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Monthly family roundup: June 2017

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What we got up to in June 2017

Wowsers, what another full month!  No wonder this year is absolutely flying by!  I think I said it before, but whenever someone says ‘what have you been up to?’ I always struggle to think what we’ve been doing, but when I write these blog posts and look back through my diary, I see it’s actually been a jam packed month and we have done a lot.

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

The good weather has definitely helped.  Sunny days mean we do so much more.  Rather than just nestling at home after school and work, we actually get out and about. The children have been staying up later as it’s so light and warm.  We were still trying to get them to bed for 7pm, but have realised this is just an impossible task in the summer months, so it’s more like 8pm now and perhaps even 9pm by the time they have stopped messing around and trying to get out of bed!  Does anyone else just have a total battle with bedtimes in the summer months?

Here’s what we got up to as a family in June 2017:


The start of June was still half term and also Bella’s birthday!  She turned 5 on the 2nd June which was a Friday and the first day of the Wychwood family festival in Cheltenham.  We went along just for the day.  It was a bit drizzly at first, but the sun came out and the atmosphere totally changed.  Bella and Reuben loved dancing near the main stage.  We had to buy some ear protectors for Bella as she found the music far too loud!  Once she had those on her ears she was in her element!  Once Reuben is a little older I’d love to go to a festival for an entire weekend and maybe even camp (or glamp if I get my way)!

Bella’s Birthday - Frozen Party

The next day we celebrated Bella’s birthday with 8 of her girlfriends.  We hosted a Frozen themed party and Elsa, Anna and Olaf visited!  It was a fantastic day and you can see the setup here: Bella’s Frozen Birthday Party Setup


Since I left my evening cleaning job, I have started to exercise again.  Before my cleaning job I ran a few times per week, but once I was cleaning for three hours a night, five times a week, this was a lot of exercise!  I dropped a stone whilst I was a cleaner!  If you’re looking for a get fit job I can highly recommend it.  I always said I don’t see why people pay ridiculous amounts to go to the gym when instead they can earn money and clean and get fit!  I’m now walking at least 10000 steps a day and also running a couple of times a week.  We’ve been going to a local park with a picnic and some balls for the kids to play with, then we take it in turns to do a lap of the field or run around the running track if there is one.  Ben has been running lots lately too which is great as I worry he sits down all day at work.  I’ve been trying to convince him to request a standing desk!  I would if I was in an office now, or even better, a treadmill desk!  We’re really feeling the benefits of getting outdoors and exercising a few times a week.  I want to inspire the kids to be active too, and the only way we can do this is if we are active ourselves.

If you’re looking for parks in Gloucestershire I mention some in this blog post: Free things to do with kids in Gloucestershire


I do love the summer and hot weather, but there is a point where it can be too much, especially with young children and a husband who isn’t great in the heat!  We had a few days where temperatures reached 33-34 degrees Celsius and our home was an oven.  Against my wishes Ben purchased an air con unit (almost £300!!) and this kind of cooled our room down so he could sleep for a couple of nights.  The children were just rolling around in their underwear saying it was too hot, so no one had very good night’s sleep that week!  They even ended up on our bedroom floor on top of a duvet one evening.  I think the mid-twenties suit us better.  I did see in America it’s been in the mid forties (!) and their wheelie bins have been melting as well as the paint off street signs!

Garden – enclosing chickens

Our chickens have settled in so well and it feels like we have always had them.  Ben has taken charge of looking after them and has done a lot more research than me.  I must muck in soon and clean them out before he gets annoyed with me!  We are getting four eggs most days now so we’re really seeing the benefits of keeping chickens.  I worked out it will take approximately 1.5 years to make our money back in eggs.  We were buying lots of organic eggs before and often 3+ packs of 12 per week! 

We have had to add some netting to the top of the little fence.  They could jump over the fence, which we didn’t mind at first, then we realised they poo everywhere!  Peck, peck, POO, peck, peck, POO!  That’s pretty much all they do and our garden was covered!  Ben and Bella were going round poopascooping every evening and getting sick of it!  They also pull all the grass up and stones and flowers and anything else they can get into, so it’s much better for us they stay in their own part of the garden!

You can see our chicken garden set up on my husband’s new blog here: Chicken Coop and Run

Bottomless brunch

We’ve enjoyed a couple of meals out this month and I even went for a Bottomless Brunch by myself with my mum and sister.  It’s great to try and get out by myself sometimes and remember I’m not just a mum!  I took advantage of this in June by also going for a carvery with a girlfriend and a really long hill walk with another friend, all by myself!

