Spring Clean

Spring Clean for Easter

Since the end of November last year I now work 4 days a week at my new day job.  Boy does that extra day make all the difference, especially around the house.  I did very 'gently' remind the OH that he may need to help a little bit more around the house now that I only work one less day than he does.  However of course I did not take into account the fact that I work on my business in the evenings and on my 'days off'.  I need a spring clean...

Now the organised peeps out there (Miss Tidy Owl I am looking at you!) would I'm sure have some great tips - please feel free to share! LOL I need all the help I can get.  I am trying, I've bought the diaries, I've bought the planners and I've even got the over sized white board.  However no matter how hard I try I just can't seem to get into a rhythm.

Initially I think I felt it was the extra day and I'd never be able to balance it all.  But the more I look at the bigger picture then I think I actually just need re-organise how I work things.  Working in a School means the added bonus of getting all the school holidays off.  And I even get a few more weeks than the boys do here and there, so I need to use this to my advantage.

Spring Clean for Easter

  • Have a good clearout of all the toys - Samuel is 7 this year and much as he still plays with his lego etc. there are a lot of toys he no longer plays with, they just take up room! The two eldest only need gadgets and books, nice and easy.  So I need to have a mass clear out, which will also enable me to keep their rooms/the playroom tidier in the weeks I'm at work.
  • Plan social media - Despite the lighter mornings and evenings enabling pictures to be taken daily, time does not actually allow with ease.  What with sorting the morning schedule and school run, to then evenings of teas, homework and bedtime; it doesn't leave much time to plan a fabulous flatlay.  Prompts help brilliantly, especially to keep your feed fresh.  However I think even more so I need to actually batch up my imagery weekly where possible. So I'll use the holidays to plan and look for new prompts, as well as research new keywords (very important for Insta).  Then try and ensure that I set aside a morning once a week to take the following weeks images.
  • Plan blog posts - this is something I've really struggled to keep up with since Christmas and I miss it.  I absolutely love writing for you guys.  Finding new small businesses for us all to discover, planning my kids bedrooms, sharing craft ideas.  I'd love to write more, but in my head it just seems that it's a bigger job than it is.  However once I know what I am writing about it seems so much easier.  So I need to embrace this and plan weekly blog posts in advance.
  • Stock take business supplies - I regularly find myself running low on stock.  A certain sized envelope or business cards; storage bags or canvases.  I need to do a mini inventory each holidays, to list what stock I have.  Not only will this ensure I don't run out of anything.  But also that I can ensure I can plan my orders, combining where possible to keep shipping costs down!

Anything else...

Another biggy I want to try and pin down this year is my finances.  Despite being very organised with others money, I am a complete failure with my own.  So this month I have signed up to Quickbooks in the hope that I can give myself a financial spring clean too!  No it's not an #ad, just heard good things.

So it's two weeks till Easter and time to spring clean.  I need to stop trying to do everything, every week and instead recognise what can be done in batches in the holidays, leaving the weekdays free to get on with business!

Let's do this,

Fay x


Boys Bedroom

My Boys Bedroom - Shopping List

Those of you who follow me, know that concerning Fred’s room (specifically his bed) we’ve been back and forth.  However we have finally made a decision together on his ‘Boys Bedroom’ and so it’s time to get a shopping list going.  And time for me to get saving, making and up-cycling!

Bed

We have finally both settled for the Stora Loft Bed for his room.  I am still undecided as to whether I may paint it dark, that can wait.   It’s a really good size, and gives him some great floor space too.

Ikea £239

Sofa

For a long time the boys have had a sofa bed and a sofa in the playroom, and actually they only tend to use one.  So i’ll re-cycle the sofa bed and it can sit underneath Fred’s bed to chill on.  To give it a freshen up and tie it in with the  room, i’ll buy a brand new cover in grey.

