Friday, 29 May 2015

Bargain Addicts Anonymous

This week has officially been the 'week of bargains'. Being on a budget has meant that every single purchase for baby has been properly researched to ensure we get the best price possible. 

Thursday was the start of Aldi's Baby and Toddler event. Knowing it might be quite busy and there might be limited stock we actually got there for 8am to make sure we could get what we wanted. This also meant my partner could still make it to work on time for 9am. I am really pleased with what we managed to buy. There were large items for sale, such as high chairs and travel cots, but we only wanted smaller items. We got a changing mat for £3.99, cellular blankets at £2.49 each and muslin clothes for £1.99 each (should of been £3.29 but were scanning through wrong). 

My next set of bargains came from Ebay. About a week ago I started to look on Ebay to see what clothing items were being sold. I was pleasantly surprised to find lots of 'bundles' of baby clothes for sale, with the vast majority described as barely used. Knowing how quickly babies grow, and also how a lot of people buy far too many clothes it makes sense that there would be a lot of 'never worn' or 'worn once' items for sale. I have already purchased 4 bundles and am aiming to get all the basics for up to 6 months. The first parcels arrived today and I am so pleased. I got 9 sleep suits and 7 body suits from a mix of brands (Mothercare, TU, NEXT, Jasper Conran, Gap) for £12.50 including postage.


I can't wait for my other parcels to arrive and I think sitting trawling through Ebay each evening might be my newest hobby!  

Monday, 25 May 2015

Project Nursery

The time has come for us to tackle project nursery. At 24+3 days, and knowing that it will probably take us 3-4 weeks to complete, I do not want to leave this much longer. This room was always going to be the biggest project. When we moved in there was only backing paper on the walls, no under-lay under the carpet, loose floorboards, a curtain pole that didn't fit and a fire place with broken tiles. The pictures below have been taken today after we had some help on Saturday from my partner's parents who started removing the wall paper (a job they love and I dislike). 

The jobs we need to complete are:
1) Fill holes and then paint the walls (expecting it will need a good few coats)
2) Paint the skirting boards
3) Fix and paint the tiles around the fireplace
4) Buy and insert a flume balloon to block the chimney. 
5) Clean the wardrobe and insert new poles
6) Buy curtains
7) Fix the floor boards and buy a new carpet (the current one pictured is just pieces of old carpet laid down). 
8) Move in the nursery furniture and baby's things (the fun part). 

Should keep me busy for a good few weeks! 

One Down

A while ago I posted about my decorating projects. The first room we needed to complete was the front sitting room/ my office. We actually finished this room a good few weeks back now but it took me a week to move into it properly and I have finally got round to taking photos of the finished project. 



Ignoring the mess on my desk (still to be sorted) I am really pleased with the finished result. The only thing I need to do is find some nice art work to go up and maybe add a shelf and a notice board - there is no rush for these finishing touches though. 

Next it is project nursery! 

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Making a Splash - Puddle Ducks Aquanatal

So this week I took the plunge and signed up for a 6 week block of aqua natal classes with 'Puddle Ducks'. They cost £6.00 a session and are held at my local DW Fitness Gym. I used to have a membership here so I know that the facilities and pool are very nice, plus it is only 5 minutes down the road. I am really hoping that the exercise will be great for my health and also I will get to meet other mum's to be - a bonus for my happiness. 

I don't actually start until Wednesday 2nd June, which leaves me a bit of time to ensure I don't pile on too much weight and can still fit into my costumes. I currently have 3 that still fit - as of yesterday. They didn't feel tight so I hope they will fit for at least another month or so, however the course will go on until I am 31 weeks pregnant so I don't foresee me still being able to squeeze into my old costumes by then! I shall be keeping my eye out for a nice maternity swimsuit. 

You can find out more about Puddle Duck's classes here as well as search for classes local to you. I shall update again after my first session. 

