Last Thursday our little unicorn loving, tree climbing, crazy Megan turned a big 6 years old! I find it incredible that each year, the night before their birthdays I can distinctly remember their arrivals into our lives and family. Aside from Poppy’s (for obvious reasons) it is a part of the birthday build up I thoroughly enjoy – reflecting and remembering those hours of labour, their birth and the moment we first met our little humans!

In recent years I have enjoyed reflecting on their pregnancies and birth, and then comparing that to how they are now and seeing the connections in their personality. It always fascinates me and brings a smile!

Megan is a prime example for doing this with, as my pregnancy and birth story match her personality impeccably well! She has always been very gunho with things and yet if you try and stop her she will become very stubborn and stuck! This was seen when she tried to come at 30 weeks gestation and after the Drs preventing her from doing so, she then ended up being a week overdue and being born the morning of the day I was scheduled for induction!

This stubborn and very independent side of her has been very noticeable in recent years and sometimes Nathan and I dare not even speak at risk of her going nuts at us.

And yet even with this streak, she still radiates such joy, humour and love in our home and lives!

Megan isn’t afraid to be herself which is something I really admire about her. She is in her own little world and is very happy there; wearing whatever she thinks is cool and trying to do pretty much what she wants to do. She knows what she wants in life and I think she will go far … especially if she can focus a little more at school! She has an incredible imagination and always has done, but she really doesn’t enjoy school that much and most days we argue to and fro as to why she needs to. Still after 100 debates at 8.35am, she will still come back with the fact that she just doesn’t see why she has to go “EVERY SINGLE DAY WHEN I JUST WANT TO BE A TRAPEZE ARTIST!”. Being such a creative person and day dreamer, I think comes down to the fact she finds sitting still and having to do what she sees as the “boring stuff” very tedious and trying. We are trying hard with her and working on improving her reading (which she will do), but she much prefers being active and drawing/making things, and this can be hard to help her see the reasons to why she can’t only do those things all of them time and why she needs to balance them.

It was no surprise then that this year for her Birthday she wanted a new bike and a build a bear – she hasn’t been off the bike since we got her it and she is busy saving up birthday money for the numerous accessories her unicorn build a bear will be wearing! She also got her fave DVD – Ferdinand (and the book) and a few new “cool accessories and Ts”!

This year was a party year and in true Megan style she celebrated with a unicorn theme. We invited her girl school friends last Saturday and held it at her favourite soft play just up the coast in Bridlington – “Monty Zoomers” – where they threw her a really lovely evening party and took excellent care of us all. I took her a unicorn cake (bought from Asda for only £11) and they did the rest! It was so great to show up and enjoy!

The kids played in the play centre, then had tea and ice cream, cake and candles and a guest appearance from Monty himself. It was such a lovely evening, and she had an amazing time. Aside from the craziness of driving her and her friends in “the party bus” there and back – it was very chilled and lots of fun!

But of course Megan is very much like me and had not just 1 lovely unicorn cake and a party, but rather she celebrated her birthday with 3 cakes! On Sunday we had a joint family tea party with her cousin who turned 6 2 days after her and took a LIDL chocolate celebration cake (hello £3.99 barg). And then Grandma had us over for a birthday tea on her actual birthday, where we enjoyed garden games, delicious homemade pizza in her new pizza oven and a fab melon cake!

As you can see, she doesn’t do things by halves!

Welcome to your 6th Year of life Megan – I wonder what lies ahead??

At 6 years old I want to remember that you developed your first real crush on a boy 2 years above her at school, and how you have no idea that his mum and I laugh about it all the time!

I want to remember the moments when you have so much confidence in your abilities – and conquered that giant tree on the village green as a result.

I want to remember how you and Alice hug and love each other daily, and how absolutely nuts you are together.

I want to remember your poses in mirrors, your beautiful laughter, long hair, determination and love of going to Rainbow’s and Gymnastics. I want to remember your new ambition to be a trapeze artist since seeing The Greatest Showman!

I want to remember how you line all of your many teddies up on your bed and how you take great pride in telling people your favourite animal is Bull – because most people “think they’re so scary”!?

I want to remember how you love to wink in such a funny and obvious way with you whole face!

And last of all, I want to remember how funny you are … what amazing dances you makes up and how you are not afraid to perform.

Megan we love your crazy, funny stubborn self! You are full of goodness, love and mad as a box of frogs – we are glad you are you, and that we are blessed to have you in our family!

