Snow days

Is it just me or does everything just seem so much prettier in the snow?

We’ve had quite a bit of snow where we live over the past few days so despite both me and Kory having colds, I wasn’t going to miss an opportunity for us to get wrapped up and to get out in the snow! It’s not often it snows here so I wanted to make sure that we got to experience it together.

Kory was only a small baby the last time it snowed and he didn’t really understand what it was but this time he watched with amazement as the snow fell from the sky, he was so curious asking me all sorts of questions about it and he kept telling me how every time he walked the snow would crunch under his feet.

We made snow balls, ran, kicked and jumped in the snow and then headed home to warm up as we were freezing!

We are so lucky to live so close to all these fields… I love snow days.

The Liebster Award

I can’t believe I have been awarded The Liebster Award! I have seen a few fellow parenting blogs that I follow be nominated for blogger awards but The Liebster Award is one that I hadn’t heard of before. I would like to start by thanking Mindy Leslie from I Blame Your Dad for nominating me this for this award. Having never been nominated for a bloggers award before, I am incredibly grateful to you for giving me this opportunity and I can’t thank you enough!

The Liebster Award exists only online and originated in Germany. The word ‘Liebster’ according to its German origins means kind, sweet, pleasant, welcoming, beloved and lovely. Which is why this award is for bloggers who not only support their community but are also trying to reach the world. This award is given to bloggers by other bloggers.

The rules:

1. Write a blog post and include your award graphic in your post.

2. Thank the blogger who nominated you.

3. Answer the questions asked of you by your nominator.

4. Create your own set of questions for your nominees to answer.

5. Nominate five to ten bloggers deserving the award. Share and link your post to their blogs so they can accept their award.

My questions and answers:

1.) Who inspires you the most?

Honestly, my son. Becoming his mum made me become a better person. I wanted to be a better person for him, he inspires me to be a better person every day. I’ve never thought of myself as a particularly selfish person but becoming a mum definitely taught me the meaning of selflessness. Being his mum has made me more compassionate, mindful, appreciative, thankful and blessed.

2.) Where is the number one place to travel on your bucket list?

I would love to travel all over America with my partner and our little boy but I would especially like to experience taking Kory to Disney World. That is something that would be truly special for us all, an experience that would be out of this world and we’d make memories that would last us a lifetime.

3.) What songs are on your motivational playlist?

When I’m feeling down and in the dumps and feel like I need a pick me up, I definitely stick on my Beyoncé playlist. There is something about listening to a strong, powerful, independent woman that makes me feel like I can take over the world.

4.) Do you have any pets? If so, what? If not, why?

Yes. We have 2 cats; a boy and a girl, their names are Bobbins and Tilly and we have 1 dog. He is a golden cocker spaniel and his name is Harley. I grew up around dogs, some of my best childhood memories are from time spent with my pets and I’m still a huge animal lover now so it was important to me that Kory grew up around pets too.

5.) What is your favourite quote?

‘I am in charge of how I feel and today I am choosing happiness.’ This quote is one of my favourites because I feel like it speaks to me. Throughout my life I have always had internal battles with myself, with my own mind. Sometimes I am my own worst enemy. At one point in my life I felt like I was at my lowest, I was diagnosed as clinically depressed and had an eating disorder because I was unhappy being me, I disliked myself and the way that I looked. I have come a long way since then and I don’t let myself think that way about me anymore.

6.) Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years I would like to have progressed in some way with my blog. I would like to be able to work from home, helping out in a school or at least have a part time job. I would love another baby and we will be married.

7.) What are you most passionate about?

I am most passionate about being a mum. To some people they are most passionate about their careers or money or their friends but to me, being a mum is the most important thing in my life. Being a mum is probably the most important thing that I will ever accomplish in my life which is why it is what I am most passionate about.

My Liebster Award nominees:

Rebecca Sellers

https://withmyloveandcourage.wordpress.com/

I’m just another mummy trying to make a difference by documenting my parenting and mental health journey.

Holly

www.whatmamabearsays.wordpress.com

Hiya, I’m Holly I’m 28 years old and a mummy to a 4 year old little girl and 20 week old boy/girl twins. Our blog shares our adventures as a family, my pregnancy with the twins, birth stories and general parenting support. Come and join us on our adventures!

