Our Easter 2016

For me the best thing about easter isn’t the chocolate, it’s spending time with family and celebrating the arrival of spring by spending a lot of time outdoors. So that is primarily what our our Easter has been all about… With a few treats thrown in.

After all the illness we’ve had lately with both kids having chicken pox, and Monkey and I suffering with tummy bugs we were a bit worried it was going to be a bit of a washout but thankfully we were all miraculously well and able to enjoy the weekend.

We kicked off with a day out with my family to one of my favourite National Trust places, Belton House near Grantham. The weather was incredible and we had a wonderful day.PhotoGrid_1459082245077

It was seriously busy and sadly my older brother and his wife got stuck in traffic getting in, but they did eventually arrive and even though it was so so so busy, because it is such a huge site it didn’t feel too busy. Other than the queues for the restaurants! We were pretty lucky in that I had been to the play and ride cafe as soon as we arrived and got a timed ticket to get in, then a big enough table vacated as soon as we walked in which was really fortunate.

We had plenty of space to explore, climb trees, run around chasing bubbles and playing aeroplanes. We sat and had ice cream in the sun and partially completed the easter hunt, though gave up when we saw that the queue to collect the egg afterwards was absolutely ginormous and in our mind the chocolate wasn’t worth the queue!PhotoGrid_1459088128180

Oh and yes the place is seriously stunning so I had to get some pretty shots too.PhotoGrid_1459088344946

That night my aunt, who had come up from London for Easter, stayed with us and we had a lovely evening. The next day we took her to the local farm that we are members of. It could not have been a more different day weather wise and was windy and bitterly cold! Still we had a lot of fun completing the easter hunt there and we even met the easter bunny! Not that the kids were too sure about him haha. We had a bit of fun in the soft play then headed home for lunch.PhotoGrid_1459085468261

After lunch it was time for a bit of a team effort making some easter nests. It’s a proper easter tradition for us and the first year LM could take part, though she was shattered and needed to go for a nap before we had finished. Monkey really enjoyed it though.PhotoGrid_1459085584186

While LM slept that afternoon Monkey had some fun with some of the crafts and activities pound land kindly sent us to try out, and I was very grateful for something to keep him busy as I was shattered! We had already done some of the other crafts earlier in the week and I was impressed at all they have for a pound! *PhotoGrid_1459168415696

Easter Sunday itself was a bit more of a normal day for us. We went swimming in the morning and then our neighbour popped in with her kiddies for a bit. After lunch we did a the other of our Easter traditions and we put on a little easter hunt for the kiddies. Because Monkey loves treasure maps I made a simple map of the back garden and made a trail for him to follow before having to dig for his treasure! He loved it!PhotoGrid_1459085831382

LM sort of went along for the ride but didn’t really get what was going on I don’t think!

After LM’s nap that afternoon we headed over to hubs’ brother Andy’s house for a roast to celebrate his birthday and easter. It was lovely to get together all of hubs’ family too and we had a lovely time. Hubs bought his brother some star wars lego which the boys all had great fun building that. LM had fun with all of her relatives too and very much enjoyed a ride in Aunty Julie’s wheelchair while she rested having cooked us all a yummy roast.PhotoGrid_1459104159966

Monday was the most relaxed day of all and we pottered in the morning and made a roast for lunch. My little brother aka Uncle Marky joined us (sadly Aunty Fran was poorly and missed out) and played with kiddies and had a good catch up. More like a normal Sunday I guess, with laundry and little jobs that needed doing etc. Just what we needed after a busy few days.

I’m painting a picture here that is filled with sunshine and smiles and to a certain extent it is true and we have had a happy weekend. But it has also been difficult with toddler tantrums from LM and major threenager meltdowns from Monkey. They have been overexcited over tired and over chocolated (not a word I know but seems to fit :)). We barely buy any treats (only for the nest making and treasure hunt) but our lucky kiddies have lots of adoring family who have given them lots of treats. I have drafted a post about the over commercialisation of Easter (as I was having a rant moment) but I am not sure about sharing it. I am instead choosing to remember the happy moments of a lovely easter spent with our lovely my.

I hope you had a wonderful easter too.

