Sometimes it is the spontaneous, and very ordinary outings we have, that become the ones that hold the moments we most treasure. And this was certainly true of our little adventure on Saturday.

We had various plans and things to do on Saturday, and yet at 1pm we found ourselves doing none of them, and instead heading up to Sewerby Park (over in Bridlington) for a nice walk and some family time. We decided with the weather being nice, that they could see the animals there, play on the park, and generally just enjoy a little wander together.


Up on the cliff tops and overlooking the bay, it is a place we have visited numerous times and love….An ordinary part of my childhood and now an ordinary part of theirs. A place full of lovely memories and ordinary moments, nature and beauty, and something for us all. Of course when they realised where we were they burst with excitement to be there!

 Alice however is a bit of newbie to Sewerby Park, and whilst she probably came with us as little baby on previous visits, she certainly wouldn’t have remembered or gotten much out of it. I found that this time it meant we had an opportunity to see it all with new eyes and see it from her perspective. The kids enjoyed pointing things out and coaxing her to see things they thought she would love! It started when I decided to let her out of the buggy to explore with her siblings, we were in no rush and I wanted to let her wander to see what she did – She wandered around, not after them, but on her own, and loved her new found freedom. It was so lovely to watch her, and then to watch them all together; Ethan and Megan trying so hard to coax her in to following them! It provided several moments I wanted to bottle up and treasure forever.

She wandered to the animals and shouted as if we’d never seen them before, and wandered with eyes wide, in awe at the sounds, the sky and the world around her. She wandered from pen to pen on a mission, with her little finger pointing as she went, and then so expressive as she peered in at the animals behind each fence…. “oooing” and “Ahhhhhing”!

She wandered her own way and at her own pace and I had no choice but to follow and allows her her independence.

 There is always something lovely about going to familiar places filled with wonderful memories, and these are made more when you can see and appreciate them with fresh eyes. It’s crazy to think how quickly time is going and how fast Alice is growing and changing. I feel we are now in this wandering stage… exploring all we can and taking in the sights and sounds of the world. It takes a little longer, but I love these moments when we can slow down and remember how great the ordinary stages and moments are. This little wanderer certainly brings so much to our lives and our family with each step she takes in a new direction, and with each new thing she points out to us.

The Ordinary Moments
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I’ve had this post in my drafts for quite a while (since the Summer to be exact). And whilst we have entered a new season, I still very much wanted to preserve and share this moment from the Summer, and just generally remember how joyful it was for little Megsie.

Megan has loved adored animals for as long as I can remember and since understanding about careers and jobs, she has told people she wants to be a Vet (or a farmers wife with 100 babies)! When Ethan went off to preschool she would ask weekly to go to the farm, and even now her ideas for birthday treats and family outings involve zoos, Sea life or animal parks. Her life very much revolves around animals, and so of course they featured several times on our Summer bucket list,.  . And it was on the last day of the summer holidays we chose to go to the Animal Park and Bird of Prey centre at Park Rose Village, Bridlington and finally accomplished the farm goal!

Here we anticipated we’d enjoy a lovely day out together, seeing the usual farm animals, along with the added bonus of birds of prey and reptiles. What we didn’t anticipate though (and what was the real highlight), was that we would have an opportunity to get up close to the Wallaby’s and have a go at feeding them! Park Rose let visitors get hands on with feeding times and animal handling through out the day and it was such an exciting and fun thing to do with the kids.

  

We arrived about 10ish and so were right on time for feeding the wallaby’s at 11 after looking round the park! It was something Megan was absolutely keen to do and over the moon about. It was fun for us all but an especially beautiful moment to see our little animal lover sat on a log making friends with some wallaby’s! She was so patient and still… so engrossed and at ease. She didn’t squeal or flinch like some of the kids did, and she didn’t tire and just lob it at them across the pen (again like some other kids did!). Instead she looked at them longingly, and waited and waited patiently and quietly taking it all very seriously. It was then that she was able to put them at ease too and make friends with the wallaby’s (as she told us afterwards) and enjoy some extra ordinary moments feeding them.

Located just outside of Bridlington it is only 20minutes for us now, and was a very reasonable family day out at only £20 for us all to get in. It isn’t vast but it is very unique, has some great things to do, and you can come and go all day with the same ticket if you wish. They also have a Groupon on at the moment for Kids to have a hands on experience with the Birds or Meerkats … if you don’t want to pay extra then just go along as a regular visit like we did (maybe this half term?) and in the mornings you can feed the Wallaby’s, handle reptiles and watch the nutty Emu’s dance around their pen!

