Holidays are here! Whats the plan?

Its the school holidays – and boy are we ready – well I am for sure, and given that the girls asked every single day last week if it was the last day of school, I’d deffo say they are too.

I try and be a little prepared for holidays – they are off for over 7 weeks this time, and you can guarantee, without a bit of a plan, by day 2 they will be bickering, falling out and the unforgivable phrase of ‘I’m BORED’ will be uttered.  I still have to work for a couple of days a week, but the rest of the time is ours! One of the the things we’ve been putting together over the past few weeks is a summer bucket list (an idea from Mary who has her own blog, and writes for my business blog Life with Mini Me).  Basically a list of what we think are ‘must do’s’ over the summer holidays (Yorkshire Tots was a good resource for ideas) and includes:

Summer Bucket List

  • Cannon Hall (of course, what holiday wouldn’t be complete without a day there!)
  • Paddle in the sea and have sandcastle building competition
  • Picnics
  • Fairburn Ings (they loved the pond dipping last time we went)
  • Barnsley Metrodome – swimming and slides for all ages
  • Garden party – invite friends round with cake and games
  • Water day (slides, water fights, paddling pools),
  • Room on the Broom trail (at Wakefield)
  • Garden camping (where’s the tent????)
  • Rock scrambliing (Brimham Rocks in Ilkley)
  • Open air swimming (thinking Lido in Ilkley)
  • Den making (collecting cardboard boxes everywhere I go)
  • Knowlsley Safari park
  • Row a boat (boating lake at Shibden Park)
  • Messy day – this involves a number of messy activities including covering the garden in lining paper, covering it in paint, them in old t-shirts and shorts and in they get.  It also involves me guarding the front door with the garden hose in hand!
  • T-Shirt tye-dying (hmm.. should be interesting)

So I see our plan as

Mondays – Summer bucket list activity

Tuesdays – Work (Boo!)

Wednesdays – Work (Boo!)

Thursdays – Play dates – mums from church, and friends of mums from church, and anyone else that fancies coming (all are welcome) are going to meet up at Church on Thursdays, all bring the kids, pot luck picnic type of thing.  Good weather means outside activities, bad weather means inside activities – FREE day with minimum organisation involved

Fridays – play it by ear day.  I do like to keep a day a week where we can do things spur of the moment, impromptu activities can often be the best and also means less pressure – a duvet day with DVD’s sometimes is just what the doctor ordered

With the exception of work days, all things are flexible and weather dependent of course – but rather than floundering each morning trying to decide how best to use our day, we have idea’s and something to look forward to.

We also did our Bored Board this week.  Hearing the kids go ‘I’m bored‘ drives me crazy!  I came across an idea recently which I thought was fab.. wish I could remember where I saw it, was either in a mag or maybe a blog.  And it was to put together a Bored Board – basically get them to make list of home based activities they might like to do, and when ever they utter that unmentionable phrase – refer them immediately to their Bored Board for inspiration.  The kids loved coming up with ideas, and have already used it over the weekend – a totally brilliant idea.  A good suggestion was to do it before the holidays really kick in, as once kids do actually get bored, they find it almost impossible to come with ideas of what they can do.

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Their Bored Board includes things such as:

  • read a book
  • write a story,
  • make finger/sock puppets,
  • put on a puppet show,
  • baking
  • talent show
  • scavenger hunt
  • write their blog
  • paint a picture
  • do jigsaws
  • do make up and nails

.. the list goes on

So here is to the holidays, with lots of fun family time.  Keeping fingers crossed for at least a bit of sunshine over the coming weeks, and most definitely hoping that we’ve enough planned to keep ‘I’m Bored‘ from passing their lips

What do you have planned for the holidays, love to share ideas

Linking up with Brilliant Blog posts

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

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The Weekly Daly roundup #1 19/07/15

Whilst I would love to find the time to do a daily (Daly lol) blog, its never going to happen, and it gets to the end of the week and I try to remember what we’ve got up to.  I want to make a concerted effort to recall the highs, lows, good, bad, what was enjoyed, what wasn’t enjoyed, the mundane and the out of the ordinary and to finish on at least one thing I can say I’m grateful for.

