A NEWHOUSE NEW HOUSE

Yes, another one. We decided to find a more permanent home than the one we were in. The house that we found took 8 months from viewing to completing the move. We saw it several times and made the decision that we had to have it. The house needs a lot of work, and I’m talking A LOT. The previous owners weren’t much of the gardening kind and the massive back garden and large front garden had to be tackled pretty much instantly (the day before the big move actually) else moving in day would have been even more difficult, as we dumped most of our belongings in the garden while we quickly cleaned each room well enough to start getting the furniture in. We moved in on Saturday 13th of August, and it was a nice sunny day. I was in a good mood, and so were all of our amazing family and friends who we had roped in to helping us. Me and a mate stayed at the new house and started scrubbing the kitchen while the boys tackled moving the household over from the old place to the new one.

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Luckily we weren’t moving far at all. Only across the road to be precise. So, that was in our favour. We chose not to hire a large removal van, but instead relied on my dads’ pick work transit and a few friends cars. All of our items were over by 2pm and most of our house was scattered across the garden and inside the huge workshop situated to the side of the house.

That was all nearly 2 weeks ago now. Our internet was connected today and we have been non-stop every single day since the move (more posts on what we’ve been up to coming up soon) and we still haven’t unpacked much at all. The house very much feels like home though, and we have all settled in well. The kids have adjusted amazingly and the pets obviously felt just as ‘at home’ as we did from day 1.

So far we have painted 2 rooms in the house. The kitchen and the bathroom. 3 trees have been planted, 1 raised bed is in use and my new oven is being delivered later on today edit: Knowhow smashed our new oven during delivery so we are still oven less. So yeah, I’m feeling pretty damn good right now, except for the oven part. That sucks. a lot.

It’s going to be a long journey getting the house perfect and the garden into the fully working urban mini-farm that we plan for it to be used as. But, already we can see a huge difference. It’s starting to look a lot cleaner and fresher than it did before, and the sun is shining through the windows as I type, making everything feel that little bit more perfect. This is home, and it’s where we want to stay forever.

Now… where’s my fork and spade?

WHATS YOUR FOBA? That’s Fear Of Being Away, by the way!

We plan a nice holiday, pack our bags, jump on the plane and then a terrible case of the FOBA’s hit you hard. Did you leave the oven on? Are the bins out? Did you leave enough cat food for your neighbour to feed Tiddles with? All of those ‘What-If’s’ and ‘Did-I’s’ race through your mind.

FOBA- Fear Of Being Away. What’s my FOBA? Other than wondering if I left the windows open (and coming home to a burgled house/squatters/a cold pad), I always have a mad panic about my cats trashing my house plants. Probably not up there on the Family Fortunes leader table, but that’s it. When we came home from Cornwall the cats had tipped over my windowsill propagator and turned the big house plant upside down. My brother-in-law was popping over to feed them, so we could only assume it happened just after he closed the door for the last time on cat sitting duties. SOIL.WAS.EVERYWHERE. I shudder thinking about it now.

Panasonic have my back. The all new Smart Home monitoring system can give me a care free summer holiday, giving me more time to relax. The Smart Home system is easy to install and is simple to operate, all controlled via your smart phone. So instead of searching for Pokémon while on holiday, keep an eye out for burglars or your worst FOBA scenario from erupting. There’s no monthly subscription fee, and you can adapt the set up to extend and suit your home.

The Panasonic Smart Home system features include controlling your lights from your phone (The police recommend leaving a light on at home to deter burglars while your away). You can keep an eye on 4 cameras at once and even take snap shots or start recording at the touch of a button.

So, do a Dave. Take a care free holiday this year and leave your FOBA’S at home (with the cat).

C-SECTION CHICKEN, Welcome baby Bantam

Gallery Below!

We had 2 eggs in the incubator for 21 days, little bantam eggs. Candling at day 5 proved that they were both viable, with tiny heart beats visible through the shell. After 21 days they were ready to hatch. We only have a cheap incubator, something which I plan to replace with a much better model next year. Keeping temperature and humidity at the recommended levels was proving hard throughout the incubation process. I don’t think the temperature readings were accurate at all, and there was no way of measuring humidity so the whole incubation felt like guess work. We previously hatched Quail in a different incubator, and it felt much easier then.

