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Me & Mine 2016 - June

June has been such a busy month! It began with Zachary's birthday and continued with weekends packed with things to do and places to ...

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Our Bathroom Makeover is Complete

It was a long process to get our bathroom exactly how we wanted it. After a leak that caused a lot of damage, we claimed on our home insurance (which has been and is still an ongoing nightmare), and had our bathroom, my office and our downstairs WC re-decorated. Our bathroom wasn't in a bad way; in fact it had only been decorated a few years ago but we're really pleased with the new look.

Wet wall seems to be all the rage at the moment but we wanted tiles. I love tiles in a bathroom. Husband chose the colour and going from white to grey has made a huge difference to the bathroom. White tiles are a bit of a nightmare to keep clean.

The repair team replaced all of our walls and completed the tile work. The silver trim really finishes off the look. We chose black laminate flooring but opted for specifically designed bathroom flooring so it would last longer than regular laminate.

Husband did the ceiling and bath panel himself. We opted for wet wall for the ceiling and I do think it looks really nice in comparison to a plain white ceiling. He wired in the new spotlights and the extractor; these are the times when having an engineer for a husband make all these DIY jobs so much cheaper and easier.

The difference is huge! The bathroom looks amazing.

It has taken quite a few years to get our house looking how we want it but we're almost there. We need new internal doors, new flooring in our downstairs hall and kitchen and I'd like to re-decorate the kitchen itself but then we'll be finished, aside from the usual cosmetic stuff like painting. I'd also like to redecorate Charlotte's room for her and put in mirrored wardrobes in our room. Slowly but surely it will be done.

Friday, 29 July 2016

To Buy a New Car or a New to You Car?

Up until 2013, we always bought our cars second hand. Sometimes they were older than second hand; try fifth or sixth hand. It could have been the biggest banger in town, as long as the car started and got us from A to B, we weren't bothered that we didn't have a brand new or nearly new car. We wanted to save money for our wedding, to do up our house and to prepare for when we had children. Finance on a car wasn't something that we wanted or needed.

After a series of problems with two Ford Mondeos we owned that didn't have warranties because of their age, we decided that we would look into buying a new car on finance. I worked in finance for many. many years and I would only recommend doing this if you know you can afford to keep up your monthly payments however, there are options if you've had poor credit history in the past and want to look into buying a new car.

We decided to go with BMW. We wanted to go German because their cars tend to be built to last. Of course, any brand of car can have problems but I grew up with my parents owning German cars and they never seemed to have any problems, and they continue to buy them now.

We went for a 3 series as it seemed practical in terms of space inside and, on recommendation of the salesman, went for a petrol because I was going to be using to go to and from work; a total of 4 miles per day. After a year, we changed it because the petrol was a nightmare and we were offered a good deal on a 320d M Sport; Husband's dream car. Whilst our first 3 series had been on the showroom floor when we bought it, we ordered our second one, choosing everything we wanted for it to make it unique to us. From ordering to delivery took around 6 weeks.

I love our car to drive. It really is the ultimate driving machine. It is super smooth and comfortable but has the sport look to it that makes it really fun. In terms of space, it isn't the best car out there for a family however it fits us and what we need it for. I certainly wouldn't have it if I needed to get a pram in the boot. It is great on fuel; I fill it every 6-8 weeks and I get around 600 miles to a tank.

The benefits of owning a brand new or nearly new car means we have a manufactures warranty so, if anything does go wrong, we can take it to the garage for them to fix it. We know exactly where the car has come from and know there are no underlying problems that could bite us in the bottom a few months down the line. It doesn't need an MOT for the first 3 years and generally they tend to be better on fuel consumption with lower emissions meaning you pay less road tax; in some cases you pay nothing.

It is an extra expense every month that we didn't have before however as a working family, it is something that we can afford to do now and enjoy the luxury of owning a new car without having to worry about getting it fixed at a huge cost to us if anything goes wrong.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

My Fashion Picks for Husband in Summer

Husband is the first to admit that he is terrible when it comes to picking out clothes for himself. He doesn't know what colours suit him, what style of shirt suits him or even what accessories go with what. He does know what jeans he swears by; 501s but otherwise, he isn't at all interested in fashion.

He often asks me to pick out things for him; things I think will look good on him. When it comes to summer style, I really don't think you can go wrong with a good polo shirt. A polo shirt can be dressed down with a pair of shorts, perfect for going out for a lunch date or to a park with the kids. It can also be dressed up with a pair of jeans and boots for an evening date or on cooler summer days.

Some of my favourite polo shirts on Husband are Ralph Lauren. Maybe it's because I love the horse or because I know how well made they are as my Mum and Stepdad frequently buy Ralph Lauren for work and for every day wear. Husband loves them as well because they are great quality and the different shapes and styles allow you to choose something that flatters you and fits really well.

Of course, summer is also a popular time for weddings and, with my sister getting married just last weekend, I think a tailored suit looks amazing. You can get your classic fit suits, skinny fit, slim fit and even extra slim fit but a tailored suit always looks the smartest because it is tailored exactly to your size and shape. Husband looks great in a grey suit. 