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*Poundland provided the craft materials free of charge for our use over Easter. 

Me and Mine February 2016

My family shot this month is from our day out on the Stick Man trail at Fineshade Woods. We had such a lovely day so it seemed the perfect place to grab a shot of us all.


As we so often do we used the selfie stick and took a very short video of us all and then captured a few frames. We tend to find this the best way to get most of us smiling. It worked well for 3 of us at least! Maybe one day I will get a shot of all 4 of us smiling!

It has been a bit of a month February… in many ways it has absolutely flown by but it hasn’t always been easy. The pesky illnesses that so many people have been hit by have struck us down at times too and it certainly made some difficult days. Half term was hard work which was a real shame and I was glad to get back to routine. I know that it was mainly hard work because of illness…. but I am apprehensive about the Easter holidays and hope they aren’t quite so hard! We have managed lots of lovely happy times too this month though and have a very busy month ahead so hopefully spring will be kinder to us.

The Me and Mine Project

A lovely winters day

I don’t like winter when it is grey, wet and gloomy, but give me clear blue skies and fresh frosty air and I absolutely love it. I love to get bundled up warm and go for a walk in the crisp air before heading somewhere cosy to warm up afterwards. After a wet week last week the forecast for the Saturday was for a perfect winter’s day, so we made plans to walk over to our local country park. It started out just as us then we thought we would see if the in laws fancied a stroll with us, then hubs’ younger brother decided he would like to come for a bit too.

We strolled over then after meeting up with Granny and Granddaddy had a play on one of the playparks.PhotoGrid_1453220093982

Uncle Simon arrived shortly after and we headed in to one of the cafes to warm up with a cuppa and cake.

My teacup is empty at thhis point by the way!

My teacup is empty at thhis point by the way!

Then it was out for another explore. It was interesting making sure LM stayed away from the lakes as she does love water! She enjoyed strolling along with her family though.PhotoGrid_1453220373293

There was a really funny moment where another little one of a similar age saw LM and began ecstatically waving and shouting to her. They had a little meeting of minds here I think and then LM wanted to follow him and his mummy instead of coming with us haha!PhotoGrid_1453220433587

We continued our walk via the site of roman villa that hubs and I remember playing on when we were kids.PhotoGrid_1453220693786

Randomly there was loads of pretty shellfish shells about (assuming they were dropped by birds but did they get them from the lakes?) some had ice in and Monkey very cutely
decided that they were “baby ice” that were missing their mummy. Daft little cutie!PhotoGrid_1453220742447

We got the selfie stick out at this point to get a shot of us all and didn’t too badly with hehe.20160116140127

By now it was getting toward lunchtime so Uncle Simon headed home and we popped into the other cafe for a bite of lunch and to warm up with another cuppa.

Food obviously tastes much nicer from Mummy's plate

Food obviously tastes much nicer from Mummy’s plate

Last stop of the day was feeding the ducks with LM repeatedly shouting “dah” “dah” at every duck she saw haha. She says dah to other things too but will always shout it at any duck picture or duck she sees so I am pretty sure she means duck some of the time. PhotoGrid_1453221025658

Then it was time to head home, with a quick stop for a family selfie along the way.20160116_131512

20160116_132147A lovely winters day.

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Our Family in 2015

So the end of the year is approaching and I am not going to do a full look back at the past year… but I thought it was a good opportunity instead to have a look at all the me and mine shots of our little foursome taken over the past year, to see how much we have all grown and changed.family 2015

Some shots are better than others (ahem June!) and the only shot I have of the four of us for December is a pretty rubbish selfie on the bed on Christmas morning… but it is a shot of all of us and you can see how different the kiddies look compared to January, with LM obviously changing the most throughout the course of the year.

There is much to come in 2016, birthdays, a wonderful holiday with my parents, hopefully house sitting for friends in Dorset again, Monkey starting school in September (eek) and generally enjoying our children grow and change every day. I know people say life with children doesn’t get easier it just changes. .. but I have to disagree. Yes there are always challenges, that’s life, but the challenges are different as the children grow and I personally find that things do get easier as the little onesgrow out of the baby stage.

