A Very Windy Picnic

A Very Windy Picnic

A couple of weeks ago we bought a new picnic basket and blanket (one that was big enough for all of us to sit on).  We have been waiting for the weather to brighten up ever since.  The children were so excited to enjoy a picnic together that the first sign of a sunny afternoon and we had packed up the car to go enjoy a picnic on the beach near Nana’s house in Lytham.
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The weather was very windy last week (as I’m sure most of you experienced) and at the beach with nothing to shelter you it did take the edge off the warmth.  The children didn’t mind this, as they were wrapped up and running around playing.  Nana & Grandad weren’t so sure but were brilliant coming along anyway to enjoy the children’s first picnic on the beach of the year.

We had raided the local Booths of all things chocolatey, made some yummy ham and cheese sandwiches (the children’s favourites) took some cherry tomatoes and diluted some cordial.  The beach is literally 5 minutes walk (10 with teeny legs) from my parents house as they live just off the road that runs parallel to the promenade and I’m so looking forward to this Summer with James only working down the road.  We intend to go with Daddy to work every sunny day and go hang out with Nana by the beach before Judah starts pre-school in September.

It was great down at the beach, because it was windy, there was no-one else sitting there.  A few dog walkers, runners, cyclists going past but we pretty much had the run of the place to ourselves.  We enjoyed our picnic and then the children had fun running around and playing.  Eden was in a ridiculously chatty mood.  I’ve never heard her talk so much.  She must have just felt extremely happy.  It was lovely, she had us all chuckling as her chatter didn’t stop.

I feel very grateful to have such by DeleteAd” href=”#29741380″> beauty so local and accessible, especially with us not having a second car yet.  It means that yeah, our Bucket List adventures may have come to a halt for a while (not that we can’t get around with public transport, it’s just not as easy with two toddlers), but we can spend a Summer by the sea.

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not my finest photography as I was still sat on the picnic blanket as they played

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Our Great Outdoors 2015 Bucketlist #6

Our Great Outdoors 2015 Bucketlist #6

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Last Tuesday when I had scheduled the day to sit at the computer carrying out ‘blogmin’ the hubby decided to come home from work early.  The sun was shining and the computer system at his work had gone down, so he appeared, to take us all out to enjoy the sunshine.  This was a lovely surprise, especially as today, he starts a new job and this is not something he would be able to do again for a long time.  Also, with his new job being further afield, we won’t be having the car in the week anymore (until we can afford a second car) and will need to rely on public transport to get us to our adventures.  This may not seem like a big deal but when you’re trying to battle postnatal depression, it’s just another hurdle to get over.  We will get over this hurdle, it’s just going to take more force of will from myself.

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I took so many amazing photos on this lovely afternoon that I am really going to struggle choosing which ones to put on this post.  I narrowed my favourites to 25 which is obviously far too many for on here, but I will try to fit as many into this post as possible.  We went to a local nature reserve ‘Brockholes‘ that is only a couple of junctions down the motorway for us.  When you live practically on top of a motorway junction where three different motorways meet, most places seem so easily accessible.  What’s special about Brockholes despite all the great educational things they put on, and events that they host is that these are “the moors” that my Mum grew up playing on.  She used to live just behind here and as children and teenagers this is where her and her siblings would spend their time.

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In the Visitors Centre, there is a lot of information displayed in many different ways.  This little wooden info board is ideal for a child Isis’ age to learn what they can do to help preserve wildlife and the environment.  It is such a beautiful place that it is perfect for all the family.  Even if you were just to walk around the reserve you could spend hours.  We soaked in the tranquility by the water for a while and then had a lot of fun on the adventure park, which is fantastic for all ages.  I know that our toddlers loved it and even Daddy had a great time on the zip wire.

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We met up with a friend who’s little one had only turned one a couple of weeks prior and they had a lot of fun enjoying the play park too.  He and Eden enjoyed going on the see-saw together which was very cute.  Eden was quite restricted by her lack of footwear, but we resolved that this weekend with her first pair of outdoor shoes which we’ll be writing about on our ‘Just the 2 of Us‘ post tomorrow.  I’m so glad that in future she will able to roam around exploring with her big brother.

