Your House Move – There’s a Lot to Think About.

A house move is said to be one of the most stressful things you can go through. I think I managed to forget this fact.

It took well over a week thanks to having far too much stuff, though we’re in now! Things are slowly making their way into the place they’ll belong.
It is stressful, exciting, tiring, exhausting and so much more. Insomnia reared its ugly head again, reminding me what it was like to have too much going on in your head. I’ll do a bigger post very soon, but being a practically minded kind of person, it’s important to get things in place before you move, such as insurance. In 2003 we took out Life Insurance. Because of this existing policy, our new cover didn’t need to be quite as high, plus we got a discount. This is fortunate, as a 2003 premium is way better than a 2018 one. Because of my age our overall mortgage term has reduced to 21 years, rather than the standard 25. Fortunately there’s plenty of choice out there which cover older people, so it wasn’t difficult to find what we needed. Now we’re having to look into our contents insurance. Our premiums have jumped, possibly due to this postcode being a new build. The bonus is that we’re in Shared Ownership so don’t have to take out buildings insurance – our housing association covers that. The next things we’re looking at are policies which protect our mortgage payments should we lose our jobs. We also need to make a will. I believe November is the month to do that. I feel quite grown up about the whole thing, while still in a bubble about it all happening. It happened so quickly…

The main thing is we now own part of a house, nobody is going to put it up for sale and we can stay here as long as we want to without the fear of something going wrong.

If something does go wrong, our insurance has to cover it. I think that’s a fairly simple way of looking at things? After all, if this is the place we spend the rest of our lives, it makes sense to have everything looked after so we can just live here rather than worry about everything. When it came to the house move itself, we saved quite a lot of money doing it ourselves. We hired a van for three days, which cost us around £90. A few days later we hired a smaller van to take the rest of our belongings to the local civic amenity site at around £30. I used the Anyvan service to have two men move our largest things which ended up being our two settees and our bed which cost around £130. I think next time I consider a house move I’ll pay someone else to do the packing, though there was a lot of KonMari-ing and some severe Swedish Death Cleaning going on. But our shelves are looking a lot better now, and we have books that bring us joy. There are also still shelves in the hallway, but hey, they might be gone in a week…
Then there’s the property we left. Our contract says we have to make sure everything is clean and how we found it. Shaun has done a lot of painting and we’ve borrowed next door’s Vax machine which should do the trick. If not, there’s always the chance to hire a Rug Doctor. I’ll be glad when this is all over. Moving house is not my idea of fun, and especially not over the summer holidays! I’d much rather have a holiday instead – especially with this weather we’ve had.

Rabbitgoo No-Glue Window Film Stickers

Rabbitgoo no-glue window film stickers are my latest find. They provide privacy to our house where we haven’t got around to buying curtains. 

Rabbitgoo window stickers for privacy

Rabbitgoo is a simple, easy solution to privacy at home. Got windows which look out onto the road, and you’re not quite ready to buy curtains or blinds just yet? How about a simple plastic film which you cut to size and stick to your windows?

It really is that simple. My neighbour at our last house had some on her windows and recommended Rabbitgoo. 

Rabbitgoo is easy to apply as well. Cut the film to size first of all, and I’d also recommend peeling a section as it can be tricky. Simply clean your window surface, add soapy water and stick on the film. A squeegee is handy for getting rid of bubbles too. It can be peeled and re-stuck easily. 

The soapy water holds the film in place nice and securely too. We’re a week in and other than spotting a few bubbles here and there, it has done exactly what we need it to. 

The good news is there are several types of Rabbitgoo designs and Amazon has them all for sale. Each tube is around the £10 mark. We have enough I could do our windows again too.

I like that it gives us a bit of privacy through the day. With us being in a new build area, there are often people driving around looking at the different houses. 

rabbitgoo window stickers rainbow patterns

There are a lot of designs available with varying levels of privacy. I like the design I chose as when the sun comes through the windows it creates several little rainbows on our kitchen tops and floor. 

We’ve already had a lot of comments from friends about how good it looks as well!

Tony Maleedy Scalp Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner

I’m well into my later years of life these days, properly perimenopausal and waiting for it all to stop (I give it a couple of years). If you were to look at the symptoms of perimenopause there are many. One which has reared its ugly head in the last year has been an itchy scalp. I was sent some samples of Tony Maleedy Scalp Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner to try, to see if they made a difference.

