The Simple Things in Life

I am forever saying it, Autumn really is my favourite season. As soon as the leaves start falling I am instantly transported back to my childhood of kicking leaves, forever finding the piles at the side of the path to kick back out and admiring the pretty colours on the trees

It’s followed through to adulthood, and I am always desperate to get out and explore this beautiful season, with the colours and the leaves on the ground making it feel magical. This weekend I arranged for J and I to go for a walk with my cousin and her daughter to some woods nearby, something we try and do every couple of months in amongst our busy lives

As soon as we arrived the girls started walking off together and we soon found some chestnuts on the floor. I had given J a bag to collect a variety of leaves on our little adventure and the girls started collecting them and filling the bags. J was so engrossed and carried on filling her bag and staying put, even after we had started to walk further down the hill. In fact she was there for so long she practically filled the bag by the time she decided to rejoin us


I am in awe of this little girl, she looks so grown up and so beautiful, I hope she continues to love her curls

Continue reading “The Simple Things in Life”

Me and Mine {June 2016}

Okay so my first question is how are we in the middle of 2016 already? This year has passed so quickly that I really would like for it to start slowing down! The end of June marks my birthday, we all have a day off and are spending some much needed time together as a family

The month itself was once again plagued by illness, I had urgent x-rays and blood tests, Lexi is wearing the cone of shame and on antibiotics and J had chickenpox. We managed to get off lightly with the pox, they were all over her body but not clustered and not as itchy as we were expecting and she bounced back very quickly

June also bought with it the most historic moment we have experienced as a nation in my lifetime and I woke very early on the 24th with a feeling in the bottom of my stomach that just hasn’t shifted. I don’t like to talk politics outside of the 4 walls of my house, but I saw a nation divided in opinion, and people using social media to bully each other based on their views and it was just a horrible day. In this period of uncertainty we need to stick together, get our heads down and get through this challenging time we are now facing as a country

For our photo this month we went to Netley Abbey. the camera was set up, the sky was looking moody with a bit of sun poking through and it was perfect. The only problem was my remote stopped working so J and I kept going to and from the camera to set it and run back which made her giggle lots as she kept racing past.

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We took a couple of different shots this time and mixed it up a bit with walking and our rainbow umbrella out. It was purchased as a joke  for the hubster but actually we all love it and we all fight for it when it’s needed, in fact we have since purchased a second!

Just as we opened the umbrella the rain started! We continued taking photos as the rain was still light but all of a sudden we heard thunder, the rain got heavier and people started running out from behind the abbey walls and back to their car. I picked up the camera and tripod and ran back, while the hubster and J carried on sitting there giggling under the umbrella. They did join me pretty soon after and literally just before a mammoth hailstorm started

It made us all laugh so much so we had a car picnic while watching it and the car park was soon a mini pond. You just have to love the British Summertime don’t you?

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The outtake for this month was when we were posing under the umbrella. Lexi decided she had enough of sitting still and started running around us in circles.  J, with the best intentions, tried chasing after her while the hubster and I stayed there and just laughed

I really am enjoying participating in this monthly project and forcing myself in front of the camera each time, aside from the lovely family portraits that I want to hang on my walls, it’s created some pretty funny memories

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July holds another Center Parcs trip – this time with our friends from York, Eastbourne and Crew, and a very big week for me at work. We are also off to Camp Bestival after I managed to convince the hubster to take us

Lots of BBQ’s and sport featured in June and moving into July it will continue to, as I am a sucker for Wimbledon and big football events, the hubster however is not so keen!

I have a feeling July will go as quick as it came but lets hope the sun shines more than it did in June!