We exchanged some Tesco club card vouchers at the start of the month and went as a family of four to Zizzi’s in Gloucester Quays.  It was delicious!  I’d emailed Zizzi’s a little while back and they confirmed their wholemeal base and pizza sauce did not contain added sugar!  Woohoo!  It was the most delicious pizza I ordered, perhaps because I could actually order one!  I’ve been having undressed salads every time we’ve gone anywhere like this.  This is because I’ve been refined sugar free this whole year!  Read my blog post Why You Need To Reduce Your Refined Sugar Intake for more information!

Bella’s busy month

Bella has also had a super busy month!  She had her very first school trip to Cotswold Wildlife Park.  I’m pretty sure she had a great time, but when we ask ‘did you see *this animal*’ we just get a repy of ‘no!’  I’m sure she did see all the animals, but we can’t get anything out of her.  It’s like when you ask what she’s done at school that day and she replies ‘nothing’!  I’m pretty sure it’s just a tiredness and overwhelmed thing!

Bella was also in a dance show with her dance group Anneli’s. It was an amazing production at a local theatre with costumes, lighting - the full works!  It was such a great event for her to be a part of and she had a blast.

Bella had her end of year school photos too.  End of year?!!  I cannot believe she has nearly completed a whole year of school and will soon be in year one.  It has just flown by.  Time certainly speeds up when they are at school, it’s insane.

The Election

We went and voted for the first time!  Awful I know, but we have never really been into politics before and I’ve never really understood it all.  I still don’t understand it fully if I’m honest, but I have a lot more interest in it recently and read a fair amount of news stories to try and stay up to date. We did vote in the EU referendum and that was our very first vote.  We’ll be regular voters now and will continue to try and get our heads around it!

Reuben Two Year Check

I went for Reuben’s two year check with the Health Visitors.  A wasted journey really!  I couldn’t get a local appointment on his day off nursery, so travelled twenty minutes away to another centre.  I know he’s developing fine and reaching milestones accordingly.  I guess it’s still good for them to see everyone in case they have any concerns and can flag it up, so for child protection it’s a good idea. 

Reuben thought I was going to leave him there, so clung to me the whole time!  They didn’t even get to see him playing or interacting as he wouldn’t let go of me!  I remember Bella’s was at our home which is a better idea.  She felt comfortable and relaxed and chatted away to the lady!  With Reuben they were fine too, even though I couldn’t put him down!  So long as I have no concerns then she’s happy with that.  It did seem quite a waste of time and as he attends two settings I’m sure they could flag up if anything seems wrong.

A forest walk in Flaxley

I try to go for a long hill walk with my good friend Scott once per month.  He has an Alsatian called Lucy so we can take her for miles!  This month we went to Flaxley in the Forest of Dean.  It’s not such a touristy well known walk so in the few hours we were there we saw two other people!  BLISS!  This is my idea of escaping into the country and getting away from it all.  I find it so relaxing and refreshing.  Walking through nature just calms me instantly.

Scott really wanted to find a wild boar!  There are lots in the forest, yet we’ve never seen one.  We’re certain we heard one rustling for ages in the forest and Scott tried his best to find it, but luckily we didn’t.  I’m not sure I’d want to come face to face with a boar, especially if it’s in a bad mood!

We spied some incredible houses in the middle of the forest, just surrounded by trees and streams running by.  What an amazing place to live.  Pure bliss!

Saying goodbye

Sadly Ben’s mum passed away last November.  It would have been her birthday in June, so we went to scatter the ashes. The spot was a beautiful location up Leckhampton Hill in Cheltenham next to a tower of large rocks.  The views around were incredible.  It’s nice we now have somewhere to go each year to reflect.

Our house and garden

Ben has continued working on the garden, chopping down our old shed and levelling out the ground at the bottom of the garden, ready to build an annexe!  We are going to build a garden room and he’s eager to start.  We need to replace the fence panels that are now on show since the huge shed has gone, so that will be the first job.

In the home we haven’t done anything as far as I can remember.  Nothing major anyway.  I’ve been pottering about adding a throw here and there, creating a desk area in our bedroom and rearranging the playroom and so on.  We still have a big list of jobs to do in the house, but we’re now at the point where we can only spend a couple of hundred a month on the house so things are going much slower.  Next month will be fence panels as it’s almost £200 just for the 4.25 we need to go across the back of the garden!

I’ll leave it there as that’s a lot of stuff!  We already have a bunch of plans for July, so it’s going to be a hectic month again.