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Judah is still very much scared of most things.  It’s funny how much it frustrates James as his Mum tells me that he was the same, almost scared of his own shadow.  Judah will go up to most things, excited by how it looks and then back away as he’s decided that it’s dangerous.  He had some fun enjoying the slide and zip wire with Daddy’s help.

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We had such a lovely afternoon, Judah as usual didn’t want to come home despite an incident falling in mud earlier.  After that he had wanted to go home, but once we cleaned his hands up with a baby wipe he decided that it was ok.  I got so many more great photos, but I will save some for our ‘Living Arrows‘ page that we update weekly.  I will leave you with a few more…
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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Our Great Outdoors 2015 Bucketlist #5

Our Great Outdoors 2015 Bucketlist #5

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It has been a bit hectic for us recently for various reasons, but this has meant that we haven’t really been keeping up with our adventures.  This week despite my still being unwell, the weather looked a bit brighter on my weather app one day so we seized the opportunity to go out to a local park.  Worden Park is literally 10 minutes drive from where we live now but this is the first time I have ever taken any of the children.  I think last time I was at this park I was pregnant with Judah, and that was after a long time, many years in fact.

Martina loved it, she explained to me that in Italy, parks like this were very rare, she would need to travel for over an hour and it wouldn’t be as beautiful.  I think it’s very easy to take for granted how green and luscious our country really is.  She’s often mesmerised on the motorway at how green everything is and all the sheep in the fields.  This is just a local park in one of my least favourite towns but it is breathtaking, and I certainly have taken it for granted.

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Martina and Judah started climbing various places on the hunt for all the squirrels they were seeing.  It’s so helpful having another able bodied person with me, especially when I have the buggy with me (you can see the top of the buggy bottom left).  He has been obsessed with ‘squiddles’ ever since.  We have spent a lot of time drawing them and everytime we go out in the car I’m asked if we’re going to look for squiddles again.  Well, I say asked but it’s more like he tells me ‘we go to the park, then have a play, then some lunch then look for squiddles’.  I like that he’s bossy, can’t imagine where he gets it from.

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This little girl adored soaking everything in.  I get annoyed when I leave her pacifier in too much, not long after this photo I removed it.  When she has it in, I sometimes almost forget there’s a baby in the buggy that I’m pushing.  It’s like she’s gone to sleep, but if I take the pacifier out then she’s humming and singing to herself.  I know that she’s happily enjoying her surroundings.  Her feet are getting to a size now where we should be able to get her some outdoors shoes.  Now that she’s walking I can’t wait for her to be able to follow Judah running around chasing the ducks.

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We had a great time on the play area, if you follow my instagram you will have seen some lovely videos of our time there.  Judah chasing the ducks and Eden enjoying the swings.  Eden was so giggly on the swings, she absolutely thrives on undivided attention.  Martina was playing with Judah in the sand pit and Eden loved her Mummy just pushing her, only having eyes for her (apart from the cursory glances across to where Martina and Judah were).

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Judah really enjoyed the dual control digger, he couldn’t quite master it so he was frustrated with it often, but also determined to work it out.  To be fair, he didn’t quite have the strength to lift once it was stuck in the sand.  We kept helping him, I know that it won’t be long though until he’s a pro, he’s very quick at figuring things out.

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I love having this time with them.  We had been stuck in the house for the best part of 10 days I’m sure and when it was time to go home Judah just didn’t want to.  The sun was going down and the wind was picking up a chill, I remembered that as usual neither of them had gloves on and we didn’t have too much longer left on the car parking.  So nice when they’ve had such a lovely time they don’t want to go home, even if I try bribing with promises of chocolate munching whilst watching Fireman Sam.  It just shows that with children you can’t beat being outdoors.  He loves watching Fireman Sam, I really work at not having the TV on often (we’ve come to an agreement with our schedule that they watch it for an hour before Daddy gets home so I can potter tidying the toys and preparing dinner) but if we allowed him he would watch it all day every day.  When push comes to shove though if it was Fireman Sam or going for a walk, being outside would win everytime.
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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Our Great Outdoors 2015 Bucketlist #4

