Tag Archives: family life

My new busy life diary

For Christmas from my brother I asked for a new diary, for the last few years I have had a diary that I have used to plan my life.

I write down everything in it, work shifts , appointments, meetings with friends, nights out, days out, birthdays. Everything!
My life is contained in that one little book.

So when Tom asked me what I wanted for Christmas I said a diary. He complained saying that he couldn’t get me just a diary for Christmas but I explained how my diary holds my life in it and it had to be a specific one, with space for everything that I could think of.
So being the very helpful sister I am, and to make sure it was right I sent him the URL to it on Amazon so he could buy it.

Here it is!


Well I got my new busy family diary and I have to say I love it.
It has the usual personal info and useful numbers pages but also has very useful pages like one to write everyone’s birthdays on, this will be a lifesaver as I have at least 50 people who I need to get birthday cards for throughout the year as we have quite a large family.


Each week has a double page, with space for me to write all my notes, appointments etc on one side, and a page with columns on the other, these I can divvy up as I’d like, I will have one for all C’s appointments, baby ballet classes as well as when she will be visiting people.
I also plan on using one column as a food diary to help me get back on to Slimming world and stick to the plan by writing what i’ve eaten each day.


Each month also has a page with reminders and a pocket for notes etc


I look forward to filling this one up with notes and memories to look back on like I have my last few.

If you’re anything like me and feel as if you have a thousand things to do each day and worry about keeping on top of everything, then I suggest you invest in a family diary and keep everything in one place.

*Guest Post* Katie from Mami2Five – How a Decade Can Change the Shape of Family Life.

How a Decade Can Change the Shape of Family Life

 Hi, I’m Katie and I am so happy to be here with this guest blog while Ellie has a lovely break on her holiday. You can normally find me over at my blog, Mami2Five.com.

 It took me a little while to figure out what I wanted to write this post about. After all, my family’s circumstances are so different to Ellie’s. In the end I realised I should embrace these differences and this post was born.

Ellie, her boyfriend and baby C live with Ellie’s parents. They need to live with family so they can raise the money to put down a deposit on a house. Sadly, this isn’t an unusual state of affairs. Rising living costs and astronomical house prices mean that owning a home is a luxury often denied to many.  For a lot of parents also, one or two children is the maximum they will ever be able to afford, even if their hearts desire a whole football team. High mortgage payments, plus childcare costs can be crippling for those with one child, let alone two or more.

With hindsight I realise we were lucky to start our family when we did. We live in an area with lower house prices than most now, but back in 1999 we turned down even viewing a house up for £25,000 as it was too expensive! That’s pocket change nowadays! We got married in 2000, on my 18 th birthday, and within 12 days I was pregnant. With twins!  Back then you had 6 weeks, yes WEEKS, maternity leave. But it didn’t matter, once they were born, there was no way I could leave my babies. Even if I had wanted to return to work it wouldn’t have been feasible, our childcare costs would have been more than triple what I earned at the time!

Many people wonder at how we could afford to have so many children, but honestly? When they are little they cost pennies to keep (okay,that might be a teeny tiny underestimation there but you catch my drift). They eat miniature portions of food, clothes don’t need to be designer, or even brand new. Getting a black bag of hand-me-down toys and clothing can be as exciting as Christmas morning to a child, and their mother! As long as they are loved and get to have lot’s of fun they don’t really care.

Now my children are older they do cost more to keep. My eldest daughters are taller than me, they eat adult portions of food and wear women’s size 6 clothing. Their feet are bigger than mine so shoes cost more (I can actually still buy kids shoes!). But the fact that our income has gone up but our outgoing household bills haven’t changed too much means that we are doing okay. At least, with three girls, until the weddings start rolling in!

But lets pretend things had been different. Pretend I had stayed on to do my A-levels instead of going for a job interview the afternoon I got my GCSE results and started working the following week. Pretend I had gone to university, like my father wanted, and went on to get a really good job. Pretend I didn’t meet Lee until we were much older and I was in my late twenties or early thirties before we married and decided to have kids.

