So, we're currently making the initial steps into buying a new house. It's all quite exciting, yet nerve wracking at the same time, buying a house is complete minefield. I don't think it really matters how many times you've done it before, every process is different. You're so dependent on other people, whether that's solicitors, mortgage advisers, vendors, the bank and what's that saying about too many cooks? Of course then you throw in the advice from anyone and everyone about what you need to look for in a home. We're pretty lucky that my Mum is so fickle with houses, and compared to most families, we moved house quite a lot - which has it's benefits, my parents know what they're doing. They've made mistakes, they've found people in the industry that work really well and they generally (not all the time Mother don't let this go to your head) have quite sound advice.


I'm the first to admit, that when people told me you needed 'me time' as a parent, I rolled my eyes. I didn't quite realise how much having children consumed you, of course - until I had them myself. Suddenly the thirty minutes you once had to do your make-up in a day, is diminished to thirty seconds. Evenings that could be spent washing and blow drying your hair, whilst watching episodes of friends, are no more, for you live in fear of waking your sleeping baby. The time you had to yourself, that you took for granted beforehand is now incredibly precious.


One of my biggest regrets in our house is getting carpet in the living room, I really wish we'd opted for wood flooring for the simple fact, it's so much easier to clean. But hindsight it a wonderful thing and until I can truly justify the expense of replacing a two year old carpet, we're stuck with our big brown mistake that is the living room floor. Having carpet however means as soon as there is anything dropped, it requires hoovering, I can't simply wipe it up so since the boys now love to eat their lunches at their little table and chairs it's proved an endless task. Sometimes I feel like I see more of our vacuum cleaner than I do my other half and just when ours was on the blink, I saw the Miele Blizzard CX1 and just knew that it was perfect for our family. Fate, I'm sure you'll agree.


Being completely honest, I suck at saving, I'm definitely more on the spender size of the scale. But every new year with the saving challenges, and no spend weeks and months that appear, I've started to realise that I need to join in. Especially when you look at the end results, some saving challenges have really inspired me to get myself into gear and lining my pockets in 2018. But how do you get started? Well for me, a no spend week is the perfect place to begin, it's fairly easy given I work from home and spend a couple of days coped up inside. But then the sneaky coffee's when I'm buying petrol, or grabbing the boys a kinder egg that they don't really need, all add up and before I know it I'm spending like no tomorrow again. Budgeting is something we could all do a little more of, to cut down on unnecessary spending and save a few extra pennies each month. A no spend week, where you only spend money on groceries, bills and essentials, is a great way to do this. It can be a challenge though, so here are some top tips for making it through your first no spend week.

Stomping away the January blues

I'm not sure blue is the suitable description for January, grey seems much more appropriate. It feels as though that's all there has been for the past three weeks, grey skies, grey clouds, grey shadows. I don't know anyone that isn't thinking about booking their 2018 holidays, ourselves included, and with that in mind I can slowly feel myself wishing away these days as if they're not meant for anything other than to fill a space in a calendar. It's wrong, and I mentally scold myself every time I sense I'm doing it, living for tomorrow, or the next day - but can you blame me when everything seems that little bit more dull?


We love travelling, a year hasn't gone by in our boys short lives that we haven't exited the country, something I'm really proud of, as I genuinely believe travel broadens the mind. There's nothing quite like watching your children discover new countries, cultures and customs. I thought travelling was thrilling before I had the boys, but experiencing it through their eyes gives a whole new perspective and meaning. So what does a holiday mean? Holiday; 'an extended period of leisure and recreation, especially one spent away from home or in travelling.' A fair literal explanation, but I can't help think that a holiday means so much more than that, it isn't just about time away, or having fun. There's a billion things that a holiday means to us and I know that Simpson travel just ticks every single box effortlessly.


I love looking at honeymoon locations, far away exotic beaches, that I'll probably never arrive at because I'm not even engaged yet - *cough cough* JOHN. However, that doesn't stop me looking. I remember when my Mum and Dad got married, they took us all with them on their honeymoon, and by 'all of us' I mean four children, my little brother only being one at the time. Troopers yes, but are they crazy? Your honeymoon is the time when you have the ultimate excuse to drop the smalls at the grandparents for the week and jet off into the sun, an excuse I will be fully relishing when it comes to our time. Though being ringless, it isn't exactly something I have to worry about just yet.


