We are lucky enough to live in a rather picturesque part of the country.  Granted, we don’t always get the nicer, warmer weather of the south of England but we are within a short driving distance of beaches, woodlands, countryside and plenty more.  It’s funny though, despite the fact we live so close to such beautiful places we don’t always take advantage of them.  In fact, for the past few years we’ve almost managed to miss bluebell season only remembering at the very last minute to head out and experience them!

So this year I was determined not to make same mistake and when we had some free time on a mild Saturday morning, we headed to the nearby Fairy Glen in Parbold and had a wander to see what we could find.  I’ve mentioned the Fairy Glen before on here, it’s a lovely little place and one I would definitely recommend exploring if you are local to the area or visiting.  Our trip was one of those days where everything just works together and works together well.  I was on my own with the kids which is usually a cue for one of them deciding to play up but they were both more than happy to don their wellies and come on an adventure.  Even the dog managed to stay out of mischief and we achieved the most blissful walk.

crossing bridge wild child

Eli at waterfall

creek fairy glen

It was made even better, if that could be possible, by the discovery of a fairy door nestled away in one of the trees.  Meg was over the moon and insisted that we find and leave some flowers for the fairy in case they needed to find their way back.  Naturally we tried to find flowers which had already been plucked from the ground, rather than destroying any perfectly pretty flowers ourselves.

Once we had reached the bluebells we had a quick look around and then decided to slowly amble back towards the car; I think you can cross over a style and head further into the glen and we certainly saw a number of people armed with picnic baskets heading that way but we’ve never headed that way, I definitely think that’s something we should do next time as I’m curious where it all leads.

fairy door fairy glen

bluebells fairy glen parbold

The kids waded back through the water and it was definitely the right time to go as it had started to get a little busier.  I think people had initially been caught out by the warm weather but we really got to make the most of having the glen to ourselves.  Meg nearly went over once or twice in the creek, and had to empty a whole torrent of water out of one of her wellies when we got back to the car but overall I think we achieved a wonderful and magical walk down among the bluebells.

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You might be forgiven for thinking I had dropped off the edge of the planet…this little blog of mine which I swore I would be more consistent with at the start of the year has fallen victim to the many other pulls on my time just lately.  It’s so tricky to keep up with all the different social media platforms and Youtube in particular has quickly eaten into a lot of the time I would have spent writing.

That said, there is still something I love about the written word, and about sharing photos that I have captured and I do plan to be a little bit better at getting on here and sharing those everyday moments as well as the progress we are making with the house, the many thoughts spiralling in my brain and so on, and so on.  Famous last words indeed.

chilling on screens

We cruised through April, hibernating and chilling out when the weather was bad (which was most of the time) and bravely heading out into the fresh air when it wasn’t as bad.  I honestly feel as though the month went by in the blink of an eye and I couldn’t really tell you what we did.  Apart from James’ birthday.  Which I only kind of remember.  Whoops.

Then May was a busy month for our little team with both Meg and Eli celebrating birthdays, and mine as well.  We are now responsible (*ahem*) for a 7 and a 9 year old and honestly…considering that half the time I still feel about 18 years old, it’s a little scary to think that we are racing towards those double figures.  We had a joint party for them this year at our local laser quest and it was really good; I’m not sure how long the novelty of joint parties will last but combining it certainly made it less stressful for us, and they seemed to have a great day.  That said, I don’t think we will do laser quest again…as usual I got far too competitive and I think I terrified some of Eli’s friends with my intensity.  Not a great mama moment.

birthday cake smarties

For me, I saw in my 31st birthday in style this year; by getting my wisdom teeth removed.  As I write this I am still not 100% recovered but I am gradually getting there.  I did film some footage of my experience but I am still pondering over whether it is something which needs to see the light of day.  Let’s just say that chunky cheeks were not a good look for me!  I had three teeth removed in total; the two bottom ones and one top.  The bottom ones were impacted so really needed to come out, but it also meant having a general anaesthetic and needing stitches.  I don’t remember much about the day the teeth came out themselves, other than when I was coming round afterwards.  Apparently I was obsessed with the fact that the guy going in for surgery after me was having 6 teeth removed because they were rotten but my own first memory of coming round is of thinking I had accidentally fallen asleep whilst I was waiting for them to take me down to surgery.  I actually remember berating myself that I needed to wake up or they wouldn’t do the operation!  Madness.

