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Welcome to the Lylia Rose UK money and lifestyle blog.  My name is Victoria Sully.  I'm a busy mum of two, wife, full-time blogger and online money-maker who’s always trying to make and save more money.  I’m passionate about making money online, healthy living and blogging.  I’m a mama on a mission to be healthier and wealthier!  Please join me on my journey.

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Category: Monthly Family Roundups

  1. Monthly Family Roundup: February 2018

    Posted on

    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!

    Catch up on some of my previous family roundups here: 
    September 2017
    October 2017
    November 2017
    December 2017
    January 2018

    Monthly Family Roundup: February 2018

    Monthly Family Roundup February 2018 (10)

    Monthly Family Roundup February 2018 (8)

    Looking back is such a great way to see what we’ve done.  It’s felt like a really long winter this year, but I’m always surprised at how much we’ve actually got out, even though I feel like we’ve been inside forever!  We’ve managed to get out into the woods near our home a few times and up to the top of a nearby beacon.  There have been children’s birthday parties, soft play visits and play dates as usual. 

    Here are some of the family highlights of our February:

    Clearwell Caves

    Monthly Family Roundup February 2018 (3)

    We had a great day out courtesy of Ben’s sister for our Christmas present.  She promised us and Ben’s brother a day out.  It’s a much nicer idea than a present.  We are going to do a more minimal Christmas next year with only four presents for each of the children following ‘something you want, something you need, something to eat and something to read’.  We’ll also be buying more charity gifts and asking for a donation on our behalf to a charity instead of gifts, or a family day out.

    So for our promised family day out we went to the Forest of Dean which is 45 minutes to one hour from our home in Gloucester.  Ben’s brother and Dad live in the forest as well as my cousin, so we often venture out that way.  We’d never been to Clearwell caves though so this was a first for us.  The kids were a bit terrified!  It’s obviously dark and underground so they were a little spooked!  The caves are amazing to see though and I want to go back to spend some more time exploring them.  Bella needed a wee (maybe a ploy to get out quicker) so I rushed through and didn’t take much time to have a good look around, but was impressed by what I did get to see.

    The Secret Forest

    Monthly Family Roundup February 2018 (6)

    Monthly Family Roundup February 2018 (7)

    Monthly Family Roundup February 2018 (4)

    Monthly Family Roundup February 2018 (5)

    After the caves we went to The Secret Forest.  You might have heard of Puzzlewood and this is a similar style forest with exposed tree roots and that magical feeling, but it’s on a smaller scale and in some ways a bit better.  It’s not as large as Puzzlewood, so that’s definitely worth a trip, but there were no other tourists there at all (Puzzlewood was rammed when we went).  This meant we had the place to ourselves.  It was only about £2 each for entry too.  There’s a rather quirky café at the end and it’s all very homemade and genuine.  They have a Viking village, some animals to see, a huge wooden chair which is great for photos and composting loos if you need to go!  It was my first experience using a composting toilet and it was fine.  You have to throw a scoop of sawdust on your business when you’ve finished!

    Painswick Beacon

    Monthly Family Roundup February 2018 (16)

    Monthly Family Roundup February 2018 (11)

    Just behind our home is Painswick village and Painswick Beacon which we ventured up for the very first time.  We had no idea it was there!  We were off to explore some more woods behind our home and discovered the Beacon with stunning views all around from the highest point.  It was super windy up there though and we were frozen!  We’ll know to wrap up warm next time.  I’m so glad we know that spot is there and we can visit more for weekend afternoon walks and summer picnics.

    7 year anniversary

    Me and Ben celebrated seven years together in February.  We didn’t do anything special and we don’t even have a set date for when we officially got together, but our first ‘date’ was in the second half of February and we’ve been together ever since.

    Shortest hair ever

    Monthly Family Roundup February 2018 (14)

    I had my hair cut to its shortest length ever!  I’ve always had rib length hair as standard, then cut to around boob length a few times.  I went to my shoulders this time and I love it.  I never have time to sort my hair out properly and it had grown mid-back length again which needs a lot of attention.  It takes so long to wash it and dry when so long and I just don’t have the time.  I tend to go to the gym several times a week, so shower more than once a day sometimes.  It’s usually shoved in a messy mum bun, then Ben has to brush out the knots once a week as I can’t even do it!  It’s just too much hassle with long hair so I chopped it!  I really like it and I might keep it short for a while now.  I was never brace enough before to go short as my whole focus was on my nose and trying to distract people from my face with long hair. Now I have a new nose which is not far off being totally healed and my teeth should also be finished this year, I felt brave enough to go for the chop.  I feel less self-conscious of my face with my new nose and I’m hoping to feel totally confident with it (or as close as possible) once my teeth are finished.  Hopefully in 6 months!  Eek!

