Thursday, 23 February 2017

#QuirkyFurniture

Each home has some personality even if like us, it is mainly filled with hand-me-downs from family and friends or looks much like the show room of a certain blue and yellow furniture shop! 

Most people own something quirky, whether it be furniture or an ornament, maybe you are attached to something more for the story behind it rather than actually even liking the look of it?

Now although this lives at my parent's house it is something that I would want to know about it if they were ever getting rid of it! 





I know what you are thinking, how ugly is that? What even is it?

Truth be told it was part of my year 13 art project, the topic was surrealism and I had twisted a Leonardo Da Vinci drawing on photoshop and then my teacher thought it would be a good idea to make that out of clay. 

I'd never made anything much out of clay before apart from the normal small school projects which were more flat pieces. 

It took many hours of playing around, layering up the clay, wishing and praying that all the air bubbles had gone when prepping the clay. There was a hairy moment when the whole face nearly caved in on itself...cue my teacher running over slapping on extra clay for support and wedging more newspaper in the hollow areas! 

The year 12's had named him Harold in the process, so this has stuck until this day, we were all nervous when putting the head into the kiln-one downside to clay is that if there is air trapped the whole thing could explode! 

Thankfully it survived, and I then painted it all a bronze/copper colour. 

After all the exams I was able to collect the work produced over the past 2 years, Mum came to help me as there was a lot of stuff, I nearly didn't take Harold with me, as well, at 18 i wasn't really fussed with it, but Mum persuaded me! 

I'm glad she did, nearly 10 years later it is still by my parent's fire place, every Christmas he gets decorated with a Santa hat, and my boys quite often make comments on it, or pretend to pick his nose for their amusement! 

Do you have something quirky in your house?

Something with a story behind it?

Wayfair would love to read and hear about your own #QuirkyFurniture pieces or ornaments, there must be something in your home with a story behind it, perhaps something picked up from a holiday, boot sale, or inherited piece? 


This is a collaborative post

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Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Choosing a name

So with baby due in a little over 10 weeks we are upping the anti in terms to trying to find a name we both like.

We are pretty sure that this is another boy, although, we could be very surprised with a girl. But with that in mind we have mainly focused on boys names for the time being!

Here's a list of some of the names we don't mind, I will admit there isn't a stand out one at the moment, but then again Samuel was un-named for 24 hours and probably wasn't on our list!

I quite like names that can be shortened, I think this is good when the child is older and can choose which version of the name they prefer.

Both Alex and Sam have the longer versions of their names on paper, but mainly we have called them by the shorter versions. I think I'd like this for our 3rd baby too.

I think Reuben is the only one on our list that we could probably do that with at the moment, although I don't know if James is as keen on that name, I'm undecided!

Some of the names we have on our boy's list are: Harry, Charlie, Max, Hugo, Rory (I haven't told James about that one yet). And well from the way James' sister reacted to Hugo being on our list I don't think we will be using that name..."you can't have that name that's one of ours!"...they aren't expecting yet or anything but I don't think it would be worth our life haha. Also as much as I like Charlie in particular there are so many of them...

Girls names, like I said we haven't given a great amount of thought, ones we liked when pregnant with the boys were Isabelle/a, and Amelie but there does seem to be lots of these names around at the moment and I'm not totally sure I still like them as much. I quite like Sophia but again it's very popular. I've just been going through the top 1000 British names this morning to try and help, I quite like Grace, Charlotte/Lottie and Imogen from the list, possibly more for middle names, I've no idea!

Our surname is Spencer so we are lucky that quite a lot of names do go with it, although sometimes I find names ending with er or a don't have quite the same ring to it though...although obviously Alex does have that.

Alexander James Spencer
Samuel George Spencer

What middle name works well with:
Reuben Spencer ?

What names did you have on your lists when expecting?

Are there any names you could recommend, I'm sick of looking through name lists at the moment!

HELP haha



Thursday, 16 February 2017

The 3rd trimester: 28 weeks

I can't quite believe I am already in the 3rd trimester of this pregnancy, the 2nd trimester seemed to fly by, and apart from the odd bit of breathlessness and a couple of faint spells it went by trouble free really.

