Summer Holidays : Weeks 1, 2, & 3.

flowers-250854_1280Picture credit: Pixabay

Well, I can’t believe I’m sitting here writing about the Summer holidays already! It seems like only yesterday that I started this blog by writing about the Easter holidays.

What have we been getting up to so far?! Quite a lot actually and I’m pleased to say I have been enjoying spending more time with my girls.

I chose to split the six week holidays with Jamie being on holiday for week 3 and week 5. It’s fair to say I was apprehensive about how I would cope with the girls for the first two weeks but my planning and preparation has paid dividends and I’m so pleased.

We started week 1 by making some posters about our favourite animals. This actually entertained us for three days. Inara did a poster on Macaw parrots – she loves their brightly coloured feathers. Edai chose to do hers on dogs and I didn’t want to be left out of the creative process and did mine on donkeys – they’re so cute! Here’s a picture of the results:


The best part is that they’re laminated too so they won’t get too scruffy. I love my lamination machine!

We’ve also been busy in the kitchen (which is a minor miracle in our house, given the fact that I HATE cooking.) We made some chocolate crispies and also some green alien cookies complete with candy eyeballs.

On the 14th July it was shark awareness day (who thinks up these things?!) and I had printed off some shark worksheets for the girls to do. We also made shark clothespegs which the girls enjoyed.

Since our main holiday this year is in October, we decided to go down and stay with Jamie’s parents for a week. That way it still feels like a bit of a holiday for Inara and Edai but without the hefty price tag. I did some research on the internet ( is a fantastic resource) and planned some activities around the north east of England to keep us busy. It was Jamie’s birthday on our first day there and we went bowling at the MetroCentre in Newcastle. After that we had a trip into Primark where I bought some clothes to wear as I forgot my bag when packing the car – I couldn’t believe it when I realised! The good news is I did remember my pills and my hair straighteners, and after visiting Primark I was suitably re-stocked.

Monday saw us visiting Whitley Bay which has a nice, wide beach. The girls had fun digging holes and making sandcastles along with burying our feet in the sand. The temperature was in the low twenties which made it perfect paddling weather – even in the cold North Sea.

Whitley Bay collage

On Tuesday we went to a farm near Houghton-Le-Spring. There were animals and tractor rides plus a giant bouncing pillow which the girls were desperate to get on. We also got some ice cream!

Farm collage

Wednesday was another nice day and we decided to spend some time in Durham. We saw the cathedral which is gorgeous and although I’m not religious I like visiting churches because they always feel so calm and peaceful. Afterwards we went on the Prince Bishop River Cruise along the River Wear in the centre of Durham. The girls liked going on the boat!

Cruise collage

Thursday, we spent in Newcastle. We had a look around the Seven Stories museum which is dedicated to children’s books. There were loads of dressing up costumes for the kids and we got these photos:

seven stories collage

Friday saw us driving to York to see Jamie’s cousin, his girlfriend and their son. It was another beautiful day and it was a pleasure to catch up with family who we don’t get to see very often. We went to the park and whilst we were there the Red Arrows flew past in formation – although they were too quick for me to get a photo.

Before we headed home on Saturday we had time to visit Jamie’s gran in Alston. Again it was lovely to be able to spend some time with her as we don’t get to see her very much.

We’ve had a fantastic three weeks so far and we’re looking forward to the next three. :o)

What we’ve been up to : 3rd June – 19th June


Well it’s been a mixed bag of emotions around here over the past couple of weeks. I’ve definitely been feeling the effects of stopping my Mirtazapine! Irritability and melancholy have been a feature daily and it’s been harder to be the wife and mother I feel I ought to be. Housework has taken even more of a backseat than usual and I’ve been feeling guilty about that too. However, it hasn’t been all doom and gloom. Stopping my antidepressant has (as I thought it would) lessened my appetite and I also think my tummy may be a bit smaller. I even found a dress in my wardrobe that doesn’t make me look pregnant. I plan on wearing it as much as I can get away with!

