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Category: Monthly Family Roundups

  1. Monthly Family Roundup: December 2017

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    Welcome to my latest monthly family roundup.  Once a month I look back through our photos and my planner to record the highlights of the previous month.  It’s a great way to create an online scrapbook that I, hubby and the children can look back on for years to come.  I always think that even if the rest of my blog fails somehow one day, I’d still write these posts and use my blog as an online memory book for me and the children.  I bet they’ll love reading through this category when they’re grown up.

    December was clearly a very busy month!  With the kids having chicken pox, Christmas prep and the two weeks school holidays it was quite full on and also quite stressful at times!  Trying to work self-employed is pretty impossible when the kids are at home.  At ages 2 and 5 it’s constant when they’re here.  Plus Ben had some time off over Christmas so we had lots of family days.  It is definitely a downside to being self-employed.  Taking time off not only means I don’t get paid as there’s no holiday pay, but it also means I get less work as a part of what I do involves me actively finding work every day.  So if I’m not working I’m missing out on potential future work as well as pay for that day.  2017 was my first year being full time self-employed so everything is still a learning curve.  Hopefully I will work out when I’ll need to take time off such as over Christmas and be able to work out the best way to do this or when quiet patches are.

    Catch up on some of my previous family roundups here:
    June 2017

    July 2017
    August 2017
    September 2017
    October 2017
    November 2017

    Here’s what we got up to in December 2017:

    New shoes

    It always seems like the kids feet grow together.  They must be in sync.  Both Bella and Reuben’s feet went up at the same time.  They were both complaining of their shoes hurting in the same week.  We took them to get measured and Bella had increased a whole size in one and a size and a half in the other foot.  Reuben had gone up half a size.  This meant an evening of trawling round the shops looking for a pair of boys’ trainers and girl’s shoes and boots.  We can get away with one pair of new shoes for Reuben, but Bella needs the lot.  School pumps, dance trainers, wellies for home and school, school shoes, school boots, play shoes.  Hopefully now her feet won’t grow for another year at least!

    Monthly Family Roundup December 2017 (4)

    Monthly Family Roundup December 2017 (3)

    Santa Special at Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Steam Railway

    This was amazing!  I’d heard from other people over the years how good it is and always wanted to go.  We’d not been on the steam train before and have always wanted to, so we finally booked the Santa Special and had a ride!  It must have been so magical for the children.  We travelled from Cheltenham to Winchcombe (aka North Pole) where we visited Santa in his grotto, well a train carriage!  It’s such a fun idea for the kids to see Santa and I’d recommend it.

    December 2017 Monthly Family roundup

    Snow!

    We had snow, real snow!  It is the first time the kids have seen real life snow so super exciting.  The last time we had snow that settled was when Bella was a baby so she'd not experienced it before.  The kids even had two snow days as the school was closed.  It was freezing and I detest the cold, but we went for a walk so they could have a play and crunch through the snow.

    Monthly Family Roundup December 2017 (1)

    Chicken Pox and the struggle of working from home

    The chicken pox saga continued as Reuben had his into the start of December so another 6 days of illness and me being at home with him.  On one hand it’s brilliant being self-employed so I have the flexibility to look after the kids when ill, but on the other hand it’s difficult as I can’t take a day’s holiday pay as that doesn’t exist when working for myself. Plus I’m the only one who can do the work, I can’t pass it on to anyone else if I can’t be there to do it.  It just has to wait and build up or I have to do it with the kids here as that’s how it has to be for me to make an income.  Hopefully this will get easier as the kids get older as Reuben is only two years old, so he needs a lot more looking after at this age.

    On a more positive note, at least he had it at the start of the month and not over Christmas.  Plus that’s all the chicken pox done in our household.  Woohoo!

    Related post: Common Childhood Illnesses: Colds, Chicken Pox and Conjunctivitis

    Monthly Family Roundup December 2017 (5)

    Monthly Family Roundup December 2017 (6)

    Monthly Family Roundup December 2017 (7)

    Christmas

    Obviously we enjoyed Christmas and the holidays in December.  The kids had two weeks and two days off school.  The first week they went to a holiday club so I could work as it’s impossible when they’re here.  The second week was the Christmas week and Ben only had to go to work one day, so we enjoyed lots of family time. 

    We had my mum and sister here on the day and we did a roast dinner.  A veggie one for me, Bella and my Mum.  Ben, my sister and Reuben had some chicken breasts.