Linking up with Lucy at Dear Beautiful for the Me and Mine Project

Also linking with Lucy’s cohosts Alex, Fritha, Jenny, Katie and Lucy


The Me and Mine Project

Me and Mine {May 2016}

Health wise, May was a bad month for me. Family wise, it was a great month. We pulled together, I was looked after by my little crew and everyone seemed to rally round. It was one of those months where you feel very thankful to have such a good circle of friends and family

We spent many occasions curled up on the sofa or in the garden, something we really haven’t done since moving into our house 4 years ago and it was simply because the hubster and J wanted to be near me, and also because I really couldn’t do much else. There were quite a few days where I was just left at home to rest and I did miss the family, but knew that it was more important to recover while they had lots of adventures

A couple of weeks ago I was reading a couple of blogs with beautiful photos in ‘yellow fields’ and I decided I wanted to create my own photos in this beautiful setting. I set about trying to locate the nearest ones to us and it turns out there aren’t any, so the hubster agreed that as soon as I was feeling back on form we could go to the nearest ones I could find which involved a bit of a drive!

On Bank Holiday Monday, right at the last minute, we made a trip over to the South Downs to capture our photos for this month’s family portrait project. J’s favourite colour is yellow and we told her we were taking her somewhere special for a treat. Her face was a picture when we showed her the yellow fields and she erupted into the biggest smile. Even if we didn’t get our pictures, that smile was worth the long trip itself. I love that J is at an age when simple things like a field in her favourite colour makes her happy

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We had our good friend RH with us on the day as we had plans for a walk and picnic in the local town afterwards. She may not be a blood relative but she’s like family to us and has been there since J entered our household so we asked her to join us for a photo. She moves up north in a few months and our lives will have a big void in it without her being there on a day to day basis, so we are trying to capture as much time with her as possible before she heads off

At this point in the photos Lexi was getting heavy in the hubsters arms and J had been sat on my shoulders for a good few minutes making me feel as though I was sinking into the ground, but we still had a good laugh and I love how close and happy we all look

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No outtake for this month but I simply had to include this photo of my girls to finish. You can see in this picture just how much J loves Lexi, they really are the best of friends at the moment. As we put J to bed at the end of the day we asked her what her favourite part of the day was and she said going for a dog walk with us all. Perfect words for a perfect outing.

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Linking up for the Me and Mine Family Portrait Project

The Me and Mine Project

Ladybug Letters – 3 years and 6 months

Wow, you are 3 and a half years already. I haven’t written to you since you turned 3 and I feel a little sad that many memories have been missed from this series of posts. I knew this month would be another big date in the calendar as you’re now closer to 4 than 3, and 4 years ago we were just about to announce to our friends and family that we were expecting you

What have we done this month?

I’m not going to lie, not a lot. I spent most of the month in bed, resting on the sofa and you all stripped things back and looked after me. You and daddy spent a lot of time together and visited Paultons Park and a couple of Country Parks but I didn’t feature much in the plans

Continue reading “Ladybug Letters – 3 years and 6 months”

A Return to Normality {Ordinary Moments Week 22 – 29/5/16}

The past few weeks I’ve taken a bit of a blogging hiatus, I haven’t really had the energy to blog, and I haven’t taken any photos or been out

The reason? I had a pretty bad chest infection which has plagued me since the end of April. Mid May the pain got pretty bad and it turns out I have pleurisy, a complication which comes from a chest infection that brings a whole host of additional issues. Further investigation is now required if the pain continues, but at least it explains why it’s not clearing up and why I’ve not felt not felt like me

In the blogging world we quite often like to talk about the nice side of life, the side when we are happily spending time with our families or doing the things we love, and instead I’ve spent most of my free time mulling about on the sofa, praying desperately for my body to return to some kind of normal whilst the hubster takes J and Lexi out and lets me rest

I haven’t wanted to write in the last few weeks as I don’t want people to feel sorry for me and let’s face it, being ill isn’t exactly ground breaking reading. Deep down I really am pretty scared, but I really don’t want J or anyone else to see it, and I’ve found that the easiest mode to achieve this was silence. Although it’s only been a fortnight without writing in my little online diary it  really does feel like a lifetime without my blog and I’m ready to get back into it now I’m feeling a bit better

Things are by no means anywhere near normal in our house, but the hubster could tell that I was starting to get a little stir crazy this week and took us out for a surprise evening pizza picnic on Tuesday. I actually didn’t do much, I was exhausted and sat and watched the girls run around, but it was my first outing in the great outdoors and I’ve missed it so much. Watching J being carefree and exploring with Lexi really made me smile and was just what was needed

On Saturday we had a child free day and visited Guildford, our favourite town in Surrey, before stopping along the South Downs for a very brief walk by some fields to get me a little bit of fresh air. These are a few iPhone photos from the past week as everything else has been left at home but here’s to a healthy June and some normality in the house.

