I’ve loved reading everyone else’s 2020 summaries and couldn’t miss doing one myself to look back on years to come and remember how far we’ve come. Soon this will all be history!
2020 has been a challenge to put it mildly for everyone. The saying goes that we’re all going through the same storm in very different boats. We have laughed and cried, hugged, fallen out and made up again. There has been cheerful voices and shouty times too. We’ve had some highs and some very sad lows. Most of all we have so much to be thankful for still. We are lucky to have a nice home to lockdown in, where we’ve got a garden to play in and food on the table. Warmth when we need it and space to chill out.
Thankful for jobs that meant we were still getting paid every month but so hard to be good employees while juggling home school and a 2 year old. Grateful that a lot of my job could be adapted to work at home but glad I was able to be in when needed. Sometimes I’d feel jealous of those on furlough and time to help their children but am thankful we survived.
Proud of all my NHS colleagues who stepped up and went above and beyond without a second thought for themselves. Proud to work for the NHS. Thankful for all key workers and anyone who kept the country going through the dark times.
Missed seeing my family so much, but know we need to keep them safe. Missed meeting up with friends but learnt to adapt to Zoom get togethers. Thankful for friends and neighbours being there to help when we needed it.
Most of all ,for me thanks to my 2020 teammate Neil who I’ve tag teamed with all year, those early morning work logons, the late nights and the weekend check ins were worth it to juggle the homeschooling. Some days the boys did nothing but run feral but we got there in the end. They made it through unscathed!
I managed to keep running (to keep me sane and have some me time) and have clocked up 468miles (next years target is 874 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats).
I’ve drank way to much red wine and gin but if we look on the bright side I’ve expanded my wine and gin tasting palate!I taught myself woodwork and built the covered pergola and outdoor kitchen. Gaining tools and skills along the way, next years plan is new bathrooms and many more DIY jobs. My first tattoo was cancelled during lockdown 2.0 (much to my mums delight) but I will get it done eventually! (Sorry mum!)
2021 will be better, it has to be, we have no choice, we have to keep moving forward. For all my friends and family who’ve lost someone this year, my heart is with you and I hope you find comfort in those still here with us. 2021 lets have you, adventure is out there!
I’ve seen so many little posts recently about the turn of the decade and summaries and I really wanted to just sit down and think about the last decade for me. I wasn’t sure where to share this as I love to write but I’m not sure that the people of facebook want to read it so I chose here instead.
This is my space on the internet so why not use it for my summary. Theres probably only a handful of people who want to read it anyway and three of those people (the boys) won’t want to read it until many years to come I imagine.
When 2009 turned to 2010 I don’t remember people mentioning that it was the end of the decade as much as people seem to be at the moment. It’s really made me think about the last 10 years.
This decade was when all my children came into the world. My little niece too was born. They were all born within the same 10 year group. They have all only ever known one decade. They are now all entering their second decade on earth in terms of the calendar. Thats something pretty special.
2010 – The start of the decade. This was the year I found out I was pregnant with our oldest. It was December and it was a wonderful end of year surprise for us. 2011 looked like it was going to be amazing. By the next Christmas I’d be off on maternity leave as a new mum. It was also the last time we’d go to Walt Disney World without our own children.
2011 – This was the year that made me a mummy. Not just someones mummy but a mummy to Thomas. I was his mum and he needed me. born in August he was my sole focus for so long. It wasn’t easier. I thought it would be easier than it was but I got through it. As 2011 turned to 2012 we were in bed trying to get a precious little snatched sleep, he didn’t sleep though the night then so it was hard still and I hadn’t learnt to co-sleep safely so I didn’t know anything different than the constant tiredness.
2012 – Things picked up, I learnt things about Thomas and he taught me lots. I went back to work. I learnt to juggle being a mum and working. He left me for nursery, he started growing up. It was also the year Thomas first went to Walt Disney World, he loved it, we loved it. Memories were made.