On day 20 one of the eggs had started to pip (where the beak of the bird starts to poke a hole), but I very quickly noticed a problem. Normally the baby bird starts to pip from the bigger end of the egg where the air cell is found, but this baby had decided to come out from the pointy end. Something I blame on the totally inaccurate incubator. After nearly 2 days of no more progress from the baby chicken I decided to call my dad for help. He knows his stuff when it comes to poultry (well all birds actually) and he advised me that the chicken would need some help arriving.

egg pipped wrong end

If I was to leave the egg it was pretty much guaranteed that the bird would die from exhaustion. I had to at least try and help the poor thing out of its shell, but with intervention can also come death, from stress of being handled and being out of the incubator while help is being given. The chick can be born too quickly and active blood vessels (which are sealed off during a normal hatch) could be torn causing the chick to bleed to death. So, NO PRESSURE THEN.

The slow and nerve wracking process began by removing tiny chips of the shell giving the baby more space to breathe and work its way out. After removing some of the shell I could see that the baby was in a really strange position and there wasn’t much chance of the chick making itself out with only a small amount of help. Fast forwards a few nervous hours and the horrible sight of a bleeding chick (one of those little veins tore, but we managed to stop the bleeding) the baby bird finally flopped out into my hand. The baby needed complete assistance and I did not have high hopes of it surviving. The whole experience felt like trauma, to us and the bird.

I placed the baby back into the incubator and I felt sick with nerves. I had delivered this tiny thing and I was certain death was around the corner. But after an hour it was trying to stand, after 2 hours it was cheaping loudly, and after 3 hours it was a super active bundle of fluff.

The baby has now been moved into a crate with a Brooder Hen plate (a hot plate on legs which the chick hides under for warmth) and we are now on day 4 of life. So far it is doing well. It’s noisy, it’s fluffy, it’s cute. Of course, things can change and such fragile birds can go downhill quickly, but we have high hopes for this little dude.

Welcome Bantam Mc Bantam-face, the breech C-section baby who really was one lucky chick!

While our baby was a success, I DO NOT recommended ever helping a chick during the hatching process unless you really know what you are doing, have sought professional advice and you are 100% sure intervention is needed.

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HALVING WHAT WE OWN

The 80-20 rule. On average only 20% of household items are used. The remaining 80% hangs around gathering dust.

So, it’s pretty set in stone that we shall be moving within the next few weeks. The house we are going to has a much bigger garden but the house is slightly smaller. In the 2 years that we have lived in our current home we have collected quite a lot of useless crap. Possessions just seem to breed, and hide in every corner of our home. I am also a self confessed hoarder for memories sake, keeping every item of clothing or each toy that holds a special memory of good times. But, we have learnt that it’s just not practical to take everything with us. The house move has to be done as cheaply and as quickly as possible, with no big removal vans to hire and all completed in one day. But even if we weren’t moving house, a serious declutter was definitely needed anyway.

Have you decided that enough is enough? Maybe you are sick of constantly tripping over toys, or having piles of unworn clothes cluttering every surface in your bedroom. What are you holding onto this stuff for? Memories? Or maybe you just think you might need certain things one day, but that day may never arrive? With a clear house and minimal possessions, your stress levels shall decrease and you wont spend so long dusting your home. Learning to live with less shall eventually lead to living a much cheaper life. You won’t feel the need to buy every gadget on the market, you will wear your most cherished clothes more often and you’ll soon discover that if something is broken and can be fixed you will try your hardest to fix it.

