time flies when you're being a mum

sorting the kitchen and a lot of out of date stuff!

19 Feb, 2019

A month ago my mate Cath, who runs a decluttering business called Clear the Clutter, came to my house and helped me sort out the kitchen. It took 5 hours and it nearly finished me off.

Decluttering the kitchen

After months of building work and living out of the kitchen, even after we had got most of the house back, ‘stuff’ had still accumulated over ever surface and was spilling out of every cupboard. It was positively oppressive.

Decluttering the kitchen

Decluttering the kitchen

For the sake full disclosure, this is not an ad. Cath is a mate but I paid her for her service and she’s bloody good.

People who are professionally tidy (or just tidy for that matter!) think differently from me (that’s not tidy, it’s just a pile), they help you see your stuff with fresh eyes (I have no idea why I still have that. And why do I have every cooking accoutrement I own next to the cooker?), and, they can keep going long after you would have thrown the towel in.

If Cath hadn’t been there, I would have stopped after the tea and coffee cupboard. Who knew I had so many boxes of tea? I only ever drank one or two varieties but now I can see them all I have different ones all the time. Living it large!

Decluttering the kitchen

Seeing all your belongings on the table is weird. A) there’s a lot of it and B) items hide after a while – it’s there in plain sight but you stop seeing it well past its used by date.

Decluttering the kitchen

After the 5 hours we had boxes of stuff to go out (the best part of Cath’s service is she takes it away!!!!) – to the tip, to the charity shop and to the scrap man.

After the decluttering

That Marie Kondo really is onto something. Having less stuff and space to put things that never had homes, is life changing! It was so liberating once it was done I went on to start wearing my glasses again and sort out a few niggly things that were wrong with my car.

Mike was gobsmaked when he came home. Best present I’ve ever given him! He started talking about finally putting artwork up and making it homey (only 2 years after we moved in!).

A month later and we are yet to put up any artwork and keeping the kitchen decluttered is something you need to keep working at but it’s certainly easier now.

Today I thought I’d finally finish off the last 2 cupboards that we didn’t manage to do when Cath was here.

Decluttering the kitchen

Two thirds of this stuff was OUT OF DATE!! I’ve so much space now 🙂

I had to do it in 2 sittings as Nancy had had enough after the first cupboard (and watched Dumplin’ on Netflix in between) – there was so much out of date stuff in them but we’re finally done with the decluttering. Now where’s that artwork?

When was the last time you had a big declutter? Was your out of date stuff as bad as mine?!

I’d love to hear about it below or head over to Mums’ Days Facebook or Instagram to join the convo there. You should also check out Cath’s Clear the Clutter Facebook Page – she’s been sharing her decluttering expertise on there, including how to get an extra fiver from Music Magpie when you sell your stuff there. Noice!

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Inspiration

16 Feb, 2019

We’re in the final straight of the building work and after a quiet January, the start of February has seen a lot more action. The back of the house has had quite a bit of rejigging – we’ve moved stairs around, blocked off a door way and made a new one, and moved the washer and drier from right by the door. Brian the builder, is part way through fitting units in the utility and bootroom (that are way nicer than the ones we have in the kitchen!) and should be done next week!! Waaaaa! I’ll share the finished article then but for now I thought I’d share the inspiration…

Bootroom

Bootroom and utility

The idea for this area is to have a space when you first come in (there is a ‘proper’ front door but we always use this entrance) for everyday shoes and coats. We’ve used the image above as inspiration with the navy units, wooden bench and brass hooks.

Then we’ve turned what was the pantry and stinky cat room into a utility space for washer/drier, storing dirty clothes, the kids clean clothes and mops and brooms.

boot room and utility

The animals inspecting what used to be there feeding room… soon it will look like this: 

Bootroom and utility

An idea of the layout for the utility space

boot room and utility

“We’ll put the door right where this pipe is, yes?”

boot room and utility

Perfect.

Then the dusty bit will be over. Ahhh! It’ll be a lick of paint in the bootroom, utility, Mike’s office and the TV room above and goodbye builders!

