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February 2021 | Looking Back

7 March 2021

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I had this post scheduled for the end of February but unfortunately it never published and I have only just realised. However it's better late than never so here is what we got up to in February 2021.

Boys looking at Dunham Massey Estate


Although February was a short month it felt so long and by the middle we were all ready for that half term break. The excitement of being off school and doing work at home has definitely fizzled out and I think we are all ready for some normality. 

looking through a telescope

dad and son walking along a beach
Weekend Walks
Just the same as other months we really do look forward to our local weekend walks. It really gives us a reason to get up and dressed at the weekend rather than lazing about in our Pj's - although that is fun sometimes too.

boy looking out to the lake

boy climbing up a tree
Towards the end of last year we bought National Trust memberships so I am really looking forward to the restrictions lifting so we can visit some new places further afield. 

afternoon tea

Loungefly Rapunzel Bag


Valentine's Day
John planned and prepared a lovely afternoon tea for us all to enjoy for Valentines Day. It was such a lovely treat and although we don't really celebrate it he bought me a gorgeous Disney Loungefly Bag which I have wanted for so long. I was very happy. 

boy decorating his pancake


Pancake Day
During half term it was Pancake Day and the boys really enjoyed flipping pancakes and filling them with delicious treats. I offered them Nutella, jam, sweets and M&M's. They tried the lot. 

boy playing with a fidget toy


Treats
Little J was a little down for a few days. I think he had just had enough with being at home stuck with just us but he really cheered up when a package of treats arrived for him and big J. It was a lovely surprise from his Grandma and Grandad. 

Movie snacks

boys sat watching a film


Cinema Night
As another treat John and I planned a night at the Odeon cinema at home for the boys. We downloaded the Odeon at Home free resources which really made the night extra special. We had slush, coke, nachos and cheese, hotdogs, pick'n'mix and popcorn. It was a fun night and little J keeps pestering for us to do it again so he definitely enjoyed it. 

In Other News
drawing of winnie the pooh taggy

winnie the pooh taggy


Little J has become attached more than ever to his Winnie The Pooh taggy over the past year. Taggy has always been little J's favourite teddy but they are just inseparable at the moment which worries me as he will be returning to school soon. I drew him a picture of taggy (what taggy used to look like 8 years ago) and he has stuck it on his bedroom door. 

John and I have decided to watch the Marvel Movies and series again. We have already watched Captain America The First Avenger and then the Agent Carter Series 1 & 2. We've still got a long way to go but I am really looking forward to seeing them again. 

We have been thinking about our travel plans for 2021 and although we are still unsure about what we can and can't do I am hoping we will have something booked by next month. 

Michelle
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January 2021 - Looking Back

3 February 2021

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I'm a little late posting our January 2021 looking back post and if I'm honest I didn't think I would have a lot to share, but amongst all the home schooling and stay at home days we did have a nice January.

brothers hugging

I try to take photos as often as possible and I am so glad I do, as looking back at photos is a great reminder at what we get up to.

brothers riding a bike


Bike Rides
During the first lockdown John taught little J how to ride a bike. He hadn't shown any interest in a bike before, he preferred his scooter. Now he would much prefer to head out on his bike and the boys have enjoyed lots of lovely bike rides in our local area. 

I don't own a bike and sometimes I feel like I'm missing out but it has become something that just the three of them do so I don't want to ruin that so I stay at home and go on my exercise bike instead. 

a boy baking
Baking

Both boys have enjoyed baking this month. Little J had a maths activity that involved weighing so we decided to make it a little more interesting and turned it in to a baking activity. He made delicious cookies and it got him away from the table for a while. 

Big J decided he wanted to make us a meal which was a lovely treat. He made us a chicken dish and it was really tasty. He created it all from scratch and I think he enjoyed it. Looking forward to the next one. 

three boys making pizza


It was also nice to have another night off from cooking when the boys all made their own pizzas. All three of them love pizzas and creating their own is their favourite meal. 

boy making a snow angel

snow angel print


Snow Days
We had a few snow days this month and although it wasn't very deep it was enough for us to head out and have snowball fights and make snow angels. The days don't seem to vary much at the moment even the weekends are a bit meh, so it was nice to have some snow and it really did cheer us up. 

boy sat at a table working on a computer

boy sat at a table working on a computer


Home School 
Home schooling is pretty much our life at the moment. Little J begins the day with a zoom call with his teacher and classmates and then has four lessons to complete with another zoom call at the end of the day. John and I are in a nice routine with John doing Monday, Thursday and Friday mornings and I do Tuesday morning, all day Wednesday and Monday,Thursday and Friday afternoons. Little J usually has his work wrapped up by lunchtime so it leaves the afternoons free for us to play games, build lego or just chill in front of the TV. 

