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Halloween Goodies at Homesense

Halloween Goodies at Homesense

It’s fair to say Halloween is Ella’s favourite holiday. She’s obsessed with Halloween the way I am with Christmas. When HomeSense got in touch and asked if we’d like a gift card so we could go and buy some Halloween goodies, she got super excited!
We all love shopping at HomeSense and while Ella was Halloween shopping, Ant was upstairs looking for a new knife. He found one but he can’t have it until his birthday next month!

Halloween goodies at Homesense

Halloween goodies at Homesense

Halloween goodies at Homesense

Halloween goodies at Homesense

Halloween goodies at Homesense

Halloween goodies at Homesense

She was spoilt for choice which meant it took a while for her to choose! In the end, she opted for some decorations that she can use every year. She also bought a plastic tumbler with some sweets inside. It was only £1.99 which we thought was an excellent price 🙂

Halloween goodies at Homesense

She bought some black sparkly pumpkins for £3.99 each

Halloween goodies at Homesense

And a skull candle holder for £9.99

Halloween goodies at Homesense

Thanks, HomeSense, for making Ella’s day 🙂

Christmas Party Dresses from StyleWe

Christmas party dresses

I know lots of you don’t like talking about Christmas this early but as you probably know, I’m nutty about it! I start my full-scale planning as soon as the kids go back to school in September!
Seeing as it’s now October, I figured it would be a good time to start thinking about Christmas party dresses and planning ahead so we can look fabulous.
With this in mind, I’ve been perusing the long evening dresses at StyleWe. There are some gorgeous styles.

I found myself gravitating towards red and green, because, you know, Christmas, but figured other colours are good as well!

evening dresses

Christmas party dresses

Christmas party dresses

Christmas party dresses

Christmas party dresses

Christmas party dresses

Check out the StyleWe blog and Facebook page

This post is in collaboration with StyleWe

Fitted office at home

Fitted office

When we win the lottery (that we refuse to play now since the price increase!) we’d love to make some changes to our home. Ant has his big garage that he calls his office (there’s no way his car will fit in there!) but it would be much better if it were a fitted office.

If we had the money, we’d get the builders (who very conveniently live next door!) to convert the garage. We would have a bigger kitchen and a utility room. Ant would have a nice big room so he could have a fitted home office. Lots and lots of storage would be great to help him get organised.
I’m sure if he had better storage solutions, he would have a tidier office.

At this point, I’d normally show a photo of his office but I’m not going in there! I would if it looked anything like this:

fitted office

I tend to steer clear of his office (which I’m sure he’s very happy about!). If there were things in there I needed, I wouldn’t even know where to start looking.
Fitted modern hinged door wardrobes could be a perfect solution for his storage needs. It’s not only an office space, it has all his tools/DIY stuff in as well. He’s also got stock he’s going to be selling online and at car boot sales. It really could do with someone to come in, see what he’s got and design the whole storage solution for him, making the best use of the space.

fitted office

Seeing as we don’t play the lottery, though, it’s going to a be while before we can make the transformations we want but it’s always nice to window shop and dream, isn’t it?!

 

This is a collaborative post

Homework station makeover challenge

Homework station makeover challenge

Kaycee’s been given a budget to take part in a homework station makeover challenge. She was really excited when we took her shopping and got her to pick out all the things she wanted 🙂

homework station makeover challenge

We recently changed rooms around so we could fit a desk in her room for when she started secondary school. We scavenged some things from other parts of the house, like the desk tidy from my desk and a pot of coloured pencils Aiden no longer needed but her desk was a bit empty and boring.

homework station makeover challenge
Homework station BEFORE

This is what she bought

homework station makeover challenge

homework station makeover challenge
Homework station AFTER

homework station makeover challenge

homework station makeover challenge

homework station makeover challenge

homework station makeover challenge

homework station makeover challenge

homework station makeover challenge

She loves all her new things and seeing her standing desk has also made Ella more interested in doing her homework! She’s asked Kaycee if they can share the desk. Kaycee agreed as long as Ella promises to keep it as tidy as it looks now!

Thanks to Action Storage who provide lockers for schools.

Fashion – How many clothes do two girls need?

Girls and clothes!

I’ve never been a girly girl who loves clothes and fashion so it’s come as a bit shock to me, having two girls who love both. They have more clothes each than I’ve ever owned!