Our Great Outdoors 2015 Bucketlist #4

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If you’re a usual reader of our blog then you’ll know that this is my personal challenge to help me on my journey with postnatal depression.  I try and take the children at least one place ‘outdoors’ each week.  Friday was one of those days where you just feel rubbish for no particular reason.  I’d had plans to do something with family for my impending birthday, but last minute they’d changed them on me.  Not the end of the world I know, but when you’re struggling with depression and it takes all your strength to build up to following through on your plans and they’re changed last minute it can be difficult to pull yourself out of the funk.  I nearly didn’t even take the girls to school, horrendous I know, but I just crashed into feeling so low.  Thank goodness I pulled myself out of that.  Once they were at school, the babies and I hid out at home having a play day.

It was so lovely outside, I knew that I would need to go out somewhere, I had promised Judah we would go to the beach.  So, I started to build myself up to face going to the beach after the school run.  All of this probably seems very dramatic but I also had a horrendous headache, and couldn’t face going to the corner shop for painkillers that we’d ran out of.  Very silly.  Just drank lots of water and tried to enjoy as much peace as I could get with two toddlers climbing all over me *chuckles*.

I still have physical struggles since having Eden and I know my weight doesn’t help, I started to pack the car up with all we would need (change of clothes for the girls, baby bags etc… also made sure I had my camera, the light was lovely) and my back was causing me tremendous pain.  I thought, how can I take them to the beach when I can barely walk.  When my back plays up it’s difficult bending to strap them into their car seats.

However, we were all packed up and I set off on the school run.  I told the girls as soon as they came out of class, that we were going to the beach and they were very excited.  So that was it, decision made, and off we went.  We went to the beach round the corner from my parents house so that if my Mum wanted she could join us a bit later.

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I love seeing how happy the children are just being outdoors, wherever it may be. They just love the freedom to run around in the sun and fresh air. It is so good for them. I was really pleased that we’d waited for the girls and they were able to join in the fun. This wasn’t really an option a few weeks ago. It would be practically pitch black by the time they had finished school, but the days are getting longer, and we’re having daylight longer. So lovely, to be able to steal some time after school has finished.

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I used to live near my parents, I often forget how lovely it was to be able to just go out to the beach everyday, which I did do all year round as I had two little dogs when I lived there.  You take simple things like this for granted when they’re always there, but I definitely miss being able to just be on the beach within 5 minutes of walking.  Judah was so excited, he’d been telling me the whole way in the car ‘you’re going the right way Mummy to the beach, good driving.’  This would be repeated multiple times throughout the drive there, and an occasional, ‘we’re going to make sandcastles’ in the poshest little Southern accent that I have no idea where he gets it from sometimes.  Of course his Dad is Southern but even James after being up here all these years doesn’t say ‘sandcastles’ the way Judah does.  (Probably from Peppa Pig, who seems to have raised my son despite my trying to avoid too much technology time *oops*).

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Isis and Shayla-Rae started collecting shells.  Isis was especially excited by a little clam shell.  She was explaining to me what little creature may have lived inside.  It was like a mini version of the shell Ariel was supposed to sing from at the start of ‘The Little Mermaid’.  We took some beautiful photos of them all together that you’ll be able to see on this months ‘Siblings‘ shoot … there’s also a taster over on my Instagram feed.

Nana came to find us and we started to walk over to look at the ducks on the beautiful lake before we needed to head back.  My Mum invited us to hers for ham and cheese toasties and the children were very excited about this.  Little did I know she’d also bought some goodies and a little birthday cake for me.  Here are some photos of the children with Nana.  I love following behind snapping photos of them all together.

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My Mum literally lived around the corner so she walked back with the buggy to save my back putting it back in the car at that point (I was glad for the delay), the girls wanted to walk with her, and Judah and I walked back to the car.  His little legs were getting tired by now.  He is such a funny character.  He spent most of our time at the beach telling us to be careful of the water as it can be dangerous.  He’s currently into Fireman Sam and is therefore extremely safety conscious.   He told me that he could see a fire in the distance whilst we were walking back.  I handed him my phone and told him, ‘you know what to do.’  He rang Fireman Sam and told him to come and put out the fire on the beach.

