Tag Archives: life

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.




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.

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.


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.


I am very, very, very late to the party with the whole adult colouring thing.  When it first became big I pooh-poohed it as being nonsence, I had far better things to be doing with my time.  But then I bought Phil a colouring book and some nice pens, and saw him colouring, and thought hey, why not, I’ll give it a go.  I was going to ask for a page from his book but then found my own at the pound shop.

One a separate note – you know you go to the pound shop too much when going to the pound shop becomes a regular game of your three year old’s.

For Christmas I was lucky enough to get two new colouring books, and some gorgeous Sharpie felt pens – I can now return the pack of pens I stole from the 3 year old, and wouldn’t let her use…

When the girls are finally in bed, and I’m sat down with that oh so delicious and satisfying HOT cup of tea in peace, then it’s time for the colouring book to come out.  Or, some afternoons I’ll risk a colouring session with the three year old, while the one year old sleeps.  She seems to have moved on from wanting to colour on my page – I hope…


Catch up…

It’s been a long time since I updated.  I had meant to do a round up of each week of the school holidays, what activities we’d done and the places we’d been – but we went on holiday to Norfolk and my blogging resolve appeared to have stayed there.

Our holiday was lovely; a week away in a static caravan, but oh my – the journey was arduous.  Five hours driving there, and eight hours to get home.  Traffic was horrendous.  It was lovely to have our first holiday as a four though.  It was nice to be away for Phil’s birthday, but he did miss his boys.

At the end of the school holidays I took all the kids to Leeds on the bus, and then hopped on another bus up to Roundhay.  We had lunch at the park, then went over to Tropical World, then back to the playground and for an icecream before the two buses home.  It was mammoth effort, dealing with four children and a pushchair, on buses – but a great day out.IMAG1867IMAG1880In September the kids went back to school, Daisy started her half term at Tumble Tots – we enjoyed it but found her to be a bit advanced at climbing and would probably be more suited to the age 3 class, but you have to leave her at that one, which I’m not comfortable with just yet, so we haven’t gone back after half term.  We also had a lovely trip to York Railway Museum with friends.  At the end of September we had Phoebe’s first birthday and then my birthday the day after.  I was very emotional at Phoebe turning one, reminiscing about her birth and those hard early weeks.  First birthdays seem such a huge milestone.  We went to Swithens Farm for Phoebe’s birthday, we do love it there.

12048950_10100116747746148_1258779829_n 12047656_10100116511779028_2043637463_n 12053230_10100116448685468_326508079_nIn October Phil and I had our honeymoon, four days in Rome.  What an amazing city; so much to see and do, all the wonderful things to eat and drink, and the people watching was superb.  Ancient Rome really blew us away, but I felt a bit disappointed by the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel – I’d almost expected a kind of religious epiphany being there – but I felt nothing.  We had a tough month with both girls not sleeping very well, colds, half term disrupting our routines and both Phil and I feeling very low.  Halloween seemed to turn things round, Daisy was enthralled with getting dressed up and going trick or treating and has talked of it nonstop since.


The beginning of this month has been Daisy’s third birthday.  Time is just flying by.  She’s due to start school nursery in September, we’ll be getting the uniform list shortly.  I’m not sure I’m ready for her to be away from me every afternoon – but she’s looking forward to it and we often discuss her going to ‘big school’.  If we didn’t live on the same street as the school then I’m sure I would home school them both very happily.

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We’re now starting to look towards Christmas, we’ve bought the girls main present, a new cooker, and I’ve picked them up a book each.  I’ll be doing the bulk of their shopping in the first week of December though.   We’ll be crafting up a storm of course, and have already started our Christmas Trees – more to follow on those…

It’s been a bumpy few months, lots of highs and lows, I’ve had some terrible days but then also some fantastic days.  Above anything else I’m sure that staying at home has been the right decision for our family.  We may be quite poor, but we’re rich on time and love.

23 weeks

This pregnancy is absolutely flying by.  Whilst I don’t feel very big, people constantly tell me how big I am, and at this point they were hardly showing etc…well I am showing, but I don’t think I’m too big for gestation.

This last week I’ve started with pelvic pain, which I didn’t have first time round.  I knew with being overweight it was always a possibility, I just assumed from being pregnant with the Duck that I carried easily and I would do the same this time.  The pain started on Sunday, but became really severe on Monday.  I just assumed I’d pulled something in bed.  Monday night and Tuesday I was in agony with it, and finally decided to listen to what Phil’s telling me and slow down a bit.  Since then the pain has been there when walking, but it’s been manageable.  It’s worse at the end of the day, or if I’ve had a day where I’ve had to move about a lot.  On Thursday I admitted defeat, after we’d been to vote I popped into our local doctor’s surgery and managed to get a telephone consultation – that then led to me being seen on Friday.  I don’t think the doctor was too worried about it, I can still move, and it’s not the worst pain I’ve had – but thankfully she has referred me for physio.  I’m looking forward to the appointment and getting some strategies to coping with this better.

We’ve had some beautiful weather recently so we’ve made the most of it and had a couple of picnics with our respective families over at Temple Newsam.  We’ve played out in the garden a lot, been for walks, and when the sun got too much we stopped inside with playdoh and managed to do a bit of messy play with squirty cream in the bath.  Daisy found it hilarious to cover me in the whipped cream, so I ended up just as messy as she did.

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If I can get to the end of August, like I’ve planned, then I have 14 weeks left at work.  I’ve found it hard telling people that I won’t be coming back – everyone has said it’s such a shame, and I still feel like I’ve let my boss down.  My replacement starts in a week, so I have a good hand over period with him and can get him fully trained and ready to become the new me.  It’s unfortunate that the job I do couldn’t be done on an evening/weekend – I’d jump at the chance of being able to do that – but there’s no way I could stay on the same banding and not be available for meetings, or be available to help/train the rest of the team.  I hope I’ll be able to find some evening work within the NHS, and then I’ll be able to keep my continuous service for my pension, but if I can’t then so be it.  I made the choice to have another child or keep progressing with this career, there was no competition for me – I always wanted a large family, and I want to spend more time with the Duck before she goes to school.

The biggest thing for me is my loss of independence.  I’ll no longer be able to spend “my” money on whatever I like, I know I’ll feel guilty having to ask Phil for money to be able to socialise with my friends/buy clothes etc – I’m determined that I’ll have a little part time job to be able to keep that independence, but the loss of status from my current job will take me some getting used to.