Tony Maleedy Scalp Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner

Tony Maleedy Scalp Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner is a new brand to me and one I was keen to try. They look at what makes a scalp itchy and try to fix that problem. I have a very itchy head occasionally, I often wonder if H has picked up headlice from school. It’s that kind of an itch, and never looks good in public when you’re scratching your head.

I switched all my shampoos to non-phosphate ones which has helped, though the itching reappears by the end of the day or overnight. So would the Tony Maleedy Scalp Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner make a difference?

I like the smell of the shampoo – the juniper smell reminds me of a nicer T-Gel. I didn’t need a lot for my long hair, and made sure to concentrate on the scalp area. You need to keep it on your hair for a couple of minutes then rinse.

I received a booklet with the products which explains the science behind an itchy scalp. Rather than type it all up word for word, here’s an explanation. Basically, most shampoos don’t deal with the problem the way they should – whereas these do. The ‘Controls Skin Cell Growth’ part explains it best. My mum has terrible psoriasis on her scalp and nothing fixes it (I might treat her to some of this) – probably because it isn’t being treated properly.

Tony Maleedy Scalp Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner works some kind of magic, my head wasn’t itchy for an entire day. You use the shampoo fairly frequently to start, decreasing over time until you’re using it once or twice a week.

They don’t test on animals too, the shampoo and conditioner are vegan and cruelty free. 

The conditioner is soothing and easy to apply as well. I found I didn’t need to use it every day, just once or twice a week. 

At almost £17.50 for 250ml the shampoo isn’t cheap, but it’s worth every penny for itch-free days. If you have a flaky scalp and you’re not sure how to fix it, I highly recommend Tony Maleedy Scalp Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner. The Tony Maleedy site is here, you can also buy it on Amazon here (affiliate link).

I was sent the Tony Maleedy Scalp Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own. 

Primark Foot Peel – Holler and Glow Purrfect Pedi

Sometimes you want to put your feet up and relax, and then you look at your feet. In my case, it’s dry, scaly and quite frankly, unattractive views which happen. It’s not great. So I bought the Primark foot peel from the Holler and Glow range. I want lovely feet.

Primark foot peel Holler and Glow purrfect pedi The Primark foot peel has a bargain price of just £4. My kind of budget. But does it work? This is the important question. Will my heels be as soft as a baby’s.. um… heel? The Holler and Glow range is low priced and from what I’ve read has good reviews of the face masks (I am yet to try them) – but what about the feet? Last year I tried a foot peel and what should have taken a couple of weeks took almost two months to peel. It wasn’t fun. I didn’t have perfect holiday feet, I had peeling Birkenstock feet. Not an attractive look.  As we’re not going on holiday this year I figured it would be a good time to try again, after all, what’s the worst that can happen? Things I learned from last time. Soaking feet helps a lot. Not soaking feet means it takes forever. So I was sensible, followed the instructions and kept these delights on my feet for an hour and a half. Attractive. Primark foot peel - Holler and Glow Imagine my surprise when experiencing the heatwave we’ve just had in the UK, on removing my socks from my sweaty feet, my feet had already started peeling quite significantly! If only I had known six weeks earlier… it took a day and the softer skin was coming off. Annoyingly, it seemed to be only these sections of my feet which peeled off. The very dry skin is still there and very dry. I’m a couple of weeks in now with minor peeling left and I don’t feel like what I hoped would happen has happened.

I really wanted the hard skin on my heel to have gone, but it’s still there, as dry as ever. I’m not sure the Primark foot peel works the way it is meant to – possibly not getting deep enough into my dry skin layers?

In summary, if you’re expecting miracle soft feet from the Primark foot peel, it’s unlikely to happen. If you want to go in with a soft level peel, this might be a good place to start. Me? I’m just waiting for next spring to try again. Maybe with my knowledge across two foot peels I might get it right the next time!

Moving House – A Big Blank Canvas

moving house, our new living room

Moving house is definitely in my top ten of stressful things that I have to deal with. I’ve had my fair share of it, having lived in several places. We’ve only moved as a family of three the once, over eight years ago. This is a big one.