Woman and boy on beach

Weekend Walks
This used to be the highlight of our week but as we are limited to where we can visit it's not as much fun anymore. We joined The National Trust just before Christmas and we were looking forward to exploring the UK but that will have to wait. 

mum and son walking

boy and dad waling by a marina


Having said that we have managed to enjoy a few local walks including a trip to the beach, a snowy visit to Speke Hall and a cold and a windy walk along the waterfront.

In Other News...

John and I have tried to spend some time together as all we seem to do is work and homeschool at the moment. We have enjoyed an Escape Room at home but mostly we have just been watching tv and films together. We've watched so much this month which is quite unusual for us as we are usually busy doing other things. We managed to watch all Mandalorian, Finding Alice, The Pembrokeshire Murders and up to episode 4 of Marvel's Mini Series WandaVision which is just amazing and we can't wait for Friday to come around so we can watch another. As well as series we have also watched Star Wars Episode II, III, Rogue One and Episode IV. It's crazy that we have all this free time to watch these programmes and films. Usually this amount would take us months, maybe longer.

positive planner

exercise bike
I have been working hard this month to be positive and to try and exercise. Lockdown is tough and it can be quite difficult at times to think of positives in what seems like a permanent doom and gloom situation. The planner helps me pick out positivity activities to do each day and also plan in some self care. My bigger goal this year is to get fit. I have tried diets over the years and they fizzle out so my self care for year is to try and get fit and if weight loss comes with that then it will be a bonus. 

Big J has been so busy in his placement in a school training to be a teacher. At first he wasn't sure how it would work with the school only open for smaller numbers however on some days he has had over 20 kids in so almost like a full class. He is really enjoying it and seems to be able to plan and execute the lessons with ease. This is his first placement and I said to him that it will be after this one when he will realise if this is actually the job for him, he's sure it is which is great to hear. 

Fireplace with yellow and grey rug in front
Lastly we have given the living room a little colour makeover. We have gone for yellow and grey. We bought a new rug, cushions, lamp and other bits of furnishing. It's nice to change it round every few months as it feels so much brighter and fresh. 

So in the end January wasn't as dull and boring as I first thought and it's definitely my least favourite month of the year so I am glad it's done. 

Michelle
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Top 7 for 2020

8 January 2021

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I usually like to do a round up post of the year highlighting the ups and downs but then I spotted this on We're Going On An Adventure blog. It's a Top 7 for 2020 including 7 of my favourite posts, 7 things I have loved about this year and 7 things I am looking forward to in 2021. I'm a little late sharing but here it goes...

3 people looking over a bridge



boys walking

Firstly here are my top 7 posts of 2020

We are regular visitors to Alton Towers throughout the year but we have never actually visited and appreciated the gardens. Alton opened the gardens only just after lockdown eased and this was our first day out and it was just what we needed. A change of scenery and some normality. 

Boy on a bike


Little J's birthday was right at the beginning of lockdown and he decided he wanted a bike with birthday money he received. He has had a bike in the past but has always preferred a scooter so we were shocked when he asked for a bike. Teaching him to ride became a project for John to focus on over the lockdown and they got there and he is now a whizz and loves going on bike rides with his Dad. 

Boys walking through woods


This post is one of my favourites for many reasons. It brings back lots of good and some bad memories of our walk and how much we laughed and cried (me) but mainly it is one of my favourites as it opened up a new passion in us all we didn't realise we had. We loved the walk, figuring out how to get to the top and pushing ourselves when we didn't think we could go any further. The walk we took was supposed to be an easy one however it took us twice as long and it wasn't easy, not for me anyway but the sense of achievement when we got to the top and then back to the start was amazing, I will never forget it. 

Mum and Son on a ride


Another Alton Towers post. We were obviously a little anxious about visiting the theme park when Covid-19 was still very much present and we hadn't been anywhere like that since before lockdown. We were really impressed with the rides and how they operated queues to allow social distancing although it was still a little busier than we had expected but we used our common sense and if an area or ride was busy we moved along to the next one. 

