Monkey’s Star Wars Bedroom

Monkey has been in his little toddler bed since before he was 2, and he has loved his little bed… But it really was starting to get too small for him so we decided it was time to get him a proper single bed. We also decided that it was time to give his bedroom a new look. We moved into this house 3 weeks before he was born and his was the first room to be decorated and we didn’t put much thought into it really. We slapped some yellow paint on and some hungry caterpillar wall stickers and that was that. It was one of my least favourite rooms in the house so I was keen to do it properly this time.

It didn’t take too long to come up with a theme. This boy loves star wars and space so we knew that was what we were aiming for. We did look into paying a decorator as it is a time consuming job to decorate when you have 2 little ones around, but it was just going to be so expensive that I took it upon myself to get it done during LM’s naps and when Hubs was around to look after the kids.photogrid_1475502295400

We wanted to keep it fairly classy and simple so that the room can grow with him, so went for predominantly grey walls and one dark blue wall and used walls stickers to add the star wars touch. The great thing about wall stickers is that if he does grow out of wanting star wars we can take the stickers off and hopefully won’t have to repaint the entire room.photogrid_1475499165479

Monkey got a really cool set of planets for his birthday that could be hung from his ceiling so we knew we wanted to incorporate those. We found a fab sun light from ikea which looks brilliant and hung the planets around it, in a slightly random orbit but in approximately the right order in terms of distance from the sun.20160905_145202

With the room being mainly grey we had to get some colour in there somewhere while sticking to the theme, and I love his bright red chair, and the red drawers on his bedside cabinet. We also added one bright red wall sticker with the very star wars line of “a long time ago in a galaxy far far away…” and a gorgeous mustard yellow rug on the floor to make sure the room wasn’t too dull.photogrid_1475499536392

A star was lover Monkey has some star wars toys and star wars lego and they help to finish off the room… And are very much played with in there! We also found this awesome death star night light which is brilliant and gives just the right amount of nightlight glow without being too bright.photogrid_1475499752800

A couple of sets of star wars bedding for his lovely new bed finishes it off nicely. He sleeps so well in his big boy bed and loves it in there which is the most important thing!

Starting the year feeling organised

The word of the week, and of the past few weeks in our house to be honest, is organised. Hubs had a good long break over Christmas for the first time ever and it really was amazing. We got the house tidier than we have since Monkey was born I believe and made a decision between ourselves that we were going to get ourselves more organised. We are out of the baby days and the building work in the house from the extension is all finished so there really is no excuse anymore.

So far we are doing well at the general cleanliness and tidiness of the house. We have implemented a tidy up time before bath time every day to get Monkey to help us tidy up the toys and we are both trying to be less lazy and get the washing up done straight away and to generally just keep on top of things. I’m not going to lie it is hard work some days when we are shattered but we are managing and it is lovely to have a house that is on the whole clean and tidy most of the time. It means our weekends are freer to enjoy rather than needing to blitz the house and feels a little like we have grown up haha. Took till our early thirties but we got here!

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All tha hand me downs we have for LM to wear for the next few years!

There has been some bigger organising going on too. Hubs has tidied and organised the garage and we have some new shelves up in there though it is a work in progress. He has also been organising the loft and making a huge amount of space in there. Which is where I come in! Half of the stuff in our loft is clothes for the kiddies. Hand me downs for LM to grow into and clothes Monkey has grown out of. We have already given away a lot but there was some serious organising to do of the remaining. So that has been my job this week. Sorting all the various bags and boxes of clothes properly and finally. I have also found homes for lots of the clothes and am hoping one of our neighbours with  a new little girl may like the rest otherwise it will be off to the charity shop with it.