This time next year LM will probably be talking… she may not be napping anymore and at 2 may even be on her way to being toilet trained. Monkey will be at school and hopefully doing well. It will be a very different Christmas and our lives will be different. I can’t help but be excited to see what else 2016 has in store for us and I plan (or hope) to enjoy every minute as much as I can.

Happy New Year to you and all the best for 2016. Thanks for reading!

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An almost perfect Sunday

Sunday was a pretty perfect day for the most part. One of those days that are just lovely and reminds you how much you love your life. We have been so busy the last month and there seems to be an endless list of to-do things but Sunday we decided to take things a bit easy. We had some leftover roast ham in the freezer and decided to do all the rest of the roast bits to go with it. We had planned to pop and see hubs’ parents that morning but invited them to ours instead to share our roast with us.

We had a lovely morning playing and cooking then I have to admit a lovely roast dinner. It was one of those times when the roast potatoes, veg and yorkshires all miraculously turn out right haha. The negative was that both kids decided to kick off as we sat down to eat. Monkey was eventually reminded tha he does like yorkshire puddings, stuffing and sausages (though of course wouldn’t even try the veg) but LM was pretty miserable, she has back teeth coming through which is causing her a lot of pain. She has always been a good eater but at the moment she is getting fussier and I am hoping it is just because her teeth are causing her problems rather than her going down the same path as her brother!!

Anyway she did eventually settle thanks to cuddles with her Granny and then her and Monkey had some very lovely times together while we were at the table. She thinks her brother is the funniest person alive and laughs her head off when he is silly and tries desperately to copy him!PhotoGrid_1448382683546

After lunch while we cleaned up Monkey and his Granddaddy had a fab playtime. Monkey was basically throwing balls at his Granddaddy and while that isn’t normally allowed, he and his Granddaddy were laughing so hard that I didn’t have the heart to stop it. They were having so much fun together it was really very lovely.PhotoGrid_1448382857615

Later that afternoon after G & G had headed home, hubs’ younger brother Uncle Simon popped round for a play. We had so much fun playing with a couple of Monkey’s games together and it was a lovely peaceful afternoon while LM slept.20151122_142150

I also managed to get a template done for the picture wall we have been planning for ages, in the hope of finally getting it on the wall. Once LM was awake the kiddies and I wrapped up warm and went outside for a good old explore and run around while Daddy was hanging the pictures for us. Monkey has suddenly got the hang of scooting and goes so fast so we soon left the confines of the back garden and went on some of the longer paths nearby.. and he was miles ahead! I do love seeing LM toddle about in her wellies and wooly hat too 🙂PhotoGrid_1448383080187

Monkey then decided he would like to go on his bicycle that we got for his birthday back in May. He has been on it a few times but so far can’t get the hang of pedalling. Daddy came out to help him and though it was getting pretty dark by now he did manage to make a bit of an improvement with his pedalling so hopefully he is getting there.20151122_163303

Soon it was back inside to check out the finished photo wall which I have to admit I am totally in love with! We wanted to do something with the photos from our awesome family photoshoot back in the summer and the photo frame we did have in the hall had fallen off a couple of times so was looking a bit shabby. I love the colour and variety of these frames and am just so pleased with how it has all worked out. I love a good photo wall!20151122_172224

We did the kids some tea (we both ate so much at lunch we weren’t hungry!) then they had a lovely bathtime together full of laughter and lots and lots of splashing. PhotoGrid_1448383368958That evening with the kids in bed hubs and I snuggled up and watched The Secret Life of 5 Year Olds on catch up which is just hilarious. Then, just as were going to bed, we suddenly heard Monkey coughing with the distinctive bark like cough we have come to know and dread. Croup. Again.

We were terrified the first time he had it and again when LM had it and couldn’t believe he had it again. His breathing was laboured and he was very distraught and struggling to catch his breath, so as ever we don’t mess around with breathing, and we called 999. (For the 3rd time ever and the previous twice also being because of croup!) The fast response paramedic was wonderful and so good with Monkey, and Monkey was so brave with all the tests that he did. We managed to calm him down so he was breathing better and his stats were fine so we avoided a trip to the hospital.

