November {Loves}

I'd thought November would be a quiet month, really.

We were embarking on Project New Kitchen and with the C-word just around the corner, we'd expected it to just be a stepping stone into the festive period. Just a quiet month at home, with nothing much to report on.

Luna(tic) - our Burmese kitten

Luna(tic) - our Burmese kitten

But when I flicked back through my diary and looked at the photographs I'd taken, I realised that we had done far more than I'd remembered! And that is why I really enjoy writing these type of catch-up posts. November could have been consigned to memory as a tough and stressful month with not much joy at all (for reasons I won't go into here, but I'm pretty glad that we've come out the other side and I kept my sh*t together!) but upon reflection, the good far outweighed the bad. You often find that's the case, don't you? I need to reinforce the positives and let go of the negatives.

The biggest news for us this month was, of course, the new kitchen. I've planned a separate post for this so I won't give too much away, but to say we are overjoyed would be an understatement. It's exactly as we envisaged and since it has been finished we have loved spending meal times around the new table and just really enjoying our new space.

Udder Barn, Lincolnshire

Udder Barn, Lincolnshire

Front door GOALS!

Front door GOALS!

While the works were underway we went and spent a weekend with James' parents for some proper nourishment and R&R. The children stayed with their grandparents in the main house and James and I decamped to an adjacent barn which has been beautifully converted to a holiday let. We had a magical family bonfire and fireworks in the garden and just generally chilled out, coming home on the Sunday evening with happy, ruddy-cheeked children steeped in fresh air.

Udder Barn Upstairs
That oak and glass though! <3

That oak and glass though! <3

My Dad came to visit and stayed over a couple of times this month too. On one of those occasions, James and I took the opportunity to have a date night and head out to the cinema. We have very different taste when it comes to movies; his choice was Thor: Ragnarok, whereas I would've preferred The Death of Stalin. He was victorious this time as the showings for Thor were more convenient, but to be truthful it is just so nice to get out of an evening that I'm happy enough watching (nearly) anything.

I was quite the social butterfly this month, come to think of it! I met up with an old university chum I hadn't seen for ages and also enjoyed a leisurely eggnog latte with another long lost friend. It's my fault time had slipped away, really. I'm quite the antisocial b*tch. Not intentionally - I just get very anxious sometimes.

Okay, quite a lot and quite often.

Eggnog latte in a Starbucks Christmas cup = happy Carly

Eggnog latte in a Starbucks Christmas cup = happy Carly

Fortunately, my friends don't give up so easily and are there ready and waiting for me as soon as  I am ready. We catch up like it's only been a couple of days since we last spoke, we laugh, and I always swear that it won't be so long next time. That's the sign of a true friendship, isn't it? 

Speaking of true friendship, my tiniest child has a best friend that she has madly adored ever since they were babies. He's called Ted and he is a couple of months older than Sophia. Sometimes their relationship is like that of an old married couple: content, comfortable and amiable. Other times, they're like siblings. Quarrelling and bickering, but there's no doubt that they don't love each other fiercely. Sophia is at her most happiest when she is with 'her Teddy' and when Ted expressed to his Mummy that he'd like to go on an adventure on a bus, naturally Sophia wanted in on the action too.

Sophia and Ted's Excellent Adventure

Sophia and Ted's Excellent Adventure

Last Friday, we took them on the peasant wagon into Lincoln. You'd think we were taking them to Disneyland, they were that excited! They had their little noses pressed up against the window the whole journey, marvelling at double decker buses, the cathedral and people walking their dogs. It really is quite special seeing the world through a 3yo's eyes. Living in rural Lincolnshire, a bus journey is not an everyday occurrence and we are so reliant on our car for absolutely everything. We even have to drive 15 minutes to the nearest shop for a pint of milk!

I'd completely forgotten just how extraordinary the ordinary can be to small children, and this little day out was a timely reminder (especially with Christmas coming up!) that less is always more. This little Friday trip brought back fond memories for me of when Reuben was a similar age and we took him to York on the train. He was obsessed with Brio at the time and was aching to see a train in real life. I can still picture the wonder in his eyes now! It was the same with Sophia and Ted.  We could have been on an expedition searching for wild animals in the deepest jungle or rainforest - they were, quite simply, enchanted. As was I... once I'd got over the shock of paying nearly £7 for an adult return ticket for a ten mile round trip, that is! I may have had a medicinal Bailey's hot chocolate at 10:30am to recover... 

Trying (and failing) to out-glitter my 3yo!

Trying (and failing) to out-glitter my 3yo!

My biggest girl and I went to see Daddy's Home 2 this month. I tell you, cinema trips are like buses (tenuous link - ha). Haven't been to the flicks in months then all of a sudden it seems I'm there every week. The attraction of QT with my girl, pick n mix and Mark Wahlberg was just too strong on that rainy, cold Sunday!

Freya and I strolled along holding hands and it struck me that she might not want to do that for much longer. It's like one minute they are young children and then bang! they are nearly as tall as you, forming their own educated opinions on topics that may differ from yours, brimming with (appropriate!) chat and banter and borrowing your shoes. However, I have drilled into all my children that I will never answer to anything except 'Mummy'. Irrespective of how old they may be, I AM MUMMY. In the same way, Freya will always be my little girl and I guess we will just move on to metaphorical hand holding instead of physical.

Say CHEEEEEEEEEEEEESE!

Say CHEEEEEEEEEEEEESE!

At the end of the month, we kickstarted our festive season with a trip to Chatsworth in Derbyshire to visit the house and gardens. With one thing or another, it seemed like ages since we purposefully spent time together away from home, just the five of us. We try to visit every year around this time, and usually my favourite part is looking at how they have embellished and festooned the majestic house for Christmas. This year, I enjoyed the gardens most. Watching my trio running around, shrieking with joy as they chased each other, got lost in the maze, scrambled up hills and got drenched in the waterfall. I just wish I could bottle that up and save it for those moments where they drive me insane {y'know - usually during the school run on a major A road, when they are squabbling loudly in the backseat about anything and everything, because the day ends in Y and somebody poked nobody, maybe}.

Gruesome twosome

Gruesome twosome

Once we got home from Chatsworth, Freya and Reuben were both chomping at the bit to decorate their little bedroom trees. Poor Daddy was swiftly dispatched to the loft to assist them in their mission and it definitely doesn't look like they've ransacked a tinsel-and-coloured-lights Christmas factory from the 1980s, no siree! They both did a grand job.

In other news, did you notice my wee blog got an overhaul this month? When I started it at the end of October, I had confidence in my writing but thought I would have ages to faff round with making it look pretty as, in truth, I didn't think many people would read it to begin with.

Woohoo! Check me out!

Woohoo! Check me out!

I was truly astounded to see thousands of people read my little ramblings already and was thrilled when Mumsnet picked this post to be their Blog of the Day on November 10th. It makes my day reading the comments and messages I receive on the blog and across the social platforms and has really motivated me to keep going. I ought to have had more faith in myself from the start, hey? I'm chuffed with the new site, though - hope you like it as much as I do?

And that brings us into December. A month that will most likely shoot by in a sherry and port infused haze of nativity plays, Christmas jumpers and mince pies. Hopefully, anyway!

Carly xo

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Catch up with October's post here!