Monthly family roundup: what we got up to in November 2017

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Welcome to my monthly family roundups.  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 me, hubby and the children can look back on for years to come.  I always think that even if the rest of my blog as a business 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.

November really changed to winter here in Gloucestershire.  It suddenly became freezing cold and we had several frosty iced car mornings.  November was a very local month.  We didn’t go very far, but visited lots of nearby places and events.

Monthly Family Roundup_ What we got up to in November 2017

Catch up on my previous family roundups here:
June 2017

July 2017
August 2017
September 2017
October 2017

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

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Birdlip Fireworks & Bonfire Night

We’ve tried to go to fireworks every year since Bella has been born, but it’s usually been a nightmare!  The first year chucked it down with rain and we got soaked.  I can’t totally remember the next couple of years, but I’m sure she just wanted to go to bed!  Last year we took Bella and Reuben to the Cheltenham Racecourse fireworks and they just hated it.  It was freezing cold and the fireworks were meant to start at 7pm (their bedtime), but they were 45 minutes late.  The kids were moaning and crying, but we thought they might be happy when the fireworks started.  Nope.  So we left 2 minutes into them!

I was more hopeful this year and luckily there were some local to us in Birdlip.  The display was at around 6.30pm so a better time too.  Luckily both the children were excited this time and we all enjoyed the whole display!  I’m so pleased we found some close to us at an earlier time.  Usually we go to the main ones at either Cheltenham Racecourse or Gloucester Docks and they’re always late and ridiculously busy.   Next year we’ll find a local one again, hopefully the same.

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Bella’s First Ever Drama Play

Bella’s school were running an after school drama club for a few weeks with a play at the end.  Bella can be quite shy in certain circumstances so I thought it would be great for her confidence.  Luckily she loved the classes, especially pretending to be a dinosaur each week!  Her topic for the autumn term at school was Jurassic, so the drama play was related to this.

We went to watch Bella’s first drama play which was really cute!  She played a forester and looked like she loved being on the stage with her friends.  Well done Bella!

Related post: Bella Interview 5 years and 3 months old

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The Organic Farm Shop in Cirencester

It always amazes me when I discover things near to me that are right up my street (literally) and I never knew they existed!  A new mum friend I’ve made at Bella’s school has mentioned The Organic Farm Shop a couple of times and I’d never been.  It’s not far, just a 20 minute drive from ours to Cirencester.  It’s an amazing farm shop that ONLY sells organic goods.  I was lucky to find some Ombar chocolate which doesn’t have refined sugar.  I’ve been refined sugar free almost one whole year now!

They also have a café which sells organic food that’s grown on the farm.  We didn’t go on a Sunday, but we’ve been told we must go for a roast dinner one day!

Amazingly they are also opening a children’s nursery school in 2018 with a focus on growing organic vegetables and most activities being outdoors.  It sounds wonderful for children.  If only it was closer to us.

Related post: Organic vs 'Normal' Food

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Yummy Veggie Food at The Golden Heart, Birdlip

Another place to mention is The Golden Heart in Birdlip.  We popped there for a meal on the anniversary of Ben’s Mum’s sad passing.  It’s been one year already which is crazy.  We went there several times with Ben’s mum, so it was great to go back again.  It’s not far from our home, but for some reason we hadn’t been for a long time, perhaps the last time was with Ben’s mum last year.

They are one of the best places to accommodate vegetarians and vegans in Gloucestershire.  They have an entire vegetarian and vegan offering.  Not just one or two items.  The food is always delicious.  It tastes home-made and properly cooked.  Not out of a packet and chucked in a microwave like many places are nowadays!  The Golden Heart has impressed us with every meal every time we’ve been.

Just to note, they don’t serve food in the evening until 6pm.  Not great when you don’t realise and turn up at around 5.15pm with two hungry children!  Oops.

