Tuesday, 21 May 2013

my 1 year challenge

so here it is.......and the plan is that as I am now posting this to the world it actually has to happen! eek

Our family situation is a very common one, I worked full time for over 15 years   up until I had Josh, I then went back part-time 27 hours a week after my maternity leave and after having Isabelle me and Sean decided I would stay at home with her.  While this is a great chance spend her early years at home with her it is also very frustrating both mentally and financially.  Don't get me wrong I love spending time with her and being able to do the school run, but financially things could be better.  As many stay at home mums(or dads) will know going back to work with pre-school age children is a huge financial strain, sorry scrap that pretty much impossible.  

As a family we don't have lots of money and if we want days out holidays(not sure I can remember what they are but I vaguely remember the concept) clothes etc we have to save, and not just from one months wages usually for months in advance.  Everything from car tax every six months to kids birthdays and xmas is planned months in advance and goes into my faithful family budget.  My poor husband Sean very rarely has any money of his own and I hate it.  But in order for me to go back to work I would probably need to go back as a professional to make anywhere near enough to earn more than we would be paying out in childcare.  And to be honest the sacrifices that would entail are not worth it.

So here is my plan......I want to work for myself, no longer an employee, freedom from the 9-5 and having to give up any of our home life.  Sounds good to me :) Now there are many wonderful ways that I have looked into and tried that may well work for other people but that's not what I want.  I have been doing research in the best way I know how......Google search(it really is my best friend and I happen to use it several times a day).  Typing in work from home gave me lots of results of home selling opportunities, nope not me!  Then after months of searching without some miracle appearing before me, I stumble upon this website Christian Personal Finance which has a great post about how to make money with a blog.  Now to me that seems impossible (the net is a big scary place after all?) but after reading it from start to finish it started me thinking, 

is it actually possible to make a living from a blog ?

One of the few things I can do that I feel I am fairly good at and enjoy is writing, sadly since leaving school it has not been something I have done much of, but I'm doing it now right?

There are a lot of really useful do's and do nots on the website and something  clicked may be this could be my way forward.......I could earn a living from doing something I really enjoy.

I am not a person that usually has much faith in myself but this could work.......

So here is my challenge.....out there on the web for the world to see.

Can I manage to earn enough money writing my blog so by the time Isabelle starts nursery in September 2014 I can work from home ?

Who knows, I don't but what have I got to lose? Not much, what have I got to gain?.......everything.

I will be posting about my progress and hopefully I may get some other parents trying it too?

Wish me luck

Emma x

Sunday, 19 May 2013

It's Sunday evening.....and relax :/

So this is just a quick update on my week, it's been busy busy busy but hopefully very worth it ?

So a quick recap mainly for me as writing it all down may help me to see what I have managed to achieve this week......
I finally made it for a checkup at the dentist, something I have been putting off for too long.  Long story short and one I plan to write about after my treatment on Thursday I need a root canal :( I have a nasty lump in the roof of mouth that needs to be removed sooner rather than later, but I need a root canal before it can be done......serious wonky face :/

Isabelle had her second baby ballet session which was fun, ever seen a baby ballerina have a diva strop  ? Pics and post next week too .

And I managed to blitz my house from top to bottom this weekend and have spent almost ten hours today working on this blog and other internet wonders in order to be ready to start the amazing projects I have sat in every room of our house.

So hopefully all my hard work is at some point going to pay off and make mine and my family's life better.......watch this space for super organised mummy/business owner/domestic goddess hehe

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday

Emma x

tough mummy.......sleeping Isabelle?

Okay I will admit it after one year and ten months of mostly broken sleep, add another nine months to that if you include being pregnant (which means not being able to get comfy or needing a wee every two or so hours)                           I am broken :(  

When I was expecting Isabelle I already knew my battle plan for a sleeping baby, after all I had perfected it on Josh, who was an absolute superstar at the sleeping thing.  I started a routine with him at two weeks and by six weeks old he was sleeping from 7pm to around 6:30am, and is still a solid sleeper(excluding being poorly which is fine).  

So when Isabelle arrived the routine of bottle bath and bed started and I was very proud that at twelve weeks old she started skipping her 3am feed and sleeping through.  Fantastic I thought now everyone can sleep and feel refreshed for the next day........sadly our peaceful nights were not to last and a few weeks later she started terrorising me and everyone else in the house several times a night.  Now Isabelle is how should I put it........strong willed? she will not do something she doesn't want to, and will certainly let everyone within screaming distance know it!!!  So I imediatley thought I had missed something vital in the routine and consulted my mummy bible Secrets of the baby whisperer, but I hadn't ?  could it be that my mummy bible had

failed me? or even worse that my mummy skills were broken?

You see the problem with a nocturnal child is that no matter how hard you want to break them of the night time habit they have got themselves into, at 2am when you are awake for possibly the third time since getting in bed yourself, you simply have no energy to be tough mummy!  or usually in my case I am so tired auto pilot kicks and in my semi-awake sleep deprived state I forget I'm not meant to be giving and .....well give in! Vicious circle much ?

So the things I have discovered about Isabelle's night time antics is that 

  • she doesn't care wether or not her bottle is full/empty/on the floor or in her mouth she will scream!
  • night light on/off, bedroom door open/closed, fifteen assorted toy rabbits, cats or teddies or none she is going to wake up anyway.
  • if she is able to escape from her bedroom she will firstly bring the contents of her bed with her and get into bed with us, then after realising Mummy and Daddy are actually asleep will then go off to find fun things to do........flooded bathroom and painting everything with Mummy's mascara are her two favourites.
I have tried pretty much every tip /bit of advice I have been given on getting her to sleep through and nothing is working so now I need to put mean mummy/controlled crying into action.