I’ve shared the inspiration picture for the utility area on my Instagram tonight and if you scroll along you’ll see a video of the space before the units were put in at the start of the week. I’ve also shared the video on Facebook, if that’s your preferred social media!

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15 Feb, 2019

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Thank god it’s the weekend. Half term no less! We are exhausted. I’m tired from what feels like a none week because I’ve felt so naff. Nancy’s just screamed for an hour from being overtired but is sleeping on me now. And Reuben has just lost his mind at an episode of Pokemon. Bedtime for everyone I think 🙂

Happy weekend all – Bring on the lie ins! (Lol. As if but at least there are cuddles in bed to be had!)

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...and I had a baby in the middle of it

09 Feb, 2019

At the beginning of July 2018, the builders moved in to start, and I quote, 6 weeks of building work.

If you follow me on instagram, you may have seen me mention them a few times since because they are… Still. Freaking. Here.

These chaps are lovely. If you had to (which I do), these are the ones you want around.

Brian, the joiner and our main chap, is wonderful (although started sweating before he even walked through the door from about September onwards as he was terrified I’d give birth in front of him).

There’s also a team of local tradesmen – tilers, plasters, plumbers, electricians, decorators, carpet fitters, scaffolders, sanitation experts (for our septic tank), timber merchants and every delivery man in Northumberland – who are all very pleasant. And, for much of December (merely weeks after I had Nancy) lived at our house so that it would be ‘ready’ for Christmas.

Building work

 

But much like a child who is still hanging about at 30, it’s time for them to leave!

We have one last big job to finish at the back of the house (TV room and utility/boot area) and then we’re left with the niggly bits. Doors closing properly, touching up paintwork that has cracked, putting up shelves, soft furnishings (*shudders*) the bits that could last a life time to finish…

8 Months of Building work

If you’d said to me when we started, “You’ll still have builders in your house in March next year.” I’d be pretty distraught at the prospect, but somehow you just muddle on! Day to day it’s not so bad. And much like with breastfeeding you have to keep thinking, nearly there. Tomorrow will be better. And when you get the odd finished room or area, you are spurred on to keep going.

It’s been hard on Mike as he had to take over the project management for me, which on top of his day job, is a full time job. And, it’s certainly taken its tole when evenings and weekends are dedicated to sorting out yet more household jobs (whether it’s moving our stuff about the place, chasing tradesmen, or sorting out the order of events because at one point we had about 15 different things that HAD to happen by 15th December so the floors could go down – that was fun. Not.)

So, while Mike was running the show and I didn’t need to worry about that (other than his mental state), the absolute worst time for me was when I came home with Nancy (did I mention I’ve had a baby during this building work – she was nearly named Brian!). Everything seemed a lot noisier and busier. Work men in every room (all playing different radio stations and singing at the top of their voices), using different power tools. And while Nancy was able to sleep through it, I was not. I was hormonal, in permanent pain in the nipple area, and fecking knackered. Tears were shed!!

Building work

Then the big win came. Just before Christmas.

We had had a few days at Centre Parcs and left the house a building site. When we came back they had all but finished the front of the house. We had gone from living in the kitchen and sleeping in the attic to having 2 front rooms (living room and study), our bedroom, spare rooms, bathrooms AND a downstairs loo.

It’s a big house but compared to what we were living in, it felt like Versailles.

Mike has a video of us walking around the evening we got back and one day I really must edit it into a short video to share on here.

After the building work

So, we’re getting there. But, then the real ‘fun’ starts. Finishing it off. Curtains, rugs, furniture, decluttering random things that have gathered because they no longer have a home… that’s the really tricky stuff.

I know how to get a radiator moved or a new wall light put up because we ask Kevin or Alan. But neither Kevin nor Alan can tell me which rug to buy or if we should put up curtains in the Living Room or not – my dad says yes but I’m not convinced!

Either way I’m looking forward to saying goodbye to this…!