Ikea £60

Artwork

Of course I think there needs to be a bit of a gallery wall, so far these are definites…

DoodleMoo

£12

Etsy

£10

Etsy

£26

Bold Print Studio £20

Soft Furnishings

I saw these cushions a while back on Pinterest, and struggled to find their ‘owners’.  I’m still not entirely sure how to order, but have tracked them down I think.  We’ll see…

Awesome Store £TBC

Paint

And so to paint colours…  Now this is the bit that is best left unmentioned to his majesty (i.e hubby) as we all know his aversion to dark walls.  But this time I’m standing my ground, even if I have to paint myself!

B&Q £12

So it’s time to get on it. So lovely to work with my boy every step of the way and know that he is as much as part of the design process as I am.  He’s really excited and has some great input.  Keep a watch out for the next installment.

Fay x


Family Recipes Mince and Doughballs

Family Recipes Mince and Doughballs

When I was growing up, family recipes mince and doughballs (otherwise know as dumplings or doughboys), were a staple of the Scottish diet.  I may not always have agreed with the vegetable choice (who does as a child) to go with, but it still remains one of my fondest meals!

Family Recipes Mince and Doughballs

Family Recipes Mince and Doughballs

Prep: 5 mins      Cook: 15mins

Ingredients

  • 10 tablespoons self-raising flour
  • 5 tablespoons suet
  • 1 pinch salt
  • water

Method

  1. Chop and sweat onions till transparent (use mixture of oil and butter to ensure no burning).
  2. Tip in beef mince (5%) and brown for several minutes – substitute with pork or turkey if required.
  3. Add appropriate stock cube or stock pot and get to a simmer.
  4. Add a couple of drops of Worcester Sauce – only a couple!
  5. Mix flour and suet together with a pinch of salt. Add drops of water until mixture is thick.
  6. Cover hands in flour and roll pieces of mixture into balls.
  7. Place the dough balls on top of your mince (or any dish with a simmering gravy or stock) and place the lid on your pot for 15 minutes or until puffy.

Tip

Leave these beauties alone, don’t keep checking them by taking the lid off your pot as this will make these flatten. Can be served with anything that has a stock or gravy like mince and tatties.

It’s also a great recipes to get the kids involved in, as they love the making of dumplings.  They don’t have to be neat, so it makes no difference if they are all the same size or not, get the kids involved!

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Easy Fridge Cake Recipe

Easy Fridge Cake Recipe - Baking with my boys

Can someone tell me where weekends actually go?! Whether I pack in loads or just take it easy, it always seems to fly by and before I know it, it’s Monday again.  What I really want to do is one weekend just lock all the doors, switch off the phones, stay in my pj’s with the boys and literally chill ALL weekend.

Anyway whilst I try and figure out how to pull that weekend off, I’ve literally started this evening running…

18:00 – Home from work

19:00 – Tea cooked for boys. Boys all showered. Ironing put away ( well 2 baskets worth – we each have a basket each!)

19:30 – Fridge cake made with Samuel & Fred (forgot to take during photos for Insta #sillymummy), then Samuel put to bed with drink.

20:00 – Homework done with Henry, Another drink for Samuel.

21:00 – Tea cooked for Matt & I, Henry & Freddie to bed.

21:30 – Time to get to work…

Just call me Superwoman LOL #whorunstheworld #girls

Anyhoo who fancies checking out my easy Fridge Cake recipe?

Ingredients

Easy Fridge Cake Recipe

Ingredients

  • 250g Digestive Biscuits
  • 300g Milk Chocolate
  • 100g Unsalted Butter
  • 150g Golden Syrup

baking with kids

Method

  1. Line a 20cm shallow, square-shaped tin with cling film (leaving extra hanging over the sides).

  2. Put the digestives into a sealable freezer bag, then happily bash the biscuits into pieces using a rolling pin (perfect job for a little one).

  3. Melt the chocolate, butter and golden syrup in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally.

  4. Remove the bowl from the heat and immediately stir in the broken biscuits, and any extra ingredients you fancy adding – see below for ideas.

