It was worth it…

I’ve put this blog post off for a good week, simply because, I knew I had to write it, I just didn’t know what to say, I still don’t.

Moving to Manor Farm has been one of the most life changing periods of our lives as The Reaneys, and we will always be so very grateful to Mary for her pure heart and kindness. Taking in a family of 5 whom she barely knew and accepted us into her home for potentially 1-2 years, was just mind blowing.

When we decided to begin our dream home journey. We were so incredibly focused on changing everything in our lives that was bringing us way down. One of the biggest ones being Mikes job. Coming out of the army, the easiest thing to slide straight into was lorry driving. He had most of his licenses and used his resettlement to gain what he needed to take him into a secure driving job. Taking a night shift position seemed the ideal set up for our busy lives, I then worked part time at the salon, the children were at school and we just decided, him finishing work at 10/11am would enable me to work and he could pick the children up from school, and be with them until I got home from work at 5. Well, how wrong were we. For 2 years our lives faded into one big argument over this. We grew apart simply because of our schedules and everything just drowned us completely. We never saw each other. I was so miserable at the fact he’d left the army yet I saw him more in those days. I was stuck at home with the children while he went to bed at 4 for his shift to begin at 1am and we had to be so quiet each night. His days off weren’t his, he was far too tired to function which I got so cross at. We had no money yet we worked our backsides off. We decided we wanted to buy a house, on top of everything we thought that would help us, somehow.

But, was any of this either of our fault? No. It absolutely wasn’t. Any situation you’re in, in whatever stage of your life at any given point, something will happen where you have to make a choice. Make something happen, change something or just decide what the fuck you’re going to do. And, we did. We decided driving for Morrison’s, at that given time that, that was the best for us, for what we needed to happen. Just like that time you decide that last glass of wine wouldn’t hurt….yeh we’ve all been there, Havnt we?!

When we decided to move to Manor Farm, after an enormous amount of mulling it over. Talks with family, the children, each other, Mary, and trying to figure out how it would work. We made that decision at that time, because it WAS best.

After moving in, Mike managed to quit his job (told them where to ram it more like) without having another job lined up. Because we were here, we were financially safe. And he got another job pretty dang quick, still lorry driving, for a company easily accessible and local, working 4 on 4 off, enabling us to pay of SO much debt and clear SO much worry and angst about our finances. To even be able to do that, my god, it’s just so amazing! And all because of Mary!

But now, we have had a new decision to make. A few bumps in the road have led us to the need to make it. And the opportunity was put to us which made it a lot easier. So, after an incredible 6 months at Manor Farm, debt free and financially stable, we are moving back, back home, back into a rented home, back where our lives are.

Knowing what’s coming up in our near future, including school changes, we could not sacrifice them to new schools because of dream home journey, the worry and guilt of that weighed so so heavy, my work has grown so much, my column at the salon is just amazing, taking on full time hours and being the only full time hair stylist there soon as we lose an amazing team member to become a new mummy, I need to be head strong for my girls at work and they need to rely on me. Which I feel they can’t yet, as I’m under it so much here!

We decided to just take a look at houses available and found one within our budget in a location we desired for a long time and it’s just perfectly situated for our every day life! OK it’s not ours, OK we didn’t save as much as we wanted, but my god we have recovered from such a dark place, we are so happy with life. And we’re so very grateful.

Thank you Mary. We love you.

The Reaneys

I Did It!!

I bought this jar from Sainsburys the week we decided to go for this and told myself then that I would put all of our cash above £1 in it, and I did just that, and then we convinced our selfs we needed it and we would dig in and we would spend it again. And so that went on for a very long while….

It’s payday tomorrow. Which means it been 1 entire month since I started saving every bit of cash that came into my possession. This may not seem like much to some, but to me, the fact that I promised myself and the family that I would do this and I actually did makes me so damn proud of myself! I’m that one who goes on a diet “for real this time”, I create a workout plan for my busy schedule and do one day, making plans and sticking to them isn’t really me, well, I am a Gemini! This is genuinely me breaking my bad habit and proving to myself more than anyone else that I am bloody dedicated and determined to reach our goal. So I saved every bit of cash for an entire month and tomorrow I bank it! All £214 of it. This is obviously, just the cash I have saved. I do save wages as well! One day I might tell you all how much but for now, I’ll keep that private…

I. Am. Thrilled.

You know that they know that you know they have no idea, you know?

You know, those moments, when you just have to look at them for a second and it hurts so much you feel breathless and literally so engrossed in the feeling of love that you’re sure you never want that pain to go away.

Lately, these guys have been really great. They put up with so much. They’re genuinely the greatest.