Building work

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26 Oct, 2018

I can’t believe we’re nearly through October, and I’m 38 weeks pregnant?! Honestly, where did the summer go?

I say, “where did the summer go?”, but I can tell you it was used up organising our village fete (which nearly killed me and took a week to recover from), days later we started a huge renovation project (which is ongoing), looking after kids in the school holiday, oh and being pregnant.

I’ve also started a new business, Box Happy!, with a pal of mine – who incidentally I first met through this blog and now our kids go to school together! It’s a happiness Subscription Box full of proven techniques to help improve your mood and mind!

Maybe not the best time but when Emily had the idea it was TOTALLY up my street (I love reading about happiness and mental health) so baby or not, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be involved. Come say hi on Facebook!

38 weeks pregnant

Last time around I blogged my whole way through the pregnancy but I seem to have very few photos of my bump this time around. I have this one, which I sent to my brother in Japan to show that I was ‘showing’ at about 25 weeks. So I’ve replicated it today to show me at 38 weeks pregnant.

38 weeks pregnant

25 weeks verses 38 weeks pregnant

The summer was amazing and we had so much fun in the garden. People would ask me how I was coping in the heat but in all honesty, I loved it. Tube dresses and mama Spanx (which I shall elaborate on in my next blog post) got me through the hot weather.

I’d say overall the pregnancy has been a good one. I’ve felt much more tired this time around and I’ve put on a fair old amount of weight but I’m trying not to stress too much about that now. Fingers crossed this is the last time I’ll be pregnant, so I want to enjoy it!

The House

The ‘6-week’ house project started in the first week of July. They started in the attic room and slowly took the whole place apart to the point where we only had the kitchen and some bedrooms, like distant islands in the dust, to live in.

Going to the toilet multiple times in the night has made me feel like Indiana Jones, avoiding the booby traps on my mission to find the holy grail.

We have just got the first room back – fully decorated – which Mike and I are going to be staying in for the foreseeable future. It’s a spare bedroom at the top of the house away from the dust and near a toilet! We’ve had it fully insulated, a window put back in and a cupboard created to box in the boiler. It looks sweet as a nut and I will be mostly nesting in there over the coming weeks.

38 weeks pregnant

Our master bedroom is also coming along nicely, but it’s a lot closer to all the action (read: dust) and there’s quite a bit of plumbing work still to do in the ensuite so we probably won’t be in there for a month or two.

But remember this picture from the post, Master Bedroom, I did back in June? Check out how it developed, it’s been quite the transformation…

38 weeks pregnant

It’s now looking more like this…

38 weeks pregnant

 

Family time

Despite having all the building work going on and not going on holiday, the long, lazy summer was a good one. We enjoyed making dens in the garden, picking all the amazing fruit the garden has to offer (I found a plum tree and must have eaten 200 over the course of a week), seeing friends and taking day trips.

38 weeks pregnant

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Reuben turned 6 and Gabby turned 12…check out my balloon skillz (this was the week we moved everything into the kitchen).

38 weeks pregnant

And, Reuben broke his arm. I was 100% convinced, after 2 hours at the hospital with him virtually doing handstands on it, that nothing was wrong but there you go. It was broken. Kids’ bones are weird and it was healed within 3 weeks!!

38 weeks pregnant

Most recently (last week) we had a little break in a yurt. Bloody freezing and ‘wild’ doesn’t cover it, but it was absolutely gorgeous.

38 weeks pregnant - wild northumberland yurt

Here was our compost loo (a LOT nicer than a porter loo but not totally convenient in the middle of the night!).

38 weeks pregnant - wild northumberland yurt

So, that’s been the last few months in a nut shell.

It’s crazy to think how much our lives are going to change in the next few weeks. At 38 weeks pregnant, with every niggle and Braxton Hicks I’m very aware that it could be sooner rather than later. And, while things aren’t perfect at home, the show must go on and this baby will be loved regardless of the chaos around it!

38 weeks pregnant

Were you all sorted by 38 weeks pregnant?!

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