Is your home ready for your new arrival?

Is your home ready for your new arrival?

Having a baby is one of the most incredible, exciting and terrifying things you can do in your life. Your world changes forever, and you change forever- you truly get to understand love in its purest form. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, it’s difficult at times too.

As well as making sure everything is OK with yours and your baby’s health, you have the practical things to consider. For example, are your finances in order? You certainly don’t need to be rich to give your child a good life, but there are significant costs to cover and so getting yourself in the best position with money that you can makes sense. Is your car up to scratch? If you currently only have a two-seater car for example then you won’t have space for your partner as well as the car seat. Maybe you only have a two door model which would make getting a car seat in and out a bit of a pain. Perhaps the safety features aren’t as modern as you want- either way, a new car might be on the cards. Your home is another thing to get right, and before you get pregnant (or before your baby arrives) here are a few things to consider.

Location

If you moved into your home before thinking about having children, then things like how good the local schools or parks are probably didn’t cross your mind. You might live in a place that has a high crime rate, but decided to take the risk because as a couple it was close to work or generally made sense at the time. However when a baby comes along that can change, and you will probably want somewhere safe and family friendly. If you decide to move home, be sure to look into the amenities you might need nearby- soft play centres, nurseries, schools and parks. Check out the crime rates and make sure you’re not in a dangerous location such as on a very busy road.

Practicality

You might have a good house in the right area, but perhaps you don’t have enough bedrooms? Maybe the layout feels cramped and doesn’t make sense? You could get around this by having an extension built, a loft conversion or re-jigging some of the walls. You could even have a company like County the home improvers come in and refit everything for you. Spacious rooms with hard wearing and easy to clean flooring is no bad thing when you have little ones.

Accessibility

If you live in an apartment block which can only be accessed via stairs, or if your home has lots of steps outside then think if this would be practical with a pram. Life with a young baby is already difficult enough, not being easily able to get in and out of your home is only going to make things worse. If you can’t make the changes that you need to, then it could be worth looking for something new.

This is a collaborative post.

Get The Whole Family Involved To Make Your Garden Summer-Ready

Get The Whole Family Involved To Make Your Garden Summer-Ready

With all the great weather we’ve been having lately, dare we say that summer is here – and earlier than expected! While you’ve probably been ready for it for a while since the infamous ‘Beast from the East’, can you say the same about your garden?

Gardening can feel like a chore, especially if it’s not your favourite household job. However, when you get the whole family involved – it can become a much more enjoyable task.

Here’s how you can get the whole family involved in making your garden summer-ready.

Many hands make light clearing work

Clearing the garden of debris can make a big difference to the overall look of your garden. Stray rubbish, leaves, and other things that have made their way into your garden can spoil the look during the summer months. Getting everyone involved in clearing up will make it much quicker to restore your garden. Make sure everyone wears gloves to prevent injuries and keep young children away from glass and sharp objects.

Build something together

A home improvement project can be a fun way to bring the family together and is a great way to help get everyone out of the house and get some fresh air. You could build some garden furniture from railway sleepers, add some decking or a patio – something that you can all enjoy during the summer months. Take a look at Pinterest or YouTube for some fun garden DIY projects that you can all do together. Even small children can help with painting and watering, so there are different ways you can help them feel involved.

Get planting

By getting your kids involved in planting, you can help to teach them some useful skills that will benefit them in the future. Some of the easiest vegetables and herbs to plant now include beans, carrots, chives and lettuce – which all make excellent ingredients for many summer dishes. Teach your kids the value of growing fresh fruit and vegetable and the importance of healthy eating – it’ll be extremely satisfying getting to eat produce you know you’ve grown yourself.

Add some garden tasks to the chores list

Having chores to do around the home is important for the whole family. It teaches kids responsibility, stops them spending all their time in front of a screen and it helps keeps your home in order. Add some garden tasks to your family chores list to help keep it looking fresh throughout the summer months. There are several health benefits of having a family garden, including helping to ease stress and can form a part of your recommended daily physical activity.

Getting your garden ready for the warmer months is one way to get your home ready for summer. From simple garden maintenance to a complete renovation, there are some great things you can do as a family to make your garden great. Make the most of the good weather when it’s here and get gardening with the family this summer.

 

This is a collaborative post.

Life lately: School admissions, dog broody
and the 2018 MAMA conference

Life lately: School admissions, dog broody <br> and the 2018 MAMA conference <br/>

I wrote my last ‘life lately’ post back in December so there’s lots to catch up on…

Jasmine turned four

At the beginning of April, Jasmine turned four-years-old. We had a fantastic day with swimming and soft play at Brean leisure park – followed by a ginormous chocolate cake (peter rabbit themed, of course) when we got home.

Over a month later and I still cannot believe I have a 4-year-old… until she opens her mouth and I look at her in awe thinking “well aren’t you a proper little person now?!” But she really does seem so grown up lately, she wants to do everything herself (we stood, freezing our asses off, in the middle of town for 5 minutes the other day whilst she tried to zip up her own coat).

