What a crazy 7 days we’ve had over here! Whilst Nathan and I are still living with various boxes piled around our room and our bed not yet put up (not to mention the several other corners of the house filled with stuff to be sorted), we are (at last) in our new house and it feels so lovely.  Last weekend was nuts! But with lots of hard work and resilience, its feeling a lot like a home and we are certainly at home here in our new village surrounded by beautiful scenery and people.

All of my bargains this week are home stuff (of course), and were all found on Gumtree. They have completely lifted the lounge and I couldn’t be more pleased with each of them and their price tags!

Sofa’s x2

My plan for the new lounge was to have 2 different coloured sofas that were equally colourful and yet very different too. I am a lover of colour and patterns in my life and decor, and felt that in this house, especially in places like the lounge, I wanted this to come out more so in the furnishings with plainer walls (though I might still crack out a wild wallpaper in the lounge!), so I have specifically spent the last couple of weeks looking for my sofa’s that would fit the bill.
My favourite style of sofa is definitely “Chesterfield” – I love the vintage, grand and stylish look and just find them so cool. With limited budget I never expected to even have a secondhand one for a few more years, however much to my delight I found a gorgeous pistachio green one in mint condition for just £180!! Every time I see it I feel soooo happy!! It seats at least 3 and just looks perfection.

In contrast to it is a lovely purple number (again in mint condish) that I found for only £70 – it has the bonus feature of being a sofa bed too which I feel like is a double bargain! My colours for the lounge are going to be based around an awesome parrot cushion I found recently in Next Home. I want it mainly pinks and greens, and so these sofa’s most definitely fit into it rather perfectly.

TV Stand

In our old house we had 2 of the white Ikea 4 square units in the lounge, and the Tv lived on top. It was a lovely fit, but I had already decided that they would move into the girls room for extra storage, leaving me with needing a new TV stand for the lounge.I sourced a lovely white Ikea one (6 months old) on Gumtree last Friday for £25! Absolute bargain and fits in well with my plans. I picked it up on Tuesday evening and it is a great fit in our home.

Tomorrow we are picking up a table & chairs (again Gumtree – haha) and have our bed to make up and a few more walls to paint. I am so happy to be in our new home and life is feeling lovely!

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I’m writing this on the eve of Alice’s birthday (Tuesday), and I can’t quite believe we are hours away from her turning one! Tomorrow she will no longer be my little baby, but instead an official toddler, and my heart isn’t quite ready for that. I have never particularly been a parent that gets too emotional over my children aging and until recently I have been okay with it all, but this time I feel a physical aching about one of my kids getting older…perhaps it’s not knowing if she’s the last of my babies, perhaps its because she’s our rainbow?

Today, and this week really, is a big reminder that losing a baby continues to affect you years down the line. I don’t think for a second Alice would feel any less appreciated or loved to know I was thinking and feeling all of this the days leading up to her birthday, and knowing her now, I feel she knows what we lost and how her presence is a gift in our lives that balances that all some days. Of course I sit here feeling excited that we have known her for a whole 12 months and can see what a huge blessing she is and has been. We are all super excited to celebrate with her, but I would be lying if I didn’t say how incredibly hard it is too. Tomorrow is another 1st. It’s a milestone we never saw with Poppy, and as I have been hanging up 12 to 18 months clothes ready to go into her new little closet, or as I look to buy a birthday card with a number 1 (which I haven’t yet) it all just feels a little much.

This time last year I lay labouring in the LGI utterly terrified that another one of my babies was going to be born dead. I ran through my mind the events of birthing her sister, still wondering how it was all possible. As the midwives assured me all would be well, I then began hoping she would at least not look like her. I had taken the risk to try again and thought I was ready to give it all another go, but the racing thoughts and the anxiety were a reminder of how hard this chapter was actually going to be. We were moments away from knowing if she would arrive safely and if she was to come home and whilst that meant that I was excited to meet her, I was also incredibly worried too that life would cheat us again.

In contrast to the anxiety of stillbirth all over again, nothing prepared me for the flood of joy she would bring. I for so long felt empty, and whilst she could/can never fill the hole her sister left, she does a blumming good job of filling my empty arms. Its this aspect of her turning 1 that I especially struggle with – an independent little tot that squirms away from the long cuddles she has kept me in good supply of. Its the whole “losing” another baby to toddler hood as well as the milestones we never saw.