2013 – In the summer of this year we decided that another baby is something we’d love to have and were blessed very quickly with another little person for me to cook. A person who would join us the year after. We went to Walt Disney again with Thomas and he was ever more grown up this time having turned 2. More memories were made.
2014 – When one became two and Felix was born at home in our first house together. Right there in the living room one magical morning he joined us, and one child became two. We were a family of four. Second time round I found it easier, I loved being off with Felix (and Thomas).
2015 – I went back to work again. early this time because we needed the money and I was eager to get back. Back to being someone other than Mum. I loved being mum but needed to be known as Jane again and use my brain more. I missed my job and the people I worked with. So with two in nursery we somehow made it work. I have no idea how. the other big surprise of the year was a house move. We’d both realised we’d outgrown our first house. It was never in the plan to be a family of 4 in that house. We both wrote a wish list and worked hard to manifest what we wanted. It all worked out amazingly. If I wrote the story you wouldn’t believe it but we are grateful everyday for the way it worked out. We got our dream house and after months of delays we moved in during November. The final last big even of 2015 was Thomas starting school. I was worried about him, he’d only just turned 4 and was off on his own. Who would hug him if he felt lonely. Who would help him at lunchtime? He did it though, he went off on his own and did it. I was so proud of the little dude.
2016 – Then came his school move, having moved house we also moved his school. Sad in some ways because he had settled really well and loved his teacher but the journey each day would have put stress on us and with a good school just 30 seconds walk away it seemed like a no brainer for him to change. In a way only Thomas can he settled really well in his new school. This year also held a shadow as Neil was out of work for 6 months, a worrying and stressful time that got him down. But we got through it and became strong for it. We survived and he was appointed to a new role. Back in work by the end of 2016. This was also a year with a high point which was Felix’s first trip to Walt Disney World. We made memories there knowing that life was on the back up for us.
2017 – I’d been aching for a third baby and this was the year it happened. We were lucky again to be able to grow another little person. This time he was born in November at home into my arms. He completed us, he was our little Roo. His first Christmas happened when he was a little over 3 weeks old. It was a chaotic time but we made it through.
2018 – Big year for big changes. With three smalls to care for and me on maternity a wonderful job opportunity came up and I went for it. I was so lucky to get the job and just as happy to cut short my maternity leave to start the role in September 2018. I love the job and still do. I am lucky to work with a bunch of lovely people who’ve welcomed me into the NHS trust and I’ve settled so well. Also we were lucky to get another trip to Walt Disney World in. This was by far one of the best we’ve had and memories were once again made as a family fo 5.
2019 – Now I’m a super positive person and I’ve had so so so many things to be grateful for this year which I have said thanks for. On the other side though it has been tough. But we did it as a team we made it through. I’ve had to stay in hospital with various children on three different occasions for a few nights at a time. It’s was really hard when Roo was so poorly on a couple of occasions earlier this year. I always feel so so bad when I can’t get into work because the children are ill. I spent mothers day in hospital but was grateful for a visit from the other two during the day. We did it though. We made it and for that I am so grateful.
So theres my whistle stop tour of the last 10 years.
I couldn’t have done it without my rock of a husband walking beside me in everything we do. I am so grateful we walk this path together.
Which brings me to the next 10, our hopes, dreams, wishes. So many things I’d like to do, accomplish and explore.
By the end of the next decade my children will be 18, 15 and 12……wait what!?
Thats beyond my comprehension! They will all be in secondary school (well Thomas will have left and be on to his next chapter in life.
Also apparently the millennium was 20 years ago….whaaaaaaa!!!
To my beautiful children, I love you to the moon and back and I can’t wait to see what the next ten years of adventures brings us as a family!
Rain rain go away, come again when schools are back!
Whats with this weather? Why has it not stopped rain gin for a week or so. Summer holidays are supposed to be about picnics and late nights in the garden. Not couped up indoors for days on end.
There was a light at the end of the tunnel for us last weekend when M&S offered us a picnic.