I had my 28 week checkup on Tuesday as well as a routine blood test.

My blood pressure was fine, and my midwife told me that baby was lying breech (which explains the bad rib pain I've had of late) and for the first time found the heart beat straight away. Baby before now has moved and wriggled at any time the midwife has tried to locate the heart beat!

I have been more tired recently so when I had a voicemail from the midwife the day after my appointment it didn't come to a great surprise to me that my iron levels are low. I know definitely had iron tablets with Sam and not sure if I had to with Alex also.

So tomorrow I will be picking up my iron supply from the pharmacy and praying it gives me some extra energy!

I was really looking forward to this half term as there would be no rushing around for school runs, but apart from a bit of a lie in each morning I have actually found it much harder than a normal week.

I forgot how much attention Alex needs, he literally does not stop talking, and although the boy's have had moments of playing lovely together they have squabbled a great amount too!

I have not had ANY energy this week, we have been to 2 local parks with friends, and Mum had them yesterday afternoon to take swimming, but apart from baking some cakes we really haven't done much at all. I feel a bit guilty, but I think I'm allowed to be a bit selfish when feeling so rubbish!

I feel huge this week, not sure if I've had a spurt, but I am measuring at 28weeks, whereas with the boy's I think I was still measuring slightly small at this stage (definitely with Alex anyway). As I am bigger the joys of pregnancy have really hit this week, my ribs have been in agony and I have really struggled to work at the desk, sit down comfortably anywhere and get comfortable at night time, as well as bad moments of heart burn and indigestion!

 I guess one good thing is my skin and hair seem to still be lovely at the moment and there is a LOT of movement from baby, although it is starting to get painful occasionally, it's so lovely how excited people get when they see and feel it kick, the boys are always amazed by it!


















Friday, 27 January 2017

Preparing the house for a baby: Home improvements

With the turn of the new year the focus on our 3rd baby has ramped up.

I will admit, this pregnancy I have barely had the chance to REALLY think about it all yet, I still don't think it has sunk in that we will have a newborn in the house in May!

Before Christmas we were just so busy! Apart from scans and midwife appointments, not much thought went into what we need and names etc as I just haven't had the headspace.

But now the kids are back at school, after a week and a half we have settled more into the routine again (it has been a HUGE struggle getting back into it after Christmas) I feel I have the energy and time to start making plans.

We sat down one night and listed all the things we would like to get done in each room in the house, realistically not all the things will be done before the baby comes, but if we get most of them done it will be a bonus! DIY is always hard with children, but babies wait for no one when they need something do they :)

We actually made a start on the DIY list last week by painting our kitchen and downstairs loo white. It desperately needed a freshen up, and we can accessorise and add artwork etc as and when we have the time and money (we will probably have to paint again before that time comes haha)! We bought Leyland Trade in Vinyl Matt, mainly because it is wipeable which the paint that was in here before wasn't. James really liked painting with this paint, saying it went on really well, considering he's used a lot of brands being in the trade this is a positive!



If I do actually find the energy and inspiration I might actually see if I can make some artwork and accessories for these rooms. I have a 3 photo frame I want to get some beach photos in (that I've had 2 years and has sat empty!!!) I might also make some felt fish, or beach huts for a bit of colour, we need to get our mirror back up too! The kitchen I'm not sure what I want to do along the back wall but something fresh and colourful, just need to find something that fits our budget or something I can make quickly and cheaply.

If we paint the joint playroom/office then the whole of downstairs will have been decorated in the 2 years we have lived here, the hallway we did last Easter so that leaves upstairs, which is all still magnolia. We may paint this white or the grey that is in the hallway to save spending more money on more paint, might be a little boring but I plan on picking out some bright colours for some prints or something on the walls. This will be a pain to paint though, as although it's just a rectangle room, it has so much furniture in it, a huge desk, 2 large (and heavy) Ikea Galant storage units, an Ikea billy bookcase, and a large Ikea Kallax toy shelving unit along another wall, so we will have to rope someone in to help with this room to help move everything!



