Last year I wrote a round up of all the things that had happened in the 5 years since I had married my Other Half.  So this year I obviously needed to come up with something a bit better!!

As I was thinking it over I remembered one of my favourite quotes about marriage:

‘I love being married.  It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.’ Rita Rudner

I can’t remember where I first heard it, but I smile every time I think of it, because it’s so true.  I don’t think there is anyone who gets under my skin quite like my Other Half.  I think he would say the same about me!

Anyway, I digress…I have written and rewritten this post several times wondering whether I should share my thoughts on marriage.  Some people may agree with some of what I’ve shared and disagree with other parts.  Some people may disagree with the whole lot!  But this is what marriage is to me:

Marriage is more than finding the person you want to grow old with.  It’s happiness, tenacity, passion, tribulation and more joy than you ever thought possible all rolled into one and that doesn’t even scratch the surface!

Marriage is hard work.  A challenge all on it’s own.  Blending your life with another person’s is never simple but it’s so worth it.

Marriage is a blessing.  The knowledge that you will come home every day to someone who loves you in all your flawed glory.  Who knows you are not perfect but adores you anyway.  The person who picks you up when you’re down, who makes you laugh just because, who is your greatest advocate when you’ve had enough.

Marriage is a choice.  One you make every time you disagree or fall out.  When that habit that gets under your skin and drives you to the point of insanity looks like it’s never going to change.  When you have those ‘if only’ moments about your life.  

Marriage is a privilege.  To hold someone’s heart in your hand, to treasure and care for it.  To never break it.

Marriage is a journey.  An opportunity to grow alongside someone else, to be their challenger and to be challenged by them.

Marriage is trust.  Knowing without a shadow of a doubt that if you fall, someone will catch you.

Marriage is fun!  Who else will dance around the living room singing cheesy songs with you at 11pm?!?


Marriage is love.  Real love.  Love that lasts beyond the first zing, the first crackle of attraction.  Love that upholds, endorses and protects.

I am so lucky that I got to marry my best friend.  Sometimes I forget how much when he does things like leaving a wet towel in the middle of the bedroom floor or changing his plans at the last minute without telling me (I don’t handle change well!) but then I remember that it’s my decision to work through the times when he makes me really really mad because of all the reasons he is so great: his enthusiasm for life, his ability to make me laugh like no one else, his loyalty to people he loves, how hard he works for the sake of his family.  Just a teeny tiny snapshot of the reasons why I love him.

So I suppose I can just about forgive him when his alarm goes off at 6am and he lies in bed staring at his phone unable to remember how to turn it off until I help him…every single morning!  

Because who else is going to watch Pitch Perfect with me a hundred times and laugh at the same jokes?!?

Happy six years James!


Everybody be cool, it’s just a normal day.

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On Wednesday evening we visited a local pub for our dinner.  Not entirely unsurprisingly, Meg and Eli were really fidgety when they were waiting for their meals to arrive and I’m not sure all the couples who were there sans children were quite charmed by Eli’s loud rendition of ’round and round is the name of the game’

Luckily there was a small playground at the back of the pub so I valiantly volunteered to take them both outside to burn off their energy whilst we waited.

There were 2 other children playing in the park when we got there, 2 girls.  Meg and Eli instantly took off, running round and round shrieking.  The 2 girls seemed to be with each other and were playing quite nicely and calmly when another little girl arrived.  She went around the climbing frame two or three times before approaching one of the original girls and saying ‘I’m 6, how old are you?’  The other girl answered and Little Miss 6 said ‘shall we be friends?’ to which she received a nod of assent and Little Miss 6 was included in whatever game the original girls had been playing.  

Is it really that easy to make friends I wondered?  

I think I had forgotten how seamlessly children can blend and play together.

Whilst this exchange was going on, another little girl arrived.  She seemed a bit more hesitant and slowly made her way around, carefully evaluating the threesome of girls playing and then Meg.  She obviously decided Meg was her best bet and approached her, again leading in with the question ‘how old are you?’

This time though, the exchange was entirely different.

Meg answered ‘4’ and carried on playing her game.  The little girl crouched down next to her and said, ‘I’m 5, I like your headband.’  Meg looked at her for a minute said ‘I know’ and ran off to carry on her game.  

Now, I have heard from various sources that Meg is very sociable and makes friends easily but I was as bemused as Miss 5 year old when Meg just took off.  There was no other engagement from Meg, no polite response or attempt to build a friendship.  It made me think of how differently Meg will behave after a year or so at school.  At the moment, she’s not really interested in making friends, she will play with children if they are willing to join in with the game she is playing, but she doesn’t think beyond that, doesn’t think to creating a group of friends.  

