garden is a work in progress.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

Keeping the house clean with Zoflora

It is safe to say that a house such as ours does not stay clean for long. With me, my husband, Jackson and Erin some things need cleaning on a very regular basis. When Zoflora got in touch to see if we would like to try some of their products, I couldn’t resist!

Zoflora

Now that we have a small child as well as a very large dog, we have to be quite careful which cleaning products we use. It’s really important to me that our floors are cleaned with something safe for Jackson (and Erin when she starts crawling). Jackson is a bit of a silly dog and often throws his water on the floor then drinks it. He also licks the floor for no apparent reason.

Zoflora

Cleaning the floor with Zoflora was the obvious place to start. I was sent the Green Valley and Twilight Garden scents and I chose Twilight Garden to try first. This is a limited edition scent and is described as ‘A blend of moonlight flowering lilies with the richness of ylang and jasmine, perfectly balanced with uplifting notes of peach, apple and long lasting musk.’

To clean floors Zoflora recommends to use 4 capfuls in a 1.5 litre bucket. If you’re using around pets then please make sure they’re out of the room while floors are drying. This product is only safe when dry. Luckily, Jackson was out of the house while I cleaned so this wasn’t an issue at the time.

Zoflora

Zoflora

After using Zoflora on my kitchen floor, dining room floor and hallway I have to say that I was really impressed! As you can see from the picture above, the kitchen floor is shiny and clean and I know it was also disinfected!

I try to clean our floors as much as possible but Zoflora has made me realise I need to do it more often, especially to keep it disinfected!

I feel a bit disgusting posting these next two pictures but here is the water after cleaning three floor areas.

Zoflora

Zoflora

I was honestly quite shocked at just how dirty the water turned out!

I’m glad I have two bottles of Zoflora to keep me going. Now I want to use it on every single surface in my house. I need to get myself a good spray bottle now to make doing this easier!

Zoflora is a multi-room, multi-purpose cleaner and can be used in so many different ways. It has a 3 in 1 action formula kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses so perfect for households like ours!

Disclaimer: We were sent this product for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own. 

Pride of place

It’s been a while since I have written anything to do with the house. To be honest, I haven’t had the time or money to do anything to it. Recently though, I have given Erin pride of place in our living room.

Pride of place

A few weeks ago at Baby Sensory we were able to have a photo session with Louise Walpole Photography which was fantastic. The session didn’t cost us anything and there was no pressure to buy anything. However, I loved most of Erin’s photos so I had to buy some.

Last week I found some chunky black 7×5 frames in Sainsbury’s on sale for only £4 each. I bought 5!! I knew that I wanted black frames to do a picture wall somewhere in the house at some point so I bought all the frames Sainsbury’s had. I bought photos of Erin, 2 were 7×5 and 1 was 10×8 so I couldn’t frame all 3 pictures.

I’m not quite sure where the picture wall is going to go yet but I was desperate to put up the pictures of my little girl. Our mantelpiece needed a bit of rearranging so I decided the pictures would go there, where I could see them every day. Unfortunately this has meant wedding photos of me and John have come down now.

Pride of place

I am so in love with how this looks. The black frames are fantastic. Now I have two photos framed it makes me want to get a load more done.

We had another photo session done a couple of weeks ago and I’ll be ordering some more prints soon. I have a spare 3 frames so I know exactly what will go in them now. Unfortunately, I have no where to put them at the moment until I redecorate a room and make a feature of the framed pictures.

How do you display family photos around your home?

July nursery update

I wrote a nursery update last month and it’s already time for another. July’s nursery update is all about the new bits I have bought this month.

July's Nursery Update

I have happened to go some great places this month and I have managed to pick up some amazing pieces.

First up are a couple of bits from Elsie and Jem Crafts, a local company based in Sheringham. These I found at a school summer fair around the corner from my house. Unfortunately, the weather was terrible so we didn’t stick around long.

I ended up buying an amazing hand crafted toadstool doorstop and a needle felted fairy.

