Little Holiday

We’ve not had a holiday together as a family of four this year, instead we had a week with my family in May and a week with Steve’s parents.  So when the opportunity came up for a not too expensive break to Sherwood Forest in November we took it!  It was the week after half term and the week before winter wonderland began.

We went on a Monday (after I had done a rather poorly attending Moo Music session) and the weather was lovely.  In fact we had very cold but sunny days for the whole week, it only rained once we had left on the Friday afternoon.

And I’ve heard many differing reviews on the place, from it being an overly expensive Butlins to heaven on earth, and honestly, I was a little bit enchanted with it!!  Yes I can see that it costs a fortune if you let it.  But we were prepared to spend a little bit of money and then save where we could.  I took my slow cooker with us and cooked for most of the evenings and we went out one night for a meal as there was a big fireworks display on the Wednesday night (5th Nov) which was free!

In the days we went swimming, played in the parks, we did pay for crazy golf one morning, and then bowling one afternoon.  It was nice to walk around, Joel had his balance bike and scooted miles on it!  It was great, without it he got tired and wanted to be carried but he went for ages on his bike because that was fun!

Every morning we had a parade of ducks, moorhens, squirrels and such like at the glass doors.  We saved all our crusts and leftover bread and Joel loved feeding them each morning and Josiah loved watching it all.

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We had lots of fun in the little parks with different things to do.  On our last morning we treated ourselves to brunch at the pancake house.  It was gorgeous.  I had a New Yorker stack and there was so much bacon!  Yummy!!

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We played a bit of air hockey, and took Joel for his first bowling experience.  He beat me, although I didn’t have the buffers up!!

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Josiah found swimming very tiring indeed, and the getting changed meant he could have a nap once dressed!!!  He is a two fingers in his mouth and hold his rabbit sort of sleeper now.

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This giant swan kept banging on the glass every day!  There were two of them as well sometimes!  Good job the glass was there!  The fireworks were lovely and we had firelogs which I bought cheaply from B&Q and we toasted marshmallows and had a real fire in our lodge every night.

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Crazy gold was lots of fun.  Joel enjoyed it for a while, but it was obviously a battle between Steve and myself.  We did two games and Steve won one by two points, then I won the second by four points.  So ha!!!

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Every day was lovely and we got on well together and enjoyed each other’s company.  We want to go back again!  Maybe we can fit a trip in before Joel starts school and we join the too expensive out of school time brigade.

Ahem…..

It’s been ages again.  Life is so busy its hard to keep track.

We have had a week away on holiday to South Wales with Steve’s parents.  Joel loved the seaside and long days on the beach with picnics, paddling and sandcastle building.  I was glad we didn’t attempt to camp under canvas as hurricane Bertha made her presence known at the start of the week so the weather wasn’t that great.  We were in a caravan which was a squash for the four of us plus dog.  We enjoyed taking Joel out on day trips and showing him different places.  He saw his first real lions which was lovely, he was so excited!!

What else?  Weaning continues to be stressful for Josiah.  He really likes having a taste and seems so interested but doesn’t seem to want to eat food yet.  I am not too worried.  These days babies on milk are fine till they’re 1 and I’ve read that most babies go through a 9 month period where suddenly they begin eating with gusto.  Just because Joel was a good eater and tried everything does not mean Josiah will be the same.  He loves bread, and drop scones and *ahem* cake.  I guess it’s a dry texture that he prefers.  Plus he is still very much a boobie boy.  He is not into dropping milk feeds at all now.  

Which brings me to back to work.  I have decided to go back a bit earlier than the twelve months, so at the start of November when I will take one month’s leave before going back properly at the start of december.  I figured I didn’t want to have it hanging over Christmas, and the no money part at Christmas wouldn’t be fun either.  Plus I get to go back and work for a couple of weeks before having Christmas week off and more holiday to look forward to.

Joel is starting his pre-school five mornings a week in September and will be home with me every afternoon until December when he’ll go to my parents two afternoons a week and the nursery one afternoon a week.  Mainly due to the fact Josiah couldn’t have Wednesdays at nursery so my parents will have him that day through December and he’ll be at nursery Tuesday and Thursdays until after Christmas when he’ll go to Wednesday and Thursdays and Joel will have those afternoons at nursery and both will be at my parents on a Tuesday!!  The logistics of two children in different places is a bit overwhelming and I’m still not sure how I’m going to sort it all but time will tell.  At least I have a while to practise before its a case of Joel to school, Josiah to nursery and me to work!!!