We think that we will move Sam into the smallest room, I know middle child syndrome or what (feeling a little guilty about this)! But there is a logical reason for this. Our house is L shaped and the smallest room is next to Alex's room, which both boys play in regularly, and also contains the large Lego collection! I am thinking once baby is crawling we can put a stair gate in that part of the hallway, as the boys always have Lego all over the floor so would mean I wouldn't have that worry.


This photo is Alex's room, I've changed it slightly since this was taken, but as you can the Ikea Tofast unit houses all the Lego bits, the collection grew since this was taken though as this was before their birthday's and Christmas. His room is the least likely to be decorated as the other bedrooms will have to take priority the next couple of months. We'd like to lighten it up by painting the walls, getting rid of the built in wardrobe which stops a lot of light and buy a new wardrobe system, possibly white wash my old bed too (it's done a good few years that bed)!!

At first Sam was not keen on the idea of moving room, but actually has now come around to it, he never plays in his room at the moment so that is not an issue-the issue will be trying to configure the position of his cabin bed and wardrobe. It really is a small room and the only way I think we can make it work is to have the bed across the window-which won't look brilliant! The room at the moment has become a junk room since moving the office downstairs with the playroom in October, it's currently got bits for the loft, charity shop, dump and the boy's old bunk bed to sell in it! Sam wants green in his room, we might try and persuade him to have lots of green accessories and bedding instead of the dark green he would choose for the walls! I might attempt some ninja turtle canvas paintings for him too!

The baby would then have Sam's current room, which is opposite to ours, so will be more practical in the future when it will (hopefully) sleep there well!! We have some friends who are selling a cot and few other bits so will just need a lick of paint, new curtains and setting up, to be honest this could be done after baby is born, as we are planning on it sleeping in our room a fair while like the boys did.

Sam's current room

Cabin bed we bought and painted from my mum's neighbour
That leaves our room, it needs some TLC, it's walls have been knocked about a little, the curtain pole is hanging on by a thread and our en suite needs a replacement extractor fan and the ceiling re plastered! We'd love to have some more wardrobes along the wall to get rid of the almost broken chest of drawers. We currently have some Ikea Pax wardrobes in Oak and would be able to fit at least a double one in along the same wall as the others. To lighten it all up we would probably buy the mirror doors, hopefully creating a more spacious feeling in doing so too. realistically I don't see us being able to afford that any time soon though, which is a little frustrating as it's really not working how it is at the moment!

I know it might seem like it but this is in no way a collaborative post with Ikea! We just like and can afford their furniture!


Friday, 20 January 2017

Baby product wishlist

Seeing this is our third baby we know what we will need, and we know what most likely will not be used!

Also seeing as this is our third we do have some bits still in the loft as I was never ready to get rid of anything when we moved 2 years ago....a sure sign we both were still thinking another baby was on the cards at some point!

We won't sort through the baby bits until nearer the time and once we have sorted the upstairs bedrooms in terms to painting and re-arranging.

But we do know we definitely need some new products, the main ones being: pushchair/travel system, a cot for our room, and further down the line a highchair.

Pushchair travel system
This will be our first big baby purchase as it's the one thing we will most need.

You can't leave the hospital without a carseat, and as I don't drive a pushchair is a must.

We have had travel systems with each of the boys and haven't had a problem with them at all.

With both of them we had similar Graco travel systems with the baby car seat and simple pushchair design.

As we've had no problems with these and the Graco brand I think we would be silly not to try and find something similar again, both our pushchairs must have clocked quite a few miles with the amount of walking I do!

Graco Mirage Plus Travel system
I quite like the pattern on this one, especially as we don't know the sex of the baby (although we both think it's another boy)!

As much as a like these pushchairs, there is a big part of me that would love a pram attachment, we've never had one and as I am pretty sure this is our last baby I really want one this time-I'm hoping this would help with sleeping on their back as both the boys were a nightmare with sleeping in cots at first!