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I never considered myself a country girl, but rather always thought of myself as a city dweller. My style and interests are mostly suited to urban living and growing up in a small seaside town I liked the idea of living in a place that was happening! I guess I always wanted to be somewhere rich in opportunity, culture and things to see and do day and night. I love to explore museums, shop, see cool architecture and eat out, and I couldn’t wait to break out into life and live in the big city.

I think Nathan found that all attractive too, and it was great that years down the line, what started as housemates and friends between 2 small town people, turned into dating, marriage and us creating a lovely life together in Leeds.

For possibly about 9 mostly great years (more for him), I lived in Leeds and found it to be a brilliant life in a fab Yorkshire city that I love. But then our kids started to grow up, and a fog of grief and tear stained memories hung over our home and the city we once loved and thrived in, held to much pain and bad memories. We felt trapped in someways and we both realized that the dream shifted. We fell out of love with city living and I suddenly found myself craving a slower pace of life surrounded by nature. We discussed at length where we might like to live next, and some days we felt drawn to the coast, on others it was smaller towns around Leeds… but in the end, and after several months of viewing houses all over Yorkshire, we both decided (and felt right about) a village location in East Yorkshire. The wolds are beautiful, the little market towns charming, and the coast and family are close by – it seemed the most appealing choice for what we wanted in this stage of life and so we headed home.

Last Summer we packed up and headed over here to start our new “Village Life” Chapter!

I of course then feared I might not like it. It was such a vast change, and whilst the idea sounded fabulous, I couldn’t help but wonder what life might be like going from such a bustling town on the edge of a City, into living in a small village surrounded by fields! Would we feel cut off? Would it be cliquey? Would we fit in and would it fit us? How would we get to the shops? What about emergency’s? Would a new school be good for the kids? Would we be bored?!

But now I see that all of that was minor because our neighbours are great and the village has a train line which means I can get to local towns in anything from 5 to 10 mins. I can get to the coast in about 25 minutes, and the City of Hull in about 40 minutes. I am surrounded by lovely people, there are local toddler groups, a farm shop and SPAR, and I do not feel cut off at all. Surprisingly I have actually found that since being here I enjoy not having shops nearby me or busy things. I like to be able to just wander – be that wandering home… wandering around the village green… wandering up to the farm shop or wandering over fields. I like that I have the option to stay in our village bubble enjoying the beauty and chilled pace, or venture out and be busy. I love the freedom to step out into fields within a couple of minutes and see little old churches, tractors and farm animals. I love to see the kids en mass riding their bikes to school and horses passing by our window on occasion. I love how everyone smiles and greets you, and how many birds we can hear 24 hours!

Yes it is lovely, and nothing to fear! In fact when we first drove into this village and onto this street I simply felt at peace – I knew this was where I wanted to live and that we could be happy here. Now after a whole year since leaving Leeds to start this new life in the country, I have to say it has been such a great and wonderful adventure, and we are happy here!

We have seen the village in all seasons now, and each one has brought with it excitement, beauty and joy. I love the traditions the village have and I love that because we are out in nature more we really get a feel for the season and can embrace it in its fullness! I have loved this huge change to our lives, and how we appreciate and find beauty in the smallest things around us now.

With 3 young nutty children and grief in our hearts, we desperately wanted somewhere that felt healing and peaceful to us. We wanted a place we could explore and enjoy in all seasons, and we wanted an adventure. We imagined a slower pace, less traffic and stress, and whilst some of that is still present (stress and busy lives), and we have a few things still to sort to fully live our dream here, overall life is just what we wanted and needed – slower, more peaceful and that wonderful feeling of being free in the outdoors!

Here’s what we love most about Village life in the 12 months we’ve being here

Peace – Despite the normal stress and craziness of being parents and having a busy family life, the first and biggest thing we noticed from living here was peace and quiet! We love the peace of village life – the sounds of nature and children playing, and we love the peace in our hearts that we have found somewhere to raise our family that feels so right!

Community – The community spirit and incredible friendliness of the people here caught me off guard initially – people in cities just aren’t so chatty and I found it odd that so many people wanted to know about us! Immediately we had lots of smiles, chats, welcome cards and invites to local events and it was lovely. People would talk to us at the park, in the street and at school and still even now this is the norm. It was so weird and a huge change to let our guard down, but now I love taking interest in others too and we love belonging to a community and living in a place where people genuinely care for one another and look out for each other and their kids. All the kids play out all together like we did when we were kids, and the village has so many lovely traditions each season and holiday to bring everyone together.