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Don't Look a Gift Horse In The Mouth

With money being an issue for us, I said all along that I would be more than happy to save a few pounds by getting most baby things second hand. The only items we wanted brand new were the cotbed, mattress and travel system. I am lucky in that my mum is a very recently retired childminder and having worked as one for 28 years she has amassed a wide range of baby and child items. Her gift to us last weekend was a large collected of these items, including: 

A bouncy chair
An activity gym 
A sit up donut 
A light weight pushchair
A nappy bin
A bumbo seat
A selection of outdoor toys (including ball pool and caterpillar tunnel)
A selection of Fisher Price Little People toys
A Little Tikes dolls house
A selection of baby clothing
A selection of baby toys & rattles

All of these items are in great condition (some barely used). We have managed to wash the activity gym and donut and have washed all the clothing too. A lot of the toys we have boxed up and put in the attic as they are not suitable until 1 year plus. I did have to sort (read play with) them all first to check they are all in good working order!

Friday, 15 May 2015

More Spending

With all the sales on at the moment we have done a bit more purchasing. When we first started looking at nursery furniture and cot bedding I fell in love with a lot of very expensive items. I am glad that we took some time to research things in more depth and also to think about what we really needed. We already have an inbuilt wardrobe in the nursery but it terms of other furniture we decided we would just get a cot and a nursing chair. We decided against a changing unit after reading that a lot of people felt they never got full use out of it and found it just as easy to change baby on the floor. 

We managed to get a cotbed we loved in the Babies r Us sale for £129.00 down from £199.99. It felt really solid and sturdy, has 3 mattress positions and the colour matched the wardrobe that is already in the room. 

Hampshire Cotbed Babies r Us.

We also managed to get the cot bedding we loved in the Babies r Us sale too. We got a bedding set that included a bumper, fitted sheet, quilt and a blanket and we also got a matching mobile and changing mat. All of this combined should of cost £117.97 but we got it all for £75.00. This still seemed really expensive but unless we got second hand (which I didn't really want for bedding) this was the cheapest we could find. We have the cot on the 'Lay away' scheme with Toys r Us so wont collect it until the end of July. I can't wait to get it all set up, we just need to get the room decorated first!


Vintage Love & Kisses Range at Babies r Us. Bedding Set £79.99 full price, Mobile £27.99 full price & Changing Mat £9.99 full price. 

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Over Halfway There

Well at 22+3 I am definitely over half way there - even if I go 2 weeks overdue. I definitely feel it is time to do an update on my progress - after all the aim of this blog was to record my attempt to improve my own life before I bring another one into the world. 

10 weeks ago when I started this I rated the main aspects of my life and explained how I wanted to improve them. I have done the same again and this time my scores add up to 21 out of a possible 40 - which is definitely some improvement to the last score of 16. 

Health - I have given this a score of 3 out of 10, an improvement of 1 point. Now I definitely have not become a health freak or a gym bunny in the past few weeks but with my morning sickness now gone I have been eating a bit better (more meals less snacks) and I have been trying to get out on evening walks with my partner. My weight gain at 22 weeks is 13lb which is still considered to be within the 'normal range'. I still think there is room for improvement with both my diet and exercise.

Home - I have given this a score of 6 out of 10, an improvement of 1 point. We have been working hard on trying to get through the never ending list of jobs we need to do. I have finally finished decorating the front room (pictures to follow) which means we can move onto the nursery next. Lots more to do still but we definitely deserve a point for the work done so far!

Money - I have given this a score of 4 out of 10, an improvement of 1 point. On one hand I have not managed to find a suitable job to apply for so we are still only on one wage, but I have managed to be sensible with money and cut back where ever we can. All of the purchases for baby have been in the sale (or donated) and I have managed to get the weekly shopping bill down to just £40 with lots of planning. I will be submitting my application for maternity allowance payments after my next midwife appointment and all going well will get that from June onwards. 