You may have seen that recently M&S launched their ‘Little Shop’ range. I was not involved with launching the campaign. I found out about it through my friend Sim who writes at Sim’s Life Blog. If you haven’t checked her out she’s an awesome lady! Anyway after I found out about the Little shop range the boys and I went into the store to buy some for ourselves. I’ve had a life long love of miniature things which started with dolls houses as a child, so these are perfect.
Little shop are miniature versions of M&S favourite products. You get one free with every £20 you spend in their food shop. You can then buy extras such as the trolley and display case.
After I spoke about them on instagram M&S contact us to see if we’d like to celebrate the limited edition Percy Pig golden money box with a picnic. I wan’t going to turn down some yummy food! So I picked up our gifted package of food all set for a fantastic weekend. I was not paid to write this post, I was not even asked to write about the food. I just chose to because it’s another family memory to keep for us.
Given the weather forecast a carpet picnic and film day it was for us. M&S gifted us the ingredients for their new Chris Baker Steak sandwich with chimichurri recipe. Cooking is right up Neils street so he was very chuffed to be able to get stuck in. I have to say the chimichurri was amazing and tasted so fresh.
The thing that surprised me the most was something I probably wouldn’t have chosen but my goodness they are good. I’m so glad we got to try them, we will definitely be buying more! And that was the Plant Kitchen Cauliflower Popcorn. They cone with a spicy buffalo dip and are vegan too.
This was also Roo’s favourite thing of the day, he ate an awful lot of them!
So thanks to M&S for brightening up what was otherwise a dreary day, we ate amazing yummy food, watched films and stayed dry. Now if the sun would just come out that would end the week nicely!
Since it’s the summer holidays (again, where did that year go?) I thought I’d write a post about how I try to keep my boys healthy. This post was inspired by KidsKalm by probio7. They recently reached out to me to see if I’d like to write about the product. I agreed I’d be more than happy to since I already buy and give KidsKalm powders for Roo. I haven’t been paid for this post but I was sent a months supply for my use by them.
Summer is a time for us when we need to juggle childcare and hopefully enjoy some holidays time, so now more than ever I want the boys to be healthy. No one wants their children to be ill on holidays. If you’ve been reading my blog a while you’ll know I suffer from emetophobia (the fear of sickness) and I’ve written about it before here. So any illness in my boys triggers anxiety in me.
So bearing that in mind I thought I’d write about my top 5 tips for keeping them healthy, things I do everyday.
1. Drink Water
Leave reusable bottle lying around the house, or if they are at holiday clubs send them in with water. Water is great for keeping hydrated and keeping you well. Dehydration is not fun and can make children (and adults) really poorly.
2. Wash Hands
This is a very important one. Always after using the toilet and before eating. Teach your children how to wash properly, with soap and running water. Taking their time to make sure they’ve washed all the areas including fingertips and palms.
3. Daily Probiotics
I’ve been giving my boys probiotics since they were all around 9 months. Once they started eating solid foods and picking up all sorts of things form floors to chew on I wanted to make sure they had a healthy gut. Probiotics are putting the good bacteria in your tummy that help keep you healthy to support good digestion and immune health. The last few months I’ve been using Probio 7 KidsKalm powders. The powder is tasteless and can be put on food or added to cold drinks. It’s vegan and the great thing is unlike a lot of children’s probiotics you don’t need to keep them in the fridge.
4. Exercise and Fresh Air
Theres nothing worse than feeling sluggish after you’ve done nothing but sit around all day. I try to get the boys out at least once a day even if it’s just the garden for a while. If its rainy or cold dress up for the weather and just get outside. You never know how much fin you can have until you’ve seen a puddle through the eyes of a toddler!
5. Balanced Diet
It’s all too easy in the summer holidays to go from one day to the next wondering what to feed the small people. Especially if they are like mine and just constantly want to eat things!
So during the day if we are at home and they want something to eat there are a few rules. If it’s a snack they want before they have anything unhealthy then they must have some fruit and water. IF after that they still want something then they can have up to two small unhealthy snacks a day. They are not allowed snacks pithing 45 minutes of a main meal. If they are hungry they can wait until the meal is ready. And the last thing is having a drink before a snack incase their hunger is actually thirst!