We are still working at the house.  The garden is looking fab with newly laid turf in the back garden.  I’ve been tidying up a bit and it looks like a fun child friendly garden now.  The front is all paved so we can fit two cars on the drive and I spent this afternoon with my Mum digging up the old bushes which have gone a bit wild and large.  We are going to plant some sparse low maintenance plants and put bark around them.  Simples!  I fancy a chamelia for summer, hydrangea for autumn, holly for winter and a cherry blossom tree for the spring.  Something so that we have colour throughout the year.

Here are some current pictures of life!

Joel loves his magazines.  We buy him the Thomas one fortnightly.  We enjoy counting, sticking and writing together.

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 Here is Joel helping offer Josiah some toast!  I have to keep an eye of them as he would offer Josiah anything, but on the whole he is very good with his baby brother.  We had one incident where Steve was ‘watching’ them and I heard screams and ran in to find that Joel had smothered Josiah with a pillow and he couldn’t breathe and was very upset.  I was glad Steve was there to handle it to be honest as I was fuming, but Joel had been playing peekaboo, just not realised Joss couldn’t breathe and he was so upset too.  He sobbed ‘I’ll never do that again, I’m sorry Mummy’ and it was heartbreaking and Josiah was beaming away at him again very quickly.  Steve learnt to keep a better eye on things as well.

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They love each other!!

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Ice creams on a day out and Josiah was very put out to not be included so helped himself to Grandmas!!!

 

 

So, Scotland……

I knew it wouldn’t be a holiday, but I had hoped it would feel like a break.

Hmm.  I guess the positives were that I didn’t really have to cook and clean!

As Steve was working, he was pretty stressed and tense all week long.  He had asked us to go and I had been excited to go back to Scotland, but I’m not sure he’d reckoned on Joel being a typical toddler and needing lots of things to do!!!

Our few days looked something like this:

Tuesday:  We drove up which took about 5 hours and stopped off a good break around Carlisle for our picnic which I’d prepared earlier.  We got the hotel where a lovely lady welcomed us and showed us to our room which was really big.  We went through a door into a hallway with a wardrobe, and a bathroom on the left, then another door into the room with a king sized bed, lots of floor space, a huge tv and a sofa, with a desk up the corner.  Lots of room for Joel to zoom about on his trike and comfy to boot.  The only thing missing was a bed for Joel to sleep in!  We had asked for a family room, so Steve got them to bring a zed bed along which the friendly receptionist did immediately.  Joel was fast asleep in our bed at this point having dropped off en route, so we transferred him to his bed at the foot of ours and he stayed asleep till 4am when he crawled into our bed and slept on till 7am.

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Wednesday:  Steve’s alarm went off early, and at 7.15 we went down for breakfast.  This was served in a pub attached to the hotel due to the hotel kitchen being refurbished.  It was pretty standard, cereals, juice, continental options, cooked bacon and eggs etc…  Joel thought it was fun having bowls of strawberries after his weetabix and then scrambled egg.    Then we had to set off to a forest where Steve was due to meet some red squirrel watchers for filming.  It was a dry morning, but rather cold so we had lots of jumpers, coats and hats on.  The walking group went on ahead and I got left behind with Joel for an hour, but we played climbing on tree stumps, finding blackberries, searching for squirrels in the trees.   Then we went to a different location where Steve found squirrels and we ended up staying for ages.  It got to lunchtime and Steve was showing no signs of wanting to go anywhere.  Joel was hungry and cold and I was chilled through as well and we sat in the car and fell asleep.  By 1.30 Steve realised that we were cold and starving, so we found some shops and I did a bit of a shop to get supplies for lunches whilst we were there.   After lunch Steve wanted to go back again so I played with Joel in the leaves for a few more hours.  It was a bit boring after a while.  There’s only so long you can try to entertain a toddler in the cold outdoors and in a quiet way so as not to scare the squirrels away.  On heading back to the hotel, we went to the pub for our dinner and Steve had scampi and chips and I had lasagne with chips which Joel shared with us from his own little plate.   Then Steve worked at the desk till midnight, and Joel and I fell asleep about 9pm.