    We had Ben’s sister and brother with their partners/kids over on the 27th.  We always do Christmas at one of our homes and it was the first year at ours.  We had a buffet and the kids loved playing with their cousins.

    We do Christmas at Ben’s Dad’s too so that was the following Saturday.  Plus a Christmas meet up at my mum’s with my uncle and Grandad.  We always see Ben’s best friend and his family too.

    So it was a busy week!

    For New Year’s we just stayed at home.  We planned to go to bed at a normal time around 10pm, but got sucked into watching Making a Murderer on Netflix so stayed up until just past midnight!  We’re not very rock and roll here on New Year’s eve since having kids!  The all-nighters are well behind me thank goodness.

    I do really want to go away for Christmas, so we’re going to look into a few days away next year.  It’s the perfect time for me to go away as I have no work for the Christmas week or very little.  Plus Ben usually has some time off.

    Monthly Family Roundup December 2017 (8)

    Monthly Family Roundup December 2017 (9)

    One to One Swimming Lessons

    Bella had her final lesson at her old swimming class just before the Christmas holidays and is now only having the private lessons.  She’s had three so far and they’ve gone really well.  I can definitely see a massive difference compared to the class lessons.  She’s not the most confident in the water and after a year of being in a class of six she hadn’t progressed much at all.  I know she’ll not be a natural water baby and that’s not what I was expecting, but because she isn’t confident in the water I can tell she just needs a bit more time and attention to do things.  In a class of six the teacher was unable to give this to her as she had other children waiting.  In a private lesson Bella gets all the attention and I really think it’s what she needs to boost her confidence and help her progress.  I feel happy we tried the class for one year to see, especially as at the trial I suggested her maybe needing private lessons and they suggested the class would be better.  I think sometimes we know our children best!

    Related posts:
    Mummy Guilt: Forcing My Daughter to Swim
    Proud Mummy: Encouraging My Daughter to Swim

    At the moment I can’t remember what else we did. I usually look back through my planner whilst I write these blog posts, but I threw it in the bin once we hit January!  Oops!  I’ve been bugging Ben to upload his photos to our family network so once he does I might find some more things to add.

    Until next time.

    monthly family roundup December 2017

    *collaborative post

  2. Monthly Family Roundup: What we got up to in October 2017

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    Crikey, it’s nearly time for my November roundup and I’m only just sitting down to do my October roundup.  Which I had actually forgotten about if I’m honest!  Things have been hectic busy here.  I feel overwhelmed constantly and I see no time of it stopping any time soon.  The life of a mum is just crazy.  And yes, I said MUM.  Hubby may very well think he has it hard, but in all honesty I am jealous of him and his child free 40 work hours to dedicate to work each week!

    Try attempting to work 40 hours a week when you only have 19 hours kid free, run your own business, cook almost all the family meals (healthy and mostly from scratch), organise the kids activities, school pickups, after school clubs, school events, homework, do the family finances, know when everyone’s appointments are, be your hubby’s personal assistant, do the majority of the housework and now throw in looking after the chickens too (which hubby was doing) as it’s too dark when hubby gets back from work, be everyone’s tidier upper, stay active and go to the gym, do all the family shopping,  oh and keep on top of decluttering the house/sorting through wardrobes, etc, as the kids constantly grow out of stuff.  It’s exhausting.  I feel nonstop and like I need ten of me, so each one of me can concentrate on just one thing!

    Rant over.

    But seriously.  Here's one thing I asked Ben to do in October and how it went:

    Monthly family roundup october 2017 (1)

     

    *Rolls eyes* and tuts 'men!'

    I thought we had lots of trips out last month, but we didn’t really do a great deal in terms of outings.  It must be because I was so busy with everything else that it felt like a packed month.

    Catch up on my previous family roundups here:
    June 2017

    July 2017
    August 2017
    September 2017

    Here’s what we got up to in October 2017:

    Joining a Gym

    I’m finally back at a gym since having kids.  Yay!  I’d been running and walking lots since having the kids, but I really missed going to a gym.  Pre kids I was always a member of a gym and/or regularly went running each week with a nearby friend.  I also walked two miles to work and then back again after and stood on my feet all day at work moving around.  I like being active and feeling fit, but lost this a little once I had kids. 