I am the most fickle person in this world when it comes to decorating, I can paint a wall and love it but within a week I'm onto the next trend and scouring b&q aisles for the perfect shade of white. Just last year I painted out living room white, and within weeks began to lust over a feature wall. Of course me being me went straight out and invested in various tester pots and within a week we had a midnight blue wall. Shock. Thankfully that was six months ago and thus far, all my lusting has been over things that are a little easier to change up - interiors. I feel as though every other weekend I want to rush off to Ikea. Last year I featured all kinds of wishlists and 2018 will be no different, surely I can't be alone in adding everything to your online basket, sighing at the total, before clicking off the page?


It's a hard pill to swallow being the parent of a child that doesn't sleep, every book, magazine and midwife promised you they would sleep by now, 'in their own time' except why didn't anyone warn me that their own time might mean when they're 21! You expect it as a newborn, you walk out of hospital with your baby in their car seat and take all the obligatory photos of your 'new arrival' under no false illusions that said arrival will be keeping you up all hours for the foreseeable future. Like me, with Patrick, he was born in June and I really didn't expect much in the way of sleep for the rest of 2016. We're now in 2018 and not much has changed - what on earth am I doing wrong?


I touched upon wanting to travel in my goals for this year, but I think it's a little more than that. It isn't a want, it's an urge, this year is the peak year for us to travel for a multitude of reasons. Noah starts school in September, full time and while I'm aware you can take them out during term time legally up until the term after their fifth birthday, I just want to make the most of having no strings attached to our plans. Since Christmas hit, I can't stop looking at holidays, whether it's villa rentals in Mexico or staycations at the seaside, I want something booked. Nothing seems to have caught my eye and lured me in enough yet, and I know I need to take my time and not rush into anything but the sunshine is seriously lacking in England right now which is making surfing across those booking pages a whole lot easier.


It's the New Year and we're all doing what we can to be the best version of ourselves, I'm no exception. I've spoke about everything I want to be more of in 2018 and it's time to start sharing exactly how I'm achieving those targets, it's all well and good having the thought there but actions speak louder than words. Now I'm working from home I really had to have a solid schedule in place, which days are my 'Mummy' days and which are working, as well as factoring in all the day to day mundane jobs like housework, washing and the boys too-ing and fro-ing from childcare. Having a set routine is paramount to making this work for us all, the last thing I want is lines being blurred and not knowing where any of us stand - organisation is key.

16 GOALS FOR 2018

Ok so I failed at the first hurdle, I can't even think of eighteen things I want to commit to this year, but I'm hoping that by stopping when I really couldn't wrack my brains anymore, might mean I'll actually stick to these as opposed to just thinking of things for the sake of a post. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about resolutions, 'new year, new me' and all of that jazz that comes at the start of a new year. Don't get me wrong, I don't think there is a better time to line out what you want to achieve, but something about resolutions feels a little bit daunting - nobody wants to fail do they? I'm not exactly the most committed person, I can barely stick to a skincare routine for longer than a week never mind something that's going to take actual thought, hard work and determination. But, I'm willing to try and though I'm not opting for resolutions this year, I am following in the footsteps of the beautiful Alex and listing out my 16 goals, for 2018.


A new year, a fresh start and 352 days to turn into dreams into reality. Right? It's cliche but I'd like to still think that it's true, nothing feels more full of possibility than a fresh year ahead of you. I know they're only dates, days and months and we should be reinventing ourselves whenever we feel like it but I don't think I ever feel as ready for that any other time of year, as I do now. 2017 was a year of huge changes, when I cast my mind back to January last year, it feels as though it was centuries ago rather than a mere 12 months - I guess that means a few things, firstly that we have come so far and secondly a lot has happened. This time last year I was someone who had to repeat the phrase 'I go back to work this year' over and over in order to believe it, I dreaded that day for every single one of those 14 weeks before it arrived, ultimately it wasn't that bad, but a mere two weeks ago I waved goodbye to the security of a 32 hour working week wage, and said hello to self employment. So, 2018, please be kind to me.