 Seasonal Bucket lists are a great way to involve the whole families interests in outings and activities. They are a way for kids to try new things as well as doing the things they love too. I find them an excellent way to show appreciation for that season, give us some focus, and create habits of seasonal appropriate activities for the whole family. For Autumn we hope to (and have already done) …

2017 Autumn Bucket List

Bake Ginger bread
Make an Apple Pie 

Go on a Spooky Walk 
Go to a Halloween Party (or 2)
Watch a spooky movie together
Go to a fair
Go to a Bonfire & Watch some fireworks
Write our names with Sparklers 
Make something using things from Nature 
Build a fire and snuggle round it 
Go out for Hot chocolate
See a windmill

Climb a mountain 
Go on a Bike Ride
Collect Conkers

Go to a Pumpkin Farm 
Carve Pumpkins
Go on a muddy nature walk
Eat warm Soup

What traditions do you enjoy in the Autumn?

*This is not a sponsored post! 
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Nathan and I have just celebrated 8 years of marriage together and even though he is saying that this milestone makes him feel old, at the same time 8 years has gone by incredibly quickly and has been a great adventure. It was great to once again have a child free night away and some time to reflect on our past and future together.

I adored Nathan long before we became a couple, and continue to feel incredibly grateful for him in my life and by my side. I feel so happy that that affection was (eventually) returned, and his love, loyalty and friendship are a wonderful thing and something I treasure greatly. I love that we fell in love so long ago and now are here  – making each other happy, and strengthening and loving each other through daily life, whilst having fun in the process!

I love that we have our own little happy family and inside jokes…our flow and lots of adventures. I love that he loves me more than I could imagine, and makes me feel so special and of great worth! I love that we are still so happily married and in love! I know that marriage and family life aren’t plain sailing, and they obviously have their ups and downs, but I can honestly say that we are happily married, and deeply in love! That may sound a little cheesy but its true, and just as we hoped (and yet is so very different and more special than we imagined) when we made that commitment 8 years ago.

8 Years Married – How we celebrated

We always have at least one night kid free night away for our wedding anniversary, and combine that with an activity around the traditional theme of anniversaries.

Our night away this year led us only a short distance up the Yorkshire coast to Scarborough! We realised that this was the first time in 8 years of marriage that we have had a child free break at the seaside! Up until now it’s always been city breaks to see historic places (except the countryside adventure of last year), and filled with a lot of culture and business of sightseeing. This break was far more laid back and included a George Michael Tribute!

The Hotel was found on Groupon and for the first time was a deal I kinda regretted! It was a lovely location and Scarborough was rather nice, but the hotel felt tired and a little bit of a let down! I ended up complaining about our room shortly after arrival, and thankfully was able to be swapped to something nicer and more comfortable. The food was mediocre and everything just needed a revamp! But on the plus side the company was excellent and sea views splendid so it was all great too. We loved the fun of a tribute artist and relaxing together, and all in all it was such a laugh.

It was a place we wouldn’t naturally choose, but where curiosity got the better of us. There are probably far nicer places on the coast to stay in but to look back on this little baraginous anniversary trip, it has filled us with funny stories and lots of tat to laugh about together!

8 years of marriage is traditionally celebrated with a gift of pottery or Bronze! So in keeping with our tradition of finding an activity around this we ended up dabbling in a bit of pottery painting at a small place in Scarborough on Saturday morning! We had discussed everything from spray tans (“bronze”) to jetting off to a hot island to catch some rays (no money for that one) … and even clay pigeon shooting!

When we talked about a pottery activity I envisioned a bit of a ghost scene, but Nathan did not, and instead we sat deep in concentration painting things already made. It was for the best as neither of us are that creative, but like all things we do for our anniversary, its an opportunity to break out of our norm! He did a bowl with an “8” and me a tacky flamingo on a jug. We stamped them with the year underneath.

We have talked a lot recently about how life until “us” is almost irrelevant these days because it has little significance to what is now. They are lessons learnt, experiences had and memories made of course, but together in 8 years we have grown together, over come together and we have loved and lost together. We made a family from 2 to 6 and have had some wonderful trips and some awful emotional days at home! But each day from regular life to the great and extra ordinary moments have built us into people different from who we were 8 years ago, and instead have made us into people we perhaps (I’m almost certain) we couldn’t be without the other.