    I didn’t want to risk any injuries or harm to the baby so aside from walking to places, I stopped my gym membership and outdoor running when I first became pregnant.  I then read it’s not a good idea to do strenuous exercise for at least six months (and some say the entire time you breastfeed, which was almost one year for me) as the muscles are relaxed and may never boing back if overworked.  Or something like that.  Don’t quote me on that!  So anyway, I didn’t want to take the risk.

    For around one year I started running again quite regularly in-between Bella being one and getting pregnant again, but stopped once I became pregnant with Reuben.  We’d also looked at some gym memberships in this time, but they were a bit too expensive for us at that time.  Plus I was working every week evening so I couldn’t go with Bella in the day.

    The nearest gyms to us here are both quite expensive.  A gym in a spa hotel or David Lloyd.  Pre kids I only went to a basic gym with no pool or frills, but it had a running machine and cross trainer which is all I needed.  It was only about £10 a month, so gyms near us for £60 a month seemed extortionate.   That was until a couple of months ago when I discovered David Lloyd has a crèche!

    Oh yes.  Childcare whilst I go to the gym – perfect!

    Monthly family roundup october 2017 (3)

    The start of my gym journey - time to say bye-bye mum bum

    Me and Ben could tag team it and go on different evenings, but I’d quit my evening job earlier (going full-time self-employed instead) this year with the hope of spending more time with Ben.  If we both went different evenings we’d barely see each other.  So we wanted somewhere we can go together and do it as an activity with one another.

    So we signed up to David Lloyd on the first of October and we love it.  Or at least I do!

    It’s probably another reason I have no time or felt super busy in October as I’ve been going 4-6 times a week, so that’s an extra 4-6+ hours of my time gone from my week!  I think it’s worth it though as health is so important.  I’ve been doing aqua, clubbercise, swimming and running mostly.  I do aqua and clubbercise once per week, then I run 5k 2-3 times per week.  I add a short swim to the end of my runs most of the time or before aqua class. 

    Then I relax in the steam room, sauna and jacuzzi for 5 minutes each.  Perfect!

    I’ve really been enjoying going back to a gym and I’m now even a convert to one with frills. 

    Bella Swimming

    Bella has passed her Duckling 2 badge in swimming so finally got to move up a class!  Yay!  She started swimming in January and had been in the same class ever since.  She’s not so confident in water so it’s been slow progress, but at the same time amazing progress as we know how petrified she was before.  Now she’ll swim off by herself with her armbands or a float and do lengths of the pool.  Before she would cling to us, terrified of the pool.

    She’s moved from minnows to shrimps class.  Go Bella!

    Monthly family roundup october 2017 (2)

    Making echos in Daddy's cement mixer and #twinning

    Half Term – CBeebies Land Hotel & Potty Training

    Originally I wanted to go away for the half term break when planning it back in the summer.  Ben booked it off work early in the summer, so we were deciding on plans a long time ago.  Ben really wanted some time at home to get some woodwork and jobs around the house completed, so we compromised.  We decided on a one night stay and two full days away, with the rest of the week at home.

    I knew exactly where we should go.

    The new CBeebies hotel!

    Monthly family roundup october 2017 (8)

    I knew the kids would love it and we’d never stayed at Alton Towers before so we could tick it off the list.

    Read my full review here: My Very Honest CBeebies Land Hotel Review

    Monthly family roundup october 2017 (6)

    Lucky we did stay at home as Ben purchased a workshop (large shed type thing) and needed a few days straight to build it.  I took this opportunity to potty train Reuben…

    It seemed perfect as I never usually have a block of days with him at home, so we rolled up the rugs, put potties everywhere and stayed at home for almost 6 full days.

    It’s going (still going on now) pretty well.  Some days he’s perfect and others he has a few accidents.  We’ve trained a bit earlier than we did Bella, but he seems very keen to do it.

    Monthly family roundup october 2017 (7)

    Halloween

    At the end of the half term we took the children to a Halloween disco!  Bella had great fun dressing up and visiting the haunted house they’d set up to make slime and have spiders painted on her!  Unfortunately the disco was really loud, like insanely loud for young children, so she wanted to leave as soon as the music started!  We’ll take some ear protectors if we go next year!

