Thursday 30 May 2019

Lazy Days

Although it doesn't seem any time at all since the last half-term, I was more than ready for another break from the daily grind. This week it has been wonderful to be able to press the pause button, take some time to just 'be' and, for the most part, do very little.
Copious mugs of tea coupled with unhurried mornings have been well received and the change in routine this week has seen me feeling much more relaxed, my sleep pattern greatly improved and I have made further progress in making time for myself  much more of a priority.

A lot of our time has been spent just pootling outdoors. We've walked through  fields, woodlands and down by the river. Everywhere looks so lush and green, which is quite surprising, as until the last few days, the lack of rain had caused the farm pond and stream to completely dry out. The pathways are slowly disappearing beneath borders of cow parsley and fields are golden with buttercups.
The air is heady with the scent of blossom and pollen, and the hawthorn and blackthorn have been blowing from the trees, falling upon us like snow. I've been eyeing up the hedgerows for elderflowers in anticipation of this year's cordial making. It is still quite early but I expect I will be collecting some within the next few weeks. I think I might have left it a little late last year as I only just managed to find enough, so I'm aiming to be a little better prepared this time.

We received a lovely surprise on our walk to the bird hide one morning. We needed to pass through some sheep and, much to Lily's (and my) delight, we were approached by a lamb who couldn't get enough of being stroked and petted. It followed us the rest of the way through the field to the gate at the far end and I'm sure, had we not closed it quickly enough, that it would have gladly followed us all the way home. Now, although inquisitive, lambs are generally quite skittish by nature and stay close to mum when there are people around, so we assumed this one must have been hand reared. After stroking it some more through the fence, we reluctantly continued on our way, although I have a feeling we may make a return visit before school begins again next week.
J. X

Tuesday 21 May 2019


I do so love the month of May. The air is warm and sweet with the scent of blossom, the countryside has turned a vibrant shade of green and those long, lazy days of summer are just around the corner. Bluebells are beginning to fade, the woodland pathways are drying out in the warm sunshine and, to my great joy, more and more of our time is being spent outdoors.

Another reason for my fondness of this particular month is Lily's birthday. My amazing girl is now six! I can hardly believe it. It is now six whole years since this wonderful, sweet, happy little girl entered the world one sunny May morning and turned my life completely upside down - for the better, of course! She is such a delight and never ceases to make me smile every single day. She is growing and changing so quickly that I'm frightened to blink just in case I miss any of it, so I'm determined to stretch out every precious moment of her childhood. I just adore her zest for life, her love of the outdoors and her ability to win over just about anyone with a flash of her smile.

Lily's actual birthday was midweek, so the day itself was fairly ordinary. There was, however, an early start so she could open her cards and presents before school. The excitement for the day ahead proved useful in getting us out of bed that morning as we were tired, having spent the previous evening enjoying some pond dipping. Once the school day was over we went for a lovely swim, which was quickly followed by pizza and some delicious chocolate birthday cake.

At the weekend we celebrated fully with two hours of fun and mayhem for Lily and a group of friends at a nearby play centre. I'm not a huge fan of these types of places but there's no denying they serve a purpose and the staff looked after us really well. The children all thoroughly enjoyed themselves and, although she received so many presents, I think Lily took most pleasure from handing out the party bags at the end. 
J. X

Wednesday 8 May 2019

Early May

I don't know about you but I'm beginning to get quite used to the occasional three day weekend. One each month would be rather lovely and I've actually convinced myself that this is all it would take for me to become more organised, get on top of everything and have a little time left over simply for fun.

Just recently, I've found myself becoming overwhelmed once again. I feel like I'm being pulled in several different directions at once and I'm finding it difficult to focus, achieve anything remotely productive and then struggling to switch off, my sleep patterns being reflective of this. This is resulting in me feeling lethargic and sluggish, which is never good. I know that I always feel better for some fresh air and exercise, so last weekend I had made sure the house was clean, the supermarket shop had been done, I baked some sticky lemon cake and flapjack, then having spent the whole of the last week studying, the books and laptop were placed out of sight and we ventured outdoors.

I hadn't realised just how much I was in need of the break. We followed the sun to the coast and it felt wonderful to breathe in the sea air and leave any unnecessary stresses behind. We walked along the shoreline to where the pebbles meet the sand and enjoyed a picnic, sheltered from the cool, sea breeze. We had fun running up and down the sand dunes and simply relaxed, watching as the tide came in.

Having set off early in the day, there was plenty of time for a trip to the park and a walk up a hill, past the cafĂ© with it's beautiful display of wisteria, to the monument at the top. With it being such a bright, sunny day we chose to climb up to the viewing platform, which is accessed via a very steep, narrow, spiral staircase of 112 steps. I felt fine going up, but coming back down my legs felt wobbly. I discovered muscles I never knew I had and they've been aching ever since!

At least, on returning home, I could enjoy a lovely slice of homemade lemon cake with my mug of tea. I felt so much better for some fresh air and exercise. The overwhelming sensation of physical exhaustion was most welcome and strangely refreshing from having felt mentally fatigued.  I now realise the importance of factoring in more time like this, so  if anyone has any ideas on finding the elusive balance between work and play, or tips on becoming more organised generally, then I would genuinely love to hear them. X