4 February 2016

January '16 in a Nutshell

After such a busy month as December it was nice to slow down a bit in January.

We started off the year with a few days of fun together as a family.  We went to Sneaky Experiences Tales of Grimm Wood beneath the Leeds Town Hall followed by lunch in the Art Gallery.  

December '15 in a Nutshell

December is always a busy month for us as a family. It's packed full of birthdays and anniversaries, not to mention to Christmas and New Year. December always flys by without me so much as scratching my arse over the 31 days of it. 

Despite it being such a busy month, it was an absolutely lovely month and so I thought I'd share what December looked like for us. 

The 1st of December is my best friends birthday and so this year we celebrated with a meal at one of our regular haunts, Franco's.  It was so nice to spend time with three ladies who mean an awful lot to me and have a good old girly chin wag over wine and food to celebrate Ashleigh's birthday and generally just let my hair down for a few hours. She's the best friend I could wish for and helps out so much with Luca for me. She's a complete star and has been by my side through lots of shit over the last two and a half years and taken her fair share of ear bashing when I've needed to rant to someone. I love her dearly. 

 After this came my parents wedding anniversary. Happily married for 28 years they are my idols and are the most fabulous parents in the world.  

A few days later it was Auntie's birthday and then time to put up the Christmas decorations. 

A few days later we went to Nursery to see Luca in his first school Christmas performance. He spent the whole time looking really shy, but did come out of his shell a little when Santa turned up with presents.  

31 January 2016

Me & Mine January 2016 & Catch Up

Me & Mine is one of my favourite linkys.  I love that it made me realise we didn't have many photos of us all together as a family and made me start to take photos of us all rather than just one of us with Luca.   

In December 2014 I did a catch up post after missing a few months.  Then I realised that after that catch up post I never actually posted any more despite trying to take photos of us as a family every month.  

So here are those family photos that I did manage to take in 2015 that I never actually shared as well as a new commitment to posting a family photo once a month again for 2016. 

January 2015

24 January 2016

My Wild One #2 - A Snowy Sunday

Last weekend we got snow. It started slowly on Saturday evening but by bedtime it was coming down thick and fast and we had a decent covering on the ground.  
As we were closing Luca's blinds for bed he spotted the snow and asked if we could go out and play in it.  

I said yes! 

I chucked some mismatched, warm clothes on us both and out we went.  Luca ran out into the snow and was absolutely in his element, making snow angels, throwing snowballs and catching flakes on his tongue for about an hour and a half before I dragged him back in to go to bed. These are some photos from that evening that I took on my iPhone. 

By Sunday morning and there was a decent amount of snow just waiting for us to go out and play in some more.  Ant wasn't working so we had breakfast and then went out to play. We walked around our little estate, taking in the beauty of our snow covered surroundings and greeting all the other families we saw doing the same. 

16 January 2016

My Wild One #1 - A trip to Lotherton Hall

Having a husband who works most weekends absolutely sucks for so many reasons. But, I'm a huge believer in optimism and finding the good in everyday. In this situation the good is having quality time with Luca, just me and him. Mother and son. I love it, I really do. I love exploring with him, creating memories, having fun and laughing together.  I'm the mum jumping in puddles when we go on muddy walks. I'm the mum racing him on the zip wire or throwing leaves around. I'm the mum who doesn't care how dirty my new jeans get as long as we are having fun together.  I love being that mum. 

So as I've vowed that I'm going to blog more, I've decided I should share more of these snippets of our life. The ordinary days, visiting places we've been on numerous occasions and where nothing spectacular may happen, but the days where we are together. They seem even more special now he's at pre-school too and I feel like I don't get as much time with him and like I now have to share him with the big world. 

On these days we aren't always alone, sometimes a friend may join us like they did this week when we ventured out to Lotherton Hall. 
Now I don't know if you've heard, but it's been pretty rainy up here in Yorkshire recently. On Friday we got a break in the rain and the sun even came out to cast its glorious wintry shine on everything. So we jumped in the car, picked up my friend Steph and headed out into the cold. 
Lotherton Hall is a regular haunt for us. It's got so much to keep you entertained for a good few hours. We began on the playground to burn off a bit of the crazy that creeps in when you've been housebound for a while. After that we headed into the wooded walk to find the hidden bits and pieces to play on and for me to start taking some photos for my latest photography challenge, #AYearWithMyCamera. 

There are lots of play equipment hidden in the trees and Luca loves the challenge that they all present, like the wobbly bridge and the bouncy circles.  He also loved balancing on a big, moss covered log we found and had Steph and myself helping him walk backwards and forwards on it for ages. 

15 January 2016

To-Do List 2016

It's January which means it's a new year and a new to-do list.  
Last years list didn't quite go as I'd hoped, you can see what I managed to cross off here, so I'm hoping to get a few more finished this year. 

After a fair bit of deliberation I've managed to set myself 10 things to do this year.  Here they are;

1. Go on the Harry Potter Studio tour.
We nearly made it last year but alas it was not to be. This year it's staying on the list as I'm determined this HP nerd will make it there. 