    Monthly family roundup october 2017 (9)

    Eye Test

    Just bunging this boring thing in here, but if you’ve read this far, there is a reason!  I had my two yearly eye test and for the first time ever it wasn’t at Specsavers.  I went to Tesco opticians as they have FREE EYE TESTS.  Yep, for everyone.  Always free. No obligation to buy.  So don’t waste money on eye tests, go to Tesco and always have them for free.

    Christmas

    Plans for Christmas are underway and we have been arranging Christmas week.  I’ll leave you with a few festive themed blog posts from my blog in October:

    Stocking filler ideas for a 5 year old girl including Hawkins Bazaar
    Organise Your Money this Christmas with a Budget Planner
    How to prepare your home for guests this Christmas #GetChristmassy
    Christmas Comes Early: My First Scalextric Review

    MONTHLY FAMILY ROUNDUP WHAT WE GOT UP TO IN OCTOBER 2017

  3. Monthly Family Roundup: What we got up to in September 2017

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    Another month of 2017 done and dusted, can you believe it?  I just had a quick skim read of my August 2017 family roundup and even though this month has flown by, August seems like forever ago - perhaps because it has well and truly turned into autumn here in Gloucestershire.  We’ve had the surprising warm day, but otherwise it’s like someone switched a switch to autumn as soon as September arrived.  I can’t believe only one month ago we were sunning ourselves on a beach in the UK!

    Our months are always filled with so many activities too.  Every day is busy nowadays.  Especially now Bella is back at school and she currently does four extracurricular activities!  Reuben is also back at playgroup and I’m back to working more in the day times and less in the evenings.

    Catch up on my previous family roundups here:
    June 2017

    July 2017
    August 2017

    Here’s what we got up to in September 2017:

    Monthly Family Roundup What we got up to in September 2017 (1)

    Bella 5 years 3 months

    It’s probably been the busiest month for Bella as she started back at school and is now in year one!  I can’t believe she’s completed a whole year of school and is no longer in reception.  She settled back well and likes her new teacher. 

    She’s also continued with dance after school and now does drama too.  She also goes to the after school club once per week and has swimming lessons on Saturday mornings.   She’s very busy!

    We’ve just joined our local David Lloyd recently so she’s also going there 3 times a week, but that’s more just to play in the kids club.

    Bella got ‘writer of the week’ and a certificate one week, and she also got to bring home a ‘dance bear’ for one week for great dancing in dance.

    Her reading and writing are coming on so well.  They have three new books a week in year one so we read every day, plus one homework per week.  There’s also two online apps we use in partnership with the school – Bug Club (Active Learning) and Mathletics.  I’ve popped my old broken laptop into Bella’s bedroom so she usually spends ten minutes or so doing these online whilst we get everything ready for bedtime.  The main difference so far in year one, for us, is the increased reading books.  Bella also has to take them in every day for guided reading at school.  I’ve noticed her reading improve considerably in jut the four weeks she’s been back at school.

    Monthly Family Roundup What we got up to in September 2017 (3)

    Reuben 2 years 6 months

    Reuben is now at playgroup for 18 hours per week.  He does two 9am to 12pm sessions and two 9am to 3pm sessions.  He has a Friday off as that session is reserved for those starting school the following September only.

    He’s been getting on well and they always comment on how able he is and independent, even though the older children try to help him, he’d rather do it himself!  There’s only two others who are younger than him, so he’s a baby one!  It’s mainly a preschool, but they can start from age 2.  Reuben is now 2.5 years old.

    We have the odd morning where he’s been kicking off!  But usually because it’s started from home when he’s not wanted me to put his coat or shoes on, so he’s had a tantrum all the way to dropping Bella off and then continues once I get to his playgroup!

    His language is coming on so much and we’re always surprised every day by the new words he’s saying.

    Monthly Family Roundup What we got up to in September 2017 (5)

    Ben

    Ben has been busy working in the garden mainly.  He built a roofed veranda on the back of the house.  The structure itself is finished, but we just need some decking and furniture at some point.  He’s started preparing a base for a workshop which he’ll build in October. He bought a pressure washer and sprayed our huge patio, so it’s looking nice and clean now.  I’m sure we’ve done the odd thing in the house, but I can’t remember now!  We still have a whole A4 list of jobs to complete continuing with our renovation and making the house our own.  The next indoor project is building a custom TV unit in the corner of our living room.  Ben put the TV up on the wall last night and we’ve ordered a rustic oak shelf in a custom size to slot into the corner.  Ben is always working on something in our house/garden and our list always seems neverending! 
    You can find Ben and see some of his projects at http://wood-create.com