We bought new wardrobes a few years ago and Kaycee still has one with her clothes in but she’s struggling to fit everything. Ella’s wardrobe was put in Aiden’s room last year because he didn’t have room for his clothes in the drawers we gave him.
His old drawers were taken downstairs to the living room and used to store all the craft stuff instead. Ella had 2 sets of pink plastic drawers for her clothes which worked well for a while. They’re quite deep and fit a lot of clothes in. One set was used for her school uniform clothes and the other for her play clothes.

More clothes!

Their clothes seem to have multiplied this summer and it’s not all my fault! Admittedly, I did buy a bag of girls clothes from the charity shop. They were in brilliant condition and I couldn’t say no. Their sister also spoilt them, as usual when they went to stay for a weekend in the holidays!

Add to that, birthday presents containing more clothes and birthday money to buy even more clothes all followed!

The end result is that Kaycee tried to put all Ella’s clothes away and couldn’t fit them in so she tried making space in her wardrobe and that didn’t work either!

Seeing as Aiden’s staying home now (he was planning to go and live with his dad when he was 16) and bedroom plans changed, we’re not going to be getting the big room anytime soon.
We wanted to have made-to-measure fitted wardrobes when we moved into the big bedroom. I’m thinking we might have to have them fitted sooner rather than later so the girls can fit everything in!

The following are my two favourites:

iwardobe made-to-measure fitted wardrobe cream

iwardrobe made-to-measure fitted wardrobe blue

 

The ultimate dream, for the girls, would be to have bespoke walk-in-wardrobes each! It’s not a dream of mine because I’d never have enough clothes/shoes/bags/accessories to fill even a small one!

 

This is a collaborative post

Unexpected costs and how to deal with them

Unexpected costs

Budgeting is a must for us. Every April, at the start of the new tax year I use Excel to create a budget for the following year. I try to cover every eventuality but even with lots of planning, we sometimes still end up with unexpected costs.

I have a sheet for each bank account. It keeps track of the deposits and withdrawals for each month so I can make sure we never go overdrawn.
Sometimes, though, even my best planning goes awry!

Last month I totally missed off the car MOT. Not only did I forget to save money for any repairs that may be needed, I even forgot to budget for the actual cost of the MOT.
Last year our car passed the MOT with flying colours, which was wonderful! This year it cost over £200 to get it to pass.
We don’t have any savings at the moment. This was a huge amount to have to find when it hadn’t been budgeted for during the previous months.

Broken appliances

The car MOT is not the only time we’ve had unexpected costs arise. Over the course of one month, our washer broke, the fridge started playing up and the freezer developed a leak. Let’s not mention the knife slipping while I was hacking away at some ice when I should have just defrosted it!

It’s a nightmare having no washer when you’ve got 3 kids, let me tell you! It’s even worse not having a fridge and freezer for a few weeks.

We bought this house a couple of years ago. Not long after moving in, we found out that the kitchen electrics needed completely re-wiring.
The electrician informed us that they were very dangerous. It wasn’t something you could put up with for a while, like not having a washer. It had to be done straight away to make it safe.
After living in rented accommodation for my whole life, it was a shock to the system not being able to call the landlord and have him foot the bill!

Payday loan

If you don’t have anyone who can help out when these situations arise, it can be hard to know where to turn. A payday loan can be a godsend when something urgent arises.
Vivus can help, they offer one payment loans. You borrow the money you need, between £100 – £500 and repay the whole amount, including the interest when you get paid, from 10 to 41 days.

New customers get their first loan for half price. For example, if you were due to be paid in 14 days and you needed a £200 loan, you’d only pay back £211.20.

You apply for the loan online and get an almost instant decision. There are no hidden fees.
If something should happen that stops you paying your loan back on time, you have 5 days to pay without incurring a late payment charge.

payday loans unexpected costs

This is a collaborative post.

Hartley’s Jelly Lunchbox

Hartley’s Jelly Lunchbox

The girls are always complaining that they’re bored of sandwiches in their school lunchbox. Recently they’ve both been opting for different salads that they can make themselves.

Ella loves potato salad. She makes it using tinned new potatoes, chopped up cherry tomatoes and cucumber, chunks of cheese and chopped ham. She adds mayo and gives it a good mix.

Kaycee’s not a fan of mayo so she makes a plain chopped salad.

Fun lunchbox ideas

Pinwheel or stick sandwiches were favourites with the girls when they were in infants school. They loved making them! I might suggest them to Ella when she goes back to school.
Kaycee’s starting secondary school so I don’t think she’ll be interested in novelty sandwiches!

One of the best places for lunchbox ideas is Pinterest.

