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31.5.13

Room For Improvement-Our Bedroom

When we moved in to this house 7 years ago our bedroom was the first room we redecorated. The walls were a bright lilac and we changed this too a soft blue.
And that was it.
We eventually put up 3 wedding photos and 2 years ago I convinced my husband that a big mirror would be perfect on the wall opposite our bed.
The furniture we bought isn't amazing and we are really restricted, as a result there tends to be clothes everywhere. The fact I don't love our bedroom doesn't give me much encouragement to keep it tidy either. And as a result my husband has never been keen for us to decorate it.

So, when I was given the chance to decorate any room in our house for £50 as part of a 'Room for Improvement' Challenge set up by MoneySupermarket, it was clear our bedroom would be the one to benefit.
I didn't have a theme as such but wanted to work around this theory:
And it couldn't be more true.
I wanted to get as much as I could from the £50. I considered buying new curtains but then the majority of the budget would be spent and it wouldn't fix and of our storage issues.

So, key points I wanted to focus on:
Somewhere to put my scarves. They have been stuck in a box on top of our wardrobe. Meaning I forget about some of them or they just gather dust. 
I have various wicker baskets of "stuff". hair products, skin care, perfume. The ones on the photo above are only half of the ones we have in our room. I'm slightly obsessed. 
I wanted to sort these but to also jazz them up a bit.
Our bed is pretty boring so I wanted to just add a few cushions to make it a little bit more cosy.
Making the walls prettier
Sorting out our bedside tables, possibly with a lamp.

We went out to 3 shops in total. B&M, B&Q and Next. This is a selection from our haul.
I could actually eat him.
After totally it all up I realised I had only spent £30! The photos above only show half of the items from our first shop so the next day we went out and bought some more!
I wanted to save money where I could so I also raided my sewing and fabric bags. I found a few bits of felt, some polka dot fabric and my Cath Kidston ribbon and used these to customise various pieces.


And these are some of the smaller details. 
I painted the top half and bottom half of two wicker baskets with paint I found for 50p(!) and added some ribbon and a flower. 
I tied some ribbon around the top of the glass jar to tie it in with the other pieces on the shelf.
I added ribbon to two of the single hanging hearts, writing Mr and Mrs on one of them.
I added fabric to the back of the hanging hearts.
I cut out hearts from some felt and stuck these onto the cushions.
We had our books in various boxes and these were piled up beside the tallboy. Once I had removed the scarves from the plastic box and hung them up on the heart hooks, I then created more space to put the book boxes on top of the wardrobe. 
I had 20 other scarves I don't wear so much which I placed in a wicker box and put next to the tallboy. On top this box I put another wicker box which I keep my WI magazines in.
I've seen other bloggers and YouTube vloggers using fairy lights around beds and think this is beautiful. I didn't want to wrap ours around the bed because the boys would ruin them within minutes so I draped the lights around our wedding photos, making an extra special feature of these.

This is our cost breakdown:
The white heart peg hooks were supposed to be £6.99 each, so I was hoping to make it closer to the £50 budget but as they went through the till we realised they had gone down to £1.99.
Bargain.
The single hanging hearts were also supposed to be £1.99 but again went through as £1.
The cushions were supposed to be £7.99 each but had gone down to £3 each.

My husband didn't see any of this until he got home and was very impressed by the amount of clutter I had reduced and space I had created.  He was also surprised at how I managed to not go over the £50 budget, despite trying!
I've ordered some fabric so I can make some bunting and extra cushions.
I normally head to bed around 1-2am but last night went up at 9.30pm because I wanted to be in there so much. And ended up staying in bed for an extra hour this morning just laying in bed with the boys.

I think this proves that by shopping around and visiting the cheaper shops, and also using your own creative flair, you can make some really impressive changes on a small budget.
I love our bedroom now.

If you want to see other entries for this challenge you can buy searching the hashtag #roomforimprovement on Twitter.

I was given £50 from Money Supermarket for the purpose of this challenge and competition.

30.5.13

Sprinkly Chocolate Slice {Recipe}

*Disclaimer: I am (now) aware that 'sprinkly' is not a word (thanks Helen). But it totally should be, and I like if the words 'sparkly' and 'spiky' exist then so should sprinkly.

I've already shared our Marshmallow Pops and now is the turn for these tasty beasts.

You will need:
Puff pastry. I used Jus' Rol Puff Pastry sheets.
Chocolate spread. I used Nutella.
A bar of chocolate for melting on top. I used a basic Sainsburys bar.
Sprinkles.
Egg wash

This is so simple.
Lay out your pastry sheet and divide into 6 pieces, or more if you want to make mini bitesize slices (great for a picnic I think).
Spread Nutella onto one half of each divided piece, then fold over and press the edges together. Mark around the edges with a fork. I probably used a tablespoon or two of Nutella for each slice.
Brush with egg wash.
Place onto a baking tray covered with greaseproof paper and place into a preheated oven at 200 degrees for around 20-25 minutes or until the pastry has started to brown.
Whilst these are cooking melt some chocolate.
Once the pastry slices are out of the oven and still hot drizzle chocolate over the top, then simply sprinkle your, erm, sprinkles on top.
Done!