Another positive bit of news: I’ve been using the time at night, when I can’t sleep, creatively and have made the picture above and this button tree:


We also had the pleasure of seeing Inara saying her Brownie promise and I got this picture of her afterwards.

photo (2)

She did really well and we’re all very proud.

I also took the advice of my psychologist and arranged to see some friends socially. When I get depressed I do tend to shy away from social commitments which perpetuates my depression. It’s a vicious cycle but I’ve managed to break it. Today I went out for coffee with two of my “mummy friends” and it was really good to get the chance to speak without being interrupted by the children. (They were at school!) I’m so glad I went because when I returned home my mood had lifted and I even did some housework.

We’ve also got a busy weekend planned with a school barbecue on Friday night, into town on Saturday to buy Inara some Brownie clothes and visit my Mum and Grandma.  I’ll probably see my Dad on Sunday as well so it’s all go here in Aboyne.

One more positive report for tonight: I FOUND MY PASSPORT! Jamie had put it into a folder and then forgotten about it. I was literally jumping for joy when we found it and now I feel I can properly look forward to our holiday in October! Woohoo.

My shelfie!

So I read about the shelfie competition over on Who’s the Mummy? and I instantly thought: “I don’t have any shelves tidy enough for that!” however, Inara and Edai have some friends coming round tomorrow afternoon so we had to tidy their bedrooms and lo and behold I found a (kind of) shelf to put on show. Sadly I’m too late to take part in the competition that Tots 100 are running but since we all seem to be nosy about other people’s houses, I thought I’d show you my shelf anyway.

*Drumroll please…*

And here it is:numbered shelfie

This was taken in Inara’s bedroom. You might recognise these storage cubes – they’re from the Ikea EXPEDIT range. They’re fantastic for storing all the toys that the girls have!


As you can see from this picture, I have labelled the boxes that go into the frame. It makes it easier for the girls to tidy their rooms themselves. There’s a picture as well as writing to make sure that they can see where to put things – this is vital for Edai who can’t read very well at the moment.


In this picture, you can see how I decided to store necklaces and bracelets – it’s actually a mug tree. It’s cheap and cheerful plus it keeps them all together in one place.


Above is a doll that Inara recently got from my Grandma. She comes with her own stand and the storage cubes are an excellent place to display her!


Finally, we got this fabric flower at the school Christmas fair last year and I thought I’d use an old wine bottle as a vase for it. You can also see Inara’s rosette below – she got it at her friends birthday party.

So there you go, a sneak peek at our shelf. I’m just pleased it’s tidy enough to show!

Sports Day

Just a quick post from me today to share these photos from the school sports day. The girls both did really well with Inara coming second in two races and third in another. Edai came third in one race, got a “super effort” for another and miraculously did not drop the egg in the egg and spoon race. As you can see, they’re both very proud!



Not My Year Off

What we’ve been up to : 29th May – 2nd June

On Thursday 29th May we had parent’s evening at the school. Inara’s report was very positive with the teacher saying she’s “very bright”, “enthusiastic” and shows strong leadership skills. It’s fantastic to hear she’s doing so well in her learning and she does well in reading, writing and numbers alike. Edai’s report was also positive in that she’s making progress in her reading which has been a problem area for a while now. She works well with the lady who gives her additional support and she’s generally very co-operative in school. She also gets on well with her classmates and is becoming more confident when interacting with adults in the school. She is also showing increased confidence with number work which is pleasing to hear. Overall we were very impressed with the feedback we got about both of our girls. Proud parents!

On Saturday 31st the girls and I went to visit my Dad whilst Jamie was doing a survey nearby. Once we’d had lunch we took the girls down to the lake and we fed the ducks. We also took them to the playpark in Strichen and they had fab time running around and burning off some energy. Back at Dad’s house the girls found a collection of walking sticks and were more than happy pretending to have sore legs when they weren’t bouncing on the bed upstairs. After we got home we had a couple of hours then it was time to get ready for a highland dancing Medal Night. My Mum and my Grandma came out to watch the girls perform some of their dancing on stage before receiving their certificates and medals. Here is a photo of them:


Another proud moment for Mummy and Daddy!