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Do you see how his back leg is turned in when he’s walking?  This is exactly how his Dad walks.  Aren’t genetics funny?  He loved how because of where the sun was in the sky, our shadows were giant and long.  He is currently a big fan of shadows.  Excitedly telling me repeatedly that it was Mummy and Judah, really big shadows on the floor.

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I love hanging out with my little man.  He makes me laugh constantly.  I love our random conversations he is so much like his Dad.  It’s funny how James doesn’t have the patience for his constant repetitiveness.  My mother-in-law informs me how James would have her climbing the walls with his tiresome ways.  I think what James fails to realise is I have had plenty of practice from him.  I always thought I was a chatty person, until I met my husband.  I have definitely learned to be quiet a lot more since meeting him.  I treasure silence most dearly these days *heehee*.

All in all we’d had a lovely time and I was so glad that I had pulled myself out of the misery and faced the day…. even if it did take me til about 2 o’clock to do it.
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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Our Great Outdoors 2015 Bucketlist #3

Our Great Outdoors 2015 Bucketlist #3

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Today I hadn’t planned a specific place to visit as I had no idea what the weather was doing this week.  It was raining, snowing, hailing, a blizzard.  Just didn’t know what we would find on this winters day.  My Mum had plans to see a friend near to one of the places on my Bucketlist, Yarrow Valley Country Park.  I decided that although we may only get about an hour outside, we could kill two birds with one stone, and as this is quite local to my brother, it’s somewhere we’ll probably come again and again as the year goes on.  It was so lovely to find that the snow hadn’t melted here yet when we arrived.  It was a lovely wintery wonderland.  Judah just decided it was a Gruffalo Trail again.  Poor child, didn’t get out and about too much last year, so anytime we go to a park now, he decides that it must be a Gruffalo Trail.

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I loved seeing his happy face enjoying the snow.  I’m not sure Eden knew what to make of it all.  She wasn’t feeling her best (she had been unwell yesterday with sickness), so she wasn’t her usual smiley self.  She’s walking quite a bit now, but would not have the first clue how to get her some shoes for outdoors as she’s still as size 0.  Any tips, please comment below.  It was wonderful having Nana with us.  Even though it wasn’t for long, they were so excited to see the snow, it was lovely to share the memories with my Mum.

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I just couldn’t get one of her smiling

We found a little path with fresh snow that no-one else had trodden on.  Judah loved making footprints in the powdery snow.  I was lingering behind to take pictures, but would’ve loved to run through it.  Guess that’s a simple illustration of motherhood, watching your little ones enjoy the things you know you would love.  We’ve been nappy free out and about the last few days.  I had to keep my eye on where the nearest toilets were at all times.  I have been so impressed with how we’ve finally cracked the potty training malarkey.  Judah is great at dealing with it himself.  I panic when we’re travelling in the car or out and about, and I know when we’re out in the cold as humans it gets our lymphatic system going, but we’ve only had successes so far this week.  So I know it’s a strange thing to say as all children get there eventually in their own time, but I’m really proud of him.

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There were some beautiful swans in the lake and Judah was unimpressed that I hadn’t brought any bread.  Probably just as well though as it would’ve been very precarious to get close to the water in the slippy, slushy snow.  I had such a lovely time and am so pleased that we are doing this weekly.  Even if we only get to steal an hour, I am just enjoying the fresh air and I know that it is helping me battle the PND.  Seeing the children’s enjoyment, knowing that it’s so good for them, helps me to get out there and I know it’s helping me too.

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I love joining in with the Country Kids linky and find it a great reminder to take our little ones outdoors whatever the weather.  Click on the badge below to find out what wintery fun others have been up to this week.

