Today, we had another day in the garden. Some chill time and lots of fun with an #activity or two! Happy Sunday.

Daddy and I moved the old patio and rubble (which will have to live in our garden until the recycling centres open back up) and I think we’ve hidden it rather well. If you spot it I’ll be most impressed.

Where the rubble had been is now where you can see the outdoor dining area. It’s been out of action all winter, which we wouldn’t have used in any case. It’s opened the garden up even more now we’ve cleaned it all! It’s amazing how much space this garden has.

When we bought the house, the garden was full of stuff: rockery, pond, vege patch, pagoda and a 10ft greenhouse. It made the garden feel quite small, it’s amazing what a bit of hard work and a little vision can achieve. I knew this garden had the potential to be a perfect family space.

I cut the grass, tidied up some more of the bushes and watered everything. Whilst the kiddies played this game... they love it. But they do get rather competitive!

What activities have you been up to today?

#mummyphotoaday

Today, we had another day...

We made the most of the day today and it feels good! Whilst Daddy finished off the final 13 patio slabs (which look incredible), I sorted the garden.

I pruned all the bushes, weeded the flower beds, got rid of a lot of thorny weedyness, painted the potting shed door and filled an entire green bin. 😂 I even trimmed the grass edge with grass scissors.

I am loving the garden more and more. I hope that the sun keeps on shining so that we can get it looking how we want before Summer. Making the most of #lockdown. It was lovely as our neighbours on either side, both over 60, offered advice and help today. Deano nearly ran out of sand and one neighbour dropped some over the fence. It’s nice to have a sense of community even though we are all in our homes.

We’re looking forward to playing in the garden tomorrow and making the most of this space.

#mummyphotoaday 
#myhousethismonth #mygardenthismonth

We made the most of...

We have joined the rest of the country and made a #rainbow design in our living room window. The kids have drawn one on a piece of paper and also used window felt pens to design a 🌈 on the pane itself. It looks pretty. The kiddies are very happy with them. They lit up when the neighbours asked for them to make them rainbows for the window.

I love this part of the front garden, you can just see the flowers are about to bloom any day now. Daffodils are hiding in amongst the tulips, hyacinths full of a deep purple, the Heather has come up a nice reddy purple too. By the front door there is a sea of purple from the aster (I think that’s what they are). Can you see the beautiful Camellia to the left of the kiddies too? It’s about to bloom with its bright pink flowers. The yellow Jasmine is just starting to grow on the right side of the kiddies, can you see it climbing up the wall?

There’s so much going on. It looks beautiful. I don’t remember it looking this pretty last Spring. Maybe I didn’t pay much attention. Or maybe these things have grown from random seeds I planted last year and forgot about. I can’t remember what I planted though 🤦🏼‍♀️ Does anyone else do that?

Have you seen many rainbows in the window of people’s homes?

#mummyphotoaday

We have joined the rest...

A very happy birthday to my first furbaby, Rambo. He is 13 today. I can’t believe he’s been in my life for 13 years, we’ve done so much and seen so many places. It’s gone so quickly.

He is so good, his temperament is just perfect. He’s not a yappy dog. He barks to mark his territory but that’s it. When the kids were toddlers, they would pull his fur out in clumps and he would just lay there. He cleans the other pets in the house and always makes sure the kids are safe at night time. It’s so cute. He’s such a loving, fatherly dog.

This little man is my follower at the moment; more so than normal. He follows me everywhere. If I’m on the loo, he will sit at the bathroom door staring at me. When I’m in the bath, he pushes the door open and sits next to me and stares. Right now, he’s currently snuggling under the duvet.

Let’s hope we can go and explore somewhere new in the summer, with amazing views and miles of countryside. Our favourite.

Thanks for all the adventures Rambo 🐾 and the snuggles! We love you lots.

A very happy birthday to...

I wonder what is going through their tiny minds right now? Do you think they consider things like we do? Do you think they #dream of what’s going on? The kids seem to be taking it all in their stride and albeit they are sad they can’t see their friends, they seem to be just getting on with it.

Whereas, I go through waves of different feelings. I’ve discovered I’m at my best when I just take each day as it comes. When I start to think about things globally, or the time period of lockdowns and when the kids are going back to school... that’s when I start to feel worried and glum.

I worry that my employer will soon say “sorry Sonia we’re not paying you anymore as you’re homeschooling”, or the worry that I’m not teaching my kids correctly and they’re missing too much of their education. Or the impact of isolation on the kiddies at this age, making friendships and building rapport with people.

I hope these are worries over nothing. And I know all of the kiddies in the world are in the same boat. But, as a parent you can’t help but worry.