I’ve come across a linky that I like (for anyone else that might happen to read this thats a non blogger its just a link up with other bloggers on a certain subject) –  entitled The Week That Was – Captured that I think will give me a bit of a prompt each week.

High

  • Watching the girls in sports day and seeing them achieve 1st place in their respective races

Low

  • Losing my temper with the girls on the morning of their last day at school when they hadn’t got any of their stuff ready as they’d said they had the night before causing us to be late.  However, this led me to make a resolution to not lose my temper for the whole of the weekend – major challenge!

Good

  • Remembering to buy and sort out teacher presents (my intention was to make stuff with the kids.. but hey, best of intentions and all that!)

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Bad

  • forgetting to take J’s PE kit in to school for a dance workshop (see good mummy bad mummy blog post for details!)

Enjoyed

  • an impromptu picnic in the park after school

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Didn’t enjoy

  • getting on the scales after supposedly starting a health kick to see a 1lb gain!

Mundane

  • Getting half way to work on Saturday to remember I’d forgotten an essential piece of kit and having to turn around, put my foot down and whizz home to collect it

Out of the ordinary

  • Managing a whole weekend without raising my voice to the kids – huge concerted effort, lots of deep breaths, thinking before speaking, looking for alternative ways to handle situations and keep a calmer household

Grateful for

  • My childrens ability to forgive me for my failings, without question, without delay – inspires me to try and do better next time

Phew.. busy week!

TWTWC

{The Ordinary Moments} #2 Good Mummy / Bad Mummy

I had one of those horrible moments this week where I really felt like a totally bad mum.  There are no doubt many times during the week that I’m not the best mum I can be, but I try, and generally feel I don’t do too bad a job – after all the kids are usually happy, healthy, clean (well most of the time) and they have managed to survive my parenting for the past 8 and 6yrs without too many mishaps.

This week Jessica had some sort of dance/gym workshop going on (I wasn’t too clear on the details, one of those things that she mentioned to me whilst I was talking on the phone and cooking dinner at the same time, so it did not really register properly). She had told me a repeatedly (much to her annoyance) that she needed her full PE kit with her to join in. Her having come home in some of it a few days earlier after Sports Day meant it wasn’t in her kit bag as usual.

On arrival at school in the morning it dawned on me that we’d not brought it in. Bad mummy!  Rushed to tell the teacher and find out what time she needed it – phew – as long as it was dropped at school reception before 1pm it would be fine.  No probs I thought, got some admin work to do at home this morning, a meeting scheduled for 12.30, so could easily drop it off on the way to the meeting – all sorted – good mummy status resumed.

However, on leaving my meeting at 2.15pm, as I walked to the car, I suddenly got this sinking feeling, a wave of guilt washed over me as I realised that I had totally forgotten to take the PE kit she needed to school. I felt sick, tears pricked my eyes as I thought how upset she would’ve been, that she might not have been able to join in.  How could I have got so distracted as to not be able to remember one simple task.  I was gutted, felt like the most terrible mother in the world.  Ok, so I tried to put it in to perspective – it wasn’t the end of the world, she might have been able to borrow some from lost property, it was just a little workshop – but the bottom line was that I’d let her down and I felt awful for it.

As parents – do we not all say our first priority are our kids.  I know I do, but in reality, their needs often come lower down the list than they should.  It’s not a conscious thing, I think I find it all to easy to blame work commitments, being too busy, multi tasking, too tired – my list of excuses could go on.

To do list

As she came running down the path after school, I looked for a pained expression, I was expecting red rimmed eyes and tear stained cheeks.. but no.. happy and smiley as ever.  I rushed towards her full of apologies and excuses as to why I didn’t do as I’d promised.  She smiled, hugged me, said ‘its ok mummy, really’  One of the things I love the absolute most about my children is their ability and willingness to forgive in an instant.  No laying on of guilt, making you pay in someway for your mistake so that you learn your lesson.

Just straight forward, I love you so you are forgiven.

Such a humbling experience to be taught so earnestly from your child

What do you learn from your children?