She’s very outgoing and tries to strike up conversations with just about anybody. I’ve no idea where she gets from as both her dad and I are incredibly introverted!

School admissions

A week or so later, we found out which primary school Jasmine had been given a place at and it turned out we were really, really disappointed. To be fair, we had been to see the school previously and it was one of our choices, however, when it came to accepting it, we couldn’t do it. It’s an OK school and Jasmine, I’m sure would be fine there. But we wanted more than just ‘OK’ and so the last week has seen us hurriedly visiting school after school in the hope that we’d find one that a) we loved and b) had a space available for Jasmine. We went back to the school we had been allocated for a second look and still felt the same way about it. We also looked at some schools we had not previously considered, village schools that are a little further afield, two of which we absolutely adored. We’ve applied for those and are now anxiously awaiting the outcome of our second application – cross everything for us, please!

Dog Broody

I have been massively dog broody (t’is a thing) and for a while have been considering getting another dog. A couple of weekends ago we went to see a beautiful crossbreed called Lesi – a rescue dog from Bosnia. He was absolutely gorgeous and a total sweetheart but it was clear to see that he had a lot issues due to the way he had been treated. Visiting him gave me a reality check – he was not yet house trained, or lead trained and would I really want a rescue dog around the girls when I knew so little of his background? With regret, I had to tell the charity who was rehoming him that we wouldn’t be giving him a home. I was sad about it but ultimately I know that it was the right decision for our family and for him too. We wouldn’t be able to commit to give him the time and attention he needed. With 2 children 4 and under and a sassy schnauzer, I more than have my hands full already. I still would like to adopt a rescue dog in the future but I think it’ll be when the girls are much older.

Teething sucks!

My poor little Elowen is really suffering with teething at the moment. She’s got four canine teeth cutting through at once which must feel just awful. Her sleep has been quite unsettled over the last week or so because of it. At least after these, there’s only 4 more teeth to go before she has a full set!

Oh and for those who don’t know… E finally started sleeping through the night. It only took 16 months. ;)

2018 MAMA Conference 

I’ve just come back from my first ever trip to Scotland for the MAMA conference in Glasgow. It’s a conference which is primarily for midwives but there were many different professions from the ‘birth world’, including doulas and obstetricians. It was a fantastic weekend and, whilst I did have the occasional moment of feeling like I had impostor syndrome, I learned so much! I spent most of the weekend with one of my NCT course mates who I got to know really well over the few days we were there. L, if you’re reading – I love ya!

I missed my babies terribly, as I knew I would but it also made me realise that I should make more time for other things that are important to me too. I’m a mum. But I’m not just a mum. I’m a student. A wife. A friend. A foodie. A lover of comedy. I am many, many things. And I’m determined to make more time for all of ‘Jenna’.

Slimming World

One last bit of news before I head to the land of nod. I rejoined Slimming World today. I’d been thinking about joining my local group for a while as I’ve put on so much weight over the last year or so. It’s a subject that probably deserves it’s own post at some point as there’s a lot to go into as to why I’ve put on the weight and why I’ve not been motivated to do anything about it until now. But I’m excited to get cracking with Slimming World and hopefully start to feel better in my own skin.

That’s all for now. :)

I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to lately?

Jenna xx

My ‘No Spend Month’ Diary: Week two

My ‘No Spend Month’ Diary: Week two

If your interested in why I’m having a ‘no spend month’ then check out my original post here.

If you want to see how I did in Week One then click here.

I’m posting this weekly diary a bit later than planned but here’s how my second ‘no spend’ week went…

Day 8. 

I had a study day at home today so was mostly focused on doing my coursework. However, my sweet tooth got the better of me because when I picked J up from pre-school, I nipped into the corner shop to buy a packet of Cadbury Mini Eggs!

Total spent: £1.00

Day 9.

We had the craft box out today (J’s really into crafting at the moment) so I took the opportunity to make a Valentine’s card for my husband. I used a toilet roll tube to make a heart stamper and embellished the card with cut out letters from magazines. I’m quite pleased with it and I’m sure Stephen will appreciate the effort I went to. ;)

Total spent: £0.00

Day 10. 

I’ve been trying to hold off buying these, but I just couldn’t wait any longer… I needed to get replacement batteries for Ewan the Dream Sheep. We’re trying to get E into a better sleep routine and we always have a little more success when we use white noise. We tried using an app on our phone but it just wasn’t cutting it. Today, I bought the damn batteries and E went to bed much easier. No regrets.

Total spent: £4.20

Day 11.

