With the blur that was January, I was not alone in forgetting (or rather not being motivated) to gather, photograph and write about my under a fiver bargains. I started my weekly frugal posts though and so don’t feel too guilty for not sharing the thrifty spirit over here. But here we are in a new month, with new opportunities, new funds and yes – new bargain buys.

February is a weird month to me, but one that is all about love and the approach of Spring. Whilst still cold and frosty most mornings, the sun is shining more, and my favourite thing –  Tuplips and daffodils are beginning to creep into the shops to signal the beginning of a new season. Life is starting to feel brighter, more vibrant and lovely and I feel this is very reflective in my 5 under £5 this month.

Firstly are those very much loved Tulips – my most favourite flowers. The colours they carry are beautiful, their fat green stems lush, and the shape just lovely. I saw these beauts for £1.25 in our local green grocers and so had a red bunch and a yellow. They bring so much joy to the corner of my lounge, and thus to my daily life!

Next up are a couple of valentines things I got in Home Bargains this weekend. The heart garland was about 59p (or 79p) and is made from felt. I like the delicate little hearts, and the subtle touch of the Valentines season it brings to my home without being in your face! The “Love” candle was £1.49 I think (ahhh sorry) and is a nice addition to the mantle piece in our bedroom. The glass, the gold, the font…it had to be in my life at that price.

Also from Home Bargains are the letter magnets. They were in the Valentines aisle and were only £1.29 (what a bargain). I of course grabbed 2 and thought they would be fantastic to not only leave love notes, but more so for the kids to practice their spellings whilst annoying being with me in the kitchen. They were very excited and so far love writing words and the alphabet on the fridge!

Finally as a reminder that we are still in Winter with all of its bugs and germs is my new favourite baby thing – Snuffle babies! Alice has been so under the weather this past week with a cold and cough, and snuffle babies has eased her woes – especially at night time! It is a small pot of vapour rub, suitable for babies from 3 months and was recommended by one of the mums at school. For £2.50 it was money well spent on the little bean!

I am not a huge Valentines person, we have always just kept it a low key affair, and more recently about the kids actually. But there is something about this year that makes all of these little love decorations and accessories exciting to me. I am enjoying embracing the season of love, especially for under a fiver!

As always I am linking up with Julia at Rainbeaubelle to share the bargainous joys! 

 

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This weekend marked a whole year since my dear Father in law passed away. Understandably my husband and his siblings wanted to spend some time together with their mum, and so for us that meant a day with out daddy! As I sent him on his way Friday night, my heart felt so incredibly sad and I shed a few tears for all that we had lost last February. Whilst I longed to be with them all, with him to just be there in love and support, I knew that this is what they wanted and needed, and so to take my mind off of thinking about sad things (and thus being utterly useless to him and my kids), I set about making the day for us happy and fun!

Like every good day, we started with a plan. A plan to have fun and to do things a little bit differently. Ethan suggested we have a party…”A love bug party” Megan piped in with. And there it was, or master plan. Everything we did from then on geared us up for a fun evening at our party of love!

I took them out for breakfast and let them choose whatever they wanted. Big breakfasts and Hot chocolates were their requests, and why not? Today was all about the fun factor…they tackled them rather well as apparently they were starving??

With fuel in our bodies we wandered around town raiding the shops of their craft sections, treats and valentines things for our little party. It felt exciting and we were certainly on a mission and glad to be about our business. We grabbed chocolate, mini sausages, and crafty things (with extra glitter), and with the sun finally shining, there just felt to be a bit of a buzz in the air amongst us, It was a moment where I was glad to be doing something so random and spontaneous with my children, and it was great.

We treked home, and as Glitter filled the air, paint splattered their clothes and pom poms and pipe cleaners lined the floor the afternoon saw us making a big mess with all of our crafty things to produce some fantastic “love bugs” and decorations, and then whilst they dried we snuggled and watched “Pipi Longstocking” whilst snacking on some cheeky crisps. They loved it, and in that moment again I felt so blessed. I love to share with my children the things I loved as a child, and I love how into it they get knowing that. I loved to see the pride in their faces at their crafty creations, and I loved how grateful they were to be having a random “love bug party”, to make the most of our day with out daddy here.

Before we knew it the movie ended and the clock was approaching dinner time. I moved the furniture, set out a party tea (with extra sweeties and treats), Ethan brought down his disco light and CD player, and we had the best time together. We thoroughly enjoyed every morsel, danced and laughed with glow sticks and ultimately let go and had a carefree hour of fun! They wound up in a bubble bath with said glow sticks (a disco bath), before hopping into bed all clean, giddy and exhausted! I breathed a sigh of relief – we survived!

Friday was hard, and Saturday certainly wasn’t an ordinary day either. I just feel like for years to come early February will always feel a little sad, and then maybe more reflective, as we remember who and what we lost in 2016. I know the kids feel it too, in their own way, and I know they miss their Grandpa by how they talk and remember him. It was hard for me to think of not being with their daddy at this time to support him, and because of that we all needed to have some fun. A party day was certainly the answer (thanks E) and really lifted our spirits.

Doing this with the kids was so out of the ordinary and random, but we created a day and moments that filled life with joy and excitement, and we made it a day we will each remember for a very long time.

It feels good to say yes to my kids ideas once in a while, and it feels good to be working side by side with them to formulate them into big plans. I loved being silly, being carefree, being busy and on a mission. I loved those moments in the day they cheered that it was the best one ever, and I loved the feeling as I watched them climbing into bed that night of it just being a fantastic day. I had done my best without daddy at a difficult time, and boy did we have fun.