It was a night filled with worry though as he still had the horrendous cough and obviously lying down made things worse and his breathing was very laboured at times. You can’t help but worry and it is so hard to sleep as horrible thoughts just fly round your head, while you also feel really daft and like you are over-worrying. Hubs spent over an hour at one point sat outside his bedroom door listening to him until his breathing settled.

So our pretty perfect Sunday had a less than perfect ending, but all is well that ends well and it could have been so much worse. He is still poorly as I write this (Tuesday) and last night he was still barking in the night. Hopefully tonight will be better and he will gradually improve.

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Me and Mine August 2015

For this months me and mine I am using some more of the gorgeous shots from our family photoshoot, taken by the wonderful Chris at Distant Cloud Photography.

September marks Hubs and I being together for 5 years (we had our first date on 08.09.10) and wow how things have changed in those 5 years! Things are really chaotic here at the moment with all the building work so I nearly didn’t write a me and mine post at all but as it is nearly our 5 year anniversary I thought I should make the effort.

So here is our little family as we are right now. I think these shots capture the chaos that life with 2 kids is generally!

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A Family Photoshoot

For Christmas my brother and sister in law bought us a really lovely present – a voucher for a portrait shoot with our wedding Photographer, Chris Boland of Distant Cloud Photography. Hubs used to work with Chris many years ago and knew he was starting out as a photographer so it made sense to contact him for our wedding and we absolutely adored the photographs he took of our big day. We had a shoot with him when Monkey was tiny and so were very excited to have another photo shoot with him now we are a family of four.

We always thought we would aim for the shoot to be in the summer but we didn’t plan on it being this late in the summer. We had to cancel the first date we planned due to all of the illness we have had this year, and we finally rebooked it recently. We nearly had to cancel again the day before when I bashed my face on the car – hitting myself right on the bridge of my nose and giving myself a minor black eye!! Blimmin typical on the day before a photoshoot but thankfully make-up managed to cover it and we kept the booking.

We went to our local country park and thankfully it was a lovely day, nice and sunny but not too too hot. I will be honest though, it really was hard work, Monkey was running riot or not wanting to smile or take off his sunglasses. Times when LM jus wanted to walk or was just fed up of being held in place so got really wriggly. I took a few outtake shots of the “behind the scenes” at the photoshoot.. oh the chaos.


But, thankfully Chris is brilliant and managed to get so many amazing shots of us all so it was very very very much worth it. I have popped a few below  (Seriously I don’t know how he does it, I do not look this nice normally!)

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We are planning a photo wall with some of the shots and I can’t wait to put them up as they are just lovely. Really nice to get such great shots of the kids and some nice ones of us with them.

Have you had family photo shoots? Have you found them hard work too?

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Swanage Steam Railway & Corfe Castle

Monkey loves trains so when we heard about the Swanage Steam Railway down in Dorset we thought it would be a nice thing to do on our holiday. Add to the fact that you can ride the train to an amazing ruined castle and we were sold! (We love a good castle.) It isn’t the cheapest day out to combine the railway and a trip to the castle but being National Trust members thankfully we only had to think about the cost of the train tickets.

The steam railway runs between Swanage and Norden in Dorset, with a couple of stops along the way, one of which being Corfe Castle. We chose to park in Swanage, and take the train from there to Corfe Castle and back. There is a park and ride at Corfe Castle so you could, in theory take the bus to Swanage and the train back to the castle or something, but there is also quite a nice big car park 5-10 minutes walk from the station in Swanage. (There is no car park right at the station in Swanage, just a co-op with a short stay car park)

We took a little picnic to eat on the train journey and Monkey was just so so happy to be on the train. The staff were great with him and so friendly, and he loved getting his ticket stamped. It’s not a very long journey, about 20 minutes, which is probably about right with little ones and the scenery on the way is very pretty.

swanage 1

Corfe Castle in the village of Corfe, is seriously impressive, perched on top of a hill so you can see it for miles around.

It’s not very suitable for buggies but the National Trust to have some baby carriers available for hire and you can leave your buggy at the gate. We also saw a few people who had taken their buggy up the hill and tried to get it round the site.

