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Our Family Life 2021 (1/52)

Our Family Life 2021 (1/52)

So last year so the start of the Coronavirus pandemic and life as we knew it changed. I started the Coronavirus Diaries but I didn’t publish many of them as they all became a bit ranty as we grew less enthusiastic about how to entertain the kids, and FaceTime and zoom calls became something we dreaded. Our Family Life Diary is going to be a weekly catch up of what we’ve been up to, so that we can look back on how life was during a global pandemic as it already feels like we’re on rocky ground. 

2021 had so much promise….

A new year and a fresh start is how it’s supposed to go. Setting goals and making plans for the year ahead.

Sadly it’s likely that the beginning part of this year is still going to be a time to live each day as it comes with all plans on hold or with back up options. We’ll await the next instalment from Boris on that one.

I thought that instead of a coronavirus diary, I would write a weekly update on what we’ve been up to, more for ourselves to look back on.


Christmas for us was how we’d planned it to be. Us and the kids at home which is what we did. Obviously we would have liked to have still visited family instead of doing doorstep present deliveries but the actual day itself went as we’d hoped.

Mum and Kids in Matching Christmas Pyjamas on Christmas Eve

Boxing Day was a bit rubbish. Chris went back to work so it was just me and the kids. We would usually go to my mums and my brother and sisters would come over with all the kids so it was a bit of a low day.

We spent the next few days eating our own body weights in cheese, pate and chocolate.

Toddler standing in mud on a dog walk

The weather has been awful with lots of rain and wind but we did manage a nice dog walk. Freddie was happy walking in the ‘squishy mud’ and we found some amazing icy puddles to crack. 

New Years Eve

New Years Eve was spent pretty much how we spend every year. We ordered a takeaway and had some nice drinks.

This year was slightly different as we let Belle stay up until the real midnight this year. For the last couple of years we’ve put the previous years New Years fireworks on YouTube on the TV at around 9pm and done our own countdown and cheers before happily packing her off to bed at around 9.30pm.

Harsh you may think, but we thought it was genius!

My Favourite First Job of the Year!

Is of course writing my calendar and starting to fill my Planner. I like to sit down with something good to watch and a glass of wine. I use my best pens……like a pig in muck!

Board Games

Freddie’s not really one for sitting down to play games or do jigsaw puzzles, but we’ve managed to play a couple of the Orchard games which are really quick to play and a good introduction to family games.

Buddy the Elf brought the kids Pull My Finger which is also a great game to play when you’re two years old! parp!!

The plan is to post our week’s activities every Monday so we can keep a diary of these odd times and all entries can be found in the Family Life link at the top of the page. 



Corona-Diary 30.03.20

Corona-diary – Our 14 days self-isolation is up

So our 14 self-isolation period is over!

Do we feel any different? Are we desperate to go out?

The simple answer is no! Obviously we would like to go out in the fresh air but I think we’ll stay at home where we feel it’s the safest.

Freddie developed a temperature the other day and the reality of one of the kids getting Coronavirus really scared me to the root. My kids get everything so I’d really rather not take the risk.

As long as we can get food I’m quite happy to stay inside our family bubble for as long as possible.

Going back to work

We’re both due back at work this week but hopefully we’ll be able to do this from home in some form. Things could get very interesting with the kids under our feet but we’ll just get on with it like the rest of the country.

#StayHomeSavesLives x

Corona-Diary 29.03.20

What does Lockdown mean to you?

My interpretation of this is that you only leave your house if you absolutely have to for the purpose of getting essential food supplies, going to work as a key worker or for the purpose of exercise whilst abiding the social distancing rules.

It’s not going for unnecessary drives to the country for long dog walks or social calls to others houses because they don’t have any symptoms.

The whole point is to contain any likely spread which you may do before you start showing signs. Who knows how many places you’ve left a dose of Covid19 for others to pick up.

I think it’s irresponsible and selfish that some people think they’re above the rules.

The Vulnerable

This group containing the over 70’s age group, people with underlying illnesses and pregnant people should be particularly careful.

My mum falls into the over 70’s and has health conditions as does my stepdad who is also currently having chemotherapy, but my mum is still asking my sister to do food deliveries several times a week which is Non-Essential just to ‘break up the day’.

I know the guidelines of 12 weeks is a long time but the alternative doesn’t bare thinking about.

It’s better to be safe than sorry so stay at home, binge watch a few box sets, make plans for when this is over, sit and have a coffee in YOUR garden or take part in the endless online stuff that’s available for literally everything you can think of…….