 

The Ordinary Moments
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Yesterday, little Alice and I met up with some friends for the “Baby Cinema”. I have been looking forward to going for some time and so was very excited to get an invite this week to see “Lion”. I suppose that the baby cinema itself is a Thrifty way to see a new film, and even suggested afterwards that Mr Smith take a Thursday off so we can go together. Its only £5 at the showcase here in Leeds (I think usually you are looking at almost double that) and its a great way to see films with out having to fork out for a sitter!

Whilst I have taken Alice with us to the cinema before and so knew kinda what to expect with her, I have not yet been in attendance at the very much anticipated “Baby Cinema”, and that in itself was such a love morning out. I loved to see all of the little babies on their parents knees, some with snacks, some breastfeeding, some snuggled up – so lovely and such fun. As I said we saw Lion, which was both very moving and just incredible…quite possibly one of the best films I have seen in a long while and a really great end to our week!

The cinema is certainly the highlight of this weeks adventures, and saving a tidy almost £5 on it isn’t bad either. If I am honest though I am rather glad to be seeing the back of this week, but only because it has just been a really hard graft and busy one. We have been working hard on some home improvements – something neither of us are any good at so of course it was not only physically hard but very stressful at times too.

When it comes to my home I have this big struggle of what I want it to look like and what my reality is. It’s no secret that I don’t particularly like this house anymore and are more than ready for a change, but then I have little motivation to make this look decent. I have tried this week, I really have and so here are a few frugal ways we have tried to make the home a little nicer and fresher.

Making a curtain over the cupboard space

This one technically was done last year but I only just got around to buying the curtain wire and putting it up. Buying a new kitchen can be a pricey affair and as we hope to move soon we didn’t want to buy one to potentially have the new owners rip it out and start again, and so we worked with what we had. We painted the cupboard doors duck egg (to match the paint in the lounge) and then I used some left over fabric from the cushions to make a curtain to hide where we store I don’t know what. It looks 10 times better and I really like how neat and homely it feels. The wire was 79p from the market and I’d say the fabric would have been about £1.50 for the piece I used.

Floor Paint

Another money saving idea… We have had painted wooden stairs up to the kids rooms since we moved here, and whilst we contemplated buying carpets we figured they would more than likely be spoilt with them, and so we freshened up the staircase with a tin of floor paint for just £11.95 from Wilkinsons.

Freshened up the walls

Finally we just used up or leftover paint to freshen up some of the walls. The white landing at the top was done in the Yellow to match the rest of the stairs and landing, and the kitchen walls got a fresh coat of white. I mixed a pink £1 tester with some of the white and gave our smallest room/”the nursery” a bit of a feature wall. It all feels a little bit nicer and will hopefully be acceptable enough for when we come to put it on the market.

Pinterest is full of ideas to spruce up the home on a budget and I look forward to trying out more of those in the future, and at a time when I can get my teeth into some DIY projects I have more passion for. But for now these little cheap (and somewhat tacky) ways have tidied up the house without us breaking the bank.

I’m linking up with this Cass, Emma and Becky in this week’s ‘Five Fabulously Frugal things I’ve done this week’ linky.

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I could jump for joy to be entering a new month, because whilst February now holds some emotional anniversaries in our family, I am still rather looking forward to a half term, a shorter month and the prospect of Spring on the horizon. January in a nut shell has sucked; the kids have dragged their feet and being late on far too many occasions for school, we have barely been anywhere fun, and although I loved sale season, I have spent the majority of it feeling rather melancholy!
Despite this obvious lull we have been in following the joys of December, we have still managed to attend a couple of family parties, finally got on top of the house and had some new lino in the bathroom too, and we have been on several road trips to the coast to see my Grandad who hasn’t been doing great. Other than that, when I look back on January I see that I just haven’t been feeling it in life, and none of us have really had much motivation. We have simply spent a huge chunk of time snuggled and hibernating from the bitterly cold January weather and enjoying movies and lots of drawing.

Our pictures this month were some last minute (and rather grainy) family selfies, that are very much reflective of our indoor habits.

Nathan is Loving

*Seeing Wolves Play in Barnsley
*Getting new Lino in the Bathroom
*Seeing all of his family at the reunion

I am Loving

*All of my bargains from the January Sales
*That I had time to sew Alice a skirt
*That the house is organised
*Grandad being better
*Finishing Gilomore girls

Ethan is Loving

*Getting star of the week in Street Dance
*Using his art set from Christmas
*Having disco’s
*Playing Lego with his cousins
*Eating pink crisps (Prawn cocktail)

Megs is Loving

*Getting Star writer in Assembly
*Dancing at family parties and eating all the treats
*A cinema trip with mummy to see Ballerina
*Having sleepovers at Grandmas’s

Alice is Loving

*Trying so many new flavours in her weaning adventures
*Her play gym
*Sensory socials!

So yes…we have spent a lot of time indoors, and very little on our usual adventures and trips. But as I think about that, I can’t help but smile now and just love the fact that we have created a home together where we have wanted to be!

I say it often that this house isn’t what I really want anymore, but it is still (and has been for 6years now) our little home filled with love. Its a place where we all feel safe and have our treasures and things. It is a place where we can be ourselves and where we can laugh our heads off at movies and jokes together… enjoy food and treats with one another, immerse ourselves in stories and hide from the outside world/weather. It’s a place where we can be silly, play, sing and dance, and I love that because of that whatever the day brings, and however hard of a day it is, we can all come together at night to eat, chat, pray, sing, laugh and cuddle. And so I am grateful for a place to call home and a family to share it with. I am grateful that whilst it wasn’t the most eventful of months, that we all felt on the same wave length and chose to spend a lot of time together in our little home this January!

 

The Me and Mine Project
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