Once more with feeling. 

This last week has been an invigorating one for me, with a range of activities kick-starting my insides, like that pilot light that needs a bit of work, but eventually the blue returns. 

It began with Nocturnal animals at the cinema, seeing films filled with talent always gets my brain back into gear, this thriller drama was refreshing and engaging. 

The next thing was going alone to see my favourite theatre company perform Things I know to be true at Chichester Festival Theatre. I went alone, and this is not something I’ve done before. But I did it, with minimal discomfort, and a lot of thought provoking enjoyment because this is my passion.  Thought provoking theatre. With strong themes around family, ambition and values, it was an important reminder of how lucky I am to have a supportive network, despite different values.  

Fantastic Beasts and where to find them was my Friday night jaunt to the local 1920 cinema.  The film itself was perfect for losing yourself in a different world for an hour or so.  Because sometimes that’s just what your brain needs. 

Walking the dogs has provided me with an excuse to take a lunch break for a change.  The difference this makes to my head space, productivity and ability to get through the working week has been far greater than I thought. The wind in my face and the crisp air, blast my senses awake, dusting off the long term sleep deprived fatigue. 
Lastly, we went to see Arrival yesterday.   It was prolific in its storytelling, cinematic experience, demonstrating the importance of Communication in a world of fear.  I nearly cried within the first five minutes, but the film speaks on a far deeper level than that, leaving you deep in thought for quite some time.  

I want every week to feel like this, to feel rejuvenated and itching to have more exposure to those things that feed my soul. 

What has kick-started you this week? 

West Sussex with kids: Dinosaur park, Southwater

 I wanted to do something a bit different on our day off together this week, and I’d promised Ophelia we would go to the Dinosaur park. 

I love to theme things, so thought I’d try and do a few dinosaur activities alongside the park trip. 

It turns out Ophelia was excited and decided to start an activity of her own volition; dinosaur stamping. 

We packed up a dinosaur bag filled with plastic dinosaurs, and mine with a picnic, then we were on our way. 

Southwater is about 20 minutes from my house, and once there, the signposts for parking and walking are well timed and clear. 

It felt like such an adventure with a dinosaur on signs and footprints leading the way. 
Once inside there were so many different things to play on, a lot of which were different to things you would find at the park normally like dinosaur “bones” hidden in the sand, dinosaur Eggs and dinosaurs throughout. There were different things for each age group; baby swings, see saws, noise pipes, a giant slide, rope swings, hide house, spider ropes….the list goes on. 

Ophelia spent ages in the hide house with two other children the same age that she befriended, pretending it was their house and climbing up and down.

After a quick portaloo stop  (very conveniently at the right side entrance!) we walked to the lake for a picnic. It was so relaxing sitting with the gentle sounds of the ducks. 

We carried on walking a different route to the car, walking like dinosaurs for the remainder of the journey.  Ophelia loved the whole concept and whilst it is essentially just a park, it’s one that you can make into a more exciting experience. 
Here’s a snippet of our day, see the link below for a longer video. 

Our dinosaur themed day

I’m linking up with Polly’s favourite trip, because it was a particularly enjoyable one. 

Why didn’t you put it on Social media like most people do?!

This is what a friend said to me recently when I told him we’re getting married.  

He does have a point, I mean, there’s that saying that if it’s not on Social media it never happened. You may sense a repetition with this previous post, but why should that be the case? 

Why do we announce things via social media, to a combination of strangers and people we would avoid eye contact with if we saw them on the street?! 

I do think it’s a fundamental issue that is having a wider issue on the way we communicate. With people sharing their lives more on the internet, is there less need for them to catch up in real life? Well actually no, because as we all know, the Internet is quickly taken out of context and usually isn’t the whole picture. But when was the last time you called someone to catch up? Versus whatsapping them? 

I actually try to communicate less with friemds on the internet now, so that I can have a proper catch up when I see them  I find it far more satisfying, but also a sense of freedom, I’m fed up of my reliance on  phones. Remember the days pre mobiles? You’d make plans, decide a place and just hope they turn up. A few weeks ago I forgot my mobile and had to wait at a meeting place for Callum. It felt so wonderfully freeing;no urgency, no angst at wondering…just acceptance of the process of waiting, and actually enjoying the novelty of it. 

