Category Archives: Life

May, June and most of July…

Now I’ve got my life back after Love Island finishing I thought I’d catch up with what we’ve been up to since April.

 

In May the girls and I travelled south to spend a few days with my best friend from uni and her little girl.  It was a real novelty for the girls to spend a couple of nights in a hotel.  On our first day there we went to Cbeebiesland and had a fantastic time.  I wasn’t sure it would be worth the money, but we all had a great time.  I think I probably enjoyed a lot of it more than the girls.  Seeing the girls faces light up at seeing their favourite characters was wonderful.  On our second day we went to Trentham Monkey Forest.  It wasn’t as big as I was expecting it to be, but we had a very enjoyable day there with a picnic and ice creams.

 

We arrived back on the Thursday afternoon, it seemed pointless sending Daisy back in to school nursery for one day so on the Friday we all went to Knaresborough.  Despite the rain we had a very enjoyable time.  Phil and I got an afternoon tea, which the girls found fascinating, and ate most of themselves, plus their own food.  It was great to all get out together after being apart for a few days.

Another first for the girls was going to their first ‘posh’ restaurant for Sunday lunch with Aunty Fifi.  We went to Dill and Bay in Rothwell, which is owned by someone we both went to school with.  The food was excellent and the girls did me proud by behaving themselves and eating up their food.  We enjoyed it that much there that we took my Mum in for lunch a couple of weeks later.  I’ll definitely be back again soon.

At the very end of May was our two-year wedding anniversary.  Where has the time gone?  The stress of getting ready for the wedding seems a lifetime ago,

June was another month of getaways.  We went to the Lake District for the weekend with my brother, his partner and my nephew, and my parents.  The scenery up there is breathtaking, I’d definitely like to spend more time exploring over there.  We went on the Eskdale miniature railway on the Saturday, I loved it – although the day was quite stressful for me with worrying over Phoebe emulating a camel and not going for a wee for 28 hours – on the back of having a UTI.

At the end of June we had our week’s holiday, this year at a static caravan at Reighton Sands in Filey.  We were lucky with the weather at the beginning of the week, but the end of our week was very, very, very wet.  The girls love that kind of holiday, especially going to the club house on an evening.  We’d like to go up to Northumberland for next year’s holiday.  During the week away we went to Brid, Whitby, Scarborough for Armed Forces Day, the sea life centre, walked across the beach to Filey and made use of the on site swimming pool.  If we had the money I would happily buy a static and go up most weekends.

The Half Term school holidays fell at the end of May/beginning of June.  We enjoyed an action packed week with a day trip to Wetherby, playing at Bramham play park with friends, visiting Marianne to drop off her very late first birthday present, having friends over to play, a trip to the Pirate Ship park, some baking and an excursion up to softplay.

The strawberry picking season seemed to be over in a flash this year, finishing even quicker than last year.  We only managed one trip up to pick, but came away with plenty of strawberries and raspberries – I hope it’s something that the girls will love to do each year, it’s one I remember looking forward to each summer.

At the beginning of July we celebrated Oliver’s 18th, it doesn’t seem like two minutes ago I was meeting a shy 12 year old for the first time. We all went down to the new tapas place for something to eat, and a few drinks, I was really touched that he chose to do something with all of us and not just Phil.

We had our second trip to the Great Yorkshire Show with Jenny and Catherine – sadly the weather was not kind to us this year, and we didn’t particularly enjoy the experience.  Three wet, grumpy, tired girls and two harassed Mums didn’t make for a harmonious day out.  I managed to come away with some cheese and some cupcakes, but didn’t really get much else.  Straight after it I said I’d never take the girls again, but I’ve since looked back at last year’s pictures, and remembered what a fantastic time we had then – so I probably will go with them again next year.

I’ve recently signed up to a Penpal scheme – getting proper old fashioned letters through the post has been a real treat.  I’ve got a stack of four to reply to now, and am on the look out for nice writing sets to make my letters pretty.

This last weekend we went to Castleford Comic-con, it was a last minute decision to go along, deciding upon it after seeing the rain.  I never thought I’d enjoy something like that, but I do really love the Star Wars stuff, and seeing people in the costumes is great.  At the two I’ve now been to there’s been a really nice atmosphere, everyone is friendly and happy to be pursuing their chosen hobby.  We’ve tickets for the big York comic-con next month, the girls outfits have been ready for weeks and I’ve now got a star wars tshirt to wear too.

On Monday Daisy finished school nursery.  She’s blossomed so much since she started there, and we’ve all made some fantastic new friends.  I feel slightly teary about her starting school full time, and being away from her for so long every day, but she’s ready for it.  Her passion for learning is a wonderful thing to see, I hope it continues throughout school.

We’re now starting the school holidays, so will have plenty of adventures before Daisy starts back at school in September.