Gemma

www.loveonashoestring.net

A blog all about adventures as a proud mother, a patient wife and ex-pat life. After finally overcoming our fertility challenges, we find that life as a family of three in a new country presents a whole new set of tests and exciting opportunities.

Jayde

www.motherhoodbythesea.blogspot.co.uk

My name is Jayde and I am a solo parent raising my son, Marley in Cornwall, UK. I work full time as a manager in retail and I spend my days off on the beach or exploring with my boy. Follow my journey of motherhood through my squares of Instagram or on my online blog.

Sammy

https://mamatooo.wordpress.com/blog/

Sharing our real family life, from days out, to the mama struggles and day to day juggles of our working life.

My questions for the liebster award nominees:

1.) Who has been the biggest influence in your life?

2.) What is your biggest goal in life right now?

3.) What were you like as a kid?

4.) What is one thing that I should know about you that I’d never think to ask?

5.) If you had to describe yourself using only 3 words what would they be?

6.) What is something that makes you happy?

7.) What was it that inspired you to start blogging?

Again, I would like to thank Mindy for nominating me for this award. I also want to thank all of my nominees for being such honest, amazing mums. You are an inspiration to me, keep doing what you’re doing!

Pets and kids

I always knew that I wanted my children to grow up around pets. Mainly because growing up I did just that and some of my best childhood memories are from time spent with the pets I grew up with.

When I was a kid, over the years we’d had a few dogs and cats and I spent a lot of time with each of them. I remember one of the dogs we had giving birth to 15 puppies and I helped my mum to hand rear them all! What an experience that was! I remember bottle feeding them and as they got bigger I would play with them and run from one room to another while they all would come charging after me! (There is no way that I would ever allow 15 small dogs to run around our house – sorry, Kory! but I still wanted Kory to have at least one dog in his life.) One of the puppies from the litter was truly special to me, he was the smallest and the softest of them all and I wanted to keep him, I remember putting him in my stocking for Christmas and I asked my mum could we have him but she still said no. At the time I thought she was being mean but looking back as an adult, I understand that obviously we already had way too many pets in the house! We could have opened a zoo!

Sometimes growing up can be lonely, you might not always fit in, you might struggle to make friends or have a bad day. Not necessarily when you’re a toddler like Kory but already at 2 years old, when Kory comes home from nursery he is always so excited to come home to see our pets, especially Harley, our dog, who he’s very close with. This two have such a bond, they’re honestly the best of friends and it melts my heart to watch them together. He usually shouts ‘Kory missed Harley!’ As soon as he walks through the front door and gives him a great big hug. Knowing he’s got Harley to come home to must be comforting for him.

Sure, having pets can sometimes make your house messy and they can break things but watching Kory with our pets reminds me of my own fond memories from my childhood with my old pets. When I watch him snuggling up to Harley on the couch, or when I watch him playing a game with the cats, I can see he’s happy, he’s making memories and in that moment, I know exactly how he feels because I’ve felt that too and I hope one day he can look back at the memories he’s made with his pets with the same fondness that I have for the pets that I grew up with.

That for me is well worth a couple of chewed socks and a few plucked steps on the stairs along the way…

Self care ideas

So yesterday I was having a bit of a down day, I felt like utter rubbish and was sat at home just feeling sorry for myself. When I start to feel like that, more often than not it’s because I need some way overdue me time and it’s a reminder to myself that I need to look after me as well.

Finding the time for yourself when you’re a parent is tricky. The only time I have to myself is when Kory goes to bed and by this point I’m way too tired to do anything anyway and usually just end up going to bed myself so that I can catch up on some zzzzzzzzz. And there’s nothing wrong with that but if that’s what I’m doing all the time then before I know it it’s been months since I last did anything that I enjoy that was just for me. Sometimes I feel like i’m stuck in the same routine of just waking up, seeing to Kory, tidying the house, playing all day, making dinner, tidying up again, putting Kory to bed and then doing the same thing all over again on repeat day in and day out and it’s so easy to get stuck in a loop. I love being a stay at home mum but when you start to feel fed up of the usual day to day life then it’s starts to feel more like a chore and that’s not how I want to feel. That’s when I know that it’s time for me to reboot.

