But let's get on to the good stuff.
Well, the above photo probably makes no sense, but what a story it lends to.
We arrived back at Manchester Airport on Sunday 7th September. My parents met us at our terminal and it was a lovely little reunion - particularly as they had missed William so much. We chatted away in the car - and everything seemed normal to me - but, looking back, they made a few slip-ups!
We pulled up outside my house and my mum remarked that she'd opened my windows for some fresh air. My mum does things like this and had been house-sitting, so I didn't think anything of it.
She rushed to open the front door for me. And I followed her in with some bags, and William, while Mark and my dad unloaded the suitcases from the car.
My mum looked a bit twitchy and then I saw my grandparents appear from the kitchen into our hallway. It was then I noticed the smell. Fresh paint.
And I burst into tears.
While we were away, my parents, grandparents and auntie, Julie, had finished stripping the last bit of horrible wallpaper, filled in any gaps and popped lining paper up where needed, sanded the woodwork, painted it, painted the walls and the ceiling and also sanded and painted the fireplace mantle.
And I could barely control the love and utter shock I felt.
It was the loveliest gift to receive and the most wonderful scene to come home to. But it was more than that. I am very clear that I manage as a single mother. And I do. I'm not 'single' as such, but I run the house and all of the finances alone. And that's hard. I'll be frank. I haven't got someone there to help hang up the washing or check if a bill has been paid. And I don't moan about it because I have a huge amount of support and I'm very happy.
But to have my family, come in, once again, like the Elves and the Shoemaker, and give me a gift of hard work and time, which aren't things you can freely give to someone, well I was beyond touched. My Auntie Ju is a single parent too, and she knows how hard it can be, so for her to give her time too was especially touching.
My living room was transformed. Clean and bright and it was everything I could see in my head and more.
We chose Healthcliff's Castle from Crown Paints for the walls. It's a gorgeous shade of white. People often look at white as predictable or boring, but I think it has a huge power to completely transform a room. This shade has a yellowy, almost grey tone to it and I love how bright it is without being stark. It part of Crown's 2014 trend 'Appreciation' so I like how it's a shade that's on-trend because it makes me feel on-trend too.
I also found the Crown MyRoomPainter app to be so useful when deciding what colour to choose, because I was at that stage where I had lots of swatches and couldn't make my mind up. I've absolutely loved working with Crown Paints for my living room makeover, it's no secret it's my paint brand of choice and they have been so unbelievably helpful.
Since the family makeover, Mark and I have been busy ourselves...
I'm so glad to see that old carpet gone. I am grateful to have a roof over our heads and the ability to do it up, but it was a great feeling choosing our new carpet. I know that Bill has a guaranteed clean place to play and he can roll around on the floor as much as he likes and I won't mind because this carpet is brand new. We choose a polypropylene carpet, over a wool one, as polypropylene is easier to clean and even bleach can be used if needed, which is great.
We went with a specific list in mind, mainly a KALLAX unit and boxes, along with a television unit, which I'll share snaps of once they are built.
As with any IKEA trip though, we ended up buying some other bits too! Oops!
It really is coming together now. I'm so proud of what we've all done together. I've fought really hard to be able to afford this house on my own, and I can tell you now - it's not easy managing a family home alone - not just the bills but the chores, the housework, the maintenance and the inevitable DIY work that comes along with buying a doer-upper.
But it's really starting to feel like home.