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Thursday:  This morning was a little bit more leisurely and we went to a country park.  This had a tree top walk where you could climb up a walkway which took you along a high platform on tree top level.   Joel thought it was great.  After a little walk we found some farm animals whilst Steve tried to film birds around the woodlands and Joel and i went to look at ducks and goats.   Then Steve was filming interviews at a council meeting in Falkirk so dropped Joel and I off in the town where we walked around the shops there for a bit before heading to a retail park and when he fell asleep I sat in a cafe with a cup of tea and my kindle until Steve called to say he was finished.  The weather had been very wet all day, and Falkirk was a bit grey and soggy to do much else.  Then Joel and I went back to the hotel for the afternoon and Steve went on to do more interviews.   Joel and I sat to have an indoor picnic on our picnic rug by the window in our room.  We had rolls, fruit, crisps and juice from posh cups.  In the afternoon the rain stopped for a little while so Joel rode his bike outside and we walked up a field to see a roman wall site.   Steve didn’t come back by the evening, and so I took Joel to the pub on my own where we shared a steak pie with chips and vegetables.  Joel ate all the peas, some carrots, some chips and gravy and a bit of pastry.  I think the steak wasn’t his thing really!!  Then we took ourselves back to bed and Steve turned up after having been trying to film some deer all evening, and as he worked again, Joel and I slept.

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Friday:  We woke up and went along to Aberfoyle which is a Forestry Commission park.  There were some nice paths and a red squirrel hide and a cafe.  Of course Steve loaded up Joel’s buggy with camera equipment and as we walked along disappeared off into the bushes saying he’d catch us up.  That was the last we saw of him as we made it to the waterfall.   An hour later we decided to walk back up to see whether we could find him, and got back up to the lodge when the rain came back where we decided to wait to see if Steve came back.   It turned out he’d been in the red squirrel hide, wanting the camera in Joel’s buggy and as I had left my phone in the car he had no way of contacting me.   I was in the dog house and feeling miserable with the cold wet weather.  We headed back to the hotel stopping in Stirling for dinner on the way home.  We found a cheap and cheerful, and very tasty Chinese buffet restaurant where Joel ate free (rice, stir fried broccoli and honey chicken and three bowls of ice-cream!!) and the waitresses loved him and brought him lollies and treats all evening!  He was very good though and behaved well.  On getting back to the hotel Joel fell asleep and Steve and I managed to watch tv for a little while before I fell asleep!

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Saturday: After packing up, we had breakfast and checked out by 10.30am.  We set off south with me driving and I got to Penrith where we stopped at a wildife centre so Steve could film some animals.  He’d read that they had bats, foxes and squirrels.  Which they did, but the bats were fruit bats.  I asked why he wanted fruit bats but he didn’t realise they weren’t native to the UK!!  So after filming them for ages, he found out they were Egyptian.  Tch.   Joel and I wandered round to see all the animals and had beans on toast for lunch in the cafe.   By 4pm Joel had dozed off, I was cold and tired (and needing to wee about every 30 minutes when I was standing up) and it seemed that every nice trip ended up being a place to feel fed up as Steve just wanted to stay past the point of enjoyment!  Anyway, we finally set off and then headed to Blackpool to show Joel the Illuminations along the promenade.  Steve had never been to Blackpool either and we found a car park, walked to the sea front with fish and chips and then the lights went on.  It was dark, cold, our chips were hot and tasty and it was actually a really nice evening!!!  We walked along the prom, bought Joel a light up spinny stick thing which he thought was the best thing EVER, and then headed back to the car to drive through a stretch of the lights before heading back home down the M6.  We made it home for 10.30pm with Joel still awake after his 4pm nap, although he was tired at this point and he crashed out to bed, and we soon followed after once Steve had unloaded the car.

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So I guess the moral of the story is that we won’t try and combine a break with a Steve working weekend again!!  I shall just plan an actual holiday somewhere without wi-fi!!!