Yes, they’re testing, yes they’re disruptive sometimes, they argue, they try my patience, they hate me sometimes and all I feel I do is tell them off. With living at Manor Farm and Mary being so delicate I really try hard to have us all on our best behaviour most of the time. But yeh, sometimes we scream shout kick and cry. We’re a busy family of 5 and now and again, we make noise. And you know, most of the time, Mary has no idea it’s happened! Which is a massive relief and tells me, we can relax a bit into life at Manor Farm and just be us more. Not be the us I feel we have to be.

The amount these guys tolerate in our ridiculously hectic routine astounds me every day. I’m stressed quite a lot of the time, and I feel like I don’t show them just how much I appreciate them. They have no idea that I know that they don’t know, just how much, I love them.

The older they get, the easier they become to look after. I’m not saying this in a way I didn’t enjoy them being completely dependent on us, I loved it, but, when they’re happy to play by them self’s, go outside and play without me feeling the need to watch them every minute (they’re in a walled courtyard it’s completely safe) they want to watch YouTube or play twister and more often than not, they don’t need us as much! I feel all I’m needed for is food baths, bedtimes and lots of love and hugs, we hug, a lot! Seeing them grow, and develop into their own little selfs, I’m completely captivated and I can not believe, they are mine.

They will never know, ever.

Love, The Reaneys

Slow & Steady

Holy shit, saving is hard work huh?!

So, before we lived here, I won’t lie, I adored shopping, and yeh guess what, I still do. Only now I can’t spend it! I don’t NEED those shorts, I just want them, I don’t NEED that lipstick I just want it….see where I’m going with this?

I also don’t need to buy lunch every day, I don’t need to spend £5 at the bakery that is RIGHT ACROSS FROM THE SALON where I work….but sometimes, I do.

So on the 16th of June, also my pay day, I decided I was going to cut it out for good and stop spending the £5 note in my purse or the £3 tip I got from the 3 hour colour I did on my client…jokes guys I love you all.

So, I have saved every pound coin, and note I have laid my hands on and it’s come home and in the jar it goes. And you know what? I feel pretty damn good about where it’s leading us!

We are a very long way off where we need to be, very long. And sometimes I just want to scream and give up and admit I’m not cut out for this at all. But, those days when I can cope with life (mostly when I’m not ovulating or on my period) I feel positive and think, yeh ok life at Manor Farm is SO hard a lot of the time. The constant stress, the working 36 hours a week, the being a single parent 4 days out of 8, the constant worry about Mary, is she ok, healthy, are we looking after her ok, is she happy? Does she hate us, and regret hugely letting us into her home, do we get in her way, on her nerves. Managing Manor Barn, laundry food shopping cleaning generally keeping my children clean fed and alive…Jesus honestly I can’t lie, I’m pretty incredible huh?! No seriously, as stressful as life at Manor Farm has turned out to be, I count us extremely lucky to be here, with Mary. Saving for our dream home. As slow as this journey is, we’re happy with slow & steady and enjoying every mile.

Love, The Reaneys

I needed that!

So, our life is pretty hectic. Time out doesn’t exist. But, I think it does, most of the time. We go to school we work we spend so much time out of the house, we go home, we eat dinner and we go to bed. Well, the children do, I kick them into bed sometimes at my first opportunity, just so I can try and have an hour or two to myself, which ends up going a bit more like this….

Come on guys bedtime, get your teeth brushed, I’m far too tired to bath you right now so let’s just wet wipe those sodding golden mile spots off your arm, again!

Please put your pyjamas on, get into bed! No Ben you’ve had dinner, pudding, and a snack, AND a glass of milk you are not having anything else, now stop moaning. Oliver, don’t leave your glasses on the floor. Isabel get off your phone and do some reading. Boys you may chose a book to read in bed. I love you so much! Well done, yep you can read to each other then you MUST go to sleep, k? K love you night night. And I ignore anymore requests or excuses as to why they couldn’t possibly go to sleep just like I’d asked….pretending there is pure quiet and tranquility floating around the room and I actually just nailed bedtime.

And I slide down the stairs all jelly legs and starving hungry (cause I’m on a bastard diet) and hope that’s the last time I see or hear my beautiful little nightmares until morning.

I may just about have time to make it to the sofa and I sit down just in time to look relaxed and myself and I hear it, you know, the undeniably irritating reoccurring sound, footsteps.

So this goes on and on for maybe an hour or so, it is hot and light outside after all so I totally get why they think I’m forcing them to bed at 4pm….. BUT, it is also Love Island season. And most nights I just about get them to shut the F up in time for it to begin. That, then, is my time. An hour in the evening watching reality TV pretending I’m in complete control and I’ve nailed another day of parenting. Feeling completely accomplished and rested at the end of it.