Corona-Diary 23.03.20

Cabin Fever is kicking in

This is the first day that I’ve just had enough. What happens in your family when the going gets tough?

You pull together, right?

Not in our case and not this time. We’re at each other’s throats.

Chris is ill so he can’t help with the kids but he’s in that limbo stage of feeling better but not quite so he’s wandering round the house like a lost soul and quite frankly getting on my nerves.

He’s still coughing quite a lot and I’m getting really cross with him coughing and spluttering everywhere, where the kids play and in the kitchen.

My hands are raw and cracked from the ridiculous amount of hand washing trying to keep everything germ free so that the kids don’t catch whatever it is that he’s got.

Obviously we don’t know that it is Coronavirus but I’m not taking any chances.


I’m currently on leave from my job and due back tomorrow but we’re self-isolating as per the guidelines due to Chris being ill. We’re currently at day eight so we have six more days until we’re considered not to be a risk to others. I’m part of the admin team at our local hospital so not patient facing, but I’m not going to lie that I don’t feel good about being in a hospital setting.

I feel that I should be grateful that like so many I still have a job but I do wish I could stay inside my little family bubble until this is over.


We did our first PE session with Joe Wicks this morning which Isabelle really enjoyed, but I’ve got a feeling that she’s not going to be the perfect student for me as her teacher like she is at school.

Hats off to all the Homeschooling parents, I have no idea how you manage to give them the time and prep needed. I’m going to go easy on myself and do what we can, no pressure.

What are you eating?

We’re fine for food. We keep a pretty good stock of store cupboard essentials including herbs and spices which makes it easier to whip up something. We also had a full freezer. I do wonder though when things are gone what random meals we’ll all end up eating.

Currently we have a small Tesco near us which seems to be getting daily deliveries, and apart from not being able to get pasta, tinned tomatoes or hand wash they have pretty much everything including fresh fruit and veg.

Pleading with people to stay home

So despite all the pleas for people to stay home people have ignored this and have been going around in groups. The beaches, parks and public spaces have been busier than ever.

I’ve just finished watching the Prime Minister announce that all non-essential shops are to close. People should only be travelling if they are considered a Key Worker, for medical needs or collecting essentials. Only groups of two should go outside (once a day) for the purpose of exercise.

Essentially we’re on Lockdown going forward which has been enforced due to the stupidity and ignorance of so many, and will be reinforced by the police.

Jeez this has just hit another level of scariness. We’ve stuck to the social distancing rules and have only been out once for a dog walk aside from going to the shop for some milk once this week.

Lisa x

Corona-Diary – Mother’s Day & Supporting Local Businesses

Mother’s Day

Mothers Day this year should have been a Cream Tea Cruise with my Mum, Sister and our kids. We would have eaten lovely little sandwiches and cakes whilst taking in the views around Exmouth.

Instead we stayed at home and I didn’t see my Mum today for the first time ever since both my parents fall into the vulnerable category as they’re both over 70 and have health conditions.

Isabelle was very concerned that she didn’t have any presents for me, but I would much prefer healthy kids than lots of presents.

I did get flowers, chocolates, cards and paintings from my kids which was more than I needed, but really lovely.

Supporting Local Businesses

Since we stayed at home we did have a bit of an unusual treat. As many local businesses are struggling given the current situation many are offering delivery services of food and provisions to keep themselves going as well as offering what they can to keep up community spirit. So with that in mind we ordered a take-away roast dinner from our local pub.

We did have to go and collect it but it was all within the social distancing guidelines. It felt good doing our bit to help a small local business as well as getting a nice dinner for ourselves.

The best place to find out about local food deliveries are Facebook pages and groups local to you. Have a look at the Facebook pages of places that you go to regularly to see what they’re offering. Lots of them are now closed to the public but are offering delivery services.

The same for buying your essentials. The supermarkets are being ransacked, but many independent or smaller ‘corner shops’ still have lots of stock available.

There’s a lot to be said for community spirit and pulling together in times of need. The more we support our local businesses, the more people get to stay in jobs and we benefit from what they have to offer.

Even when the Coronavirus outbreak is over it’s sad to think that lots of businesses won’t survive. There will be loads of people out of jobs and in general the country is going to take a long while to recover from this.

Lisa x

Homeschooling Activities during the Coronavirus Outbreak

Home schooling through the Coronavirus

I know there’s huge debates going on with regards to whether the schools should be shut or kept open during this time, but given the current advice for non-essential contact to be avoided we’ve made the decision to keep Isabelle home from school.

Every parent knows that when you have to stay home with the kids due to illness etc, you start to get cabin fever pretty damn quick and crave getting out of the house more than anything.