Workadays

We’re not so much going on a jolly  holiday, as Steve is working up in Scotland again for 5 days, so Joel and I are going along too but I’m not expecting it to be a relaxing break!!  Which is a shame, as I do feel rather in need of it!!  But it’s a change of scene, we’re booked into a nice hotel where we’ll get a decent breakfast each morning and it’ll be the three of us away, possibly for the last time!!  

I’ve been putting the suitcases together, and there is so much to take.  It’s five days and four nights, but we still have to have lots of clothes, toys for Joel, sleep things for Joel, pillows (and my giant maternity pillow!!), wellington boots, and thats not to mention all Steve’s equipment for filming.

I guess my wardrobe is pretty limited at the moment.  I have 3 pairs of trousers, two warm jumpers, a few t-shirts, and one cardigan!!  I’m glad my legs are still fitting into my wellies.

It’s a long drive from here to Scotland, and I’m hoping I can cope with the long stints in the car.  My back does begin to ache terribly after a few hours.

Once up there, Steve has booked us onto red squirrel walks, other Forestry Commission activities, one morning he will drop us off in Stirling city to have a mooch whilst he films interviews, so every day has a plan, and evenings will just be getting some dinner, settling Joel down to bed and then watching a film on the lap top, or playing cards in our room!!

I guess it’s better than being in the office, and here’s hoping for some sunny albeit cold weather!!!

Holidays!

Well, of sorts.  No work for the next two weeks!  I had to use up my holiday this month so quite happily booked two weeks leave.  Not to go anywhere or do anything, but possibly get some decorating done.  At least that was the plan.  The way I’m feeling at the moment, I may have a week in bed instead!  I could sleep for a week, plus I’m coming down with a cold.  I think all the hectic weeks at work are taking their toll.

Today I went into town on the bus with Joel, but his late nights and early starts have affected him, so by 10.30am he fell fast asleep and missed the bus ride.  We got some vouchers for my Dad’s birthday for a nice restaurant meal, and a birthday card.  Then walked all the way home as it was quicker than waiting for a return bus.

Then I made Joel some lunch as I’ve felt off food all day with nausea, and began to feel really drowsy.  There wasn’t really any chance of him having another nap after sleeping in the morning but I lay down with him in bed and dropped off, whereas he didn’t.  Next thing I knew it was almost 3pm and I’d been asleep.  Joel was sitting next to me, but had been rampaging upstairs and emptied all shelves of toys and shoes.

We’ve played with train sets this afternoon and sat and watched Peter Pan on DVD and now Joel is terribly tired and may not last till bedtime.

Not such a good day really.  I always feel really bad when I’m not up to much with my little man, but I can’t really do much else today.  I just want to go to sleep 😦  But am still feeling slightly reassured by the constant nausea and tiredness.  Two weeks till my next scan.

We’re Back!!!

So we made it back in one piece and all safe and well.  I can’t say that we didn’t stress being on holiday, but we did have a nice week away, and Joel was safe and adapted well to being abroad.  By the end of the week he was a bit over tired and grumpy.  He went off his food and kept waking in the small hours feeling feverish, so we dosed him up with calpol.  We are thinking either teething, or just too much for him, but it’s good to be home again.

And I shall let the pictures tell the weeks story:

Mummy's birthday

Mummy’s birthday

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Driving along...

Driving along…

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Throwing his cup over the edge...

Throwing his cup over the edge…

Not wanting to wait for the click...

Not wanting to wait for the click…

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Admiring the view

Admiring the view

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See saw time

See saw time

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Having some lunch

Having some lunch

Drinking iced tea!

Drinking iced tea!

Mummy and Joel

Mummy and Joel

Lovely buildings

Lovely buildings

Visiting Cuitadella

Visiting Cuitadella

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Looking at our local beach

Looking at our local beach

More pool time

More pool time

Fish and chips Spanish style

Fish and chips Spanish style

Mummy liked the Sangria

Mummy liked the Sangria

Having another nap

Having another nap

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Daddy's car for the week

Daddy’s car for the week

Our yellow catmaran

Our yellow catmaran

Bored of the boat ride!

Bored of the boat ride!