When Illness Strikes {Ordinary Moments Week 19 – 8/5/16}

Towards the end of April I was feeling a little chesty and took a half day off work to rest. In typical fashion I didn’t allow myself to recover and instead went out Friday night, to London on Saturday and to a mini festival on Sunday, realising on Monday that I did in fact feel very ill and in turn needing a lot more rest than I had originally thought

By the time Tuesday had come I was in a bit of a state and could barely walk the length of my workplace without stopping to catch my breath. To say I was relieved when the doctor informed me that I had a strong chest infection and then prescribed me with antibiotics is a bit of an understatement. I don’t want something to be wrong with me, but it was nice to know there was light at the end of the tunnel

Mum and dad took J in on Wednesday so I could sleep for the day and I ended up spending Thursday, Friday through to Saturday in bed and to be honest I still don’t feel anywhere near right

The hubster is being a trooper, he is currently struck down with back pain but is looking after J and taking charge so that I can rest and hopefully take over soon (we really are a pair right now!)

What it has made me realise is that we are very lucky to have a support network close by. On Saturday my best friend came round and took Lexi for a 6 mile walk and then came round again in the afternoon to help out with the house. She then started on clearing our garden before returning home for the evening so the hubster and I could rest. In the day the hubster was also struggling on so his mum took charge of J and let him sleep and rest at hers, all without question or prompting

My mum contacted me on Saturday evening and advised that she was coming round on Sunday and as you read this my best friend and my mum have spent the day clearing the garden once more and spring cleaning downstairs while I was ordered to rest

I hate asking for help, I know I’m not the only person who is like this and I quite often feel like a failure when I can’t do my normal routine. What my friends and family have done is just stepped in, without me prompting or asking for help, and coming along at just the right time; when I felt completely helpless, when the hubster was at his limit and when things just really got too much for us

It’s times like these when I feel honoured to have such an amazing network close by and although I’m still on rest mode and have a pile of washing in the corner I can’t help but feel lucky to have had them in my house and I can’t wait to be back on form. I don’t really have a lot of photos from this week but here we are with the 2 amazing women in our lives who have helped the Cook household so very much this weekend.


Linking up with Katie at Mummydaddyme for The Ordinary Moments

Me and Mine {April 2016}

It’s been a busy April for us, we started it on holiday which saw us travelling all over the UK and the month finished in London on our first trip there  as a family. It’s been great having some quality time together and making some memories and we are definitely happiest when out and about

The hectic month has started to take its toll though, I’m in desperate need of sleep and rest as my throat has started to play up and J is starting to cough again, so aside from the bank holiday weekend I think May will be a quiet one, obviously with a few walks and adventures but maybe on a scaled back level

Mid-month we decided to venture somewhere new for a walk and ended up at Micheldever Woods north of Winchester, bluebells have sprung and there were carpets of colour throughout the woods, the best level of bluebells I’ve seen in a long time, and I vowed to go back again to take my monthly photo with the family

The following week we did just that, my mother-in-law was home for the weekend and came along with us for a walk at our new found woods and stood to the side of the photo as we took it. After the initial shots were complete I asked her to join in with a photo so although they are mostly us I wanted to include her too on this months photos

These are the first photos this year that we haven’t worn coats, the south has been so warm and sunny and on more than one occasion we’ve not even had to wear jumpers, although the last few days it’s been pretty chilly and the coats have crept back in much to our dismay. Shortly before the photo J fell over and has the muddiest knees, her face was a picture when she fell and she made us laugh quite a lot!