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Getting lean in 2015

A bit of a health kick is in order.  Just 7 weeks before our holiday which means my thoughts have turned to shorts, strappy tops, bikini’s and if the health kick fails more maxi dresses that you can shake a stick at.

Weight issues have plagued my life, as they do for many people.  I have been pretty stable for the past few years and comfortable in my own skin, but over the past 6 or 7 months I’ve seen a bit of a creeping up of the numbers on the scales. Some people call it happy contentment, I call it stuffing my face more often than I should!

I became more concerned of the ‘gain’ a few months ago as I noticed a few items of clothing were not quite as comfortable and made a concerted effort to shift a few pounds.  I did – but boy was it hard work – gym everyday, watching every mouthful of food.. when did dieting get this hard.. oh yes.. after I turned 40!

Complacency has crept back in, and a few of those pounds lost have returned. I don’t mind so much being squishy round the edges, the wobbly bits are generally well hidden, but I know from experience that weight gain is a slow burn.  A few pounds leads to a stone, leads to 2 stone and it goes on.

Having once been one of life’s larger ladies (in fact a very large lady), and taking extreme measures along with years of hard work to get where I am now, my weight is something I am conscious of and keep a close eye on.  I will always have the brain and mentality of a fat bird,  what I see in the mirror isn’t what other people see (or at least that’s what I’m told!). How I looked 10 years ago, is not a look I want to return to.

So here goes the health kick – dusting off the trainers (they are the scruffiest, oldest things ever – but comfy like slippers) –  its been a few weeks since I hit the gym (blaming this on being busy with house selling preparations), fruit bowl full to busting, and getting the brain in gear to ditch the choccie biscuits and embrace the carrot sticks.

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I have always said I enjoy cooking,but in reality, its that I enjoy eating!  Everything I cook I want to taste good, but it also has to be fast to prepare, fast to cook – from start to on table within 40 – 50 mins is generally my rule.  Providing balanced family meals is not the easiest in my house.  Jess thinks a vegetable is swear word, Natalie deffo takes after me, an appetite for pretty much anything, anytime, anywhere – so I do try to keep a watchful eye over what she has, and then there’s the fact that I’m married to a wheat sensitive vegetarian!

I used to be really good – I would menu plan at least a month in advance.  It worked a treat, shopping bills reduced, I always knew what we were having, so could get things out of the freezer if needed, make sure we’d not run out of anything etc.  I’d often batch cook – so double up on the bolognaise, and make a lasagna out of the left over etc.

Time to re-introduce it I think.

Off to the leisure centre we went tonight – I’m lucky that both girls are competent swimmers and don’t need me at their sides constantly, they are quite happy to take sinkers (toys that they throw in the pool, they sink and then they dive in to retrieve them) whilst I plough up and down doing lengths.  Managed to get in 40 lengths tonight so mission accomplished.  I even resisted the cheesy chips that traditionally always follow a family trip to the swimming pool (ok, so I lie, I had a couple of the kids, but just a couple!)

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A bikini bod I’ll never have – this is a fact I have accepted, but perhaps with a bit of planning, together with a modicum of self-control on the choccie biscuit front, I might just be able to shift those extra pounds in time for the Ibiza sun.

Blog of a 6yr old – entry No1

I said in my opening first blog that I wanted this to be a family affair – I want the kids to blog along with me, this is as much a record of their ‘Daly’ thoughts, feelings, happiness,  challenges as it is mine.  Natalie has been intrigued when I’ve talked about blogging, and tonight she decided she wanted to join in.

To make it easy (for me as much her!), we just chatted about the weekend, what is written below are her words entirely, no paraphrasing, no adult slant – totally 100% 6yr old magic

Me – Natalie, do you want to blog about what you did at the weekend? We can write down the things you remember

Nat – Yeah, thats easy.  Grandma was here so we baked scones.  She said they were the best ever, they were too. Oh, and on Sunday we went to visit our new house. I get my own room and everything.  I asked the lady if I could buy the house and how much it was.  I said that I have £95, it says so in my bank book, but I told her I didn’t want to spend it all, I want to keep some, maybe a pound for sweets.  I’ll share the sweets with Jessica.

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She thought that was funny. The lady had fishes and they were in a in a tank that changed colour, I hope she leaves them for us when we move in.