Seeing the little fishes

Seeing the little fishes

Under the water in a glass bottomed boat.

Under the water in a glass bottomed boat.

Visit to Mao

Visit to Mao

Dinner out

Dinner out

Splashing in the pool

Splashing in the pool

Digging on the lovely beach

Digging on the lovely beach

Our lovely balcony

Our lovely balcony

Having a nap whilst Daddy searches for wi-fi

Having a nap whilst Daddy searches for wi-fi

Jigsaw fun in our apartment

Jigsaw fun in our apartment

Prepping For Holiday

I try to be an organised person.  I love packing to go on holiday, and for me, packing to go away for a week requires more than two hours of flinging clothes into a case just before we leave.

So with that in mind I’ve been getting ready the past couple of weeks.

My first task was to go through our summer wardrobes, all stashed beneath our bed in suitcases.  Everything then got put through the washed and dried in the sunshine during a sunny spell which was very handy, as that much washing drying inside isn’t the greatest!

Then it was time to make piles!!  I tried everything of mine on to see what would fit and wouldn’t fit.  Three years ago I was the lightest I’d ever been after getting married, two years ago I’d just had a baby so nothing from the last year fitted and last year I’d just bought a few new things in a right size.  From this I got a decent heap of clothes that both fitted and would make outfits once away.

I was also packing for Steve and Joel, and Steve is easy.  He hasn’t changed size or shape much and I put his four pairs of shorts, two swim shorts, and eight t-shirts and two jumpers in a case!!  With seven pants and pairs of socks, a pair of sandals and flip flops.  If only women were so simple to pack for!!  Joel has a lot more as he gets grubby more easily.  I’ve packed him seven pairs of shorts, a couple of trousers, seven t-shirts and some long sleeved tops and about three jumpers/hoodys.  He has two swimsuits with hats and some pumps, sandals and shoes.  Oh, and some swim shoes for on the beach.

For me I have about 6 t-shirts, 2 long sleeved tops, shorts, cropped trousers, a couple of skirts, a couple of dresses and four pairs of shoes.  I hope that will be enough.  I’ve added some sachets of washing powder and softener for cleaning over there if needed.  It’s only a week isn’t it!  I had more but was worried about the weight of my case so have reduced what I’d initially put in.

Its the other stuff that I’m more worried about.  We have our Euros now, and I’ve printed the tickets for our flights.  Our passports are safe in our document wallet.  We’ve booked a trip on a glass bottomed boat (and saved 20% on the price over there) and finally decided to order a meal on the plane both ways.  With the times we’re flying it’ll be handy for both feeding Joel and entertaining him a little!  I’ve bought him a plane set with a toy plane and airport cars so hope that will be fun on the plane and the holiday.

And packing toys is a bit stressful.  We only have 20kg each (luckily Joel does as well as we’ve paid for a seat for him) and we’ve packed a big car, some jigsaws, colouring, books, bucket, spade and beach toys and he’ll have his Violet dog in hand luggage and some new bits and bobs I’ve wrapped up in paper so he can open them and play with them.  I’ve also got him some mini chupa chup lollies for take off and landing to help the ear pressure thing.

I think I’ve thought about everything.  I hope so.  I have a folder with all print outs in to keep to hand.  We’ve hired a car for the week and Steve and I are stressing about driving on the other side of the road, but the directions to the apartment are simple enough to follow I think!!

I’m sure once we get there we can relax and find the beach.  I have a new Sharon Penman novel on my Kindle so hope I get chance to read it!  Steve is stressing about wi-fi but I’ve researched it and most restaurants have it so I’ve said we can sit and have long lunches whilst Joel naps or plays and he can check his work emails every day.  Ironically he’s suddenly got crazy busy and this holiday is sort of at a bad time what with house moves and everything, but we really want a week away together so I guess it can only be good for us.

I need to find a small bag to take away as I don’t want to take my big handbags and maybe a smaller purse just for money.  I’ve had my phone switched to abroad.  I need to pop to the pound shop to see if they have any plug adapters.  We always buy them and then can’t find them when we need them.

Anyway, I think we’re nearly there now.  It’s a good job I enjoy packing and sorting this sort of thing.  The hubby wouldn’t manage it!!