As a generation are we a “need it now, nor waiting” kinda bunch? I fear social media and the internet generally encourages this, as things are both instant and always moving, so we’re programmed to function in the same way.  But maybe I don’t want to function in that way? 

We’re all working hard, OK? 

You just need to look at the hashtag #Workhardanywhere to see 32,000 photos of people “working hard” I.e. posed laptop and hot drink set up. Why do we do it? Why do we feel the need to show ourselves working? 

I’ve done it myself!! 

Is it tied into the sense that to contribute to society we are told we must be hard working? 

Is it our need to document every second of our lives? 

Is it to show off? 

Whatever it is, it isn’t healthy. Why are we filling our time with meaningless photos like this, that we unlikely to ever look at again? 

Moreso, what impact is this having on wider political and social issues? The message to our children? Just today someone said to me that she felt she would be considered a ‘dosser’ if she never returns to work (she has been off work since having her daughter 18 months ago). 

I have a job that often leaves me thinking about work on my time away from it, even though that’s tied into the type of job I do.  But when I start thinking about work, i have to remind me what I’ve heard oh so many times: No one has regrets about not working hard enough, rather that they wish they had spent more time with those they love.

Live in the moment, enjoy that moment, capture it in your heart rather than your phone memory. 

Bye bye blogging. 

Not to make a song and dance about it or hashtag ‘click bait’, but this really could be it folks. 

My domain is apparently ultra overdue for renewal and there is really nothing tempting me to keep it going. 

As you can tell, my ‘content’ around here has been pretty non existent for quite a while. Why?  Oh so many reasons but essentially I’d rather spend my time catching up with a friend than telling the Internet the ins and outs of my life. 

I’ve lost interest in the “blogging community”, which seems to be filled with people who want to ‘make it fulltime’, tips about countries these people have never visited*, or a real comfy mattress*. Where’s the integrity? How can I invest in their blog when they’re filled with consumerism which they clearly don’t care about further than getting paid to say it? 

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a dig at those people, it’s a recognition that I simply don’t find that interesting. But on the other hand, why as a generation are we so obsessed with sharing every minuite detail with the Internet? When people find out about what’s going on in your life via the Internet, you know something has gone on in the world. 

I have to reflect on what started me blogging, it was something to distract from the boredom of life. But in reality, I don’t have time or inclination to spend my time in that way now. I haven’t turned my laptop on in months, and I love that. 

A lot of my favourite reads historically have either stopped blogging or very sporadically blog, to the point that I often find nothing of interest on bloglovin. 

And no, there’s no picture or spell check on here, because I can do whatever the fuck I want. OK?! 

Ophelia and animals

Look at my photo gallery on my phone and you will mostly see photos of Ophelia and animals. You see, this kid can’t pass a cat on the street without saying Hello and giving it a stroke. 

Having grown up with two dogs, two rats and a hamster, I think pets really are important to childhood; the skills you learn, the emotions you feel and the impact on your life is quite remarkable. 

This is already clear with Ophelia; every day she immediately calls out for “NARI” the moment we open the front door.  Her face lights up when Inara does anything naughty/stupid/funny.  She has learnt to be gentle, to share (Inara sleeps in her tent!), to feed her and to play with her; all before she’s school age.

Recently we went to meet some little guinea pigs and she squealed almost as much as they did. But she listened when we explained the need to be calm and quiet, she sat perfectly still when it was on her lap,  gently stroking and revelling in this new animal experience. 

Dogs are a slightly different matter, she loves them but is a bit more apprehensive. My sister’s dogs are so great with her and she loves throwing the ball for them in the garden. However, she worries when they jump up, they’re border collies so pretty big!  She’s even more apprehensive of Callum’s Mum’s dog, ever since as a puppy she nibbled her, I think it affected her confidence. She shys behind me when we go to visit, and the dog has to be kept on a lead, otherwise it is so boisterous that it’s uncontrollable. Not in a dangerous or vicious way, shes just a young dog with little discipline.  This in itself is teaching her differences, and to sometimes be warey. 