I had planned on hanging the fairy from the tree decal on the wall but she wasn’t quite right so now she lives on Erin’s wardrobe handles. Isn’t she stunning? There was more of this kind of thing available too and I desperately want something else to go with the fairy. These were both £8 each.

Next up is a wall sign I bought from the Amazona Zoo gift shop. I don’t normally bother with a gift shop but something must have caught my eye. I’m so glad I went in. They also had loads with ‘Erin’ printed on as well!2016-07-09 21.32.30The woodland and toadstool sign was the bargain price of £6. I then got three animal cards (£2.20 each) from Upstairs, Downstairs in Cromer. I absolutely love this shop. I can’t go in it without coming out with something, normally for Erin. These cards are going to hang from the little toadstool clips on the wall sign. They’re cheaper than buying proper prints!

I love buying from local businesses, especially from small crafters. I had such a lucky week of finding things for Erin and I can’t wait to find proper homes for them in her room.

Nursery update

When I was pregnant with Erin I started sorting out the nursery really early on… well, it got painted and I didn’t think much else of it to be honest. As Erin was born nearly a month early I had to wait until after she was born for the carpet to go in and really, it just ended up as a painted room. I thought it was about time for a nursery update.

Nursery Update

The nursery doesn’t actually have a door at the moment. When the carpet was fitted we realised the door didn’t fit afterwards so this needs to be shaved down (I think getting done next week) and there is also no blind in there (also getting done next week).

The only thing that was ‘pretty’ in there was the tree sticker on the wall and the furniture of course.

Now that Erin is 6 months old and will be going into her own room quite soon I thought it was about time to get it all sorted out. Recently we have bought Erin a new wardrobe with loads of storage space. This girl has way too many clothes and I hated having to have them on display before. We now have a chest of drawers in the room that isn’t really needed but I have Erin’s 3-6 month clothes and 6-9 month clothes in the drawers ready for when she finally fits in them. It’s good to have these handy at the minute because Erin keeps having really big growth spurts.

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Where Erin’s clothes used to be is now a book case for the minute until I get something that work a bit better for when she’s older. However, I do really like that we have somewhere to put Erin’s books now and also some pretty decorative items as we don’t have proper shelves. We have Erin’s homemade fabric name that I made on a shelf, owl book ends and also a beautiful family tree from Susan @ Susankman.com. There is also some space at the bottom for some toys!

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Although we don’t use it yet, Erin’s cot has recently been kitted out with a breathable cot bumper (review to come tomorrow), sheets and a blanket. It looks lovely!

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We also have a toy box in one of the alcoves. This isn’t being used yet as I need to re-paint it at some point and there is also a changing table in the room as well. There is a lot of furniture in the nursery at the minute and I want to replace some of it to match the white wardrobe. I have to think about down the line though and where a toddler bed. If I don’t, I could end up with no space at all!

2016-06-25 11.45.25

There is still a lot more I want to do in here, mainly to make the furniture match. I really want some more woodland themed items such as prints for the walls, some really cool kind of shelves (maybe some kind of bird house) and other little accessories.

Do you know of a product that would fit the theme? Do you have a woodland themed room yourself?

I’d love to know how you decorated your child’s bedroom.

The first remortgage!

20140531_163144I absolutely cannot believe that we have been in our house for just over 2 years now.

Getting a mortgage to begin with was not easy for us. Although we were VERY lucky to get given a little bit of money to put towards our deposit it still wasn’t enough for the regular 10% and then fees on top. We were lucky in that we were able to do the Help to Buy scheme and only put 5% down on our house. I say lucky but we have had to struggle for over 2 years with a near £800 mortgage payment every month. Unfortunately, we had to do things this way or we wouldn’t have been able to buy for a very long time. House prices have gone up and we have a baby now. If we had still been saving to buy then I’m pretty sure Erin wouldn’t have happened.

