28 April 2016

Harewood House

At the end of March, Harewood House opened it's gates for the first day of the season.  With Daddy off work it seemed like the perfect day to go and visit.  We set off fairly early to try get the most out of the day and the lovely weather that we were lucky to have.

When we arrived Luca made a beeline for the huge adventure playground.  The have two, a smaller one for little people and then a big one for older children.  Luca spent ages on the smaller climbing frame, sliding down the two different slides, climbing across the bridges and generally enjoying himself.  He then spotted the larger one with cargo nets, tunnels, slides and much more and managed to persuade his Daddy to take him on it.  Poor Ant is 6"4 so scrambling through some of the sections was a challenge for him but had me hugely entertained.

With the promise of an ice cream we managed to get Luca to come for a walk and discover what else was on offer.

With ice cream in hand we headed to the newly opened farm corner, where it was feeding time for the animals.  They have a rabbit corner, some pigs, alpacas and goats and we watched the pigs having their breakfast and listened to a little talk all about them.

Once Luca has looked at all the animals we headed to the start of the Easter Egg trail.  Hidden around the grounds were big eggs with letters on them that made a word.  Once you had them all you handed the sheet in and got a little chocolate prize.

Luca was really enjoying listening to the clues and hunting for the eggs before shouting out the letters he found. Fun & learning combined. 

26 April 2016

To Do List 2016 ~ Quarterly Update

March has been and gone (and lets be honest so has April but I'm miles behind on posts still) which means we are a quarter of the way through 2016!  Let's just think about that for a minute, a quarter of the way, already! What?!? 

Anyway it felt like a good time to reflect on my to do list and see what I've managed to achieve in these last three months. 

  • Firstly, and most excitingly, I have recently booked my first snow boarding lesson at our local ski slope.  What started out as myself and a friend has now become a group of 7 friends so we have managed to book a group lesson so we can all learn together. Apparently there is one other  person who will be joining our group too, I just hope they know what they are letting themselves in for with my bonkers friends and family. 
  • In March we made a start on having our regular date nights. We started well and managed to to do 4 consecutive weeks but then I got the flu, Ant worked a week of lates and then it was half term so we haven't managed to squeeze in any more. Once Luca is back at school and we have a bit more of a routine going on again I'm sure we will restart them up again as we have both really enjoyed the challenge of it being weekly and taking it in turns to think of things to do together. My favourite one so far has been our at home spa night. 

Me & Mine ~ March 2016

This months photo was taken in Sandsend on Mother's Day just as the sun was starting to set on what had been one of the best days ever.  You can read all about our time in Sandsend in my Mother's Day post but I think this photo sums up the day brilliantly.  It was cold, it rained, snowed and hail stoned but we spent hours on the beach digging, throwing stones, collecting shells and pieces of quartz, splashing in the river that runs into the sea and watching the ducks.  We laughed a lot and I was surrounded by the most important people in my life.  It was absolute perfection and I know it will be one of my favourite days ever for a really long time.

The Me and Mine Project

18 April 2016

In a nutshell ~ March 2016

I feel so lucky that most of our months seem to be spent doing lovely things and making brilliant memories. Writing these nutshell posts reminds me of how fabulous each month has been and I think this is something easily forgotten otherwise. 

March has seen us really embrace our time as a family and has given me the best Mother's Day so far, a day I know I will cherish for a very long time. So without further ado, here was how March looked for us.

  • First up was a day crafting Mother's Day cards and making bookmarks with Luca for all his grandma's and great grandma's.  He is very lucky to have two grandma's and three great grandma's.
  • We had some snow this month too, which was lovely if a little cold. I love snow though, I find it really magical and it makes everything look so pretty. 
  • Weekly date nights kicked off in this house and I started the proceedings with a night of board games, not the most exciting of nights but we still had fun followed by a cards night
  • Although we came home on the Sunday when we went to Sandsend, my parents stayed for the week so after a tiny bit of persuasion I drove back over there on Thursday night with Luca to spend another 2 nights by the sea. It wasn't quite how I had imagined it to be as Luca was struck down with a tummy bug but we did get to spend some more time on the beach, feed the ducks and I went off to take some photos with my camera for my homework for a photography course I'm currently on. Again you can see more pictures on my Mother's Day post.