    See also: A peek at my new short hair and the most fashionable styles for 2018

    Bella quits dance

    Sadly Bella decided to quit her dance lessons with Anneli, a local street dance group.  It was a shame as she’s been going since the day she started school (they hire their school hall).  I made her go for a few weeks to see if it was just a momentary thing, but she continued to say she wanted to leave and was super happy when I said she could.  Now, for the first time in a year and a half, she’d not doing anything immediately after school.  Just swimming lessons at the weekend which are going swimmingly well!  Her confidence is growing every week with private lessons.  I’m also pleased we changed to one to one lessons to help boost her confidence and help her progress.  Hopefully she might want to try another activity when she’s a bit older.

    Valentine’s Day

    Monthly Family Roundup February 2018 (12)

    We don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day, but we did get each other a card and I think we ordered pizza!  I can’t quite remember, but we ordered one somewhere around the date.  We found a pizza place that focuses on alternative diets and uses no refined sugar in their homemade bases and sauces.  They also have vegan cheese made from coconut oil!  Amazing!  I can now order pizza.  Next one is on Mother’s Day!

    Ice Skating Date

    My mum had the kids for an overnight stay and I wanted to do something fun instead of the usual DIY we plan.  We went to Malvern to an ice-skating rink and had a go at skating!  I’ve not been for years and I can’t even remember if Ben said he’d been before.  It was great fun, though I want to go somewhere bigger next time.  Malvern only does one hour slots and it was full of youths – we felt old!  Because it’s only one hour, everyone scrambles onto the rink at the same time and it was packed.  You couldn’t get any speed up for fear of crashing into someone or someone else cutting you up.  We had a great time though and it’s so fun to get out the house and do a kid-free activity that’s exhilarating!

    Ben still ‘veganish’

    Amazingly Ben has continued on his ‘Veganish’ journey as I call it.  He wanted to try Veganuary, but he decided to do what I do and still eat honey and eggs.  We have chickens in our garden so we eat those eggs.  I’ve gone off honey recently after reading more about it, but Ben is still eating it.  So we’re really just dairy and meat free, but I keep asking Ben if he’s still Veganish as I thought it was only for January.  He’s starting to come round to everything I watch and question how moral it is to eat meat and dairy, so he could be converted.  Something I never ever imagined would happen as he ate meat every day and was brought up with a lot of meat with his German family especially.

    Related Trying a Vegan Lifestyle? 7 Common Issues and How to Overcome Them 

    Half term

    Monthly Family Roundup February 2018 (18)

    Monthly Family Roundup February 2018 (17)

    Monthly Family Roundup February 2018 (13)

    Monthly Family Roundup February 2018 (1)

    We had half term and didn’t do too much as I had lots of work on.  The kids go to holiday club, so they spent three days there.  Ben booked the last Thursday and Friday off so we could have gone away for a long weekend, but our chicken coop really needed extending.  It now has a massive extension and raised floor to stop it getting boggy in heavy rain and snow.  It’s turning into a chicken palace!  We also took away the bit they had at the front and we'll pop grass down.  Bella had a sleepover at her cousins too, but that was all, not a very adventurous half term.


    Save Money in the Home: DIY Tips

     Monthly Family Roundup_ February 2018



  2. Monthly Family Roundup: January 2018

    Posted on

    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.

    Catch up on some of my previous family roundups here:
    August 2017
    September 2017
    October 2017
    November 2017
    December 2017

    January 2018

    Monthly Family Roundup january 2018 Lylia Rose

    I’ve been going a bit stir crazy this month.  We haven’t been anywhere and I’ve mostly been at home.  I’m getting serious cabin fever!  I realised I haven’t left Gloucestershire since the October half term last year when we went to the Cbeebies Land Hotel.  That’s over three months ago!  We have seen local family and friends, but I really need to get away.  It’s probably why I’ve been going a bit holiday crazy this year and want to book lots!  We have one coming up in the spring and Center Parcs booked for the summer already.  I’ve just booked one for Christmas too at Bluestone in Wales.  I’ve also been looking for a few days in Devon for the June half term as Ben has some days off.

    I really need to get out of Gloucester soon though or I’ll go mad!

    The gym, the school, our house.  The gym, the school, our house.  The gym, the school, our house.

    That’s my life at the moment.  It’s getting boring!  I need to get out of here!

    Can you tell I’m starting to get bored and loopy of the same sights day in day out?!

    Ben keeps joking saying he’ll drive me to the border of Gloucestershire and step me over the line so I can stop saying I haven’t left this county for three months!

    Winter doesn’t help

    Nope.  It doesn’t.  I’m usually outdoors a lot more, but I cannot stand the cold. It makes me miserable and I just want to get back indoors ASAP.  I can’t stand to be in it at all. I’m now on the countdown to summer so I can get my life and my happiness back.  I was definitely born in the wrong country and climate.  I long to live somewhere that’s warm all year long.

