Thursday, 17 May 2018

Into the Woods

I feel as though I've hardly stopped lately. Not that my life is  fabulously busy doing wonderfully exciting things, far from it. It's just regular family life, those day to day mundane chores and the general business of trying to keep on top of them all. It is so good (and necessary), therefore, to take the opportunity for some time out now and again, and what better way to feel more grounded  and to engage with nature than to take a walk in the woods, especially at this time of the year.

Last weekend was wonderful, and relaxing though it was,  it still required a certain amount of organisation and planning. With already having made plans for the following day, last Saturday we decided to stay close to home and enjoy one of our favourite walks through the woods.
We followed the track alongside a shallow stream on the edge of some farm land, before trecking across the fields to reach the sheltering canopy of the trees.

The trees are really coming back to life now, with the fresh new leaves  such a stunning and vibrant shade of green. The  still, warm air with it's damp, earthy woodland fragrance  occasionally gave way to the pungent aroma of wild garlic and then, as we turned a corner the woodland floor suddenly became the most gorgeous shade of blue. There were swathes of Bluebells as far as the eye could see, woven amongst the trees, although sadly, no matter how hard I tried to take a decent photograph, I  couldn't quite manage to capture the intensity of their colour.

After a game of Pooh Sticks we  enjoyed our usual snack break, the sunlight still managing to make it's way through the light covering of the tree tops. Our walk nearly complete it was lovely just to stop for a while and take it all in.
I expect you're wondering about the balloon. When we started out on our walk, we discovered it gently tangled in the hedge alongside the stream. With Lily's birthday being this week, it was as if it had been left there just for her. So as well as not wanting it to cause harm to any wildlife, we brought it home with us.
J. X

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Blissful Weekend

I don't know if it was the same for everyone, but the weather here last weekend was simply glorious. It was such an unexpected surprise, as predictably for a Bank Holiday weekend, the original forecast for us wasn't great. And doesn't some sunshine make all the difference? We spent most of every day outside having fun, and it was for the very first time that I could see Lily's disappointment at the thought of having to return to school on Tuesday morning. We had such a relaxing time we could be forgiven for thinking we were on holiday.

On Saturday Lily was at a party for a couple of hours , so while she was being entertained it was fish and chips by the beach for me. They are not something I eat very often but accompanied by some fresh sea air and eaten with one of those little wooden forks they are so delicious.
The rest of the day was spent in the garden.  The vegetables don't appear to be making much progress but the same cannot be said of our little trees! The Oak tree and Horse Chestnut are coming on a treat with the warmer weather. These were grown from an acorn and a conker we picked up on our walks so I do hope they continue to grow and thrive.

Dinner that evening was leftover Thai fish curry from the previous night. This meant, very little work for me, and therefore, a tidy kitchen. Being such a small space it looks so much lighter and brighter in there with the evening sunshine.

On Sunday we decided to go for a short walk in the Lakes. We were fortunate in that we were awake nice and early, so set off in good time and managed to avoid any busy traffic. The pathway up the hillside is a short, steep climb but once through the cool shade of the trees the views are worth it and it has the advantage of the small tarn which is ideal for cooling off with a paddle. It would also be the perfect spot for a picnic, but instead we chose to eat on our way down at our favourite high bench, so it involved a bit of leg swinging.

As far as Lily is concerned, hot, sunny weather means a day at the beach, so on Monday morning after hunting out the bucket and spade from the back of the shed, that's exactly where we went and spent several hours relaxing, collecting shells and making sand castles. It felt so good to feel the sand between my toes, although after we had both laid down on the beach to make sand angels it was in lots of other places too!
Once home again, with the paddling pool up in the garden for Lily, I set about making some Focaccia using Mitzi's recipe here. It was so simple, didn't take long, and served with some some cheese, olives and a glass of white wine, eating out in the garden was the perfect, indulgent way to end such a lovely weekend.
J. X

Monday, 30 April 2018

Cycling by the Sea

Last weekend, with the promise of a 🌞 sunny 🌞 day ahead of us, we planned another bike ride. The main idea being to head somewhere a little quieter this time so there was more chance of me being able to enjoy a slightly more relaxing ride.

It was very chilly early in the morning, I'd hoped it would have been warmer so we didn't have to set off wearing our jackets. I needn't have worried however, as by the time I'd packed up our lunch and  the bikes were loaded into the van, it had soon warmed up and a light fleece top was all that we required.

We set off on our way and the track was quiet, just dog walkers and other cyclists greeted us so I wasn't as worried about  Lily's occasional  lapses in concentration. It was lovely and peaceful and the local wildlife appeared in abundance. We saw so many butterflies, a heron, a squirrel, and even a weasel crossed our path, which was exciting for me as I'd never seen one before.
Approximately four miles into our route we stopped at a bench for our lunch. Is it me or do sandwiches always taste better when they are part of a picnic, even when they are a little squashed? Tummies satisfied, we  briefly enjoyed the sea views and warm salty air before Lily urged us to push on further. I think she enjoys riding her bike. That, and the promise of an ice cream at our destination probably helped.

Two miles further down the track and with the chocolate ice cream having been given a few licks (she likes the idea of them rather than the reality) Lily decided she was getting a bit tired and asked to be attached to the back of my bike for the return journey, which considering she had already ridden six miles all by herself was probably a good idea - those little legs had worked hard, although the faster ride back was a lot of fun for her too and the warmth of the sun on our backs felt lovely. Of course, the moment we arrived home, what did she do? She went out on her bike! I was exhausted, so sat down with a mug of tea.

This past week has been busy. Good busy. I have managed to complete some more tidying and my wardrobe has had a good clear out, but there is still a long way to go until I feel on top of things in the house. It is still very much a work in progress, but I am finally seeing a difference which feels very satisfying.

For various reasons this week, time for myself has been limited but I have tried to grab a moment here and there given the opportunity - time to complete a little bit more of my crochet, read another chapter of my book, a treat of some fresh flowers, chance to get out for a run.  I am relieved to be feeling 100% better now and with my 10K run in five weeks time (eek!) I really need to get some more training in and hopefully begin to feel stronger.
J. X