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!

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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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The nursery: organised chaos

Anyone who knows me will know how organised I like to be. I love order and cleanliness and I absolutely hate for things to be out of place. Everything in our house has a ‘home’. My husband will completely disagree with me on that though! He’s much more laid back about putting things away (I think that’s a nice way of putting it) and could care less if something got put back in the same place as where it was the day before.

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One room that I don’t feel in control of much is Erin’s bedroom, the nursery. Erin has the second biggest room in the house (very close second to our bedroom) but yet there doesn’t seem to be enough room for everything. I wish I could take a picture of the whole room but it just doesn’t fit in from the doorway. As you can see from the picture above there is a changing table, cot and a chest of drawers on one side of the room. On the other side is a wardrobe and a shelving unit.

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While there is a bit of storage I guess I feel like things don’t really have their own proper place. The changing unit is fine and that really does hold a lot. As you can see in the picture I have it completely packed with nappies and wipes. The wardrobe has mostly dresses hung up as well as a few coats and cardigans. The shelving unit has baby grows and sleep suits while the chest of drawers has socks, tights, leggings and t shirts.

I think I wish that I could get to everything a bit easier/ I could see things better. To start with I had so many baby grows and sleep suits that didn’t fit Erin because of her being so small so the shelving unit had multiple sizes on the shelves. The wardrobe is so packed it is hard to find what I want. There are also boxes of extra clothes in sizes going right up to 3 years old (because I buy cheap when and where I can). The t shirts and leggings in the drawers are impossible to sort through quickly to find something to matches.

Erin would probably find this to be the most calming or fun room in the house with the soft colours, tree on the wall and animals everywhere but it stresses me out.

How do you make the most of your nursery and do you have any tips for clothes storage?!

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Yellow sticker day

I love a good bargain as much as the next person but I’m not one of those people who live for coupons and discounts. I’m quite happy paying full price for food but some unexpected ‘yellow sticker’ items is a bit of a bonus.

Today seemed to be a yellow sticker day in my local Sainsbury’s which was surprising because I went in at 4pm and things don’t normally start being reduced until 6 or 7pm. So many isles had yellow stickers everywhere!

Although I did buy more than I had planned, and items I wouldn’t have bought otherwise, I did really well. I spent £24 and as you can see from the picture, I got quite a lot. My best buys were salads and stir fry ingredients which will last John for a few days.

I didn’t only get food though. Sainsbury’s have 25% off their clothes at the moment so I got Erin a dress with leggings. This was already half price at £4 but with the extra off it only cost £3.

I also got some child locks reduced from £3.40 to £1.05 each. We don’t need them yet but they’ll come in handy eventually. Another great purchase was a picture for Erin’s room which was £1.50 in the sale from Valentine’s Day.

I’m super pleased with my shop today! I probably would have bought more though if I hadn’t been on my own with the pram. I just couldn’t carry everything!

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Clothes everywhere!

After telling people I was pregnant all those months ago one of the first things people said was ‘I hope you’ve got a tumble drier!’ I laughed off the comment so many times but now I wish I hadn’t.

Up until this week Erin and I hadn’t left the house too much, mostly due to me still recovering from my c-section and second surgery. However, this week my mum has been to stay and my sister came to stay for a night as well. This has meant going out nearly every day even if that is just to nip into town or Sainsbury’s. Going out generally means more changes of clothes for some reason.

On a normal day I will change Erin in the morning when we wake up and at night before bed with any additional changes throughout the day. Sometimes she can be pretty messy with her bottle and she’ll need changing because her clothes get a bit soggy around the neck. I don’t think I change Erin as much as some people do which is why the amount of washing needed doing in our house surprises me.

2016-02-13 10.16.38This week alone I seem to have done 3 loads of washing and I’ll probably get another one in today when the rest has dried. Unfortunately we don’t actually have a tumble drier and we don’t have central heating so  drying each load can take a couple of days. We do have electric storage heaters but I don’t like to have these on upstairs where I use airers to dry the clothes.

Baby clothes have taken over my house. It’s a good job I have a spare bedroom to use as a laundry room!

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Garden Makeover!

When John and I were buying our first house one of the biggest things I was looking for was a decent sized garden. Growing up I never had a real garden, just a concrete slab of a back yard. I had always wanted somewhere to relax after work and on days off, somewhere to have BBQs and somewhere for our children to play eventually. While the garden was sort of nice to start with, it wasn’t at all what I wanted.

The workshop inIMG-20140216-WA0002 the picture you can see to the left is before we moved in. The previous owners took the workshop away with them because we didn’t want to buy it off them. As you can see, there is a lot of gravel and a lot of plants which ended up being overgrown and dead underneath.

Last summer my mum came to visit and started pulling up anything that was dead. That started me off on a mass clear out and over the course of a year, everything went! 2015-02-21 17.28.45There was no plants at all, no grass and certainly no gravel. We’d had a new fence put up in this time too as the old one was so mismatched, uneven and rotten. We figured we might as well get that done first before sorting anything else out.

As nice as it was to have cleared everything, the garden was pretty depressing. It was bleak and muddy and I hated it. I wanted it all sorted before we got to winter and Jackson could get even more muddy out there than he does now. Luckily, we have a friend who does gardens (he also did the fence) and got us sorted very quickly.

We have now had the majority of the garden turfed and decking is going in next weekend. I didn’t know what to do with each side of the shed and I didn’t want the weeds to grow back so we’re going to put bark down on top of some weed sheets so at least it all looks tidy. I cannot express just how happy I am with our garden now. It’s practical for us and the dog and it will be the perfect place for our child in a few years time. It might not be the fanciest of gardens but Jackson would probably eat any plants I put in there anyway!

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