Stephen and J wanted to go to the zoo today and I was almost tempted to go with it. Tickets would’ve cost us about £40 so I looked for an alternative day out. I suggested we go to Ashton Court – a large estate/grounds that is free to visit. We made a packed lunch and bundled the kids and dog into the car. It was SUCH a cold morning but it was nice to be out of the house. It wasn’t an entirely free day out as J asked for an ice cream(!) and we had to pay for parking. But still considerably cheaper than a day at the zoo. I’ve told J we can go to the zoo for her birthday in April.

Total spent: £2.70 (Parking and a Nobbly Bobbly Ice Cream)

Day 12.

It was a gorgeous, sunny day today which makes not spending money so much easier. I went out for a long walk with the girls, letting Jasmine decide where we went. We ended up saying ‘hi’ to some nearby horses and mooching through our local woods. Happy days. :)

Total spent: £0.00

Day 13.

Today was pancake day and we did pop out to Tesco to get some additional ingredients *cough* Nutella *cough*! I’m generally not counting groceries as money spent but in this case these were things we could’ve gone without but didn’t. I mean, you gotta have pancakes on pancake day, right?

Total spent: £3.70

Day 14.

It’s been a while since Stephen and I have been out on a date anywhere and this Valentine’s day was no different. Instead we made do with a (homemade) curry by candlelight and exchanged our (homemade) cards. It was a really lovely, romantic evening. :)

Total Spent: £0.00

Total spent this week: £11.60

 

Have you ever attempted a ‘no spend’ challenge?

Jenna xx

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My ‘No Spend Month’ Diary: Week one

My ‘No Spend Month’ Diary: Week one

If your interested in why I’m having a ‘no spend month’ then check out my original post here.

Here’s how the first 7 days went…

Day 1. 

Today I kicked off my no spend month by:

Taking the girls to the library. On the way we pretended to have magic wands (sticks) and were ‘turning each other into frogs’. Then we stopped off at the river to play pooh sticks. Plenty of free fun right there!

We spent an hour playing and reading books in the library and picked out 6 to bring home with us.

Bought E’s nappies with my Boots points.

Nappies are essentials so obviously I won’t be able to avoid buying them for the whole of February but I really wanted a great start to my ‘no spend month’. By using the points I had on my Boots Advantage Card I could avoid spending cash.

Signed up for Netflix free trial. 

I love watching a good box set or film in the evening but I can end up spending a fair bit of money downloading films from Google Play or Sky Store. Netflix offer a one month free trial to new subscribers and I’m excited to binge-watch some new shows for free! Any recommendations?

Total spent: £0.00

Day 2.

We didn’t do a lot today so not much opportunity to spend money. We had a chilled day at home and watched some shows on Netflix. (Jasmine is a big fan of the Beat Bugs episodes!) Then we tackled J’s messy bedroom as it looked like there had been an explosion in a toy factory in there.

In the evening I found out that a blogger friend has sadly suffered a bereavement so I contributed some cash, along with my other blogger mama pals, for a donation to her chosen charity.

Total spent: £3.00

Day 3. 

This morning we were all up and out of the house early as I had to go into Bristol city centre to do my driving theory test (which I booked and paid for a few weeks back). I passed – yay!

I’d looked for free things we could do afterwards so as to make the most of our trip and discovered that Windmill Hill City Farm was a short drive away from the test centre. Despite the weather being a bit crummy, we donned wellies and popped over for a visit. I’m so glad we did because the girls really enjoyed themselves.

Total spent: £0.00

Day 4.

Today I treated Jasmine to a trip to the cinema to see ‘Early Man’, the new Aardman film. Fortunately, I had a cinema gift voucher so the tickets (which would’ve cost over £20) didn’t cost me anything. I even remembered to buy treats from the supermarket rather than at the cinema, saving me a small fortune.

Total spent: £2.75 (on popcorn, drinks and sweeties)

Day 5.

A friend of mine brought over a child bike seat today which I agreed to buy from her before my NSM (no spend month) began but as I paid for it today, it counts! I want to be able to take E out on my bike when the weather gets better and was looking at buying a new child seat. My friend mentioned that she had one that had never been used and that I could buy it from her. So I’m still saving money, just in a different way! ;)

Total spent: £20.00

Day 6.

Today, instead of spending E’s nap time time wandering around the shops, I had a bit of clear out around the house. I managed to fill a big bag with stuff to donate to charity. A bit of de-cluttering and a spend-free day: woohoo!

Total spent: £0.00

Day 7.

Today, when J got home from pre-school, we decided to do some Valentine’s crafts. Normally I’d go out and buy new bits for specific craft activities but this time opted to use whatever we could find in our already-full craft box. I was quite pleased with the results!

Total Spent: 0.00

Total spent this week: £25.75

Overall, not a bad start to my challenge – obviously I spent more than I was hoping to but I think I can do even better next week. I haven’t really been tempted to buy much due to not going in ANY shops all week. (I had my groceries delivered and I’m not counting money spent on essentials such as food).

Onwards and upwards…

Have you ever attempted a ‘no spend’ challenge?

Jenna xx

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