Great day out at Kirkstall Abbey

My mum works in a school so we try to do a few things while she is school holidays. We decided we’d go out for the day somewhere but had no idea where to go. We wanted somewhere outdoors, somewhere there’d be something of interest for my eldest and somewhere cheap!

After searching for idea we decided to head for Kirkstall Abbey Large park area, a river, a cafe….. looked like it’d be ideal for our trip out.

It took us about half hour from our house so not far at all. We parked up in the car park and were pleasantly surprised to find it was a free car park. Not often you find a cheap car park these days, let alone a free one!

We decided to go for a wander and see what was about. We crossed over and went towards the Abbey. There are big gates in the outer walls of the Abbey so we wandered down to the visitors centre to see how much entry into the Abbey was. Just outside the visitor centre was a sandwich board declaring entry to the Abbey was free. Another bonus in our day. There is a donations box at the desk in the Centre to leave a contribution should you wish to do so.

We walked round the inside of the Abbey and our eldest loved looking at all the big windows, little windows and different rooms, at one point declaring “wow, that’s tall!”

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There are information boards dotted about telling you what the room was used for and what you can still see. Obviously this was more interesting to my mum and I than Taylor!

A game of hide and seek caused much amusement behind the huge pillars and some stairs to climb were another source of entertainment, as well as the Little Tikes castle and playhouse that are in one of the Abbey rooms. They hold sessions for under 5s and their carers there regularly which can be found on the website.

After our wander my youngest was getting hungry so we headed back to the car to get our picnic we’d brought with us (still saving money by bringing in our own food!)

We sat by the park as we are our lunch which was quite busy with children of various ages all playing on the number of bits of equipment. Of course the enticement of the park got the better of Taylor, so we soon found ourselves quickly finishing lunch and heading in there ourselves. The park seemed to be quite new and apart from the “big slide” which had fences around it stopping use, everything seemed very clean and in a good state. The floor was that bouncy stuff which is lovely to walk on!!

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I’d promised Taylor that we would feed the ducks today, something that at the age of 3 years, 3 months she had not yet done! So we headed back over the road towards the Abbey where the river ran behind. We quickly stopped off in the centre for a toilet stop and a little room beyond the gift shop caught our attention. I don’t actually know if it was just because it was summer holidays, or if its always there, but there was a clothes rail with various dressing up outfits on to try and two tables with paper and colouring pencils laid out.

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Ten minutes later and we were walking along side the river looking for the ducks. We wandered quite a way and I started to regret ever mentioning ducks!
Fortunately we found some and Taylor had great fun chalking up another first in her little life. The scenery is quite pretty. There is more than enough room for picnics and games galore.

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We then visited The Gatehouse
Which is a beautiful cafe next to the museum. I enjoyed a cuppa while Mum had a latte and we sat inside admiring the beautiful room. It can be hired out as a wedding or event venue and I sat daydreaming about how beautiful it would be for a wintry wedding! The cakes looked gorgeous but I was a good girl and stuck to my diet and refused cake.

No day out is complete without a trip to the gift shop though right?!! I found the prices for the souvenirs quite reasonable and Taylor walked away happy with the pencil Nanny bought her and I was happy getting a couple of stocking fillers ready for Christmas!

We were at the Abbey for around 4 and half hours. The time flew by but we really did enjoy ourselves.
We didn’t go in the museum as we didn’t think Taylor would benefit from it, nor Lauren who also enjoyed the day viewing everything from the comfort of her pushchair.

On the last weekend of the month between March & November. there are markets held at the Abbey. Saturday is the Deli Market and Sunday is the Craft Market
Mum and I are hoping to catch both of these before they end this year.

I would highly recommend Kirkstall Abbey for a cheap family day out. I can imagine that it gets fairly busy on weekends as we went on a Wednesday, and I’m not sure where you’d park if the car park is full.

We fully intend on heading back there at some point. I can imagine us kicking up autumn leaves there, and splashing in Spring rain puddles as well as summer picnics.

Tradition…

I like traditions. I like making new traditions with my family. Most of our family traditions tend to be around Christmas.

My husband and I have lived together for 8 years now, but the first 2 years we spent living at mum’s house. We bought our house in 2007.

The first Christmas in our house we put up the Christmas decorations whilst watching Home Alone. I think it was on the TV that first year, but every year after that we have put Home Alone on on DVD and watched it while putting up our tree.

Other Christmas traditions now include all dressing up as Father Christmas on Christmas Eve before bed, going to the Christingle service at the church we got married in and leaving the mince pie, beer & carrot out for Father Christmas & Rudolph….. And then there’s the big one.

This is the one where people stare at me in disbelief when I tell them, ask me if I’m mad. My husband still isn’t overly happy about it but has just gone with it. It’s what I know to be Christmas.

On Christmas Day we open our stocking presents in bed. We then have our breakfast and get washed and dressed. Then we can all have 1 present from under the tree. Yes, you read that right – one.
The rest of the presents are opened after lunch.

I don’t know why it was like this. I have kind of assumed it was because this way whoever was cooking didn’t get to miss out on watching the children open the presents.

To me it works well, we’d usually have a present that would amuse us for that time. Then all stuffed full of our turkey dinner we’d relax and all open our presents together, everyone seeing the reactions of people as they saw what they’d got.

I love it. Possibly because its all I’ve ever known. It prolongs the day but I must admit in recent years perhaps its gone on too long and opening presents at 9pm isn’t quite right – so maybe a few more than one need to be opened in the morning. Or maybe we go overboard and there’s just to many to open.

