After a busy and tiresome trip to Norwich last weekend to see out newest nephew, we welcomed a chilled week staying close to home and lazy mornings! Despite that I have still managed to bag myself a few bargs, and this weeks deals and frugal choices have mostly been with thoughts of our summer holiday and getting prepared…if you are jetting off soon with the fam, you may find it useful!

Holiday Extras

We fly to Italy on Wednesday where the baraginous Summer holiday we have been so very much looking forward to will become a reality! All of us have holiday clothes, or at least a summer wardrobe that is sufficient for the Italian weather….Alice however does not!

Being only a baby last year her newborn summer style is long gone and her 12m one is lacking and all a bit random! She has a few dresses, shorts, tops and leggings, but not really enough of things that would be suitable and comfortable for her in 34 degree weather!

Its a real random mix of handmedowns and the odd thing iv’e picked up in sales and charity shops that need a few extras to boost it and make it enough!

With this as my priority I popped into H&M yesterday (it really is my fave for kids) and managed to get her a hat, 2 rompers (one of which was a gorgeous lace number), a pair of shorts and a dress for 11.99!! They were all (minus the hat for £2.99) on sale and then with the added bonus that all sale in store is on 3 for 2!  I easily saved about £15 and she has some lovely extras to make up outfits, and make it up to enough outfits, for our holiday next week!

Hand Luggage and toiletries

Our latest thing when flying is we NEVER check any luggage. To us we think its a waste of money when you can fit all you need in hand luggage cases, so we easily save some £’s by doing this!

We realised a couple of years ago that we can make do with the hand luggage only and so we mix and match our outfits, or only take what we need instead of like 10 extra’s, and it works great! If someone has more stuff than another we squish into someone elses case, but between 4 little cases there is plenty of space for the whole fam for a week!

The only down side to travelling this way however is our toiletries and sun cream – of course you can only take 100ml on flights and I find that the travel size ones are both too small and expensive with all of us using them for a week (we’d need quite a few)! Instead I buy the cheap clear bottles from the pound shop and fill them with our sun cream, and then just buy our shower gel, shampoo and conditioner from Lidl when I buy the food on day 1. It only costs about 3 euros and saves faffing and big spending on the travel size ones!

M&S Final Clearance

I know I am getting old purely by the fact I am loving a lot of things each season from M&S! What I didn’t realise though was that their final clearance in store is reduced to a whopping 90% off!!!! I’m talking £45 dresses for £4.99, £40 trousers for £3.99 and shoes for £4.99!!

I went into the Beverly store yesterday with my sister in laws and we were all going a little nuts about it so I decided to check out the Bridlington one today – I came away with a Zebra print skirt for £3.99 from £35 and a wicked shirt dress for £3.99 from £39.50!!! I was actually going nuts in the shop and was delighted. My only sadness came when I saw an amazing striped top down to £1.29 and they only had a size 16 or 20 🙁 

Be sure to check out those final clearances whilst you are out and about this weekend – let me know what you get!

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Erm how exciting is buying a new house please? New beginnings, and opportunities to put your mark on it! Seriously I am so excited that in a couple of weeks it will be ours and as a result, thoughts of decor, layout, more space, countryside and village dwelling race around my mind on a daily basis and let me tell you- it is VERY exciting.

Our new house has a great garden that is nicely done, private and south facing, and I cant wait to finally have space to hang out in and entertain. Whilst we have a garden in our current home, it’s never really felt like a place to entertain or hang out. It’s been hours of fun for the kids but not so practical for all the needs we have. The new one we have however is going to be multi-functional with a decked area for us, and a lawn with a wendy house (shed) for the kids.

 

I have thought a lot about what I want in it and there are 3 things we have both agreed on are necessary – seating, a BBQ and a Chimenea!

1. Seating

The area at the back of the garage that the owners currently use as a seating area is the perfect place for some outdoor seating. It gets the sun all day, is secluded and decked out lovely. But rather than a “patio table” like they have had, I would really love a cool corner sofa or some comfy chairs. I want my garden to be chilled and relaxed and an easy spot to put your feet up and catch some rays! Whether that is on some rattan or homemade from pallets, I am not 100% sure yet.

I love the corner group and Hawaii sets from Fishpools, and this budget one from Ikea. Then on the opposite end of the budget, how cool is this pallet one – handmade from Esther at Inside, out and about?

2. BBQ

We are a nation that loves a good BBQ come rain or shine, and I look forward to being able to have them now at my house with our families and friends. Nathan and I like the idea of a built in one, but it might be just as easy to buy a beasty one and store it in our new garage. Either way we will be doing some good ol grilling in our garden this summer.

3. Chimenea

Nathan has dreamed of a chimenea in our garden since last summer when we sat around my sisters chatting all night and toasting marshmallows with the kids. It was a lovely few days and we both thought how nic eit would be this summer to do the same in our garden. With mocktails and feet up it seems a lovely dream to be together outdoors listening to nature whilst the kids sleep. It all seems so blissful and I can’t wait! This one is from Asda for £69 or this one from Homebase.

And finally a few little decor things to give it that personal touch – I love all of these and their tropical vibes. They are a mix from both H&M Home and Primark!

 

We are moving during the summer and I can’t help but dream of long days playing with the kids outside, and then warm summer evenings relaxing with my love. How lovely is it to have a garden? How exciting is it to move house? I can’t wait!

 

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Modest clothing is something that is really important to me for a number of reasons. This choice and viewpoint with out a doubt comes from my religious lifestyle, but I am also very conscious of wanting to maintain my personality and personal style through fashion and the things I wear, as well as being modest in my look.