Happiness - I have given this a score of 7 out of 10, an improvement of 2 points. Leaving my job has had a huge impact on my happiness, I was incredibly stressed and anxious there due to issues with management and I also worried greatly about the risks my job posed to my baby. Although the time up to our 20 week scan was stressful, since finding out I have a healthy little girl growing inside me a huge weight has been lifted off us. I am not saying we don't still worry - but we certainly feel a lot more relaxed. Feeling her kicking and moving around inside of me is such a reassurance too. I am sure that as we plan more and get more excited about babies arrival our happiness will continue to grow. 

Friday, 8 May 2015

Pregnancy Support Pillow

A few weeks back I wrote about my struggle to sleep at night. Due to the extortionate cost of pregnancy support pillows I decided to hold off and see if I could get away without one. After a week of trying and failing to prop myself between two normal pillows I decided to buy one. After ready reviews, and swayed by the fact we had a £10 voucher I bought the Summer Infant Body Support pillow from Argos. 

I am really glad that I decided to buy one. My original issue was that I struggled to sleep on my side and lying on my back was far too uncomfortable. Now I must admit that at 22 weeks pregnant I am not finding lying on my back as uncomfortable. Apparently my uterus should have risen up slightly taking pressure off my bladder, which also explains why I do not need to wee so much now. Despite this I know that research suggests it is best for you and baby to lie on your side when sleeping, and that as my bump gets bigger I will again find it too uncomfortable to lie on my back. This pillow is perfect for my needs as it really does stop you from rolling over onto your back. I find that the back of the pillow rolls round high enough to support my hips and my lower back and the front is really nice to 'cuddle'. I have definitely slept better since having it. I do find that I need to change sides half way through the night, which is not the easiest thing to do as you have to get out the pillow turn it over and get back in (I don't think my partner appreciates this). Despite this I am really pleased with my purchase - £20.00 well spent! 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Mamas & Papas Sola2 MTX Travel System

This weekend was one made up largely of us trawling round shops trying out different travel systems. This started off being quite fun but at the end became quite stressful as all the different systems just blurred into one in my head. I think we felt more pressure too with the bank holiday sale ending the next day. 

After initially saying we didn't want to spend much and just wanted the bare minimum we did persuade ourselves into going for the full travel system - pram, carry cot, car seat and isofix base. We ended up with a few front runners - the Joie Plus Chrome, the Mamas & Papas Zoom and the Mamas & Papas Sola2. We ruled out the cheaper Zoom as it just didn't feel as sturdy (I guess what you get for £100 less). After testing the systems for how well they worked and then for their fit in both our cars we decided on the Mamas & Papas Sola2. The trio package came with everything we wanted. The only thing we couldn't get our heads round was the choice of colour - lime green or tomato red! Now we both wouldn't normally let this affect us BUT they really were hideous and we had to think about re-sale value too. So we decided to upgrade to the Sola2 mtx in denim blue. This version was much more hard-wearing, designed for 'off road' use and came with an upgraded car seat. 

Photo from

We purchased this in the sale for a price of £499.99. As my partner's car has isofix we also had to purchase the isofix base at £110.00 (crazy price for a lump of plastic). We also ended up with the winter footmuff for the pram thrown in for free after the sales assistant accidentally scratched my partner's car when putting the isofix base in. We were quite upset about the scratch as we have only had the car a few months but hopefully it will polish out. The footmuff was priced at £79.99 and we will need one eventually when we move from using the carry cot to the pram. 

Overall we made a saving of £310 on the system. Obviously we can't say how much we will like it yet (we collect in August) but from wheeling it around the store and car park and testing putting the different bits together it did impress us. The isofix base was a pain to get in but once that is in my partner's car it will stay there (my poor little 06 plate fiesta does not have fancy features like this). My partner's car is a Skoda Rapid - with plenty of boot room to fit the entire system in. My fiesta just fits the pram base in the boot and then the carrycot or pram top would need to go on a rear passenger seat. This would be the same with any travel system so nothing I can do about that (without selling my much loved car). 

I do have to say that this system was actually purchased as a very kind gift from my partner's parents - we would have struggled to afford such a good quality system and would have had to made sacrifices on either parts or quality. Very much looking forward to collecting it in 13 weeks and very glad we do not have to look at travel systems anymore!