 

Another big project has been sorting out the TV. We have been Virgin Media customers for a long time but only have the basic package and honestly the price has just been going up and up and up and driving us crazy. It hasn’t been that great either as the Tivo box is just so slow sometimes. So we have been trying to work out what to do and have decided to give freeview a try instead. There was an aerial in our loft from previous owners, though it wasnt connected and it took a bit of back and forth to the shops, hubs has been in and out of the loft fixing the cables and we had to try out a couple of different boxes but we finally seem to be sorted now.

There are a few things to get used to and different buttons and things we have to learn but on the whole it seems to be working well. Though we have had to spend money to get to this point it will cost a lot less overall as we won’t have the monthly outgoings anymore, yippee!

photoalbumsMy personal little project has also been organising our family photo albums. I plan to write a bit more about this later but it is quite a task getting it all sorted as I got quite behind. I love photo albums and though it is taking a lot of effort organising photos on the computer, getting the best ones printed out etc. I think it is so worthwhile. Especially in the digital age where otherwise you just end up with thousands of files on a computer that no-one ever has a chance to look through let alone organise. So it is a bit of a labour of love getting that all organised!

 

So there we have it, tonnes of organising going on! Feels good to get things done though doesn’t it?

The Reading Residence

Our Christmas Tree from Pines and Needles

It’s December, which means that Christmas preparations are in full swing in our house. Are they in yours? The presents are all bought and I’ve written most of the Christmas cards now. We also have our tree and decorations up, and well, what a magnificent tree it is!20151206_192806

This beauty came courtesy of Pines and Needles. A wonderful eco-friendly Christmas Tree company, who would you believe, deliver them right to your door. Now I know there is something lovely about choosing your tree yourself but when you have small kids any shopping trip can be hard work and trying to squeeze a tree into your car in between car seats and all the other paraphernalia… well that can escalate it to nightmare.

This is our second year receiving a fabulous tree from Pines and Needles and we have been so impressed with the quality of everything. Last year we had our tree up from 1st December and it lasted well past Christmas without looking dry. The Nordman Fir is our favourite as it doesn’t drop anywhere near as many needles as a traditional tree but still looks and smells fantastic. They are also very competitively priced in my opinion too and we would easily spend the same amount on a tree in our local garden centre.

20151205_171816It isn’t just trees either as Pines and Needles sell lots of other lovely bits too. The tree stand they provided us with is by far the best and easiest tree stand I have ever used, and the mat is oh so handy as I do have a tendency to spill water when watering the tree! Plus it adds a bit of extra traction on our hard floor making the tree very firm on the ground.

I am a little in love with the garland they sent too, I’ve never had a garland made from a real tree before and it is amazing. It just looks gorgeous on our mantelpiece but also has rope attached very firmly so you could hang it if you wish.20151205_175947

Finally they also sent these gorgeous mini trees for the kiddies which are oh so cute and will be planted in the garden come spring.

mini trees

So if you love the idea of a real tree but don’t want the hassle of going and getting one then I cannot recommend Pines and Needles enough. As a little bonus I have a discount code for you to use too.

By using STAY15 at the checkout you would get the following:

Free 10″ Decorated Wreath
Free Holly
Free Mistletoe
Free Mini Tree

Why not give their delivery service a go this year?

We're going on an adventureMummascribbles

The building work is finished

My word of the week this week, is finished, because we are finally finished with all of the building work involved in our garage conversion and extension. I say finished but when is anything ever really finished? There are still niggly things needing doing but the major renovation work is now done. For anyone who hasn’t been aware, we previosuly had a garage and a car port. The garage has now been converted into a lovely new room, the car port is now a proper garage. We have also moved our front door and had a small utility built at the front.