I don’t know about you but if I do something that’s just for myself, I feel guilty. I feel like I shouldn’t be reading a book once Kory has gone to bed because there’s pots that need doing instead or I try to tell myself that if me and R go on a date, I’m palming Kory off which I know isn’t true because he’s always with me but this is just the way that my mind works. I’m sure some of you will know what I’m talking about and will have felt this way yourself at some point but it’s still so easy to feel all alone.

So I want to share with you a list of self care ideas that I recommend for when you’ve had a bad day or just find yourself needing a bit of time to recuperate. Here’s some things you can do to make yourself feel better again because self care is important, I need to remind myself that it isn’t selfish to take care of myself, we all need to look after ourselves so that we can look after our littles:

  • Take a long, hot, relaxing soak in a bubble bath. Maybe even treat yourself to a bath bomb? Wash, shave and exfoliate. Make yourself feel human again!
  • Escape by reading a good book.
  • Listen to happy songs.
  • Do absolutely nothing. Relax.
  • Write down a list of things you’re grateful for.
  • Write down a list of things that you like about yourself.
  • Nap.
  • Watch a feel good movie or tv show.
  • Wear pyjamas.
  • Get dressed up.
  • Declutter.
  • Go for a walk, get some fresh air.
  • Have some alone time.
  • Paint your nails.
  • Drink a cup of tea.
  • Apply a face mask.
  • Do your hair.
  • Eat chocolate.
  • Pour yourself a glass of wine.
  • Take a break from social media.
  • Make something. Get crafty. Bake.
  • Treat yourself to takeout.
  • Light a scented candle.

I’ve come to realise that whilst I’m pretty good at taking care of my family and looking after the house, I’m not very good at caring for myself. I often find myself run-ragged and tend to neglect my own needs. So this blog post is a reminder to myself to slow down and practice more self care. And this reminder is as much for me as it is for you…

Running on empty

Today I feel like I’m running on empty. Mentally, emotionally and physically…

Last night, I had a really bad night with Kory. He ended up in our bed with us and all night he just kept screaming in his sleep, it would take ages for me to finally calm him down and get him back off to sleep and then when I did he just kept waking back up for a drink. I don’t know what that was all about! I lost count of how many times I woke up with him through the night and despite how many times we were both up last night, Kory still managed to get up out of bed first thing this morning, I thought maybe he would have wanted to sleep in this morning and at the very least I thought he’d just want a day on the couch watching tv and reading but today he seems so full of energy! Meanwhile I’m walking around the house looking like a crackhead?! I honestly don’t know how he does it because I’m absolutely shattered so how does he run off such little sleep?! Recently he seems to have spouts of sleeping really well and then spouts of his sleep at night just being dreadful. I don’t know what the cause of this is but I suppose with kids it could be anything. So that’s the reason why I feel physically tired.

Emotionally, I feel like I’ve had a lot to deal with recently. Some of which I haven’t shared online but especially with Kory’s new stutter that just seems to have suddenly come on out of the blue. I speak more about Kory’s stuttering here. It’s something that has me really worried. It very well could just go away and I’ve been reassured by plenty of other people that it will but my worst fears are that he gets embarrassed by the stutter and goes within himself or the kids at nursery point it out and he gets a complex from it. I don’t want this to effect my confident, out going little boy who has fantastic speech for his age and has come on leaps and bounds since starting nursery. Somewhere he really enjoys going.

Which leads me to my next form of tiredness. I feel mentally tired because I feel like I am to blame somehow for Kory’s stuttering and I’ve been giving myself such a really hard time about it. I think as mums we always blame ourselves when it comes to our kids; is it something we’ve done? Is it something we’ve not done? It must be our fault? I’ve just been going round and round in my head thinking every thought possible as to why Kory’s stutter could have been brought on because of me and what can I do for him to make it better. When he’s speaking and I can see him struggling to get his words out and stuttering, I can’t help but get upset and it’s hard holding it in. And not just the guilt. But I’ve been worrying about it lots too, worrying about my little boy and how I want to protect him in this world and shield him from anyone who might upset him.

So that’s why I feel like I’m running on empty today. I’ve been trying to keep my head up and deal with it all by myself and I think I’ve just reached that point where I have to realise I need to cut myself some slack.