On Sunday I saw my Dad and we went up to Ballater for some lunch whilst Jamie and the girls stayed at home and played with some Lego. You should have seen the mess on the carpet – Lego everywhere!

Today I realised that the Summer holidays are weeks away and so tonight I have been busy making lists of ideas to keep the girls entertained. I’ve now got a list of twenty-eight different things to do along with a couple of purchases to make. Being prepared should hopefully limit the usage of “I’m BORED” over the holidays!

Other than that, you read in my last post that my mood has gone down a bit because of stopping one of my pills. I’m happy to report that I’m now completely off of them and eating less already! My mood has still been a touch on the low side and I’m planning to phone the psychiatrist about that tomorrow.

One final bit of news: SpurtleBlog has now joined Twitter and you can follow me @spurtleblog.

Mental health (or lack thereof)

time to talk

When I first started this blog I couldn’t decide whether to include posts about my mental health or not. However, since it’s such an important part of my life (and I want to represent my whole life) I have decided that from time to time I will include updates on my mental health.

At the moment I am struggling a bit as I have taken the decision to come off one of my antidepressants. The reason being that it has made me put on weight. Two and a half stone in fact. I’m finding that it is difficult to accept the extra weight being there mainly because it sits mostly on my stomach and people keep mistaking me for being pregnant. It is embarrassing for me when this happens but it is also embarrassing for them. It’s hard to find clothes that hide my extra bulk and with the warmer weather coming I notice it becoming even more of a problem.

So, I’m coming off Mirtazapine in the hope that the weight comes off too. For those of you not familiar with these antidepressants they make you hungry. Not just a little bit hungry, a LOT! I do believe they do the job in regard to lifting my mood but my self-esteem is now being affected by my weight. I spoke to my psychiatrist who (thankfully) has supported my decision to stop taking Mirtazapine and understood the reasons behind it. He did warn me however that my mood might become lower and over the past couple of days I have noticed that. Upon waking I feel awful. I don’t want to get up, I don’t want to face the day ahead. When the children are at school I find it a real struggle to do the housework and get myself motivated. I have also noticed that my irritability is higher and I have less patience with the girls when they return from school.

My psychiatrist made me aware that if this happened I should phone him to ask for the dosage of my other antidepressant to be increased and I plan on doing that on Monday.

Here’s hoping that the dosage of my Venlafaxine can be increased and that I return to “normal” when it does. Hope is what I’m trying to cling on to right now!

To finish this post positively, here:

smiley face

Have a smiley face!

What’s on : my person

I’ve had a bit of an obsession with jewellery lately. It’s probably because I’ve put on a bit of weight recently and I don’t feel comfortable buying clothes anymore. It’s a bit of a shame but with a bit of luck I’ll hopefully lose some of that weight before long.

The jewellery I’ve been looking at isn’t glamorous, nor is it expensive. What can I say … I’m easily pleased.

This first item I bought is based on a necklace worn by a teacher when I was at school. I noticed that she always wore a pendant in the shape of a hand. At the time, I thought it was kind of strange and I never asked her about it. When I remembered it a few weeks ago I did a bit of research on Google and found that it must have been a Hamsa hand. For those of you who don’t know a Hamsa hand is an amulet and it is worn to protect the wearer from the “evil eye”. You can find out more about it here.

So anyway, I did a quick search on Ebay and found this Hamsa hand for the total of £3.45. Like I said, cheap and cheerful!
hamsa hand 2

Another one of my recent fascinations are dreamcatchers. I have no teachers to blame this one on though, I just like them. So a quick search on the trusty search engine and I found this one. There are a choice of five colours but like I mentioned in a previous post I wear a lot of black so I chose the black one. Again, this cost a total of £3.79!

black dreamcatcher

Finally, I decided I wanted more colour on my wrists so I made two beaded bracelets and I also bought some “friendship” bracelets that I wouldn’t have had the patience to make for myself. Although they’re pictured worn individually, I’ll most likely layer them up. The friendship bracelets set me back £1 for 4. Nobody can complain at that price!

bracelet collage

So there you have it, my recent purchases. Hope you like them as much as I do!