A new year! Is it weird that I believe that even years are luckier than odd years? i have nothing to substantiate this claim, and in fact it’s possible to infer from the years of blogging that odd years may have actually been marginally better. Or may be there are all the same really, with each having its fair shares of highs and lows.
Anyway! It’s an even year and I’m happy about it. I don’t have any huge resolutions. Predominantly because history has taught me I’m terrible at ‘resolutions’ and making changes in general. I start string and about 3 days in give up and refer back to older stronger habits.
So this year I’ve got intentions (resolutions by another name?) They mostly revolve around being calmer and more present, loosing 15kg and getting fit by running and walking more. So, same as every other year really.
We started strong with bike rides and hiking in the hills and going to the library to get out books to read in the evenings rather than web browsing and surfing social media. I have ordered chatbooks for both my own and the kids instagram accounts and my goal is to be mindful of the pictures I post so the albums become pleasantly collated records not a random mumble jumble of images.
The house is clean, I’m on top of the washing (shock!) and we are putting the phones, laptops and tablets down for more engaged time over puzzles and board games. So far so good. It is only day 8 of the new year tho.
Failing so far … still eating far to much chocolate. Blessings … the bakery is still closed so at least I can’t eat to much cake.
Blogging in 2018. My intention for this year is deceptively simple. I want to blog more regularly and take many many more pictures. I will keep up the 12 Monthly Photos of the Kid, and I am hoping to do 12 Months of Adventures – I think it’s my attempt to be mindful of the passing months and not to miss out on doing something, however big or small. Hopefully by the end of each month I’ll have a couple of adventures to choose from. May be. That’s the idea anyway. Call it work in progress.
January started on a high with a trip to Akaroa to have a walk, wander about and eat good food.
In early December we were lucky enough to head up to the North Island for the work christmas party and we tacked on a couple of days in Rotorua while we were up there. We did the whistle-stop tourist tour. The Luge, the volcanic areas and the redwoods.
The thermal volcanic area is amazing, but as the kid would tell you emphatically “it smells awful”. She’s not wrong, those amazing colours have to come from something, and in no small part thats sulphur – which stinks. It’s worth the stink to see it.
The luge is great fun, its a really long track down and the chair lift back up is almost as equally delightful as you meander above the fern trees and between the woods with the birds singing on both sides.
The redwoods are everything I hoped for and more. By the time we got there there were sore feet and hunger complaints and we opted for the tree top walk rather than a couple of hours tramp which id hoped to do. The high walk was great fun, longer than I expected (in a good way!) and not to horrifyingly high or wobbly for a big wuss like me. I did a short walk through the woods after and cannot wait to do more.
We are already planning another trip up at some point in 2018 if we can, a less tourist trip this time doing with lots of tramping, exploring and relaxing.
We are lucky that half way through the exhausting final few months before christmas the weather gets warmer, the days get longer and lighter and there is even a public holiday that coupled with a teacher only day at school (a new thing for us!) we turned into a 4 day weekend.
One of those days we headed to the beach and enjoyed paddling, drone flying and a walk along the cliffs. Embracing summer and taking time to make the days special.
We had a lovely trip over to the coast a couple of weekends ago. We went primarily as the kid had a gym comp over there but turned it onto a nice couple of family days and walking and exploring. Pictures in reverse order as thats how they loaded and I’m to lazy to move them about. All off my phone as well as we both forgot to take cameras with us! Oops.
The drive over was lovely and went nice and fast, it’s a gorgeous drive although twisty and bendy in parts and requires a lot of concentration. We stopped off at Hokitika Gorge, the beach and then the Air B&B. It was the sweetest little old school villa but warm and cosy and comfy and close to the town centre (and competition gym).
We ate supper at a old school pub with the cutest friendliest pub cat and after we saw glow worms in two seperate grottos – they were amazing! Its like looking at a starry sky, but your staring at a earth bank! After a successful competition we headed to an amazing tree top walk (so high, so very very high) we headed home and stopped at the kids favourite spot on the way for a walk and fresh air.