For 12 months Alice has filled my arms and expanded my heart. She has given me back a portion of lost confidence, and increased the joy in our home and lives like no other. Through her I feel I know her sister better, and yet through her there are hundreds of little moments that remind us of all we lost and continue to miss with not having her here (Many of which I was completely unprepared for). But I realise I would grieve whether Alice (or any other kids) were born to us following the loss of Poppy, and I would much prefer to take the risk and have the reminders along with the joy and comfort they bring, than just the empty pain of grief alone!

 Despite the last 12 months of increased wonderment at what could have been, Alice has helped me to see in new colours. She has shown me what I am capable of, and what my new normal looks like. She has helped me to have more confidence in remembering and including her sister and has taught me new things and interests. I feel like she has given me the direction I have lacked in life since losing Poppy and she has certainly helped me to heal a little more. With all of this she has enabled me to help more people in baby loss and pregnancies after loss.

Ultimately though since we were expecting her, she has given us reason to hope.

She brings joy where there was none and she brings energy and calmness all at the same time. She is tender and loving, funny and cute, and at 12 months she has 6 (yes 6) new teeth! She has conquered both going up and down stairs now, has had her feet measured and is able to walk only holding on with one hand. She will only drink coconut milk and is terrified of toy dinosaurs (much to her siblings amusement!).

Alice Grace is by far the best risk we ever took!

* I will only be updating my parenting after loss experiences sporadically now as I feel getting to 12 months, with all of the firsts has most definitely being a roller coaster and one I needed to share. I expect on big milestones and family adventures there will more moments for us that I will want to share again that convey life after loss (with all of its struggles and beauties intertwined).  But please know that choosing to have another baby after Stillbirth was a choice we struggled with since days after she died. It has been a challenge and trigger of grief I never anticipated. As much as we love and adore our little Alice, she does hold the keys to both healing and painful reminders of losing her sister. It isn’t wrong to feel or acknowledge that, it is a known fact of having a baby after one has died – the joy (rainbow) suddenly coexists with the storm. The pregnancy was incredibly stressful, and labour emotional, but it has been worth it and life feels far better these days! HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALICE – Thank you for all you bring to our lives! 
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The focus of our summer bucket list this year was mainly to explore our new county (Hello East Yorkshire), and to spend a lot of time enjoying our new easier access/closer proximity to the coast. Whilst planning what we might like to do, we have spoken a lot about picnic teas on the beach and in the garden, paddling on the beach, discovering new farms, places by train, and local nature in the countryside.

We plan on me doing the fun days out and crafty things, and then hopefully bonus beach trips or country walks on an evening with daddy when he gets home from work!

The kids wanted to do some of the same things as last year, whilst also making the most of our new home and spend some time in the garden too. They want to see their cousins and hang with Grandma’s too…Together we came up with this.

Summer Bucket list 2017

Visit a Castle
Go inside a Lighthouse
Go to the Model Village
Go to a Farm
Go to the Rock Pools and hunt for crabs
Sealife in Scarborough
Have Breakfast on the Beach
Go Glamping
Hull Fountains
Go on a boat ride
Make Ice lollies
Go on Holiday
Go to Eden Camp
Eat a big Ice cream
Bake a cake
Make Potions
Watch them make the Rock
Have a sleepover with cousins
Visit a new museum
Have a fire/Smores
Discover the “Forgotten Village”

Making it happen…

From there I did the same as last year and drew up a calendar to make sure we remembered to do everything. School holidays are themed each day and rotated each week, and so we work it into that. I then find that within an hour or so not only is everything in there to do, but I also have a plan for everyday of the summer.

Doing this means for us that I can make the most of the time I have with my kids and also know where I am with things like dinner on an evening (do I need to put something on whilst we’re out all day?). It makes life far easier with 3 kids, because it means I can look at the schedule in advance and plan for picnics, transport, invites to friends, or generally just use it as a bargaining chip in my discipline efforts (yes I do believe in bribes!). Of course there will be mornings watching Tv or playing with toys (It is there Summer break after all) but a schedule means we know our focus for the day and we know what to wear and pack in the bag the night before.