So, sometimes, I get invited out, and usually I make some excuse as to why I couldn’t possibly go, when really I’m thinking about how much of a twat I am for declining because I never do anything for myself or go anywhere without my brood, and I wish so bad I had some cool place to be other than Tesco or work. So off I went to dinner at a friends house, with my sister and wowsers I needed it. I mean, the food was incredible and the chat was just what I needed and we did watch BOTH Magic Mike films, and we had a popcorn fight because really, we’re children, and I absolutely smashed 2 Maltese tricks, I mean, perfect huh?!

But, sometimes, I feel like this house we want so badly is just impossible. We are trying so hard to stay focused and stop spending and save as much as we can but, unhappiness causes us to lose focus and ‘treat ourselves’. Is that going to help? NO!

Now this house we went to is EVERYTHING I want someday. It reminded me, why we’re doing this and how lucky we are to be able to. We are actually SO lucky! And one day, we will have it. We will.

So, I really needed that.

Love, the Reaney’s

One of those days

You know, one of THOSE days.

So, it’s yet again been a very long time. I don’t often write blogs anymore simply because, well, nobody reads them!

I won’t bore you all caching you up since the last one, my Instagram does that if you want to check that out @lifewithlaurenemma

We were doing SO well, Mary was well, Mike was well, the kids were amazing, and I felt great. I’m yo-yo dieting (standard) and decided it was the week to be on it. I went to my Cambridge consultant, who by the way is amazing, and the diet really does work! When you’re on it. *slaps hand* then, Mary goes back into hospital. Yep, she’s in there now. She’s fine! But she isn’t here, with us, where she belongs. I’m tired, stressed. Ya know…I do have 2 days off work Monday & Tuesday which I really need. And Mike is off Monday with me! I know! Yay! And I just caved. Food. Drink. Snacks.

Today is Father’s Day. Which always brings hugely mixed emotions. My wonderful Mike is amazing. Yes he’s a lazy shit sometimes and he drives me batshit crazy, but my god he’s good at being a Daddy and the perfect kinda man for me. Then, I want to wish my Daddy a happy Father’s Day, but I can’t. It hurts like hell to say that, the truth really does hurt sometimes.

So, we got sorted and dressed and over to my dads grave this afternoon to lay flowers and just sit with him for a while. Which he would call me silly for doing. He’s not there I know he’s not, he’s with me wherever I go. But, still. So, we lay flowers, we sit, we all cry (apart from Mike, tough guy) and we all clamber back into the car and decide to cheer ourselves up with a takeaway tonight as it’s dads day and I’m a greedy bitch who ain’t cooking cause you know, I’m upset. Then the arguments come over what to get! So what do we do, hit Tesco, deciding we all want different I bloody well give in and we all are having something different. Don’t you just love that about families, meals are never the same and nobody ever agrees so you just cook whatever the hell will shut them up? No seriously, I’m totes happy with my takeaway Desperados Mexican Chilli nachos….

So, yeh, saving for a house, and we spent £43 on tea. But it was good. Sometimes you just have to do what makes you happy.

Love, the Reaney’s

Oh, my god, 5 weeks?!

Holy hell, I Havnt written a blog post for 5 weeks? What?

So, I Havnt really written anything, or informed you all in any way, about how we’re all doing and settling at Manor Farm! Not. Good.

Well, we’re bloody fantastic. Really bloody fantastic. You know, we are all aware that we live in someone else’s house. With someone else. Who has had a very long time living on her own. But, it really is. Like living with family. We take time to spend with her and talk, and make sure she is ok and happy with what is going on. We eat dinner together every night. We share everything. We both food shop for our own comforts and particular bits we like, but, I just cook for her assuming she will eat with us as I would one of the children, or me!

We’re currently in week 2 of the Easter break, and Mike is away with work (which by the way is going really really well!) and today, Mary babysat the children while I worked! And everyone behaved and she wasn’t sat in the corner by her booze cupboard sipping whisky straight out the bottle whispering “never again, never again” with a Cat in the Hat style mess in the house when I got home. Success!

Last week we used our National Trust membership for the first time and went on a very wet Easter hunt and Harry Potter film spotting walk around Lacock Abbey. And we had such a lovely day! We also took Mary out for an escape to Clark’s Shoe Museum and Costa for a coffee and cake. I think she loved getting out the house!

So basically. Everyone is wonderful. I look forward to getting home so much. And I’m actually sleeping! Almost all night. Which is a total novelty. The children are incredibly happy. Me and Mike couldn’t be better. And Mary, well, she’s just perfect.