    Monthly Family Roundup What we got up to in September 2017 (2)

    Me

    I’ve been settling into working in the day now the children are back at school/playgroup.  It’s great to not have to stay up so late every evening as I know I can get work completed in the day times without distraction.
    I’ve also been working out every day now.  I’m determined to get rid of my mum bum!  I was already walking one hour a day and running once or twice a week, but I wanted to up this and get super fit.  I’ve got obsessed with healthy eating over the past few years and now I need to get obsessed with being active. 
    Since the children returned to school I’ve started yoga again.  I’ve done this at least five times per week so far and sometimes every day.  I do anywhere from 10 minutes to 40 minutes at home.  There are lots of great YouTube videos so there’s really no excuse!  I’m also doing lots of glute exercises and aiming for at least 10 minutes a day.
    I was going to Tewkesbury aqua aerobics for four weeks, but we’ve just joined David Lloyd so I went there instead this week.  I’ve also signed up for Zumba this week.  I’m also going another 3 days to use the gym, so I’ll be going five times this week, plus doing my exercises at home and walking one hour per day most days!
    I love the feeling of being fit and healthy, so I hope I start to feel even more amazing in a few weeks.  I’m also looking forward to Ben going and toning up!
    At home, aside from working lots, I decluttered and listed everything on eBay!  We currently have nothing left to sell and no clutter at all, until the kids grow out of clothes/toys.  I made an extra £188 from my personal eBay this month which you can read about here:
    Income Report September 2017: Discover how I made over £2600 working from home
    I love clearing out and only having what we need.  It makes me feel at peace!
    I’ve also done all my Christmas shopping in September!  You may roll your eyes now or say ‘No, not the C word already!’ I wanted to budget for it early and make sure we had lots of money in October to November to really enjoy ourselves and not stress about all the outgoings.  It means we won’t be skint in December now and I’ll probably do this every year.

     

    Please pin me:

    Monthly Family Roundup What we got up to in September 2017

     

  4. Monthly Family Roundup: What we got up to in August 2017

    Posted on

    Monthly Family Roundup: What we got up to in August 2017

    Eek we’re a third of the way through September and I’ve only just found the time to sit down and share what we got up to in August.  This involves looking back through my planner to remember everything as with mum brain I just can’t remember it all off the top of my head!  I know we did an awful lot though as it was the summer holidays.  Ben is sat next to me now as I type as I’ve badgered him for his photos.  I don’t even think I’ve looked through his photos for the whole summer holidays so it’s a great way for me to recall everything we did and have a nosey through his pics!

    Catch up on my previous family roundups here:
    What we got up to in June 2017

    What we got up to in July 2017

    Here’s what we got up to in August 2017:

    Visit family in Germany

    The first Monday to Friday we went to Germany to visit some of Ben’s family.  Ben’s mum is German and we visit Ben’s gran (who is 93, wow), his uncle and cousins.  It was the first time we’ve been since Ben’s mum passed away last year so I think we both felt a little emotional about going.  The last time we went was August last year and we’d been with Ben’s mum.  It was the fifth time we’ve been as a family and three of the times were with Ben’s mum, so it is a big reminder.  We had a great time and it’s so great to see Ben’s gran and how happy she is to see us and spend time with the children.

    fluggenhofsee swimming lake munster Monthly Family Roundup - What we got up

    Oh, the kids were ill for two days!  The first day Reuben was sick all over the car!  We arrived late on the Monday, like past midnight into Tuesday, and they still got up early before 7am.  So I think lack of sleep and travelling just got to him!  He’s never sick in the car, so we weren’t prepared at all.  We had nothing with us and had to drive back to Ben’s uncle’s where we were staying to get everything washed and Reuben changed!  The next day Reuben was fine, but Bella threw up!  So perhaps it was a bug, we just don't know, but Bella was also fine the next day.

    A poorly Bella:

    A poorly bella in munster germany - Monthly Family Roundup - What we got up

    We didn’t do too much whilst there as the children were sick and it’s mostly to visit family, but we did manage a trip to Soltau Therme.  It has a huge pool and kids swimming pool, but the best part is the salt pools.  There’s a separate salt swimming pool which has natural salty mineral water.  There’s a salty pool to swim in both indoors and out, plus there are several Jacuzzi type pools with different temperatures and salt concentrations.  The best thing is they allow kids in all the pools.  I don’t know of anything in the UK that allows children and has so many different types of spa pools.