This Mothercare Xpedior Pram and pushchair would be a cheaper option than many, however the completely plain colour reflects that I think, but it does have some good reviews which is always reassuring! 

I need to have a good look around at the shops and see if we can find something that fits our needs. It might mean we have to stray from Graco if we can't find one with a pram attachment, but then again we may not be able to afford one with a pram attachment anyway. 

A cot for our room

Our room is small, so fitting a full size cot would not be possible. Also if this baby is anything like the other two then they will not be good sleepers at first! Looking back I am horrified to think James used to sleep on the sofa with Alex in the first week or two, and with Sam he stayed in our bed a lot in the early days which worried me greatly and as a result I don't think I slept well at all. 

This is why I think that a crib that attaches to the bed will be a great help.

We've not had any experience with these and haven't really heard much about them from friends etc either, but as I am planning on breast feeding, planning on having baby in the same room for a while and we are limited on space I think that this would be the best option. 

There are plenty on the market and it's a bit overwhelming when you're constantly tired looking on the internet. But these two stood out for me...


This would match with our bed being white, but at just under £200 it doesn't come cheap. I like the fact it's a 3 in 1 so can be used as a stand alone, the bassinet on it's own or attached to the bed, the rocking legs may come in handy too. 


Now although this one doesn't look as nice as the SnuzPod it may be more practical as it fits into a travel bag, not that we go away much but would be better than a normal travel cot if we were to go anywhere in the early months. This can be a stand alone crib or attached to the bed. 

If our budget doesn't allow, then we may have to go for a simple crib like this one from Kiddicare which at £40 is much more affordable, but not as desirable in ease of breastfeeding and hopeful sleep. 


Are there any baby products or companies you couldn't have done without, or would highly recommend. It's been over 4 years since we had to look at baby products so things may have changed in that time! 

Monday, 16 January 2017

Dizziness in pregnancy

Pregnancy. 

It's wonderful but it also has it's downsides! 

Just before Christmas I had an awful dizzy spell, I was only sat at the desk writing the last of the Christmas cards when all of a sudden I went scorching hot, felt clammy, my vision started going along with the ringing and muffles noises in my ears. I made my way straight up to bed and lay on my side. 

It was really frightening, and I know when it happens there isn't really much I can do to stop it, it's just something that has to run it's course. 

I was thankful for being home, and it also being when James was around too. 

I had my midwife appointment the day after so it was a welcome relief to find out all was fine with baby, as well as my BP etc being all fine too. 

She thought that because everything seemed fine otherwise that it was probably cause by baby laying in an awkward postilion and most likely on an important nerve.

Unfortunately on the school run on Friday morning, in the very thin layer of snow I suddenly felt all the same feelings as before coming on. Luckily I was walking with a friend at the time and we were near a park area so I had somewhere to lean. 

It's always so scary when this happens away from home, I am so thankful that I was away from the main road and also not alone. 

I felt not too bad shortly afterwards and caught up with my friend who had taken Alex along to school for me and then another friend gave me a lift back home. 

It really takes it out of me for the rest of the day, and I tend to feel super tired and look really pale, I am very much hoping it doesn't happen again, especially not on the school run at least, as we have to go along a dual carriageway and aren't always walking along with others. 

I don't want to have to rely on lots of people to help with school runs already as I think I may need some help when bump is much heavier. 

I have another midwife appointment tomorrow so will see what the midwife can suggest! 

These babies like to keep us on our toes before they are even here! 16 weeks to go though, it seems to be flying by! 

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

A Christmas catch up! (A little late)

OK, OK. It's January and I am posting about Christmas, I apologise, but this is the last post catching up before we get into the new year-promise!

Early December we popped along to a local farm to choose our Christmas tree, we got a slightly smaller tree than previous years and actually I am glad we did. We got a 4-5ft tree, so nice to support a local farm, and the boys loved choosing it and were very excited about decorating it when we got home-I wish I was but in all honestly I was so tired and didn't really want it up the first weekend in December! 

