time flies when you're being a mum

We're off on an adventure!

24 Jul, 2019

It’s been a while! 3 months have gone in a flash of many more sleepless nights and busyness – which is why I hate it when I stop blogging because I can’t remember what I’ve been doing!

Here are some highlights…

Nancy turned 6 and 7 and 8 months old.

6 months

6 months

7 months

7 months

8 months

8 months

AND SHE’S SHARTED SLEEPING THROUGH *gets out the party hat and streamers*

She’s an absolute peach. “No bother” is the general comment about my youngest and “I love her face”. Haha!

Both statements I can endorse as I feel the same.

We’re in a great routine (that Mike is still struggling with – “she eats at 4, right?” was the question yesterday. No, love, it’s 5.), and while that does make my days feel a bit groundhoggy, it allows me non-baby time as she’ll sleep in her cot for a couple of hours a day that way.

Groundhog Day is my favourite movie anyway.

Siblings

Reuben adores her and she adores him too 💕

She’s loving learning to eat. I keep worrying it’ll go tits up at 12 months, like it did with Reuben, but I managed once, eh? Plus, it might not.

Weaning

Getting Away

I’ve had a couple of lovely trips away. 

The first was with my friend, Jeannie (who has just been accepted into the GB masters team for the half-marathon. She’s really inspired me on my fitness journey!!), to Sweatlife in London. It was completely exhausting as we had to be up at 4:45am on the Saturday and didn’t get home until 11pm on the Sunday. It was also a great big workout – loads of classes to do and unlimited yoga (and Jeannie also did a hill training session in the middle – LOL!!)… I spent more time in the mediation room (yes, I was sleeping), than in classes, but it was inspiring, exciting, exhilarating (the Yoga Rave in particular was EPIC) and while mummy was away Nancy learnt to sleep through. Win win.

The second was the nicest weekend ever for our friend’s wedding in a beautiful hotel right on the edge of Windermere. No kids. It was the perfect date weekend, with time on our own but also loads of fun with friends (including ‘clubbing’ in Bowness at 1am).

Date weekend

We swam in the lake the morning after the wedding to clear our heads… Ah.Maze.Ing.

Windermere

 

Windermere

Writing

During nap times I’ve been working on my book! I talked quite a bit about this last year, as I was on a creative writing course and had started an older children’s book; then pregnancy and doubt stopped me. So, reinspired, a few hundred words a day has turned into 20, 000 words. According to Neil Gaiman (of Coroline success), that’s half way through…

Finding Why

I’ve taken a break from writing since the wedding as I’ve been back on the old ‘deep thinking’ train. Urgh. I’m trying to work out WHY I want to blog so much… I can’t seem to just get on with it so something mustn’t be quite right. So I’ve been reading Simon Sinek’s book, Start with Why.

I’m really enjoying it and totally get the reason for establishing clarity behind what you do so everything you do makes sense and will help other people, who also share your values and beliefs, find you… I just can’t quite put my finger on exactly what my WHY is. I’m worried it’s tied with external validation, but maybe that’s something I need come to terms with? Can you reach out and be part of a community without it?

Through all this searching for meaning, however, I have my old friend and fellow blogger, Aby’s words ringing in my ears – just get started. Isn’t that always the worse bit after a break?! So, with that in mind…

Epic roadtrip

We have bought a motorhome and we’re going away in it in a matter of days on a European road trip for FIVE WEEKS!!!!!!! 3 kids and a dog. Shiiiiit!

motorhome adventure

dog passport

Mike and I are getting a little antsy about making sure we have everything we need.

I’ve been having anxiety dreams about running out of milk (I stopped breastfeeding Nancy a few weeks ago – terrible timing in terms of this trip as milk bottle prep in a confined space isn’t much fun but good timing as she’s now sleeping through and that is definitely something you want in said confined space)!

motorhome

Yesterday I filled a large Waitrose bag with Ella’s kitchen products and extra milk… I’ve no idea why as I hear Europe also have babies? But I’m hoping it’ll stop the dreams!

My other concerns relate to entertaining the kids (without too much reliance on devices), clothing, sleeping arrangements for Nancy (I’ve got 5 sleeping bags with togs from 0.5 up to 2.5, plus extra blankets), packing enough coffee, pooing – we have a loo but……. and Reuben’s Birthday is also in the middle of this trip. #winning

On the flip side, I’m so freaking excited!! I recon the first week will be a bit of test but we’ll soon get into the swing of things, plus we’re going to see some amazing places. We’re starting in Amsterdam, working our way through Germany’s Black Forest to see the original Disney Castle, Neuschwanstein Castle, then circling back so we can meet my family (my parents and older brother’s family) in France. It’s going to be epic and involve a lot of swimming in lakes I recon. Lush!