Continue reading “Me and Mine {April 2016}”

Adventures at Corfe Castle

Never one to sit still, on our week off we managed to visit 4 counties in 4 days; North Yorkshire, Hampshire, Dorset and East Sussex

After arriving home from York we decided to visit Corfe Castle with our National Trust passes. Travelling to Dorset from Hampshire after a day confined to a car we didn’t think that J would manage another lengthy trip but she surprised us and was so well behaved. She sat and chatted happily to us in the car throughout the journey

We arrived late morning and the sky was stunning, with cotton wool type clouds and very little breeze. We took the longer route from the National Trust car park to get to the castle, walking along the nature trail which was quite scenic and with a little river alongside it, and then began the trek up to the top. We chose not to do the children’s activity paper this time round and instead explore together

Continue reading “Adventures at Corfe Castle”

Content {Ordinary Moments Week 17 – 24/4/16}

I’m writing this much earlier than normal, it’s Wednesday morning, mine and J’s morning off together. I’ve just had bacon and scrambled egg for breakfast, although the bacon was off and I ended up eating just scrambled egg, and J is in the lounge munching on her grapes after eating her breakfast

As usual on a Wednesday, we are both having a slow start to the day. It is a  a steady day for us, we’re pretty tired from the past 2 days of madness, and I have to work tonight, but we like to make the most of the time we have together. As I was cooking my pasta for work for tonight I just had a feeling of content sweep over me. I’m genuinley happy with my life, I dont feel like I have to be rushing out of the house to make the most of my day, or escape for that matter, and I’m quite content with the hum of the TV in the background as I hover over my food, eager for it to finish cooking

I am feeling quite aware of it today as my Timehop reminded me this morning that 3 years ago I was sat against the canal in Guildford with a tiny J in my arms, smiling for the camera. That was the day after I had been diagnosed with Postnatal Depression and had just been prescribed medication to get me out of the hole I had somehow sunken into. My poor hubster hadn’t known what to do with himself and promptly took me to Guildford for a day out to make me feel better

Looking at the picture, I look happy, healthy, and dare I say it, content. I had a big smile on my face, and I’m sure if you didn’t know about me or my history, then you would know nothing about the greyness or blank feeling inside me, or the fact that most days I would stare at the TV, not having any courage or want to get up and out of the house, fearful of seeing the world outside of me


A vicious cycle then began, guilt for working, guilt for needing my space, guilt for not making the most of a day, and guilt for not being the best wife I could be. I forced everyone to get up and out on the little time we had together, go 100mph, cram as much as I could possibly do and then get home, knackered, house as I left it, and not ready for the hectic work week that lay before me. I was on a burn out but desperately trying not to be the woman I had become when J was a baby, a scared woman

I’ve said quite a few times before that I’m out the other side, off medication and feeling like the person I used to be. From February we adjusted my hours once more and I now get a full day midweek with J. My entire balance and outlook has shifted; we take it easy, take it slow, have lots of cuddles and some quality time together. Work email gets switched off, the hubster gets the occasional message (usually of a blue sky!), but that’s it. It really is my favourite day of the week, and it’s always here and over far too quickly

I love that we both plod along at a slow pace and enjoy each other’s company, real companionship. Most weeks we aren’t dressed or leave the house until 11am, which is very unusual for me, but I don’t have a pull to get me out of the house, I want to be where my girl is, and that’s sometimes sitting in bed snuggling, her playing on the iPad and me reading, or out in the great outdoors exploring together

3 years on, and I finally understand the feeling of being content in the presence of my child. And on that note, I’m off to get dressed and ready for  Peppa Pig World with her, on her request.

“in a state of peaceful happiness”

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Linking with Katie at mummydaddyme for The Ordinary Moments with the arrival of their beautiful baby boy

My Sunday Photo {Week 17 – 24/4/16}

We have recently purchased annual passes to Paultons Park and last Sunday my mother-in-law was home for the weekend so we decided to make a day of it

The weather was beautiful with the sun shining throughout our time there and my mother-in-law did every ride with J which considering she is in her 60’s is pretty impressive. We did quite a few rides in Peppa Pig World, the more tame end of the park, and I love the photo of these three on the dinosaur ride.