Center Parcs 2016

We had our annual trip to this wonderful place last weekend, and timed it to coincide with mine and Cleo’s birthdays.

We had beautiful weather and a truely wonderful time.

On our first evening there, Stacy and I discussed Rosa. Rosa, our 2nd, our middle child. It is true about middle children. They get lost in life. Charlie is the trail blazer, always doing something new. He keeps my attention for this reason, but also because he never shuts up.

Cleo is the baby, she requires lots of my time for obvious reasons, she is very cuddly and gravitates towards both me and Stacy when we are around.

Rosa. She is very independent, and often disappears off into her make believe world of her own. She chats to herself and to her toys and is very little bother.  She does have an annoying tendency to whinge and whine though, and so when I do interact with her, it is quite often to tell her to stop whining or similar etc… I felt that we had drifted a little emotionally and I really felt the need to reconnect with her.

Stacy and I both made a conscious effort to talk to her, ask her questions, give her tasks to do, praise her for sweet behaviour (she can be quite horrid to Cleo) and lots of physical affection also was bestowed upon her. By the end of the weekend she was on top of the world. The effect was instant and remarkable. She didn’t whinge and she was much nicer to Cleo and us. Now that I have made the realisation she was getting a little ‘lost’ within the family structure we shall continue to make the effort to single her out and make her feel special.

On the first day we swam until 8pm at night. Considering my children go to bed at 7pm usually, this was pretty exciting for them. It was dark in side the pool (it’s a large glass domed building) and there are flumes and rapids that go outside into the open air. They have lots of atmospheric blue lighting and Charlie thought it was awesome!

On Saturday, we began our day with a bike ride around the whole perimeter of the park. It was a very long way! We finished that with a lovely lunch out at Bella Italia and then went back to our lodge for a nap (Mummy joined in with nap time, which was bloody awesome) then we repeated the excitement of the previous day and had a night time swim! We even managed to go to the children’s disco to finish off our day.

On Sunday we had a very chilled morning staying in the lodge and playing games. Then we had a swim and had lunch inside the swimming pool. We stayed in the pool for about 5 hours! We were all very pruney!! The we spent a couple of hours in the adventure outside playground. Then we headed down to the beach by the lake as the sun was setting and played on the sand and in the little stream. We finished off with a mini bike ride. They were absolutely SHATTERED at the end of this day. I put Cleo down to sleep in her cot, turned to kiss the other two goodnight and by the time I turned around to leave the room she was soundo! Stacy and I had Indian take-away once they were asleep and it was goooooood.

Monday was our last day and we spent the morning doing a bike ride out to a bird hide. We sat and watched the birds come to the feeders nearby and we were told by other people in the hide that we saw some rare birds (I’ll take their word for it). We then had a picnic lunch before heading to the pool one more time.

I think we have decided to go again in Jan/Feb time. Why not? We can afford it and we have such a wonderful time there.


After work bike ride

In September I started working on Tuesdays and Cleo began a day at nursery. The nursery we chose is at the hospital where Stacy works. In fact, it is so close, Stacy can see the outdoor area from her desk. We liked that one of us would be so very close to her, should she need us.


The older two children get picked up from school by a child minder. I finish work early at 4pm and am picking them up by about 4.30pm most weeks.

Today was a lovely, sunny, fresh autumn afternoon and we decided to go for a bike ride! It was really nice not to have Cleo with us and do some ‘big kid’ stuff. We rode around the country park, stopping in places to play with sticks or leaves or run in and out of the trees.


Rosa has got very good on her bike now and rides confidently without stabilisers. It means we can go really off road and across bumpy terrain. Because their bikes have no gears, it does make it hard for them to do hills or slopes, but it’s easy enough to hop off and walk for small sections.


I was totally knackered by the end of the ride, and we were back in time to start dinner before Stacy and Cleo came home too!

I must make the effort to connect on this basic level more often. It’s far too easy to get home from work and just start doing the mundane chores of life.

So Rosa Started School

One of my massive missing blog posts is Rosa starting school. She was very excited over the summer to start and enjoyed picking out her uniform, bag, coat, shoes and water bottle.

