The Relocation- One year on

So it has been just over a year since we relocated so I thought it was about time that I updated those of you who have been following our story as we reach this milestone. I can’t actually believe it has been a year already! It has gone so fast and I am truly loving our decision.

When I did our 6 month update we were at the beginning of our first summer living on the beautiful South Coast of Dorset and WOW what a summer it was, we were at the beach at least four times per week and would often head to the beach for dinner after school and work. We made the absolute most of it and life felt like a constant holiday. One thing I am very aware of this year is that as we head into Summer 2020 we need to watch the pennies more than last year. Let me tell you, ‘That holiday feeling’ did not just come from spending time at the beach, it came from living a life of maybe a bit too much ‘sod it lets get a round of ice creams’, stopping at the supermarket to pick up beach picnic food and a few too many cheers bubbles! The little treats all add up so this summer although I intend to have just as much fun, I also know we need to rein in the holiday vibes ever so slightly.

I believe my last relocation post was one of my first ever blog posts. I am now further into my blogging journey and it is one of the best things I have ever done, at a time where I was feeling a bit lonely and daunted with my new social situation i.e.. new place and no friends, blogging rescued me. I joined the Bournemouth Bloggers network with a bit of encouragement from my lovely friend Emma who runs the network, who I had met at a local messy play group. I have been to some incredible events this year and met some truly amazing people. As someone who has suffered with anxiety over the years, the blog is a great outlet for me and the social aspect of the events has really pushed me out of my comfort zone at a time it was needed. I have been fortunate enough to see huge growth on both my social media and blog and this in turn has led me to work with some great brands in the past 6 months. I am and will always be extremely grateful for opportunities that come my way and the continuous support of my followers and readers.

The littles have settled in to school very well and no longer have that newbie feeling. It has amazed me how accepting they have been to change. They had the best summer of their lives and now 2020 is here we are all on the countdown to those warmer days. My husband started a great job shortly after the move and not only is he loving it but he also spends a lot more time at home than he ever has done before, with the added perk of an early finish on a Friday meaning we get extra weekend time, the balance has been perfect for adjusting to our new lifestyle and it has been great having him around more for extra support at a time of such great change.

The house is coming along well, we have near on completed all of upstairs, which including taking a wall down and a full bathroom refit isn’t bad going. We will be taking a bit of a break after we do the landing, stairs and hallway to recoup some money, enjoy a bit of rest and save up for phase two. We are hoping to begin planning and potentially starting our extension in 2021 but we need to pay down some of the debt we have encured from renovating to make sure we are in the best possible position when it comes to taking on an expensive and time consuming task like an extension. As with the renovations we have done so far, even when we stop for our break we will still have plenty to do! With buying a fixer upper half the battle is making things temporarily liveable and that is exactly what we will be doing with downstairs. With potentially another two years until the extension is done we need to give downstairs a temporary makeover, also on our hit list for this year is the garden, doing up some furniture and snagging some of the finer details of rooms we have already done. So don’t worry, there will still be plenty more renovation updates coming from us this year.

As always being honest and real is my priority and while this blog post seems sickeningly happy of course there have been obstacles, darker times and struggles since my last update. Renovating around three children is tough, tougher than I ever thought it would be, I feel a lot of guilt sometimes that they live in an imperfect home with busy and often stressed parents, but like everything in life I try to keep in my mind that this is a phase and will pass. I love renovating and we are enjoying making our house a home but I can’t deny that we crave a bit of the old normality that we used to have at sometimes. I have always struggled with anxiety, especially in times where I feel out of control or like life is a bit upside down, life is often upside down these days and I feel as though doing up the house has meant that we still do not have much routine even one year on. As a result I have gained weight this year and my mental health has been a bit up and down at times. This year I will be tackling becoming more healthy and concentrating more on my wellbeing, these tend to go hand in hand with me and tackling one naturally results in improvement in the other. All in all a whirlwind but very exciting year, I look forward to updating you all again in the near future.

Chynna xxx

Half Term Fun At Hoburne Bashley

Last week, myself and the children were kindly invited along to spend a morning of Autumn Arts at Hoburne Bashley. Nestled in the heart of the New Forest Hoburne Bashley holiday park truly has it all, from the luxurious spa to woodland adventures, there is something for everyone. I was really impressed with the huge amount of children’s activities that are available, there was a group activity arranged for every day of the half term, these ranged from den building to story telling in the stunning wooded surroundings. Best of all these fantastic groups are not only available to the park visitors but also to the general public.

