This week has been rather wet and windy hasn’t it? Combined with feeling rough at the start of it, I have wanted to do anything but all of the above! The cold dull days have made me want to hibernate, sleep and snuggle with Christmas movies, and aside from Tuesday when I did just that, we have had a rather busy and full on week as we take another step closer to the festivities of Christmas.

Monday saw us at the Rainbows carol concert and me Christmas shopping with friends and lunch. And then, on Wednesday Alice and I took the train to a very cold coast for some more shopping and lunch with one of my sisters! We have have been at playgroups and soft plays, and I had Christmas dinner with the ladies from church. And then, last night I went out with my youngest sister to see Oliver Twist at Hull Truck Theatre – I have a review coming in the next day or so, but suffice to say – it was a great night and a great end to a cold, wet, ill and busy week here in East Yorkshire!

Grateful For 

This week I am grateful for the joys of singing carols with friends at the Scouting/guiding carol service on Monday. I love christmas music and Monday, surrounded by familiar faces (and incredibly rowdy children of mine), I really felt the Christmas spirit and sang my heart out (mostly)! I am excited to celebrate and prep over the coming weeks!

I am also grateful for college pals that are supportive as our deadline looms and for yummy lunches out with friends.

Succeeded At 

This week we succeeded at getting the tree up and decorated and getting another handful of gifts purchased! I started our Christmas shopping at the end of November in a hope that I would be done by now, but alas – I still have another 4 or 5 gifts to get and Christmas is looming on the horizon (as well as Naths birthday next week!).

Yesterday we also bought a few things to make Poppy’s grave more festive and though that is always a hard task to do, we succeeded at it! We want to add a few more things, but to be honest it gets too much to do it all in one go. I was quite looking forward to doing it this year now that we have her headstone, and it was nice to choose things with the kids for their sister, but no sooner had we arrived and put them on, I wanted to leave again – it was weird! But we did it and I am glad to know she has some fresh and festive plants now.

Found Beauty In

The lovely lights and trees as we drive around are really beautiful! I also found beauty in seeing the kids help Grandma decorate her tree today and found beauty in singing carols.

I have a nuts week ahead with an assignment deadline, wrapping to do, Christmas plays to see, reviews to write and who knows what else! I am hoping to get myself organized and hoping that in the end its a successful and joyful week.

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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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This last week I have felt like I have practically been doing everything by the skin of my teeth! Whilst we have had some lovely days out with friends and shared some lovely moments, I have felt like the house has been in a bit of chaos and that most mornings have just got the better of us. Towards the end of the week I have been feeling a weak and achy and just not quite right in my abdomen and back – we stayed in yesterday and had a chill day, and today Megan and I missed church to rest too as she woke up with a temperature.

The week however (despite these moments of chaos and feeling a little rough) has held some great moments of fun and joy too – namely Friday when I had my birthday “round 2” with my mates. It was a great evening where I made a mexican feast and then we had a dip in the hottub followed by desserts and cake. It was such a laugh and I am thankful for each of them.

Grateful For

This week I am grateful to finally have my curtains up in the lounge. Nathan hung them on Saturday and they make me very happy and look pretty cool too (in my opinion at least)! Our lounge is just about there and it feels good to have it feeling more homely and in a style we are happy with.

I am also grateful this week for my group of friends. Moving house isn’t an easy thing (however right and exciting it feels), but to have come to a place filled with such lovely people has been a huge blessing to me. I know so many great people here and I am thankful for my little crew I see most days and who have become great mates to me over these last few months. I have chatted and hung with various friends this week from the village and each one has enriched my day, but I am especially grateful for the kindness of my friends on Friday in surprising me with H&M love and a delish cake, as well as just wanting to spend time together! I am grateful for them being so lovely and funny, kind and always up for lots of laughs – they made my week!

Succeeded At

I want to say I survived the week and got the kids to school every day on time – so I will, because for some reason it really has been nuts and seemed nigh impossible some days!

I succeeded at fitting into my denim shirt more comfortably – thanks to So Shape and their products I reviewed this week. Granted, with all of the treats from Friday night that’s probably being reversed now, but I managed it so that’s a high 5!

We also succeeded at doing a few more things in the lounge and as I say getting the curtains up.

Found Beauty In

This week started off beautifully, with a mild Monday which saw us having a beach walk with friends. It was such a clear day and the beach was calm and peaceful that it really filled my soul with joy. Alice enjoyed splashing in the pools, throwing stones and collecting shells. It was such a beaut of day – you could see for miles and it was lovely.