Me – What else did you do at the weekend

Nat – We went to our new church and I made new friends.  It was fun but weird, the same but different.  I want to go again this week and go to the wacky warehouse again afterwards.  The giant cookie we had there was yum yum in my tum.

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If we move, I will go to a new school – how will people know my name? Will someone tell me where to go?  What will I do about lunch, the school dinners might not be as nice as my school now, does that mean I can take sandwiches. If I am taking sandwiches can I choose what goes in them – ham and cucumber but no tomatoes.

With her thoughts on food (which is where Natalie’s thoughts usually are) off she went.  Interesting to see in our short chat things that are on her mind, school obviously features heavily, as well as icecream, sweets and ham with cucumber sandwiches – classic Natalie!

On the move

This year the Daly blended family are seeing some pretty major life changes.

Since marrying, we have lived rather unconventionally, insomuch that Ron lives in Todmorden, and I live with the children in Leeds.  These days, its rare couples don’t live together before they get married, and pretty much unheard of to live apart after they get married.  But for us, thats the situation we have lived with.

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Yes, its been hard, married yet still a single parent, having very limited time together, travelling back and forth constantly.  Its been tough and challenging to build a strong family unit.  Don’t get me wrong, there are positives to our living arrangements.  We have never had an argument – ok – so Ron never argues anyway and if I’m honest, I’ve had a fair few rows in my head with him! But in the main, because our time together is pretty brief, we do everything we can to make the most of it, so fall outs don’t happen as we don’t want to waste what time we have on them.

The plan has always been to live together at some point.  Its been the location thats been in question.  Ron having his business in Todmorden, and my business in Leeds led us to look for places mid-way between, but in all honesty we have been getting nowhere.  If I’m being really honest, I don’t think that we’ve tried very hard.

Mid-way was ok, but it still meant uprooting the girls from schools, friends, from everything they knew, for me it still meant leaving behind my support network (who I rely on very heavily) and moving to somewhere where I knew no-one.  Pretty daunting I can tell you after being here for 14years. So perhaps I’ve dragged my feet a little, put it down to needing to save more money, not being able to find the right size, location, price of house etc.

The kids
Time is marching on, Jessica turned 8 in January – how much longer did I want to leave it.  The older she gets, the harder it will be for her to settle, make new friends, integrate in to a new school quickly and seamlessly.  Natalie at 6yrs old, a bit less of a worry, especially given her outgoing, diva style personality anyway.  Jessica is more sensitive, more aware and I feel will be much more affected by the change.

Parenting
Its been getting harder, for all intents and purposes, despite being married, I am still a single parent.  I have to make all the day to day decisions, carry out all the everyday parenting tasks including juggling work and home life schedules, schooling, homework, activities, family time, discipline.  Yes, Ron is there at the end of the phone, and a couple of late evenings a week he is there for me to talk things thing through, gain his opinion and input, offer support. But the bottom line at the end of the day – the parenting is down to me – I’m the one thats here day in, day out 24/7.

Relationship
The constant separation is tough.  Yes, we are in a pretty good routine of which evenings Ron comes across to Leeds, what time he has available to spend with us on a weekend.  But time is so limited, and its always there, its always at the back of my mind, he’ll be gone shortly, or the knowing that he won’t be getting here till 10pm, and then be away at 7am in the morning.  With an hour or so journey each way, this has to be factored in to any plans.  As accepting of the situation we have both been, its hard not to let a bit of resentment creep in here and there.

At the back end of last year we said we would look to be in a home together by Christmas of this year.  That we would aim to have my house on the market beginning/middle of May.  Well, the end of May arrived, and the house was no where near ready for marketing, in all reality we had made no headway towards living together at all.  Talk was all we’d done, definitely no action!

I’m a bit of an all or nothing sort of gal, if I decide to do something, then it gets done.  At the beginning of June, I took stock a bit, if something didn’t change soon, we were never going to end up in the same house, before we knew it, another year would pass, and we’d be starting to get to a position where I wouldn’t want to move the girls school as Jessica would be coming close to high school.

