The Secrets in My Family Tree

I first started looking at my family tree about 10 years ago. I joined Ancestry and quickly became obsessed about trying to find out how far back I could trace my ancestors. Then life happened, I got married and children came along, and I never did much more with it apart from the odd look at it when we wanted to trace a particular person.

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The Benefits of a Last Minute Getaway

The girls and I have just come back from a last minute break. It wasn’t planned and we never intended to go mainly because my husband couldn’t take the time off work. We’re lucky in that my parents own a flat down in Devon and this was due to be empty in the May half term. As the school holiday got nearer, I considered taking the girls on my own.

The thought of the 5 hour journey alone with just the kids put me off, so I asked my mother-in-law. She said yes, and suddenly we were all set to go.

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How The Royal Wedding Has Re-Ignited My Community Spirit

The royal wedding at the weekend was a marvellous day, not just for Harry and Meghan, but for our family, friends and neighbours. More than that, it really felt like the wedding was a cause for celebration by the whole country. In the week leading up to the big day, everyone was talking about what they were doing and how they would be celebrating.

It felt momentous too because I realised whilst watching the ceremony on television, that there would not be another royal wedding in this country for quite some time. Prince George, Charlotte or Louis won’t be getting married for at least another 20 or 30 years. And unless you count Princess Beatrice or Eugenie (and let’s face it, their weddings will never be quite a big or as eventful), then that’s a long time to wait.  And so I tried to get my two girls to watch as much of the wedding as they could, because, it was such a historical moment!

Street Party

After the wedding, we started preparations for our street party!  We are lucky in that we live in a small cul-de-sac and so we put bunting up across the road and got the barbeques ready.

We had our first street party two years ago to celebrate the Queen’s 90th and then decided to have another one last year because we all enjoyed it so much. This year it grew in size dramatically and we invited most of our neighbours on the adjoining road. It was fantastic when almost everyone turned up!

 

People are so busy with their everyday lives that we tend to neglect the very people who physically live closest to us. A short while ago, I learnt that my 80 year old neighbour had fallen and broken her arm. I was mortified that despite living so close to her, we didn’t know anything about it until over a week after it had happened. The street party was a good chance to re-connect with those people who we don’t see very often and in some instances be introduced to those neighbours that we’d never even met.

Maybe it was the glorious sunshine, maybe it was the free-flowing bottles of Pimm’s and Prosecco, maybe it was the men bonding over sizzling BBQs and football in the background or the fact that the kids were entertaining themselves whizzing up and down our street whilst us Mums all chatted, or perhaps all of this combined made a very enjoyable afternoon talking, catching up and bonding with people who we wouldn’t normally spend so much time with.

As someone fast approaching her mid-forties, it brought back happy memories for me of street parties and celebrations with my neighbours from my childhood. Not just in honour of Charles and Diana’s wedding or Andrew and Fergie’s wedding, but plenty of other occasions: fireworks, Christmas and just a Saturday afternoon get together. Our girls have loved all of the street parties and I’d like to think that they will be good memories for when they’re older.

I’m sure the street party is now a tradition that we will continue with our neighbours every summer, and despite not seeing many of them very often, I like to think that for one afternoon a year we might all come together and catch up. But in between times I’m going to make more of an effort to spend some time checking in with my closest neighbours and keeping the community spirit burning bright!

 

A New Phase of Weird Behaviour

bout a year ago, I wrote a blog post about those words that most of us parents hear on a frequent basis “It’s just a phase.” Whether you’re in an early phase of being woken every night with a new born, you’re dealing with a toddler phase where your two year old is exerting their authority by tantrumning all over the place, or maybe you’ve got teens and you’re trying to survive a grumpy, hormonal phase.  Whichever particular phase you might be living through right now, you probably have a good idea why. Little Johnny is playing up because he’s teething or Elsie’s grumpy because she’s missing her dummy. But what about those phases where you have absolutely no idea what’s going on and why?

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7 Reasons To Join a Book Club

I’ve recently joined a book club. It’s something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while but never really got round to, so when a teacher at my daughters’ old pre-school invited me along to join her book club, I decided to give it a go.

The first meeting was a bit odd as I was the new girl; I felt a bit out of my comfort zone, but everyone was very friendly and made me feel welcome. I’ve had two meetings now and I’ve really enjoyed them. Here’s 7 good reasons to join a book club:

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7 Reasons to Love The Sunshine

It’s been a long winter and feels like it’s taken forever for the sun to break through and start warming us all up, but finally today, there was sunshine!  Not only that, but it was bloomin’ hot (not that I’m about to start complaining). It seems that we’ve somehow bypassed spring completely and moved straight on to summer. It was hot enough to wear a t.shirt, skirt AND flipflops this afternoon to do the school run.

There’s something about sunshine that makes everything feel better. People start shedding their clothes and smiling more! Most of you will know that I’m a big fan of summer rather than winter, but whatever your favourite season, you can’t deny that you’ve got to love the sunshine!

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School Messages, Requests and Demands for Money

Am I the only one who seems to be drowning in paperwork, messages and admin from the school?

I appreciate that we are now half way through this academic year and that things are ramping up (especially for my eldest, who in Year 2 soon faces the STATS week in May). I also get that I may end up receiving more messages because I have two children at school (who knows how you cope if you have three or four kids at the same school). But is it really necessary to bombard several different messages throughout the same day? Working as a freelancer, I spend most of my time at home and yet I still find all of the messages overwhelming, so I have no idea how those parents who both work full time can keep up.

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Book Review for January and February 2018

My resolution to read more this year has got off to a good start and I’ve already read five books in two months which is pretty good going for me! Part of this is down to me watching less T.V. in the evenings and part is because I read a fair bit on my recent girlie holiday!

So, here’s what I’ve read so far along with a review and score out of 10:

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Why Taking a Mum Break is a Must

I’ve recently had a long weekend break to Spain with friends. A break WITHOUT kids!

I don’t do this sort of thing very often. In fact, since having my youngest back in 2013, I think I’ve had a total of three overnight trips away; two with my husband and one last year with friends. Why? because I guess, like many other mums, I feel guilty for taking time off. Guilty for leaving my children, when looking after the kids, feeding them and getting them to and from school is primarily MY job.

And before I went away, as with those three other breaks, I felt anxious before going; anxious about sorting out the childcare, anxious about ensuring that every day life complete with school runs and dinners would continue without too much disruption. I also had my usual thoughts about dying. For some reason, whenever I’ve had a break without the children, especially if this involved flying, I imagine scenarios where the plane might crash or an accident happens and I’ll never see my kids again.

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15 Fascinating Facts about February and Why it Brings Hope

Hurrah! February is almost upon us and although technically, it’s still classed as winter, I can’t help but feel hopeful.

Hopeful because the never ending month that is January, is almost banished for another year.

Hopeful because after having after having a quiet month since an extravagant and costly Christmas, we can now start LIVING again.

Hopeful because this week I have noticed snowdrops in bloom. I’ve seen daffodils and crocuses raising their heads and the Camellia in my garden is starting to flower.

Hopeful because, if it’s not my imagination, the evenings seem to be getting a fraction lighter. Instead of the gloom descending at 4pm it now seems more like 4.30 or even 4.45 and every little bit helps!

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