With us being away in Tuscany at the end of October/beginning of November, I missed doing our October family update. I really love reflecting back on the month and seeing what has happened in our little family and seeing what we have done. I enjoy capturing the family and seeing us change and grow throughout the year!

Because so many lovely things happen for us both in October and November, I felt the need to write about both months for our family update here in this one, as November 2018 draws to a close! All of the pictures are from our recent holiday and I love looking back on the adventures!

October 2018 

October 2018 not only saw us take a great family adventure with grandma to Tuscany for half term, but it was also a month that will long be remembered as being the one that saw Mr Smith finally get a job closer to home! It was certainly one of the best pieces of news for our family this year, and felt so exciting. Since moving to our lovely village in East Yorkshire last year, it has been hard for us all having him still working in Leeds, but in 2 weeks we all all finally be over here together and begin to experience our lives in the way we hoped and imagined when moving. We will have him home for longer on a morning and earlier on some evenings, and especially in the Summer it will be great to have evening country walks or dinner at the beach. We are so excited that October gave us this and excited to be starting the new year with us all over here and living our new lives together.

Ethan also made the choice to be Baptised in October. He turned 8 (which feels so big) and decided he wanted to be baptised! His birthday weekend was another lovely one that month and seeing him take what was such a huge milestone in his life, was really lovely. It was a special occasion to share with all of our family and friends and one I am thankful for. I only wish we had taken a family pic that day!!

October also marked 9 years of marriage for Mr Smith and I (which we still need to celebrate properly ha!) and Baby loss awareness week. We had some great weekends with a trip to the fair, a family walk to Wharram Percy (a forgotten medieval village) and also some time to get cracking with the decorating. I had some great theatre review opps that I experienced with friends and we of course saw many wonderful places in Italy. We didn’t do our usual halloween things to wrap it all up, but being in Italy, it didn’t seem to matter at all as we were having our own beautiful (and very wet) adventures!

For sure October 2018 was filled with many things to celebrate and many wonderful adventures that I hope we will long remember.

November 2018

And now to November – This last month seems to have just flown by (which I seem to say so often) but I cannot believe that we only have 31 more days of 2018 left – it’s mad! It was a scary end to the month, which saw me and Alice and the hospital last night after a bad fall. Thankfully it wasn’t anything too bad… just some grazing and bad bruising, but boy was it a worrying ans stressful end to the month!

Aside from toddler accidents, this month has seen a lot of prep for Christmas, my birthday and more family moments! It began with us being away in Italy (we got back on the 3rd on November) and during those last few days we went to Florence and Pisa. They were great adventures and days out, and very warm too (which felt so funny to be all “summery” when we knew it was already November)! It was great to start the month off with so much fun and adventure together.

When we landed we headed straight up to Stamford to stay with Nath’s Sister. She recently had a baby and that first weekend of November was his blessing day. We had a lovely weekend with family and a lovely walk around Rutland waters before we all headed back North to our homes! It was of course Bonfire night the following day, but after travelling and a busy weekend, we didn’t (for the first year ever) do anything for it!

The following week I turned 34 and had a lovely birthday with friends and family. I spent the day with my sister in laws and mother in law, had a date night with Mr Smith, a take out with my sisters and a hot tub party with my pals! Turning 34 felt great, as I feel I am in a pretty good place in life and am really loving and knowing myself now. I like my roles and I am confident in my path! I received some lovely gifts too and I am just so thankful for that fun couple of weeks and getting a little bit older (and hopefully wiser too!).

Our weekends have been mostly chilled, but it has been great to chill together and get the house nearer to looking how we would like it!

Megan has moved up another reading level and Ethan has started to take trumpet lessons (heaven help my ears!). It is great to see them both enjoying going to school and doing their little extra curricular things. I love to see their interests evolve and see them enjoying things and spending time together too.