    Fluggenhofsee munster germany swimming lake beach - Monthly Family Roundup

    We also visited Fluggenhofsee which was walking distance from Ben’s uncle’s house in Munster.  Fluggenhofsee is a clear swimming lake with a beach to two sides – one for families and another for dogs.  On the larger family side there is a great adventure playpark.  There’s a path around the lake for a walk and some animals to see on the other side.  The German children had gone back to school a day or so before we went so we had the place to ourselves!  Oh, one lady did turn up on her bicycle, strip off and go for a swim in the lake!  It’s in the middle of residential areas, so I thought how amazing the locals can just come here for a swim every day for free and surrounded by nature – bliss!

    Soltau Germany - Radish Mouse - Monthly Family Roundup - What we got up to

    My 32nd birthday

    Whilst we were in Germany it was my 32nd birthday!  We had thought of going to Heide Park which is a huge theme park near where we were staying.  Ben has lots of memories of going as a child so he was keen to revisit.  My birthday was the day Bella was poorly though, so we thought it best to keep her at Ben’s uncles for the morning and visited Ben’s gran after lunch.  We usually just visit the beach when in the UK for my birthday.  Me and Ben did go to Chepstow Quarry at the end of July which was sort of our treat for both our birthdays.  I’m never that fussed about making a big deal out of my birthday.

    Reuben’s last month at nursery

    Reuben has been going to nursery once per week since the end of December 2016.  He was going every Thursday morning.  He also goes to playgroup three mornings, but this is term time only so he did extra at nursery for the summer holidays.  They do a summer club too so Bella was able to go.  They both went for three mornings for the summer holidays and had a great time.  Bella was disappointed when it was her last day, so I’m glad she felt settled there.  Reuben has now left nursery as he’ll be doing 18 hours a week at the playgroup instead.  It’s attached to Bella’s school so it’s more convenient for pickups and drop offs if they’re at the same place.  I felt a little sad on his last day of nursery as it is a lovely place and he’s been going for 9 months.  They may be back there for the summer holidays next year though so it might not be bye forever.

    Catch up with friends

    I have quite a few friends I only really see in the school holidays now, so it was great to catch up with these folk and for all the kids to see each other and play.  We enjoyed park trips, soft play and visiting one another’s houses.  I always love to see how the kids interact with each other and the conversations they have!

    Peppa Pig World

    We went to Peppa Pig world for one day, but we stayed nearby for two nights.  You can read all about our Peppa Pig trip and bargain accommodation here.

    Peppa Pig World Paultons Park - Monthly Family Roundup - What we got up to

    Peppa Pig World - Monthly Family Roundup - What we got up to in August 2017

    Rhinoplasty follow up (4 months)

    Once we checked out of the inn after our Peppa Pig weekend, we went to Guildford before returning home.  This is where I had my rhinoplasty and I tied my ‘three’ month check in with our weekend away.  It was meant to be a three month check, but it was actually four months when I went.  It’s healing well and he was impressed with the lack of swelling.  As so much was done to my nose (4.5 hour surgery) he expected a lot more swelling still.  I was also told to imagine my nose with 30% less soft tissue swelling as that will be the final result.  It may also take a little longer than one year for all my swelling to subside.  I already notice such a difference, even in the last month, so it will be great to see it continue to change and the swelling lessen.

    They took photos and it was incredible to see the before and after photos side by side.  I bet it will be even more incredible at my 12 month check!  Unfortunately I lost nearly ALL my photos and only have a handful left.  So annoying!  I’d even made a video diary and I’ve lost the lot.  The doctor is going to send me all his photos so I may, one day, share them on my blog.  I haven’t decided yet.

    A quick look at Guildford Castle:

    Guildford Castle - Monthly Family Roundup - What we got up to in August 201

    Guildford Castle Surrey - Monthly Family Roundup - What we got up to in Aug

    Me trying to get Reuben to smile with me, but he's saying 'NO MUMMY, look castle!'