I can’t wait to see her continue to embrace interacting with our pets, maybe we’ll have a dog of our own one day. 

My favourite ways to relax

In times like these, where the world appears filled with uncertainty and stress, it’s so important for us to stay grounded and have strategies in place to keep us well. With that in mind, here’s what I find helps relax and distract myself. 

Cross stitch

This is one that I’ve had for a while, although since having Ophelia it has taken a back seat. You see, cross stitch for me, requires me to be in certain moods and state of awake. For example, exhausted, stressed and reduced tolerances not a cross stitch day! Those days just lead to frustration and errors if I attempt it. But on days when I’m pretty content and want something to keep me focused and my hands busy, those are the days cross stitching relaxes me

Gardening

I’ve really started getting the gardening bug back since starting on the garden in our own home.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a complete novice; just last week I had to dig out a sturgeon that I failed to save from black fly. But that’s okay, because that’s part of the process for me. I’m learning. I’m learning that I seem to be better with growing veg than flowers, what parts of the outdoor space are more compliant and the importance of consistent watering. This one’s a slow burner but I can see it lasting the long haul. 

Colouring in

I know this one is a bit cliche right now but it’s true. Colouring in is perfect if I’m feeling creative but exhausted, it gives me something to concentrate on and a distraction, without being overwhelming or pressurised. It’s quite satisfying as a quick outcome activity. My favourite book at the moment is Animals, by Georgie Woolridge; beautiful illustrations with perfectly thick paper combines for an pleasurable colouring in experience to really enhance your flow.Flow is when you feel so connected and engaged that you don’t want it to end. Now, if only I could get a pocket sized version to carry with me wherever I go!

Geocaching


Combining walking, being outdoors and hide and seek skills, Geocaching is a great way to get out and about. The great thing about it, is that you can do long, riddled walks or short, quick dash and grabs-making it accessible for all. My favourite thing is to try to do it in my lunch break, a time I often don’t end up taking, unless I’m out in the country with a cache nearby. It is the most perfect way of breaking up my day and de-stressing, whilst giving me a purpose and goal. 

Any other tips on how to relax? 

TRAVEL: Seal watching in the Scottish Highlands

As a child I was always equally fascinated and in fear of the sea, perhaps it steams from watching Titanic at 11 years old, or perhaps it is the sheer vastness and mystic that surrounds it.  One particular memory I have is the excitement and trepidation I felt one particular summer holiday spent in Greece.

My family had decided to go on a boat trip with a local Greecian, to soak up the sun, eat local food and watch out for Dolphins.  When I wasn’t on my Game gear trying to coax the dolphins out with my game Echo the dolphin, I was looking into the deep blue sea imagining falling in.  What an odd thing for a child to be imagining, but I suppose that is the kind of thing that happens when you have such a vivid imagination- always envisioning every possible outcome.  We never did spot any dolphins that day, but I will always remember the excitement and hope I felt as every wave crest dropped.

As i’ve mentioned before, we want Ophelia to learn about the world around her, drink in the environment, embrace nature and the Scottish Highlands is the perfect place to start.

A short journey from Ophelia’s Papa’s house is Plockton; a small village dotted along the loch edge.  In the Winter, this sleepy village hibernates, with little to keep the village thriving in the bleak mid winter.  Come Summer, this place is awash with walkers, tourists, kayakers, sailers.

Calum has been running his Seal watching boat trips for longer than he would care to admit, he knows his stuff and makes for the perfect host; sharing his knowledge of growing up in this sleepy village and of course, the seals.  We got to see two herds of seals on this 1 hour boat trip; each time with 30+ scattered across the rocks, one lot with mere week old pups by their side.  The sheer beauty of these animals has to be seen to be believed, with Calum getting us close enough to fully appreciate them, without interfering with their wellbeing.

Our second viewing was half an hour or so up the road at  Glenelg, where we took the old cattle ferry across to the hide a short walk up the mountain.  On the ferry crossing we spotted several grey seals sticking those big eyes up over the waves and spashing their flippers.  It wasn’t until we got up to the hide however, that we got a true picture for the nature surrounding us.  Hide records detailed that a Sea eagle had been spotted half an hour before we arrived, we were happy simply to be able to follow some more grey seals that were bobbing along the shallow water’s edge.  It wasn’t until we looked further, that we spotted the rest of the gang.  On first glance, they could be mistaken for rocks, they camoflaged so perfectly in the fog, but it was infact a herd of common seals all laid out on the pebbly beach.  At any one time there were several other common seals bobbing and weaving along the water edge.  Mesmorising.