Our favourite has been seeing the little lit up nativity scene on the island of the village pond at Christmas, the daffodils that fill the green in Springtime, and the village show and music festivals that all sound great too.

I love how everyone smiles and greets you each day – I love how trusting and kind everyone is, and that we have discovered that village life means living in a place with great community spirit. It restores faith in the goodness of people and makes life very joyful indeed!

Wide open spaces – I think this was the most obvious change and thing that we wanted from village life and it hasn’t disappointed. Whatever the weather we love the wide open spaces all around us – it is so pretty and we thoroughly enjoy our wanderings, hikes, adventures, and the opportunity to rejuvenate and heal via all that await us in nature!

A Little school – Thankfully when we lived in Leeds we were able to have our kids in a little faith school, but I would say this one is definitely a little smaller.  I love that too about living here – and we have found the school and parents are lovely, and they run some fantastic free clubs too (gardening being a fave). The kids have settled well, and especially love ice cream fridays, parents being able to go for school lunch, and stepping out of school on to the green and playing with friends.

I never considered myself country girl, and elements of my style and interests still aren’t particularly country girl, but I do love an adventure and being outdoors and this move has helped me discover new things I love to do. I now own a pair of joules wellies and am mostly rocking life in the country!!!

Overall I would say that village life is wonderful though and is far less about style and more a new lifestyle with a young family. Life generally could do with a couple of improvements here and there, but that is life isn’t it?! And I often say to Nath that I would prefer to deal with life’s challenges here in such a beautiful chilled place, than in a busy city with some bad memories, because when it comes to where we live, I couldn’t have imagined how blessed we would feel to live here!

I didn’t realise how much my soul needed to live in such close proximity to nature and the coast and how it would help me discover more about myself. We each love the peace, the sound of the birds, the people we live around and are getting to know, and we love how right it feels to live here. The kids often say we live in the best place (they love it), and I suppose for us right now it is.

I feel so grateful everytime I take a stroll around the fields, up to the farm shop, or across to the neighbouring village that this is our new home. I love to see the joy of the kids playing out with friends and having independence, and having a childhood chasing nature. Even the school run is pretty, and I am thankful in all of these little moments that this is our life now. I love how close we are to the beach…the ocean, seaside and family – it really is so fulfilling and I love that we all feel settled and happy with this move. We have slotted in seamlessly, and are enjoying our new village life in the country – it is pretty, and just what we needed!

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May 2018 has been a really strange month for us. There has been no major trips or adventures we have taken, and we have no big news to share, but then there has been a few, more serious things (like a day at A&E) that has meant that it has just felt all a little bit of a strange one! We have been fortunate to have lovely weather, but our weekends, half term, and those bonus bank holidays, have all been spent locally and I have actually really liked that! We have been appreciating where we live and remembering why we fell in love with this part of East Yorkshire, and it has brought some tranquility in the madness!

The month began on a high with a bank holiday weekend, and we made the most of the sunshine we had with a lovely 5 mile walk with the family, which saw us leaving from our house and trekking around the local countryside to a lovely spring. I love where we live – it is stunning, and being in open, pretty spaces makes me feel at peace. It is good for the soul and I hope I never tire of the fields, woodland and cosy cottages that surround us in our village! In just a few days it will have been a whole year since we moved over to East Yorkshire from Leeds, and whilst some things have been a challenge for us in this time, and some adjustments have had to be made, overall it was the best decision for our family, and we are lapping up the peace and tranquility of living in a place filled with so much nature and beauty (and lovely neighbours). With the generally milder weather of May, we have embraced all of this by getting out on several walks and strolls around the countryside where we live, and each time we feel incredibly grateful to have our home here.

Our pictures this month are taken in the local woods a couple of weeks ago when we had a spontaneous Sunday afternoon stroll and dinner with some of my family after church. I look wrecked, and have been ill now for almost 2 weeks (not knowing until last week that it was my kidney!), but despite that, I love how chilled we all were that day, and how it is reflective of our relaxed approach to life now. Comparing me last year to this, I would say I wear trainers and Ts a lot more than I ever did, and I have more make up free days too. I love wearing cool things of course, but my lifestyle now is more chill and seems to have become much more about the joy of getting out in nature with my kids and for myself, and dressing for that! I like the balance we have there in life (and this pic)!

Aside from country walks and noticing our chilled life, the month of May has also seen Mr Smith having a car accident, me a kidney infection, and us both heading to (and very much loving) a Bryan Adams concert in Manchester. It has seen Alice learn new words, and Ethan and Megs having an epic sleepover with cousins at their Grandma Smith’s house just this last weekend!

