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!


I can’t believe I am already thinking about, and talking about Christmas cards, but hey ho – here we are in October doing just that. I personally blame school…you see, just last week our school sent out the annual “get your kids artwork made into Christmas cards” forms, accompanied with some rather lovely work from the kids, and whilst I find it a lovely idea (and want to support the school), I was thinking that perhaps this year we might opt for something a little different! Of course with saying that I do feel slightly guilty that they won’t be getting a £1.50 donation from us, (or that my kids can’t hand over an overpriced card with their art work on) but I look forward to giving something a little classier from The Smiths, and have instead been checking out the holiday cards available from Basic Invite.

Being Christians I find Christmas the perfect opportunity to spread the true spirit of Christmas to friends, family and neighbours. Although my kids art work is most lovely, it doesn’t quite share the message from our family to others about what Christmas means to us, and what well wishes we hope for them.

With this in mind I especially loved the “Peace on Earth” foil invites with a lovely message. I like the idea of friends and family having an up to date picture of us all looking half decent, looking joyful and making the most of life! I like the idea of personalising that with a heartfelt message of love in a season where hope, Joy and peace ring true.

Their Foil holiday cards are available in gold, silver, and rose gold, and you can choose flat or raised foil on all of the Basic Invite’s foil designs. I find them so beautiful, unique and Christmassy!

I also loved the fold out ones where you can send a little synopsis of each season and what you’ve all been up to. Time flies so quick, and the kids are forever changing… what a beautiful way to capture the moments of the year and share them with relatives and friends we don’t see too much.

The more I think about it though, I am rather tempted to dress the kids up in a Nativity scene with the card saying “O Holy Night” or something similar (wouldn’t that be fun?)!!! My mind is basically buzzing with ideas, and I think when Mr Smith gets wind of it, he may just have to reign me in a little!

Its such an exciting time of year, and whilst Christmas has been a tough one for us, things like this keep me distracted and are a lovely thing to share with others!

Whatever your style, beliefs or hopes for the “Holidays”, you can send a more personalised message and unique card (or Party invite) to friends and family with the simple and easy to use card editor at Basic invite. They are one of the few websites that enable you to customise with an almost unlimited colour palette, and the option to order a sample to see and feel the quality and design before placing your final order (handy!). As well as this I love that you can chose from 40 different envelopes, and then by linking your social media, can capture friends and families addresses to be printed on the envelopes at no extra cost!

What’s even more exciting (and here’s the thrifty part) is that they currently have 30% off when you use code holi30 (If you are ordering from the UK then check the box in the top right titled “currency” to GBP so you can see the cost of your order in £’s).

It might be a little soon to be talking Christmas/Holiday cards, but with a 30% saving we can make an exception!

*Sponsored Post


It’s been a relentless week this week on the parenting front, and one that feels somewhat of a blur to me. Both Ethan and Megan have fallen victim to seasonal illness, and with everything from actual sick, coughs, temperatures and viruses, both have, for one reason or another had some time off school.

I don’t mind that they had to be off school, because they really weren’t very well and they needed the rest. I’m a stay at home mum so that’s a bonus I guess, and it’s all part and parcel of motherhood – kids get sick! I just find it long and draining to have them ill, nurse them, have them be sad, clean up sick and not have the freedom to go out when I want to. I struggle with not being able to get everything done that was on my “lists” and having to cancel things that felt important to me. Mostly though, it’s difficult as a mummy to just see them so frail and sad … seeing them wanting to play out but just too poorly.

It’s tiring to have kids sick together, and to have to cancel things and be stuck in, and its hard to see kids not being well and being very emotional as a result. The whole combo is wearing!

As a result of being at home all week I have done very little generally with my days, let alone shopping, and therefore have being off the radar with any sales, offers and bargains. I did however manage to find a decent little Groupon deal a few days ago for our anniversary this weekend which we are rather looking forward to!

Groupon Hotel Stay

Its been a while since I checked Groupon for anything, let alone a hotel break! We have used them previously and enjoyed the offers, locations and mostly – the savings!

Nathan has said for a while that he would like to check out “The Grand Hotel” in Scarborough, and I laugh my head off every time he suggests it (even as I write this). I, for some reason, associate it with old people/coach trips and I don’t know why, but it just is! I have also read recently that its haunted (GREAT!!). But, marriage is all about a little compromise right? And if it’s good enough for Winston Churchill (one of their more famous clientele) then it’s good enough for me! So, as it was our anniversary coming up, I decided to look into it and surprise him, found a Groupon deal, and now i’ll admit that I too am looking forward to staying in such an historic/Grand place too!!

Searching in Google led me to an offer on Groupon where we could get an overnight stay with dinner, wine (not needed here) and breakfast for £59! It seemed reasonable because whilst you may get cheaper last minute deals, on average its saving at least £15 – £20 if not more on similar packages direct with them, and at the end of the day, a saving’s a saving however big or small!

It was a really annoying process to book with Britannia hotels, and I ended up spending a lot of time back and forth as they said it had expired (before me even giving them the code!). It almost made it not worth it to even get a voucher with how they were behaving, but in the end it was all approved and we got booked in for this weekend (which was a relief as we had childcare set up). Now we are both very much looking forward to a little child free break, dinner and some time to celebrate 8 years of marriage…And up in Scarbados of all places!!! GET IN!

Let me know if you’ve found any great deals on Groupon or similar sites recently!