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Our Great Outdoors 2015 Bucketlist #2

Our Great Outdoors 2015 Bucketlist #2

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So, after last time our faux attempt at finding the ‘Deep Dark Wood’ which according to Judah was any cluster of trees, and knowing that they would be finishing in February we decided to go on a real Gruffalo’s Trail.  The Forestry Commission are celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Gruffalo so until February 28th you can go and do a Gruffalo Activity Trail at various points all over the UK.  Click here to find out more and where your nearest one is.  I did my research and saw that Grizedale was near to where we live, and it’s a Forest I’ve been to before and really loved.  However, this morning, I looked on a map to see the distance, and checked the weather…. hmm… it would take us 1 hour 30 mins to get to Grizedale Forest and it was forecast rain.  If I thought there was a chance of snow in the lovely Lake District, we would’ve definitely been Northward bound.  Instead, I discovered Delamere Forest that I’ve never been to, was South of us and only an hour each way.  It wasn’t to forecast near Delamere until about 1pm.  So, with that in mind we changed our plans and headed South.

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As soon as I’d finished the school run I collected my sister from the train station and off we went on our little adventure.  I couldn’t find Judah’s gloves, as usual, (I need to attach them to some string so they can live inside his coat), so he borrowed Auntie Jenny’s.  He looked so cute with the giant hands.  He was very excited to begin the trail.  I don’t know how children learn information that you haven’t taught them but he told me at the starting sign, that it was the map and it told us where to go.  We had purchased our Activity Pack for just £2 at the shop but it was a bit above Judah’s level so it waited on the pram until we got to the cafe at the end.

It was so beautiful pottering around, I really felt as though we were part of the story, some of the scenery looked as though it could’ve been taken straight out of the pages of the book.

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So beautiful…

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It was great having Auntie Jenny with us, my hips were playing up again, and sometimes I would need to walk ahead as I was fighting with mud uphill and the wheels of our Bugaboo Cameleon.  I would just try and get up the hills whilst I could, so I would manage to capture quite a lot of pictures of Judah and Auntie Jenny catching me up (usually when we were walking uphill anyway).

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There were multiple points throughout the trail with posts that informed us what we should be doing, this mainly went with the activity pack.  Judah liked interpreting his own versions though.  Here he was just telling me about the mouse making scary shadows from the moon.  It took us just under an hour and a half to walk around as we pottered around slowly.  It was only a mile and a half trail.  Judah likes to take his time, and we were soaking in all that we saw.  There was a little robin that was following us at one point.  I wished my camera could zoom in further as I could only sneak so close to it before it would fly away.

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Can you see our friend?

When we actually found our friend the Gruffalo, Judah was not very impressed.  I wouldn’t say terrified as there were no tears, or screaming, shaking or even hiding.  He just kind of stood there, not sure whether it was going to break out of it’s statuesque pose at any moment.  He didn’t really want to stand next to it for a photo, he needed to keep his eye on it.  I stood him the other side of Eden’s buggy and then he was a little bit easier to photograph.  Once we walked on ahead though, he told me, ‘Fireman Sam gonna get that Gruffalo.’  This is what we say now about purple minions so that he doesn’t have bad dreams.  He was definitely intimidated by the Gruffalo statue, but he knew that Fireman Sam would protect him.  I also reminded him the mouse was going to make Gruffalo crumble, so not to worry too much.

Gruffalos Child Trail, Delamere Forest, country kids, Our Great 2015 Outdoors Bucketlist, dontcallmestepmummy, blended family, mummy blog

Gruffalos Child Trail, Delamere Forest, country kids, Our Great 2015 Outdoors Bucketlist, dontcallmestepmummy, blended family, mummy blog

He started to get tired when we near to the end.  He kept asking to be picked up, I was struggling with my hips so I informed him we were nearly there and there wasn’t long left to walk.  Auntie Jenny took pity and decided to carry him.  It was really funny as he then pretended to be asleep so she wouldn’t put him back down to walk again.  She almost fell for it too until I pointed out he was squeezing his eyes shut.  Clever little monkey.

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We finished our adventure with a warm drink in the cafe.  They had the hot chocolate that my sister can have (she’s gluten intolerant) and also gluten free, chocolate covered flapjack.  We treated Auntie Jenny for looking after Judah so well.  Great for the coeliacs out there to know that they will be catered for.

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It was so refreshing to have had such a long time out in the crisp fresh air.  It was not too cold at all.  It started to rain as we were sat in the cafe, we could not have timed it better.  Yay for weather apps and prestine planning.  We drove back to the city and dropped Auntie Jenny back at the train station with about 30 minutes to spare before going to collect the girls from school.  A really enjoyable day.  When I had awoke that morning I had not been in the mood to go for our adventure, but I’m so glad that we did.