I set myself a month deadline, to have the house ready and on the market by the end of June.  So with a lot of hard work, one room at a time was treated to a facelift.  Gardens sorted, hanging baskets hung, pots populated with plants, decking re-stained, fences painted.  Ron – with his ever cautious eye on spending resisted on pretty much everything – did we really need to paint that, buy that, replace this, stain that.. but I’m like a dog with a bone, if I want it done, it will get done regardless.  The result.. a house that was ready to market by the end of June.  And even Ron, yes Ron finally relented and agreed that the house and gardens looked great, and it was worth the hard work and money (excuse me whilst I faint!)

A couple of valuations later, we had a price point in mind of what to market it at.  We took the step of going with an online estate agent rather than the traditional high street ones.  The saving was huge on fee’s and given that pretty much everyone is online these days, why pay the extra for a high street presence that really isn’t that necessary nowadays.  I have to say, that it was one slick, smooth operation.

Within a couple of days of contacting them the For Sale board was up,

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a day later the photographer was there taking photos (and boy, what an amazing job he did of them!), and a day later we had the brochure and description in my inbox ready to approve.

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Saturday 4th July – it went live online.  I was a bit giddy, a bit nervous.  It all started to feel that bit more real, that bit more scary.

By Sunday, we had 5 viewings lined up for Monday evening, and by Monday evening we had 2 offers on the table.

Tuesday saw us accept an offer, the status change online to property Under Offer and the For Sale board change to SOLD.  I honestly can’t believe that the house sold in 2 days, I was expecting months.

Its become truly real, the Dalys are now on the move with all the ups, downs, traumas that it will no doubt bring along the way.  All I can say is Bring it On, its about damn time!

Summer of Love

I love summer (the sunshine in particular) and I love weddings – this weekend saw the combination of both which was fab.

Its a been a bit of a year of weddings (or just over a year if you include my own).  18 months ago Ron and I were married in what I obviously feel was the perfect wedding.

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In February we had the pleasure of attending Andrew and Joannes wedding (my now brother and sister in-laws) and this weekend it was the turn of Alex and Heidi – good friends of Rons.

Being a summer wedding I took it as an opportunity to treat myself a little, so new dress, – well, how could I not.  I love a bargain (as does everybody I suppose), so how could I not when I found this little treasure – perfect colour dress to match some shoes and bag I already owned, and then when I saw the price tag I took it as a sign from heaven.. it was meant to be.

So with a new dress (at a crackingly good price!), a last minute spray tan and a home administered manicure and pedicure I was all set to enjoy watching two lovely people make a life long commitment to love, honour and cherish each other.

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We’ve had a week of glorious weather, but woke on Saturday morning to fog, drizzle, clouds – but the forecast was reassuringly good insisting that it was set to improve – and so it did.  By the time we were setting off  the sun was peaking through, just a light breeze, no fog to be seen, and blue skies were definitely on the horizon.  So the shades were on, wedding card in hand, tissues in bag – all set

Like I said, I love weddings.  Every wedding I’ve ever been to (and there have been quite a few over the years from the traditional church wedding, to the not so traditional Cancun beach wedding) are always so personal to the couple getting married, as was my own.  Ron and I were on a budget (Ron is always on a budget I might add!), we wanted small, personal, minimum fuss, pomp and ceremony.  So we opted for a low key affair at my church for close friends and family, followed by cakes and fizz (of the non alcoholic variety – being a tee totaller, and a Mormon), and my favourite bit , a bouncy castle.  I tell everyone this was for the kids of course, but one of the best moments was having a bounce with my dear dad – hilarious to say the least!  Our reception was a curry at our fav Indian restaurant, and they didn’t disappoint – credit to them, they gave us great food.

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Alex and Heidi’ wedding was no exception.  Like I said, all weddings are personal to the happy couple, and this was certainly that.  The attention given to everything  was amazing, you could see and feel their personalities in every detail.  For example – arrived at the church – a lovely traditional church.