Finally, I think the only thing left to share are some photos of our time enjoying the blue skies and sunshine over the past few weeks.  Since the start of May we’ve had some amazing weather, which isn’t something you can often say about the UK.  It does seem to be coming to an end but we’ve really tried to make the most of the sun whilst it’s been here and I think the kids sun-kissed freckled faces are testament to that.  I’m really hoping it isn’t the end of all the nice weather though…this past week I’ve missed out on sitting outside with a good book and a glass of wine, which you’ll know if you’ve been around here a while, is one of my all-time favourite ways to wind up my day.  Fingers crossed, eh!

Escaping in Fairy Glen

blue eyes

Walking through water in fairy glen

Muddy hands

ice cream faces

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It’s not often that I get to start a post on here talking about a stretch of glorious weather; it just isn’t something which happens on a regular enough basis in the UK, especially not when you live in the rainy North-West of England either but oh, my! The weather just recently has been so beautiful.  I can’t think of the last time we had such a long stretch of sunny days all in a row and although there is now rain on the horizon, I hope we have managed to make the most of the sunshine whilst it has been around.

We kick-started this sunny spell around the May bank holiday; which may just have been the hottest May bank holiday for years (don’t quote me on that!) and to make the most of it we spent the Monday of that long, wonderful weekend at the beach.

If you’ve been around here for a while then you’ll know that one of the reasons I fell in love with where we live was our sudden proximity to the beach.  We moved quite abruptly almost 5 years ago (eek!) and where we lived before we were as landlocked as it is possible to be in the UK, so suddenly having golden stretches of sandy beaches on our doorstep was a real novelty, and one which has yet to wear off.  That said, I think when you live anywhere long enough, you don’t always take advantage of what you have right in front of you and we didn’t visit the beach nearly enough last year.  We really wanted to change that and the past bank holiday seemed like the perfect excuse to do so.

It turns out that James was pretty serious about making the most of the day and had plans for us to leave the house just after 8.30am.  At the time I thought he had quite possibly lost the plot but given the amount of cars already parked up when we arrived just before 9am, I’d say he was on to something.

formby beach

books to read at beach

looking over beach

We walked about 15 minutes away from the main car park and were treated to a wide expanse of empty beach, perfect for setting ourselves up for the day.  Often when we head down to the beach we just throw a few bits and pieces in the car and hope for the best but this time we had come fully prepared for a long day.  It took James a couple of trips back and forth to the car but once we were set up, we were good to go.  The fact that the beach was so empty meant that I was happy for the kids to run down to the water and explore as well as climb the dunes because I could hear, and see them quite easily.  Once it got a bit busier (and boy did it get busier!) we didn’t really have that luxury.

There is something so wonderful about the simple pleasure of being a kid at the beach and I love how enthusiastic both Meg and Eli are about spending the day paddling in icy cold waters, building sandcastles, being buried in the sand and even eating lunch with a good old dash of sand thrown in because let’s be honest, no matter what you do, sand gets everywhere!

I will never get over how fearless both Meg and Eli are when it comes to the sea either.  James did go for a little dip but he said it was absolutely freezing and he had no idea how on earth the kids played in it for so long.  Kids just don’t seem to feel the effect of the cold the same way that adults do.  I loved standing on the shoreline (with just the tips of my toes cooling off…) listening to them squealing and shrieking with delight as they chased down waves and tried to spot jellyfish.  Bliss.

building sandcastles

wave jumping

jumping the waves

running from waves

watermelon beach towel

We managed to stay and entertain ourselves for around 6 hours before we noticed the crowds beginning to creep ever closer; we decided to make a move when we found ourselves surrounded on either side and it didn’t feel so much like our own private slice of beach any more.  It was surprising heading back how much busier it was, people were literally piled on top of one another and to walk back to the car you had to step across people sunbathing…British people are crazy when the sun comes out!  Had they just walked 10 or 15 minutes further along they could have had a nice section all to themselves.  Madness!