Reducing the living room

  • Is a 60 inch TV necessary? Truthfully, no. Go for a smaller telly, it takes up less room and costs less to run.
  • Does the coffee table serve its purpose for being a place to sit your cuppa or does it just gather junk paper, toys or dust? If you’re anything like myself I am too scared to place a cup of coffee on the table for fear of my children burning themselves. Instead the kids just leave their drawings all over it, and it gathers sticky hand prints. When we move the coffee table isn’t coming with us. Instead it will be cut up for fire wood as it really is not nice enough to pass on to anyone any more.
  • Ornaments, ornaments and more ornaments… and the odd dusty candle. It’s all stuff you have to dust and just because your nan gave you that blown glass ashtray-come-odds-n-ends-holder, it probably isn’t worth anything other than a brief memory. Do you honestly love it or is it just there because you’d feel bad giving it to the charity shop? Have a serious think, and if it’s the latter it may be time to say goodbye.
  • DVD’s appear to multiply like crazy. Most of us now have Netflix (or similar) accounts, so most films can now be found online at the touch of a button and streamed onto our TV’s. If they haven’t been watched in a year, or you know you won’t be watching it again, pass it on to someone else or make a few quid by selling it onto one of those online swap-shop type sites.
  • I’m terrible for collecting books. If I borrow a book, read it and love it I will then go out and buy the darned thing just to display it on my shelf like a crazed badge of honour. I like reference books for gardening, but novels and autobiographies can be easily picked up from the library. One of the best bits of tech I gained was my kindle. It’s tiny and holds thousands of books (most of all were free too, because there are always free books to be grabbed via Amazon). I’ve learned that while books look superb on the shelf, they really don’t need to sit around gathering dust. Most charity shops are inundated with books so have a look at the Amazon Trade-in option, and create some cash back. Or donate them to the local hospital or book-swap group. And if you don’t have a local book-swap create one!

Reducing the kitchen

  • 3 potato peelers, 2 bottle openers, 25 tea spoons and 50 million takeaway tubs (or at least it feels that many) are not needed. 1 potato peeler, 1 bottle opener, 4 tea spoons and 5 tubs is about right for my family of 5. I wash up several times a day, so I really do not need so much cutlery. Takeaway tubs are a nightmare, and while you may think you need lots of them, the chances are you don’t. When will you ever cook so much food that you need that many tubs? And where will you store it, before it goes off? The fridge soon becomes cluttered and food goes off. Only cook what you need and food won’t be wasted.
  • Think about what gadgets you use. Some stuff is really useful, but a lot of gadgets you buy on a ‘wow-what-a-great-idea’ whim will be used once, then never again… or at least not for the next year or 2. Kitchen things easily gather dust and grease and become a sticky mess before they are next needed. I own a garlic crusher, and I honestly can’t remember the last time it was used. I tend to use dried garlic these days, or just crush a clove with a knife. When I get around to sorting the utensil draw, it’s going.
  • Microwave… seriously. Ours went. We only used it for heating bottles (tut tut) and blitzing food on a rare occasion. It took up space, it needed cleaning and it just annoyed me. Now if something needs heating I just chuck it into a pan. I have vowed never to own a dishwasher for as long as my hands work. This stuff costs money to run and maintain. And unexpectedly, we don’t even miss these items.
  • I thoroughly believe that baking and cooking from scratch should be the main focus of the kitchen. Children can learn so much about science, maths and homemaking through simple cooking. With baking comes utensils. So many cake tins of different sizes, cookie cutters in every shape, letter and number. But how many times has that dinosaur cutter or number 1 cake tin come in use? Pass them on to friends or even local schools (nursery kids love cutting out playdoh with dinosaur cutters FYI). You only really need the basic trays and cutters and if a party pops up where you need a special shape or size tin, put out a ‘wanted’ on your Facebook page. I bet at least one of your mates has it and can lend it to you.

Reducing the Bathroom

  • How many razors do you need? How many moisturisers? How much make-up is sat at the bottom of your make-up bag being unused? We had loads of lotions and potions that had been opened once or twice, and never used again. Most were binned as you can’t really pass on opened cosmetics, but do ask your mates first because you never know. Open a beauty item, use it until it’s gone then buy another. Don’t stock pile for ‘another day’, unless it works out thrifty, such as buying bulk loo roll. We don’t buy toilet roll any more, instead we make our own reusable toilet paper, but this is for a money saving reason more than anything.
  • We seemed to gather loads of towels. Which is strange because I don’t actually remember buying any. Keep a big towel for each person (even if you do share each others) and a couple of small towels for hair etc. I like a hand towel in each toilet, and one spare for when I’m doing the laundry.
  • Bathroom cleaning items also build up. If you don’t have the option or patience to make your own, remember that bleach is good for everything. Its nice to own a special shower spritzer and a purposely created toilet cleaner but bleach really does all round cleaning wonderfully. One bottle for lots of jobs, rather than lots of bottles for just a few jobs.