Being a mum and taking care of your child is hard enough but trying to do it whilst you’re running on empty just sucks.

Stuttering

Recently i’ve noticed that Kory has started to stutter a little when he’s speaking. At first I put it down to his age and maybe him just trying to get his words out a bit too fast but I don’t know anyone else’s children that do this? So I thought i’d do a bit of research of my own about stuttering in children and see what information I could find.

Apparently developing a stutter is quite common between children aged 2-5 years which happens to be Kory’s age group which did make me feel a little better. It also said that stuttering is usually just a phase that children go through and that it’s not normally anything to worry about, it’s hard to determine whether the stutter would become a long term problem because that’s usually something that’s figured out further along down the line but it’s more often than not nothing that needs to be worried about.

After searching the internet and reading forums, I found out that stuttering in children can be brought on by their brain working faster than their mouth (which is what I thought was the cause for Kory’s sudden stutter initially), there’s also a few other potential causes as well but none that seem fitting… There was also some suggestions in which I can help Kory with his stuttering. I read that I can help by slowing down how I speak to encourage him to do the same, get down to Kory’s level when he is speaking to me, make eye contact with him and show that I’m listening, remain patient when he’s trying to get his words out and do not draw attention to the stuttering by saying things like ‘slow down.’ ‘take your time, you’re stuttering.’ For example. These remarks may sound helpful but really they’re just drawing unnecessary attention to his stutter and this could effect him. If I’m honest, I’d already put a few of these suggestions in place to try and help Kory so I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and see if that helps with his stutter.

I really hope the stuttering is nothing that I need to be worried about. Kory has always been a brilliant speaker and I really don’t know how or why this stutter has suddenly come on out of nowhere but it would be a real shame if something like this was to have a negative impact on him. Kory has always been a really out going little boy, I also don’t want this to effect him at nursery, amongst his friends or have an effect on his confidence. Speaking of nursery, I’m going to mention it to them tomorrow and see if they’ve noticed anything or can help in any way. Chances are, they’ve had plenty of experience with children who stutter and will be able to help both me and Kory.

Have your children ever suddenly started to stutter? If they did, what did you do to help them with that? Any advice is appreciated!

Dogs n Dough

On Friday my Nan and grandad looked after Kory for us why I took Rory to Dogs n Dough in Manchester for an early birthday treat. Tucked away down a little side street just off Bow Lane near Albert Square, Dogs n Dough is an underground bar and diner that can easily be passed by but once you spot the neon side and the menu board out front, you’ll wonder how you ever missed it!

Dogs n Dough specialises in hot dogs and pizzas like you’ve never seen before. You can wash your food down with a whole range of different beers, cocktails, shakes or sodas and their sides are pretty special too; nachos with a side order of chilli? Loaded fries? Yes please! This little hidden treasure has become our new favourite hot spot and we will definitely be visiting again. What we love about Dogs n Dough as much as the tasty food they serve and the great service is the atmosphere. It’s a very chilled out, relaxed environment.

Me and Rory both ordered hot dogs, Rory ordered the Farmageddon hot dog. A hot dog covered in pulled beef, pulled pork, crispy bacon, fried chicken and chilli cheese and I ordered the Funky Chicken hot dog which included cajun fried chicken, bacon, slaw and bbq sauce but I traded the slaw for extra cheese. We also shared a side order of Oinkers, which are curly fries that are smothered in bacon bits and baconnaise and lastly we shared a chilli bowl that came with their own house chilli and doritos for scooping. We each ordered a drink as well, Rory ordered an apple pie milkshake which was so tasty he downed it all in record breaking time, so fast that even the server commented and I ordered myself an ice cold Dr. Pepper.

We ordered all of the above and it only came to just over £20! I felt like we were ripping them off! This was our second time visiting Dogs n Dough and the food was delish as always and with 50% off ALL food every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday throughout the whole of January we’d have been silly to miss out!

It was nice to have some time just the two of us as well, it was definitely well needed. We love our son to bits but dining child free meant that we actually got to sit down, enjoy our meals together and chat without being interrupted every 5 minutes and having to keep getting up to walk around the restaurant with Kory… Because what two year old wants to sit still? Really?