When we got home we let the kids have free rein decorating it, I will admit on the Monday I did re-decorate it (I know terrible!), and got my craft wooden tree out for them to decorate on the landing upstairs. 



The finished tree
I think this is actually the best tree we have decorated, I stuck to golds, whites and reds, and there are a few of my own makes on there too! This actually lasted amazingly well, we had it up until the 5th January and it was still looking very green and hadn't dropped that many needles at all. I fed it with some lemonade and water this year and I think the lemonade definitely helps (for whatever reason I don't know)!
December was crazy busy! We had James's Birthday, Sam's birthday, James went to America for a week, Sam's birthday party, and then the last manic week at school with plays, discos, Christmas parties, fundraising and more (or course this was the week James was away too)! 

Alex's play was born in the barn, unfortunately I have no photos, we were able to take them but as he was at the back and I didn't have the best view it was just impossible, I was really hoping they would take individual photos in their costumes like in previous years, but apparently they didn't this year which is disappointing. He was a bird, so was in black with a big beak, singing his heart out, the kids all did a great job. 

Sam's nativity was on the last day of term, and it was super cute, the 3 and 4 year old's did an amazing job. Sam was a shepherd, handy as Alex was at preschool too so had no worried when sorting the costume. Sam loves singing and kept smiling away at me. They had some stalls afterwards, and we got lucky on the tombola for a change! 



Alex had Christmas jumper day on the Friday too, of course we had none and of course I then felt guilty and had to make one up on the Thursday night, sometimes being crafty has it's upsides! I had loads of people saying I should make these to sell next year...I'm not so sure after how long it took me to do!


As I mentioned above, James was away for a week in December, he went out to Florida with his family, his brother lives out that way and he whole family were heading out there until after Christmas. We all had the opportunity to go but in all honestly flying, especially long haul is one of my nightmares let alone when 4 month pregnant, and as it was for the week the boys were happy to stay home. With Alex being ill that week, and then seemingly developing big anxiety over eating and going out we were all very pleased to see James walk through the door that Saturday, he was so lucky with his journey home so was home about an hour earlier than we expected. 


That week before Christmas James was mostly off, we had our scan, and sorted the last of the Christmas bits, as ever we don't have the money for buying everyone presents so we did a big bake off on the 23rd! Photos can be deceiving though, it looks like we are happy families here, but in all honestly it was a day of the boys arguing and being hard work!


However we made lots, cranberry and orange shortbread, gingerbread with lemon icing, marshmallow, and cheese and rosemary straws. These all went down extremely well, I think my favourite were definitely the shortbread....although the other makes went down nicely too!


 Christmas eve was mainly spent having a quick tidy up, wrapping the last of the gifts, seeing a couple of friends and heading out to a Christmas service at the church we got married. It went by in a flash and it was soon time for pj's, hanging stockings, and leaving mince pies etc for the big man himself, Sam remembered we had reindeer food last year and was worried we hadn't got any this year so the boys quickly stepped out the front and sprinkled some oats out. It wasn't long before he visited!



I woke at 4am, and thought I could hear the kids, they were both up in Sam's bed chatting away like 2 old women, they sort of went to sleep at 5ish, Sam ended up in with us and I didn't get back to sleep, so was a bit tired the rest of the day! James and I didn't do gifts for each other again this year, and we purposely didn't get the kids much either, a. to save money and b. they just didn't need nor want much! The kids were happy with their bits, and actually didn't get a huge amount of time to play them as we went to my parent's for lunch, we were back there the following day as my grandparents were there, the following day we went to Reading to visit my other grandparents and all of my Mum's side of the family, as James' parents were back we also popped into them on the 28th, so it was a lovely but manic few days!! I will be honest even now in January the upstairs still has some of the boy's stocking fillers left on the landing as I haven't had the energy or time to sort much out!! 

So from our home to yours, we hope you had an amazing Christmas, a lovely new year and all the best in finishing those Christmas food gifts to make a start on healthy eating again (please say that isn't just us)!

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