Today is a big birthday for my wife (21, obviously) and through the powers of the internet I thought it would be nice to share how much on this special day and always (maybe not always, always – depends if we’re having “a discussion”). I wanted to tell her how much I love and appreciate her and the things she does for our family and in true DIY. Dad Stuff. Design. style, I’ve made a list.

1. Sarcasm, Humour and Honesty:
Probably strange that I put honesty with the other two but Kiri, your sarcasm and humour come out of your honesty, being true to yourself and expecting honesty from others. I always know where I stand (and where to stand).

2. Kindness, Loyalty and Discernment:
Three big ticks for me and our marriage. You protect and stand up for your opinions and the safety of those you care about. I could not ask for a better protector of our boys. They are the priority, their well being and growth (especially Judah’s at the moment) is so top of your agenda I couldn’t ask for anything more (I probably could – but I’m not sure I could).

3. Home Maker, Co-Dreamer, Decision Sign-off-er-er:
Thank you for your commitment to the boring things… chief budgeteer and meal planner, if it was left to me it might be ‘steamer chicken’ or ‘gammon steak surprise’ (oh the fun of the first meals I cooked for you when you visited me at uni, luckily I have progressed since then). Thank you for the long nights of talking and dreaming for the future – future projects, aspirations, goals and ideals – I couldn’t ask for a better co-dreamer to sit there late into the night and discuss what we can achieve. Lastly, thank you for signing off all my crazy DIY extravaganzas that would probably be much easier to buy from a shop.

Happy Birthday my Love!




As part of the Pantry Decoration mini series – probably a bit strong to call it that. At the start of the year I had a DIY Projects list for 2017, which had on it to finish off the pantry as it had been left undecorated since it was built about 2 years ago – sorry Kiri.

The pantry has now been decorated so is one of the projects off the list, however, earlier in the year the annoying spice container came into question. With Slimming World being the way to eat in our house, spices are an essential part of the cooking process and there are many, many different spices to use. Kiri suggested an over the door spice rack, so I measured up, but the space wasn’t big enough to just buy one. So in ‘typical Luke fashion’ I declared that I could make something. This was met with great expectancy – so I guess that meant OK.

This is how it was made:

First, I measured and drew up plans for how it could store 30+ spices of varying sizes… another annoying thing, why don’t they all come in the same packaging.

I used wood and dowel to make the frame (70cm) and shelves (50cm). This would allow for 4 shelves to store spice jars of varying sizes and would give plenty of space to lift them out. The L Shaped brackets used sat on top of the door, meaning it would look like a normal door from the outside with no ‘over the door hook visible’ and the spice rack would be completely concealed. With it being a panel door I also wanted the rack to fit in line with the panels.

Once all the pieces were cut, I put them all together for a dry run – to make sure I hadn’t made any mistakes when cutting, and to get Kiri’s approval. Then it was the usual fill the holes and sand everything down for a smooth finish.

I opted to spray paint it white for a smooth matt finish so the metal brackets could also be painted for a full overall white look.



It was Easter this last weekend; Spring has come out in force. It’s the time of year when flower start to bloom and new life begins after the cold and dampness of winter. Well in the UK, we move into the dampness of Spring and Summer but that’s a side note. Easter in the Christian Calendar is probably the most important marker, I have spoken about the significance of Advent and Christmas, how there would be ‘no Easter’ without Christmas.

I discussed in an earlier post this year on Salvation; Jesus came to live on earth, He went through the same struggles of life, He gives us grace knowing that we will mess up (Hebrews 4:16). Christians celebrate at Easter, the sacrifice and power of Jesus who gave up his life for the world he created that has rebelled from his guidance and direction.

This is a great description of Jesus. It blows my mind every time I read it. It’s from ‘The Mystery of the Incarnation: A Scriptural Tapestry of Jesus as Man and God by Gregory of Nazianzus’.

He was baptised as man (Matthew 3:13), but he destroyed sins as God (Matthew 9:6). He himself was not in need of purifying rites, but [he was baptised/he came] that he might sanctify the waters.

He was tempted as man (Matthew 4:1), but he conquered as God; not only this but he even encouraged [us] to be courageous, since he had conquered the world (John 16:33).

He was hungry, but he fed thousands (John 6:10); not only this but he is indeed life-giving and heavenly bread (John 6:51).

He was thirsty (John 4:7; 19:28), but he shouted, “If anyone thirst, let him come to me and drink” (John 7:37); not only this but he also promised that those who believe would gush forth [with water] (John 7:38).