I certainly hope she’s different as I can’t see how she will make any friends if she keeps ignoring them!


I pulled Meg over to one side and explained to her that Miss 5 year old was trying to make friends with her and perhaps she could ask her what she was called.  Meg considered this for a minute and then marched over to the little girl and said, ‘what’s your name?’  Miss 5 year old replied, ‘Sophie’ and smiled hopefully.  Unfortunately, remit fulfilled Meg simply nodded her head and walked away.  After all, she’d done what I asked hadn’t she?  We were saved by the announcement that our dinner had arrived and I made sure to cover for Meg and tell Sophie that she had a very pretty name.

It was interesting when we went back into the park after our dinner.  There was just one other boy playing who must have been about 7 or 8.  Meg instantly reverted back to the game she had been playing before we left and Eli started running round.  The boy began to chase Eli, pretending to be a monkey and a lion and helping him up the ladders and across the bridge.  There was no verbal exchange, no acknowledgement of how old they were or what they were called, just a simple acceptance that they were going to play together and that was that.

How different boys and girls are!

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I was very excited (possibly a bit too excited to be honest) when I received £10 worth of vouchers from the 99p store in the post for the #my99psummer challenge.  I had been in to our local store the week before to pick up some bits for our Under the Sea Sensory Play and I had spotted some very attractive looking outdoor games that I thought Meg and Eli would really enjoy.

Of course, you’d think I would have remembered that this is England and so the minute anyone starts to actually enjoy themselves in the sun, the rain clouds gather.  Boo hiss.  By the time I got to the 99p store, the heatwave had ended and it was set to rain for the next few years weeks.  Luckily, the 99p store also had a good variety of things for Meg and Eli to do indoors, so all was not lost and I have actually been able to keep them occupied on the days when the weather man was correct and the heavens have opened.


For Meg there was only ever going to be one option: crafting.  I bought everything in sight which was pink, girlie and required some level of craft.  Eli isn’t so much into that, although I did manage to get one afternoon of painting from him, so for him I stuck to the toy section.

Activity One: The Crown
I was a bit unsure whether Meg would have the patience for this, the age suggestion was 5+ but I thought she’d be intrigued by the amount of sparkly bits.  That was until I opened the box and saw that there were hundreds of tiny little sparkly bits!

It was a stick by numbers type of activity and you had to attach a sticky square to the back of the jewel and then attach it where relevant on the crown.  I had to do the first part for Meg as it was too fiddly for her, but she was very good at putting the jewels onto the crown and we managed to have a good chat whilst she was concentrating which was lovely.


Needless to say she was very proud of her creation and has modelled it round the house on several occasions. 


Activity Two: Canvas Making
This was my favourite activity of everything we did this summer.  I had been inspired by some canvasses I had seen in a friend’s house, made by her two little boys and was really keen to give this a go.  I picked up the two canvasses, the finger paints, the sparkly glitter and the stick on jewels from the 99p store which was all that we used.

Both Meg and Eli really enjoyed this activity, I think mostly because they got to stick their fingers into the paint!  Although the canvas instructions said to use acrylic paint, we didn’t have any problems with the paint we used, it seems to have worked just fine.

The play apron I picked up also came in handy here.  Up until now the kids have shared Meg’s pink one but now Eli has his own.  He was very proud of the little front pockets and kept stashing stick on jewels in there as ‘treasure!’

I still need to print out a little name and date tag so we can hang them up and it’s a nice little keepsake for us to have.  I love that they have both put their individual marks onto the canvas and Meg in particular took it very seriously and has asked several times to hang it on her wall by her bed.


Activity Three & Four: Fairy Scene and Helicopters
When Meg asked to do her plaster of paris fairy scene, I knew that Eli was never going to let us get on with in peace, so in order to keep him quiet I brought out the aeroplane and helicopter set as well as the set of diggers for him to play with.  He spent the whole time playing with them, no other distraction would have worked half as well.  I thought the toys were good for the price and they have travelled up and down the country with us this summer, being the perfect size for Eli’s pocket!


I haven’t done plaster of paris since I was at school but the instructions were really easy to follow.  Meg had great fun painting them, although she didn’t quite stick to the brief and went for the multicoloured finish!


Activity Five: Sensory Play
We used some soap and glitter from the 99p store in the fairy mud sensory play we recently tried out.  Follow the link to read more about how to make it.  Whilst at the time they didn’t seem too keen on joining in, Meg has asked me twice since if we can make the mud so she must have actually enjoyed herself!