They did an extended phased entry where by in the first week, she only went in for 3 hours. The second week she did 3 hours and lunch, and the third week, she was finally full time.

She has settled in very quickly to school life, but she does come home absolutely exhausted. It’s all she can do to flop on the sofa and watch the TV. Sometimes she even falls asleep for a bit. This is ok with me. I remember as a kid, needing serious down time. It was only as I got a bit older than evenings opened up again for me.


She has already make some lovely little friendships and is invited over other peoples houses at least once a week. Strangely, she finds energy for these she doesn’t have at home?? Charlie seeks her out at lunchtime and they play together. He told me yesterday that ‘everyone loves Rosa’ and that they all think she is ‘cute’.

We go to a ballet class after school on a Wednesday, and this week she starts her swimming lessons again, so I hope the energy comes back to her soon!

She has already learnt all of her phonics and they have begun to teach her blending. She loves to cover pages of A4 in letters, and this week, the words she has been forming have been real words….cat and bat and mat.

But just as an example of how strong willed my daughter is, here is a conversation we had:

Rosa: How do you spell Mummy?
Me: M, U, M, M…
Rosa: Ugh! Another M, I’ve already written two of those… *draws a star instead*…. next letter please.
Me: Y.

Mum🌟y it is then!


Our new house

We finally moved into our new house at the end of August. We were quoted silly money for professionals to move us, so we ended up doing it ourselves with a ‘Man with a Van’ to move our big items. It cost us £200 instead of £1,2oo but it was a LOT of work!

My Mum and Dad brought their caravan up and helped us. My Dad did loads of the physical stuff and my Mum was amazing at entertaining the children whilst we got on with stuff.

On the day we moved, my cousin who lives in Australia turned up and asked to stay. He stayed for the first week we lived there and he was really really useful! He built beds, and climbing frames and patio tables and did pretty much anything we asked of him. He is touring around Europe on a motorbike for a year and so he said it was nice to ground for a bit and feel useful. When it left, it felt weird not to have him around. The spare room will forever be referred to as ‘Andrew’s room’ haha

The house itself has been really well built and there have been no major snags. The turf in the garden is absolutely amazing, and I keep having to mow it every 6 days to keep it manageable!

My Dad and Stacy built the chickens a new 5 star coop.

I have mostly indulged myself and bought new stuff everywhere. We have got a new superking size bed, new sofa, new bedding, curtains, light fittings, fridge, furniture, bedroom suite, TV, rugs, desks, shelves…..I really went a bit mad and let myself have everything I wanted straight away. It’s left us with a significant amount of debt on credit cards, but we are sensible people have have worked out how to get it paid off before the interest free period ends (and I have a whole house full of beautiful new things!)

The first few minutes of living in our new house:


Charlie ‘helping’ lay the carpet underlay


My sister and brother helped paint Rosa’s room PINK!


We camped in the house the first night as beds hadn’t been moved yet, and carpets weren’t finished but no one wanted to go and sleep in the old house again!

I’ll do another post with all the rooms finished. I am still doing a mural on Cleo’s walls, and there are still boxes to unpack a month later…

So far living here has transformed our lives. I can’t express how much some extra space is so meaningful.

The children have a play room, so all the toys that were once in the lounge are now in there, leaving my lounge a haven of tidyness and cleanness. They occasionally bring the odd toy into the lounge, and I tolerate it a little, but make them put them back when they are finished!

I have a study. All my craft projects that used to lay around the lounge are now all living in there. All  my wool craft, my stamps, my foam supplies, the printer, and everything else that I accumulate is all behind a door that can be closed, again freeing up the lounge from mess.

I have a utility room, so all my dyeing that I used to to in the kitchen now has it’s own space. All the washing that used to hang around the kitchen in baskets can be put out of the way. When it is finished and needs hanging up, I have a spare room with airers and an iron layed out. No more moving around the drying washing to get to things. (It used to frequently be in the hallway or dining room and used to drive me CRAZY).