Today we will decorate for Christmas, and get cracking on doing good as a family leading up to it. We have many more Christmas movies to watch (we already made a start in November!) and family things to look forward to. I feel like this December is going to be a good one for us, as we are all in a better place and I certainly feel more excited than I have in a while! We are looking forward to Christmas meals, Christmas plays, carol singing and doing good to bring Joy to others. We hope your December is filled with treats and lovely moments to treasure too, so I guess all that is left to say now is – Let the festivities commence!!!

In October & November we are Grateful for:

*A family Holiday to Tuscany with To Tuscany
*Seeing many more new and Beautiful places in Italy
*Safety when we have travelled
*Mr Smiths New Job that means he can be closer to home
*Help to get our home looking lovely
*Megan’s reading improving so much
*Ethan being in our family and celebrating him
*Seeing Ethan be Baptised
*Mummy’s Birthday
*Date night to the Cinema
*Time with Family
*Country Living and Lovely friends around us
*Alice being okay after a bad fall

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Whilst frosty fields, log fires and twinkly Christmas light are all very pretty and lovely, they are not enough to make me love Winter! I have realised this year that I don’t like feeling cold and damp. Whilst Winter holds many pretty scenes, delicious hot chocolates, adventures and Christmas – it is still is not my fave, and I would much rather be somewhere warm and sunny rocking my sandals and sunglasses!

I do however like Winter fashion – the whole ankle boots and knitwear ensemble, with a pair of jeans or trousers (or leggings/skirts) is so easy each day and more often than not, a pure winner! I love wearing my wellies with an nice chunky jumper and feeling all warm and toasty as we head out to school. Yes, I have realised I am not a huge winter fan, but with all of the lovely knitwear around at this time of year, it is enough to sway me out!

I have several favourite knitwear pieces in my wardrobe right now, and more recently these have grown to include a beaut of a Zebra print one and a cobalt blue roll neck one – both £13 from Primark, and both really lovely gifts from Mr Smith! I really like how “me” they both are and how snug I feel when wearing them. They are an absolute bargain (as are a lot of the stuff in Primark) and I especially love the long sleeves and length of the blue one (which I know they also have in Green and Red – hello Christmas)!

I like the fluffiness of the zebra one, the fact it’s zebra, and the discreet yellow trim around the higher neck collar. I found that it was so chilled with black skinny jeans and high top trainers the other day for school runs, college and general mum life!

Knitted jumpers are most definitely a winner for me right now!

With this new love of knitwear, I have been keen to see what else is out there (you know, to help me survive the winter!) and I have been pleasantly surprised to discover so many lovely jumpers on the market this season that are totally fab and totally me – wild, vibrant, stylish and chill! I just wanted to share them with you, either as inspo for this season, or generally just to appreciate how lovely they all are!

First up is Topshop – The red and gold is a firm favourite and is currently £39 | The Green Fairisle one is cool but more pricey at £59.00

Next up – ASOS! Asos have so many fantastic jumpers, it was like being a kid in a candy shop scrolling through their site. I also love that most of them are under £25/£30 too, so very affordable! I managed to narrow it down though to these 2 beauts for my wish list. The black and yellow one is quirky and cool | I also really love this rainbow oversized one which is only £25 – who doesn’t want to be rocking that on a dark, damp, wintery day!?

I find that H&M are great for plain jumpers and I have 3 from there that I like, that I have previously bought in sales. However, this season, I am loving this striped one too – its a bargain for only £14.99

New Look isn’t often at the top of my list of shops to go to, but I do occasionally find a few real gems in there too. I am loving this black and white pom pom jumper at the moment – it is £19.99

And then finally ZARA! Zara have some great slogan sweatshirts I have my eye on at the moment, but knitwear wise… this embellished number that is somewhat out of my price range is so gorgeous! Its limited edition and £49.99. I really love it!

I didn’t even look at BooHoo or Shein – both of which I know will probably have more wonderful and bargainous knitwear pieces, but for now I am loving colourful and patterned knits to help me survive theses freezing damp days!

