Now we are a family of five it’s obvious that our family finances take a little bit more stretching. I try and make the most of our budget and here’s how….

Food shopping online

Although Ocado/Waitrose is thought of as expensive by using their phone app our food delivery costs £60-80 a week. They’ve a handy recipe binder which makes meal planning super easy as well as making sure that we are cutting our food waste down too.

Grabbing clothes during sale months

We all know kids have regular growth spurts so if I see a sale I generally look for their next sizes up. Kids don’t really care what’s in season or not so if it’s fun and bright ill generally buy it. The same for winter coats – buy them in the Spring or Summer sale if you can!Using deal finding websites 

There’s so many ways you can save money but having access to useful sites that bring deals together is always handy and can save you time as well as money!

Do a car boot/sell in local for sale sites

I’ve found that using facebook groups is a great way of passing on old items. The kids toys overrun the living room and so we are trying to streamline what they have. No one really needs 4 shape sorters now, do they? 

In the opposite way we’ve used the same places to grab birthday and Christmas presents. Toddlers and babies don’t really need very much and by sticking to my rule of something to wear, something to read and something to play with we’ve avoided over spending too. 

How do you save money? Do you have any tips to make your budget stretch? 

Now our youngest is coming up to 9 months old it’s time for me to sort a night out with some friends. It’s been over 18 months since I’ve had a night out and I’m keen to get back to having some me time.

It can be super hard to get back into thinking about yourself so your first step is to just book a date in. Facebook is great for arranging a date and inviting people. Plus it means that you’re less likely to pull out of it last minute too as all your mates will be encouraging you to get out and catch up even if it’s just for a couple of hours.

As a breastfeeding mama I always feel like I constantly have to be around for my baby too but I also know Gav is able to feed Beatlebum too if I express. I try and express so the milk is fresher so the day before and on the day it’s needed during nap times if I can manage it too. I don’t express all the time and when I do I need it to be easy for me and then for Gav to use so we use the Tommee Tippee Express and Go system which is ideal for busy breastfeeding mamas as you can use straight from the  bag rather than spill any liquid gold on your kitchen counter.

Rather than rush getting ready to go out pack a bag for yourself and set out what you need earlier in the day. I’ll grab a shower during the last naptime and then get dressed last minute. I don’t want mucky paw prints or leaking milk on the new outfit I’ve bought. Which is not breastfeeding friendly. Feels such a treat to not think about the feeding logistics of an outfit.

Pack a bag or box up for the baby things that you usually use on an evening. You’ll feel a bit more relaxed about leaving them if you have a checklist and everything organised beforehand. 

Finally it’s ok to panic and check in. If you’re leaving your baby with your partner you know they’ve got this! As a breastfeeding mum I get that tug of guilt and also that need for me time! I try and leave it at least an hour before I text. I never call in case the baby is sleeping as I know how that makes me feel the other way round!Enjoy your night out mama! Your deserve this. 

The garage. It’s one of the most underrated and underrepresented spaces in your home. But also one of the most useful. It’s the place where our hobbies happen. And, for many of us, it’s where we keep a lot of junk we don’t want in the house proper. But all too often that means that our garages get overrun with mess and clutter from the kids. And we end up not making the best use of the space. So how do we make the most out of our garages?


Make It Into A Proper Room


We tend to think of our garages as outdoor-indoor spaces. But there’s no reason why they can’t be just as comfortable as the rest of our homes, albeit with concrete floors. And because they’re not all that comfortable, we avoid them. In the summer they’re too hot. In the winter they’re too cold. There’s never a time when they’re just right. If we want to adapt our garages to family life, what should we do?

First of all, you can use running duct work to reroute your existing HVAC system to heat and cool the garage. It’s the cheapest route for making the garage just as cosy as the rest of your home. If you don’t have an HVAC in your home, the next option is to have one installed in the garage itself. If you live in a cold area, you’ll need a unit that can put out 45,000 BTU. That’s quite a considerable amount of energy and a more costly option.


Automatic Garage Doors


If you really want your garage to be family friendly, one of the smartest things you can do is invest in automatic garage doors. Automatic doors make a big difference, both regarding convenience and keeping the family safe. For starters, automatic doors make your garage more accessible to physically challenged family members. They’re also perfect for children who don’t have to risk using cumbersome and dangerous mechanical doors. What’s more, they’re a bonus to security. Automatic doors shut automatically. And that means that you aren’t at risk of accidentally leaving them open.


Finally, automatic doors have been estimated to increase the value of your home. According to an article by the Telegraph, they can increase its value by more than 5 percent.


Create A Dedicated Space For Projects


Your garage should be a space that’s all about exploring your creative side. It’s here that you want to be able to do your DIY. And it’s here that you want to have the space to focus on your hobbies. But, alas, there never seems to be enough room. So what’s the solution?


One neat idea is to use decorator’s tape to mark off sections of your garage’s floor. Mark out a set of spaces using this tape. And don’t allow spaces to encroach on one another. Start off with a space for your car. And then tape off where the kids’ bikes should be kept and the point to which your hobby-craft area extends.