  • The next weekend I took the opportunity to go into Leeds shopping and update my wardrobe a little. I refused to buy clothes for work despite desperately needing some and treated myself to clothes I just loved. My wardrobe was well overdue an update and although I could still do with some more pieces it feels really nice to have new items to wear instead of the same old stuff.
  • We had a family day out at Harewood House this month too. We haven't been here since before Luca was born so it was really nice to explore it with him. We went on the first day of the season and the weather was absolutely glorious. We did the Easter egg trial and played on the park and generally spent some quality time outdoors as a family. We definitely recommend a visit if your around that area for the playground alone. It's huge and great for kids of all ages.
  • Easter was early this year and Luca received a mountain of eggs (which I'm still helping him eat) and the Pie Face game. Hilarious! If you haven't played this game you must. There are a few videos on my Instagram if you fancy a peek, there is one of my 80yr old Grandma being splatted in the face and even the dog had a go.   
  • Luca went to his first party from nursery with his new best friend. These two are double trouble to say the least bit are great for each other. Luca has always been a bit of a pushover but since developing this new friendship he appears to be learning to stand up for himself a bit.  Luca got a Spiderman glitter tattoo which he loved.  
  • I finished the month with flu which wasn't exactly how I'd planned. Flu is an absolute bitch, I've never felt so ill in all my life and it's completely wiped me out. Despite feeling better now my muscles were ravaged during my illness and are still catching up on their recovery. I feel like I've run a marathon by bed time each day at the moment.

Apart from the flu March was a really good month and I've looked back on it very fondly whilst writing this post.  I feel so lucky to have the family and life I do and will always endeavour to cherish every minute spent enjoying it and remembering it.  These years with Luca are absolutely flying and I want to hold them closer and slow it down just a little.  

13 April 2016

Date Night #3 - Wife's Choice

Week three into our weekly date night pact and so far it's been our best I think. Ant may disagree but it's definitely been my favourite.  

Again it was an at home date as we are in frugal mode at present and it really didn't cost me much to do.  Inspired by my spa break I thought I'd arrange an at home spa night, especially as Ant had been working so hard recently I thought a bit of relaxation and pampering would be a perfect way to spend an evening together. 

Whilst Ant was putting Luca to bed I started a shower running for him to build up a bit of steam in the bathroom, I lit some candles in there too for a bit of atmosphere and lovingly hung his dressing gown on the door for when he had finished.  Once he'd reappeared from bedtime duties I told him to go jump in for a bit before putting on his dressing gown and coming to find me. 

Whilst he had been showering I had set up our bedroom to resemble a spa, well as much as is possible in your home.  Imagine lots of candles scattered around the room and some fairy lights (the ones in this post to be precise) for low, romantic lighting. I made sure I lit some scented candles too to add to the atmosphere of being at a spa as well as playing some compulsory plinky plonky music.  Thank you Spotify.

17 March 2016

Mother's Day in Sandsend

On Saturday my parents, along with my aunt and my grandparents were going to Sandsend for a week.  Whilst I was at my mums giving her our presents and cards for everyone for Mother's Day my dad called to say he wouldn't be finished at work in time to set off with them.  To cut a long story short my dad very kindly offered to pay for us a B&B on Saturday night in Sandsend in exchange for a lift there that night.  

After a quick phone call to Ant it was agreed that we would absolutely love to go for the night and off I trotted home to pack for our impromptu trip. 

We packed our overnight bag, bathed Luca and popped him into his pj's before setting off to pick up my Dad at about 7:30pm.  It took just less than two hours to get to Sandsend from where we live so by the time we arrived Luca had fallen asleep and it was pitch black outside.

We found where my parents were staying and dropped my dad. My mum then loaded us up with food, a big bowl of pasta, chunks of fresh bread covered in butter, a small cake, some ginger biscuits, a small carton of milk (for a cup of tea) and a bottle of beer for Ant. Seriously, she's a feeder. 

We then drove 2 minutes around the corner to our B&B for the night, checked in and got Luca all snuggled back into bed before sharing the food my mum sent us and settling down for the night ourselves.  

We knew our room overlooked the sea as the owners had informed us of this at check in, and we could hear the waves crashing all night through the old sash windows (not a bad thing, it was quite relaxing) but we had no idea what it would actually look like in the morning as neither of us have ever visited Sandsend before and it was absolutely pitch black when we arrived.

We weren't to be disappointed.  When Luca dived out of bed the next morning and threw back the curtains this was the site that greeted us, it was a perfect start to Mother's Day right there.  

For once Luca was more than willing to get dressed that morning, he couldn't wait to get outside and play on the beach.  

After a huge breakfast, again with views over looking the sea, we checked out and set off walking back to my parents cottage they were renting for the week.  My dad had taken our car back around to their cottage as there wasn't any parking where we were staying.  It was only a five minute walk though and the sights that greeted us along the way were just beautiful.  Sandsend really is a picture perfect seaside village.   

16 March 2016

Date Night #2 ~ Husbands choice

So after my introduction to our weekly date night last week it was the husbands turn to organise one.  I honestly had no idea what was up his sleeve but was very intrigued to see after a few hints he had dropped the night before.  

It was a home based date night again and he treated me with home cooked tomato and mozzarella bruschetta which is my absolute favourite thing that Ant cooks. He makes them ridiculously garlicky and they are just perfection! 

