We started the year with our whole family at our holiday home on the North Coast of Northern Ireland, where we walked on the beach and generally enjoyed some time together. Later in the month, Simon, Isabelle and I went up to the coast again for a few days for a quick getaway. We really want to start using the holiday home more this year and, now I'm not so constrained with work, it's much more feasible. Simon met Isabelle and I there after work on a Saturday afternoon, however he ended up with a vomiting bug so our weekend was slightly less enjoyable than we anticipated! When we are there we walk the dogs on the beach, go to the park (although it's closed at the minute because it was flooded last year!) and go out for lunch. That's all Isabelle and I did that weekend, but it's just nice to have a change of scene.
As I am off on Monday again we have been able to start back to our breastfeeding group, which is great. We loved seeing everyone again, and meeting some new mums and babies. We also got together with our breastfeeding group friends a few other times during the month at their house or out and about, and it's so nice for both Isabelle and I to be able to spend more time with them again. We missed them while I was at work!
It's been all about books this month. Isabelle has always loved books and being read to, but this month I've noticed more than ever that she is wanting to have books throughout the day. Her favourite at the minute is The Tiger Who Came to Tea, and she can recite parts of it which makes it seem like she is reading! While she likes being read to, she also likes taking the books and 'reading' to herself, which is funny to listen to! I started my own 52 Books in 52 Weeks reading challenge, and am currently on book number 4. I am really pleased that I've started so well, and it is definitely a pleasure to be back to reading so much after dipping in and out of reading over the past few years.
There is a local gymnastics centre which runs toddler play mornings. Unfortunately, these are on weekdays so we weren't able to go from August to December, however we have jumped straight in now I am off again and tend to spend our Friday morning there. Isabelle loves the freedom to run round and climb, jump and swing from the equipment - she is weirdly strong and can actually hold herself up on the parallel bars!
After our local pool closed for refurbishments it's been difficult to take Isabelle swimming which we used to do every week. So this month I took her to another pool close by for a toddler session, which she loved. She is a real water baby and has been swimming since she was just 13 weeks old. She is so brave about it now, and will soon be a better swimmer than me!
Of course, I have been working on Tuesday and Wednesday so Simon and Isabelle still get some time together without me, and she still gets a day with my dad. He takes her to a local mums and tots which he loves, and they have so much fun together. I've thoroughly enjoyed being at work for the two days, as it's so stress free - working part time really is wonderful. I'm not looking forward to potentially going back to 5 days a week after Easter.
January has been a month of BIG expenses for us. Our boiler started leaking, and the price of a new one made my eyes water. We've had nothing but problems with the boiler since we moved in 4 years ago, however, so a new one is actually a bit of a relief - despite the insane price tag. Simon needed a new car which we also got this month. He actually got a great deal on a trade in for his old car, so his change to a Qashqai+2 wasn't as expensive as we had thought. I have a Qashqai as well, so we are now car twins!
We were plenty busy at home as well as being out and about - we painted with shaving foam and tin foil, made some thank you cards, played with chocolate scented playdough, reused our old moon sand and cleared out some of our junk in our Throw Out 50 Things Challenge. It snowed twice this month, so we had plenty of chances to find out that Isabelle really isn't a big fan of standing in the snow! She wouldn't have it at all! She didn't mind holding it and touching it, so we opted for some inside snow play instead.
So overall, January 2015 wasn't as dreary as usual. We've been so busy that it's passed us by in a flash, and now February is here, which holds the promise of our first holiday of the year!