All these rules do go out of the window if we are on an actual holiday though and not at home. On holiday there are no rules and they can pretty much enjoy what they want. Everything in moderation so if adults can indulge on a holiday so can the smalls as long as they eat healthy while at home.
I’m so so happy for you both. I can’t wait for you to make your announcement about the baby whenever that might be. I know how annoying it is for people to be asking if the babies here yet. I’m not asking, I know you’ll tell me when it’s arrived. I just want you to know I’m constantly thinking about you both.
So many people will try and give you advice. I know it’s annoying. I won’t give you advice. Or at least I’ll try my best not to. If you ask I can tell you what I did in situations but it’s not advice and you will be lead by your own instincts in making the right decisions for you and your family.
I’m sure lots of people have told you how hard a baby is. It really is and soon you’ll be there yourself. But in so many many more ways it’s the best thing in the whole world. Enjoy it, every single second.
Do what ever feels right to you for your baby. You will become a team together. Sometimes a tag team! But do what you feel. They don’t come with a handbook. There are books, but they’re not written about your baby and you.
Be kind. I mean to each other. Of course you’ll be kind to the small person. It’s so easy especially when you’re tired to snipe at each other. Take an extra moment to be kind, kind words, kind actions. Tiredness is a bitch, but it won’t last forever, I promise that.
Take time for each other, to admire and gaze at the small person you made. Make each other a brew if you have a spare hand. Throw a load of washing in if you can, but don’t expect to have everything the way you used to.
You will both change, after all you will be known as mum and dad. But it’ll be an amazing change. Stay close.
Don’t make decisions in the night, nights are hardest but I promise things always look better in the daylight. Someone once said it to me and it’s absolutely true. If you hold onto one thing hold on to that.
I can’t wait to meet the small person you created. I can’t wait to hug them and you both.
And lastly, the nights and days may be long but the years so short. Hold the baby as much as you can. They grow so quickly.
Ever since I can remember I’ve loved making things clean, tidy and organised. As a little girl although my bedroom probably wasn’t that tidy I loved the idea of organising it. I likes to move furniture around, rearrange. Since I moved out 14 years ago I’ve loved making my own home tidy. As I sit here now typing this I can see from the corner of my eye that there’s a packet of baby wipes on the floor and not in the drawer, it’s bothering me!
I hate things being out of place. I get cross when people don’t put things back properly or leave things dirty. I was over the moon when one of my surprises at Christmas was a wifi controlled robot vacuum cleaner! (Which at some point I need to write a review for…spoiler I love it!)
Thats why I’m so thankful for the current craze of cleaning and organising. It’s made me realise that I clean things not for anyone else. I clean things to make myself feel better. I struggle to relax and always think that if I’m sat down not doing much I should instead be cleaning or tidying.
I read the Maire Kondo book back in 2014 way before it was main stream and a Netflix series. I even wrote a blog post about it. At the time there were no guides for how to fold but I read the book and followed the instructions.
My drawers have stayed the same since 2014. You couldn’t get the book in bookstores back then or in a supermarket it was not mainstream. I used to mention the book to friends but no-one had heard of it. Now everyone knows who Kon-Marie is! Now theres a whole series on Netflix starring her.
Theres also been a rise in social media ‘cleaners’. Theres a few books out. I’ve not read them but I’m sure they are great. I love that I can pop on instagram and have wonderful pictures of tidy houses and cleaning products straight away according to who I follow.
So it’s now socially ok to love clean and tidy. It’s ok for me to list it as a hobby. I realise its totally normal to love this stuff and I’m thankful for the current craze!
So my boy survived his first night at beaver camp, and he’s home!
Thomas is only 7. He waited a long time on the waiting list to join our local beaver pack. Are beavers called a pack? So he’s been going every week now for a few months. This last weekend was his first camp. It was only for one night. I was nervous. He was excited.
