Monday, 18 February 2019

Our Rustic DIY Wedding

I can't believe I'm married!

When I met Jack, he wasn't overly sold on the concept of marriage, and it wasn't until we'd already had two children that he decided to pop the question and ask me to be his wife. It meant a lot to me- to fully declare how we felt to everyone else, as well as joining our families together officially. I'd legally get to take his name and share the name of my children.

We decided we wouldn't wait too long between getting engaged and actually getting hitched, and after viewing just two venues, we booked it for just over a year later! We chose one of the more beautiful sites local to us- The Danish Camp in Willington.. the site is by a river, surrounded by trees and fields and everything a nature lover could ask for. All solid wood and greenery and a huge lodge/marquee. Perfect for the theme we were going for.

We wanted our wedding to reflect us and who we are- we didn't want it to be too fancy, and we didn't want it to seem like we were trying hard to impress. We like the simple things, and we also wanted to keep it budget friendly so we could continue saving for a mortgage.

Much to any pinterest lovers delight, we went for a rustic wood and "forest" feel with all our decor, and re purposed and recycled most of it to fit the theme! Think lots of old jars, hessian, pallets and other wood features... I designed and created everything from invites to favour boxes and other than the clothes, pretty much everything was DIY!

For our flowers, we went to the local Sainsburys and walked out with £50 worth of bouquets- I just picked up colours and combinations I liked, as well as a whole ton of gyposphila. It took hours of trimming but we managed to create two larger bunches, two smaller posies and we had enough leftover to fill the jars and decorate around the room.

Our cake wasn't a hugely important part to us, as it was just the the cutting and I'd read so much can be wasted... I spent £30 on nice cupcakes and a larger "Cupcake" for the top from Tesco, and I think it was perfect! None went to waste as people could just grab them and have them througout the night.

I re purposed four pallets for the occasion. I sanded and stained them (with help from Jack and my Sister) and I used two for photo boards, with old baby and childhood photos of both me and Jack. The third, I used to hold the table plan I designed on photoshop (to match our invites and all the other wedding stationary I created at home!) and the final one I carefully painted to welcome our guests. Other than paint, all of this was free as the frames were donated by everyone we knew as well!

We even managed to find a beaten up old suitcase, which worked perfectly as a free card box once I'd given it a bit of a clean and thrown some flowers at it. We used a polaroid camera for our guest book, and I managed to find bulk sweets online to make a sweetie area for the guests!

It was the most beautiful day. Doing a DIY wedding is definitely straining as it takes so much time, and the end result feels so far away... but now it's over I'd definitely do it again in a heartbeat.


Saturday, 16 February 2019

My Copper Coil FELL OUT!

This is a warning folks- this post is going to contain a lot of "tmi" and be a little graphic because yes, I am going to be talking about periods and fannies and birth control.... back away while you still can.

After the disaster of using nearly all of the hormonal birth control options over the last 8 years (think angry murderous cow at all times) I opted to get the copper coil following Archer's birth around 18 months ago.

Hormone free, up to ten years of retirement for the old baby box, and supposedly unnoticeable once it was in? Sign me up. I skipped off to the doctors and got it as soon as healthily possible. I was told there might be some discomfort ranging from a few hours to a few weeks tops, and that as long as I could feel the strings, I would be fine.

Now every month since then, I have to say, it has been like that scene from The Shining. For those who haven't seen this movie, basically they open the lift doors and there is a literal tsunami of blood that fills the corridor. This is not a metaphor, this has happened for 18 months straight. The doctor tutted a little and reassured me that yes heavier periods can be a side affect... but I am talking 13 days straight of not even being able to use a tampon or walk. I hold my hands up to women who go through this naturally without it being caused by birth control. You are true troopers.

The heaviness would leave me weak, depressed, unable to go out without the fear I'd be leaving a little breadcrumb trail of blood. It was horrific. But I could feel my strings, so nothing was wrong right?

Adding into this, was the fact that for 18 months I was absolutely certain I could feel it when getting intimate with Jack. It hurt so much, and it just felt like the thing was hitting me in the cervix from the inside and pinching- occasionally I'd move slightly and it would feel sharp.

In hindsight, I really should have seen the GP, but everything I'd been told and read about just said if I could find my strings, it was fine, and after yet another call we had arranged me an appointment in a fortnight to check it and remove it if I wanted.