Related post: The Biggest Myths Associated With A Vegetarian Diet

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Keeping fit

We’ve continued to go to David Lloyd regularly since joining in October.  I go to Clubbercise twice a week, Aqua once a week and try and run 1-2 times per week.  If I don’t go to the gym for a day then I’ll do yoga or abs/glutes exercises at home.  So I’m pretty much working out every day now.

I’ve not noticed a change in the appearance of my body yet, but my stamina is so much better.  I can now jump on the treadmill and run 5k every time quite easily.  It’s a great feeling to feel so fit and active.

Related post: How to exercise with a toddler or children at home

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An autumn walk in Buckholt Wood, Cranham

I’d been dying to go for an autumn walk ever since the leaves started falling off the trees.  I took the kids along with my mum and sister to Buckholt Wood in Cranham.  It’s only a 5-10 minute drive from our home.  It’s quite a small wood so perfect for a brisk afternoon walk to enjoy some nature and lots of fallen leaves!  The kids had great fun

Related post: 3 Reasons Why Trips into Nature Can Change Your Life

Chicken Pox

Both Bella and Reuben have had chicken pox!  Bella had them near the beginning of November.  They came out quickly over 24 hours and even started scabbing that first day!  Next she was super poorly and whingy for two days, then back to her normal self, but it took a further three days for them all to be scabbed.  So six days in total.

12 days later and I get a call from Reuben’s playschool to tell me he has spots!  Reuben’s took longer to come out. After 24 hours we thought he had it better than Bella with only a handful of spots, but after 48 hours he had a gazillion!  He was covered and they were way worse.  He even had them in his ear, on his eyelid, around 20 on his scalp.  Poor thing!  He was also super ill for around 2 days, but fine the rest of the time.  He too had 6 days before they were scabbed over and he returned to his playschool just yesterday.

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

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One to One Swimming Lessons

We had been on a waiting list for private one to one swimming lessons for Bella for a while and finally got a space.  Bella has been going to classes in the centre of Gloucester since January, but wasn’t progressing very quickly.  She’s not natural in water, so I wasn’t expecting her to fly through the stages and it was more about her getting water confident and learning to swim in her own way.  But, she was falling behind.  She was still in the preschool classes even though she’s in year one.  Not a massive problem, but we didn’t feel the classes were benefiting her anymore.

There are often six children in the classes and it’s only half hour.  She could spend half the lesson on the side whilst waiting for the other children to do whatever the teacher wants to do.  As she’s so nervous in the water and doesn’t just jump in like the other kids, I felt for a while she needs a smaller class or extra attention.

I’m so pleased we finally have one to one lessons as she loved the first one!  A whole half hour to herself is such a difference to sharing it with five other children.  We’re going to stop the class lessons for now and just go with the private ones until she has more confidence in her swimming.  When she started the classes I queried one to one lessons and they said a class would be better.  I should have followed my original instinct as perhaps she’s have progressed so much faster by now.

Bella says she prefers the private lessons, so we’re looking forward to a slightly more confident water Bella soon!

Cheltenham Christmas Light Switch On

Quicker than a flash, this year has disappeared and we’ve already been attending Christmas events.  The first being the Cheltenham Christmas light switch on.  When I was little we’d line up along The Promenade and watch a parade, then Santa would come along and switch the lights on with a countdown. 

Now it’s all different.  They have no parade, but different bits of entertainment scattered around the town in different shopping centres and streets.  I think it’s all a bit random.  There’s no countdown, or if there is we missed it, as when we were stood near the Christmas market on The Promenade the lights suddenly came on.  Santa also randomly passed us and quickly a swarm of people surrounded him.  The kids had fun though, Bella kept exclaiming ‘Santa knows me’ which is cute!  I’d organised a letter from Santa so she thinks he knows who she is.  So cute!  I love how they’ll believe in Santa for a few years making Christmas so magical for them.

We also walked up and down Montpellier with a real donkey and dressed up Mary and Joseph for a while!

Now we’re into December the festivities are in full swing!  Back in a few weeks with a December roundup.