I am delighted to report that we are finally cracking on with our DIY projects in our new home in a hope to spruce it up before our first Christmas here. I think, as it’s a big project, we might just leave the lounge until the new year, because I want it to be right and not rushed! But at the top of our list was to organise the porch/entrance hall as you will see from the below picture I took, it was complete chaos and on some days it was a bit of a struggle to even open the front door!

It now looks so much better and I couldn’t be happier – this little space makes me so happy and it wasn’t very expensive either, as in true frugal style… most of it was from Gumtree or Ikea.

Thankfully Mr Smith has little opinion on our home style (if it was up to him it would stay the same), and so he’s totally okay with me doing my thing! My home style is rather like me – a little crazy, colourful and the odd piece of bling! I love patterns, I love retro and I love glam (though the latter is nigh impossible when you share a home with wild animals kids). And so I decided that from the first step inside our home I wanted to create a look that let them know they were in our home. I went for a monochrome look with a statement mirror and it came together simply and well! Of course I looked around for a few deals, and am very pleased with the areas where I got a good deal and saved us a few quid…

Our Porch

For so long I have wanted an area to keep shoes and coats. A place to walk in and kick off our shoes before going into the lounge. Our old house was a back to back and we were constantly cleaning mud off everything!!! The coats were hung by the door, but that also meant they too were in the lounge and it just felt messy and all out of sorts. I LOVE that now we have a porch/entrance way … separate to our lounge where we can store wellies and shoes, coats and bags.

I originally wanted a locker room style hooks, and have a really colourful wallpaper, however we realised this would be too faffy and so instead opted for white walls (as its a little dark in there), and then with that I wanted to incorporate the lovely black and white stripe fabric from Ikea, so that kinda created an immediate monochrome look!

I wanted an oval or circular mirror and found this amazing one on Gumtree for £20 which I just love! We bought the storage box on Gumtree also for £25, and then the hooks, shelf and fabric for the cushion are from Ikea! I saved money and made it my own style by making the cushion on top of the storage box. It only took me like 10 – 15 minutes to do and I like the pop of pattern in the room.

The baskets are both from Homesense – The smaller one on the shelf was £9.99, and the bigger one in the corner was £14.99! I had some love2shop vouchers so I guess technically they cost me nothing.

Finally, taking inspiration from my sister in law, I decided to put 3 little hooks down low for the kids which they absolutely love too, and they have been eager all week to actually hang their coats up after school – SCORE! These were from the Yorkshire shop Boyes for £2.60 each.

How to make a Pom Pom Light shade

My most favourite touch to our porch is my lamp shade. Firstly because it is blumming awesome, and secondly because it was a right bargain too! The lamp shade is from Ikea and when I bought it earlier in the year I only paid £2.50 for it (I believe they’re about 3 now!). Then, with inspiration from my mother in law, I bought just over a meter of black pom poms from BOYES which cost £2 and glued them round! I just love it – and it adds a little something funky!

So lets get our craft on and make one. It is really simple and quick if you have everything organised.

You will need:
*Chosen Light shade
*Pom Pom trim
*A glue gun

To start just get the shade you want and then choose your pom poms (colour/size) from a local haberdashery (or ebay have them too). I think a crazy pattern one would look cool with bright pom poms if you were feeling ambitious!

Next using a glue gun, just carefully glue small sections to the bottom outside edge of the shade and stick it round a little at a time, making sure the cord marry’s up with the edge of the light shade so as to be neat and professional!

Once you have gone all the way around cut off any remaining pom pom cord and stick the two edges so as to not look tatty. And hey presto – a beautiful and stylish light shade on a budget!

Having a beautiful home doesn’t have to cost a lot when you adopt a thrifty mentality. You can have lovely things, your own individual style, and create beauty on a budget with a little planning and shopping around! I love our new porch and can’t wait for the next project!

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Way back in March, whilst strolling through home bargains (of course) and minding my own business, a little frame caught my eye in the mother’s day section, and I completely fell in love. It’s hard to find gifts for bereaved mothers, and whilst I know I probably wasn’t their target group with this product, it just jumped out and spoke to me…I needed it for a special little picture of a special little girl!

