The Smile Files

The Smile Files – June/July/August 2018

Despite my best intentions I’m not doing very well with blogging regularly (understatement of the year!) It’s now October and there have been no June, July or August updates so instead of just skipping them altogether I thought I’d do a quick round up of a few of our summer highlights.

Life was certainly busy in the run up to the summer holidays, full of birthdays, celebrations, family and wall-to-wall sunshine (a bonafide British heatwave, no less!) Our house was also up for sale and there was a constant stream of viewings to clean like a madwoman tidy up for. If I’m honest I was left feeling a little bit knackered and burnt out with the constant treadmill of busy weeks and somehow busier weekends and blogging slid to the bottom of an ever increasing to-do list!


Both our mums have their birthdays in June so there were celebrations for both of them. For my mum I cooked a family dinner for 21 of us, it was a lovely hot day and so nice to have everyone together.

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For Dave’s mum Paula it was a special birthday as she was turning 60. We helped organise her birthday surprise which included a meal out with her family and friends plus a holiday to London, as she had never been! Although she was a little apprehensive at first, she was excited and they had a fabulous time taking in all the sights. We also travelled to London for the day to surprise them at their hotel on their wedding anniversary with a visit from us and the three girls, and we spent a lovely day with them travelling to Greenwich on the Thames and spending the afternoon in Greenwich Park.

There was also Father’s Day (we surprised Dave with a trip to London in July) and Nathan’s boyfriend Lee’s birthday (when we went out for a family meal) in June so there were plenty of celebrations!

Due to the amazing sunny weather which we are just not really used to in the UK, there were also countless trips to the park and local marinas, picnics every weekend and it was also Sports Day at school for Sienna which for once didn’t get rained off but was worryingly hot for them instead!


Surprisingly, the heatwave continued right through July and definitely exceeded our expectations of a British summer. For Luna’s first birthday we had a lovely family meal out on the actual day and a really nice relaxed picnic at the weekend. The rest of the first few weeks were mainly spent enjoying the sunshine on our days off and counting down the days to the summer holidays while we were at work. We went to London for an overnight stay in the first week of the summer holidays and were seriously worried about how hot it was! It did mean that we could travel light though, we somehow managed with just one backpack for all five of us, definitely only made possible by the fact that temperatures were soaring and we only needed the lightest of clothes which were easy to roll up and took up very little room. We used our Merlin passes to visit the London Eye, Shrek’s Adventure and London Sealife and also visited the Rainforest Cafe (overpriced and overrated in my opinion if you were wondering!) and the Science Museum (which is fab and the girls all loved it).


After a day at home it was the day we had been looking forward to for such a long time, our summer holiday. Ok, so we weren’t heading to an exotic location but with the fabulous weather, counting down to the summer holidays and dreaming of sunny days in Tenby with its beautiful beaches got me through all the sweaty school runs and unbearably hot office days. Of course though, the weather broke the exact same day we headed off on holiday with Dave’s parents, which led to a lot of eye rolling and muttering from me along the lines of ‘I don’t care what you say, we’re going abroad next year…’ while we packed raincoats and wellies and tried to remember what we actually wore before weeks of endless hot sunshine, but in fact amongst the rain there was sunshine too and we had a brilliant time, whatever the weather. Tenby is undoubtedly stunning, we stayed right in town in a pretty little period cottage with everything, including the gorgeous beaches, on our doorstep and so we hardly used the car at all which was great. Although the weather was a bit mixed, we were on the beach every single day, come rain or sunshine and it really was fabulous. I would absolutely love to live near the sea, I honestly don’t know how anyone could ever move away from living there. Of course it wasn’t all idyllic, because, you know, kids! There were, of course, a fair few tantrums, mainly from Sienna who can sometimes be difficult seemingly just for the hell of it, and she definitely sets the mood, if she’s happy, everyone’s happy! I also think Paula and Stephen started to lose the will to live every time we needed to leave the house as somehow we are incapable of ever making a speedy exit and instead spent forever looking for lost shoes, jackets, packing enough snacks to feed an actual army (and yet we still ran out within an hour of leaving the house, no idea how that even happens!) Despite the moaning and the excessive snack consumption, we had an amazing time and there were a lot of happy memories made!



August started with us on holiday and once we were home, with our house no longer for sale (because the house we wanted to buy – a 6 bedroom project, opposite where we live now, had sold to another buyer) and with us committed to staying in this house for at least the next few years, we decided to do a bit of updating. Nothing drastic, as to be honest nothing much needed doing, but just a bit of a refresh, painting bathrooms, reorganising the playroom which had previously been more of a bedroom for Nathan before he moved out, updating our Ikea storage unit doors and just a general sort out really. It made us feel a lot more positive about the fact that we were no longer moving and if I’m honest, it was nice to have the pressure off to have the house constantly viewing ready (I do like everywhere clean and tidy as a general rule, but with three little ones who have a tendency to wreak havoc wherever possible, keeping it looking like a showhome was not fun!)

This month was also dominated by illness, Freya had a croup attack which was so severe it even sent me (the opposite of a panicker) into a panic (admittedly an internal panic as I had to stay outwardly calm for Freya and Dave, but I was honestly terrified!) I have seen croup attacks many times before, Matty used to suffer from it on a regular basis and while it is hideous and frightening, it usually eases with a steam filled room and keeping them upright. This time though, nothing was helping and with Freya fighting for every breath I knew we had to get help. After a 111 call, they wanted to send an ambulance but as we live so close to the hospital we drove to A&E, where absolutely everyone was amazing, the staff were utterly fantastic, the other patients let us jump the reception queue, she was seen within minutes of arriving and given steroids which improved her condition rapidly. After a couple of hours she was sitting up in bed and eating biscuits having a lovely time, charming all the staff, despite the fact it was the early hours of the morning! She enjoyed it so much that now if she has even the slightest cough, she will say she can’t breathe and please can she go to hospital! I was reminded, not for the first time, that our NHS is simply fantastic, we are so lucky to have it and I really could not be more grateful for it.


A few days later we were hit with a sickness bug (which as parents everywhere know, is the stuff of nightmares, with one child getting better just in time for another to go down with it (I’m not really sure if this is better or worse than everyone getting it at the same time and getting it over and done with) the house constantly stinking of puke and the washing machine and disinfectant in constant use – fun times!) As soon as that was over Dave got a virus and developed a horrible cough that lasted weeks and also got his appointment through for an operation on his bladder, to correct a urethral stricture which has caused him an issue for a long time.

Despite all the illness and house projects, we did manage to have some lovely days out, a few National Trust outings, a farm trip and a couple of trips to Alton Towers (including one without the kids, so Dave and I got to bypass CBeebies Land and finally got to go on Smiler (which is amazing, even if it left me unsure which way was up!!) We also went to my sister’s for a couple of days, it was lovely to catch up with them and Freya and Sienna were super excited to have their first sleepover with their cousins (while me, Dave and Luna stayed in a hotel down the road), in fact it was the absolute highlight of Sienna’s summer!

If you have made it to the end of this ridiculously long post then thank you for sticking with it and I’m sorry there is no medal for getting this far! I guess I could have skipped it altogether, but as this blog is mainly intended as a diary for the kids to look back on when they are older, I just didn’t want to miss out a whole summer. Hopefully the fact that this post has taken me forever to actually finish will mean I will be keen to update a bit more regularly!

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