He was tired (John 4:6), but for those who are tired and heavy laden he is rest (Matthew 11:28).

He was heavy with sleep (Matthew 8:24), but he is light upon the sea; not only this but he even rebukes winds; not only this but he even makes Peter light when he is sinking (Matthew 14:25, 29; Matthew 8:26).

He pays tax, but [he does so] from a fish (Matthew 17:24-27); not only this but he is even king of those demanding [the tax].

He hears himself called a Samaritan and demon-possessed (John 8:48), but he saves the one who went down from Jerusalem and fell among robbers (Luke 10:30); not only this but he is even recognised by demons (Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34) and drives out demons (Matthew 8:16), and he sinks a legion of spirits (Luke 8:33) and sees the ruler of demons falling like lightning (Luke 10:18).

He is stoned, but he is not caught (John 8:59).

He prays (Matthew 14:23; 26:36; Hebrews 5:7), but he hears [prayers] (Acts 7:59).

He weeps (John 11:35), but he causes tears to cease.

He asks where Lazarus [is laid] (John 11:34), for he was man, but he raises Lazarus (John 11:43), for he was God.

He is sold, and very cheaply, for [it was] for thirty silver coins (Matthew 26:15), but he buys back the world, and [it was] for a great price, for [it was] for his own blood (1 Peter 1:18-19).

He was led as a sheep to slaughter (Isaiah 53:7), but he shepherds Israel, and now, indeed, the whole inhabited world (John 10:11). [He is] silent like a lamb (Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 26:63), but he is the Word (John 1:1), being proclaimed by a voice of one shouting in the desert (John 1:23).

He has been weakened, wounded, but he heals every disease and every infirmity (Isaiah 53:5).

He is lifted up upon the tree (John 12:32), he is fixed [to it] (Acts 2:23), but he restores by the tree of life (John 6:51); not only this but he saves even a robber crucified with [him] (Luke 23:43); not only this but he darkens everything that is seen (Luke 23:44).

He is given cheap wine to drink (Luke 23:36), he is fed bile (Matthew 27:34). Who? The one who changed the water into wine (John 2:1-11), the destroyer of the bitter taste (Hebrews 2:9), the [one who is] sweetness and all desire (Song of Solomon 5:16).

He hands over his life, but he has authority to take it again (John 10:18); not only this but the curtain is torn apart (Matthew 27:51); for the things above are exhibited (Revelation 11:19; 15:5) not only this but rocks are split; not only this but dead are raised beforehand (Matthew 27:51-52).

He dies, but he makes alive, and by death he destroys death. He is buried, but he rises. He goes down into Hades (1 Peter 3:18-19), but he brings up souls; not only this but he goes up into heaven; not only this but he will come to judge the living and the dead…”

(Gregory of Nazianzus Oration 29.20, translation by Rodney A. Whitacre. Format adjusted for this post)




Back at the beginning of the year I made a list of DIY projects for 2017 and this was one of Kiri’s top priorities for this year. I had started painting the door and door frame mid 2014 after the pantry being built earlier that year; but to my shame, I never finished it. In all honesty other projects came up that kept putting this one back. Plus, emptying the pantry for a few days gave Kiri and I anxiety about where to store it all with a toddler and a baby around.

The time however had now come for it to be decorated. I had a week off work recently and in true Smith fashion we always try to cram as much as possible into the week, which is normally fine, however the boys were sick for most of it and when you’ve already made the plunge into doing the project you have to complete it!!! Needless to say there were a few stressful moments mixed in.

Anyway on with how we kitted out the pantry and decorated it. Prior to it being built it used to just be kitchen worktop with a double cupboard above and the tumble dryer below, when we had the stud wall built – it wasn’t done by me – I was not allowed, we relocated the drier to the other side of the utility room so the washer and drier are now next to each other.

The shelve units used are Twin Slot Uprights and Brackets, the shelves are made of MDF 1.5cm thick. The shelves are 40cm deep. I had some left over paint that is the kitchen/bathroom paint, grease proof and wipe-able etc., in Almond White. As you can see from the before and after the light colour really made a difference as the utility room can be quite dark due to its position in the house.

We made a start at the beginning of the year buying uniform baskets for the pantry and there are still a few more to get, but as I said in my DIY projects update, the ones we’ve bought weren’t cheap.