If you don’t have time to make elaborate lunches, the supermarkets have quick and easy options you can add to your child’s lunchbox, like Hartley’s jelly pots.
Hartley’s are running a promotion at the moment where you can collect jelly pot lids to claim a free lunchbox and sticker sheets.

Hartley's jelly pots lunchbox

Ella had great fun decorating her lunchbox 🙂

lunchbox hartleys jelly pots

hartleys jelly pots lunchbox

This post is an entry for BritMums #HartleysYourLunchbox Linky Challenge, sponsored by Hartley’s Jelly

Protecting your home when on holiday

Protecting your home

We haven’t been on holiday this summer. We always wait and go in the October half term when the prices are much cheaper.
As much as we love our holidays, going away can be a worry. So much can happen to your property while you’re away.
Before we moved house, we used to ask my mum to stay for the week when we went away. I worried about the house being broken into or the garden getting damaged . The one time we went away without having a house sitter, our garden got trashed by the kids on the estate.
We didn’t have insurance so had to stand the cost of the repairs ourselves.

Since moving to our new house, we don’t have any problems with kids getting into the garden. The reason being, there are hardly any children on our street!
It means we don’t need my mum to come and stay but even without the children to worry about, there’s always the risk of your home being broken into or a fire breaking out.

bucket and spade on the sand - holiday

Home insurance

As I said, we didn’t have any insurance at our old home but now we have cover for everything. After hearing horror stories about people coming home from holiday to find their home ransacked or flooded or burnt down, we couldn’t run the risk of not getting home insurance.

We also have an alarm fitted now that phones us if the alarm is triggered. It has a panic button on the keyfob and each family member has their own code.
It has movement sensors that make a sound when triggered. During the hot weather, we’re able to leave the kitchen door open without worrying about someone sneaking in and stealing things while we’re in the living room.
We have a sensor in the garage as well for the same reason.
Our local police have been warning residents not to leave doors open in the hot weather. The number of thefts from homes committed during the day, while people were at home, have been on the increase.

I wouldn’t be without our home and contents insurance now. The peace of mind is well worth the cost 🙂

home safety while on holiday

Divorce – where to start

Divorce – Where To Start

Divorce is never an easy subject to talk about it. It’s usually a heartbreaking time for all involved and can be a minefield to negotiate.

A lot of people don’t even know where to start when it comes to getting a divorce.
You can get one without involving solicitors but personally, I’d be far too nervous about incorrectly filling in a form that has to be sent to the court!
I think these should things should be handled by the professionals.

Grounds for divorce

Before you begin, you need to decide the grounds you’re going to base your divorce on. In England and Wales (laws are different in Scotland and Northern Ireland) you can give one of 5 reasons for getting divorced:

  1. Adultery – This only counts if the person your husband/wife has had sex with is of the opposite sex; even if you’re in a same-sex marriage.
  2. Unreasonable behaviour – for example, violent or verbal abuse.
  3. Desertion.
  4. You have lived apart for more than 2 years
  5. You have lived apart for more than 5 years – even if your husband/wife refuses to get divorced, this is usually enough for it to be granted.

Starting the proceedings

Once you’ve decided on the grounds, you will need to file the forms with the courts. Here’s where I’d let the professionals do the work.

A good law firm will make this very sad and stressful process much easier.

Once proceedings have begun, your husband/wife will be sent a divorce petition.

If both parties agree to get divorced, you won’t usually have to attend court. Your solicitors will sort all the paperwork for you and the court will make a decision based on the paperwork.

Some people celebrate their divorce!

For some people, getting divorced is a cause for celebration and they even have cakes especially for the occasion! Thankfully, I’m still really happy with the super wonderful husband and (hopefully!) he’s still happy with me so I don’t need a cake but some of them are quite funny!

I think my favourite would have to be the one that says:

I used to be married but I’m better now!

The super wonderful husband said he’d never divorce me because he can’t be bothered to fill in all the forms. He hates forms! Shhh, don’t tell them there are people out there who’ll fill them all in for you!

I’m not going to rest on my laurels though because if you look at the infographic below, it says you’re more likely to get divorced in your 40s (I’ve just turned 40!) and the average length of a marriage before divorce in the UK is 11.7 years.
We’ve not long celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary!

One of the statistics I do like on the infographic though is the one that says the more expensive the wedding, the more likely a couple is to divorce. We got married as cheaply as we possibly could so that bodes well for us!

In 2012 there were 118,140 divorces in the UK and almost half of them were in the first 10 years of marriage. I must say, I was relieved when we celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary as it meant we’d made it through the 7-year itch!

 

Divorce in numbers
Image © The Law House Solicitors