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

{ Find me on: BloglovinInstagram and Twitter }

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

{ Find me on: BloglovinInstagram and Twitter }

Two

Two

Two. We were supposed to be done at two. I was supposed to be done at two.

Just moments after E was born, I scooped her up into my arms and looked across to my husband.

“I’m never doing that again. I’m done.” (To be fair, my fanny was still stinging.)

Hubby nodded. “Two is a good number.”

14 months on and I have that oh-so-familiar ache. I’m longing for another baby. I don’t feel done.

It’s impossible to ignore, believe me I have tried.

And I often think that this feeling will pass, eventually. When the girls are both older and life gets easier. When nappy changes and night feeds are but distant memories. Maybe I’ll just look back and think “those days were hard” and never want to put myself through it again.

But right now I cannot ignore my feelings.

Stephen and I both like the idea of having a big family but (being far more sensible than I am) he worries about the practicalities of having a third child. Space, money, effort. I do think about those things too but my ovaries chime in with “WE’D MAKE IT WORK, SOMEHOW!”

Is being broody enough of a reason to have a third baby?

Although, this feels like more than just broodiness. I’m not getting ‘clucky’ at the sight of a newborn. I’m thinking about growing our family every waking second of the day. This is all-consuming.

Even on the hardest days.

When the kids have spent the the entire day squabbling.

Or E’s kept me awake all night.

When I’m so tired that my head pounds.

I. still. want. another.

We were supposed to be done at two. I was supposed to be done at two.

Jenna xx

Why I’m planning to have a ‘no spend month’
and how I’m hoping to do it

Why I’m planning to have a ‘no spend month’ <br> and how I’m hoping to do it <br/>

Why I’m planning to have a ‘no spend month’…

I have a confession to make. I’m addicted to shopping.

Not the kind of shopping that you might first think of when somebody says their addicted to buying things. I don’t spend a fortune on handbags, clothes or shoes. And I’m certainly not in debt.

But I still buy things we don’t need or even have the space for, purely for the ‘buzz’ of it. I like the feeling having new stuff. Whether it’s buying a pack of nice pens (I do love my stationary) for £3 or a bottle of kitchen cleaner for £2 (even though we have about 6 bottles of kitchen cleaner under the sink at home already).

I. Can’t. Seem. To. Stop. Buying. Stuff.

And this is why I’m going to try my very best to make February a ‘no spend month’.

Why now?

1. I’m fed up of the clutter.

I’m sure it takes me twice as long to tidy my house because of all of the ‘stuff’ we’ve accumulated. Most of the things I end up buying don’t serve any particular purpose and just end up gathering dust.

2. I want us to be able to afford a holiday abroad.

We’re very fortunate that we live comfortably in terms of keeping a roof over our head and food in our cupboards. And I realise that this is very much a ‘first world problem’ but right now we can’t afford to go on an overseas holiday this year.

I really wanted us to go on a ‘big holiday’ this year, before J starts school in September and we’re restricted to travelling in the school holidays and paying extortionate prices.

Small loans can go along way financially, but in order to save for a holiday I need to learn to curb my spending habits. Saving money for one month isn’t going to pay for a holiday – I realise that, but every pound I don’t spend will contribute to making our sunny getaway a reality.

3. It takes 28 days to change a habit.

February is ‘short’ month and not spending for 28 days seems achievable. Also, depending on who you ask, it supposedly takes 28 days to change a habit. We shall see!

How I’m planning to do it:

Realistically, I’m going to have outgoings in February, utility bills, pet insurance, driving lessons etc. and that’s fine. I can’t do much about those things but it’s everything else, the things I can do something about, that I’ll be focusing on.

I’ve broken those things into the following categories…

Food: 

We tend not to bulk buy food, we shop weekly and plan our meals so that there’s little or no waste. This means that we don’t have lots food in our store cupboards and freezer to eat up during February so I plan to food shop weekly as normal. Food is a necessary expenditure so I’m going to try my best to keep our shopping bills to a minimum by planning cheap, healthy family meals. I will not buy ANYTHING other than food from the supermarket. Cleaning products, toiletries and clothes will not be going into my shopping basket – we have plenty already.

I will also be avoiding spending money on lunches and snacks whilst out and about. I’ve realised recently that a couple of drinks and some cake from the cafe after toddler group can often cost me a small fortune.

Travel:

Not spending money on travel should be easy. I don’t drive and seldom use public transport because I’m lucky enough to live in a town where everything is within walking distance (including the shopping centre… gulp!)

Entertainment: 

I don’t want to spend the entirety of February stuck indoors with two littles – I think we’d all go a little stir crazy. Instead, I’m going to use this challenge as an opportunity to explore our local parks and free attractions. E and I attend Hartbeeps (toddler group) on Tuesdays but this has already been prepaid so we will continue with that. I also have a cinema gift card with a fair bit of credit left on it, so I’m planning to use this to take J to the cinema on the weekends. Convincing her to go without her beloved popcorn could be interesting though!

Another few ways I plan to get some free entertainment:

Using my library to borrow some books.

I’m thinking of taking advantage of Netflix’s free month trial too.

Downloading free podcasts to listen to.

Personal care:

The beauty of doing this early on in the year is that I’m already stocked up on smellies from Christmas gifts. I have more shower gels than you can shake a stick at. I shouldn’t need to buy anything in terms of personal care.  If I do, it would just be for the sake of it.

How I’m going to avoiding temptation…

I’ll be skipping any haul videos that come up on YouTube subs page or blog posts that are trying to sell me something.

I’ll be deleting marketing e-mails as soon as they enter my inbox.

I’ll be avoiding both going into physical shops and browsing online shops.

I’ll be leaving my bank cards at home when I go out.

I’ll pack lunches, snacks and drinks when we head out of the house in the mornings.

Wish me luck!

I’m planning to keep a weekly diary of how I’m doing (mostly to keep me accountable) so keep an eye out for those posts over the next few weeks.

Do you have any no spend tips for me?

Jenna xx

This is a collaborative post.