  5. Spoon the mixture into the tin. Press down with a wooden spoon to level.

  6. Once cooled, put the tin in the fridge for 1-2 hours to set.

  7. Turn out the cake by turning upside down onto board/plate.  Peel off the cling film and cut the cake into squares and enjoy!

Ingredients Ideas:  Mini Marshmallows, honeycomb, choc chips (for true chocoholics), Hazelnuts…

Easy Fridge Cake Recipe
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P.S Check out some of my previous recipes for even more ideas including Chocolate Biscotti and my personal favourite Chocolate Cornflake Cake.


Beds for Boys

Time to pick a new bed...

So Fred was really happy with the mood board I showed him, and was actually really excited by some of the bits I’d found.  He was especially excited about the Egg Chair (that’s gonna take a while to locate) and the gaming artwork/prints.  However we had a bit of a spanner thrown into the works…

So one of the biggest decisions is Fred’s new Bed! He currently has two single beds in his room.  However one of these is going to Grandma’s new flat when she moves next week.  So do we stick with the single divan he has (it was expensive and is only a few years old); or do we buy him the double bed he really wants?  Okay so if it was just me then i’d give him a double bed in a flash as it’ll last him for much longer.  But trying to persuade the OH of the need for a new bed is another thing altogether.

Beds for Boys

So I spoke to Fred and he immediately showed me a couple of ideas that he wanted.  I have to say I loved them…

However there are a couple of issues with this style of bed for Fred’s room:

  • While it is a space saver, the layout of Fred’s room would mean a double bed version would take up a large part of his room.
  • He is no way allowed his XBox in his room (that’s what the playroom is for) so there is really no need for the seating/gaming area underneath.
  • He already has a desk and storage too so it’s not needed for that either.

So I think it’s time to choose a double bed.  But what style?

Now normally I’d go for wood every time, it’s timeless.  Especially in this black tone I think it has a clean, modern look.  But I really do like the style of this metal bed. It’s perfect for a young lads bedroom.  So I’m torn, what do you think guys?

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Fred's Bedroom Mood Board

Fred's Room - Mood Board

So when Fred gave me his brief (brief as it was… see what I did there #hilarious) I must admit I wasn’t surprised in the slightest and am pretty happy with the design ideas based around gaming etc.  However I was slightly disappointed with the colour choice.  It’s still basically the same colours as he has now and I kinda really want to change for him, make a real impact.  So I have a plan in my head that I really don’t think he will go for unless I present it to him in the right way.  So I think a ‘Fred’s Bedroom Mood Board’ is required, to give him a real feel for the room.

Mood Board

Fred's Bedroom Mood Board

I still have to break the news that I have completely ignored his colour choices.  I’m hoping he is so wowed by the mood board that he doesn’t care.

Fred wanted a gaming chair but actually I think the Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair is a fab alternative.  Cool enough for the kids, but a timeless classic that will last!  Just need to find a slightly cheaper version…  And the colour changing light from B&Q is a bit of fun, that I know he will love.

Now when I decorated Samuel’s room I had wanted a blackboard wall but I was overruled by the OH.  He said it would be a nightmare to change.  However this time I am going to put my foot down as I really want his walls to be dark grey, I’ve just not decided if they should all be painted or not.

xbox

I’ve just discovered a fab shop on Etsy called ControlFreakGameArt.  I cannot wait to order a set of prints for his room, all hand painted and in the colours of my choosing.

I’ll be making some art work of my own (of course) along with some cushions.  But the rest will all be either from small independents or high street finds.  Can’t wait to get started, wish me luck in breaking the news to him…

Please check out my Pinterest board to check out my latest finds and ideas before I get started.  And feel free to tag any shops you think i’ll love.

Fay x


The reality of being a mum

A cough, Tena Lady and a lesson in pelvic floor exercises...