I’ve never been a fan of scan pictures on display, but then there was something about this one that made me feel like I needed it in my life. I think it was a combination of the font and the crisp white frame, but something more, buying it was an opportunity to display a picture of my stillborn little one when she was alive. I see her features and feel the hope I had when she was safe inside of me. I see a baby, fully formed and looking like her Sisters.. I see life and another member of our family. I feel sad too that we don’t have what we have with her siblings or multiple pictures framed of her doing silly and cute things, but I love it because at last its a lovely way to have a picture of her alive and in our home.

I have put off having pictures in my home of Poppy, even though I have so desperately wanted to, because it makes me too sad to look at them and know she was dead when it was taken. Whilst my sister did a wonderful job of editing them and many may not even realise it’s her or that it is a photo of a dead baby I would know, and I’m not ready yet (and may never be) to have her up on the wall to be scrutinised!

Seeing her is a reminder of what I went through that day, along with all of aching, turmoil and general broken months that followed as a result of my little baby dying before birth. As beautiful and perfect as she was, seeing her dead honestly breaks my heart. I have wanted to, for so long, make a memory frame with all of her things in and have something tangible of her existence and her part in our family, but framing my loss is just too painful to do right now too. And so that day back in March, I reached to the shelf and paid the £1.49 for this frame, because this frame isn’t so sad. It holds a photograph taken at a time of hope and time when life was strong. It is an opportunity to have her to look at and acknowledged her as one of our babies… its a physical reminder we had a third child, not just a pregnancy that came and went with time, but a real life fully formed little girl that grew to term and was birthed. It gives my heart a tiny piece of joy to look at her and remember how hard it was but also how great it was to have hope for her.

It was not until we moved that I felt we would have a place to display this frame, but which place I wasn’t so sure of. Then this weekend we decorated our porch, and up on the shelf there was a space…a space that needed a special picture or quote maybe? And then I remembered how perfect my “Hello Little One” frame would look there next to our potted plants. As I placed it on the shelf it fitted in just right. I looked up and thought how perfect it looked there, that when we leave the house she will be with us, when we arrive home she will be there to see!

 

Life was taken, gone/died however you want to say it, it happened to our 3rd child. But I will never forget that a baby girl lived and grew inside of me back in 2014. She was number 3 in the Smith tribe, and now that she isn’t alive and here I am grateful to have a picture of her when she was. I am grateful that we have technology that captured her personality and can help us remember her being alive.

Hello little one – it’s nice to have you to look at here in our home!

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Living in the countryside our lifestyle has naturally changed to having way more country walks, and lots of plans for wintry beach walks too. I love being outdoors with the kids, but I hate been cold! I therefore have felt a need for more practical and yet still stylish clothing. I like to have things that I can wear easily from a trip around town to a country walk, to on the school run. I need to feel stylish, but most importantly comfortable and warm!

There are 2 things I love to have in abundance in my wardrobe at this time of year; Checked shirts and Knitwear! Both feel cosy, practical, comfortable and are very versatile to make up so many outfit options. One thing I have been lacking on though it the latter – Knitwear. I find it a bit of a struggle to find a jumper that fits well, is warm (but doesn’t look frumpy) or isn’t too itchy, is long enough in the arms, and doesn’t have too many embellishments! I know that sounds like a long list, but I feel like a good jumper is a bit of an investment and needs to be right!

I was super excited when Saltrock sent me this lovely pink number as it is a great addition to my Autumn/Winter wardrobe and best of all… it ticks all of the boxes for both style and my lifestyle.

My Favourite things…

First up I love that is jumper (like many of their others) is on sale! It is £20 down from £50 and feels lovely quality!

I am wearing a size 12 and my favourite things about it are that its thick and warm but not itchy. It does contain wool, which obviously helps but is also blended with Nylon and Acrylic. I like that fact as it helps me when washing it (I tend to shrink pure wool!!!). The pattern adds practical detail that makes it a little bit different to a plain jumper, and I love the colour – I feel like its a good one for my skin tones, and great to go with black or blue jeans. Its not too light to get obviously dirty when playing with the kids, but is light enough to brighten up life on cool days.