If all those things had happened?

There’s no way we’d be able to afford the children we have.  For starters, if we bought our house now it would cost us four times more than it cost us 15 years ago, if we’d bought it five or six years ago it would have been five times more.  Right now, we would probably be in a rented house or both working to pay our mortgage payment each month.

Let’s pretend we still had the twins first. That’s instantly double the childcare costs. In reality we went on to have another baby just after they turned two. Three children in childcare? I really can’t see how anyone could afford that! In this pretend family of ours this would either mean that my eldest daughters would be our only children, or we would have waited quite a few years until they were in school to possibly have only one more. I find it really hard to think that had our lives together been postponed by just a decade we probably would never have had all of our children. How different would this family photo be?

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What about you? Has your life turned out differently than you expected, purely because of house prices and childcare costs?








Venture photography studio Warrington

On Friday the 27th September, Baby C and I attended the Baby and Toddler show in event city, Manchester. As I have previously mentioned on my blog.

While there I filled in a questionnaire at the Venture Photography stand, as I did at a few others and they also took some pictures of Baby C to put on their facebook page.

Here is the picture that they selected. I personally dont think it looks like her. Image

I few days later I get a telephone call telling me that I had won a voucher for a family photoshoot with them at their Warrington studio. The voucher was worth £245 and included the shoot and £95 to spend on a picture.

They were lovely and over the following weeks, via phone and email, we arranged a time to go and we booked in to go in last Wednesday to have the pictures taken.The day before I was contacted by the photographer who talked through the shoot and we discussed what we wanted from the shoot.

On Wednesday the 6th November Me, Dan and Baby C all went to the studio in Warrington. When we arrived and were offered refreshments, they asked us to take seats in the waiting area and we were shown books to get ideas. The waiting area is a lovely and calm area with lots of pictures on the walls to show examples of their work and a small play area ( which Baby C loved, although you wouldn’t think she was only 8 months old in this picture)

venture 1 venture 2 venture 3venture 4 venture c

The photographer, Chris, came and introduced himself  and talked through what we wanted from the shoot before taking us up to the studio.  Chris was really nice, he went through the props we had brought and lead us through the shoot while allowing us to be natural. We changed Baby C into a couple of different outfits and changed the lighting as well.

The shoot didn’t take too long about 45 minutes in total, and then we arranged a time to go and view the pictures once Chris had been able to go through, edit them and sorted out a video for us to view.

We were given a booklet after the photoshoot that showed us what we could buy and the prices, to look through before we returned to view the pictures. I was very surprised by the cost, a single 7×5 picture was £95, and that was the starting price.

Here are pictures of the price guide we were given.

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We went this afternoon to view the show with all our pictures on, and sit and go through all the images to select which ones we loved.  When we arrived Claire met us and took us in to see our show. I went in thinking that we would just get the free picture and that would be it, but there were so many lovely pictures of all of us together, Baby C on her own or with just one of us. I knew there was no way that I could let so many good pictures simply be deleted, but we don’t have the space for the physical pictures to put them up. So we looked at the digital options, there was a digital photo frame of all the images from our show or USB stick with 15 images and the video of the show.

When we talked it through and Claire told us prices and the options we decided to go for the USB as it was only £350 after discounts.Now I know saying ONLY £350 sounds brash and off hand but its not, its a HUGE investment for us, especially since we have a new car to pay for, and I have been made redundant from one job. But thats exactly what it is, its an investment. We will use the pictures when we move into our own home, we will have the memories and the pictures, and we will be able to print and share the pictures with friends and family.

I know it is a great expense and I wouldn’t have booked to go if we hadn’t won the voucher. Not because I didn’t want the pictures but because we couldnt have afforded it so wouldn’t have tempted ourselves. We discussed what the best value for money was to us and the USB was it.

I will share some of the pictures when we get the USB and I hope you will agree with me then that it was worth it. I would recommend Venture Photography Warrington to anyone who is looking to get a natural photography experience which is fun and relaxed, If a little pricy.