2. Learn to snowboard.
This has been a lifelong ambition that has just never come into fruition so again, this will be staying on my to do list until it is done. 

3. Have regular date nights with my husband. 
This was on the list a few years ago and although we didn't quite make every all of our planned date nights we made a lot of them. However this has fizzled out again as life gets in the way, so this year it's back. The plan is to spend one evening together a week. Either at home or out somewhere.  We are going to alternate responsibility for them so I will kick off week one and then Ant will plan what we do the week after and so on.  I'm really looking forward to the challenge of planning fun things to do together at home that don't involve a romantic meal or a film. 

3 January 2016

To-Do List 2015 - Review

For the last two years I've written myself a to do list at the start of each year. I don't make resolutions as I never stick to them and the I just feel like I've failed within a month or so. Having said that, I do like the idea of having a fresh start and having aims and goals for the year ahead.  In 2015 I made a list of 10 things to-do,  these were; 

22 December 2015

Point & Shoot - 22nd December 2015

It's nearly Christmas! Last week we took Luca to see Santa and our excitement level went up a notch. Luca loved it and the Santa we saw was extremely realistic, an old man with his own white beard, he even had me questioning if it was him. Before the elves took us into see him Luca was given a magic coin that was then sprinkled in magic elf dust. As I'm sure you can imagine Luca was beside himself with excitement and anticipation. 

You Baby Me Mummy

17 November 2015

Photography walk with Sarah Mason

Sarah has taken lots of photos of us over the years.  She did our bump and baby shoot, pre-wedding and then our wedding too.  I love Sarah's style of photography and every photo she has taken of us I utterly adore. 

I often find myself scrolling through her Facebook and Instagram feed (seriously check her Instagram feed out, it's beautiful) admiring her latest captures and not too long ago whilst scouring Facebook I noticed she was organising a photography walk.  I instantly signed myself up along with my friend, Steph.  The aim of the walk was to bring together people interested in photography, no matter their experience or equipment and share hints and tips. A chance to spend some time with a professional photographer willing to share her knowledge and advice and help other create beautiful photos of their own.  This in itself I think is truly wonderful, there are too many people in the world who aren't willing to share their expertise in a bid to keep them a secret.  Sarah is the complete opposite and is the type of person who restores your faith in humanity. Therefore this wasn't an opportunity I was willing to pass up. 

So last Saturday, in the pouting rain, we set off to Hebden Bridge to meet Sarah, Suzy and the others who had signed up for the walk too. 

Photo courtesy of Sarah Mason
Luckily the rain passed pretty quickly, well they do say that the sun shines on the righteous don't they?  

We wandered down to the canal and Sarah instructed us all to put our cameras onto manual mode.  My camera hasn't been in manual since we first bought it.  All my photos have been taken on auto in a vain attempt to grab some nice shots of Luca as a wriggly baby, through to a crazy toddler and now my little pre-schooler who careers around like a whirlwind wherever we are.  Turning it onto manual was a bit daunting to say the least but also very exciting. 

Sarah then took the time to chat to us about ISO and aperture and how to use them.  These are all things that I have read about and things I know in theory but have never really practised or put into use.  Plus having someone there to help you when it doesn't exactly go as you'd planned also helps.  We wandered down the canal taking shots and experimenting with changing the aperture and ISO settings and seeing the difference in the shots we got. This below is my favourite shot from the day. 

5 November 2015

Our 1st Family Holiday Abroad.

In March we booked our first family holiday abroad and crossed one of the goals off my yearly to-do list.  We couldn't have picked a better time to book it. The weeks before turned out to be very stressful ones so by the time our holiday came around I could not wait to board that plane and get away from it all. 

We flew the day after Luca's 3rd birthday, in the early hours of the morning. We needn't have worried about setting alarms as we were all woken by my parents dog, Lyla, having a meltdown as there was a huge thunderstorm, whilst their chocolate lab, Dibble, lay on the rug in front of the fire looking very confused by all the commotion going on at such a ungodly hour.  

After a very wet drive to the airport we queued for hours to check in and get through security and by the time we got through to the lounge the last call came to board our plane.  So much for eating breakfast at the airport!!!  Luckily this bad start to our break didn't last. 

Once we were into the airport lounge and Luca could see the planes on the runway his excitement level went up a notch or two.  We had spent a few weeks telling him all about aeroplanes, taking off and landing but I really had no idea how he was going to react when it all actually happened.  

Turns out he LOVED it!!

I also had no idea how he would behave on the three hour flight but I am pleased to tell you all he was as good as gold and made me a very proud Mummy.  He slept for quite a lot of the flight too so caught up on some of the sleep he lost from such an early start.  

Thankfully there was no messing around in Faro airport and we were through and picking up our hire car in about 30 minutes. After wrestling the car seat into the car (it only took four adults to work it out) we set off on the 40 minute drive to our villa in Castro Marim, Eastern Algarve.