Wednesday, 30 November 2016

A cycling First!

Sunday the 2nd of October started gently but turned out to be a rather momentous day for my little family. Matilda finally at the age of 6 and three quarters finally got to ride her bike without any help or support.

A determined young Matilda adamantly refused any help from us, I think she'd secretly made it her goal to ride alone on that particular Sunday. In the run up to the weekend she continually paid attention to the weather reports on the news whilst asking me if the weather stayed good, could we go to the park to practice her cycling.

The weather obliged so we headed up to Thetford Forest with a picnic ready for a day in the great outdoors. Little did we know what a special day it would be. As the husband and I sat with our coffees our help having been rejected by Matilda, we suddenly spotted her cycling off unaided. We let out a gasp, jumped to our feet but she was off and absolutely ecstatic with her new found skill!

Here she is having a ball on her bike!



Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Our Summer in Crete...

As we head deeper into Autumn my thoughts drift back to the Summer which now in the whirlwind of school runs, work, chores seems like a million miles away.

For the first time in three years we went on a proper family holiday abroad. Don't get me wrong I've loved our holidays in our beloved Cornwall but there's something about feeling the hot  sun beating upon your face and the still Mediterreanean sea cooling you down that our beautiful British shores cannot compete.

Forced into booking a last minute holiday due to a certain someone having broken her wrist we plumped for 10 days in Crete. This year has been particularly difficult with the loss of my Mother, our business taking off and the general pressures of life I was in desperate need of a break to recharge. For the first time in my life I booked an all inclusive holiday...not sure I'll be doing it again but it certainly served it's purpose. No cooking, cleaning or even thinking for 10 days suited me fine. We were a minute's walk to the local beach where Matilda relished playing in the sea for days on end. I even managed to read a couple of books as she played in the sand happy in her own company, making games, inventing sea stories whilst searching for fish.

It was a perfect holiday where we spent time engaging as a family without distractions...We relaxed, we laughed, invented characters and stories, ate delicious food, had lots of early nights, lazed on the beach, explored ancient sites feeding Matilda's ongoing obsession with being a 'Science Archaelogist'. What wonderful memories we created for this little girl...

This image sums up our playful holiday!

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

The Summer so far...

The warm weather of last week allowed for a few outdoor adventures, simple walks, splashing about in paddling pools and crafting provided by the wonderful National Trust at Ickworth. At the weekend we visited Melford Hall which has a lovely exhibition of drawings by Beatrix Potter, a regular visitor to the estate. This week Matilda is at tennis club, 5 hours of running about left her pleasantly exhausted yesterday, she slept soundly and was ready for more this morning undeterred by the rain...Yes British Summertime is back!

How are your holidays going?

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Hello Summer Holidays...

Yesterday marked the first day of the Summer holidays, the long awaited time of the year when you can slow right down, not feel guilty about taking a few hours off to enjoy family time.

 This week is also a momentous time for us as after 4 weeks in being in a cast it is finally off just in time for her to enjoy her last swimming lesson at school yesterday. If you follow me on Instagram you'll know that just over 4 weeks ago Matilda broke her wrist in two places. It happened one sunny day on a what should have been brief visit to the park. A few minutes after arriving Matilda had slipped off the monkey bars landing on her right hand, screaming in pain. A crazy dash to the GP followed ending up in A&E at the local hospital. Thank god for NHS, despite the constraints and their working conditions each person we saw was patient, kind with a big smile on their face.

We came away with Matilda in a cast in pain and distraught. I was horrified that my little girl had not only one but two broken bones, it happened in a matter of seconds and there would have been nothing I could have done but I couldn't help feeling a failure as a Mother. Our natural instinct as a Parent is to protect our children from any harm so when I saw the clear break on the Xray I was devastated. Thankfully we have a very cheery little girl who was the best Patient, understanding and careful she only had a couple of wobbles over the last month when she couldn't do the same physical activities as her friends.

Now it's off and the holidays are here so plenty of opportunity to make up for lost time though still no climbing for the next 2 weeks...

Happy Holidays!

Monday, 18 July 2016

A Postcard from Gothenburg's Archipelago

It's not surprising that come Spring-Summer the residents of Gothenburg vacate the city life for the serenity of  the islands that surround the mainland. Communing with nature, outdoor living without the constraints of modern life, slowing right down to enjoy time with family and friends is what these islands are all about.

In these times of great uncertainty we're having to go through right now I wish we too had the option of jumping on a ferry to a nearby island to escape the turmoil...

What really struck me was the stillness and quiet of these islands without traffic or the usual noises we're so accustomed to. Living in the country now I do often go a whole day where I only hear the bird song or the occasion horse trotting up the road, but even I noticed the silence.