    Guildford Castle Visit - Monthly Family Roundup - What we got up to in Augu

    Lunch at Zizzis:

    Zizzi Guildford - Monthly Family Roundup - What we got up to in August 2017

    2 year wedding anniversary

    Me and Ben have been married for two years!  It’s one of those funny things where it’s gone quickly, but it also feels like forever at the same time!  Our anniversary is the 18th August.  We didn’t do anything special on the day – we actually went to Ben’s work summer party!  But my mum had the kids for one night the following week and so we stayed in a made a curry!  We were going out for a meal, but I think I felt quite tired, plus eating out is tricky as I stopped eating refined sugar this year and I’m vegetarian.  It makes it quite impossible to find food when out as almost everything has sugar added!  I’d been craving a curry, so we decided to make our own and enjoy the house in rare peace and quiet!

    Ben’s work summer party

    Ben’s work put on a family summer party every year – Superdry Fest.  He works at Superdry head office and it’s where we met.  I worked there for almost 10 years before going on maternity leave!  There’s free food, a bar, a stage with a band, lots of inflatables for the children, circus activities and more.  It’s so good of his work to put on such an event.  Only thing is it chucked it down with rain at the start and it felt freezing that day!  I didn’t stay too long as I just felt so cold, so I left them to it.

    Candyfloss nose:

    Superdry Fest - Candyfloss Nose - Monthly Family Roundup - What we got up t

    Beach days

    I managed three beach days this year, woohoo!  Two of these were in August.  Usually we only have one trip per year to the beach, so three is great!  It’s still nowhere near enough.  I love the fresh sea air and feel like I can breathe at the beach.  I’d love to live near the beach.  It would be a dream to have a beach in walking distance and we’d certainly make the most of it.

    Weston-super-mud pier, my mum and sis with Bella and Reuben:

    Pic of Weston Pier - Monthly Family Roundup - What we got up to in August 2

    Vegan fair

    I went to my first vegan fair and it was the first one they’ve held in Cheltenham at the Town Hall.  It was packed!  I had such a great day I’m going to dedicate a whole post to it asap.  Just trying to get round to it!

    Berrows Beach - Monthly Family Roundup - What we got up to in August 2017 -

    August was a bust hectic month and I did struggle to work and look after the kids more which meant working nearly every evening and abandoning my husband Ben!  I think next year I may have to put them into childcare five mornings per week if I still have as much work on, which I really hope I do as I love working for myself!  It’s also a great way for them to still see lots of friends during the holidays and play lots, so I don’t feel too guilty if we just stick a film on in the afternoon if I have lots of work to do and no friends to visit.  We survived the summer holidays though!  Now we’re settling back into school and playgroup with the first full week of normality starting tomorrow.

    Here are my awesome carrots I pulled up in August:

    Homegrown Carrots - Monthly Family Roundup - What we got up to in August 20

    Did you have a great August?  What did you get up to?  Let me know in the comments.

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     Monthly Family Roundup What we got up to in August 2017

  5. Monthly Family Roundup: What we got up to in July 2017

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    Monthly Family Roundup: What we got up to in July 2017

    July was another busy family month full of days out and Ben’s birthday.  It was also the end of the school year for Bella and the start of the summer holidays.  Bella was shattered by the end of the year as they do so much in the last couple of weeks.  Bella had sports day, 3 performances of a whole school summer show, a fun day and class swap day to meet her new teacher for year one.  It’s crazy she has completed a whole year of school and will no longer be in reception class.  It’s unbelievable how fast it goes once they are in school.   It feels like she only just started and is still a newbie!

    Did you miss last month’s family roundup?  Catch up here: What we got up to in June 2017

    Last Day of School - Lylia Rose Monthly Family Roundup What we got up to in

    Here’s what we got up to in July 2017:

    Midsummer Fiesta, Cheltenham

    The first day of July started with a fun free event in Cheltenham called Midsummer Fiesta.  It’s in Montpellier Gardens and runs for the whole day from 12pm to 9pm.  This year they had a stage with live music all day, more music on the bandstand, entertainment from local dance groups, a classic car show, fairground rides, plenty of bouncy castles, food stalls, market stalls, circus skills and more!  It’s such a fun day out and so amazing it’s free.

    Pigs Gloucester Docks - Lylia Rose Monthly Family Roundup What we got up to

    Sports Day

    Bella had her first ever sports day!  The school organised a lovely afternoon where we could meet Bella for lunch at 12pm and share a picnic on the school field.  Ben was able to get the afternoon off work, so it really was a whole family event.  Bella took part in two races – a normal running race and an obstacle race.  She’s fab at running and loves to run around the park when we go for our exercise nights, but she doesn’t like to lose!  On the running race she stopped and fake cried once the other children started running past her as she didn’t like losing!  The teaching assistant had to run over and run with her to the end!  Luckily she didn’t stop in the obstacle race and enjoyed this one more.