But then the cramps started. We were walking around London, and honest to god it felt like early labour. My stomach was contracting, worsened by walking or sudden movements. I kept thinking I was constipated- I had an urge to push and nothing was moving. It was horrific, and pain killers wouldn't touch it. This went on for two whole days before I finally sat on the toilet again and tried to go to the bathroom and then it happened.

The thing actually fell down into the toilet.

The entire coil. Strings and all. All the copper. It looked massive!

I couldn't believe it- had my cervix and fanny literally opened 2 inches wide and it just fell out? Was I dying? Was it broken? Was I broken?

I phoned the doctor in a panic, who summarised that due to how it'd felt the last 18 months, it was probably in the wrong place the entire time and the contractions were my body literally rejecting it. Apparently, the chances of rejection again are heightened now. It's rare, but she wasn't even surprised and jokingly commented on the fact I could cancel my removal appointment now. I wasn't bloody laughing....

I actually gave birth to my birth control.

It's a relief that it's gone though, if I'm being honest. My stomach already feels better, as well as my downstairs. Everything changed as soon as it came out and clearly it was just something my body just didn't agree with. I'm hoping my monthly cycles settle down a little too now (though I'll have to cancel my stocks in Tampax now that I don't buy 4 boxes a month).

Has anyone else experienced this with the copper coil? Let me know!

Where has life taken us?

Well, time flies when you're having fun right? I'm ashamed to say this little blog of mine has been on the back burner for far too long. Only one post last year- how awful of me! But I mean it, we've really been having the most wonderful time and life has changed for us all in so many ways.

Last year, I spent 11 straight months planning our wedding essentially on my own (huge shout out to my little sister who had to put up with the brunt of me delegating tasks and complaining) and it was an experience I am so thankful for. There'll be a post shortly with all the gory and beautiful details.

We've had holidays, and many spontaneous weekends away and trips here and there. Anyone who knows me and Jack will know that we love a last minute decision- they're definitely the most fun.

Isla turned three last May, and in September she started preschool five days a week (only 3 hours mind you, but that just means two school runs in such a short period of time...usually in the rain) and also started performing and learning with a local professional ballet school- so that has been taking up a lot of our time as well!

Archer has changed so much, and looking back at my old blog posts about his development as a baby has left me secretly pining for the time to stop, or for another baby, or a puppy, or anything small as squishy to love and He's walking, chattering away, cuddling, sleeping through the night when he feels like it (which is not often) and generally an all around big boy now. He turns two in June- how??

I think it's healthy to step back sometimes when it comes to blogging. I've been known to flit through hobbies as often as I change my sheets. This last year alone I've started teaching myself photography, tried to learn to knit, tried to crochet, tried to sew a memory quilt out of all the old baby clothes, tried to organise my house... the list is endless. I'm glad to finally have the time to come back and write again though. I find spilling my thoughts for a handful of people to skim through is such a good thing for the mind, and on top of that it saves me chewing Jack's ear off when he gets home because really I ramble about the most random things and he's actually taken to phoning me on the way home so I can get as much out as possible before he walks into the mad house craving silence.

I'm glad to be back.

Mix It Up Linky

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Isla at Three Years Old

I may sound like a broken record when I gush about how time has flown, but my little baby girl is now a whopping three years old and it's honestly blowing my mind.

I look back at the last three years and I can't believe my first baby and all her rolls and dimples, has grown into a such a smart and beautiful little girl.

Gone are the toddler days- Isla has the conversational skills of a 5 year old (from what the health visitors have said) and an understanding of the world to match.

We've recently began teaching her phonics and she nearly has the entire alphabet covered- with help she can sound out basic words like "cat" and "dog", though properly reading is likely a long way off now still.

Physically, she's doing wonderfully. She loves to run and jump, though she's often a little more cautious in this area. We've just started to teach her to ride her bike (with stabilisers of course) which has been an exciting new challenge for her, and she's absolutely loving it.

Isla has been potty trained since she was around a month off her second birthday, and she is also dry at night (though we wear a pull up at night in case, as we have no upstairs bathroom for her to be able to use at night) which is fantastic as I can't imagine having gone through changing two lots of nappies when her brother moved onto solids haha!

At three years old, Isla is a hugely curious and confident little girl, with a sassy smart ass attitude and a love for asking questions. Sometimes she is cautious, and she is very in touch with her emotions- she will tell you when and why she is feeling sad, or angry or even just tell you that she's really happy.

