What We've Been Up To

What We’ve Been Up To : December 2019

Welcome back to another “What We’ve Been Up To” and Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful December, Christmas and New Year.

December was such a lovely month for me, I usually struggle to get into the festive spirit but I appear to have embraced it this time around. Such things as rearranging the living room for the arrival of the Christmas Tree and getting all the Christmas decorations out usually fill me with dread as the house suddenly looks cluttered. Then on top of that, all the arrival of Christmas gifts, wrapping paper and the aftermath of the big day leaves me feeling claustrophobic. I tend to spend the month wishing it all away so I can embrace the space again.

Not this year!

What We Got Up To – December 2019

Days Out

We started December with a Festive Day Out. It’s no secret that we have been massive fans of Drayton Manor Theme Park in the past. Especially when the kids were a couple of years younger and we’d absolutely loved to visit Thomas Land. We decided to take one more trip there last month to enjoy the Magical Christmas experience again, but most importantly to meet up with friends there and watch the kids enjoy themselves.

Christmas Fun at Drayton Manor Park - December 2019
Christmas Fun at Drayton Manor Park – December 2019

During the day the kids got to enjoy various rides, a walk through the Drayton Manor Zoo, eat copious amounts of doughnuts and a fab visit to Santa in the late afternoon to round up our wonderful visit.

Kids group photo with Santa at Drayton Manor Park
Kids group photo with Santa at Drayton Manor Park

In between Christmas and New Year, we ventured out, after spending numerous days at home we felt the need to blow off the cobwebs. We decided to head over to Chester for a day out, I’d never been to Chester City Centre before and it turned out to be a lovely day.

River Dee, Chester - December 2019
River Dee, Chester – December 2019

We enjoyed a slow saunter down the High Street of Chester before enjoying the historical sights the city has to offer. We enjoyed Chester Cathedral, lighting a candle for our Daughter and the kids Sister. Then we headed off to the city walls, the Roman Gardens, Amphitheatre and a walk by the River Dee. A lovely day spent in Chester and I will be sure to visit there again!

Chester Town Walls - December 2019
Chester Town Walls – December 2019

Christmas Preparations

Shortly after our day out at Drayton Manor, we decided to get the house ready for the big day. Over the past couple of years, it’s become a tradition to have a real Christmas Tree but we don’t just go to a garden centre to buy a tree. We actually go and cut our own. We love it!

We take a trip to our local Bishop Offley Christmas Tree farm of which have lovely facilities for kids. After we park the car there is a short walk to some woodlands, leading over a hill to another field full of Christmas Trees. Now we can choose to either walk to the woodland or take a tractor ride, of course, the kids wanted the tractor ride!

Sat on a tractor trailer getting ready to go and pick our Christmas Tree
Sat on a tractor-trailer getting ready to go and pick our Christmas Tree

After this ride, the kids are adequately satisfied with their excitement that they remain calm to help the grown-ups find a perfect tree. This involves walking through a field that is quite literally full to the brim with at least 1000-2000 trees. That’s a LOT of trees to pick your perfect tree from!

Sometime later we find that tree and begin the mission of sawing it to take it home.

My family with our chopped down perfect Christmas Tree for 2019
My family with our chopped down perfect Christmas Tree for 2019


As with the arrival of every December, my thoughts are not just on Christmas, as the 15th December brings the anniversary of our daughter who we lost in pregnancy. Born at 16 weeks on the 15th December 2010 we take an annual trip over to Emstrey Crematorium in Shrewsbury to visit the Shropshire SANDS memorial. We always take a plant or some flowers and Christmas brings the arrival of the memorial trees, we write a note on a bauble and leave it on the tree. Even Leah got a little artistic this time, writing a note for her Big Sister.

Shropshire SANDS Memorial - December 2019
Shropshire SANDS Memorial – December 2019

Early Christmas

My family don’t live local to me, they live around 100 miles away so their not a “pop round to visit” distance to us. So we tend to visit them the weekend before Christmas to do an “early Christmas” where we see family, go for a Christmas Lunch and exchange gifts. This year I got to see extended family that I hadn’t seen in a couple of years which was very lovely.

On Sunday we go out for a family lunch before heading back to my Mum and Dads where we do our gift exchange and the kids get to open their gifts from their Grandparents and Great Grandma. It’s also really nice to spend time as a family all together as we don’t get much time together throughout the year.

Leah with her Big Bow Rainbocorn
Leah with her Big Bow Rainbocorn


This year Christmas was a quiet affair for us, we spent the day at home altogether. We were gifted a later than usual start after the kids falling asleep so late the evening before but they soon made up for the late start when they saw their collection of gifts which Santa had left for them during the night.

Lewis building his Lego Technic Car Transporter
Lewis building his Lego Technic Car Transporter

Later that morning Leah wanted to take her new bike for a ride so we made the most of a quiet high street and town car parks to let her have a good ride around. On the way home, we stopped by a local pub for a lunchtime drink before going home for our Christmas dinner.

Leah riding her new bike - Christmas 2019
Leah riding her new bike from Santa

Boxing Day was much of the same as the day before, choosing to keep away from town and the local Boxing Day sales. The kids continued to enjoy their gifts and we spent a local couple of days at home.

New Years Eve

We had a lovely New Years Eve and I have a feeling this could become an annual occurrence. Since moving to Newport, Shropshire in December 2017 Lewis has made a best friend in a child called Ben. Lewis and Ben get on very well and in turn, so have the parents so much so we take it in turns to host evening meals, getting all the kids together and we’ve just hosted our second New Years Eve. The parents spend an evening eating nibbles, drinking plenty of gin and having a good natter whilst the kids enjoy computer games, Nerf wars and lego building before counting down the final 10 seconds of 2019 and seeing in the New Year altogether. A lovely evening well spent.

That’s pretty much all I have to report for December and all things Christmas. Thank you for reading and Happy New Year!

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