We’re linking up again with Our Seaside baby’s  wonderful travel series.

Worthing Artist Open House excitement

As more Brighton folk get priced outta the City into suburban Worthing, the more inspiration Worthing picks up.  First, trendy cafes, then craft beer pubs, and now it’s Worthing Artist Open House.

Anyone familiar with Brighton will know of the Artist Open Houses that create a creative vibed buzz twice yearly, and whilst its Worthing counter part has a long way to go, it definitely gets better each year!

This year, Worthing Artist Open House has 60 venues!Unfortunately i’m away for one if the weekends, but hopefully i’ll get to pop into the top of my list faves!  So without further ado, here’s who i’m hoping to catch

 

Anna’s Drawing room:                                                        Hello DoDo:annasdrawingroom_1
hellododo_3

Ellie and John Bond:

elliebond_1

Debbie Terry‘s birds:

debbieterry_3-1

Sarah Edmonds                                                                Michelle Wilday 

Adobe Photoshop PDF       michellewilday_3

 

Worthing with kids: Pick Your Own

Having grown up in a nearby village,and Callum having worked there many years ago, Roundstone Pick Your Own is an important part of what Worthing means to us as a family.

I have several memories as a child spent walking the fields, spying for the biggest, juiciest loganberries (they were my favourite) and stuffing myself full to bursting.   The most recent time I had been, if i’m not including the car boot sale, must’ve been when I was at college.  Myself and a boyfriend at the time had decided we wanted to go pick a Pumpkin.  At this point, not only was it too late in the year for everything else, but it seemed even all the pumpkins had gone!

It only seems fair then, that it was time I introduced Ophelia to this wonderful place, not only am I all about supporting local businesses, but i’m all about teaching children about nature and where their food comes from.

Our recent visit nearly didn’t happen, looking at the weather report it didn’t look like the rain would subside and i was sure that the fields would be mud.  In the end, the rain had been minimal and it in fact turns out the fields were dry, so off we went.

After picking our transportation methods (punnets, bags and baskets) we set off on a bumpy journey on the tractor Ophelia’s Daddy had once driven (probably just as bumpily!).

First stop, broad beans!

Opheliawithbeans1.jpg

Luckily, as it’s quite eary in the season, and the sun was not shining, we were one of the few people there, but a top tip is to definetly start with the food the kids are less interested in eating,  that way their interest increases rather than peters out.

Ophelia and her cousin loved the freedom of running between the large plants, a magical place when you are small.

Eithne was straight in there, nibbling on a broad bean straight off the plant, she took  a while to decide it was not all that tasty.

Opheliastrawberries.jpg

We then walked down to the strawberry fields, they have two fields, one that are ready to pick and the other which are still early growing.  And boy, were those strawberries ready, those snippets of deep ruby red catching your eye whereever you turned- “there’s another one to pick, and another…”

Ophelia surprised us all by being chief picker and packer for the first few minutes of our arrival, without a sample in sight.  That quickly changed, and soon the cousins had taken up their station in the straw, one picking the prime produce straight from the plant, the other from the punnets.

Strawberries.jpg
This was just our lout-1/3 of  the total!

I carried on picking the fruit, with no real difficulty finding juicy strawberries but an enjoyment found in the quiet, therapeautic nature of the task.   Surrounded by quiet and stillness except for the distant salivating noise from the children.  It began to rain so we ducked into cover and decided now was the time to sample the tea rooms.

The tea rooms are child friendly with a few high chairs and child portions, a comfortable space with local crafts for sale.  They were really acommodating for us too, bringing over our drinks and making gluten free food even though it wasn’t on the menu.

There is also a farm shop on the premises, which is very reasonably priced, unfortunately our helpers were pooped by this point, but we will be returning soon to pick the things we missed!

A very nice day out for all the family🙂