    Victoria Sully Selfie - Lylia Rose Monthly Family Roundup What we got up to

    New hair

    This month I had around 4-5 inches cut off my hair and it feels so short!  I love it though and it’s much quicker to wash and dry.  Ben, in true man style, didn’t even notice!  For me it’s the shortest my hair has been since I was 18 so I’m surprised he didn’t realise.  It feels a bit more grown up and more mum like, not that I had an aim, I just decided on the spur of the moment to do it, whilst in the hairdressers’ seat!   I might even have a couple more inches off next time to see what it looks like.  I’ve always had below the boob hair so it’s very strange for me!

    Ben’s weekend away

    Each year Ben goes camping for a long weekend with his best friend Pete.  This year they went somewhere in Wales near the Brecon Beacons and camped in a tent each.  I think they picked a pretty soggy weekend, but still had fun on the waterfall walk and visiting an old coal mine.  I’ve not yet stayed away and not sure I have anyone to stay away with, so I always get a bit jealous!  I often go out for meals with friends and walks, but there’s never been an opportunity to stay away yet.  Perhaps I should book myself a spa weekend away by myself?  I do love the time at home to myself though and I stayed up late blogging every night without feeling guilty!

    Bella’s first swimming badge

    I was gushing with pride this month as Bella got her first swimming badge!  She’s been swimming since the start of January, but is definitely not a natural in the water, bless her.  She has now passed Duckling 1 and has nearly passed Duckling 2.  Before starting lessons she would cling to us in a pool and be terrified to let go.  Now she will swim across the whole length of a pool by herself with arm bands.  It’s such an achievement and we are so proud!

    Ben wearing a huge happy birthday badge - Lylia Rose Monthly Family Roundup

    Kid free weekend glamping

    For Ben’s birthday we went glamping in a wooden wigwam with a hot tub at Chepstow Quarry!  It was so much fun and the best part was having our own private hot tub with views across the quarry, but being surrounded by trees and nature.  It was a great idea for a unique gift for him.  I also love having a night away, just the two of us every couple of months, to remember we are in a relationship and not just parents!

    Warwick Castle - Lylia Rose Monthly Family Roundup What we got up to in Jul

    Warwick Castle

    Towards the end of July our good friends took us for a day out to Warwick Castle.  Mine and Ben’s birthdays are only nine days apart, so it was our birthday treat.  I hadn’t been to Warwick Castle since being a young teenager or perhaps even younger, so I had no idea what to expect.  We had such a good day out!  It’s more than just looking around a castle as they have bird shows and events throughout the day to watch.

    The kids absolutely loved the peacock gardens and would have happily stayed there all day!  Reuben also loved the stocks and we couldn’t get him out of them after he posed for a photo, he would have stayed there too!

    Round Mirrors The Range Interiors - Lylia Rose Monthly Family Roundup What

    Upcycled White Mirror Ikea - Lylia Rose Monthly Family Roundup What we got

    Excuse the washing!

    Home and garden

    Ben put up new fence panels across the bottom of the garden which looks so much better than the old rotting ones.  Now the end of the garden is ready for project ‘garden annexe’!  But first Ben wants to build a roofed veranda on the back of our house.  This will give us somewhere to make a cool seating area we can enjoy in all weathers outdoors, but also means he can crack on with house projects even if it’s raining.  Right now he’s limited to dry days only whilst chopping wood, upcycling items, staining, painting, etc.

    In the home we have added three round mirrors behind the sofa from The Range which look great!  It’s been a blank wall for three years as I had no idea what to add there.  Now the room is really coming together.  We just need the horrid artex plastered over!  I’d like to get a quote soon and just get it done.

    We also bought three mirrors from furniture recycling shops when we were in the forest for our glamping weekend recently; two for our bedroom and one for the living room.  They were battered and old, but we saw Ben could sand them, paint them and save us a ton of money upcycling instead of buying new.  We got all three for £45 I think.  I was looking at one the size of the largest we bought for around £100 new, so we made quite a saving and its great practice for Ben who wants to professionally upcycle one day.

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