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We were met by Alex – the groom – I have to say,  my initial impression caused me to raise my eyebrows ever so slightly – here was the groom in chinos, checked shirt, braces, dickie bow and jacket – not the attire you generally expect.  A cheery hello, a kiss on the cheek, and I turned round to see Josh, Alex’s best man and brother, dressed the same, and then a few of the other guys who were the groomsmen and ushers, also in the same attire. It brought a real smile to my face.  This was pure Alex, and rather than go with the traditional suit, he brought his own style to his wedding – and it worked – they looked great.

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Then there was the Bride – Heidi – as she glided (and thats not an exaggeration) down the isle in a stunning princess style dress, fitted perfectly to her tiny waist (excuse me whilst I get very jealous), flowing to the floor, gorgeous lace, with a simple bouquet of gypsophila and fresh flower garland to accompany her midlength veil.  Gotta give it to her, show glowed.

To see such happiness in a couple was wonderful

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Heidi is a country girl, and you could see, and feel this throughout the theme of the day.  From the open sided marquee in the middle of one of her dads fields, to the relaxed layout of the tables, the favours of painted horse shoes at the place settings, jam jars filled with wild flowers decorating the tables.  Everything had a personal, almost intimate feel about it – truly drawing the guests in to the day.

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Whilst you could feel the quality of the day, there was no doubt we were talking serious money spent on this wedding, nothing felt glitzy, blingy, showy or over the top.  It was pure understated class, that made you feel relaxed, at ease and part of the most special day of their lives.

The reception started with a yummy fruit punch for me and a Pims for my lurvly sister in-law Joanne – big smiles all round

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Onwards went the day with great food (no mean feat when you’re serving 150 people + in an open marquee in the middle of a field – hats off to them I say!)  The speeches were heart warming, funny and just the right length (much to Rons relief!)

We took a mid wedding break after dinner whilst there was shift around of furniture in the marquee ready for the evening celebrations and we popped down to see Betty – my mother in-law.  Always a delight – I’m lucky enough to have a mother inlaw who is pretty fab.  Easy to get on with, non interfering, funny with a good heart whose brought her sons up well (if she reads this, I’m hoping for daughter inlaw brownie points!!)

A cuppa and half hour chat later we headed back up to the wedding to join the evenings festivities of singers, band, disco, hog roast (much to my delight and my veggie hubby’s disgust).

Sat outside the marquee, listening to the music, loving the view (really, without exaggeration the view was something that money could not buy)

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hubbys arms wrapped around me – all I could think was ..summer love .. how perfect.  And with two more weddings to go this summer – great excuses for new outfits and pamper sessions – can’t wait.

The Dalys – The Start of Our Daly Life Blog

Welcome to Our Daly Life – a blog about a ‘blended’ family known as the Daly’s  that will hopefully have input from all of us at some point or another.  All of us being:

Charlotte – Mum, Business Owner, Wife and general stress head,

Ron – Stepdad, Business Owner, Husband and one whom never gets stressed

Jessica, daughter no 1, 8yrs old going on 18!

Natalie, daughter no 2, 6yrs old and lives life to the full!

We are an unconventional family to say the least.  I was previously married for 14yrs and had two lovely children.  4 1/2 years ago I became a singleton again, and quite happily plodded along through life with my two lovely children.

I met Ron – thanks to a bit of online dating, and we married a year after we met in February 2014.  However, here is where we get even more unconventional, for whilst we are married – currently, we don’t actually live together, in fact, we don’t even live in the same county, never mind town or house!  This is more for practical purposes as his business is over in Todmorden and mine is here in lovely Leeds.  So for the past 18 months of blissful marriage we have lived apart.

Odd, strange, peculiar I know.. but it works.. for now at least..

But we are set to start a new journey in our life together – we are heading towards ditching the unconventional, for the more conventional and are looking to actually live under the same roof in the not too distant future.

Our lives are about to take a dramatic change, and in our Blog I hope to document and record for posterity the new chapter we are about to begin.

I don’t pretend to be a great writer, witty, or original, but I am honest (brutally sometimes!), and I have set it my mission to get all the family involved in our blog.  So expect not only my own personal musings, but also comments from a Step Dad, learning the ropes, from an 8yr old whose world revolves around something different every day depending on how the mood takes her, and the odd sentence or two from a 6yr old who is cheeky, delightful and has some of the greatest one liners.

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