Not sure if this makes any sense but here is a before and after of the front of the house (or at least up to the point where the garage door went on).We need a step and other work doing out the front (remember I mentioned niggly things?) but that will be happening fairly soon I hope.before and after front

Inside our hallway is the same size as ever but where the old front door used to be it now leads into a lovely little utility room. We love this room as it means the noisy washing machine and tumble dryer can now be well and truly shut away, meaning hubs and I can actually hear each other when they are on – potentially saving our marriage hehe ;).hallutility

Our living room now no longer has many toys stored in it as they are all in our lovely new playroom/study. Which is here.new room

We love this room with the grey walls and we went for a lovely soft (but bleach cleanable) carpet as we spend a lot of time in there on our hands and knees playing with the kids. We decided to be bold and step away from our usual Ikea furniture (which we love) and get some different pieces in there. Hubs found a fab place, Swoon editions (not a sponsored post in anyway) where we got this gorgeous unit we are using as toy storage, a lovely new desk and chest of drawers too.swoon furniture

We also went to our favourite Multiyork (again not sponsored) to get this gorgeous vibrant snuggle sofa and chair. We love being able to choose the fabrics ourselves and I always love what I call “Jewel tones” like these.multiyork furniture

We still need to get some curtains, maybe cushions and decide what to have on the walls (there are the niggly things again!). We still need a bit more toy storage too though haven’t decided what form that will take. I love our book shelves though (Ikea picture rails, bargainous) and we did push the boat out when it came to the radiators, one in the lounge and one in the new room. Big and chunky and lovely.rads

Hubs bought this piano for £50 on ebay before we met and it has never had a home in this house and has been basically dumped in the conservatory with loads of other old furniture. It now has a proper home in the new room, and it has really helped free up space in the conservatory again making that room feel so much bigger again.20151008_093819

Having the garage itself finished, with a posh roller door (hubs’ choice) has made a huge difference too as for the past couple of months the entire contents of the garage have been kept in the conservatory. I allowed hubs to get his car in the garage once but then I am afraid it had to come out so I could reclaim the conservatory as that is our primary messy play area and very much needed on rainy days! Some of the stuff that is now in the garage needs to be sold and we need to get some shelves up and work out proper storage in there too.garage

So yes I say we are finished but as you can probably gather… there is still lots of things to be done. We also want some coat hooks on the walls in the utility to free up space in the hall and need to get a better shoe rack as there are constantly shoes all over the floor in the hall…. But the building work at least is finished and the building inspector has approved the work so hooray for that!

The Reading Residence

A bit of a break

My word of the week this week is break. You may have noticed that things have been a little quiet on here this week and that is because life at home is currently very hectic, so I have taken a bit of a break from blogging. There is still tonnes I would like to write about but I just haven’t the time or energy for it at the moment with everything that is going on.

Our garage conversion and building work is going really well and when this is published, in theory the new room/old garage should be finished and ready for furniture to go in. As I write the plumbers are plumbing in the radiators and the carpets should go down in a few hours. This is a huge relief as the last couple of weeks have been hard work.

The first stage of the building work was all outdoors and so other than being noisy didn’t really interfere with our day to day life much. Since cutting the doorway between the new room and the lounge it has been a very different story. The dust has driven us mad. Not fun at the best of times it is definitely less than ideal with a 10 month old crawling everywhere and getting in to everything!

So we have been covering furniture with quilts and sheets (meaning lots more laundry to do, as if we don’t produce enough laundry already) and I have lost count of the amount of times I have swept the floor and steamed and been on my hands and knees trying to clean up the dust…

Dust

It has also still been noisy and smelly (paint) and there has been people in and out a lot. Our builders are a really good bunch and they love the kids but having strangers in your house all the time is just a bit weird and parenting with an audience really isn’t fun! Plus the conversations I have had to listen to/be involved in (generally moaning about their wives and women in general, fun, and occasionally sharing how little sex they have, way tmi for me!) is just a bit weird.

So the kids and I have been playing upstairs a lot to keep put of their way. Plus of course lots of trips out in between the rain (or even when raining).