If you’re ever in Manchester City Centre, Dogs n Dough is well worth a visit. For more information, you can head to their website: http://www.dogsndough.com

* This is not a sponsored post. *

Shows to binge watch on Netflix

When Kory finally goes to bed I like to wind down by getting under a blanket on the couch and just flicking through the different shows that are on Netflix. So many of us watch Netflix now and if you’re anything like me, you love binge watching shows. In that case, you’re probably in need of a new show to watch! So I thought it would be fun if I shared with you a list of my favourite shows to binge watch on Netflix…

Stranger things – I love that this show is set in the 80s! The story follows a group of friends who are searching for their friend who goes missing under very strange circumstances. It is a Sci Fi series, a little scary in parts and will keep you in suspense.

Orange is the new black – Everyone was talking about this show when it first came out and at first, I wasn’t sure whether it was a show that I would enjoy watching but I gave it a watch and it had me hooked straight away. Orange is the new black follows the story of Piper who is sentenced to spend time in a minimum-security women’s prison. Piper has to adjust to life behind bars and befriend the range of different characters she will now be living alongside, who we as viewers get to learn more about with each episode.

Luther – Luther is about John Luther, a genius murder detective who is brilliant at solving murder cases but also emotionally impulsive and someone who is tormented by the dark side of humanity while hunting down murderers. Luther has paid a heavy price for his dedication; he has never been able to prevent himself from being consumed by the darkness of the crimes with which he deals. A must watch.

Making a Murderer – This might possibly be the best true crime documentary I have watched for a long time. From the minute I put it on I just couldn’t stop watching it. If you like documentaries, true crime stories, police and murder investigations then you need to add this one to your list. It follows a murder investigation and a failed justice system with lots of twists and turns and what makes it even more interesting is that it’s all true! I binged watch both seasons of this show in less than a week and I am hoping that they do a third!

Friends – Need I say more? Because if you haven’t watched friends yet then you need to right now! A total classic.

The Sinner – Loved loved loved this show. I have watched both seasons and I have to say I prefer the first season to the second, although still good, I just feel the first season was a lot better. A mum snaps and stabs a stranger to death in front of everybody on a busy beach. Why did she do it? She doesn’t know. But one cop is determined to get to the bottom of it and find out why. This series will have you hooked and you will be desperate to find out the truth!

Broadchurch – One of the most gripping detective series I’ve ever watched. You do not see the ending coming at all! Broadchurch is one of those shows that will have you clicking ‘next episode’ one after the other just to get to the end.

The Walking Dead – The Walking Dead is set in a post-apocalyptic America after a virus infects the whole population and turns the dead into zombies. The show starts with character Rick Grimes who awakes from a coma with no idea of what’s been going on around him and embarks on trying to find his wife and their son.

The Mindy Project – A funny comedy series that follows Mindy Lahiri, a young doctor living in New York City.

Breaking Bad – This show is about a high school chemistry teacher who has been diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer, whose wife is pregnant and whose son has cerebral palsy. So he teams up with his old student to make and sell crystal meth for his family’s financial security.

Pretty Little Liars – This show is completely addictive. I watched this show when I was in College and I’ve just started to re watch it all over again. The show follows a group of girls who’s friend, Alison, goes missing. The girls start to receive anonymous texts from someone who refers to themselves as ‘A.’ Whoever A is, they know everything about all of the girls’, all of their deepest darkest secrets and A holds that against them and threatens them. But who is A?

Gotham – Gotham is a crime drama series that is based on the characters published by DC Comics and primarily those who appear in the Batman franchise. The show follows a young detective James Gordon as he battles villains such as Penguin, The Riddler, Mr Freeze and many more as well as corruption in a pre-batman Gotham city. The show also follows the life of a young Bruce Wayne (batman) who’s parents are murdered. James Gordon becomes a friend to young Bruce Wayne as he finds his way to becoming the iconic Batman. So if you’re a fan of any of the above, you’ll want to give this show a watch.

You – The Netflix show ‘You’ is based on the book with the same name by Caroline Kepnes. I read the book a while ago and devoured it. I was so excited when I heard they were making the story into a Netflix series! The show is as amazing as the book and does not disappoint. ‘You’ follows the story of bookstore manager Joe Goldberg who meets aspiring female writer, Beck when she enters his store one day. What starts as a crush soon turns more sinister and the lines between love and obsession are blurred, you as the viewer may even find yourself siding with the stalker during throughout some parts of the show. Creepy, right?!