We have helped each other achieve, succeed and overcome failures. We are building our dreams and because of all of these things (and many more I probably can’t even remember), my love for him and his for me is great. It is strong and real and means that life now with each other feels so natural and familiar that its almost like it’s always been this way. I look into his eyes, and hold his hand and it feels such a comfort and snug place to be! We talk and laugh and seem to know what’s coming next… we try new things and joke along the way. We make plans and dream, and we look forward to what life has in store for us now! 8 years of marriage does make us feel old, but when we hope our marriage will be forever, I guess we’re really only just beginning!

Happy 8th Anniversary to the man of my dreams and bestie! It’s a wonderful life we share!

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On the Monday of our recent holiday to Tuscany, we decided to venture a little further afield and do Rome for the day. We felt it was a must see when we were already only a few hours north, so for the sake of a couple of hours by train, and £140 return for us all, we decided to incorporate the capital city and famous sites of Rome into our travels and it was a great family adventure and day out. Italy has high speed rail so from Pisa it is only about 2.5 hours each way and with that I guess we saw it as like going from Leeds to London which would be manageable with 3 kids! 

We woke at about 5.30am to be able to get the 7am train from Pisa station, which in hindsight was a bit mad. We wanted to make the most of our day trip and so we were aiming to be in Rome for about 10am and return about 8pm, getting back to Pisa 10ish! Seriously it was nuts getting out of the door that early with 3 sleepy head kids, finding our way to the station and suitable parking, but we did it and it was worth it for a day in Rome. 

Our first train from Pisa to Rome unfortunately was cancelled which initially was rather stressful too, but with some broken English and chats, they were obviously happy to reassign us to the next one. In the end it only put us back about 40 mins from our original arrival time, as the second one was more direct and faster so it was great and not even a problem.

We found the trains in Italy to be a little cooler than those here in the UK. They’re just bigger and more impressive I think! We found them to be really comfortable and each carriage has plenty of storage and toilet facilities. They are clean and the seats are set out in 4s with tables and electrical points at each table.

The morning train was packed and the kids were more awake and giddy, but it was fine. The evening one however was even better – it was empty, we had bought colouring books from Tiger and I read most of the way back, it was a great journey! 

Rome

Once in Rome we just made our way around each of the sites starting at the Colosseum. It was a very hot day and a very busy city, and we decided to just walk everywhere instead of using the metro or buses. I think we had high expectations of the kids, but they were so good and the thousands of fountains made the whole experience way more fun and exiting for them, and therefore way more enjoyable and bearable for us!

We saw so many things from there that were beautiful and made sure to call by the Trevi fountain, and of course the Vatican! Like Florence things cost money and ques are everywhere so we decided to just meander and look. The Vatican is free if you can stand to que, or you can pay about 40 euros and go inside to see the Sistine chapel and museum. I really did want to go in, and I was excited to go in too… I had dreamed of going in for years, but in the end the heat, ques and kids combo meant that I backed out and we sat and admired it all from outside whilst they went with their preferred choice of activity – colouring on the steps! It was great to do this still and just soak everything in and we had a lovely time. 

Rome was everything I expected and more. It is a beautiful city and I loved the incredible history and tales oozing from its streets. I think its a great place to take kids, as aside from a lot of walking and sight seeing that the whine about, there are fountains everywhere to drink from (or play in) and there are many impressive things that capture their attention. The stories you can tell them really educate and bring it all to life and its one of those places you can just wander for hours with no real purpose, but be greeted with beauty and famous places at every turn.

The train was easy, and aside from the morning, it was reliable and fast! If you are in Pisa for a few days its definitely a trip worth taking to save money on a separate visit at a later date – though a few days there would also be well spent too! Thank you Rome for having us, it was most hearty and we can’t wait to return kid free for the romantic side!!!!

Tips for Training it to Rome with Kids

Don’t promise them a paddle in the Trevi fountain the night before. You can’t even touch the wall let alone paddle and it will result in meltdowns!

Take a picnic and a crate of water – Kids are always hungry and especially thirsty with the heat and it saves lots of time and unnecessary stress. I took some pizzas in a tub and with all of the drinking fountains you can continually refill the bottles.

Don’t expect to be able to go in the Vatican if you save it til the end.

Don’t plan on a tasty Italian meal for dinner down a quaint little street because all they want is the blumming McDonalds next door!

Buy colouring books or something to keep them occupied on the train – I should have remembered from the flight!

Go at their pace and appreciate it as an opportunity to notice the little things you might otherwise miss.

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