Here are a few things that should keep them entertained and you from pulling your hair out. These range from educational recommendations to arts and crafts ideas for all ages.

Arts & Crafts

FREE Printable colouring pages from Crayola.

Lots of great Kids Science Experiments for all ages at Science Sparks.

Hidden Numbers Game.

There are loads of FREE Printables for all ages at Rainy Day Mum as well as loads of play and craft ideas.

Easter Pom Pom Painting.

DIY I-Spy Bottles

Homemade Playdoh – this is our Gingerbread Playdoh Recipe which is really easy and smells yummy.

The Artful Parent has loads of arts and craft projects to do with the kids.

Make a batch of Cloud Dough which is perfect to keep little ones entertained for ages.

Red Ted Art – loads of easy to make crafts and activities.

Online & Apps

BBC Learning has a whole load of stuff including revision tips and bite sized learning for all ages.

Scratch – you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations and share your creations with others in the online community.

Toy Theater – Educational games for pre-school and primary aged children.

Khan Academy offer a range of free learning resources which kids can do at thy so own pace and level.

Future Learn has a whole range of courses which are free unless you want the certificates.

Duolingo– learn a new language for free. Online and app based.

Edinburgh Zoo have live cams on some of their animals which they might be interested to watch.

DK Find Out – loads of educational fun facts, videos and games.

Blockly is a great programme that can be downloaded or played online for computer science based fun.

Ted Ed – all sorts of educational fun videos.

National Geographic Kids has loads of educational fun games and resources.

Mystery Science – fun to watch and easy to complete step by step science experiments that can be completed with things you have at home.

Crash Course Kids – a fun selection of science based videos for kids.

Crest Awards – Challenging and thought provoking real-world STEM projects for young people of all ages.

iDEA – The Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award, known as iDEA is an international programme that helps you develop digital, enterprise and employability skills for free. Through our series of online challenges, you can win career-enhancing badges, unlock new opportunities and, ultimately, gain industry-recognised Awards that help you stand out from the crowd.

Tinkercad – Tinkercad is a free, easy-to-use app for 3D design, electronics, and coding. It’s used by teachers, kids, hobbyists, and designers to imagine, design, and make anything!

Oxford Owl – has loads of great Reading, English and Maths resources for primary aged kids.

February Half-Term Fun for Families in Exeter

Family Fun in Exeter and surrounding areas

Is January over already? On the other hand, Christmas feels like it was ages ago and now we’re on the verge of the first of many school holidays.

The weather has been absolutely appalling and I always think that February half-term is so hit and miss that you have to have several options dependent whether its raining or dry. Here are some suggestions, many of which we’ve tried and tested ourselves.

February Half-Term Family Fun in Exeter and surrounding areas

Exeter City Community Trust

Formerly known as Football in the Community we couldn’t recommend these sessions enough. Ryan started playing football as part of a team when he was seven years old and from the edge of the pitch we lived and breathed football for many years. The all day sessions are for boys and girls and now also include a Multi-sport option which is a great introduction to new sports. Suitable for ages 5 – 14 running from 10am – 3pm in both Exeter

Exeter Cathedral

On Saturday 15th February you can take part in the Owl Trail. Pick up a map at the Welcome Desk and once you’ve found all the Owls go back to collect your prize. There are also some drop-in craft sessions from Wednesday 18th – Friday 21st which are great for if you’re in and around town and the kids are bored.

Haven Banks Education Centre

If you have adventurous kids then maybe a bit of kayaking, raft building or archery available at the Haven Banks Education Centre is up their street. Places are available for both 5 – 8 and 8 – 14 year ages groups running throughout the half-term week.

World of Country Life

There’s loads of things to do at the World of Country Life. Take a stroll back in time with the museum section. Isabelle was particularly intrigued by the televisions through the ages, the nursery section and the clothes. Freddie really enjoyed the animal section and we all loved the outdoor play areas with the huge bouncy thing.


Crealy are hosting a Super Slam Wrestling week from 15th – 21st February. If you are planning a visit note that not all rides are open but at £12 per ticket this is still going to be a great day out.

IBounce Trampoline Park

Let the kids burn off some serious energy. There are different sessions available including Toddler Sessions and Disco Sessions. Always book in advance to avoid disappointment.

IPlay Soft Play

Attached to iBounce, this dinosaur themed Soft Play Park is another way to burn off excess child energy, and a great option for cold and wet days.

The Bear Trail

The Bear Trail re-opens for 2020 on Saturday 15th February and is even better if it’s been raining. There’s mud and wet mud and more mud! Make your way round the course by climbing, swinging and balancing. It’s a great way to leave being an adult at the gate!