We rounded off our wonderful day at the beach with a wander up to the main car park which housed an ice cream van.  We’d promised the kids ice creams so we dutifully stood in the queue for 20 minutes before walking back down to the car and heading home.

sandy toes

As you might expect, we were all pretty worn out from the day but it was that delicious sort of tiredness where it feels like a day well spent, do you know the kind I mean?  We may have had to sing silly songs and talk really loudly to keep Eli awake on the way back in the car but it was worth it for the memories we made.

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It certainly feels as though the spring has been a long time in coming this year.  I have heard countless people remark that the winter seems to have dragged and dragged, so when we awoke recently to blue skies and sunshine we were determined to make the most of it.

Since we moved we haven’t really had the chance to explore our local area so a warm day was the perfect opportunity to do just that.

I know I have said it countless times and I’m sure I will say it more in the future but there is something so revitalising about enjoying the sunshine.  Whether it’s the simple pleasure of listening to the giggles and squeals of the kids playing in the garden or donning the wellies and heading out on an adventure, any chance to soak up the sun’s blissful rays can be a joy.

And then that feeling, come the end of the day when faces are a little sticky, skin is sun-warmed (or in my case…sunburnt) and you have this exhaustion from being outdoors all day but it’s a satisfying sensation rather than a worn out one, do you know what I mean?

Of course, typically, the rain wasn’t far away but I’m glad that we decided to make the most out of the warm day when it appeared.  At this time of year those days are few and far between in the UK!

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I think the fact that it has been almost a month since I wrote a post here is testament to just how busy our lives are at the moment.  I have found the jump up from three days at work to four rather more challenging than I thought it would be; just having one day to get things done without the kids under my feet is so tricky!  I’m hoping that I will crack it this month though, fingers crossed for that one.

That said, we’ve had a lot on this month too.  Both work related and just for fun.

boy in snowflakes

We kicked off the month with an unexpected snow day, although even as I type that I’m thinking about the rest of the weather we had in March and realising that nothing is really unexpected anymore.  I think I’ve mentioned before that we just don’t do snow in this part of the North West, it’s generally too wet and so waking up to find fat flakes floating down and sticking, actually sticking, was something of a shock.  The kids ended up at home because school thought it wasn’t safe for parents to try and bring them in so we got to spend the morning having snow ball fights and making snow creatures which was lots of fun.

violet beauregard newt scamander

blueberry cheeks close up

It was also World Book Day at the beginning of March and this year we proudly sent off two children dressed as characters from books.  Meg chose to be Violet Beauregarde from Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, post-blueberry transformation, and we managed a compromise with Eli that he would go dressed as Newt Scamander.  Originally he had wanted to dress as a stormtrooper but with me being such a bookish soul, I tried my best to encourage him to choose someone who began their life as a literary character, rather than someone from a movie.  Newt was a good compromise and with the addition of a case and a niffler he actually went to school as a very happy chap.  He might actually be coming to terms with the realisation that being a Hufflepuff isn’t so bad either.  Whoop.

rhino knowsley safari park

lion knowsley safari park

buffalo safari park

pirate swing knowsley safari park

We celebrated Mother’s Day here in the UK at the start of the month.  James was, unfortunately, working on actual Mother’s Day so we headed to our local safari park the day before.  The weather wasn’t great (big surprise) but we did manage to have the experience of a lioness walking right past our car.  You can see that in the vlog here – it certainly gave us a real appreciation for how big those cats really are.  It’s the sort of thing that you know but until you get up close it isn’t something you can appreciate.  That is definitely not the case now.

easter egg hunt

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt Rufford Old Hall

rufford old hall door

easter egg cake

Finally, we rounded off the month with the long Easter weekend.  It was a washout in terms of weather but we managed to fit in an Easter Egg hunt, a visit from my parents and my sister and even some good old fashioned fun at the seaside arcades.

Now as we head into April I am really hoping for some nice weather so we can enjoy the outdoors without having to wear gloves and hats.  It feels like we have had the longest bout of winter and I’m sure most of us are ready for some vitamin D from those sunny rays right about now!

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