If you are not aware of controlled crying it is not as hideous as the name suggests and is in no way harmful to your baby!  The idea is that when your baby wakes, you leave them for a controlled amount of time (from 3-5 mins) then go into them, settle them (without giving them milk or whatever it is they are demanding)and leave the room and with every subsequent waking you add a couple of extra minutes onto the time you leave them.  So your child should eventually(I have been told that in about three nights) realise that waking up will not get them anything so sleep through.

So tonight I am going to do this, me my family and probably most of my neighbours need Isabelle to stay asleep at night and there is only one way....

Wish me luck

Emma x

Product review - Polycell Crack Free Ceilings

As I mentioned in an earlier post we had to strip polystyrene ceiling tiles from most of the rooms in our house and once we had stripped sanded and filled the ceilings we needed to make the ceiling look as good as new.  

As this was a job neither Sean or me had ever done before and as we both were a little unsure as to how well the finish was going to be we popped to homebase and bought the best product we could afford.  As luck may have it we found this on offer so while still a little bit more than we would normally spend, we figured we were saving the money of having the ceiling plastered so why not ?


 We bought Polycell Crack-Free Ceilings Smooth Silk 2.5L pure brilliant white, and hoped it would be what we needed it to be..............

So how did it do?  well brilliantly actually, this paint is very thick and as we started to paint we didn't expect it to cover our large ceiling and coving.  But it did with a bit left over that we used in the hall, stairs and landing.  The finish was amazing, we have what we would expect a newly plastered ceiling at a fraction of the cost.

just incase you haven't seen my previous blog here is how fab it looks....

this is what was left on the ceiling after stripping the tiles

 after sanding

wow now that is amazing

the lounge ceiling was by far the worst in the whole house, so when we did the bedrooms we used a homebase own paint see below that looked just as good but a lot cheaper.  I'm pretty sure that this would not have had the finish the polycell did on a really bad ceiling though.......

crack free ceilings
just one coat

Ease of use
Value for money
Recommend to a friend?

Overall score

you can buy this product below

Thursday, 16 May 2013

making our new house a home

In December of last year we finally moved to a bigger home.  After being squashed into a first floor two bed flat for almost four years we had certainly outgrown it and were fed up of being told we weren't able to be re-housed as not in need.  I had come to the conclusion that we were set to draw our pension while still in the flat, and then a miracle happened!!!! a mutual exchange with a friend of the family, who was in a three bed terrace next door but one to my husbands mum :D 

To say we were ecstatic would be an understatement, we got the ball rolling and hoped to move in by Christmas so we could spend it in our new forever home.  Now we knew that the new house needed a lot of decoration as it had been mostly been done years if not decades before.  We also new that every room apart from the kitchen, bathroom and toilet had polystyrene ceiling tiles.  Not a problem we thought "we can whip them down  - no problem!" famous last words.

What followed was Christmas in our new home with no carpets, boxes everywhere and no idea where to begin making our new house into our forever home.  But we had a great Christmas and after a bout of norovirus over new year we started to unveil the work that lay ahead of us.

My amazing husband spent almost two months working full time and then working every spare hour stripping the house and re-decorating it.  Sadly most of the prep involved scraping tiles off the ceiling which was a one man job, so my role was Chief coffee and snack maker while offering words of encouragement to Sean.

Now today all the rubbish rooms are pretty much finished and our beautiful forever home has emerged and we have never been happier, our children have a room each and a huge garden to play in whenever they like.  Next on my to do list is the kitchen and toilet then lastly the bathroom which is a slightly bigger job but will have to wait until we have saved some more pennies.

here are a few pics of before and during and will update as soon as possible with completed after pics.

those pesky tiles were everywhere!

Sean showing me how it's done

stripping off ceiling tiles is a very messy job and we are still finding bits of polystyrene around the house!
our lounge after being stripped
after coving had gone up

ceiling filled sanded and painted - see how it shines :)

here is a step by step guide on removing polystyrene ceiling tiles yourself so you can save money

  • strip the tiles off the ceiling - this is a messy job and can take a while depending on how big your room is and how well the tiles are stuck on.  We used a regular paper stripper knife the more flexible the better, as you don't want to damage the ceiling underneath.  If the tiles are very well stuck on like ours were in the lounge you may have a lot of adhesive left under the tiles.  While this can look impossible to remove it is fairly easy.
  • remove any adhesive left behind - we found the most effective way to do this was with a wallpaper stripper the steam softens the adhesive and  allows it to be removed with a scraper.  Again this can only really be done by one person as you need to use the stripper and scrape straight away, it is another messy job but it fairly quick to do.
  • sand the ceiling for a smooth finish - you may not need to do this if the adhesive mainly came away with the tiles, if however like us you have a lot of adhesive to remove then you will need to sand the area to give a nice smooth finish (remember all this will save you a lot of money on having to have the ceiling re-plastered or artexed so is worth it).  We used a normal sander and managed to get a fairly good finish.
  • fill any large crack or gouges in ceiling - normal wall filler will do the trick
  • re-sand - give the ceiling a quick sand to smooth any bumps where filler has been used
       and finally ......

  • paint the ceiling - this is by far the best part, we used a paint that smooths over cracks and was a great product.  As you can see by the last picture above the ceiling looks fab, I am glad that we did it ourselves and also that we chose silk paint as it really looks clean and new.