20 January 2019

Phoebe Is Five

To Phoebe

This year has hurtled by at an alarming rate. It's been a big one for you with you starting school in September, but it's safe to say you totally love it and have really come into your own. I think it's made you feel really grown up and your lovely little school gives you such confidence. You love learning and are keen to read and write us little notes. You've also become quite the little artist with some wonderful creations coming home. Things like dance and PE have are a revelation to you and I can tell you're enjoying discovering the new things school has to offer. You're not quite sure about school dinners, or fire drills, although we've settled on jacket potato's with beans most days which is fine with me. I'm not sure you'll ever get over the disappointment that there wasn't an actual fire when the fire bell went and you had to stand out in the playground!

Phoebe on her 5th Birthday


You're cheeky and lots of fun to be around, always cheerful and super loud when you want to be for someone so dinky. A wonderful example was your reinvention of the inn keepers wife role in the nativity this year - so much feist and comedy with a 'no room at the inn I say' delivered in a way that could win you a role in Eastenders and made everyone smile.

You're showing such kindness to your classmates, including them, championing them and fighting their corner and we're unbelievably proud of you for that. You're great at being a friend, a sister and part of a group. People say that being the 'middle' child can be a tricky place in the family but I think having a big sister and a little sister has taught you how to interact and play with children older and younger than you.

As much as you're thriving at school I'm really missing having you home on my days off and Lottie is too. You and Lottie still play for hours with your babies at weekends and you're the first out in the garden to make a mud pie or a fairy garden. You and Ellie have grown closer now that you're at school together, you really look out for each other there which is just lovely.

You are so speedy on your balance bike, we now just need to convince you to get on one with pedals - but as with everything, you'll do it when you're ready! You are such a little magpie, a collector of treasures and all things sparkly and have little bags and boxes of things squirrelled all around the house. This birthday all you asked us for was some clip on earrings and jammy dodger cupcakes and were thrilled with both.

You continue to amaze us with your very clear fashion choices and attention to detail... only recently you asked us to have your hair cut into a bob and it really suits you. You know yourself so well and are confident in your decisions and I absolutely love that. Despite your confidence, you're still quite a home bird and like familiarity meaning new things can be daunting for you. You come to my side and take my hand for reassurance and I love that you know that I'm always there to give it. Bedtime stories are my favourite as you snuggle right in and make sure my arm is around you as we read, a moment of still that I really treasure every day.

You're happy and loving, you share and you care and are generally awesome.
Keep being you little lady because there is no one quite like you.

Love you lots 

Mummy x

You may also like to read:
Phoebe Is Four
Phoebe is Three
Phoebe Is Two

12 January 2019

How To Save Money In January

We always feel a little bit of a financial pinch in January after additional expenditure over Christmas - especially with Ellie and Phoebe's birthday's either side of it. It's not necessarily a bad thing as it really makes us think about what we are spending and encourages us to be financially smart with what we do have left until that long awaited January payday. Now, I'm no money saving expert but here are a few ways I save money and make it go as far as possible during what feels like the longest month of the year:


Meal Planning

This is probably where I save most money, not just in January, but across the year. Planning out your meals and then buying only what you need really helps if you're on a budget, not to mention saves on waste. This week I managed to do our food shop for under £50 when it usually averages £75-£100 per week, which for a family of five isn't bad. I saved money this week by going through our cupboards, fridge and freezer and looking at what we already had in and then creating meals around them. A flick through a cookbook or two gave me some inspiration of what we could do with the ingredients and encouraged me to get a bit creative ready steady cook style! I even managed to cook a chilli and a curry with leftover's to freeze for next weeks meals.

Online Food Shopping

Online food shopping always saves me lots of money as I work from a shopping list which we write as we run out of things which means I shop smart and only buy what we need and am not filling the trolley with store offers or buying things I might fancy because I've been tempted as I walk up the supermarket aisles. 

It works really well when you meal plan as you know exactly what you need to buy. It also means that I save time by saving my basket each time and just re selecting the things we need and the biggest bonus of all is that  I don't have to drag three children around a shop who constantly put things in the trolley! When we do pop to the shops for the inevitable top up of milk or bread I always look in the reduced section for anything I can find to pop in the freezer and save money, particularly things like meat; the last hour of opening on a Sunday is a particularly good time to find a bargain.

Vouchers

We do our online food shop with Tesco's which means we earn Clubcard points each time. These can be converted into vouchers for all sorts of things such as days out or restaurant vouchers which come in super handy at this time of year when we don't have any spare disposable income. If I do need to buy anything online I always check for a discount code before purchasing as there usually is one.