Good Morning Britain

So this was our first week back at work/school and I have to say it has been a rude awakening! When the alarm went off at 7am on Monday morning I have to say my heart sank.  Having to drag myself and then the boys out of bed was like absolute torture, pitch black outside and freezing cold.  Not something I relished I have to say!

It has got slightly (not much) easier as the days have gone on, but we’ve also ended up ill.  Fred & Hen had Wednesday off school complaining of headaches and stomach pains, luckily a day in bed seemed to sort.  I started with a cough literally from the get go on Monday and it has only got worse.

The reality of being a mum

Seriously…

Now I’m not normally one to complain and actually in terms of it I haven’t really been that bad.  Well except for Tuesday night when I felt dreadful, but again one good nights sleep seemed to get rid of the headache.  But the cough just won’t shift.  It’s one of those really dry coughs, that once you start you just can’t stop.  Unfortunately after 3 kids that means a plentiful supply of Tena Lady to hand; going to the loo at every opportunity just to be safe and wishing to god I’d listened to the experts and done my pelvic floor exercises….

Such fun!

Just picture me walking round Aldi and having to cover my mouth constantly whilst coughing but also cross my legs; to try and delay the inevitable. Ah well time to buy an extra bottle of Cava to dull the embarrassment LOL.

So whilst I consider buying shares in Tena Lady.  I would also be utterly grateful for any hints or tips to sort the old pelvic floor out (or am I past saving?  LOL) to help future ‘episodes’.

weak bladder joke

Anyway enough of that talk, it’s Friday and I have s**t to do…

Okay I have two loads of washing, a house to tidy, a tax return to complete, Judge Rinder to watch oh and yeah best nip to the loo, it’s been at least 10 mins since the last time I went.

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P.S Fancy seeing what my middle son Freddie is thinking for his room this year? It’s his turn for a redesign and he has some fairly strong ideas, click here…


Boys Bedroom Ideas

Come in No.2 your time is up!

Fred’s Room

So this year it’s all about Freddie and his room.  He has patiently waited whilst both Samuel and Henry had their rooms redesigned, and now finally it is his turn! Actually out of all the boys, Fred is the tidiest.  He’s a complete soap dodger, but keeps a tidy room (well apart from an inability to make a bed?!) LOL.

Boys Bedroom Ideas

The Story

Anyway I digress, back to Freddie and his room.  Now when we last decorated it was the time of great sporting success for Britain, we had just had the Olympics, then Andy Murray topped that and won Wimbledon, so Fred was completely swept up in this (he has always been massively sporty and was only 6) so everything was Union Jack.  Fred loved this and his bedroom became a homage to all things Great Britain and the Union Jack.  Now he’s (nearly) 11 and it’s all looking a little tired, with the others spare bedding and not v cool at all.  So what does he want…

boys bedroom desk

The Brief

Colour: Black, Red & Dark Blue

Style: Gaming

Requests: Double Bed (2 singles put together, tick), Desk (tick), Gaming Chair (no chance), TV (maybe)

Okay so it’s not the most inspiring brief I’ve ever been given, nor is it comprehensive, but… it does me a lot of scope, which is always a good thing in my eyes!

Pantone-Fashion-Color-Trend-Report-London-Spring-2018-Swatch-Cherry-Tomato
Pantone-dark-blue

The Plan

So it’s off to pinterest I go.  I’d love some recommendations of shops to look at on the web/insta for awesome items for his room!

Here’s a few ideas that have grabbed my attention so far…

I love these cushions! Definitely going to make a couple of my own for Fred’s room.  I use spoonflower to print all my fabric designs, fat quarters are the perfect size for a 18″ x 18″ cushion cover (x2).

I already had had a similar idea with the storage boxes that currently sit on Fred’s desk, by attaching to the wall and putting a flatscreen above.

If I could have a pound for all the times the boys have said this to me, along with ‘can i just finish my video’ or ‘just 5 more mins…’

Buy this print along with others on Etsy.

Already getting a plan in my mind, may have to work on his colour choices though…

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