The Reaneys


A little while ago, I told you I would open up a little more about our lives outside Dream Home Journey.

Today, is that day.

Our Emily. My girl. Today is your 4th birthday. Today I hurt all over, even more than every other day I live on without you.

Your perfect presence in my life will forever fill me with a love and experience a mother never should. But that will always, have that place in my broken heart that nobody can ever touch.

4 years ago, on this day, I nearly died. I failed you in a way a mother never expects to. My waters broke, undetected, and I grew more and more poorly as the days went by.

At just over 23 weeks I was rushed to hospital already knowing my beautiful girl had grown her wings. Entering the hospital surprised I was still conscious let alone alive I was begging this beautiful soul, this wonderful lady, who took me into her embrace and told me everything will be fine, I will be fine, to please, help me.

At 12pm I was given my first of 3 doses in a 6 hour stretch to induce me. Mike was stuck in a tent in Afghanistan, unable to get on a flight home in time to see our Emily delivered. 7 hours 45 minutes later, she was born. Weighing 310g and absolutely perfect in every way, I held her for a short 10 minutes before being taken to theatre.

The next few days were a hideous blur. And Mike didn’t make it home for another 3 days. Now we are the parents of our angel Emily. A girl we made with love, and lost with love. Thank you for being ours.

Our Emily. Our girl. Our angel.

Happy birthday.

Mummy, Daddy, Isabel, Oliver & Benjamin x


Yesterday was End of Tenancy day. Or so we thought. Let me fill you in.

We met the landlord at the house at 4pm. The children were doing their usual “I’m trying desperately to behave but I’ve just been freed from school after 6 hours of hell and I just have these random burst of energy and noise that I just have to let out in this weird Turrets style, mostly at the times you’re going to be trying to talk to this weird boring mean man Mummy that ok with you? No, soz, deal with it”.

So, we had the keys ready, the place looking spotless. The garden had been done, the windows had been cleaned, the carpet had been cleaned, I ran the hoover round just one more time.

In walks the landlord, nice enough moment, ish, and onwards with the “inspection” I knew Mike was best talking to him, I guess he’s just a mans man, you know?!!?

So we havnt pulled a small wire track off the wall, and mike was dealing with that immediately. Landlord checks the garden, “well I wouldn’t give you an A for gardening but there we go” erm, dude, it’s winter?! The grass is shit, it has been mowed at least, in winter, the entire garden is weed, it’s condemned basically, you ain’t never getting no show home shit out of that nightmare! So get over that k?

So on and on it goes. And he finally says bar 2 keys we’ve lost, it’s all down to general wear and tear. Truly expecting a huge gardening bill and him genuinely thinking that’s ok, it’s all wear and tear! Thank “@@£ for THAT!!!

But, we have to paint a small patch of paint that ripped off in Mikes panic to sort the strip, so, we’re still in possession of number 12 until Monday! But despite that, we had a huge weight off us last night. And enjoyed a lovely glass of booze with Mary in celebration, because, not only did we (kinda) hand the house back yesterday, Mike FINISHED HIS JOB AT MORRISONS!!!!!!!

That’s right! 2 years of absolute shit, all being explained in a previous Blog, he has a new job!! Still driving. But my god it’s SUCH a relief to see him happier. And he starts on Tuesday!

Everything is just coming together perfectly.

The Reaneys

Well that’s it then

Tomorrow is the day.

This is house number 6 for us, Manor Farm is number 7. 4 of those moves have been what are called “March in/outs” of our military quarters which are rather strict. This move I feel will be the hardest “civvy” end of tenancy. As lovely as our landlord is (as lovely as landlords can be) I have a feeling this will be quite a white glove situation. We have worked our sodding backsides off this month sorting everything and to be honest I’m shattered. With both of us still working full time, day shift and night shift hours, splitting this entire nightmare has been really sodding hard work. Tonight is the first night this week I Havnt spent at the house with the children cold tired and hungry while I work tirelessly to clean paint sweep, for mike to do the garage, sort the garden, do the tip runs. All after both of us working a full day!

It’s been really quite horribly tough and we can not wait to see the back of that place, or it see the back of us as we drive away towards a chuffing great glass of bubbly!

That is, if we get our deposit back! Yes there’s wear and tear, yes we’ve lost a couple of keys, but apart from that we genuinely have done our very best to get this place in shape. Not that it was horrid but we’re respectful tenants! This part of moving is THE most stressful, can we agree? I can’t believe (hopefully) this will be our last rented accommodation! Next house, we will OWN!

The Reaneys