Killerton House and Gardens is one of our firm favourites. This half-term is all about coming out of Winter and into Spring with a Tree Tales Half-term Garden Trail. Running throughout the holiday from 10am – 4pm and no need to book.

Devon Railway Centre

For all train enthusiasts the Devon Railway Centre is home to a whole host of indoor and outdoor fun to keep everyone entertained all day. Ride on the Miniature Steam Trains, play in the Play Shed and make your way round the Model Village.


We’ve spent many a weekend at Bicton over the years and have never got bored of it. There’s loads for the kids to do with both indoor and outdoor Play Areas, a Nature Trail and Railway. Don’t forget to pop into the Orangery for a cup of tea and cake.

Wildwood Escot

There’s loads to do at Wildwood Escot including Animal Talks (I personally recommend the wolves), visit the Saxon Village and take part in the Save the Species quiz trail around the park. For half-term week there are lots of additional activities including Marshmallow Toasting, Jewellery Making and Penny Stamping.

The Donkey Sanctuary

The Donkey Sanctuary is FREE to visit and dog friendly too. Take a walk around the Sanctuary and meet the lovely donkeys, and find out about the great work they do all over the world. Don’t forget to take part in the Donkey Tomp Trumps Trail!

Whatever you do this half-term have lots of fun x

14 Month Baby Update

14 Month Baby Update.

I don’t think we could love this little boy any more than we do. He’s such a happy mischievous little thing.

I can’t even count the amount of time we say ‘Oh Freddie’ in one day. If it’s gone quiet you know he’s up to something whether it’s eating something he shouldn’t, rummaging in a bag that’s been left in his reach or he’s managed to drag something off the table. He always greets you with the biggest grin, knowing full well that he’s been busted.

New things

Talking – He’s adding new things to his repertoire all the time. He can say:

  • Uh-oh (for all the things he knows he’s not meant to do)
  • No (usually when he’s doing the naughty thing)
  • All gone
  • Wow! (This is the cutest)
  • Na-nah (night night)
  • Hiya
  • Beh (Isabelle)
  • Mama and dada
  • Whatsat (what’s that)
  • Whosat (who’s that)
  • Ta (for everything)
  • Up
  • Out
  • Down

Climbing on everything! He uses whatever he can including the dog, his shape sorter and his ride on car. He makes my heart leap into my throat several times a day with his antics. He doesn’t seem to have any fear at all.


He’s pretty much got a mouth full of teeth. There are still a few back ones that are either not through or only partially through, but these don’t seem to give him too much bother. He loves brushing his teeth which is great and one less thing to battle with him over.


Freddie has just started to sit on his car that we got him for his birthday. He’s still not too keen to be pushed on it though. Oh and he loves to climb onto the seat to reach things!

Building blocks are definitely Freddie’s favourite things. He has stickle bricks, duplo and the bigger mega blocks and he spends ages building and knocking towers down. I don’t remember the other two being able to do this at this stage but we play with them daily.

Sitting in and on things – whether it be a basket, a box or a cupboard. He loves to empty his toy baskets out and climb in and out.

Climbing! – Jeez this is so scary!! He climbs on anything and everything. His most recent is using the sofa as a leg up into the coffee table. Thankfully he hasn’t fallen off anything yet but it’s going to happen at some point soon.


Freddie’s fully fitting into his 12 – 18 months clothes now with the waist being the problem not the height. Like Isabelle he has the height but we always find things don’t quite fit around the waist. It’s fine with it being shorts weather but trousers can sometimes be a problem.

We’ve decided to hold off buying his first shoes since he prefers to be barefoot and doesn’t even like wearing socks. We bought some little soft beach shoes to wear in the park and garden but even then he tries to take them off.


I’m not sure how long it’s considered as weaning, but eating with Freddie these days is a lot easier. He has everything we have which makes dinner time much easier for me.

He loves to use a fork for everything including to pick up his sandwiches.

If I had to pick a favourite food at the moment I would say pasta. He seems to like it in every shape and with any kind of sauce.


We’re still breastfeeding and expressing for the days that I’m at work. This seems to be working well. There is the odd day when he’s not satisfied with his bottle, but he just makes up for it when I get home from work.

I work Tuesdays and Thursdays and he definitely feeds much more at night on those days as well as having two expressed bottles during the day.


Pretty much the same. He’s feeding about three times at night which I’m so used to doing now that It feels normal. The problem we have now is getting him to sleep in the first place. He’s still full of energy up until nearly 9pm every night when Chris and I are knackered.