She loves to tell us when we're breaking the rules and she absolutely loves to "mother" her little brother and boss him around. A persistent little girl, ever since we started playgroup she has flourished and loves to chase the other boys and girls and talk to them until they become her friends.

Favourite Things: puzzles, arts and crafts, Sylvanian Families, Disney, David Bowie, playing at playgroup with her little brother, playing dolls houses, reading, coco pops, spaghetti and tacos.

Least Favourite Things: Eggs, Burgers, Pizza, washing her hair, saying goodbye, watching Trolls (no idea why on this one), being tickled.

I honestly couldn't be prouder of who she is becoming.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Christmas Gifts For £5 and Under #sdfiverchallenge

When I think of Sports Direct, my mind is instantly overwhelmed with football boots, gym clothes and an odd memory of the horrible taste you get when setting your gum shield for school.

That's why I was initially sceptical when Brit Mums asked if I wanted to take on their fiver challenge with Sports Direct. The aim was to find the perfect Christmas gifts and stocking fillers for friends or family, for five pounds or under.

We have a massive direct family so Christmas is getting super expensive, so if I could do gifts on a budget- especially for the children who have a rather expensive taste sometimes- I was willing to give it a go.

When browsing the site, which has a handy section for Christmas organised by the type of gift, brand/character or the age and sex of the person you're shopping for, I was super impressed almost instantly. Never in my mind would I have thought you could buy such a huge range of non sport items from Sports Direct!

I decided I was going to try and get Isla and Archer some presents for five pounds or under. Isla loves everything Disney, and I wouldn't be exaggerating by saying our last trip to the Disney store blew the bank!

I found the following gifts:

Crayola Giant Princess Colouring Book £3
Disney Princess Pop Game £4.99
Disney Princess Three Pack Wood Puzzles £5.00
Disney Princess Jewellery Making Kit £4.00
My Little Pony Mug & Chocolate Gift Set £3.00
Monster Moving Car Gift Set £3.50

That came to an amazing SIX gifts for less than £25. For some young children, that would be plenty of gifts! I literally am gobsmacked at the prices.

The fantastic thing is, the quality wasn't compromised at all. Every gift came and was as perfect as you would find it in any name brand toy shop. I am so so impressed and I think for young adults on a budget, people with multiple children or even just someone with a huge family like me, it's a fantastic way of giving something nice without spending all your hard earned cash.

This post is an entry for BritMums #sdfiverchallenge, sponsored by

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Why We're Swapping to Reusable Cloth Nappies

I've always been intrigued by the concept of cloth nappies. They were what everyone used way back when- they had no other choice! Then the disposable nappies came in and they were all the rage and cloth definitely isn't the mainstream anymore. 

I did use disposable nappies with Isla and I can't overly fault them and other than the terrible impact they have the environment I won't badmouth any parent who chooses to use them. They're easy, absorbent and effective in what they do. It's just such a shame that they are piling up in landfills not degrading.

I've been thinking a lot about our world and the impact we are having on it. It may not seem like it will make much difference to our current generations, but it will one day. Archer will produce around a tonne of nappies before he is potty trained. By switching to cloth, I'll at least make some change to my descendants futures right?

Add in the cost as I've managed to get some good deals and some friends have sent me pre-loved nappies and I'm going to save hundreds of pounds in nappies, as most reusable ones can be used from birth to potty.

I know I sound like I'm rambling a lot- it's how I managed to convince myself it was what I wanted to do! It's a big thing to add in to an already chaotic schedule- washing nappies on top of all the other chores I have to do seems a little self destructive but it's actually saving me laundry loads in the long run. The cloth nappies when I've done them up properly just do not leak poo- so without any more poop explosions I'm actually changing and washing Archer's clothes so much less!

The world of cloth nappies is definitely a complicated one. When you think of reusable nappies your mind might jump right to triangle nappies with a big safety pin. It's quite modern now though! With poppers and velcro, there are SO MANY different types of styles of nappies- in gorgeous prints too!

I'll be sharing our journey into using cloth nappies- wish me luck! It's going well in these early weeks but it's definitely a learning curve for the whole family. Even if it doesn't last, at least the time we've spent out of disposables will have reduced our impact on the planet by a small amount.

Do you use cloth nappies? Do you have any advice for me? Let me know!

Steph xo
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