Reducing the bedroom

  • Bedding is addictive to buy. You spot so many patterns and colours it can be hard to resist splashing the cash. But in all honesty you only need 2 nice bed sets. One to wear on the bed while the other is being washed. You can still have pretty cushions but bed sets take up space in the airing cupboards and we always seem to end up with odd pillowcases. Donate old bed sets to animal shelters, or cut them up to make a rag rug or draught excluder.
  • Clothes take up so much space. I’m now playing the ‘6 months game’. I turn all of our hangars one way, each time I take an outfit to wear I turn the hangar the other way to show myself that I’ve worn it. If after 6 months there are any clothes that haven’t been worn I donate them to charity. I do keep 2 really decent dresses for special occasions though.
  • Clear out your bedside draws. Condoms 2 years out of date tucked in a box? Yeah, they are definitely no good for anything. Shopping receipts, pens, and unclaimed charging wires that you have no idea of their purpose. A place for everything and everything in it’s place my dear old nan used to say. If it’s been chucked in a draw, and not touched for the last year or 2 it really isn’t needed any longer. Get nice tidy draws for stuff you need and use regularly, plus it saves time finding the items you do need when rummaging through the stuff that you really don’t.
  • There is scientific proof that the more electronic devises you have in your bedroom the more likely you are to suffer from broken sleep or even worse, insomnia. Your bedroom should be for sleeping only and as a safe sanctuary to wind down and develop your bedtime routine. Get rid of the TV (save that for downstairs time), ditch the games console (take that downstairs too… but only if its played. If it isn’t, you know what I would suggest doing with it, by now) and keep iPads and phones at minimum use and for downstairs only. Same goes for children and their bedrooms.

And as for the rest…

  • Garages, cupboards and outhouses are the perfect place for practicing the ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ rule. There may be lots of items hidden away that you forgot you had, and if you forgot you had it, there is a near certainty that you don’t need it in your life.
  • Babies grow up, and if you know you don’t want to extend your family any further it’s time to clear out those tiny baby clothes. I’ve just done this and I did cry… a lot. So many memories were held in those tiny items, but there are more babies in the world that can wear them and create more memories for other new parents.  I have photos of the kids in those special clothes that I can always look back on and reminisce. Baby bouncers, walkers and breast pumps all hold the same rule. If you are not interested in making money from those items, stick them onto Freecycle and give another family a helping hand.
  • Garden tools, plastic plant pots and garden toys quickly gather cobwebs in the shed and turn to rust.  If you no longer use them, because you have no need for 3 garden forks (etc etc) donate them to local community gardening clubs or allotments.

I know this post may read samey-samey, if you don’t need it get rid of it, but the more you think about the stuff you own, the more you realise what is really sat being unused. It’s not just about minimalizing, but also about clearing space in your life for other things and also giving to others those items which you no longer use. It’s nice to give to others. It teaches children a valuable lesson in life, and gives you something to smile about too.

 

FAMILIES WANTED FOR AN EXCITING NEW BBC SHOW

The BBC are on the hunt for families to take part in an all new and exciting show, brining families together in an almighty reunion.

Families will be reunited at a stunning country house and families will take part in innovative games, activities and challenges. It will most certainly be a fantastic opportunity to get the whole family together, have some fun and games… and get your face on the telly!  Definitely creating a family reunion to remember.

If you would like to know more, check out the poster below. You can contact the casting office for the show at family3@bbc.co.uk or call 0117 974 2238. Filming will take place in September/October, so do get in touch ASAP.

Family Flyer - JPEG 12.07.16 (1)