Going for a walk in the pouring rain ay 9am on bank holiday Monday while the builders fitted the door tp the new room

Going for a walk in the pouring rain at 9am on bank holiday Monday while the builders fitted the door to the new room

LM has actually coped really well with it all so far, basking in the adoration of the builders and giving them the biggest smiles, but the strain is starting to show with Monkey. He still wants to be a builder and is ok with them but he doesn’t like them being in his domain I don’t think. If I have to pop out of the room to deal with LM he doesn’t like being on his own with the builders so wants to follow me everywhere or stands and cries. Honestly this morning I was settling LM to sleep while the builder was cutting bricks outside (SO noisy) and she was trying but obviously struggling through the noise. I got her to sleep and came back down to find Monkey (who I had convinced to stay downstairs for a few mins) hiding with tears in his eyes. Pfff. Poor thing but I am at a loss what to do sometimes, I can’t be with him every second of the day.

We also haven’t had a front door for a couple of weeks now so have been traipsing round the back all of the time. Meaning the buggy, shoes coats, etc have all been living in the lounge along with the dust and the builders… just not ideal, any of it really and I have to say that being able to actually use our new front door for the first time was very very exciting!!

front door

One of the purposes of the new room will be toy storage, which is also making us think about storage throughout the house. It is also going to be Hubs office so a lot of the office stuff and files will come down from upstairs and go in there. So my word of the week was nearly sorting as we have been using any spare time (?) to go through cupboards. We have been throwing away lots of old stuff and have sorted some things for charity shops too. I have started to ditch some toys (charity shop again) and have more boxes to go through yet. (I swear toys multiply of their own accord, they are taking over our house!!).

So yeah not a lot of time for blogging really (I wrote most of this on my phone while watching bake off and the rest in 5 min bursts as today has been chaos).

At one point today we had the builder, 2 plumbers, an electrician, and a carpet fitter here at the same time. t worked well and lots got done but it was chaos!

At one point today we had the builder, 2 plumbers, an electrician, and a carpet fitter here at the same time. it worked well and lots got done but it was chaos!

But a break probably is no bad thing. I have been feeling slightly disillusioned with blogging for a while, possibly because life is busy and I am exhausted, but all of the commenting and linkies and sharing, let alone writing, has been feeling like a chore.

But I do love writing and that is why I blog really, as well as to create a record for the kids to look back on. So it won’t be too long a break I am sure… just a break until we return to something resembling normality I think!! I was going to add I some shots of how it is all looking now but it has taken me so long to write this post that I can’t be bothered so will save them for another post.

How has your week been? Slightly less chaotic I hope?

The Reading Residence

Making good progress

My work of the week this week is “progress” as we are making some great progress, on a number of fronts.

I wrote last week that we are starting our new big project, and honestly the builders have worked so hard and only 1 week later, the progress is incredible! They’ve obviously got a way to go yet but the work is well underway!

progress

The old garage is feeling much more like a room, now the stud work is up, it is insulated and has the plasterboard up. The new, larger window has been created and the old garage doors (front and back) are well and truly gone. The foundations have been dug for the new wall on the garage and what will be our utility room, and today these were filled with concrete.

It’s very exciting though my word could also have been chaos as of course it has been noisy and hectic and a bit chaotic having the builders in – and they will be around for a while yet!

We’ve also made some progress getting rid of some of the old stuff from the garage and have sold a few things on ebay, which is brilliant. No point stuff we don’t use going back into the new garage! We’ve given away lots of baby clothes and other bits including a moses basket and nursing chair to friends. We know we aren’t having any more babies but it is lovely to see our bits go to a good home,

We are also making progress in a totally different area, potty training Monkey! I haven’t mentioned it but we also started potty training last week and Monkey has been doing amazingly. We’ve had less than 10 accidents all week and he is getting better and better at telling me he needs to do a wee (rather than just going when I take him). He goes a couple of hours between wees and has even had a few dry nights which we are hugely impressed with! I will write more about how it’s gone in a later post but I am so glad we waited until he was ready.