Very soon we’ll be moving house, moving from the world of renting to Shared Ownership. We’re moving areas too, though only fifteen minutes up the road. Far enough that we have to change schools.

Shared Ownership is when you part buy and part rent a house. There are quite a few flats out there, though houses seem to be more difficult to come by. We wanted a garden and we wanted a nice area which we’ve eventually got – it took about two years of looking.

House prices around here are too much for us, and even where we’re moving they’re as high. With Shared Ownership we own 30% of the house, paying rent on the other 70%. It works out exactly the same price as renting so we’re not out of pocket.

A new housing development near where we currently live had Shared Ownership houses planned, though they appear to have dropped off the developers plans. This has happened a lot and gets quite frustrating when all you want to do is settle.

Our house is a new build which is where being a blank canvas comes in. We have a lot of pictures from renting and not being able to decorate, indeed, I’ve been told that you can’t decorate or paint a new build for the first year until everything has settled. We’re in no hurry.

moving house, the stairs with H on them

When we’re settled I’ll write up the mortgage process and what we found we had to look out for. It went through smoothly, helped with us both having taken out Help to Buy ISAs. When you close your ISA, your solicitor claims back 25% of the value from the Government which is a big help.

Things are moving along nicely, other than getting rid of a lot of our things – mainly things we really don’t need any more. Marie Kondo has been with me in spirit helping me tear myself away from most things…

The moving house day is a week or two away, that has given me time to sort out the transfer of internet, tv and phone services. This time we’re going with BT for everything.  I’m booking removal vans and we’re hiring one to do smaller journeys once we get our keys.

moving house - looking outside to the garden

H is getting used to the idea now. Her room has a little cubby hole which is going to be a reading corner over time. She has the books for it – I suspect we’ll need bigger shelves. She’s enjoying planning her space. 

moving house, the cubby hole, to be a great reading corner

End of Term Gifts for Everyone

I have often joined in with other mums in class to do a collection for our teachers. I have often given boxes of chocolates to people to thank them for teaching my daughter in swimming, Brownies or football. End of term gifts are important (we feel).

End of term gifts are that tradition that is getting a bit out of hand. It has just passed and with it came the acknowledgments for everyone who made H’s last term a good one. So that’s one teacher, two teaching assistants, two Brownie leaders, five young leaders, one swimming teacher and one football coach.

It can get expensive…

So this year we invested in two things – a glass cutting tool which is remarkably cheap via ebay – and a wood burning tool.

glass cutting tool

We did a trip to Ikea for a pack of six glasses and some wooden spoons, ready to create.

The glass cutting tool is the easiest of the two once you get the hang of it. H wrote a message on a small piece of paper which was stuck inside the glass to trace. I outlined it on the glass, and H filled in the area a bit more.

doing some glass cutting

Remove the paper from behind and you will have a clear idea which bits need extra cutting.

One thing to bear in mind is there will be glass shavings on your table, so cover it up accordingly and clean up well afterwards. This isn’t recommended for outside crafts, especially if windy.

The wood burning tool was slightly trickier. The heat involved can burn you – fortunately I had blistered fingers though learnt my lesson the hard way. I always have tweezers handy to change the nibs on the tool. Ours has six different nibs you can use, including several which can just be stamped.

For obvious reasons I don’t have any photos – it was extremely hot to hold.

H wasn’t so keen on the writing side, but loved stamping designs so as a compromise she wrote her messages on her spoon in pencil and I wrote over them using the wood burning tool.

Spoons for teachers using a wood burning tool, still needs to be gone over again but you get the idea of how it will look

It isn’t easy, but gets easier with practice. You have to hold the tool quite far back – so not like a pencil. Slowly and patiently are the way forward.

We had some Tiger Stores clear wrap and gingham ribbon which made the end of term gifts easy to decorate. Wash the glasses carefully and fill with sweets. Wrap the clear wrap around them, tape at the bottom and gather at the top with an elastic band. Get a piece of gingham ribbon and tie a label for the person it’s for around it.

end of term gifts - glass cut glasses filled with sweets

I think the end of term gifts look pretty good! The best thing is they’re something practical too, though I have heard horror stories about teachers having cupboards full of mugs…

Our Wildcats Time Comes to an End, Sadly

This week we received an email, letting us know that our Saturday football sessions with Crystal Palace Wildcats will finish.