So lovely to be back in our familiar spaces
We were lucky enough to have a lovely few weeks of summery weather before we headed back home into deepest winter. May seems to be one of the nicest months on the UK now and we got a good run of sunny days and trips to the beach.
Above is the beach at Port Erin, its such a gorgeous bay with a little harbour and a long flat gently sloping beach with no big drop off, Great for kids to paddle and for mums wo watch and not stress to hard.
The kid had a great few trips down here, but the last was the only time I took my camera with me. The pontoon was a huge hit with all the kids (most of the beaches have them for summer time) but on this trip the kid hopped off as soon as it floated. The previous day she had waded out and played with friends only to find that it wobbled more than expected and when she jumped off she discovered the water had gone from mid-chest to chin deep. She was more bothered by the wobbling than the change in depth but decided discretion was the better part of valour the next day!
There were a few jellyfish floating around to look at and the wonderful views and soft sand to make angels in and dig through to find ‘treasures’.
A sunny weekend day and we took the opportunity to explore the blooming woods, mine and local historic water wheel. The mines near the wheel are really interesting, you can walk a few hundred metres into the upper level of one and even in that short distance makes it abundantly clear what a horrible working environment it must have been to work in. The kid was not impressed by it!
We climbed to the top of the wheel and then wandered along the valley. Primroses, bluebells and snowdrops were abundant as well as slowly unfurling fern heads and plenty of dandelions. Blue skies and a bit of sunshine and then a lovely lunch at a local cafe. The Easter holiday flew by. Lots of relaxing and time with family. Far to much chocolate.
A pic from our recent trip to Montreal. Not long after this was taken she abandoned the frame and went out solo.
You cant tell from the pic but it was SO cold, -9 the day this was taken
These were taken (mostly by hubby) at a couple of the different walks we did last week. Water, and waterfalls is a bit of a theme at the moment as we are doing a lot of glen walks. Spring is slowly coming and we are seeing snowdrops peeking out and daffodils starting to bloom.
The kid is loving all the outdoor activities and hiking that we have been able to do. I am really enjoying being able to make sure that being outside, just following a path with no schedule or goal is a regular part of each week. I have noticed it has a positive impact on her school work and attitude when she’s had a dose of outdoor nature exploring and stress free time.
We are doing the Wild Explorers Club assignments which I signed up for a few weeks ago. I wasn’t sure if it would be a hit with the kid or not, but so far she’s loving the little videos every week and having a outdoor explorer ‘goal’ to work towards. This isn’t a sponsored post, just something that Ive found really great for instigating ‘get outdoors’ when its been cold, damp and grey!
There isn’t much snow in the Isle of Man. And by that I mean it very very rarely snows. And when it does its fleeting and up high. So last week we felt especially lucky to head out walking early in the morning to see Snaefell under a cloud with a white dusting. All plans for a glen walk went out the window and off we headed up the mountain road (past the ice warnings, lamenting the fact we are driving a mini not a 4×4)
We got to the top of the road and parked up on an icy carpark which was melting fast. The sun was coming out fleetingly through thick clouds and the temperate while still biting with the wind, was warming up. Which honestly was good as I hadn’t packed for snow. And certainly not snow on the top of a mountain.
Snaefell is a mountain. But not by a lot; 37 feet to be exact. But its still a mountain and the kid was absolutely determined this was going to be her first snow capped mountain climb. Gumboots, wooly hat, a solo glove and her lighter Therm jacket (we wished we had their new season ski jacket with us as it is super padded) kept her warm enough with the exertion of climbing. The kid powered up, even the steep slippery section right below the summit didn’t phase her. At the top the clouds parted momentarily and the views were amazing.
After climbing up the east side we decided to walk back around the west facing back of the slope; along the rail-line that runs in the summer months. The sun hadn’t reached the back so it was lovely and not melting yet. By the time we got back round to the car the snow and ice in the car park was gone. The sunny eastern side of the hill was running with water and nothing more than slush.
The kid has ticked off ‘climbed her first snow capped mountain’ off her to do list and we got to see some of the most amazing views. A great day and one that made dragging ourselves up and out fairly early and in the cold totally and definitely worth 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.
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