Free days

January doesn't mean you can't do anything fun. They say the best things in life are free and there are loads of ways you can enjoy a lovely day without spending a penny. Some of our favourites are a trip to the park, riding bikes or scooters, doing some arts and crafts, playing games together, watching a movie or using our national trust membership which gives us access to hundreds of places for a run around for free.

Shop your wardrobe

The sales are so tempting and the emails popping into my inbox make me want to buy ALL the pretty things with the big discounts making them look extra pretty... January is a good time to have a look at the clothes you already have, have a clear out and rediscover some things you might have forgotten about at the bottom of the drawers or back of the wardrobe. You'll then have a good idea of things you really need and if you do make any purchases in the sales they'll be the right ones rather than impulse buys. I try to buy things that go with stuff I already have, which for someone who practically lives in jeans isn't particularly tricky, but makes lots of sense.

I hope that helps. I think all of the above just come down to thinking about what you are spending, budgeting and being a bit creative. They are habits I want to continue, not just in January, but for the rest of the year too so that we can make our hard earned pennies go further.


Me x

4 December 2018

A New Christmas Tradition - Children's Christmas Bedding

I think I might have a new favourite December tradition... beautiful children's Christmas bedding from the Great Little Trading Co for the girls to snuggle up in each year in the build up to Christmas! For me Christmas is a wonderful time to create little family traditions and memories for my girls. Often it's the simplest things that you remember and the feelings associated with them and I hope their new Christmas duvet set will be one of those things that they'll look forward to as December comes around each year.

Gorgeous Christmas Duvet Set from Great Little Trading Co


I have been looking for some festive bedsheets for such a long time as I thought how lovely it would to add a sprinkle of Christmas magic to the children's bedrooms. GLTC have designed the most gorgeous set with a timeless, simple design on fresh 100% white cotton with a little Father Christmas, Christmas Tree and Reindeer Pattern. 

Gorgeous Children's Christmas Duvet Set from Great Little Trading Co

It looks amazing on the bed and is so nice to snuggle into as it is the usual excellent quality we love from the Great Little Trading Co. The fact that it's so neutral makes it unisex and means it co-ordinates with our existing room colour scheme.

Gorgeous Children's Christmas bedding from Great Little Trading Co


The girls were overjoyed when they came up to bed on the 1st of December to discover their Christmas bedding ; they just thought it was so much fun and couldn't wait to get into bed - in fact bedtime has never been easier! Do you think I'll get away with it in January too?!

Gorgeous Children's Christmas Duvet Set from Great Little Trading Co

I can't wait to tuck three very excited little girls into bed on Christmas Eve, this year and for years to come. I hope they won't mind when I'm still putting their Christmas duvets on their beds when they are twenty five and coming home for Christmas! 

Me x

GLTC also have a matching range of Stockings and Sacks as well as lots of other gorgeous festive accessories for your home, see more at www.gltc.co.uk 

* This is a collaborative post as part of our Testing Team role with Great Little Trading Co. 
We were kindly sent a duvet set for each of the girls in exchange for this review. 
All thoughts and opinions are my own*

2 December 2018

Ellie is 7

To Ellie

Today you are seven! Sitting down to write your birthday letter is getting harder because there is just so much to say, so much I want to remember about how you are right now. You are quite simply the sweetest little lady at the moment, so kind, so thoughtful and so happy.

Ellie on her 7th birthday


There are three things I particularly admire about you - you're really keen to give things a go, rarely complain and always try your hardest. This is probably best summarised by watching you at your swimming lessons where your determination to progress is really evident. I'm not sure you really like swimming but you know that you need to be able to do it and so you just get on with it. This term at school you asked to do sports club, choir and dance club which I thought was too much but you absolutely insisted. You really wanted to try new things and enjoy the social side as well as the independence it brings.

One of my favourite moments this year was seeing the pride on your face as you mastered riding your bike without stabilisers. This did not come easily to you but you kept trying and eventually you got the hang of it and now there's no stopping you, except perhaps on a hill where the cautious side of your personality takes over!

You still dance continually around the house and you make our hearts dance when you do it, you seem to have a natural aptitude and told us recently that your dream is to dance in the Nutcracker and Swan Lake. It really wouldn't surprise me if one day that dream comes true for you and I really hope it does.

You've started writing using joined up handwriting this year and can read beautifully. We got you an illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone for your birthday and you loved it as much as we hoped you would. The only problem is that Mummy and Daddy are squabbling over who gets to read it with you at bedtime!