I followed the advised packing list and tried to stay practical. There wasn’t much on it, the basics. A torch, sleeping bag, mat. Some utensils, clothes, wash items etc. I added a couple of extra bits myself which were: a half pack of baby wipes, some snacks (he gets hangry!) and a migraine kit for him. I’ve written before about his migraines. If you want to read about it the post is here. and as he’d had one just last weekend I thought it was wise to be prepared. I was hoping of course he wouldn’t get one but I just wanted him to be able to ask for help and deal with it early. It seems the earlier we get him some medicines the better he copes with it.
His camping night was Saturday to Sunday but we went up on the Thursday to help set up all the tents and let them get used to the surroundings. I did my parent bit and helped out.
It did make me want to go camping as a family though. I just need to save up for a tent! The one we really like is this one but its really expensive so requires lots of saving first!
When Saturday came I was nervous again for him, worried that my baby would be cold or lonely in the night and there’d be no one there for him. Obviously the beaver leaders were there but its not his mum. But I knew I had to let him go. Let him do his thing and go have fun.
Kit was packed, drop off looming, one last photo outside our house to remember the moment……..
….and off we go!
I got his bed set up and said goodbye, so thankful it was a sunny weekend!
Thank goodness for facebook. The leaders were able to update their page with photos throughout the day. I could see he was having fun.
When evening came , back at home we sat outside for dinner. I was sweltering. With my paranoid mum head kicking in I text the beaver leader to ask him to tell thomas that if it was hot to sleep on top of his sleeping bag. Since all I’d packed him were fleecy pj’s, fluffy socks, a thick sleeping bag and a blanket. As it turned out it did cool down. Why do I always forget that in the UK as soo as the sun goes down it pretty much cools down quickly. I always think it’s like Florida where it stays hot all night!
Felix wanted his own campfire at home, so we set one up and sat outside in the evening sunlight which was lovely.
And so after a sleepless night worrying about if he was ok, it was time to pick him up.
He was tired…..very very tired….filthy.. but happy. He’d had a ball! He was still in pj’s so I helped to pack his stuff up and tidy up the camp. We took him home and pretty much threw him straight into the shower! He even admitted himself that the shower felt good and he felt so much better after it. I’m not surprised the amount of dirt that came off him!
So thank you to all those that made the weekend camp possible. They all seemed to have an absolute ball! Roll on next years camp!
A couple of weeks ago I decided to vlog on my day off. I never linked it through on to the blog so thought I’d pop up a quick post with the link so that I know where it is for future and when the boys read through the blog.
It’s nothing particular exciting but to me its daily life which I want the boys to be able to see when they are grown up. My vlogs were never designed to be as good as many of the fantastic bloggers that I watch but I just want to document our days.
We are lucky enough to live within an hours drive of lots of beaches. My favourite beach currently is at St Annes. Any visit to the beach isn’t complete without beach day essentials.
We go to St Annes quite a lot when the weather is hot enough to stay on the beach all day. I love St Annes because the beach is always clean, there’s lots of room and shops within walking distance.
I’ve got packing for the beach down to a tee now although theres always room for improvement so please do let me know if theres something I’ve missed.
Beach Essential List
We have had a few beach shelters in our time. The one we found to be most useful is a pop up one as it offers the most protection from the sun as well as being ready in seconds. My only word of warning though is practice putting it down before you use it on the beach for the first time! Once you know how to put it down its really easy to do in future. You don’t want to look like a complete fool on the beach though when you come to pack up! This one is a fab pop up version as it has mesh panels which are great if its windy!
When you think of a beach wind break, you think big stripes and poles. Thats exactly what I’m talking about. I made the mistake first of buying one that you would use at camping and on the beach its no good as the poles you drive into the ground aren’t sturdy enough for sand. You need to get one with big wooden poles. This one is so cheery and I love it!
Use this once your set up to store your valuables in so you know where they are when it’s time to leave. Things such as house keys, car keys, wallet, purse etc. The last thing you want to do is get to the end of a wonderful day to find that you’ve lost your car keys in the sand somewhere when they fell out of your pocket! As the description says the bag will keep things dry (and most importantly safe!)