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The year so far…

In January I did Veganuary, which I summarised in a previous post.  I decided to restart eating meat and dairy in February, but have kept up having soya milk rather than cows milk – unless in a sauce that we’ll all be eating, or a splash of milk in mashed potato etc.  I found that Phoebe was slightly intolerant to soya milk so thought it much fairer for me to have cows milk occasionally rather than inflict a reaction to soya on her.

At the beginning of January we were just finishing the Christmas school holidays, one of the best days was spent with a mass walk down the Coach Road in Tadcaster, with loads of the girls friends, finishing at the local park.  It was incredibly muddy but very enjoyable all of us being together.

During January we attended a lantern making workshop to make lanterns for the parade celebrating the reopening of Tadcaster Bridge.  Both girls really enjoyed the session, I’ve recently found out that the arts company that facilitated the event are disbanding, due to loss of funding, which is a real shame.

The girls also did quite a lot of crafting using some of the great Christmas presents they were given.  Daisy really enjoyed making some pottery with Daddy and painting it together.

 

In early February Tadcaster Bridge finally reopened after the essential repairs were completed.  I kept Daisy off school for the afternoon to go to the opening and we went down with friends, there was a very jubilant atmosphere in the crowd, it felt quite emotional to be part of such a special day.

I’ve been wanting to do more extensive home learning on a few topics with the girls, last year we focused a lot on the different seasons, and a bit on weather.  We started the first topic of the year in mid February, learning about Space.  Over the last couple of months we’ve made space rockets, watched videos on youtube, watched the Stargazing programmes on CBeebies, painted space pictures and read the new books we got on space together.  We also picked a couple of space themed stories from the library to accompany the topic.  The next topic I’d like to start after Easter is the Human Body, I’ve a few things printed from Twinkl to get started on it, but looking forward to setting up a pintrest board with some ideas.

We were also given a wonderful wooden playhouse in February which has really given the outdoor play a new lease of life.  The girls love being in it.

Just as we broke up for February half term Tadcaster hosted the official Bridge opening celebrations, and we got to use the lanterns we’d made earlier in an evening lantern parade.  It was a fantastic day and a real privilege to be involved with the parade.

During half term we had friends round to play in the new playhouse, went swimming and had lunch out, went to Leeds for lunch with one big brother (the other was on his skiing trip), had a day crafting and painting new canvases to go in the girls bedrooms and then on the Friday we went through to Huddersfield to spend time with cousins.

My personal challenge for February was to go sugar free.  This was much harder than I thought it would be, I managed not to eat sweets, chocolate, cakes and whatnot, but didn’t always spot the hidden sugars in things.

 

In March I started my library volunteer training, every Thursday afternoon for four weeks. Thankfully Phil was able to take the time off work so I could go. On 1st April Tadcaster library became a Community Library, staffed by volunteers rather than paid staff.  I think it’s a wonderful thing to keep the library open, but such a shame funding for staff has been withdrawn.  I’ve really enjoyed meeting new people and having the opportunity to learn something and use my brain again,  I often feel like I’m no longer useful because I’m not working, so volunteering has been great to help feel like a useful member of society again,

In early March I took Daisy for her first eye test and we found out she needs glasses, she’s had them for just over three weeks now and really suits them.  I feel quite anxious that she’ll be picked on because of them, but I suppose we’ll have to cross that bridge when we come to it.

We had a few nice days out in March, over to Nefferton to see my Grandparents, then on to the seaside, and we had a lovely day out in York together, with a walk along the wall and a play in museum gardens.  The girls also really enjoyed the weekend we spent dogsitting, they’re going to be wonderful when we finally get our own dog.

 

So far in April I’ve done my first shift as a library volunteer – I was very nervous, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, and we’ve started the Easter holidays.  This week we’ve had a lazy Monday, went to Leeds on Tuesday, had friends over on Wednesday and on Thursday we went to paint pottery at Clayfever, then for a snack in a local cafe, bought magazines and then had a trip to the park late afternoon.  I’m looking forward to the Easter weekend, and to another lovely week of activities next week.

 

Veganuary

I’m now four days into Veganuary – being vegan for the month of January.  So far I’m doing OK, I’m enjoying the meals and not missing meat at all.  I prefer the plant based milks to cows milk – especially Alpro Vanilla in my coffee.  I do slightly miss cheese, and need to source some vegan cheese.  We normally shop in Aldi, with a couple of top ups in our local Sainsburys, they don’t stock any vegan cheese in either.  We’re going into York this weekend so I’ll pop to the big Holland and Barretts there and check out what they have.

Phil bought me a vegan cookbook for Christmas, I made a tart from that for my new years day dinner, Mum had one too – everyone else had turkey, ham and pork.  I’d spent a good 10 mins on new years eve looking at wines in Aldi to find a vegan red, which was nice, and I was also able to have some strawberry bellini fizz from M&S.  There’s been a couple of things that I’ve been surprised at them having milk in – aldi’s vegetable stock cubes for one, but otherwise it seems to be going well without causing any difficulty.