Anyway, we have just come to the end of our original deal and have made a new deal! We stayed with Halifax for various reasons and we actually signed up for our new deal online. It was so easy. We put in our mortgage details and as we already had an account with them, they gave us 2 new deals to choose from there and then, based on nothing changing. I was so surprised to see that our mortgage had gone from a 95% LTV to only 71% LTV. That’s how much house prices have risen around here. Crazy!

Unfortunately we do have some debts and things that need paying off and have been struggling, especially with me being on maternity leave. However, we are now a whopping £200 a month better off due to our new deal so I can relax a little bit about going back to work for now. Obviously I do have to think about that eventually but not for a few more months.

We’ve only fixed in to our new deal for 2 years because it was a much better deal than fixing in for 5 years. I am so happy about how easy it was to remortgage with Halifax and also what deal we got. I’m so looking forward to another 2 years in this house!

Toy Box Project

Late last month I was walking past a shop in town and saw a fantastic piece of furniture. The shop is sort of a furniture shop, it used to be anyway. Now it’s part of a shop that really sells everything. It’s not a charity shop but instead has a load of random things spilling out of the doors. One shop is for normal items and the other is for furniture.

Anyway, I came across this fantastic white chest. For some reason this was the only thing that didn’t have a price on it. The guy working at the shop wasn’t the owner and he didn’t know what this was for sale for. Some items being sold were super cheap in both price and condition but there were also some antiques and really nice pieces sale.

As soon as I saw this, I knew that it would be perfect for Erin as a toy box. I had to have it. The guy working in the shop wanted me to wait until the next Tuesday (I went in on a Saturday) but I wanted it there and then. I offered the guy £20 if I took it straight away and he said yes! I rang John straight away to come and pick it up. Luckily the shop is 5 minutes from our house because we don’t drive and this thing is massive.

I could have tried to get this a bit cheaper I suppose but I know it’s worth more than £20 so it’s a bargain really. I can’t wait to get some paint and do this up. It might take me a while though but luckily Erin doesn’t really need it yet!

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Project Erin

Being painted in neutral colours means that Erin’s nursery is quite plain. We have a lovely, large tree sticker on one wall and there are little bits and pieces of woodland themed items but nothing major. Money is always tight now though with me being on maternity leave but I want Erin’s room to be nice. I want there to be different things in there that she can discover when she’s old enough. I want her to have something different and a room so special that she loves spending time in there. I want Erin to think of her bedroom as a safe haven.

Not being able to afford to buy the mostly amazing, or even the slightly cool items for her room means having to make some things myself. I have never been artsy or very creative though. My sister is the creative one as she can draw and paint. Me, I’m lucky if I can draw a stick man properly. I did have an idea in my head though so off I went and bought a few items and a glue gun.

I had seen children’s names up on their walls or on a shelf and decorated in the theme of the bedroom. I wanted this for Erin. I didn’t really know how to go about making it though so I kind of winged the whole project.

This is how it ended up:

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It is by no means perfect and it certainly wasn’t easy to make. In fact, it was bloody hard! I had no idea that glueing fabric to 30cm cardboard letters would be so damn difficult. I forgot about corners and angles and all of that kind of thing. I didn’t realise beforehand that I couldn’t just cover the front as the letters are 3D and edges would also need to be covered. The edges aren’t near. The fabric has frayed and the R is just a bit messy in loads of different places.

I just don’t care though. Erin’s name looks pretty nice from afar so it will be perfect on a shelf in one of the alcoves in her room. I now have to figure out how to get these letters to stand up properly though because some of them have fabric on the bottoms and are now not even at all. Oops.

Considering this is my first craft project, I’m pretty proud of it. I do kind of wish I’d cheated and painted each letter like I did with the I but then they wouldn’t be as interesting. The whole thing cost me about £10 and that was with a cheap glue gun. I was lucky that a local craft shop was having a massive sale and I got the fabric for 50p each and ribbon wasn’t very expensive at all.

Next up will be a fabric covered pin board… after I get over doing this project!

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