There's one thing I'll say about the Swedes they really are a stylish lot, the wooden chalets on the islands are stunning, in fact I'd be happy to live in one all year round!

We took a tour around several of the islands but got off at Branno where we spent a calm couple of hours exploring, I say exploring I spent a lot of the time straining my neck peeking through people's windows! Branno is one of the larger islands with over 800 inhabitants that have lived from farming and fishing. In Summer there are folk music and traditional dance festivals to entertain visitors and residents whilst the beach proves very popular with all visitors.

Switching off at the weekends and holidays appeals more and more to me as we are surrounded by the pressures of technology. Sometimes it'd be lovely to drop off the airwaves and I really couldn't think of any where more fitting to do that than here...

Thursday, 16 June 2016

A first city Break with Matilda: Gothenburg Part One

City breaks weighed down by all the paraphernalia required when travelling with a young child did not seem terribly appealing to me. Weekend breaks tend to be exhausting at the best of times as you cram in as much sightseeing as is humanly possible in those 3-4 days that you've allowed yourself. Add a grumpy, tired child to the really is not the best combo in my book.

The husband and I went on quite a few wonderful mini breaks in our early days. There was nothing more exciting than jumping on a plane arriving a couple of hours later in a foreign city. These little jaunts came to an abrupt end once Matilda arrived. Prams, bottles, nappies were never all going to fit into a small cabin bag...

Now that Matilda is 6 years old and pretty portable we decided to take the plunge picking an easy going city without too much sightseeing so we didn't feel shortchanged should her little legs collapse from all the walking. So we picked Gothenburg, I'd yearned to visit Sweden for years, but had been put off by it's reputation for being prohibitively expensive. The husband treated us to very reasonably priced flights with the delectable Ryanair (do not the hint of irony in that sentence) and we were lucky to stumble upon a lovely Airbnb apartment hosted by the delightful Johanna, without whose recommendations we would have been lost! 

Gothenburg is a truly inspiring city, small enough to walk everywhere though it's super efficient tram system makes light work of travelling with a child. We stayed in the hip area of Majorna, a short hop and skip on the tram into the centre of town and the rather more attractive Haga with it's gorgeous interior shops, cafes and restaurants. Also home to a lovely park and playground where we whiled away a couple of hours whilst Matilda made new Swedish friends who astonishingly spoke perfect English at the age of six! We spent a day happily mooching around a number of record shops that thankfully double up as cafes so whilst the husband searched through thousands of records I topped up the caffeine levels and Matilda indulged in the Swedish Fika (the art of stopping for cake, coffee and chatting with friends)...

Our favourite day was spent on a boat touring around the archipelago we stopped off at the largest Island where we spent a delightful couple of hours nosing through people's windows. The Swedes really are a stylish lot, even the tiniest of wooden shack was beautifully decorated. More about that next time as our trip deserves a post of its own.

As for Matilda she had a great weekend, she was shattered at the end of it but loved discovering a new city where she got to eat as many meatballs as she liked! Facilitating the opening of her eyes to other cultures and customs we regard as one of the most crucial jobs as her parents, the success of this weekend proved to us she is eager to travel and explore. As long as the sightseeing is interspersed with a play in the park or a rest in a cool cafe then travelling with children should be good fun.  Roll on more city breaks!

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

The new Samsung Galaxy S7

A few weeks ago I was asked by Three Mobile if I'd like to road test the new, much publicised Samsung Galaxy S7. I'll admit I'm not terribly into an all singing all dancing phone, I pretty much only use my phone for taking photos, social media, calling, emailing and texting. Endless streams of apps just don't do it for me I'm afraid (probably showing my age). However, a decent phone camera does. The camera on this phone is really very good indeed and I'm sure is giving the iPhone camera a hard run for its money,

From the moment you switch it on, the picture on the screen is so crisp and pure. It has a wealth of features, more of which you can read about here including a number of pre installed filters. When I'm out and about I tend to keep my settings on auto so I don't have to faff around if a photo needs to be taken straight away. However if you'd like to use your own settings it's very straight forward to adjust the ISO for example, you can also shoot square so if you're an instagram addict like myself and we all know this is the best way to capture the best image. Something I can't do on my current Sony Experia.

The Samsung Galaxy went with me on a little day trip to Southwold where you can see what can be achieved with it. Take a look at the wonderful clarity of these photos. I've purposely not edited them so you can see the quality of the camera, the level of detail and colour it is able to pick up is really impressive...I'll leave you with these but I'll be back soon with more photos I took with it during our trip to Sweden.