2017 goals

Here’s a few of the things I’d like to achieve this year:

  • Get back into a size 12
  • Go on a weekend away with Phil
  • Be less shouty
  • Complete veganuary
  • Do a pottery course
  • Be outside more
  • Improve our outdoor space
  • redecorate the hall, stairs and landing
  • redecorate the lounge
  • Have more date nights

A few of them are ones I worked on, or didn’t get round to last year – like being less shouty at the girls, and working on our outdoor space, and of course – the usual losing weight.

The girls really love being outside and both need some outdoor time each day.  Yesterday we did a long walk with their friends down the coach road, the girls loved being outside, getting muddy and spending time with their friends.

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Phil and I would really love to go on a weekend break to Iceland, it’s somewhere we’ve both wanted to go for a long time.  I’ve ordered a guide, so we can decide what we definitely want to see, and I’ve been looking into how much we’d need to save for it.  It’s quite expensive, and it seems wrong to spend money on just us two when there’s four kids to think of first – but if we always think like that we’ll never go, and spending the time together just us is really important for our marriage.  I’d really love some grown up time where i’m not constantly distracted by looking after the girls, some time to just be me rather than being a Mummy.

Veganuary is a new one for this year.  It’s something I saw last year and contemplated giving a go in another month, but I just never got round to it.

The house is in desperate need of a lick of paint to freshen it up, everywhere looks grubby to me, with years and years of sticky paws everywhere.  We need to have our house rewired, but that’s something that’s likely to take a good 2 years to save up for.  At that point we’ll need to replaster all our walls, so there’s no point putting down new wallpaper, we just need to bodge ours up a bit.  We also need new windows, and my very longed for new kitchen.  We need a lottery win to be able to afford all these things…

Phil did manage to finally get our downstairs loo back in use for our New Years Day dinner – it’s been painted sage green, which I love, and the damaged ceiling has been lowered.  It still needs some work doing, but is looking good.

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Rounding up 2016

At the end of 2015 I set myself some goals for this year.

  • Continue losing weight
  • Take a class at the gym
  • Work towards being fit enough for spinning
  • Be outside more with the girls
  • Not shout as much
  • Be more fun
  • Have a regular date night with Phil
  • Have an evening a week of no technology
  • Reintroduce our Sunday afternoon walks
  • Be more mindful
  • Learn something
  • Do more with my food blog
  • Improve the house
  • Make more of our outdoor space

I failed miserably on the taking a class at the gym/doing spinning etc – I did manage to lose a stone doing the 8 week blood sugar diet (no carbs, no refined sugar, only eat 800 cals a day) but I’ve regained that, and some extra.

I’ve tried to be outside more with the girls, but I haven’t done an exceptional amount – I didn’t do enough over the summer.

I’ve tried very hard with the shouting – but I still shout a lot, I need to try a lot harder on this next year.  I do think I’ve been more fun, I feel much closer with both girls at the end of this year.

We have had a couple of date nights, but nothing regular.  It’s so hard without having available babysitters – I feel like everyone is so busy and would be inconvenienced greatly by having to look after our girls on an evening.  This might improve as they get older and need less help going to bed?  We haven’t introduced an evening a week of no technology, we have done it a couple of times, but we should try harder next year.

I do feel that I’ve been more mindful – I know when I need to switch off from the world and colour or lose myself in a book.  I’m not quite at the meditation level – but I don’t expect that I ever would be, it’s not very me.

I completed an online nutrition course, and started a couple of other ones, which I’ve really enjoyed – it feels great to be learning.

I made the hard decision to retire my food blog.  I found that I was becoming anxious about not having time to post, or work on recipes, or try to compete in the new blogging world.  My heart just wasn’t in it, and the relief of making the decision to wind it up was immense.

We’ve made some improvements in the house, decorated bedrooms, bought a couple of bits of furniture when we could afford it, and worked at making it nice for us all.  There’s a lot of work still to do, and I don’t know when we’ll ever be able to afford everything that needs doing.  One day we’ll get to it though.

Our outdoor space is sadly neglected, that is definitely something to work on next year – if we can find the money.

June to December

It’s been a long time since I updated.  Since my last post we haven’t done an awful lot, but a few things stick out.