We tried earlier this year and he wasn’t ready, but now he is and he has just got it straight away. I know we all feel the pressure to do it early and having a 3 year old in nappies certainly what I thought would happen but waiting until he was really ready and following his lead has been absolutely the right thing for us. It has actually been really easy, which is a huge relief, and it is lovely seeing him in pants rather than nappies!! :)

In many ways it has been a tough, and certainly busy, week with the builders, LM and I have a cold and Monkey is a bit ratty and not 100% either. But it is good to feel like we have made some great progress and are really getting somewhere!

How has your week been?

The Reading Residence

Our next big project

We moved into our house about 3 weeks before Monkey was born. It is in the area both Hubs and I grew up in, an area that we love. We got it at a really great price because it needed work doing to it, more work than we initially realised to be honest! We moved in to a garage that was basically flooded from an old roof, a kitchen that was falling apart, rotton soffets with birds nesting in the eaves, pretty nasty bathrooms and both front & back gardens were a mess. Initially we thought we could live with a lot of it but gradually we realised we needed to do some work sooner rather than later.

So when Monkey was still a baby we did many of the repairs needed, had a new kitchen fitted, a new bathroom, and created a shower room out of the existing downstairs toilet and hall cupboard. We completely gutted and landscaped the back garden and made some “smaller” changes to the front, including a new gravel driveway area.

The 'small' changes to the front garden!

The ‘small’ changes to the front garden!

Our itchen when it was brand spanking new!

Our itchen when it was brand spanking new!

There have been smaller changes over the last 3 years, lots of decorating and replacing ceilings but one of the things we loved about this house was it’s potential to grow with us. Since early this year Hubs has had a bee in his bonnet that he has wanted to start this process. He felt, quite rightly, that if we want to extend in any way then we should do it now when the space is really useful to us. If we wait until we can more easily afford it then the kids will be older and it won’t be as useful to us as it is now.

So, it has taken months of decisions and back and forth and organising architects drawings and building regulations (thankfully we don’t need planning permission) and now it is finally happening. We are converting our existing Garage into a Study/Playroom, and the carport will become our garage. We are also moving our existing front door, gaining a utility room and potentially re-doing our driveway. Eek!!

We thought originally we had a month or so before work started but all of a sudden the builder is available and bam it starts this week! So we came back from holiday a little earlier than we would have, and have had some work to do ourselves. Thankfully we cleared out the garage a few weeks ago but we hadn’t got round to selling some of the stuff we want to sell :S. So all of that stuff, plus other garage bits are now filling our conservatory!

Plus because we are moving the front door, we have some bushes and plants to move around too so we have had some old horrible plants dug up and then we have been moving the plants we like into the spaces they left behind.

We have also been working out how we want our new room to look so have already ordered most of our furniture, some before we went away and some while we were away! All very exciting but always nerve wracking! Fingers crossed it all looks the way we imagine… I will share more details with our choices in another post.

I am nervous, excited, apprehensive and everything in between. Wish us luck with the chaos and noise and fun having the builders in for the next 8 weeks or so (!!!??!!!) will undoubtedly bring!!

So bye bye garage, car port and front porch, with the annoying front step and garage doors that barely close let alone lock. Spiders it is time to find a new home! :)

old garage and carport

My word of the week this week, is project!

The Reading ResidenceMama and More
Best of Worst

An exciting week..

My word of the week this week is excitement, as it has been a bit of an exciting week, in more ways than one.

If you follow me on facebook or instagram you may have seen that I had a day off from being Mummy this week, which was very exciting for me indeed. I will go into more detail in another post but it was AMAZING to have a day off from being Mummy. Hubs and I got a bit of time together and then I got to relax with a friend over a glass of wine on the Harvery Nichols roof terrace. Just lovely! I also got to see the Kensington Roof Gardens, which I have always been intrigued by, so that was quite exciting too!

london

In other exciting news, we are making some plans at the moment for a conversion/extension. We currently have a garage and car port, and the plan is to turn the car port into a garage and the garage into an office/playroom/toy storage room and we will gain a utility room too.