Talking of your birthday... you set me the task of a Llama themed party and cake - you're always thinking creatively outside the box and inadvertently pushing me to do the same! I love that you are happy to go off piste a bit and don't feel the need to follow the crowd and hope that we can continue to help you know that being yourself is the best way to be. I wasn't that surprised when you made this request as you really love animals and spend lots of time playing with your Sylvanian Families and Schleich figures.

You particularly love dogs, a love that was sparked by Jack, your grandparents dog who joined the family when you were just 8 months old and who sadly passed away suddenly last month. Needless to say you are heartbroken. You ask us almost weekly if we can have a puppy and we really hope that one day we will make that happen as we know you would care for it wonderfully. Your caring nature and awareness of others is so lovely, you are so compassionate, great company, good fun and beautiful inside and out little miss, there is a lot to learn from you.

Happy birthday darling

Love Mummy x

Read Ellie is 6 HERE

18 October 2018

Tidy Toys with GLTC

Over the last few years we have acquired so many toys and they were beginning to take over the house a little bit. Our playroom was bursting at the seams so we decided with Christmas and two birthdays on the horizon (meaning the inevitable influx of new toys!) that it was time to have a long over due clear out and make room for the girls to actually play. There were lots of toys taking up valuable space that the girls had now outgrown, as well as toys that they just weren't playing with because they couldn't find or access them very easily. 


This prompted us to look at our playroom storage and we realised that the girls needs had changed from when we first designed the playroom and that it was time for an update. Priorities when looking for solutions were style and functionality, the ability to customise for the girls changing needs, making the most of the space we have and ease of use. As always our first port of call was Great Little Trading Co who have a huge range of brilliant storage options to help tidy away toys and keep rooms mess and clutter free.


We chose the Abbeville Nine Cube Storage unit in white (also available in grey and stone and lots of other shapes and sizes) and teamed it with three Woodland Canvas Storage Cubes and three Ivory and Sage Rope Storage Baskets. I love this combination together, it looks really fresh and is also a little more grown up than what we had previously. 


Choosing the storage to go in the Abbeville Cube was actually the hardest part because there are lots gorgeous options colour ways to choose from - but this does mean you can completely customise the look to suit you. Our new Abbeville Cube has replaced two larger 4 cube units which sat side by side so has freed up a bit of floor and wall space meaning the girls have more room to play. In addition to the nine cubes you can also pop things on top to really maximise the space available, whether that's art supplies, more toys, or decorative items like plants and photo frames.


The great thing about GLTC storage solutions is that even if you don't have a playroom they work brilliantly in family spaces such as the living room and kitchen too, so you can style them to work with your room. There are lots of options to choose from and you can mix and match the ranges so you can effectively create a bespoke storage solution to work for the space that you have. Their furniture is so versatile and can be used to store all sorts of things; we love our Abbeville Storage Bench which we currently use for keeping shoes and bags in near the hallway.


The canvas cubes and rope baskets fit perfectly in the Abbeville Storage Cubes and you can squeeze lots in them; I find them particularly great for grouping together lots of loose bits and pieces Ours currently house things like Duplo, Playmobil, soft toys and imaginative play things. They are just the right size and easy for the girls to pull in and out using the handles and to pack away too. Best of all, when everything is put away in them the playroom looks so neat and tidy without any clutter in sight!


We kept the top three spots clear for books, some little suitcases which the girls keep their tiny world things in, and one spot to rotate a larger toys to inspire and invite play. I love the flexibility the Nine Cube gives us either to add or remove more storage as the girl's toys change meaning it's a piece of furniture which can grow with us.


We moved the play kitchen from the corner of the room next to the storage unit which has worked well as the doors can now open fully and there's more room for the girls to play alongside each other. It also meant we could use it's previous position to create a 'doll nursery area' with the play cot, pram and high chair altogether. 

We added a large Ivory Rope Storage Tub to this part of the room 
to keep the girls dolls and accessories which they play with every single day. It's much easier for them to find what they are looking for and to scoop it all up and pop it in the basket when they have finished playing and has freed up the cot and pram for them to actually play with when they were previously full of dolls. 


I love these baskets and feel like I could do with one in every room in the house, they are particularly handy for housing cuddly toys or something you have lots of - in our case dolls. They are really generously sized, hold their shape and stand up well as well as being available in a gorgeous range of neutral colours.



Everything now has a home, the girls know where to find things and it's much easier to tidy the playroom at the end of the day. Our home feels slightly less taken over, the girls have room to play and we have found a stylish toy storage solution that I love. Thank you for coming to the rescue once again GLTC!


Me x

*This is a collaborative post as part of our GLTC Testing Team Role.
We were kindly gifted the Abbeville Storage Unit and Storage baskets in exchange for an honest review.
All thoughts and opinions are my own*