And the perfect accessory for summer? Aviator shades! I love aviator style sunglasses on Husband. He has the perfect face shape for them. These are also a great all-year-round accessory because the aviator style never goes out of fashion. 

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

My Sister's Wedding

The last family wedding we all attended was 10 years ago, and it was Husband and mine's wedding. It was a beautiful day that Saturday in July and it was wonderful to have all the family join us to celebrate our love for one another.

Fast forward 10 years and 8 days, we all came together for another family wedding. This time it was my Sister's wedding.

They have been planning their wedding for almost two years now, my Sister doing a lot of the bits herself. She made her invitations herself and they were beautiful. She sourced her flower girl dresses and bought them whilst on sale. She had her flowers made by Pops' sister and they were beautiful. She made her own favours. She made her own centre pieces. All the work she put in really paid off and made for a beautiful wedding day.

She was so nervous when I arrived at her house to get ready on Saturday morning. Charlotte and I had important jobs; flower girl and maid of honour. My niece was also a flower girl, of course, and Zachary was given an important job; to give the rings to the best man.

Her colour scheme was lilac and white. I had a slightly different dress from the other bridesmaids. They looked beautiful in their dresses as did the flower girls. My niece wore a tiara but Charlotte refused. I thought it was nice though to have my niece wearing one herself cause it was her special day too.

When she came downstairs in her dress, she was stunning. Her dress was very fitted, almost fishtail like but with a longer, looser train. My Sister has an amazing figure and her dress suited it perfectly. Her something old was a bracelet that used to belong to my Gran, her something new was a pair of earrings and her garter from her husband-to-be, her something borrowed was my Mum's bracelet because she forgot to put my Gran's one on and her something blue were her blue "Sex and the City" shoes.

The wedding ceremony was amazing. It went really fast although I remember on our wedding day, it felt like the vows took ages. In fact, we were in and out within 10 minutes. My Sister walked in to A Thousand Years; it was so lovely.

The reception was at a local hotel. The room was beautifully decorated with flowers, tea lights and bird cages. They had a sweetie cart which the kids would not leave alone and a three-tier cake. Would you believe I didn't get any of the cake?? We were too busy dancing!

The speeches were both lovely and hilarious. The food was really good and the company was fantastic.

Their first dance was to Oasis, Wonderwall which I thought was so nice, especially when you listen to the words. We were up dancing most of the night. The kids were so well behaved and had a brilliant time. The girls cried when it was time for them to leave with Bella and Pops, who had kindly agreed to take them for a sleepover so their Mums and Dads could enjoy themselves.

My Sister kept saying "I want it to slow down" and I knew exactly how she felt. Your wedding day is such a wonderful day with such a build up to it. Months and months of preparation over in just a few hours. Your face aches from smiling but you don't care. It is a day you will never, ever forget.

It was a beautiful day.

Monday, 25 July 2016

366 Project 2016 Days 200 - 206

Husband and I didn't get up until almost midday. The beauty of the kids being at their Gran's for a sleepover means we get a really long lie! Once the kids were home, we headed to Paradise Island Adventure Golf for an afternoon of family fun. Husband ended up winning of course but it was a great couple of hours and the kids seemed to really enjoy it. After the golf, we headed to the shops and we had dinner at Cosmo. It was delicious.

Husband was back to work on Monday but counting down the days until his week long holiday next week. The kids and I spent the day at home; I got on with my various jobs and the kids played outside. Zachary is loving playing with our next door neighbour's grandson. They are the same age and love football, and I think it has been good for them both to have someone to play with. After dinner, we headed out on the bikes for a little while because it was such a lovely evening. I started a new book; All the Bright Places.

On Tuesday, it was a roasting hot day and, in fact, I think it was the hottest day of the year so far. We were out in the garden for pretty much most of the day. Charlotte played with her Playmobil, Zachary read his book and I read my book. It was nice to enjoy the sunshine! We also went for a bike ride once Husband was home.

The kids headed to a club at the local leisure centre for the day. Zachary went ice skating and played badminton whilst Charlotte played in the soft play. They both got to go swimming too. They had a great time and asked if they could go again next week. I spent the day tidying up and filming my recent Next haul! I got a lot of stuff. I made salmon for dinner and it was delicious.

On Thursday my diploma arrived in the post, making my qualification even more official! We spent the day chilling out at home. The kids played outside for most of the day. After dinner, we went for a bike ride to the library to get some new books to read. Husband brought me some chips home and they went down a treat!

On Friday it was a mad rush to get ready to head down to Manchester for my Sister's wedding. I picked up my lipstick for the wedding day; Rimmel London's Kate Moss collection in the shade 08. We arrived just after 8pm at Bella and Pops' house. We had some food, a few drinks and then headed to bed for an early night so we were ready for a full on day in the morning.

Saturday was an amazing day. The sun was shining but it wasn't overly warm which made for the most perfect wedding day for my Sister and my new Brother-in-law. Charlotte and my niece were flower-girls and Zachary had the job of giving the wedding rings to the Best Man. They got married at 2pm and then we headed to the reception venue for speeches, food, photos, drinking, cake and dancing. It was fantastic and my Sister was the most beautiful bride.