Its relaxed fit means that it is easy to wear and comfortable. I have worn it as seen over my Zara denim shirt, and also with jeans and a long sleeved grey tee for a snugly bonfire night! It goes great with everything, and especially great with my maroon scarf. I love that I can wear it with all of my jeans and black shinnies, with boots, wellies or pumps!

I also love small things like its high neckline – I can’t stand gaping in necklines, especially when you’re trying to keep warm, and this one is just right… especially to wear with shirts as I do often with my jumpers! I also like the cuffs and long sleeves. I find a lot of jumpers too short in the arm which makes me feel chilly, but these fit well, keep me warm and are nice and snug around my wrists.

Saltrock is the original British beach lifestyle brand known for quality, style & affordability. Their clothes are designed for everyone who loves to get outside & have fun, and I am glad to have discovered them. They have some lovely things for all the family that are both comfortable and stylish for life outdoors. Their clothing is practical, easy to care for, and especially with the sale – really quite affordable. The only downside to this jumper is the logo on the bottom left, but honestly, I think that’s just me. I have had loads of compliments on it and when I wear the baby carrier, my scarf or coat, you don’t even see it anyway. I have loved wearing this out and about and chilling around the house too, because most importantly its a cosy and comfortable number and is a great addition to my wardrobe!

*Thankyou to Saltrock for sending me this lovely jumper for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and images are my own. 

Family Fever
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Okay so we are actually in November now and I am only just getting around to our family update! It’s been a little bit of fail with getting a family pic for this month as we’ve had another packed one with outings and celebrations. I hoped weeks ago to have a lovely Autumnal shoot, but instead here we are on the 5th of November, with thoughts of bonfires and fireworks, and wondering where the heck the time has gone?!

I have had the details of this post written out for well over a week in preparation for the 31st of October, but couldn’t hit publish as we had no pics with it. So instead of wasting more time, waiting to get some decent shots, I give you some rather chaotic (and shocking quality) selfies reflecting both the joy and pure madness of life with these lot!

October was a wonderful month for us, and I have been so happy that with it came half term and some chilled time with the kids. It was wonderful that the end of October coincided with both half term and Halloween as it has meant that October 2017 has gone out with a bang!

In previous years, and since losing Poppy, I have avoided making a thing of Halloween. I just found it uncomfortable and distasteful, but I knew like everything with life after loss, there would come a time I would need overcome that and make it something for the kids to enjoy. With both the kids getting older and moving to a lovely community spirited village, it seemed that time was now. Yes, Halloween has suddenly become a thing and something (dare I say it) also quite enjoyable. On the last night of October we carved pumpkins, decorated the front door and took the kids trick or treating!

It was so lovely to see their excitement over it. Their first time experiencing the spooky houses of others and getting bags of sweeties and then answering the door to each of their new friends as they made the rounds. I enjoyed creating new family traditions and I realised whilst the whole death thing still makes me uncomfortable, there are many more fun things we can take from it to join in the fun and have a good time! I am grateful we could turn this awkward season round into something more fun. I look forward to more Halloweens, costumes, parties and trick or treating with the kids!

The rest of October, I have to say has also being very good to us too. The beginning was all about counting down to Ethan turning 7, followed quickly by our 8th Wedding Anniversary. I really love this time of year where we have an opportunity to celebrate the day it all began, and our first born child the following year. I love Octobers for remembering the wonderful blessing that is us. Its always lovely to reflect on those joyous and life changing occasions for our family and have a night away as a couple – kid free!

November is another exciting time with bonfires and my birthday (yup I’m 33 this week), and we are so very much looking forward to this new month with many more exciting things already pencilled in on the calendar. We hope to get some more rooms decorated and get organised for December and the countdown to Christmas – I cannot believe how little of 2017 we have left to enjoy and create memories! Seriously…How are we only a matter of weeks away from the end of the year?

In October we are grateful for

*First time trick or treaters
*A positive Halloween experience
*A lovely neighbourhood
*Pumpkin Balls at school and a first school disco
*8 years of marriage
*Ethan in our family
*Williams Den being so close
*Each other!

 

The Me + Mine Project - Dear Beautiful
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