Until next month……

Family Bucket List 2019

Family Bucket List 2019

Family Bucket List 2019 – it’s a while since I wrote a Bucket List since the one that I wrote previously had quite big things on it which made it a bit unrealistic in terms of timing and budget. I’m going smaller, but small doesn’t always mean less quality. Chris works long hours so we need to make the most of our time off.

Here goes:

  1. Have a BBQ on the beach
  2. Crabbing
  3. A picnic at the park
  4. Ice skating
  5. Take Isabelle dry skiing
  6. Afternoon tea
  7. Go to a Blogging conference
  8. A family holiday abroad
  9. A weekend family getaway
  10. Declutter the house
  11. A living room picnic
  12. Go to a theme park
  13. Get over my fear and get my front tooth fixed
  14. Wear bright colours (I always wear black)
  15. Visit a National Trust property
  16. Start a yoga class
  17. Have a Mummy Daughter day out
  18. Have a Daddy Daughter day out
  19. Be more sociable
  20. Have some family pictures taken
  21. Get Freddie’s bedroom sorted
  22. Go dancing
  23. Visit a Christmas market
  24. A beach day
  25. Visit somewhere new
  26. A spa day
  27. Learn to drive
  28. Read a new book per month
  29. Spend an evening binge watching a box set
  30. Movie night
  31. Date night
  32. Cook something new
  33. Make the garden more child friendly
  34. Plant flowers/plants and hope the dog doesn’t eat them
  35. Set up a You Tube channel for Isabelle
  36. Vlog – even just once!
  37. Make a photo book
  38. Take more photo’s (more with me in)
  39. Go to a zoo
  40. Take the kids swimming
  41. Learn something new
  42. Do something out of my comfort zone
  43. Take part in a charity event
  44. Do a craft project
  45. Go camping
  1. Camp out in Isabelle’s room
  1. Sign Isabelle up for a class
  1. Have my nails done
  2. Start to meal plan
  3. Have some screen free days

So that’s our list. It’s not anything too big except maybe the dental work which is a massive deal for me.

I hope that we manage to get everything or most of the things listed and will blog about each one as they’re ticked off.

What do you have planned for 2019?

Lisa x

6 Month Baby Update

6 Month Baby Update

6 Month Baby Update – Happy half a year baby boy! We’ve seen a real change in Freddie over the past month. He’s got a cheeky personality and wants nothing more than to be involved in anything and everything.

6 month baby update


He has his first tooth! This came through a couple of weeks ago after a few days of flame red cheeks, dribbling and chewing. He spends a lot of his day fiddling with his tooth with his tongue and has made it known by biting his sisters knee, daddy’s fingers and most excruciating me when he feeds. Ouch! We’ve been coping with the teething with lots of teething toys, calpol and teething granules. This past few days though he’s been spitting the calpol out which is an annoyingly new thing that he’s started.


Freddie loves to play. He likes lights and sounds as well as music. His favourite toy is his car-car which was one of Isabelle’s by Playschool which I don’t think you can buy anymore. He’s happy to play on the floor for a little while, and now that he can roll around seems to be happy. We also bought a jumperoo which he can bounce like a pro in now. It’s a godsend when I’m trying to get dinner sorted.

6 month baby update


He’s still got his adorable chunky baby legs and whilst he’s a big boy he’s quite long. He’s now at the in-betweeny size on clothes so size 3 – 6 months are getting too small and some he’s outgrown but the 6 – 9 months clothes are way too big.

6 month baby update


The feeding has been going well. We’ve ditched formula completely as it’s been really hit and miss for him taking the one remaining bottle that we were giving him so it’s breastfeeding all the way now. I’d like to go until he turns one, but he bit me the other day and pierced my nipple. It was excruciating and I’m hoping that it was a one off, but he is constantly scraping his tooth on my nipple as he feeds which is not very nice at all.

6 month baby update


We decided to wean him just before the six month mark as he was getting so cross and upset when we were eating and constantly trying to grab food out of our hands. He’s only having one meal a day which is mostly baby porridge, carrots and sweet potato. He does like a bit of toast in his hands as well as the Ella’s kitchen giant wotsit crisps (6m+). I think we’re going to do a combination of baby led and purées dependent on what we have in the fridge. So far so good with this. He loves sitting at the table with us, and is managing really well to feed himself. I think we’ll carry on like this for a few more weeks before we add in lunch and breakfast on a daily basis.


We’ve given up with trying to get him in his crib endlessly and are currently co-sleeping. I’m sure that a lot of people will have a lot to say on this topic but at the moment it’s working for us so that’s what we’re doing.