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This week has felt all rather festive with the commencement of Christmas shopping and then a Christmas fair yesterday in the village, that saw me “elfing around” with a couple of other mum’s as we manned the Santa’s grotto on the PM shift! It has been a cold and wet week and I have suffered a little with my health, but for the first time since Poppy passed away, I am actually feeling excited for December’s approach and Christmas time, and that feels really good! That’s not to say that the season won’t still have its struggles and moments of reflection, but I am embracing the christmas cheer and excitement that I am feeling right now and living in the moment.

Grateful For 

This week I am grateful for the fun I have had with friends. On Monday I went to Hull Christmas shopping and for lunch with a couple of them and it was great (albeit a little mad too!). On wednesday one of my pals invited me to “Pig Bingo” in the village – whilst not usually my scene to do Bingo, I thought it would be funny (which it was) and had a great time with her and about 50 old folk, all playing for gammon joints, stewing steak and sausages! It was one of the funniest, most random experiences I have had in a while and I am grateful for the laughs and random things like this that come with village life – it’s brilliant!

On Thursday Alice and I had a lovely time at soft play with one of my oldest friends and then on Friday one of my lovely friends kindly accompanied me on the train for an appointment and more shopping! Once again I am grateful for the people in my life; their kindness and banter – it’s great.

This week I have been grateful for my Joules wellies I got last year and rain coats. The weather has been pretty wet and windy, and I am thankful to have stayed warm and dry (mostly) on the school runs.

Succeeded At 

This week I succeeded at making a start on Christmas shopping! I am still stuck for ideas on a couple of people but I am pleased with the progress (and little bargains) I have already made.

We have returned to the old “Want, Need, Wear, Read” approach with gifts in our little family this year, but modified it to “Want, Need, Share, Read” – they have plenty of clothes and having them thinking about gifts that they can share with the family (ie a dvd, game or family experience ) I think is a lovely thing. It is an opportunity to draw on the idea of thinking of others at Christmas time and sharing in the joy of gifts together – it feels good to have some balance in gift giving and for it to not always be about “stuff” but sometimes spending time together and having fun with one another.

Last year I felt a little annoyed and regretful following Christmas and this week I have felt initially a little stressed about what to do regarding gifts for the kids, but as I thought about it, and considered our desire to have surprises as well as bring the magic too, the “Want, Need, Share, Read” approach (along with a small surprise and stocking from santa) felt like a good balance for them having something to be excited about (one want and santa surprises) and us being able to lower the amount of unnecessary stuff and expectations.We felt it would be minimal, yet exciting and fun for us all still.

Whilst last year I said I wouldn’t have lists, I have allowed them to choose 1 thing they most want so they can get excited about it and not be distracted over so many other things! The needs are things like dressing gowns, a new leotard or a water bottle or backpack at this stage in life (but will obviously change as they get older to maybe a bigger bike, a laptop for uni or simply a new pair of wellies!). And then, as I say, the share category will either be a family gift (a day out somewhere special, tickets somewhere) or a game they can share with friends and family or a DVD they love (that again they can watch with siblings and friends)! For Nath and I we will either incorporate it as a whole family gift if one year we want to do something bigger, but this year we have decided to choose a date for each other as our “something to share”, which might be go karting, a meal voucher, cinema or tickets somewhere. Finally who doesn’t want new books or a magazine subscription(or even a framed quote)? Something to read is also something to get stuck into come New year when things quiet down – they can get lost in a new adventure or learn more about something that interests them! Or perhaps it will be a wordy pic for our home or one day a kindle (when they can look after it). I want there to be an element of excitement over new books and things to read – be them stories, facts or otherwise.

I feel somewhat successful in settling on this new way to gift in our family and that makes me feel more content. It feels good to be getting a balance of magic/excitement for Christmas, as well as them learning about wants and needs and the importance of sharing with others and spending time with loved ones having fun. I feel like it is a tradition that can grow with us all, and have them excited each year for something we might share in as a family, as well as thinking really hard about just one special thing they might really want. I am glad that Nathan and I are doing it too for each other and planning special dates as well as thinking about what we might need and love! I am looking forward to seeing what we all give, get and share on Christmas day.