4. Picnic Basket
Apart from the obvious a picnic basket is great for storing all your food in to keep it cool of rite day. IF you get a silver lined one like below the frozen ice packs will keep your food and drink nice and cool all day long. Be sure to store it in the shade of the sun shelter though.
Rather than lugging big fold out chairs with us to the beach we prefer these anywhere chairs as they literally fold up when your done and are so easy and light to carry. The weight of your bottom makes a great support for the back part and as a breastfeeding mum you defiantly need that when feeding on a beach. No one wants to come home with a sore back after a day in the sun!
I always take one or two travel towels with us. They are super lightweight but absorb a lot of liquids. Great for drying of wet children (if they venture into the sea) or mopping up spills if there are any in the sun shelter.
7. Bucket and Spades
It’ kind of obvious but I forget nearly everytime and end up having to buy more! Theres so many great sets you can pick up for making sand castles etc. Our boys use the buckets and spades in all sorts of different games using their imagination.
8. Picnic Blankets
Now I’ve purposely written picnic blankets as a plural because we always need more than one. We use one to line the bottom of the sunshade tent to sit on then one out a little bit onto the sand for picnics etc. They are not expensive but save wet bottoms for those not wanting to sit on any wet sand! Again they fold up small and are lightweight.
9. Travel Potty
Ive had this one for years, its fab! You can use swing bin liner bags so nothing to tip away. I line it with cheap sanitary pads (the really cheap value ones)
There are other things we take too like spare clothes just in case I need to change the boys. Of course all the things that you need with a baby nappies etc. As long as I’ve got the above items though I feel like we are set up for a fab day on the beach. Is there anything else you like to take? I’d love to know so please drop me a line in the comments below!
I’ve dropped the link below for the short video I made of our day out!
Items on this list are affiliate links which means if you click through to buy an item I will get a couple of pence at NO EXTRA cost to you at all.
Week 3 of the new year already, how is time once again evading me?
As we are getting a new kitchen soon (from Ikea) there have been a few trips there ad back, in fact this week we went twice! The first time we went with my mum and had some lunch there on my day off during the week. This cheeky face loved his pasta, with peas and a side of chips!
He’s also getting very funny. He is obsessed with glasses and always trying to steal Thomas’ from his face. We are trying to make him stop by giving him his own sunglasses to play with.
He doesn’t sleep in his own bed yet and still sleeps with me so in the evenings I tend to sit down while he falls asleep on me. Sometimes he stays awake longer because he’s not tired. On Tuesday evening this week he was awake for ages while I was watching some Walt Disney World vlogs on youtube. Every time he saw a character on the screen he would smile, wave and get excited. It was such an adorable moment to see. Capturing his innocence and excitement at seeing Mickey mouse again.
By Friday though he was sickening for something and was really many and had a high temperature. Thankfully I made it through most of my work day before I got the call from nursery to go and collect him.
Most of the weekend was spent cuddling him and trying to make him comfortable, he really wasn’t happy. We managed a quick trip to Ikea again on Sunday. This time for breakfast and to pick up some other things we needed. I’m trying desperately to get the garage sorted out as that’s where the kitchen will be delivered to so we need lots of extra room to store it until it starts to get fitted a few days later.
Hubby took some lovely photos at breakfast and even took one of me. I’m going to share them so the boys have them in future.
Thomas managed an adult size breakfast! He’s frowning up far too quickly.
Felix just wanted to make a sandwich with his bacon and sausage which he enjoyed.
By Sunday night to was clear poor Roo really wasn’t well, I tried to let his fever run as long as possible and it peaked at 39.9 in the evening before it broke and started coming down. A fever is the bodies way of fighting and killing off the infection so I knew it was the best thing for him. I cuddled him through it and carried on breastfeeding when he wanted it. Although he’s now suffering the after effects with a snotty nose and a cough he’s certainly much better in himself and doesn’t have a temperature anymore thankfully! Hubby ordered pizza for tea as no one wanted to cook and with Roo being poorly we just thought it was the easiest thing to do. Pizza left over was going to be Mondays tea!