We don’t know what our Christmas plan are yet this year and who will or won’t be with us but these traditions will certainly be taking place

I’m thankful for…

I’m thankful for far too many things, but I probably don’t show my appreciation enough.

I’m thankful for….. (In no particular order)

– my upbringing which taught me the importance of family.

– having our own home. It might not be the best house in the world or in the most idyllic location, but its our home and even if we stay here until the day we die, it’s ours.

– finding my soulmate. Sadly not everyone gets to find love like I have and for that I could not be happier.

– for having 2 beautiful children with my soulmate. We were lucky enough to conceive easily and have uncomplicated pregnancies, and two very happy, healthy children.

– for having a fantastic mum. She is there whenever I need her whether that’s for a chat, for help, for support, to babysit, to be taxi….. The list is endless. We don’t always see eye-to-eye but I wouldn’t want anyone else. She spoils the girls rotten and is a fantastic Nanny.

– sounds strange but I’m thankful for the tough times my husband and I have had. Our relationship was made very strong very quick due to what happened in our life and it proved to everyone as well as ourselves that this really was a love that was meant to be and could not be broken.

– having a loving, caring family. Grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins…… I think it’s important to have a strong family bond.

This is a post in line with Blog Every Day In August

Where do we start?

This year was supposed to be a year of de-cluttering. It is now August and I’ve got rid of….. well, practically nothing!

If I’m honest I think I was expecting too much having just had a baby late December, and I didn’t realise how time consuming having two children would be.

The eldest starts pre-school in September meaning 5 mornings a week she will be there. This will give me and the youngest some quality one-on-one time together, but also give me chance to crack on seeing as nap time falls within pre-school hours, giving me an hour every day to be productive.

I figured the best way to do this would be room by room. Never moving on to the next until the first is done. And I’ve decided it’s not just decluttering but also doing the DIY that may need doing in those rooms, so by the end each room will be perfect.

It needs doing so that if we move it’ll be easier to do. And also so that it’ll be easier to maintain on a day-to-day basis in the meantime meaning more time to do fun things together.

We have no plans to move in the near future but it is in the plans long term.

But which room do I start in? The one that needs the least work? (bathroom!) Or the one that will take longest…? (Kitchen or youngest’s room)
Or do I start at bottom and work my way up?

Where do I start??!

You looked at me, I looked at you….

You looked at me, so I looked at you;
The reality is I never thought it through.

Internet made it easy, a click and there you are,
Browsing for some photos so he didn’t seem so far.

You looked and twisted words to what you wanted them to be,
The truth is there in black & white but not what you want to believe.

I’ve never said a bad word, never sent a message in haste,
Never printed or saved data using copy and then paste.

It was clear that you were doing the same from things that you wrote,
If you’re carrying on that’s your choice, I’ll no longer know through a quote.

I always got frustrated – with myself though not with you,
If I couldn’t figure why myself, why would others have a clue?

A photo, some information, a little snippet about him,
Someone we care so deeply for, in a situation where we can’t win.

It meant we could sometimes see him, see the boy that he’d become,
Talk about who he looked like, and smile not be glum.

It was never, ever about you, we really couldn’t give a shit,
Don’t like you, but don’t hate you, no feelings, not one bit.

1st November 2012 I made a decision to stop,
It was inflating your ego, a little over the top.

I admit I was wrong to look & search, it went on for far too long,
But now I’ve stopped my mind is clear, it was tit for tat all along.

Since that day I’ve never put your name into a search box,
And I changed most of my settings to include a number of blocks.

No more information, no more looking just to see,
The photo & information he gets it will just have to be.

I wrote this as closure to get it all off my chest,
In the hope that this is the end and I can lay it all to rest.

There’ll always be a connection, we’ll always love and care,
But I’ll no longer search for information for the family to share.

My favourite photo…

Wow. If you came to our house and saw how many photos we had on display you’d understand how tough it is for me to tell you which is my favourite photo.

I have narrowed it down to these joint favourites:-

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I’m not really sure when this was taken but its my maternal grandparents, their 5 daughters and all their grandchildren. (I’m the eldest) This photo was taken in their back garden. I have a lot of amazing memories of times at my Nan & Grandad’s house and all the holidays we had as a big family. I still miss my Grandad.

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This is my husband and I in the bar we met in. I love this photo because it was taken on the night he told me he loved me for the first time.

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Every time I see this photo I can feel the excitement butterflies I felt at that point in time. My emotional husband was smiling through tears of happiness and I then started to cry. The look of pride on my Dad’s face is beautiful too.

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The birth of our first child together. This was taken a few hours after she was born and I just remember how overwhelmed with love for her and each other we were -(we still are but you know what I mean)

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Last one!!
This was the moment I had my first cuddle with both my children. I think the photo says it all

Slowly but surely…

It’s been 4 weeks since I started my weight loss journey now. I started with the 12 week challenge in order to regain my shape
Whilst I’m not losing weight fast I am slimming down and by measuring instead of weighing, and taking photos I can see the difference.

Here’s a photo after 3 weeks:-

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I think you can see a difference.
I have lost weight on my face too but I haven’t taken photos including my head!!

I am following an eat clean diet set by Lizzie at The Vibe Studio and attend two classes there a week. I also try to fit in home workouts.

I must admit finding the time to do home workouts is what I am finding most difficult. With the shift working husband, and two young children constantly with me I find it hard to fit workouts into my schedule. When my husband is home I tend to do jobs I can’t always get done without someone looking after the girls. I know this is something I have to work on if I’m going to slim down further and get fitter.

The diet was tough for first few weeks but is getting easier.

Over next week and half before next weigh in I need to:-

– drink more water
– fit in more exercise