As LM is too much of a fidget pants to be happy in a carrier we just carried her about in our arms. As I mentioned, we love a good castle so we very much enjoyed having a good explore of the ruins.

corfe castle

The views from the top of the hill are amazing and I loved seeing the steam train chugging by.


Afterwards we stopped at a little tea room and decided to have some cream tea in the gardens…. unfortunately we got completely swarmed by wasps which wasn’t fun and sacrificed our jam, moving it onto another table hoping the wasps would surround it instead of us. It worked very well thankfully but I have never seen so many wasps all crammed into a small pot of jam!

We tried to get a nice family selfie with corfe castle in the background and, well, it’s not great but not too terrible either. Not easy getting all 4 of us looking n the right direction!


Then it was time to have another fun little journey on the train back to Swanage. A lovely little day trip.

swanage 2

Do your kids love trains, and castles?

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National Trust Basildon Park, Reading

Whenever we go on a long car journey we generally try and find somewhere to stop off along the way for a run around and have a bit of lunch. On our journey down south for our Dorset holiday we looked at a few places around halfway and settled on Basildon Park near Reading – partly because it was a filming location for Downton Abbey (we very much enjoy the show), also because we have National Trust membership and it looked like it had some lovely grounds for Monkey to have a run around.


The house didn’t disappoint, though smaller than some (which, obviously, doesn’t make it small) it was still very grand and had some gorgeous rooms. We rarely go round inside but couldn’t resist seeing the rooms Downton was filmed in and were allowed to take some piccies.

Basildon park 1

The grounds were very lovely too and what made it really perfect was the fact that they have fantastic ball runs dotted around the grounds. Upon entry you pay a couple of pounds for a tennis ball and put your name on it. Then as you go exploring you come across various different ball runs throughout the park, which really are great fun.

The first was in the woods on the way up to the house. It is worth noting that there is a fairly steep walk up to the house from the car park which included a few steps that we carried the pushchair up.


Then there are various in the grounds, I loved these ones made out of big old logs and tree trunks – as did Monkey! He had great fun running backwards and forwards and putting the balls down holes and working out where they would come out.

Basildon park ball run

This big long one was brilliant too and Monkey had so much fun chasing his ball down and trying to catch it at the end. He managed a spectacular fall at one point though, literally going down head first (:() thankfully he was fine though and carried on running after a brief cuddle from Daddy!Basildon park ball run 2

There was also a great ball run which was perfect for older kids which had various bits and bobs so they could assemble it themselves. A bunch of kids were having great fun with it and had made a fantastic ball run which Monkey loved testing out – and once again, chasing his ball down to see which way it would go!

basildon park ball run 3

For her part LM enjoyed having a wander and watching her brother running about like a loony 🙂


It was the perfect little stop off on our journey and Monkey had so much fun that I actually wsh we lived nearer so we could revisit the ball run which will be there all summer. It is definitely worth a visit if you live nearby!

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Silly Selfie Videos – Me & Mine July 2015

You may have seen that we have been on a lovely holiday recently so it seems apt to share some of our lovely family shots while we were away. It can always be tricky getting photos of the whole family. We use our phones as cameras these days and don’t have a tripod so selfies are the best way to do it. BUT the front cameras on our phones aren’t that amazing (how I miss the Galaxy S6!) and my arms certainly aren’t long enough to get a good shot of four of us.

Enter the selfie stick! And a fab feature on hubs’ phone whereby you take a video with the main camera, and then can go back through, select the perfect frame and save a high resolution image. The downside is that you can’t see the screen so there is a bit of guesswork involved.

We did this a lot on our lovely holiday at some really gorgeous places so I have loads of family shots for this month’s Me & Mine. Some of the shots worked surprisingly well… but others less so. As after all we can’t see the screen and the stick moves around and we have a 3 year old and a 9 month old who aren’t always cooperative and who don’t always smile or look where we want them to. So sometimes there are 3 of us similing, sometimes we cut off heads, cut off whatever is in the background of the shot… and trying to make kiddies smile, oh the videos are amusing to watch!

So here are some of the best shots… and some amusing out-takes… and, purely for fun, one of the videos we took to get these shots!

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So if you fancy a chuckle have a look at one of the examples of the videos… one where Monkey is being particularly uncooperative and driving us potty! 🙂

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