The children all have a room each. They were all sharing the same room before, and the older two have found it impossible to adjust to. Rosa has a double bed, and Charlie has bunk beds, and pretty much every night when we go to check on them, they are sleeping in the same bed as each other. It’s pretty cute, and I am fine with it.

My kitchen is huge in comparison to what I had before. There is cupboard space for everything and surface space for prep and serving. I used to serve food on the draining board or on the cooking gas rings. There is a table in the kitchen for breakfast and it makes for a nice family atmosphere having it there.

Our driveway has space for 3 cars! Amazing when we only had space for 1 before and had other cars on the road or in imaginative places.

The garden backs onto trees and it is just lovely. So peaceful and full of wildlife.

We have nice neighbours, everyone moved in on the same day, so we were all very open and chatty with each other.

I think we are going to be very happy here🙂


At Last

So at the end of July, we moved house. It was hectic, it was exhausting, it was wonderful. Pretty much straight afterwards we went on holiday, and then Stacy was back to work and we began our life in our new home.
For the whole of that time we have been without internet. Yes. In this day and age, they can build new houses, and charge the bloomin’ earth for them, and still not make sure that the infrastructure to support them in present.

So there were no phone lines available in our area.

I never knew you could run out of phone lines.

hey shrugged their shoulders, they told us they had no plans to put anymore in. They would update us when they had news. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Inconvenience? Is it really that these days? I wouldn’t consider a phone line a luxury myself. People have had phone lines in their houses since Queen Victoria was on the throne.

Internet. Is that a luxury? Perhaps. If you think about the rest of the world, it is probably a luxury. It is beyond shelter and food and water and safety indeed. But without internet, I felt completely cut off from the world.

My phone ran out of data within a few days, and 100mb of data was like £10 a pop, and I could quickly see us becoming bankrupt with the amount of data I would usually consume.

We had to take our case all the way to the CEO of BT to get something done about it, and even then it wasn’t quickly.

The internet was connected about 10 minutes ago and I am making this blog post as the 2nd thing once connected.

I just ran a speed test.

I am getting 1.57Mbps. I swear dial up would be better than that. We are told there is no fibre available and none planned to be added. I’ve heard that before. They have shrugged their shoulders again.

Anyway, this is the reason for my blog silence of many weeks. There is lots and lots to catch up on, and I will start at the beginning and work my way though it all soon enough!!

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I thought it was about time for a little Cleo update.

She is just so damn cute and lovely at the moment! She is certainly a talker, and quite often a little singer as well. She can sing the whole song of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and get some of the words in the right places as well as some of the right sounds in other places.

She has just this week started putting two words together, such as ‘Mummy, up!’

She has started spotted herself in mirrors like in the bedroom, or in the car and pointing at herself saying ‘Cleo there!’

She is always in a good mood, always smiling and very loving. Her ‘duddles’ are the best in the world, as she pulls you in tight, snuggles her face in, and with a spare hand she strokes your face or your hair. I could duddle her for ages.

We tried to get her to pronounce it ‘cuddle’ and ever since then, when playing she will start randomly saying to herself…’c,c,c,c,c….duddle!’ I want her to say duddle forever.

She likes cleaning her own teeth, and will sometimes let me finish them off.

She tells me when she has done a poo, and is also becoming aware of when she is doing a wee wee. Potty training should be easy with this one.

She and Charlie have a very special bond. He adores her and she adores him.


She has developed an awesome laugh. It is deep, and throaty and sounds almost devious. She makes us all fall apart laughing when she gets the giggles. I am currently listing to her having a bath upstairs and she is cackling away. People always comment on my raucous  laughter. I suspect she inherited it from me.IMG_0597-1-2

She is a very good girl at sleeping, and 80% of the time will sleep though without disturbing me. She alternates between a cot in our room and a cot in the siblings room. As soon as we move, she will have her own bedroom and I suspect she will enjoy having her own space to fall asleep in.

She still has milk in the evenings and in the mornings.

She has become a little more attached to her dummy recently (she can say dummy perfectly) and she needs it to fall asleep when laying in her cot.