After so much illness over the new year, a nasty virus causing a persistent cough for hubby (a cough when you already have headaches is basically torture), chicken pox for me and then the kid. It was a relief to finally all feel well enough to get out and about and do a little exploring of the island that we are visiting.
We are on the Isle of Man – we have family here and its a great place to explore and adventure from. We reached dead end with the specialists in New Zealand (thankfully after ruling out a tumour or a bleed) for hubbys headaches so have found a neurologist at a specialist clinic on the mainland who is helping get to the root of and treat, the headaches that plagued him. Not occasional headaches that flare twice a week – but constant, unrelenting pain 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
While we are here we are embracing island life, walking in glens and climbing mountains. Also wearing our rain gear to the max – the climate here is best described as damp and we refuse to be kept indoors by a little bit of rain or fog.
My goal is to get my camera out of its bag and start getting back into taking pictures and blogging our adventures again. I have missed this space over the past weeks and as we are more settled it feels like time to dust off Lightroom and get back into it.
We have done plenty of holidays with the kid and I would say that I’m pretty good at packing and working out what we need to keep her happy while we are away. I pack light as a rule, but packing for a longer trip had me a bit stumped.
When I was prepairing for the trip I was on the lookout for something portable, engaging and long lasting. Since the kid loves dolls (her 18inch dolls are one of her most prized posessons) I was drawn to Lottie Dolls as a fabulous small portable doll and as alternative to the increasingly popular (with the kid) but disliked by me, Barbie.
These dolls are small 18cm high, realistically proportioned (based on a 9year old girl) doll with a variety of outfits and themes. What I really adore is that they dont fall into conventional ‘fashion doll’ ‘princess doll’ stereotypes. There is Pirate Lottie, Muddy Puddles Lottie, Stargazer Lottie and more.
I got in touch with the fabuous team behind Lottie Dolls and they were generous enough to send the kid two Lotties and some outfits (Super Hero Lottie is still the kids firm favourite). These portable, pop-in-a-pocket sized dolls have been the best thing that we have with us. They go everywhere with the kid, offer hours of amusement and entertainment.
To be clear I am extremely grateful to Arklu for sponsoring the kid while we are travelling – but to anyone feeling like my opinions are rooted in ‘it was a freebie’ should be reassured that we have bought 2 more Lotties since then and another 4 outfits (and given they have a 30% offer at the moment there’s another Lottie in my shopping cart!)
The kid loves mix and matching outfits to different dolls and the freedom to play and experiment.
Other toys we really rate are are the Djeco Mini Games as they are fun and portable as well as always having a good range of crayons and paper. I like the Tiger Tribe sets as they are tidy and self contained.
Crocodile Creek Mini puzzles are ease to pop in a bag and a bonus is that they are double sided. Playmobil is also tough and portable and I love the foil bag sets as they have all the parts for a little storyline in one set. The kid loves the little blind bags from My Little Pony (gag) and also from the Trolls Movie that we saw just before heading on holiday.
Other than that we always bring books for reading herself and being read too. The kid is currently loving the Wrenly Series as she can read them herself and they are nice and illustrated with a fun fast story.
Not forgetting of course, the essential soft toys who can never be left behind. All in all that was a 50ltr kit bag bursting with books, toys and games! Not quite the light minimalist packing I’d been aiming for.
Excuse the instagram images used in this post, between travelling, christmas, miserable weather and getting chicken pox – me as an adult and the kid 2 weeks later. There’s not been much photography going on. Or adventuring. But there has been a lot of playing – thank heavens for great quality, portable toys.
Haw frost in the valley. Robins who follow and eat crumbs from you palm. Wild ponies and amazing views. For me thats Christmastime.
I am so wowfully behind, so behind!
So here is a quite pictorial from another trip we made while staying in Devon when we arrived in the UK at the begining of our trip.
What do you do after 4 days of travelling and exploring? Well. After desperating trying and succeeding in not falling asleep at the wrong time on the first day. You get down to where you gew up, grab great friends and go walking.
Nothing beats jet lag better than a long walk on the moors in cold winds and drizzle. Thank heavens for wooly hats and the kids Therm Outdoor jacket – it kept her warm and dry and visible. And I love that it’s a New Zealand product that just does it job, no worries.
We had amazing walk over the last weekend. Up in the hills we walked up the Bealy Spur track. Its a fairly gentle climb up through the forest to the hilly tussock and amazing views. The kid did great and romped ahead most of the way.
I feel so sad for so much of the world right now, it seems that where ever we look there is confusion, hurt and fear. We are so fortunate to have been able to choose to live where we do. Soon we head north for time with family and christmas. Feeling more and more like we are emerging from a bubble into a big wide scary world. It’s never felt like that before and I have to make a concious effort not to get swallowed by media hysteria or hyperbole.
It makes me realise how important each day is, and how we are the ones who control the largest majority of interactions in our lives. We choose to surrround ourselves with like minded people. People who understand, value and respect our decisions. Start at gress roots levels to make the place you are better, being the change we want to see.
The entire production was amazing, the time and effort and work put in by every dancer, the backstage help and the tireless teacher who so enthusiastically believes in each and every one of them.
The kid had an absolute ball with the whole thing. Three performances over two weekends. The make-up, the rehearsals, the back stage excitement.
Her knees weren’t the highest or her toes the pointiest. She didn’t smile the biggest or wear the most makeup. But she was a star. Our star. Her honest, ernest face as she performed every well practiced movement. She didn’t forget a step, not even the changes made in the later stages of production.
Watching her go up there and perform under lights and over 300 people, in each of the three shows made me so incredibly proud. It’s not something I would have had the guts to do at 5 years old and it makes me so happy to know that she has the confidence and self-belief to go up and give it a try. Flanked on all sides by friends of course!
I do have issue with the makeup on young kids. I wonder if we are enforcing in their minds that they need makeup to be ‘pretty’. I know the practical logistics behind using it for the stage, but I wonder about the emotional and psychological impact at a young age.
How do I balance the stage logistics with my strongly held belief that no child, no person, needs make up to beautiful. That it doesn’t matter how floofy your skirt is or how much eye shadow you have on. You are beautiful and you are worthy.
A chance to test a lovely new cardi from Little Kiwi’s Closet came up recently. I adore the designer and the patterns so couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to apply. The Koro Cardi (koro is Māori for grandfather) is a grandpa style cardi.
Very easy to sew up and a lovely relaxed fit it is perfect for our current spring weather and I can see it being a go to for pulling on as the temperature dips as the sun goes down or the wind picks up.
The pattern is, as expected, beautifully drafted and written and the instructions are clear and easy to follow. I actually made two cardi’s are I had a couple of different material types I wanted to try out. You will need knit for this, but anything with a bit of stretch works brilliantly. It will be amazing in winter in a fleece or brushed back jersey or in a delicious merino.
Its currently on sale so pop by and grab a copy of this pattern – it really make up a staple in the wardrobe. All seasons, all colours and an enormous size range form baby to tween! My daughters lived in hers since it came off the machine. It really is a simple sew, even for someone like me who is still a bit wary sewing with knits. And I got a love sense of achievement when I finished!
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