I would say this month has been lovely, eye opening, and also rather weird and strange too with illness and accidents (resulting in an A&E day trip).

Next month Megan turns 6, we celebrate 12 months living in East Yorkshire, and I finish my counselling course I have worked so hard to get through! I hope both Mr Smith and I feel well, and can enjoy the celebrations of June!

This Month We Are Grateful For…

*Nathan not being too badly hurt
*The NHS – it has helped Nath in his accident and me with being ill recently
*Sunshine to enjoy nature
*Grandma for having the kids for the weekend
*Family for babysitting so we could enjoy a concert in Manchester
*A pimped courtesy car whilst ours is in the garage
*Bank Holiday weekends and time together
*Our newly decorated kitchen

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As of 3.20pm yesterday afternoon our kids are officially on their half term break from school and it couldn’t come soon enough! Megan isn’t a fan of school and it is a battle every day, so she is excited to have her time as her own! And I am excited to have my kids back… I thoroughly enjoy the time we get to go out together and hang out during the school holidays, and with all of the lovely weather we’ve been having so far, I have been super excited to spend some time going on little adventures together! I always enjoy these moments and feel like a proper mum (if that makes any sense?)!

Anyway, tonight they will kick off their fun with an epic sleepover/fun times (which is lasting all weekend) with their cousins at Grandma Smith’s house! It sounds unbelievable what she has planned, and completer madness, but I know each of their cousins are as excited as them and cannot wait to go. With 8×4-7 year olds, I wish her much luck…but I am sure it will be hugely exciting and a wonderful, memorable weekend!

Meanwhile, I am very much looking forward to a bank holiday weekend and having some time with Nath working side by side to spruce up our home and finally put our stamp on it (with our little helper of course).

Usually our half terms are planned around daily themes (read more about it here) which works out wonderfully for a balance. This time round however I decided to mix it up a bit and have a more spontaneous approach. Instead of us brainstorming and planning together around our daily themes, I asked them each to pick a day they wanted and then decide what we be doing on that day – anything they want they can plan it for the rest of the family! They loved this idea so much and are now looking forward to their days, as well as sharing in the fun that one another has planned!

So here is what we are looking forward to this June half term…

MONDAY – The kids will still be living it up at Grandma’s so we will be taking advantage of the Bank holiday to either be finishing any DIY jobs on our list that we didn’t get done Saturday, or simply chilling at the coast with Alice.

TUESDAY – After a busy weekend, we have reserved Tuesday to be a chill out day. I think it’s important when they are off school to have one day at least where they can relax, play out, wander to the park and watch movies. Tuesday will be our day for this!

WEDNESDAY – This is Alice’s day, and so weather permitting we will be visiting an RSPB spot and take a picnic. She loves Birds and animals, and as we have membership I thought it would be a nice day out and a lovely day chasing Nature!

THURSDAY – Megan chose this day as hers. Without hesitation it was swimming and pirate golf at the coast! This will probably be a good day to meet up with cousins on my side and have some fun over that way!

FRIDAY – Ethan really wants to go to “THE DEEP” in Hull! I thought this was a splendid idea as we rarely go to places like this in our school holidays. He thought we could go on the Friday and so there we are – fun at The Deep on Friday! We will probably have a walk around the marina too, and if it’s warm weather, wander to the fountains in the city centre!

SATURDAY – On Saturday we will be returning to Hull to go to Hull Truck Theatre family open day. It is a FREE event from 10am til 4.30pm I have been looking forward to for a while (and I think it will be fantastic). As a theatre lover, I can’t wait for my kids to get hands on and involved with the things I love. It will be great to experience the joy and mystery of the Theatre together! Ethan is especially excited to check out (and hopefully have a go) at lighting and sound, and I think Megs will enjoy the crafty side of things and dress up! I am really looking forward to our family doing something together that makes me so happy!

Later that day we are meeting up with Ethan’s bestie from Leeds for some swimming or just some hanging out!

I am so excited for a week together – having fun and exploring East Yorkshire! Can you believe that next weekend it will be a year since we moved over here? I can’t! It has been such a different pace of life, a refreshing change to life in the City, and I am excited that nearly all that we have planned together is embracing our new favourite spots here in East Yorkshire! I can’t wait to hang with my kids this coming week and have some fun this Half term!

Hello to June Half term – we are so ready for you (once they’ve cracked on and cleaned the house this morning!) – let’s hope the sun shines brightly on our adventures!

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