We went to my cousin’s wedding in France.  It was lovely to be included, and very interesting to see the differences between an English and a French wedding – but unfortunately we ended up travelling down to it during a heat wave – without any aircon in our car.  This resulted in hot, angry children, stressed parents and somewhat ruined the whole experience for us.  My French was disgracefully rusty, despite trying to refresh my memory on duolingo, I found it difficult to remember any.  Spanish always seems to come easier for some reason.  Next time we go to France I will have to do more work!  Although I don’t think we’ll be returning to France for a long, long time…

School Summer holidays.  With us going to France in the summer holidays we didn’t do as much as I normally would.  We did lots of playing out, going for walks, going to the park.  We visited places like Temple Newsham, and went on bus trips to Leeds/York.  My favourite activity of the school holidays was on the last day, we went to Hope Pastures in Leeds.  A horse/donkey sanctuary.  We took friends with us and all the girls had a great time.  In the evening we met up with some more friends for a meal.  A great ending to the holidays.

Kids party season. We’ve been to an unbelievable amount of parties already – and had Daisy’s first proper birthday party at Crazy Tykes.  She absolutely loved it.  I’ve found the etiquette at kids parties quite baffling – it seems for some that when one child is invited that they assume their younger child is also invited, take them to the party, sit them down to eat and then expect a party bag for that child.  If Phoebe wasn’t named on the invite then I wouldn’t take her, or if I had to bring her, I’d speak to the parent to let them know and bring a pack up of food for her.

Birthdays.  Phoebe turned 2 in September, and Daisy 4 in November.  I can’t quite believe my tiny girls are growing up so fast. With them being so close in age they’ve pretty much shared the toys they got, both liking playmobil, sylvanian families, playdoh and lego.

Trampolining.  We’ve been to the Leeds and York trampolining places, both do an under 5’s session that the girls have absolutely loved.  I think I enjoyed it every bit as much as them.  We’ll definitely do more of that next year.  It’s the perfect morning activity for before school.

Life tends to revolve around school, so we haven’t been on as many days out this year.  Staying local has been fine though, both girls really enjoy going for ‘coffee’ or walking down to the cow field.  The girls now play together, which I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of listening to (right this minute they’re going to get married, which somehow involves using the shopping trolley to carry the wedding flowers).  Daisy got a bike for her birthday, so we often do bike rides or she’ll use her scooter.  We’ve looked after Meg quite a bit, she’s too old to go in kennels now so needs to come to us instead, we all love having her and the change in routine.  Doing more walking is always a bonus.

I’ve read a lot more this year, deciding to retire my food blog helped ease feelings of guilt for reading or colouring when I should have been blogging instead.  I haven’t done very well diet wise this year, I lost a stone in the summer doing two weeks of eating 800 calories a day, with no refined carbs or processed sugar.  That soon came back on when I got out of the habit of eating like that.  I’ve given up my gym membership, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been this year.  Not having a bridge connected the sides of Tadcaster, and not being able to afford the extra petrol to drive round, or feel confident cycling down and leaving my bike outside, meant that I hardly ever went.  It’s a shame because I enjoyed it.  I’d like to start going again when both kids are at school and I don’t have to go on an evening.  I’m pretty unhappy with the way I look at the moment, and I’m having a lot of back pain because of the extra weight, so I need to tackle my terrible binge eating on an evening.

I did an online nutrition course, which I’ve enjoyed, but only finished that one, the other two I started I haven’t finished.  I’d still love to do an evening course and learn something, we couldn’t afford to spend the money on something like that this year but might be able to next year, if I save enough before September.

I’ll have to start thinking about my usual end of year round up for my next post.

Updates

Earlier this week I made the decision to wind up my food blog. Making the choice has been such a weight off my mind. My heart was no longer in it, blogging was feeling a chore. 

I’d like to continue to blog, but more on a personal level to document what we’ve been up to as a family, and more focused on my (many) hobbies.

I’m still loving colouring – a lot. I’ve done a couple of button pictures, and have one to make as a belated first birthday present.  I have an MDF rainbow that needs painting/decorating that will be a birthday present for Phoebe. I need some acrylic paints for it.  My jewellery making collection keeps calling to me, but I’d need a quiet few hours on my own to work on some pieces.

Our girls are coming on leaps and bounds, Phoebe’s vocabulary is beyond all expectations, she’s a chatterbox and sings all the time. The three of us love singing along together in the car.  Since starting school nursery Daisy’s confidence has trebled, it’s so lovely to see her talking to her teachers and other grown ups – previously she’d only speak to trusted adults. I love seeing her flourish at school, and seeing how much she enjoys her new friendships.  Age 3 very much seems like the best and worst of times, whining and diva strops are draining, it’s hard to remain mindful that she’s still so tiny and learning to deal with the huge emotions. My resolution to not shout is not always stuck to. I must try harder to be the parent I want to be, and the parent my girls deserve.

Phil and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary last month, a whole year since our wedding – crazy. As it was ‘paper’ I bought Phil a little Star Wars print, he got me a lovely new colouring book and some gel pens (already claimed by Daisy). We went to a French restaurant in York in the evening – it was so lovely to go out on our own. Very needed.