We have been talking about it a lot this year and it has been a slow process getting the drawings done and quotes, seeing how we can afford it etc. etc…. But it finally seems to be coming together now. Eek! So last weekend was spent clearing out the garage (a heck of a job believe me!) ripping down shelves and breaking up old furniture, sweeping away hideous cobwebs and horribleness. After 2 days of hard graft and 3 trips to the tip the garage looked like this. So weird to think of this being an actual room one day soon!garage clearance

We have also been talking a lot about layout, colours, styles and all fun parts of interior designing which I love and is very exciting. We keep changing our mind at the moment though over what we want so thankfully we have a bit of time before any building work starts to decide. We are still waiting for the building regs at the moment though thankfully don’t need planning permission. So, well, watch this space as I am sure there will be more updates to come over the next few months!

Another bit of exciting news is that we may have stumbled upon a solution to LM’s sleep regression, or rather my lovely Mum has! I only blogged about it this week but it has been troubling us for some time. When my parents babysat for our day in London Mum mentioned she had got LM to sleep with no fuss at all, because she rubbed her tummy for a few minutes to get her to sleep.

I couldn’t believe my ears! After weeks of fussing a bit of tummy rubbing soothed her to sleep? Apparently my Mum did it with us as babies so it was just a natural instinct for her to rub her tummy. That night I rubbed her tummy but she didn’t seem to want to sleep so I left her to it… and she did then fall asleep by herself, with no tears. No tears! For the first time in weeks!

The next day at naptimes she wanted to sleep on her tummy so I rubbed her back and each time she feel asleep in minutes and slept really well, despite having a cold. I couldn’t believe it!

So far so good but I am excited to think we will have less stressful naptimes and bedtimes… fingers crossed anyway!!

The final bit of excitement, yes there’s more, is getting ready for holidays in a couple of weeks. We are housesitting for a friend in Dorset so yay, free holiday on the south coast! Amazing!! It has come round really quickly all of a sudden so I am excitedly planning where we are going to stop on the way there and what we are going to do while we are down there!

So yes, lots of excitement at the moment, which is really lovely :) How has your week been?

The Reading Residence

Adding some spring colour

So our house is full of illness again. Honestly this year has been a year of bugs and to tell you the truth I am fed of talking about it. So I am not going to write about the horrendous cough that Monkey had and now poor LM has, or how I had to doze in a chair all night last night so she could sleep upright and stop coughing so hard she was sick every time she tried to go to sleep… no I am not writing about that. Instead I am looking outside and writing about the lovely spring colours in our garden. In the hopes that spring will bring less bugs… eventually!

What a difference a year makes. This time last year we were very much in the throes of Operation Garden Renovation and our garden was basically a mud pit at this point I think! It has since been well and truly transformed but is still very much a work in process. (Excuse the toddler toys but hey, it’s his garden as much as ours :))

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New Year, Time for Me

Happy New Year Everyone! 2015 I am pleased you are here :)

Are you making any resolutions? I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions as I feel that if you want to do something then you should just do it, not wait for an arbitrary date to start. However I do think that New Year comes at a good time for those of us that have over indulged over Christmas and want to make a fresh start so I never begrudge anyone that.

I have definitely over-indulged lately… not just because it has been Christmas but because the last couple of months since Little Miss arrived have been really hard. And I am a comfort eater. I have been sleep deprived, poorly, exhausted and generally unhappy. So when I feel like this I eat. Chocolate yes but actually crisps are my biggest vice. And coleslaw, and pate and cheese and lots of other full fat options! So even though I lost some of my baby weight shortly after LM was born, I have now put it all back on and my clothes are definitely getting tight. I gave away my maternity clothes already and refuse to buy bigger sizes so it is time to do something about it.

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