On Wednesday morning I woke up to find the kids all snuggled together on Ethan’s bed with him reading them all a story. It was one of those “pulling at mama’s heartstrings” moments and was incredibly beautiful. I find most mornings pretty mad with them all but this was a beautiful start to our day and I am glad that I could capture it.

This week has been mad but good too – we have eaten a lot of pancakes for breakfast, we have had drizzle and fog and we also had children in need where they dressed up as teachers or in something spotty. I have loved spending time with my mates throughout the week, learning new techniques at college and getting more of our home in order. I had fun on Wednesday with Nath’s mum and sister and Alice and I found a new deli in Beverley which was lush for lunch!

Yes, it has been a mad week, but it has also been balanced out with beautiful moments too. There isn’t a lot planned this coming week other than I hope to make a start with the Christmas shopping (when did that creep up on us?). Here’s hoping it is filled with bargains and joy, and isn’t too cold!

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This Summer has been wonderful, and great for the days we’ve been able to spend with our friends from the village! Our lifestyle is very different these days and we spend a lot more time with the people we live around (which is lovely). I love that the our neighbours and the kids my kids go to school with are not only our friends now, but also the people we socialise with and go on adventures with!

I have loved having the time to talk and laugh with my new pals whilst the kids spend all day playing and getting along.

On Monday we walked 4 miles locally (it took all morning) and the week before that we spent a whole day on the beach in Hunmanby. Then Thursday we had a day out to Scarborough! These trips have been pretty nuts, but a lot of fun too, and they have made Summer more memorable. The great part is that they have also all been FREE!!

Whilst there is still a good week or so of the summer holidays left, I thought I’d share with my Yorkshire readers especially, a few free ideas we have enjoyed with our friends in big groups – just in case you have hit desperation mode and need a couple more ideas to see you through til September!

1. A beach day 

2 weeks ago we went to Hunmanby Gap which lies between Bempton and Filey on East Yorkshire Coast. The day wasn’t super warm, but dry and sunny enough to be able to spend a good 6 hours on the beach digging with friends and chasing the tide (and a seal!). There were about 8 families that came and we built a little base on the beach, where the kids played non stop around us all day and we enjoyed banter and picnics!

I swam in the sea with one of my friends and we all generally just chilled and had fun with one another. I realised on this day that seemingly ordinary days, and things we would usually do over the Summer anyway, were enhanced 10 fold by being in a big group of great friends!

  

Just up the coast is filey brigg and we have also been there twice this Summer for rock pooling with family and extended family. If you want another idea then know that it makes for a real adventurous free day too even with wellies and raincoats on!

2. A country walk 

As we live in a village now, we are fortunate enough to be able to walk 5 minutes out of our door and be in beautiful fields and open countryside. We took advantage of this on Monday and had a spontaneous group trek with dogs and kids! We did just shy of 4 miles on a circular walk that brought us home again. The weather was dry and I enjoyed the exercise and chat with my friends. It always makes me smile to see my kids running through fields and embracing nature – especially when surrounded by their best friends from school (or cousins too).

You may not live as close as us, but a local nature walk of any description with friends, makes for easy exercise and a lovely time!

3. Scarborough open air theatre 

On Thursday a group of us headed to Scarborough in convoy and had a walk around peasholm park and a picnic overlooking the lake.

From there we walked over the road to the open air theatre where they had a 2 hour family friendly show. This was a free event that runs throughout the summer and was so feel good and chilled. There was singing, dancing, “Double Trouble”, magic, puppets and laugh out loud Comedy! The kids absolutely loved it and it was nice to sit in the sun and be entertained together. I was really impressed with what a great day it was and will certainly be keeping it on my radar for next Summer!

Sadly on this trip some of the mums were working but it was great to be with the ones that could come!

 

These little outings and local adventures have made our summer holidays extra special, more fun and adventurous, and they have meant we have spent less whilst still making lots of lovely memories! I love our new friends… they make the ordinary extraordinary!

 I love that we have found wonderful friends amongst our neighbours and that we have found people with like minded interests and outlooks on life. I enjoy hanging out with them, not just because they are lovely people and friends but because there is a high chance our kids are all going to grow up together and end up in the same high school too, and that makes me a little bit excited (and scared) that these potentially could be more than neighbours and school mates – but friends for life!!

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