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Our Great Outdoors 2015 Bucketlist #1

Our Great Outdoors 2015 Bucketlist #1

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So you may have seen if you’ve been reading the blog recently that I have set myself the challenge of going at least one place ‘outdoors’ each week.  Last year I was struggling really badly with my hips after Eden’s pregnancy and as they are finally starting to not feel like they will dislocate from under me everytime I walk, I have no excuse to not take the children on some more active days out.  Of course I take them to soft play and they run around like crazy whilst I sit and have a hot chocolate, but that is not going to be my go to move this year.  This year, our challenge to get back into being more ‘outdoorsy’ postnatal depression in the most natural way I know how.  Embrace my fears and set myself small goals.

This week was a very small goal, we went to a place near my parents house, that is literally down the road but I have never been to before.  I had put it onto my ‘Bucketlist’ which I will post sometime soon, and as the weather was forecast to be atrocious after about 11am it needed to be somewhere local for us to have any time outside.

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I had dropped the girls off at school then headed straight to my parents to collect my Mum and then we headed to Lowther Gardens in Lytham.  We were there by 9:30 and nobody else was.  It was great, we had the playpark to ourselves and Judah had been telling me all the way there how he wanted to go and find a ‘deep dark wood’ and search for the Gruffalo.  Of course he 100% believed that a cluster of any amount of trees was the ‘deep dark wood’.  Conversations went something like this… ‘there’s a deep dark wood, and there’s a deep dark wood, and another deep dark wood’.  He was very excited and was reciting to my Mum about how a fox saw a mouse and the mouse looked good.

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Eden was wrapped up thoroughly in her buggy, you could barely see her face above the cosy toes, it was just too windy to get her out of the buggy.  She enjoyed the fresh air anyway and I know that next time I will be more prepared with her snowsuit to hand so she could’ve at least had a play on the swings.  Poor baby.  She wasn’t unhappy though and enjoyed herself a little biscuit at the cafe afterwards.  I would post a picture but it’s literally her nose and eyes peeping out from a sea of pink.  Oh why not?  Don’t judge my poor photography skills.

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Judah loved traipsing around and just getting some fresh air into his lungs.  This is not something I would normally do in this wintry windy weather, it was fine to be out and about for an hour.  Any longer and he would’ve been taking us back to Christmas with his Rudolf shiny nose.  I really enjoyed being out with him.  He had a play on their lottery funded park and I got to try and catch him in the tunnels with my camera.

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We also hid from the wind at one point as Nana was getting a bit too cold.  After that we nipped into the cafe for a warm drink.  I am currently on fruit tea so I had a lovely lemon and ginger tea.  Whilst my Mum treated Judah to a fruit shoot and them both to some yummy freshly baked shortbread.  The cafe staff were very helpful.

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hiding from the wind

He made my Mum laugh when I wanted him to go back to the fountain so I could take a picture of him with it in the background.  Bless him, he is so used to me having my camera, he just went back, stood there and said ‘cheese’.  Such a poser, yet so cute and definitely helpful.  I read about so many whose children don’t like the big camera and ask their Mummy’s to stop taking photos.  Mine are all ready and raring to pose all the time, I wonder if they’ll ever get bored of it, or if they’re just as much in love with the camera and making memories as I am.

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my little poser

So, I guess this week we weren’t exactly hiking up mountains, but we certainly defeated a mini one in my brain.  I was so pleased that we achieved what we’d set out to do today.  Judah thought he’d visited the scene of the Gruffalo, Eden had enjoyed some fresh air and I had manged to capture some beautiful pictures of my handsome little man that I’m saving for my ‘Living Arrows‘ page next week.  Until then I’ll leave you with a few more snaps of my monkey prince being cheeky in the ‘deep dark woods’ and having fun playing with Nana.  I’m really pleased with what we achieved today, like I’ve said in previous posts ‘baby steps’ and I set a goal and stuck to it.  Looking forward to crossing another thing or two off the bucketlist next week.

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