Have you ever been away on a Motorhome Holiday? What do I need?!

I plan to keep a journal on here as I love documenting what’s going on so I can look back (and I’ve stopped doing it). So if you have any tips for travelling with a family, or want to see what I’ve packed, let me know!

motorhome packing

leave a comment.

Bridgestone Press Trip - Part 2

03 Feb, 2016

Yesterday I shared a post about what this trip to Monaco and Cannes with Bridgestone Tyres was all about, which you can read here: Bridgestone DriveGuard.

This is part 2 which is all about the more social side – the pinch yourself stuff – because (and I do believe I said this a few times while we were there)…

There ain’t no party like a Bridgestone party!

Monaco and Cannes - Bridgestone Press event

I’ve put together this little video from my personal highlight, Driving around the French Riviera in Classic Cars!

From McDonalds in Monaco to Classic Cars in Cannes…here’s what we got up to! *warning it’s selfie heavy*

Monaco

After a fun flight with a bunch of UK bloggers and journalists, we arrived at our humble abode – The Fairmont Hotel in Monaco, which, if you’re a fan of the Grand Prix, is on the hairpin.

The views were spectacular so we got out for a spot of photography and a quick bite to eat (this is the McDonalds bit – we didn’t want to peak to early later on!).

Monaco and Cannes - Bridgestone Press event

Monaco and Cannes - Bridgestone Press event

With Aby from You Baby Me Mummy and Sally from Raring to Go

And took a walk along the promenade as the sun was setting.

Monaco and Cannes - Bridgestone Press event

Monaco and Cannes - Bridgestone Press event

Monaco and Cannes - Bridgestone Press event

This is the view back towards our hotel – doesn’t it look like something from Tracy Island?!

Monaco and Cannes - Bridgestone Press event

After our stroll, we had a little time to enjoy the facilities and get ready for the evening’s entertainment.

We were escorted along the same promenade to an exclusive Nightclub and Restaurant, with stilt walkers to greet us and a champagne reception. We were then placed onto tables for a 3 course meal – I chose the King Prawn Caesar Salad and the Tuna, and Aby chose the Goats Cheese Tart and the Veal.

It was all gorgeous and accompanied by so much wine I can’t really remember pudding!

Monaco and Cannes - Bridgestone Press event

Then we went to the Monaco Casino, which is insanely ornate and, while the others had a flutter, I propped up the bar with Robin, the Managing Director for Bridgestone Europe, because neither of us can see the point of gambling!

Then when I got back to my room, I found a little present with a clue to what was in store for the following day, which you can read all about here.

Monaco and Cannes - Bridgestone Press event

Cannes

After the Bridgestone big unveiling event at the Chateau, we made our way to our next humble abode (ha!), the Martinez in Cannes.

Monaco and Cannes - Bridgestone Press event

Again, we had a little time before we needed to be ready for dinner so we took a very quick walk along the promenade – mainly because I really fancied a Martini in the Martinez to celebrate my Tyre win!

Look this view.

Monaco and Cannes - Bridgestone Press event

After a long night in some of the finest places in Cannes (a gorgeous family run restaurant and an open bar back at the hotel, need I say more), the next morning we were greeted with a looooong line of fabulous cars. I have never seen anything like it and I used to work in Transport.

My driving partner, Steve, and I could literally pick a car and then we drove in convoy up the mountain to an amazing viewing point…wait until you get a load of this!

15 Degrees, beautiful sunshine, an MG…I felt like Grace Kelly!

Monaco and Cannes - Bridgestone Press event

Monaco and Cannes - Bridgestone Press event

Monaco and Cannes - Bridgestone Press event

Monaco and Cannes - Bridgestone Press event

Monaco and Cannes - Bridgestone Press event

Monaco and Cannes - Bridgestone Press event

At this point we could swap cars so Steve and I went for this little number…

Monaco and Cannes - Bridgestone Press event

After our driving experience we did a spot of cooking, then it was off for lunch in the glorious sunshine looking out over the bay. We had a few hours to relax before our flight and then it was homeward bound.

Monaco and Cannes - Bridgestone Press event

So that was our press trip in a nutshell!

Have you ever been to Monaco or Cannes?

I’d love to hear about what you got up to in the comments below. Or come and join the conversation over on the Mums’ Days Facebook Wall!

5 comments.

Northumberland Castles Challenge

22 Dec, 2015

Well. That’s it. It’s all over! Morpeth Castle was the last of 40 Northumberland Castles that Reuben and I will visit this year.

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

I feel quite emotional about it. 40 castles?!

Before I go on a massive gush about all the castles we’ve visited, what it’s taught me, my favourite bits, my least favourite bits and my wonderful family and friends who have come on the journey with us…I want to share our final castle in a bit more detail because it was quite frankly a real bonza!