You can either eat these hot/warm, although it is rather messy with the melted chocolate on top but uber yum! Or wait for them to cool, still quite messy but still uber yum.

Simple and effective. The boys absolutely loved them (as did my husband, and I) and will soon be trying them with different fillings, like jam for example.




Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

27.5.13

A Big Pile of Yuk

That would be me.
A big pile of yuk.
I don't recognise myself. I feel ashamed. I feel sorry for my family.
I feel like I've let everyone down.

I keep having breakdowns, because of how I look.
And I don't know what to do about it.
I just want to be me again.
To be confident.
To be proud of a family photo rather than feeling ashamed because I ruin them.

I want to feel pretty. I want to look pretty.
I don't want to continue walking around feeling like everyone is looking at me and thinking "yuk!"

I don't want to keep dreading meeting up with people and seeing people because I know they'll notice my weight.
Instantly be hit with how big I am, or how much bigger I have become since they last saw me.

I don't want to be thin.
I just want to be normal.
I want to have the motivation, willpower and energy to do something about this.

I want to be in control.

I feel totally out of control.

I feel disgusting.

I hate that I have to put a disclaimer, but I'm not doing this for attention. I'm not doing this for people to tell me I look ok. I'm writing it because I can't keep it locked in my head any longer.

A Short Afternoon Walk

After my little cake date with Charles on Saturday we went to my mums to collect her and Harry and drove to the marshes near my town.
We've visited these marshes lots and lots of times so the boys are pretty confident with wear to go and what to do.
It was nice to just let Harry run free. There are cows down at the marshes at the moment so we went and said hello to those and then went for a walk around a small field. The boys threw stones into the little river with my mum and after we all felt a tiny bit too cold we headed home to play in the garden.

It was only a short walk but was still lovely to get the fresh air and to stretch our legs.

 
 
 
 

26.5.13

A New Way of Relaxing

I'm sure I'm not the only mummy out there who finds it hard to relax in the evening. I'm always on edge waiting for a boy/the boys to wake up needing milk, water, hot chocolate, a cuddle, medicine and so on.
I tend to crash out on the sofa once dinner has been served and *bad wife alert* I tend to not move for the remainder of the evening.
My husband goes to bed around 10-10.30 and I then go to bed anytime between 11 and 2! I'll either be watching YouTube videos, reading blogs, writing blog posts, stalking people on Twitter, "window shopping", lusting over certain London hotels, watching tv, etc.

My husband is pretty obsessed with Aldi. I think if he could go there everyday he would. For a while he's been desperately trying to spend over £30. I know that sounds odd, but we kept buying a trolley full of items and would only spend around £20. He discovered their red wine which is now his favourite and we tend to buy beer from there too, as it's cheap but really nice.
In the summer we buy their own Sangria and serve it in a jug with additional frozen berries. It's amazing.
Last week I spotted bottles of Mojito for £3.99. The last time I can recall having a Mojito was in 2008 on our cruise. It was the first one I'd ever had and they had put too much salt around the top so I was put off.
But at this price I thought it would be worth a try.
My husband then grabbed a second bottle and some fresh mint. If you're going to do cocktails, you must do them properly!

Well, it was absolutely delicious. And even nicer the longer the mint is left in.

I may not be able to completely relax in the evenings but this certainly helped a little bit.

25.5.13

A Mummy and Son Afternoon Date

Since having Harry I very rarely get quality time with Charles. My husband works Saturday afternoons and then Sundays are our family days so there is no time really for us to do something. Just the two of us.
My mum works half days, every other Saturday, and this week I feel this overwhelming need to just be with Charles. Luckily it was her full day off so we planned for her to look after Harry whilst we did something special.
I had an idea for a photoshoot I'd like to do with him and that was our plan for today, except it was too windy to do what I wanted to do so we've postponed that for next week (hopefully).
We also planned to go to the cinema but it's quite expensive when you add up my ticket, his ticket and then a popcorn treat (I want him to have the full cinema experience) so I want to save that plan until there's something we really want to watch, rather than picking something at random that we might not like.

So, we instead went for a simple plan of taking him for a haircut and then going out for cake.
It was nice to be able to concentrate all of my attention on him at the Barbers, rather than having to stand holding onto Harry whilst I try and make sure Charles is looking straight/looking down/looking up etc.
We've never been for lunch or for a treat together in a cafe before so it was really lovely just to sit there, at a table, together and talk.
For most of it I just stared at him.

I was delighted to finally discover lots of bluebells and took the opportunity to take some photos of him sitting and standing near them. Although that was suddenly cut short due to the appearance of a bee.

There is a Maritime Museum in the park we visited and although I tend to avoid talk of bombs, and guns (Charles doesn't know what a gun is which I am very proud of) I did briefly talk to him about
the bombs and rockets we saw within the park.

Charles chose a massive slice of 'death by chocolate' cake, hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows and I went for Eton Mess and a Tradtional Lemonade.
I was shocked that he managed to eat all of the cake!

For being a good boy he was given 10p to put in the Postman Pat Charity Box. The box has been there since I was a little girl so it's very special.

After we left the cafe we had a little walk amoungst the bluebells and Charles spoke to Harry on the phone for the first time. It was a very cute moment.

We only had two hours together but it was really wonderful just spending time together. And I can't wait to do it again.