This Christmas feels like it might be the loveliest one yet. Both my girls have a good enough understanding of what it’s about (like, ish) and it feels pretty magical. We’ve not done a lot in the way of decorations yet because our house is still being refurbished (boooo) but we did drive to a farm to get our Christmas tree this weekend. The farm was closed. Massive anti-climax, excited happy children quickly turned into wailing angry children. We f~ked up. But we plied them with snacks and headed to our little local Christmas fair which cheered them right up.
Last year we thought we’d start a little Christmas tradition of taking the kids ice skating – and it was an utter disaster. The second Harper’s skates touched the ice, she wanted to get off, but we had to complete a lap as you can only go in one direction – and once you’re on, you’re on. She let go of her skating aid, Magnus the Penguin, within seconds, so we were left trying to simply keep her upright and not lose any fingers. So I was understandably apprehensive about trying again this year. Luckily, all she seemed to remember from last year was that she got a gingerbread man in the cafe at the end, so she was up for giving it another whirl.
I find it very hard to pull myself – and my kids – out into the cold at this time of year. It’s so easy to spend a day snuggled up with a duvet and hot chocolate and a whole heap of Disney. But we forced ourselves out this weekend to Wilderness Wood (near Uckfield) and I’m very happy we did because it turned into one of the loveliest days out. It’s such a beautiful place, full of fresh air, nature and wintry magic.
Back in the Spring, we had a trip out to Kew Gardens to see the cherry blossom trees, and vowed to go back to see what it looked like in Autumn. We made the trip recently and we were not disappointed.
The trip wasn’t wildly successful as both kids basically just wanted to have a snack or sit in the single buggy we took with us, so we didn’t get to explore as much as we were hoping to. We did see a little part of the grounds in-between mini meltdowns over ice creams, grapes and… well, you name it really!
So a while ago, before coat-wearing weather was truly upon us, we took a family trip to Bodiam Castle. We’ve been kinda busy of late with work and other commitments so it’s taken a little while to sort these photos out. When we’ve got a free weekend we seem to venture out to a National Trust place, at least while the weather was warm enough, and this one has to be a new favourite.
This week has been so busy! Usually our worky things get spread out a little bit but this week, er, nope. All whacked together in one jam-packed half term week. It’s been fun, hectic and tiring in equal measures.
We began the week doing a day of baking for our next craft book… the theme of which we won’t say but there might be a little clue in the pics if you’re clever enough to work it out :-). Luckily we only had Grayson around to help us out who spent the whole day trying to climb on the table (where the cake was) and say “ARRGH”. He wasn’t much of a help decorating biscuits.
I’ve been a bit unmotivated with my camera recently. To be honest, I’ve been feeling a bit bad about snapping a thousand photos a week and constantly having the lens in my kids face. I worry sometimes that I might be missing out on experiencing these moments by being behind my little memory box. I worry that my kids will grow up with every single second documented by photo or by film – whereas I have probably 30 photos per year of me as a kid. And just one (totally horrendous) video. Is that a bad thing? Perhaps not. But there will be no mystery for my kids. The boundaries between real memory and illusion of memory will probably get seriously blurred. So maybe I should step back a little.
As a family, we’ve not all been together for long enough to have many traditions, but a few are slowly emerging. Trying to get Harper on ice skates each winter is one (not too successful so far) and getting a photo of her on Santa’s knee is another (some attempts are better than others). But there is one tradition that’s been fixed in place since she was born – going to a pick-your-own farm at the start of the summer for strawberries, and then again at the start of autumn for pumpkins.
We quite often find ourselves venturing out to a National Trust place of a weekend when we’ve not got a swimming lesson, a birthday party or any work planned, and our favourite by far is Wakehurst Place. It’s a bit of a drive from Brighton, which inevitably means the kids are mega grumpy when we get there as they’ve napped in the car, but it’s well worth the moody mini ones.
A couple of weekends ago, when we realised the sun would (probably) be shining, possibly for the last time all year, we decided to do a last minute camping trip in a bell tent in Dorset. We’ve never been in a bell tent before and, to be honest I’ve been put off in the past because they usually charge the same as a decent hotel. I still do kind of think that, but it was fun and the kids had a total blast.
Last weekend Harper and I did a first – we ran the Brighton Color Run together. It’s a 5km race where you get showered in powder paint on your way around the course.
I’ve got a long history of running, starting when I was 16 and was working on the reception of my local gym. I’ve run everything from 5kms to marathons, and going for a run keeps me on the right side of sane.
Last week we stumbled upon a super bargain deal holiday to Zante – just outside the summer holidays, just before Amelie started school. Just before we’d be trapped forever by school term times! We haven’t had a holiday abroad in 3 years with all the moving/renovating house stuff. So we booked it, about 2 days before we flew out. I then obviously went into panic meltdown realising that there are a thousand things to do before you go away – last minute holiday planning = a bit stressful actually. We had a few blips… we almost missed the flight and then we were all in separate seats (oops, might be less stingy and pick seats next time). But once that plane landed in Zante I felt like something had been unplugged in my brain. Oh that made it sound like I went a bit crazy didn’t it
I think I may have found my happy place… Croyde in north Devon. If you’ve not been then I urge you to go. Actually, don’t go, as then there’ll be less room on the beach!
We went camping with friends over the Bank Holiday. Camping has never been something I thought I’d like. I only went once as a child with the girl guides, when everyone in the four-person tent I was in got food poisoning – I still have vivid memories of us all throwing up rice everywhere (sorry if you’re eating your breakfast). We were so ill we had to go home early.
Every Thursday for the past year, we’ve been meeting up for a Little Button hangout. We try to do something fun, unless we’re snowed under with work (when we become multi-tasking masters!), and we’ve of course been documenting it with photos. Now the summer is coming to an end and Amelie starts school in a matter of days, it’s a bit of an end of an era for us.
Last weekend we woke up feeling a bit bored and stuck for ideas of where to go. We always do the same old things. So we did a bit of googling and found a little craft beer festival up in London at Alexandra Palace. So we just jumped in the car and went! It was FUN!
Problem with spontaneous adventures: you don’t pack properly. So we forgot baby wipes and any form of drink. Whoops. I had to spend a fortune on posh festival drinks and the kids looked like little chimney sweeps by the end of the day. I was getting some funny looks from the posh London mamas, but the grubby little things had a blast so it was all good.