Thanks to the 99p store we had lots of fun this summer and managed to stay sane on the days when we couldn’t go outside to play!

Disclaimer: We were sent £10 worth of vouchers from the 99p store for the purpose of this post.  All thoughts and opinions are our own.

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After our successful trip to the National Space Centre last week, I had wanted to dedicate this week to some more space activities.  The plan had been to make some papier mache planets yesterday afternoon but unfortunately Eli was unwell and as a result was incredibly clingy.  He even went into total meltdown when I set him down on the sofa and went to make myself a cup of tea.  It was not a fun day!  

So, with the planets shelved for the afternoon, I decided to try and create a simple sensory activity that he might want to engage with rather than just have him clinging to me on the sofa for the whole day.  He usually loves sensory play so I thought it was worth a shot.

I’d been keen to try out some fairy mud since I spotted the idea on Pinterest some months ago, and had bought the items in preparation for it at the start of the summer holidays.  

You find the recipe for it here.  I didn’t have any pink soap, just normal white coloured but we mixed in some purple glitter and that was enough to turn the mixture a pale pinkish colour.


Meg got stuck in straight away ripping the toilet paper into little pieces.  She did a great job considering Alfie was auditioning to be the next Andrex puppy and get trying to make off with it as she was tearing.  I used our tuff spot tray but in hindsight, I wish I’d used our much smaller plastic box as the mixture didn’t cover the tuff spot by a long shot.  It looked a little bit sad in the centre, and not very inviting.


In fact, neither Meg nor Eli wanted to get involved until I got down and started to play and show them what to do.  Meg kept saying ‘yuck, it’s too sticky’ and Eli just wanted to cling to my legs.  I managed to prise him off and get him mixing some more water and tissue paper in a bowl. which he enjoyed and once I’d showed Meg what she could do with the fairy mud, she did start to get involved but they mostly just enjoyed making a mountain out of the mud and sticking fairies into it, they weren’t so bothered for getting creative.  Maybe it was the wrong time for it, I think I’ll give it another go at a later date before striking it from our messy play ideas list.


They both enjoyed the smell sensory element however, and for the rest of the afternoon Meg kept commenting on how lovely everyone’s hands smelled.

I think next time, I will either double up the mixture or use a smaller container so that it looks a bit more attractive!

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So, I have to say a huge apology to Claire, the lovely hostess of the Get Good Summer linky, as I have just failed to join in regularly with this.  Sorry!!

I think the lack of routine over the summer holidays, and losing our childcare just threw everything up in the air and we lost all our structure and routine.  It’s been totally chaotic and we have just been flying around by the seat of our pants, which I am not generally very good at.

So, here is our final update for how we got on over the summer.

Finish the garden
We didn’t manage to do this one, if anything our garden is rapidly sliding backwards.  It was really my Other Half’s job for the summer and he just hasn’t had time.  I’m hopeful that once he has settled into his new job and we’ve all adjusted to the routine, he will be able to give it some attention throughout the autumn.  

Family days out
This one we had much more success with.  Once Meg had her stitches removed and was able to run around with as much enthusiasm as usual, we managed to visit some friends in Norfolk, visit Pleasurewood Hills Amusement Park and the National Space Centre.  We’ve also spent the last two weekends Geocaching as a family which has been a lot of fun.  So I think we can comfortably say that we’ve made time to spend together as a family and have some really great memories from the summer.

Read 2 challenging books
I think, mostly due to the fact that I don’t thrive in a chaotic environment, I have lost my reading mojo this summer.  Usually if I have a spare 30 seconds, I have my head stuck in a book but I have barely read anything.  I can’t settle into a book and whereas I used to only be able to concentrate on one book at once and never give up on a book, I’ve now stopped and started 3 different books and not made it past the first couple of chapters with any of them.  I hope I get it back soon!

Make every week count
I hope I have managed to do this for Meg.  We’ve done a fair bit of sensory and themed play with our Under the Sea week, our Farm week and this week we’re concentrating on Space play after Meg was so enthusiastic about our trip to the Space Centre.  More on this next week!

Despite the fact that I didn’t quite succeed with all of my goals, I’ve really enjoyed having something to work towards.  I couldn’t have predicted that circumstances would work against us and I think had it all gone to plan, I probably would have managed to get everything done that I wanted to.  But that’s life!!

Thanks so much to Claire for organising the linky in the first place.  I hope she organises it next year and I promise to be so much better at joining in!!

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