Found Beauty In 

With such miserable weather this week, and not feeling 100% ,it has been hard to notice the beauty around me – i’ll be honest. I suppose the one moment that stands out the most for me though would be when we saw someone walking a pony on the way home from school this week. The pony itself was really cute, and Megan’s confidence and excitement to approach it and interact was really lovely and beautiful! It was rather exciting.

We have had another lovely week, feeling thankful for country living and excitement for Christmas. I hope this week to crack on with more shopping, see friends and family and hopefully make a start on my first college assignment (3,000 words). I hope your week has been good too and filled with lovely moments.

 

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As we near the end of November temperatures are quickly dropping and there is a significant chill in the air! Whilst I am more of a Summer bird and long for those heatwave days spent in the park and chilling in sandals, we cannot escape the fact that Winter is fast approaching and as a result, we are needing to dig out our winter warmers in preparation.

Being prepared for Winter is second nature to us and as we get to this time of year, where the flip flops are replaced with wellies and thick socks, and the sun hats are replaced with wooly hats, our thoughts are turned to staying warm and safe in Wintery conditions – We are quick to dig out our gloves, feather coats, scarves etc all to ensure our bodies are protected and ready for the Winter weather, but are we as quick to ensure we are safe in our cars during these potentially icy and dangerous conditions? Do we get our Cars as winter ready as we do our families?

As we approach Winter, I wanted to highlight a few things for you to consider, that will help keep you and your family be more prepared and hopefully more safe and warm throughout this season when out on the road.

Blankets 

A box, tub or bag of warm blankets (or sleeping bags) in the boot of your car can literally be a lifesaver if you break down! Being stranded or breaking down is no fun at the best of times – it can be awful in subzero conditions and especially with kids!

Avoid illness and being uncomfortable in this scenario by carrying warm blankets – this will give you peace of mind that in the unfortunate incident of breaking down, you will at least be warm in you car for a few hours.

Blankets are also useful generally for when you are travelling back on cold nights with kids..they can snuggle in the car and go off to sleep giving you a more peaceful journey! Blankets are a must for travelling in colder temperatures.

Winter Tyres

Next to being safe inside, is the outside of your car. Winter Tyres are designed and engineered to work best in cold weather conditions below 7 degrees celsius. They feature small grooves known as “sipes” across the larger tread pattern and are constructed with a compound that does not harden in freezing conditions (unlike Summer tyres that will stiffen up in cooler weather). These characteristics allow the tyre to grip the road far better than a summer tyre in snow and ice and significantly improve braking distances in such conditions.

Companies like Tyreplus can advise you on the right ones for your car, and as well as having locations throughout the country, they also offer a mobile fitting service (at home or work). WIth the ease and value of it, there really is no reason to not get your car winter ready this year by swapping to winter tyres.

De-Icer & Anti-Freeze

Ensure your water is topped up with anti-freeze and ensure you have a trusty can of De-icer somewhere in your car. For us this is usually rolling around in the foot well somewhere, but we have it all the same! You can pick them up from all supermarkets, garages and cheapo shops for £1-2! It can make those icy mornings far easier and your car run more smoothly!

Shovel 

Be careful what you are carrying in your car, but a small shovel can be useful should you find yourself snowed in somewhere. I know at one time this wasn’t very likely here in the UK, but with increasing bad weather, you can never be too careful.

Snacks

Finally don’t forget to add a few snacks such as cereal bars, nuts or crips. Things that have a good shelf life and are quick to grab should you find yourself stranded/broken down. Keeping warm and fed are essentials and this again will offer peace of mind in an emergency.

Our cars go through a lot, and we rely heavily on them to get around and to get to work, school and leisure activities. Take care of your car and you family this Winter by being prepared for every scenario. These seemingly small things could make a massive difference to your safety and comfort in the coming months.

*In collaboration with TyrePlus 

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