H at SSE Crystal Palace Wildcats

Which makes several young girls aged 5-11 quite sad.

Wildcats are girls-only football sessions which we’ve been attending since we did some work with the FA. We have an awesome group of girls, we meet almost every Saturday whatever the weather and we play football. We train, we learn skills and we have fun.

But not for much longer.

I had noticed several clubs starting extra Wildcats sessions around the country, and Crystal Palace weren’t alone in this, starting three extra sessions.

Crystal Palace Wildcats sessions 2018

Which leaves me wondering – has it all been too much? Have SSE stopped sponsoring Wildcats and actually the clubs can’t afford to do this, so these sessions are the first thing to go? Has the FA pulled funding?

We don’t have answers, just that there’s an opportunity to move to Caterham Pumas.

But it does make me wonder, If that was the case, why didn’t they set up Caterham Pumas Wildcats?

Although then we wouldn’t have had our amazing coaches, Charlotte and Sophie. They have made such a massive difference to all of the girls, bringing a love of football to their Saturday mornings. H used to be someone the boys wouldn’t pass to, to now being someone who will try and get a ball from the boys.

They have been brilliant, and we’re all gutted that won’t have training sessions with them any more. They made a difference.

It does make me wonder. Is it about money? Everything to do with women’s football is to do with money. Look at the new league structure. Coincidentally, Crystal Palace Ladies were accepted into Women’s Premiership on the same day we got our email saying the sessions would no longer exist. I’m sure the two incidents aren’t linked…

So, onwards we go, having to find another club to play football. I can only hope any future coach gives H the support and confidence which got her to the level she plays now. I’m hoping that all her friends she made make the switch as well…

Thank you Charlotte and Sophie. You made a difference to a lot of girls and will continue to do so. Thank you for taking the time out to make a difference.

Smol Laundry Capsules – Washing by Mail Order

I’m not sure where I spotted the advert for Smol Laundry Capsules. It might have been Instagram or Facebook. But I was intrigued; laundry capsules sent to you by Mail Order. How so?

Smol Laundry Capsules are a pretty simple idea that I’m really liking at the moment. This year I have made a conscious effort to make sure we only use cruelty-free products and laundry was always the most difficult.

smol laundry capsules

Smol Laundry Capsules do not tested on animals, nor sell in countries that insist on animal testing. This is important to me, as quite often a lot of brands say they’re cruelty free “except where a country requires it” – so that’s hardly cruelty free, is it?

There are several options available. I went for our usual Non-Bio and sent off for a trial pack which costs £1. You can’t go wrong with nine washes for £1 can you? Unfortunately it took the Croydon depot a really long time to deliver it, my first proper delivery had already arrived!

After washing the first thing I noticed was the smell. Oh my, it’s a good smell, a lovely fresh scent. My clothes came up clean and so far, several washes in I have no problems to report. For larger washes I’ll use two capsules, though in this warm weather most of my washloads are fairly small.

When the Smol Laundry Capsules arrive, they’re in a nice small package. Probably around the size of a Graze box – letterbox sized. This means they also store well in the cupboard – I’ve often found my washing products take up a lot of space. Not any more.

smol laundry capsules storage

So how does it work? You work out roughly how much washing you do, Smol will then send you your next load of 24 capsules before you run out. At the moment I’ve put us down as doing a washload every day so should get more Smol in a week or so. If you do more then it’s easy enough to increase the amount, and of course if you’re on holiday it’s really easy to skip a delivery too.

Smol costs £3.85 for each pack of 24 capsules with postage included.

As a cruelty-free option for something I do a lot, I’m pleased Smol Laundry Capsules exist, and hope that more people will get on board – it’s a brilliant idea and so far I’m impressed.

For a free trial head over here.

You might be interested to read my other mail order products I buy which make a difference. My Splosh review is here and my Who Gives a Crap one is here. https://www.mum-friendly.co.uk/who-gives-a-crap-toilet-paper

Hagrid the Bear aka A New Family Member

This weekend we’ve had a new addition to our family. Hagrid the Bear.

Hagrid the Bear is named by one of our friends, it’s the perfect name but H is still to come around to it. She will. Here’s his story.