I came along to the Autumn Arts morning with the three children and my Nan who was visiting. We entered a lovely little building called the Woodland Centre which was full of adorable children’s seating and beautiful nature inspired wall murals. Upon arrival we were greeted by a very friendly man who offered the children some colouring while we waited for the rest of the group to arrive. Once everyone was there we were lead into the woods as a group, the walk was only a few minutes and it was lovely heading into the woods with all of the excited children. We walked into an outdoor classroom and were greeted by a very friendly lady called Sally. She told us a bit about the woodland classroom and what we would be doing for the morning and the children instantly warmed to her. Each family was then given a paper bag to fill with anything they liked the look of from the woodland floor. Isabella, Sophia and Harbor excitedly foraged for leaves, acorns, twigs and pinecones and brought them back over to the group. The children then used moulds to form a clay medallion that they would then decorate with all of their forest finds. They loved it, and with there being a big age gap between my eldest and youngest, it always impresses me when something interests them all!

After making clay medallions we headed through a little fairy style door and into another section of the woodland, it felt magical and there was something great about being out in the fresh air and in such a beautiful setting. No I-pads or televisions in sight! Once through the door we joined Sally in making pictures on the forest floor using log stumps, leaves and conkers. It was great to see the children using their imaginations and this time, gave me and my Nan a good chance for a 5 minute chat while the little ones were entertained, all too needed mid half term! This then lead on to wand making, Every child was given a stick and foliage to attach to it, we did this with the children while Sally made stars out of bamboo. She was full of interesting information and has a clear passion for the outdoors, she told the children facts throughout the two hours and we all walked away feeling like we had learnt something new while having an absolute blast.

The two hour slot was perfect for the children and they were thrilled walking back to the car with their medallions and wands. From the moment we arrived to the moment we left, the kids were thoroughly entertained. The setting was beautiful, the staff were faultless and the whole event flowed really well. The Woodlander is so much more than just a half term activity, their aim is to teach children about nature in a fun and magical way. Their ethos is “the more we learn about the trees, plants and animals, the more we learn to respect them, and the more we respect them, the more we learn to cherish, nurture and take care of them and for this learning , the more respect we’ll have for our environment.” Clearly extremely passionate about their work the Managers of the Woodland Centre are keen to impart their love of nature to the next generation, not only offering these wonderful events but also offering school trips and visits too. I strongly suggest checking out the Woodlander Facebook page for updates on their up and coming events, plans and keeping an eye on the what’s on page at Hoburne Bashley.

A huge thank you to Hoburne Bashley and The Woodlander for having us. We will be sure to visit again for some more forest fun!

Although my booking for the Autumn Arts morning was complimentary, all words and opinions are my own.

Settling your children into a new School

So this post is a bit niche… but if it helps even one family then it has been worth writing. We relocated just under a year ago, we moved four hours away and left our friends, family and everyone we knew behind, in order to follow our dream of living in an area we have loved and longed to live in for a long time. Sounds dreamy hey? Well for the most part it has been. The children have amazed me, we love our home and our area but it has certainly been a rollercoaster of emotions for all of us. In this post I will give some tips on things that helped us settle the children into their new school and surroundings.

Get them involved

We found getting the children involved in the prep of a new school like paperwork and uniform ordering really helped. Although a lot of this is aimed at the adults, it is still good to get the children to sit with you while you fill forms in so that they can be prompted to ask you any questions that may be on their mind. We also let the girls look on the computer at their new school website as much as they wanted. They would spend ages looking at the “meet the team” page, this meant that by the time they joined the new school weeks later, the faces of the staff already looked familiar. Our youngest daughter was a bit upset on the last week of her old school so her pervious teacher spent some time one lunch break looking online at Sophia’s new school with her. I found this really helped the girls feel like they knew some faces and structure of the school a bit better before they started.

Tell them you are scared too

Children are not stupid. They are as emotionally complex as adults when it comes to big change. Instead of dismissing their concerns with “oh it will be fine” I told them the truth…… I was scared too, terified infact. I told them that change is always scary but we would all get through it together. Be relatable while still encouraging them and reassuring them that it will all be ok at the same time.

Have a Birthday party

We found having a birthday party really helped with the settling in process, Both for myself and the children. Fortunately both children had birthdays within a few months of starting the new school. It was good for the children to socialise outside of school with a group of friends, it was also a nice opportunity for us as parents to meet their new friends. For me, it was a really good opportunity to speak to and meet the parents properly, when you are just in the playground it takes someone to have to make an effort to speak to or introduce themselves, with a birthday party, the situation leads the way and means you get to put a face to the parent of each child. It really helped me to have some friendly faces to smile at in the mornings. Having the childrens parties was a real turning point for me.

Extracurricular activities

Maybe the most obvious of all, extracurricular activities such as sports, having playdates and local clubs is another great way to integrate your child into their new school/community. Although a bit stressful with three children already, we try to allow the girls to have play dates or go to a friends house for dinner as often as we can. It is great for the children to be able to mingle outside of school so that they can play and embrace their new friendships in a less structured environment.

So if your little ones are changing schools because of a relocation, just a short trip or even to the next stage of schooling, I hope these tips can help and ease yours or your child’s worries or concerns. I am happy to report that the girls are totally settled, have wonderful groups of friends and love their new school.

Chynna x