I think our week this week has been as random as the weather! Its been one of those where you feel like youve not stopped, and yet you can’t even remember what you did? I’ve spent most days close to home, going to the little groups in the village, mixed with house stuff and the usual day to day, but the bonus of the week? Well I made a few quid on ebay too. It wasn’t loads but its cleared out a bag of stuff and I always think making money from your old tat is the ultimate frugality!

Selling on Ebay

With so many apps, Facebook pages and selling sites around these days, its hard to know which channel is best to post your stuff for sale on. I also think to myself sometimes too, which one is it actually going to sell on? But I guess the answer to those questions/query has a lot to do with what the item is and how quickly you want rid.

I sell the majority of my things on ebay because its often clothing, shoes and things that are easy to post. I find ebay is straightforward, often free to list, and it more often than not sells within the time frame I want rid of it! I enjoy the surprises of how much it sells for (if posted under auctions) and I love that there is always a sneaky chance you’ll get more than what you wanted too! Saying that though its been ages since I have sold anything so it was fun to list some things recently. 

On this occasion I posted a pair of brand new H&M jeans I bought for Nath last year (too tight on his legs), and a small bundle of Next baby clothes that Alice had grown out of. The clothes went for £7.50 (+ the postage of course), and the jeans haven’t yet sold, so I have relisted them for a few more days with high hopes! (You win some you lose some). But whilst it might not sound like a whole lot, you can see how if I had sold several bundles, or more of her baby stuff, how quckly those 7 pounds would have added up. And I always think it’s better to get something back than just bagging everything for the charity shop.

If it’s been a while since you sold on Ebay or you’ve never given it a go, here are a few tips and things to look out for to help you on your way to getting a few quid back from things around your home.

  1. Log into your account or create one!

  2. Decide what you want to sell and Take good pics – Make sure the images are clear and they can see whats on offer. They can’t see it in person so they need to be able to have a good look (from various angles) from behind their screen. Remember a picture speaks a thousand words so use images to sell or entice them. If there is anything wrong, missing etc then be courteous enough to point it out. Just because it affects your view of the item it maybe fine and something that’s not a big deal to someone else. 

    I took pics of the item as a whole then close ups of individual things, labels, sizing etc.

  3. Write about it & Sell it to them – Once you put the item into the header, ebay will suggest the category to list it under. This automatically helps narrow it down to what the customer is searching for.
    Next you can select various options that describe your item – is it new? Used? New without tags? What size and fabric? All of these things mean that ebay can narrow it down to make it easier for people to find when they are searching for what you are selling.

    Finally there is a box where you can describe and sell your item. Its an opportunity to tell the person why you might be selling it, if its from a pet free home etc. I always go as far as to suggest what it looks good with and how it might be useful to them.

  4. Be realistic in what you want to make/What its worth – There are “Buy it now” options on ebay but to be honest I barely use it. Whilst it usually guarantees a decent price for you (or you can reserve the price too) I feel this option is more suited to furniture, cars and newer labels! When I am selling used clothes, like in this case, the auction option is fine. I started if off at £1.50 with hope of making about a tenner, which would equate to about £1 per item. That was fine to me because after all whilst they are nice, and from Next, they are worn and they are out of season. I took the risk of putting it on auction because I was interested to see others interest (there were about 12 people watching it in the end) and I hoped I might potentially get more than £10, but to get £7.50 seems pretty decent to me and I am pleased with that.
    I bet the buyer feels like they got a right barg too!!
  5. Don’t take advantage of people with postage – Its clear to see when people are worried they won’t make much on the stuff they’re selling, and as a result slap on a ridiculous P&P price and it annoys me and turns me off!  I think reasonable and realistic postage makes people more willing to bid on your item. I always factor in the cost of postage too when I buy, so to be a pleasant seller I keep it on point for them.
  6. Post for the time frame you want – I posted these items for 10days. Obviously the jeans didn’t sell which I am a little surprised about, but it was a reasonable time I think.
  7. Sit back and await the surprise of a few quid coming your way – whilst its selling you don’t need to do anything. You can track how many are watching it and bidding on it, and occasionally you may receive notification of a question a buyer has, but usually its just wait it out. The 10 days mine were on flew by and it was super easy and straight forward.
  8. Don’t forget to post the items – Best to do this the day after they pay. The sooner they get it, the sooner you’re rid of it, and it keeps them happy and gives you a good review too.

My Bonuses to Selling on ebay…

It eliminates time wasters – There’s no one coming round wanting to look, or saying they’ll come and not shopping up! If you want it then bid on it, if you don’t then don’t.

It does the work whilst you’re out – I love that you can post something and then get on with life. The app sends a reminder and then you can post it.

Auctions mean items are sold and cleared out within a few days or a couple of weeks – You can control the time frame…from 3 days to 28 (I think) you can decide how soon you want rid of it, or how long you can wait for the best price.

Payment is easy via paypal – once sold, most people pay straightaway via paypal. When selling several things that balance soon goes up.

It doesn’t infringe on your time and privacy (unless your’e selling something big they need to collect)

The App makes it even easier – I listed mine via the app and it was so easy. I took the pics via it, typed in and selected the relevant info and boom… it was selling! I then periodically checked in to see how they were doing! The app also updates you when you get messages so you can quickly respond if its convenient to do so.

Autumn is already here so with season changes in your wardrobe and home, why not have a little clear out and pop some of the kids stuff, your stuff or that stuff your bored with onto ebay and make a few quid ready for Christmas or half term! I am glad I did and it was great to remember how fun and easy it is to sell things we aren’t using or needing. Remember – One mans rubbish is another’s treasure! Happy ebaying!

“I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. [I have received a voucher as a token of thanks for this post].”