Dressing modestly to me means that I wear my skirts, shorts and dresses to my knee (or longer), my tops have sleeves and are cut in a way so as not to show off my cleavage, shoulders, stomach (not that you’d want to see that), or too much back! Whilst to some it may seem a little out dated, we probably all wear modest fashion day to day without even consciously realising it. For me however it is a conscious choice, and one that makes me both happy and helps me maintain a sense of peace and confidence in my life.

Both myself and my friends are always on the hunt for clothing that fits the bill, and as a result I recently discovered JD Williams , who whilst on the surface seem to be more aimed at middle aged women, their ranges have many a hidden gem to maintain style and modesty together.

Sunday Best:

I ordered from them a skirt, a blouse and shoes that I felt would be great for a Spring/Summer look for church, weddings and special occasions. As Sundays is the only day I am guaranteed to look good with my hair done and something a little fancy/dressy on, I like to have clothes that feel a little more glam/cool than the average school run/park/town days. It’s Sunday and we always go to church, and I believe in wearing my Sunday best!

The skirt is from Grazia and is currently on sale for £34! It is made from scuba which is something I was never keen on, but I couldn’t love it more! It’s thickness helps it puff out a little and is super comfy to wear and move in (especially when chasing kiddies!). I love that the bold print is very reflective of me, and the rich colours are right up my street. I am not usually a floral person, but there is something about the bright colours on the black that give it a funky feel. And best of all it is below my knee and sits well on my waist ticking my modesty box!

This skirt is definitely an investment – a) because its modest, and b) because it can be worn with heels and sandals in the Spring/Summer, or paired with a polo neck and Opaque tights and ankle boots/black heels in the Autumn/Winter.

Next up is my Blouse. I love a good light neutral blouse for the summer and this one is lovely. The gold chain trim around the neckline keeps it modern and very me, whilst the cut is modest and cool for warmer weather. It goes great with the skirt, and I know it will also look good with any number of my other skirts, skinny jeans and trousers in my wardrobe… it is one of those versatile go to tops for any occasion.

Finally my shoes. Who doesn’t need a pair of suede fuschia heels in their wardrobe? These are so me, and will update a lot of outfits I wear for church; either bringing out the pink in them, brightening a darker number, or as a statement with a contrasting colour! The chunky low heel is really comfy and easy to walk in all day. They were only £25 which I thought was pretty good for a pair or lovely shoes. I rarely by shoes online but these are great…I have skinny ankles and whilst they are little loose around them, they are still comfy and great.

I had lots of compliments on my outfit this last Sunday and it definitely made me feel a bit glam and bright! I was also featured on the #notafrumpymum round up on Instagram. Not bad!

A few other items that I loved whilst browsing their site, which I again thought were both cool and modest, were these:

My outfit is really flexible, comfortable, glam, feminine, cool, and perfect for church, weddings, christenings and any other special occasion this summer. It helps be a cool mum as well as being modest and lovely…Who’d have thought this website had so many lovely things for us younger peeps?

I seriously believe that modest style doesn’t have to be boring or drab, and I always ensure it isn’t.

*Collaborative post. I was sent the items pictured in return for the review. 

Best of Worst
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One of our “big” family goals this year (possibly the biggest) is for us to buy a bigger home and move. Whether that is closer to our families, here in the same town or somewhere in between, we aren’t 100% sure right now…only that we need and want more space. We’ve lived here in our back to back to back since Ethan was born, it has been the only home the kids know and has been our hideaway through good and bad. It initially was lovely. But 3 kids later it all just feels a little cramped, cluttered, and I have lost any ounce of inspiration to decorate it! As a result I have loved scrolling through Pinterest and dreaming of what I really want in my home, how I would decorate it and generally the lovely things I want to put in our next pad!

First of all there are two things I want need in my life when raising a family, that I don’t have right now and that are essentials in the next place. One is a hallway (I hate the coats, buggy and shoes being in the lounge) and the other is most definitely a dining room. Somewhere separate to eat, some where to socialise and a place again separate to the lounge to keep eating and relaxing apart. Food and sofas don’t really mix and I can’t wait to have them as separate spaces.

I would love an open plan kitchen diner, to satisfy my dreams of cooking/baking whilst the kids sit around the table doing homework, colouring or lego. But I would just generally be happy with a lovely dining table in a room separate to our lounge (which at the moment holds everything). I like a lot of colour and patterns in my interiors and am partial to a bit of bling too, but at the same time feel, when decorating, that I have to bear in mind that it also needs to be family friendly too. Whilst I would love a plush dining space, it also needs to be Smith kid appropriate, as plush and my kids don’t tend to mix too well.

Dining room dreams:

In my pining and searches I came across some really great statement dining sets from Fishpools, which would most certainly be in my dream dining space. I just love the bling/wow factor and they make me happy to look at!

On a realistic note though I think that my kids would completely abuse anything crushed velvet and shiny topped (and glass tables would be a huge no), and so I am looking more at something in the wooden and plastic ranges from them, or this one from Ikea its very lovely too.

I also like the idea of a statement wallpaper to bring in more colour and “me” to the space – either geometric, bright flowers/stripes, or the one I am most loving… flamingos! A shade wilder have some brilliant ones (all be it quite pricey too), but there just as lovely ones in B&Q too.

And to finish it off here are some accessories I am absolutely loving right now… the plate options are from H&M home and light from Habitat. The Phone is from John Lewis and it is all so very cool, magpie like and right down my street!

As I lay it all out like this I think I would absolutely love to go down the grey, pink and copper route, But as I am always changing my mind don’t hold me to it. I just feel so joyful looking at those things together, and would go super well with our current Ikea flamingo glasses. Whatever I choose though, that’s a secondary goal as we need to still find a house with space to fulfil our dream of a dining room (amongst other things! Its a new year, New us and most definitely a new house for a new chapter – I can’t wait!

Do you have any Dining or other DIY projects in the pipeline?

 

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