I’ve been an active PTA member since H started school, doing it alongside my job and Brownies, plus this blog whenever I can. The PTA is important – especially these days. With school cuts, you can often find yourself funding things the schools can no longer pay for. In our case it’s IT Software. Yes, IT, the subject of the future. Good old school cuts, it’s quite depressing.

However, the upside of this is the summer fair. We went along to help our school yesterday, sitting on the Crazy Sand stall which is always fun. You get to help kids make interesting creations with varying sand colours (I’d like to think Brownie leader skills come into it and being able to help kids without being too bossy).

Then of course, there’s the grand raffle at the end of the day, with such delights as a Samsung Tablet, tickets for Chessington and an Amazon Echo Dot as prizes.

We only buy a small amount of tickets, but always contribute to everything as much as we can. I didn’t expect to win, though it would be nice, as we’re trying to get rid of things for potential downsizing. Swedish Death Cleaning and Marie Kondo are my friends right now.

So imagine our joy when H’s name got called out as a prizewinner. We won this. A.K.A. Hagrid. (H is still not convinced, but let’s face it, he’s a Hagrid. Big bear, much loved).

H and Hagrid the bear

Apparently, there were tears from some kids in the playground when they didn’t win him. There were tears from Shaun and I as we wondered where on earth the bloody bear was going to live. There were tears of laughter from the parents all around us as we had all stood repeating “please don’t let us win the giant bear” and they saw our faces.

H had tears of joy, however. “He’s going to sleep in my bed!” she announced. No he’s bloody well not!

He makes a good foot rest. (n.b. you must always read books with a pen in your hand according to H)

H and Hagrid the bear chilling on the settee

Even Shaun got in on it. He’s got a new buddy.

Shaun and Hagrid the bear

Eventually, the football finished and it was time for H to head to bed. Without Hagrid the bear. He’s got his own bed, it would seem.

Hagrid the bear in bed

I mean, SERIOUSLY. What are we going to do with Hagrid the Bear? He’s about five foot tall. I’m laughing and crying at the same time. At least we won’t have any problems finding clothes for him, should H choose to dress him up….

So yes, if your school PTA has a summer fair, beware of the giant bear. He might come to your house when you least expect it… and if you donate one as a prize to the fair, you’re probably me. I totally get it now…

Double Felix by Sally Harris – Our Review

We’re participating in a book tour for Double Felix by Sally Harris this week.

Double Felix by Sally Harris is a new book, also illustrated by Maria Serrano. It tells the story of Felix, an eleven year old boy with OCD. He does things in twos. This is from skipping on every second step to tapping door handles twice. Or even just placing everything in pairs.

Double Felix by Sally Harris

A new girl starts in school, Charlie Pye. She has cereal for lunch and lives on a boat – and more importantly hasn’t grown up with rules in her life. It’s a whole new world for Felix. How can he possibly deal with someone who has no rules or order in their life?

It’s safe to say, Double Felix has become one of H’s new favourite books. She’s on her fifth or sixth read already.  (whispers – it might have even replaced Jaqueline Wilson’s ‘Katy’ as the new-favourite)

So what was it about Double Felix by Sally Harris that made H go back and read it again? Here’s H (age 8)’s opinion :

I like it. Felix does things twice, he’ll say things twice. He goes to see Hugo Fielding, a counsellor at school which helps him. He’s taught to fight back against the thing in his head – Basil the Bully (named after the Basal Ganglia in the brain).

A girl arrives at school, she doesn’t wear the correct uniform and that annoys Felix to start with. They become friends, and that helps him a lot. He has someone to talk to and play with. They don’t seem to have anything in common, but their friendship grows. I really liked that. 

I asked H what it was that she liked. She couldn’t really pinpoint what it was, but liked that it had a happy ending.

She breaks the rules and to start with Felix can’t deal with that. His life revolves around the number two – he doesn’t like odd numbers, he doesn’t like to get odd numbers on things. Only even. Even the chapters are in even numbers! The only odd number chapter is Chapter 27. This is because it’s the last chapter in the book, and Felix has learned to accept odd numbers I think. 

It’s a really good book and I’ve really enjoyed reading it. I feel like I’ve learned about people who have OCD a little bit by reading this book. 

Sally Harris’ website is over here

Sally Harris

Double Felix by Sally Harris is available to buy now over here. (affiliate link). We were sent the book for the purpose of review, all opinions are our own.

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