The Big Bang Theory – I had to end this list with my all time favourite show to binge watch. I have been watching The Big Bang Theory for years now. It’s one of those shows that you can come home to after a shitty day and it will make you feel better. It’s one of those shows that you can keep coming back to, I just never get fed up of watching it, I can rewatch old episodes and still laugh as hard as I did the first time I watched them. This show has been a big part of my life and I’ll be so sad when it ends but at least I’ll be able to binge watch all of the earlier episodes. The show starts with two nerds who are highly intelligent scientists who live together in an apartment and whose worlds get turned upside down when a hot blonde moves in across the hall from them… But so much has happened since the show first aired in 2007 that you’ll have to give it a watch yourself to see what all the fuss is about. If you haven’t watched this show, you honestly need to.

So those are all my favourite shows to binge watch on Netflix right now.  But I want to hear yours! What should I binge watch next on Netflix?

Treat yo’ self

Being a mum is no easy job and sometimes we as mums forget that we should treat ourselves and that we can do so without feeling guilty! We deserve a treat too!

The other week I treated myself to a new pair of shoes that were in the sale, I picked them up and put them back at least 3 times before finally deciding that I was going to buy them. I walked over to the till and every thought that came into my head was persuading me not to buy them. Thoughts like:

‘oh but I could use the money towards something else.’ Like what?

‘I shouldn’t be buying them.’ Why’s that?

or ‘I could buy Kory another pair of shoes instead.’ To add to the collection of shoes that he already has?!

My Nan was with me and I said to her ‘oh I’ll just leave it, I’m going to put them back.’ And she said ‘Kirsti, don’t be silly, just get them!’ And that’s when I realised I was being silly. It was just a pair of shoes and they only cost £6, it wasn’t exactly breaking the bank and I couldn’t remember the last time I treated myself to something. To anything.

So I bought them.

Once I’d got over feeling guilty, I felt good. I buy stuff for Kory and the house all the time and it was a nice change to buy something that was for myself. Taking care of yourself is an extremely important part of your mental wellbeing. As a stay at home mum, I often neglect myself and my needs. As mums we give so much of ourselves and our time to everyone else in our family. One thing I’ve learnt over the years since becoming a mum is that in order to be the best mum that I can be, I have to look after myself too and invest a little time in myself. I’m sure many of you will agree with me, that being a mum is hard but being a mum who is running on empty is a lot harder. I love my son and my partner, they make me very happy every day but there is nothing wrong or selfish about taking care of yourself or treating yourself.

One of my favourite things to do that doesn’t cost any money is sorting through cupboards, organising drawers and having a clear out at home. I don’t see it as a chore, tidying things up really helps me to de-stress and afterwards I feel like I’ve got a clear head space and can think straight.

Treating yourself doesn’t have to cost money if that’s an issue. Make yourself a cup of tea, read a book, join a book club or start your own, run a bubble bath, go for a walk, eat your favourite chocolate, paint your nails, do yoga, have some quiet time, try out a face mask, stick a film on or a box set that you’ve been meaning to watch. Whatever it is that you need to do to feel human again or whatever it is that you just fancy treating yourself to – then do it!

I’d love to know, what are some ways that you treat yo self?

Wedding planning on a budget

As some of you may already know, we are getting married in 2020! I was so happy when my partner proposed to me a few years ago, we had an engagement party and a few weeks after that was when I found out I was pregnant with Kory so the wedding planning got put on hold. Fast forward to now and we’ve officially set a date! We’ve paid the deposit on the venue, we’ve booked a photographer, paid for all the flowers, booked a venue dresser, bought all of the wedding stationery, (invites, rsvps, save the dates, guest book, thank you cards and place name cards) booked registrar and decided on where we’re going on our honeymoon – well, familymoon!

A few people have told me that we’ve got a lot done and that we’re very organised but I still feel like we’ve got so much to do and it’s stressful! And very expensive…

Here is a list of everything included in our wedding planning, some that we’ve done and some that we’re still yet to get done.