So here is a simplified version of what we are doing each day in the summer holidays. Some of them will be on consecutive days, like Sealife and then Filey Brigg the day after, this way we can sleep in Filey at my sisters and tick off “cousins sleepover” and “Breakfast on the beach”…For obvious reasons I have left out my specific dates of when we are doing everything, but you get the idea and hopefully will find it helpful to get through and enjoy summer with the kids!

 

I am so excited for Summer adventures and days spent on the coast, enjoying village life, family time, settling into our new life and discovering new places!

What do you have planned for Summer?

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Trains are officially my mode of transport now it would seem, and as a result I think most people assume I can’t drive here. For someone who has driven since 17 and hot on cars, it’s been so weird to be asked on several occasions this week if I have a licence or thought about getting one, because “It would save a lot on train fairs”! It’s quite funny really but does make me miss having the car on a regular basis. I am looking forward to having daily life in the village and only needing the train for a day out, which won’t be long now. We are on the final count down with the last leg of the move, and this time next week we will have exchanged and completed and preparing to move into our village pad!

This week has been bursting at the seams with deals and bargains; not only have we have had a date out (bonus), but we have booked our summer holiday, and Alice and I have found some freebie things for the Summer Hols in a couple of weeks.

Sand Pit at Princes Quay

Its been ages since I went to Hull and walked around the City, and doing so yesterday brought back many memories of my teen years shopping there with friends! Alice and I caught the train a little further after the school run and met up with one of my very good friends here (who is also Nath’s cousin) and her kids, and spent the day playing in Hull.

We went to Princes Quay which now has an outlet floor (bargains) and seems very much geared towards entertainment. It was a lot quieter in the city than I remember, but it meant it added to a feeling of being more relaxing.

We sat for a good while chatting next to this cute sand pit they have there on the 2nd floor whist both her eldest and Alice had a fab time digging and playing in the sand. After lunch we headed outside, where across the road they have some lovely new fountains where the kids flock to and play in for ages too. It was gorgeous and all very chilled.

I’ve never thought much of Hull but being there reminded me of some great things the kids would love which are all Free, and I know that come the Summer Holidays Ethan & Megan will be super excited to go check out the fountains!

Summer Holiday

If you missed my most recent post, it was all about our Bargainous Summer Holiday in August! In a nut shell its 7 nights, mid August, family of 5 to Pisa/Tuscany for £630 (total NOT each).  You can read how I did it here.

Pizza Express Voucher

Last Saturday and all rather last minute, Nathan and I decided to go out for dinner whilst the kids were asleep. My sister in law was kind enough to listen out for them, and we found ourselves enjoying a gorgeous meal at Pizza Express. I don’t know about you, but I feel like Pizza Express has gotten rather pricey these days? (They have also stopped making my fave pasta dish and the Bosco salad – gutted!).

I, in true thrifty style, found a voucher for us to have a 3 course meal for £12.95 each! It was delicious and a lot easier on the ol purse strings!

Check out Voucher Codes to see if they have anything you can use this weekend, that’s where I found this one!

Little Bargs in the Charity Shop

I haven’t particularly been looking for much in the charity shops this week as I have been pretty busy. Here and there though I have called in to the odd one just for a quick nosy.

On Saturday I bought an amazing African looking dress for a fiver, a cushion for the new house for £2, and the ultimate bargain on Monday in Brid – some brand new sandals for Ethan for £1.49!

Pack up for Swimming

Finally last Friday we went swimming after school. I learnt from last time that they come out of swimming absolutely ravenous and so to save stress, tears and money, I made them a pack up and they sat in the boot of the car after swimming and enjoyed it. Ham sandwiches, crisps and fruit – it went down a treat!

We have discovered a negative to living in the country during summer time, in the form of  “Harvest bugs”! In our hair, all over our clothes, on our arms and in our stuff. They are everywhere! As soon as we step off the train into the village we are greeted with mini beetle type black bugs and thin minute wiggly sorts and they’re blumming annoying!

Today is our school’s Summer fair, which we are a little too excited for I think, and then we shall be on the countdown to moving day… Those bugs better do one by then! The long standing residents of the village assure me we will get used to them (in about 4 years!), but they are most certainly a negative to the dream of country living…

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