Morpeth Castle

The biggest difference between Morpeth Castle and all the other ones we’ve visited is that it is, for all intents and purposes, a holiday cottage! It has been excellently renovated and is now leased from the Council and run by the Landmark Trust.

So, on Friday afternoon, we set off at 3pm to get there at 4pm (which is the earliest  you can check in). Unfortunately this meant that we were finding a castle, hidden in a housing estate, with a postcode that sends you to the wrong place, in the dark…but once we did find it up a secret winding cobbled path, it was really exciting! This huge castle appearing like magic, looming dark and large over us.

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

This was actually at sunrise…imagine this appearing but in the dark!

After a bit more fumbling in the dark to find the key, we explored our home for the weekend.

With 3 stories, the first floor has a kitchen and living space, with a large dining room table and seating area for lots of guests. Then there is a double room and twin on the middle floor and another twin and a single room on the top floor.

Gabby decided she would share with Reuben on the middle floor in the room next to us. I didn’t blame her…it was kind of creepy arriving in the dark like that. I don’t think Morpeth Castle is meant to be haunted…but let’s say you could certainly feel the history!

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

The next morning in eerily warm temperatures, we explored the grounds in the daylight and did lots of playing hide and seek!

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

Gabby working on her photography skills!

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

Mike calling out of the window to see who wants what for breakfast. From a castle. Like you do.

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

The castle is right in the middle of Morpeth but I had never noticed it as it’s pretty much hidden in a forrest.

It’s a short walk down the hill to Carlisle Park, which has some lovely facilities for kids, the Railway Station and the town centre for shopping. So we nipped to the shops to stock up for our many guests who would be coming for a mini-celebration for the end of our Castle Challenge.

First up were Emily and Beau, and Cath with Isabella and Baby Sam. They arrived just in time for lunch, more hide and seek and a trip to the roof (which is a bit terrifying with little ones)!

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

You wouldn’t think it was December – look at those t-shirts!!

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

After all that excitement, the mums needed a rest with a cuppa. However, there was something about the castle that made all three our of toddlers go a bit bonkers, so after some running around and screaming, we decided it was time to bring out the iPad for 5 minutes rest before they had to back off home.

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

After dinner, my parents and Brother arrived with their 2 big dogs for the night. As there was no TV (much to Gabby’s surprise!) I had instructed my parents to bring games. So for the rest of the evening we played mini pool, indoor boules and the dreaded Monopoly! Gabriella now LOVES monopoly.

The next morning we did another swap over – my parents left and my older brother, who had just arrived  from Japan to spent Christmas in the UK, arrived with his family!

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

My Brother with my Newphew, Rowan – an expert photo taken by Reuben!

We spent another lovely afternoon exploring the grounds with them and cooking up a feast in the kitchen. And yet more Monopoly!

The next morning we had the most wonderful sunrise, so I got myself out to get a few more photos (the two photos at the top of this post were taken then). The sky went from the deepest pink to the brightest orange in a matter of minutes. Really spectacular.

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

Then after a few more cuddles with these two, we had to set about tidying up for our 10am kick out time!

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

Such a fabulous weekend and an amazing way to finish off a year of castle hunting with my darling boy, family and friends!

I’m planning on doing a bit of an epic round up of all our visits between now and the New Year, it may take some time but it’ll be worth it. What a year!

I’m linking up with Em and Aby for Point and Shoot.

9 comments.

Northumberland Castles Challenge

12 Oct, 2015

This week’s Castle visit is to the very tiny village of Bothal, which has the absolutely colossal Bothal Castle in the middle of it. The village is ridiculously idyllic and has a bunch of lovely places to poke around all within spitting distance.

Bothal Castle - Northumberland Castle Challenge

It is probably one of the most perfect places to visit with toddlers as the walking is minimal but the exploring potential is great. The only down side is that the castle is closed to the public for most of the year*.

I was joined by Cath and Emily again and, first thing’s first,  we hunted a spot for our picnic. Obviously. (more…)

5 comments.

27 May, 2015

Last Friday, at 7am, I set off for Tokyo! My brother lives in Tokyo and was having a Birthday party on Saturday night, so with Mike’s amazingly kind permission, I wanted to be here for it.

To add to the excitement, it is my Best Friend’s Birthday TODAY! And, she’s finally joined me in the 30s gang. To celebrate this momentous occasion, I decided not to tell Alex I was coming and to keep it as a surprise. It was, and probably always will be, the best surprise I’ve ever pulled off. Here’s a video of my journey, ending in the moment I jumped out on Alex!

Tokyo Surprise Vlog

We then had an epic all-nighter and so I’ve been suffering all week from that and the jet lag! But it’s so worth it to see my lovely brother and spend his Birthday just chilling out with him. (more…)

20 comments.

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