The things you use your garage for will likely change over time as your kids grow up. So it’s good to have a work area on wheels. Sites like direct2u sell garage benches that come with shelving for tools and storing craft items. So it’s helpful if you’re able to move your workstation around and bring your tools with you. There’s nothing worse than nailing a tool shelf to the wall and then having to move the whole thing at a later date.


Move The Car Onto The Driveway


In many ways, garages are a relic of the early automobile era. Decades ago, cars had to be kept indoors to stop them from becoming rust buckets. Car manufacturers just weren’t as good at making cars resist the elements as they are today. Today, however, cars are designed to withstand living outside in all weathers. And for that reason, the garage is no longer their natural habitat.


The good news for families is that that potentially opens up a whole new space. Garages have been converted into all sorts of spaces to suit the family. Some parents have transformed their garages into living kitchens. Others have made space for playrooms for the kids. Still, others have made the garage space into a dining room. Here is a place you could happily entertain guests if you currently do so in another cramped space.
Remember, your garage is probably long and narrow to fit a car. So often it’s a good idea to break up the space into two, square rooms. One could be a bathroom, the other a home office. The possibilities are endless.


This post may contain affiliate links

Like all busy moms, it hard to find two minutes for yourself. Sometimes it feels easier to check social media than it is to be in contact with the real people in your life. But social media can be a great source of advice and inspiration. Check out these tops account to follow for some support on being a successful, busy mom.

Healthy Busy Moms ‏@HealthyBusyMoms

This account is a nice combination of quick and easy healthy eating tips and general self-care. @Healthy Busy Moms has some great ways of keeping your food budget low while keeping your energy levels up. Something that every busy mom needs to know. The inspiration mantras in the photos sections are a nice addition. You can save them to your photo stream on your phone as a little reminder through the day of the positive steps you want to take.

Tami Green ‏@tamigreen

Tami Green ‏@tamigreen is another busy mom and life coach that will fill you with inspiration. She gave birth to her twins at 50. That’s right 50 and still managed to lose her baby weight, despite having another six kids to look after. She promote her own products on Twitter. But anyone that can successfully run a family of that size and take care of themselves will certainly have some words of wisdom for any busy mom. Expect to find lots of advice on how our thoughts can impact our attitude and happiness and what we can do to harness this.

May Bug Treasures ‏@MaybugTreasures

Another account worth a twitter follow is @May Bug Treasures. They specialise in used baby clothing that is stylish and in good condition. As it says on their feed, this can save you a fortune in your first year. So it’s perfect for those moms that are still getting used to balancing the books on maternity pay. It is a must see if you have given up work altogether to be a full-time homemaker.

WoodWorking Today ‏ @Woodworking today

Woodworking today is a fantastic account to follow. They encourage moms to get creative and complete simple projects and repairs in the home. New a new toy box for the little ones? @WoodWorking today will have you covered. Need to redo your patio doors? @WoodWorking today can help. If you are a little less handy in the woodworking and DIY department, then don’t be afraid to employ a profession to help.I found a great handyman at Men Behaving Handy. There are more than happy to do the jobs that I just don’t have the time for.

Busy Mom ‏@Busymom

If you’re in need of some light relief and a few giggle on a tough day, then I’d add Busy Mom ‏@Busymom to your following list. With some rye observation of what it is actually like to be a mom, ‏@Busymom will help you get your day into perspective. Expect some uplifting stories and updates on her progress at Pokemon Go as well.

The photo above was taken 3 years ago this week. It was a brave move but I was inspired to share it after realising that I couldn’t be the only one who was struggling with their post natal body. 

Fast forward to now and women are still feeling ashamed about the uniqueness of their post birth body. However I still felt the need to share my post natal body because it’s important that you know you’re not along. This photo was day 9 or 10 after having my son via c-section. The third emergency section. 

Now I’m going to say I’m not quite comfy with showing off my body. I won’t be in my cossie down at the beach this summer and I certainly don’t feel at home in a bikini either. BUT that’s not to say you shouldn’t if you want to wear it. 

My body housed 3 children, had 1 scary pregnancy and will never look like it did pre children. I’m finding peace with that but it took a long time. It took me 3 years to feel comfortable with my partner touching me without having a couple of glasses of wine first. It took me 3 years to realise I should start to treat it with respect. After all it did do something bloody brilliant. It’s hard though.

Sometimes having your baby here safely does not feel enough when you feel so down and utterly depressed about not feeling like you anymore. Not only that but I didn’t know how to dress to hide it, I didn’t know that this wasn’t just me. When people said you look great I would know the reality of what was underneath the clothes. And I still do but I’m finding peace some days with it.

Body image is such a big part of being a woman. Media outlets feeding the next big diet or that celeb that looks as tiny as she did pre birth. We don’t do ourselves any favours by buying into a spin on motherhood.

So let’s share. Let’s show each other out normal and maybe help a mama out that thinks it’s just her. We love you mama for your baby kangaroo pouch, your untrimmed bush, your tiger stripes, those bags that Mary Popping would be jealous of.

We adore you mama for you a mother fucking warrior.