So for now I’m trying not to think negatively. Trying not to think more than 1 day ahead (except maybe planning Easter Sunday dinner) and I’m trying to keep smiling. So my babies keep smiling.

Keep calm and carry on. Isn’t that the saying!

#mummyphotoaday

I wonder what is going...

This afternoons activity with Daddy looked like lots of fun: they gathered sticks and the kiddies built their own pile of firewood for a camp fire. They then sat around the fire pit to test whose camp fire would flame up the best!

Isla created a very structured camp fire, logical and a pattern to where she placed her sticks. Noahs looked more sporadic but covered a wider area.

Neither camp fires took fire, it was quite windy. So the kiddies enjoyed a hot chocolate and marshmallow around their piles of sticks.

They had fun though and that’s the main thing. I’m loving all of these practical tasks they’re doing with Daddy.

I’ve been waiting, all day, for someone to tell me it’s all a dream and we are still going to Dubai. But, unfortunately, no one jumped out screaming April #fool and alas, we are still at home. I’m gutted.

Lots to look forward to though and right now it’s about focussing on our main objective: stay at home at all times, unless to buy essential food & walk the dogs! I have actually loved being at home everyday. It’s my favourite place.

#mummyphotoaday

This afternoons activity with Daddy...

“We are very excited to try out this new food from Forthglade, it smells woofing delicious” 🐾 Straight from the doggies mouth!

I am very excited to announce that I am a new ambassador for @forthglade. What does that mean? Well, I get to try out the products and tell you all how good they are and get special offers and discounts for my followers too!

It’s such a strange time with lockdown, however finding out about Forthglade couldn’t have come at a better time. When I went to get our usual dog foods in the supermarket it had all sold out. So, resorting to online orders seemed a very natural thing to do to ensure our furbabies are fed.

This food is a minimum of 75% meat or fish and is free from junk. With Snoopy, he has a tummy condition which means we have to be careful what he eats, it’s perfect. We will keep you posted on what they thought! 🐾 #gifted

“We are very excited to...

🌼 April is here and along with it comes another set of photo keywords for #MummyPhotoADay photo challenge.

We should have been flying to Dubai today, so my insta squares would have been very different to what they now will be. I’m expecting to see lots of Spring colours and stay at home families instead this month.

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #mummyphotoaday so I can comment and share my favourites throughout the month.

Does anyone have any creative stay at home plans for April?

🌼 April is here and...

Family finance tips: how to lower your monthly bills

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to personal finance is figuring out ways to spend less money, and this challenge becomes even greater when you’ve got a family to look after. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to cut down on your monthly expenses, as even though some of the regular bills that you pay may seem small and insignificant on their own, when they’re all added up they can become a huge drain on financial resources. We’ve put together a few different ways in which you can cut your monthly expenses and have more money available for fun with your family.

Cutting energy costs

Energy bills often take up a huge chunk of monthly expenses, especially for families. And this is no surprise, with the need to heat or cool a home, piles of laundry, and keeping lights and electrical gadgets on. However, you can save energy without making too many sacrifices. Along with teaching your family good habits such as closing doors and switching off lights and electricals when not in use, you can also switch energy providers regularly to ensure you’re always getting the best price. You can compare energy plans easily online.

Transportation costs

Running a family car does not usually come cheap, and if like many people you have bought your car on a finance plan, you have that to pay each month as well as the cost of gas and insurance. If you have access to public transportation, you can save a considerable amount of money on gas – so consider taking the bus or train to work rather than driving and save the car for family trips out. If your workplace is not too much of a distance, you might want to consider getting a bicycle or even walking to both save money and keep fit.

Saving on debt

If you have a number of credit cards or loan repayments that need to be made each month, this can take up a considerable amount of money from your monthly income. However, you may be able to lower this amount by consolidating your debt. Many people consolidate their debts by taking out a consolidation credit card or loan which is used to pay off all their existing debts, leaving them with one single monthly payment to make. This often works out cheaper, as you pay interest on just one line of credit rather than several.

Sell unused items

One great way to earn some extra money towards your monthly bills is to sell unwanted and unused items. Whether it be baby products from when your children were little, old toys that are no longer played with, or even old clothes that your kids have grown out of, there are always people looking for bargains. Thanks to online selling sites such as eBay, it’s easy to make some cash from the unwanted stuff you have sitting in your attic or garage.

Every dollar counts – so follow these tips to save as many as you can.

Family money image by ShutterStock. 

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Monday 30 November 2015
Family finance tips: how to lower your monthly bills

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