Dad and son standing on a large rock


For the past few years we have booked a Summer weekend break with all the family, so 14 of us in total. We booked Snowdonia in 2019 so had no idea whether we could make it or not but we did and we all had an amazing time. It was our first visit to Wales as a family and we would definitely return again. 
 
boy standing up a mountain


I mentioned before that our walk from the Grizedale Visitor Centre was one of my favourite memories as it made us realise we love going for walks. Our walk at Rivington Pike was just the three of us but we enjoyed it so much. Again we didn't find it easy and we managed to go off the path and ended up adding some steep climbs to our route but we loved it. 

Disneyland Paris Castle


This post was so hard to write as it reminded me of how much I love Disneyland Paris and how we hadn't stepped inside a Disney Park in 2020. However I also enjoyed writing it as it brought back so many happy memories and I loved browsing through old photos and videos of our trips from the past 15 years. 

Next here are 7 Things I Have Loved In 2020. 

mum and son playing a game on the grass


Unexpected Family Time
No one could have ever expected what was thrown at us in 2020. When we went in to lockdown I was placed on furlough and the boys were at home from school. John and I did everything we could to make the boys time at home fun and educational. I will never forget all the extra time we got together and even though we were at home we created so many memories that I will cherish forever. 

Turning 40
I had so many plans for my 40th but as my birthday was during lockdown none of my plans happened but I actually had a lovely birthday and spent it with my favourite people in the whole world. As I didn't get to celebrate it the way you should celebrate a 'big' birthday it means we have an excuse to celebrate on my next. 

Our Walks
I have loved our walks this year and I love that we have all enjoyed them too. It's a great way to challenge yourself physically and mentally and I enjoy browsing online finding new ones to explore.

playing football in the garden


Our Garden
We spent so much of this year in the garden. We went outside first thing in the morning, ate breakfast, lunch and dinner out there and stayed out until it went dark. Having the astro turf meant we could be outside no matter what and we did most of our playing and learning outside and it was amazing. 

A Level Results
John and I are so proud of big J and how he handled leaving school early. The last few months of school would have been hard taking his A Levels but he missed the experience and I am sad for him but he did amazing and is now in university beginning his journey to become a primary school teacher.

boy splashing in the pool


Pool Time
The weather was very kind to us this year and some days it felt like we were abroad on holiday, it was that hot. Very early in to lockdown John bought us a pool so little J could have a splash. When it arrived it was huge and could actually fit all four of us in with room to spare. Each morning we would fill it up and spend most of the day in there. It really was like we were on holiday. 

Christmas
Our favourite time of year. Christmas was quieter than usual and we didn't go on as many Christmas days out as we would have liked, but we had a lovely Christmas and we got to see our families which made it even better. 

Last but not least here are 7 things I am most looking forward to.

Spending Time Together
I think it will be a long time before we will back to normal and I think tier restrictions and possible lockdowns will dominate especially the first half of 2021. I am looking forward to spending time together.

Using Our National Trust Passes
Just before Christmas we purchased National Trust passes after visiting a few of the sites over November and December. We are really looking forward to using our passes over the year and exploring more of the UK (hopefully)

Travelling
We love travelling and it doesn't always have to be abroad. We love visiting cities and places in the UK too. Travelling was something we all missed in 2020 and it felt so good when we finally were able to go on days out. 

Visiting A Disney Park
I am hopeful that by Christmas 2021 we will be able to head to Disneyland Paris to celebrate Christmas time in our favourite place. 2020 was the first time in a very long time that we hadn't visited a Disney park so I really do hope we get to go. 

Seeing Family and Friends
Spending time with our family and friends is something we really missed this year. We love having people over even if just for a cup of tea and a catch up. The boys also love having their friends over and it was definitely a lot quieter than usual last year having no visitors.

Getting Fit
Both John and I want to be fitter in 2021 and hopefully our walking will help us achieve that. We say it every year and we do so well for the first few months but I am hoping this year we will make it happen. 

Watching The Boys Grow
I made myself a photo slideshow of 2020 and it was amazing to see how much the boys had grown over the past twelve months. It's not just their appearance that has changed. They adapted so well and so quickly to the changes 2020 threw at us and they were both so mature about the whole situation. 