Kiri is very happy with it now, which is great and I have an over the door spice rack to finish which has been made but was in testing mode, now the pantry is decorated I can get on and finish this. Kiri would also like a custom-built jar stand that will fit the space better than the current bought one so watch this space for two further posts on those.



At the end of 2016, I drew up a DIY To Do List for 2017, than February hit and these plans slightly changed, so I thought I’d update you on the progress made so far and where the changes to the list have been made.

1. Finish the front garden – this is still in hand (an update post on this is coming soon and will show where I got to last year and now the nice weather is here (fingers crossed) I can crack on and finish this – I’m sure with a little help from Nathanael.

2. Lounge Decoration – This is progressing, in January we found the grey curtains that we wanted so now it is just the feature wall to do – which will take about 3 coats of paint, probably more following a base coat to check for stains – not looking forward to that.

3. Office transformation (Take 2) – this is where the biggest change has been, the downstairs office which I used dedicated for myself has now been turned into a family study space, which is a lot more family friendly, new post to come once this is completely finished, new desk is required plus Kiri wants to make it nicer, a gray feature wall etc. The spare room upstairs now accommodates my desk for when I work from home.

4. Pantry Decoration – The original plan for this has now sky rocketed. Kiri and I were discussing the pantry and updating the storage boxes in the pantry for uniformed boxes (we both have slight OCD and like things to be just so – and promptly paid out of the backside for ‘the correct’ storage containers). I apologise for my vulgar language. When this transformation was happening it was discussed that the dead space on the back of the door could be used for a spice rack – and that is what happened, the creation of a hidden over the door spice rack, If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen this, it’s currently in testing to make sure it’s fit for purpose then just needs painting. A Jar stand is also in the works to Kiri’s bespoke requirements. Then the pantry all needs painting, which was the original requirement for 2017.

5. Patio Grouting and Cleaning – as we get into Spring this will come to the forefront of priorities… I will be asking to borrow a friends pressure washer for this — he knows who he is…

6. Organising the Garage – Part 2 – This has been put back to the end of the year as other projects in the house have taken president.

That’s the update on the current state of these jobs, I’ll update you later in the year with any further progress.



When starting a family, there are so many things to take in. The impending responsibility; getting through the milestones of pregnancy (12 week scan, 20 week scan, etc); making the necessary changes to the house to prepare for baby; and so on – the list is probably endless.

Regarding items, or products that retailers try to sell you for your baby that will “help” with this or save time here. Half of them are completely ridiculous, but what they don’t tell you is that they will take an age to put together, the instructions will be non-existent and you are more likely to break it when trying to fix the pieces together then you are to actually find the item useful when baby arrives.

The other thing that retailers don’t tell you is that if you already have a child, this item is just going to be too ‘interesting’ for them not to touch, mess with, or break so if you are planning on a larger family, i.e. more than one child – don’t buy it – however that’s probably doesn’t make commercial sense for them to do that. But never fear! Luke is here is to give you all the low down of items that are not compatible with toddlers, however great they will be for your baby.

a) Basically anything that has buttons – We had a few items that we had with Nathanael that we wanted to use again, one of these things was a battery powered swing where you could pop the little one in and gently rock them to calm them down or get them to sleep etc. It had different music as well but the tunes were awful, however the buttons are just too damn irresistible for a toddler to press and then start dancing around to the tunes. The other problem with this item is that the swing element can be ‘overridden’ if you manual push the swing, and the word gentle is not in a toddlers vocabulary and side to side our new baby rocks vigorously – needless to say that item has been removed from the lounge.

b) Child seats – we have a chair for our new baby that they can sit in once they can hold their head up, it apparently is a useful item until 12-18 months; however a toddler can probably still fit in it and eventually gets stuck meaning that they will need rescuing right at a moment when your baby is having an off minute/hour/day.

c) Baby Play Mats – similar to point 1 with the buttons but as you are there with your baby trying to get them to lift their head and encouraging them all the way, a toddler sees this as a perfect opportunity to do the same and then wonders why you are not as enthusiastic towards them as they lay in it raging at the little toys dangling from the activity bar.

However all this being said, with regards to my boys, Nathanael and Judah, Nathanael has been the most helpful big brother Kiri and I could ever ask for. He basically wants Judah to be a year old so he can play with him which is lovely to see, he helps with nappy changes and getting muslins.

Parenthood is a minefield of do’s and don’ts and may work and may not work with no real clear cut way to dealing with what I call – Emotion Management… Parents of young child will understand, not to alienate the rest of you.