After we had eaten he brought out a deck of cards and challenged me to a long overdue rematch.  Let me explain. 

14 March 2016

In a Nutshell - February '16

I cannot believe we are already into March.  Despite the snow and really cold weather recently I can definitely feel Spring is just around the corner.  I'm willing it in by decorating my house with ceramic rabbits, and filling vases with tulips and daffodils galore.  

February was a jam packed month.  We had so much fun and squeezed every last minute out of it, so here is what we got up to. 

One Friday we decided to go visit the local park we recently discovered.  It's literally around the corner from Luca's school and it a really good little find.  Luca loved exploring all the things it had to offer, like the see-saw, climbing wall, rope wall, swings and slide.  As well as the little telescope mounted onto the climbing frame. 

On Valentine's weekend my childhood best friend gave me a card with a little message inside asking me to be her bridesmaid.  I'm so excited.  I've only ever been a bridesmaid once before and that was for my Grandma when I was about 10.  I'm really looking forward to celebrating her wedding and feel very honoured that she has asked me. 

One Monday, when I got home from work early, we took a last minute trip to Anglers Country Park to follow the Room on the Broom trail.  It was absolutely brilliant, Luca loved discovering all the hidden sculptures and the letters dotted around the lake and I really enjoyed playing with my camera before the dark set in.

We had our first few weekly date nights as well this month.  They have both been really good and I'm enjoying spending time with Ant each week and giving each other our undivided attention.

I found out our local cinema do a Sunday morning junior showing for a really cheap rate.  It cost £7 for four of us to go see The Good Dinosaur.  I'm definitely going to be making use of this more often.  We all cried at this film, it's such a good film but a real tear jerker.  Luca says he doesn't want us to buy it though as it made him cry too much.  He literally sobbed at the end and had to have a big cuddle.  

The last weekend of February was so much fun.  My friend Ashleigh, was supposed to be going on a spa break with her Mum but unfortunately her Mum was too poorly to go.  So like the good friend I am I stepped in.  We spent all day Saturday at the Titanic Spa, making use of all the facilities, eating delicious food and covering ourselves in mud (all in the name of beauty).  We then drank a few too many cocktails in the evening and got a little bit tipsy.  It was so much fun to spend some real quality time with my best friend though, we laughed and talked for hours and it was just what we both needed after a few stressful weeks at work. 

The day after we grabbed a Costa whilst we waited for her fiance to come and pick her up before I went to collect Luca from my mums.  When I got there the glorious spring sunshine was out and we spent a few hours playing in her garden.  Luca was in his element as he loves being outside and we don't have a garden where we live.  He was riding his bike and his electric motorbike and we played on the swings too making the most of the fresh air and blue skies. 

February turned out to be an absolutely wonderful month even though we had no plans to begin. 

9 March 2016

Date Night #1 ~ Wife's Choice

I'm running a few weeks behind with these date night posts to try to keep on top of them and actually get them written so here is our first one from a few weeks ago.

So as it was my idea for weekly date nights I thought it only fair for me to kick off the precedings.  The plan was for us to have our first date night on Valentine's Day. We don't celebrate Valentine's Day so to speak but it did seem like the perfect evening for a date night.  However, plans went out of the window when some friends asked Ant if he wanted to go see Deadpool at the cinema instead.  My superhero nerd of a husband couldn't refuse so we postponed. 

The next opportunity for date night ended up being the following Friday.  I had a meal planned for us followed by something to do together. It was a cheap at home date as I'm skint at the moment plus we are trying to save a deposit for our own home so a flash date night wasn't on the cards. 

8 March 2016

Crafty Owls Pottery Painting

With the weather being so rubbish lately we haven't had many outside adventures. I don't mind rain or cold weather but when it's so windy I really don't enjoy being outside. Having said that I still want to get out of the house. 

A few weeks ago it was blustery, cold and rainy and we had my niece over to celebrate her birthday.  With all this in mind it seemed like the perfect weekend to go pottery painting as suggested by my cousin Ella.  We initially booked into Jack Rabbits in Leeds, I phoned during the week to book our place as they get busy at the weekend. When we arrived we were told our table had been given away to someone else as we were late and so they had no space for us. Furious (I had told them we would be late when we booked), we headed back to the car and consulted good old Google to try find somewhere else. 

We found somewhere only 15 minutes from our house, in Ossett called Crafty Owls, if only we had known before. After a quick call to see if they could squeeze us in (they could) we set off to find them. 

When we arrived we were greeted by the very friendly owner, Kirstin, who showed us to a table, told us to get comfy and pointed us in the direction of the pottery shelves to choose what we wanted to paint. She then informed us to take a seat and her husband, Julien, would be over to explain the rest of the process.  Rhianna chose a princess to paint, Luca chose an octopus and Ella, chose a really cute owl shaped tea light holder.