  • Decide on a budget (X)
  • Draft your guest list
  • Decide on the ceremony time (X)
  • Research and visit venues (X)
  • Start scrapbooking ideas (X)
  • Start dress shopping
  • Book ceremony and reception venues (X)
  • Book officiant/registrar (X)
  • Decide on your wedding party (X)
  • Hold an engagement party (X)
  • Meet caterers and decide on menu
  • Book entertainment
  • Book photographer (X)
  • Research guest accommodation (X)
  • Send save the date cards
  • Plan honeymoon (X)
  • Shop for wedding party’s outfits
  • Book a florist (X)
  • Arrange transport
  • Write and send invitations
  • Order the cake
  • Book hair/make-up appointments
  • Plan the order of service and the days time-line (X)
  • Make/order favours
  • Buy wedding rings
  • Organise stag/hen parties
  • Final dress fitting
  • Check in with all suppliers and confirm details
  • Organise gifts for wedding party
  • Get marriage license
  • Send final guest list to caterers/venue
  • Delegate wedding day tasks
  • Pick up dress
  • Confirm arrival times with all vendors
  • Book spa treatments
  • Break in your shoes

I think that’s everything. At least I hope so anyway!

The truth is, we’re not made of money and we can’t afford an over the top extravagant wedding even if we wanted one, which if I’m honest, we don’t. We both agreed that we wanted something low key and I’m more than happy with that. All that matters to me is that I get to marry the love of my life, the person who is the father to my child and my best friend.

So I’m going to share with you some ideas of my own on how you can cut the cost down for your own wedding. Here goes:

  • Decide on a budget: It sounds simple but it’s important that you agree on a realistic budget with your partner and then start planning from there so you know how much you can spend and what sort of wedding to plan.
  • Call in favours: Do you know someone who makes cakes? Someone who drives a nice car? Don’t be afraid to ask them if they wouldn’t mind making you a cake instead of buying you a gift, ask your friend with the nice car if they wouldn’t mind driving you to the church. Tell them it’s okay if they don’t want to. My auntie makes dance costumes and has said she will do all of my alterations for me on my dress and my bridesmaids dresses so that has saved us lots of money.
  • Cake: If you don’t know anyone who can make your wedding cake for you as a favour, you can still save money by buying one. I don’t mean from a professional cake maker because they can cost hundreds of pounds but supermarkets such as Asda and Tesco sell their own ready made 3 tier wedding cakes, they’re usually fruit cake, serve around 60 and don’t cost much at all! You could even spend a little more if you wanted to and head to somewhere like Marks and Spencer’s or Waitrose who sell ready made tiers. The small tiers start from £10 and go up in price with each bigger tier. You can choose from fruit cake, traditional sponge or chocolate and just put it together yourself. For example, a three tier cake from M&S would cost £60, it has beautiful lightly flowered detail on each tier and would feed up to 80 weddings guests.
  • Wedding stationery: Wedding stationery includes invites (day time and evening), rsvps, save the dates, a guest book, thank you cards and place name cards. To pay a company to make your wedding stationery for you can be quite expensive as they can charge more than £1 per invite and if you’ve got 100 guests then you do the math… You could have a go at making your own if you’re crafty but I purchased all of mine from Card factory, I think they’re lovely and they fit the colour scheme of our wedding perfectly and saved us a fortune. The day time invites cost £3.99 for a pack of 20 invitations. The evening invites cost £1.99 for a pack of 10 invitations. Thank you cards cost £1.99 for a pack of 10. Our guest book and pen cost £3.99 and came together as a set. The rsvps cost £1.49 for a pack of 20. Save the date cards cost just 99p for a pack of 20 and place name cards cost just 99p for a pack of 20 too! I even bought a pack of 12 matching table numbers for 99p as well!
  • Research and visit venues: Have a look around online and see what venues fit your agreed budget and look at the packages they have to offer you. A lot of places will give you discounts if you have a winter wedding or a wedding on a weekday. Wedding packages usually come in bronze, silver or gold. Bronze being the least amount of cost and gold being the most expensive. We wanted a venue that is beautiful yet affordable and we found that with Mercure Georgian House Hotel. We opted for their silver wedding package, we felt that it was best suited to what we wanted and we saved a great deal of money by choosing one of the packages as so much is included in them, it saved us a lot of money and a lot of stress too because it took away a lot of the things that we still had to arrange.
  • Start scrapbooking ideas. Making note of things that you’d like at your wedding and noting down the cost of them is a great way to start planning but it’s also a good way for you to eliminate things that maybe aren’t essential and that you can’t afford or have a look at ways of making them more affordable.
  • Decide on your wedding party. Keeping the numbers down in your wedding party (groomsmen, bridesmaids, flowers girls, ect) means keeping costs down. If you have 8 bridesmaids they each need a dress, shoes and their hair and make up doing which if you’re paying for those things then is not going to be cheap! I have decided I am having a maid of honour which will be my sister and 1 bridesmaid which is my best friend. I’m also having Kory walk me down the aisle. My partner is having 1 best man, 2 groomsmen and my nephew as a page boy.
  • Bridesmaid dresses: Speaking of bridesmaids dresses. I knew in my mind what style and colour dress I wanted my bridesmaids to wear, I searched high and low online and in stores but I just couldn’t find what I was looking for and I also didn’t want to pay an extortionate amount of money for them. A few people recommended Crystaldresses * to me, they are a seller on eBay and although they ship from China (I was a little apprehensive at first when I heard that too) I have heard so many positive things about them and they have a very good seller rating on eBay too. The quality of the dresses and the material used to make them is meant to be really good and the price of them also. The dresses that I want cost just £28.99 plus £8 shipping for both and what’s great about Crystaldresses is that if you’re unhappy with the standard of the dress or the sizing then you can return them for a full refund. So I’m going to give it a go because what have I got to lose? If the dresses are as gorgeous as they look on the pictures and the positive reviews that I’ve read already are to be true then I’ll be very happy. As I said earlier my auntie has already agreed to do any alterations for me and I’ll have 2 beautiful bridesmaids.
  • Photographer: Photographers can be expensive but the best thing to do is to have a look at your budget and see what you can afford. Some photographers are cheaper than others, if you book a photographer for less time then that will save you money and if you book early in advance some photographers even offer discounts so try securing one as soon as you can.
  • Make your own favours: favours don’t have to cost a fortune, if you look online there are tons of DIY favours ideas that don’t cost much at all. Or just don’t have favours at all, that’s always an option too.
  • Flowers. Wedding flowers don’t have to be expensive. Artificial flowers are a lot cheaper than real and you could even have a go at putting your own flowers together. Home Bargains have some lovely flowers that are already bunched and they only cost a couple of quid. Might be worth just bunching a few of those together, the end result may surprise you…
  • Venue dresser: Having a venue dresser (someone to decorate the venue for you) is not essential but for us, it took a lot of the stress away of having to buy decorations and then figuring out what to do with them and where to put them after the wedding. Also Something Else Events had an amazing offer on that we just couldn’t pass up. Their pearl plus package cost just £350 and it included up to 10 table centre pieces of our choice, 10 mirrored plates, 2 rose light up bay trees, starlight back drop, starlight top table skirt, starlight cake table skirt, 4ft LED love letters, post box for cards, sweet card filled with sweets for up to 100 guests, 100 chair covers, 100 chair sashes and 10 table runners! Amazing!!
  • Honeymoon: It’s hard enough planning your wedding without having to plan a honeymoon as well. We are so lucky that my uncle lives in Canada and he has offered for me, my partner and Kory to go and stay with him. So accommodation isn’t costing us anything and all we will have to pay for is our flights and our spends whilst there. My advice to you would be to book your honeymoon destination when it’s off season. You’ll notice a drastic drop in price and it won’t be as busy. Depending on where you decide to go, off season doesn’t necessarily mean bad weather. When you’re asking about a rate or making a reservation, don’t be shy to let them know that it’s your honeymoon. At the very least you may get a bottle of champagne on the house, a better table or even a room upgrade. If you’re simply not in a position to afford the honeymoon of your dreams right now, book a mini moon now and save for your honeymoon for your first wedding anniversary.

So, there all my own ideas on how you can plan a wedding when you’re on a budget. As you can see, we’ve still a lot of planning left to do ourselves! I hope you found my tips to be helpful. If you did, please let me know what was most helpful to you.

* Items marked with a * are part of a collaboration. These are all my own ideas and all views and opinions are my own. *