    Busy with work

    I’ve also had a mad busy work month.  It’s been nonstop.  Literally working every minute unless I stop to make some dinner or go to a class at the gym, then carrying on straight after.  I don’t feel like I’ve paused to catch a breath.  I’ve even been on the laptop whilst me and Ben try and watch something on Netflix (currently watching Bloodline).  Working and trying to watch at the same time.  It’s probably not helped with me feeling like I’ve not done much else this month.

    It’s great it’s been so busy though, I’m not complaining really!  I just need to get out and see another view.  The best thing about my work is it’s location independent.  If only I’d started it pre-kids and taken advantage of travelling with such a job.  I realise how brilliant that could be and if I were in my early twenties again I’d totally do it!

    Monthly Family Roundup January 2018

    Doctor Foster

    Twice this month we ended up at the doctors with Bella as she had a rash.  She had no other symptoms, but the school sent her home both times concerned.  The one time they said she was so unwell and they were so worried, but she was perfectly fine!  I'm not one to rush to the doctors, but wanted to prove she was fine and both times she was, especially as the school wouldn't let me send her back the second time even though she was fine. Aside from the rash she was perfectly well.  Since looking online I'm certain she had Slapped Cheek.  The first rash was on one cheek and really blotchy, the second ( a few days later) was all over her body and very itchy at the top of her arms.  No other symptoms though.  In this pic we're in the isolation room at the doctors waiting.  20-30 mins trying to keep these two monkeys still and behaving felt like forever!

    What we got up to

    I usually list all the fun activities we got up to, but January was a non-eventful month as you can probably tell already!  Aside from school, the gym, playgroup, work and housework, we’ve barely done a thing.  We went out for a meal at Prezzo for my Mum’s birthday and saw a couple of friends for a playdate, but that’s the extent of our activities for January.  Ooh I did see my Grandad for a nice meal at the gym café.  It’s been a long cold boring month activity wise.  Even the playdates have been at my house so I’ve not left here again!

    Monthly Family Roundup January 2018 Veganuary creamy cheesey pasta sauce nu

    My first attempt at a vegan cheesey creamy pasta sauce and it was a huge success!  Everyone preferred it to the tomato sauce and wanted seconds!  I used nutritional yeast, coconut oil, oat milk and mustard to create the cheesey flavour.  Yummy!


    Ben sort of did Veganuary.  In 2017 I went refined-sugar-free.  For 2018 I decided to go dairy-free, but I actually started in December 2017.  I’m already veggie, alcohol-free and refined-sugar-free, but I’d been watching lots about the dairy industry and what happens just doesn’t sit well with me.  I can’t be a part of that industry.  It has been playing on my mind a lot and something I’d been contemplating for a long time, over a year in fact.  But enough was enough and after watching and reading as much as I could, I decided to cut out all dairy.  So now I’m a dairy-free veggie.

    Ben tried a sort of Veganuary.  He didn’t stop the eggs or honey, like me, but cut out all meat and dairy for the month, which is so impressive for him.  He usually eats it every day and I never thought he’d stop the meat!  He’s actually starting to agree with a lot of what I say or what we watch so I think his opinion is swaying.  He’s even going to continue to follow it into February as he’s not made his mind up what he’ll do next, he might carry on.  Though he says he does fancy a pizza!

    It will be amazing if he goes a lot more plant based too, especially to have someone to share my passion with.

    We do still eat eggs from our garden chickens which we look after well.  They are happy and like pets, with plenty of space, a chicken hotel if you like. 

    I’ve not looked into honey much yet.  I know some keepers cut the wings of the queen bee, but I’m hoping there are also some who don’t and have ethical practices.  I need to research more.

    Water distiller - Monthly Family Roundup January 2018 _ megahome

    Distilled water

    As well as changing our eating habits we have changed our drinking habits slightly.  I purchased a water distiller at the beginning of January and we've been distilling all our home drinking water and cooking water.  You can read why I'm drinking distilled water to find out more.

    Girls Bedroom Inspo Inspiration Pink White Lylia Rose Blog

    Changing Bella’s bedroom

    I changed Bella’s room around a little.  I was vacuuming and cleaning and moved her bed to reach underneath, then got an idea in my head and turned the room around.  I’m always rearranging our home and trying to work out the best place for things to be.  Plus it was nice to have a little change at home during my cabin fever month!

    I love Bella’s room and could only dream of a room like it when I was a youngster.

     Monthly Family Roundup January 2018 backyard garden chickens kids home setu

    As there’s nothing much else to report for Jan I’ll leave it there.  I’m hoping for a more eventful February with the half term.  Me and Ben also have half a weekend to ourselves so I’m going to beg him to take me out of Gloucestershire and not stay at home to do his woodwork before I really do go loopy!

  3. Monthly Family Roundup: December 2017

    Posted on

    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


    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)


    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

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

    Posted on

    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)


    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.


    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


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

    Posted on

    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 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

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


    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