Now that I have looked back 2020 wasn't as bad as I remembered. We tried to make it as normal as possible for the boys and I think we managed .... just about. 

My list of things to look forward to is quite big but I will just take every day as it comes and hope for the best. 

What are you looking forward to most in 2021?

Michelle
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December 2020 - Looking Back

31 December 2020

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Well today is the last day of December but also the final day of one of the strangest years I think we will ever experience. I have spent some time looking back at 2020 and although we did have some nice times together, I'm glad it's over. I think like most people December is the month when we spend far too much, eat far too much but absolutely love spending time together with family and friends. For most of the UK this wasn't possible due to tiers and lockdowns but I hope if you were affected then you were still able to enjoy December and Christmas as best you could. 

mum and son looking at each other


We have remained in Tier 2 for most of this month so we have been allowed to go to the shops, visit the hairdressers and barbers and also see friends under the rule of 6. However even though we were allowed we didn't head out unless absolute necessary and spent most of the month in just our own bubble of 4.

elf on the shelf in a glass jar


Our month began with our Elf, Jingle returning from the North Pole. He was in Elf Isolation for 72 hours but once he was free he caused lots of mischief around the house and little J loved it. He has now returned to the North Pole to rest and prepare for next Christmas. 

3 people walking

3 people walking

3 people walking over a bridge


We decided to join The National Trust this month after enjoying a few walks and in December we visited a Christmas Trail at Tatton Park and also headed to Dunham Massey for a Peter Rabbit Trail. We love the outdoors and exploring so I know we will make good use of our passes in 2021. 

boy with muddy football boots


Little J managed to squeeze some football in-between lockdowns and tier changes and it was good to see him back on the pitch after having so much time off this year. Luckily he still enjoys it and cannot wait to return next week. 

Big J finished his online university course for Christmas a week earlier than us so enjoyed some time away from the screen. I hate that his university experience is online. He is not having the experience he expected but I am so proud he is sticking at it. He is back a week later than us in January so hopefully things may change in the world soon and he can start to head out rather than being stuck in his room. 

Disneyland Paris Bauble


I have said this so many times over the last few months and it still makes me want to cry but this year is the first in many many years that we haven't been to Disneyland Paris at Christmas time. It's a huge part of our Christmas and not being there felt wrong. Big and Little J surprised us with a Disneyland Paris decoration that they had ordered for us and it's just perfect.

Present Poem


Little J was both sad and happy on his last day of school. He finished all his work including this poem which he wrote himself and we just love. He was happy to finish but also sad as he was going to miss his friends. His friends are so important to him and they are all lovely but he will be back with them soon. 

Christmas at Alton Towers

Christmas at Alton Towers

Christmas at Alton Towers

Christmas at Alton Towers

Christmas at Alton Towers


We managed another day out in-between lockdowns and tier changes to Alton Towers. This is another tradition for us and whilst it wasn't the same as usual, Alton did an amazing job at making it safe for everyone. It was really quiet and at times it felt like there was only us there. We didn't think we would be able to see Santa this year but we did and the whole experience was fantastic. 

a tractor decorated in Christmas Lights


The week before Christmas we did something unusual we headed out to watch a tractor convoy parade which was raising money for a children's hospital. 80 tractors decorated with Christmas lights passed by and although it may seem random it was really good.

man and woman in christmas jumpers


John and I managed to squeeze in a date night. We popped on our Christmas jumpers and headed to Breakout to tackle a Christmas themed escape room. It was lots of fun and we escaped with 14 minutes to spare. 

queue


The day before Christmas Eve we all went to be tested for Covid-19 at a no symptoms test centre. It was so cold and raining and we had to queue for almost 2 hours but it was worth it so we could see our Christmas bubble safely on Christmas Day. 

a selection of presents


Father Christmas came on Christmas Eve and brought lots of presents for little J. Our Christmas was quieter than usual but we all enjoyed it and we got to see both sets of parents on the day so that was lovely and more than I think we expected. 

a family playing a board game


Christmas came and went and we were left with lots of toys and games to play with and that's pretty much what we did for the days after. 

The weather wasn't great but we did manage a few walks to blow away the cobwebs which was nice. Despite everything that is happening in the UK and the World right now we did have a lovely December and we are looking forward to a much happier and brighter year in 2021. 

Michelle
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