A couple of months ago I filmed a video of a week in our lives. I really enjoyed doing it as I know that it will be such a treasured thing to look back on when the girls are grown up. We often document the days out, the holidays or the special milestones, but sometimes neglect to take a note of the every day. That's indeed why I started my ordinary moments project, to remember the good and bad parts of our daily life. I suppose in a way these videos are an extension of that, it's nice to be able to record the regular parts of our life.
I decided to make another one for the week just gone by. It's a lot longer than any of the previous videos I have made, but I love that we now have this record of just an ordinary week. I am thinking about doing them once a month, just picking a week each month to document and film. I am absolutely loving filming videos at the moment, I have been doing them of days out and special days for a fair while now, but it's fun doing other kinds as well. Just like with teaching myself photography, I love learning about using my camera for video, although I have a lot to learn. I find editing them really therapeutic too- just putting on some headphones, listening to music and getting lost in the world of my little family.
If you are new to this blog, aside from all that we are also having a year of adventures with Subaru. We have had our lovely white XV for almost six months now and it suits our family life perfectly. With this video you can see just how much we use our car and how much fun we have with it. Because at the end of the day a car isn't just for long trips to fun places- it's about the day to day times- using it for the school run, to do the food shop, to pick up emergency Calpol supplies for little girls who are under the weather, it almost becomes another part of the family.
So back to our week. We started the week in Alton Towers which was exceptionally wet but fun all the same. We then had a couple of days of work, which was overshadowed by finally finding out the school Mads would be going to, before having a lazy bank holiday weekend. The weekend was just what we all needed and we had a great time, especially on Saturday when we went into Cambridge for the day and just chilled out in the park, had some lunch at Pizza Express, and just generally had a nice time doing nothing in particular. They are often my favourite types of days.
So here we go, it's slightly longer than my usual videos, but here is an average week in this beautiful life we are leading raising our little girls. It's always hectic, sometimes stressful, but a lot of fun...
Before we had small people in our lives, I worked in the travel industry for many years as a Marketing Account Manager for the biggest online hotel website. Basically to cut a really long and boring story short, this meant I was responsible for all the hotels within a designated area. My area was the South West of the country and as part of my contract I was contracted to work away a week of the month and visit some of my hotels. One of the areas I looked after was Bristol and so I often went down there for a visit.
It was always one of those places I really enjoyed visiting- it's a really diverse and cultural city, plus it's ridiculously colourful and stylish. I hadn't been in a few years so when Visit Bristol invited us to stay for the weekend to see what the city had to offer for famillies, I couldn't wait to start planning.
On Friday afternoon we excitedly packed up our Subaru XV (perfect boot space for all our bags!) and headed off with two hyper little ladies. Unfortunately we couldn't have picked a worse weekend to go- from the second we arrived it basically rained non stop. It wasn't just rain however, it was full on gale force winds too. I wouldn't say it put a dampner on our weekend as we still had an amazing time, but it definitely meant we didn't see as much of Bristol as we liked. What we did find however, were some fantastic indoor activities for familiies- there is literally so much to do in all kinds of weather.
We actually started our weekend off on Friday evening when Mr E finished work (his last ever day at his job- eek!) and headed to Oxford which is half way between us and Bristol, just to stay in a Premier Inn for the evening. We did that usual parent thing of hiding out in the bathroom eating chocolate while the girls slept! Then it was up and off to Bristol first thing on Saturday morning.
I didn't think I had taken many photos due to the aforementioned weather, but in actual fact on inspection of my memory cards I found quite a few. Here is the first part of our weekend in Bristol in photos and a little video...
On arrival in Bristol we headed over to Clifton, a cute little suburb, to have some brunch. We found a cute little cafe called The Farm. (which just happened to be in front of us when it was torrential rain)
We have a tradition of having pancakes when we eat breakfast out so we all shared this stack of pancakes with maple syrup, fresh fruit and natural yoghurt- they were delicious.
While I had the chorizo eggs.
We checked into our room at the Marriott City Centre Hotel (where I actually had been to before as I had to give a presentation to over 70 people in my previous job- it bought back scary memories!) and the girls were really excited to be given some bags of popcorn by the hotel staff as there was a traditional old machine in the foyer. The Saturday afternoon was mainly spent dodging the rain and mooching round the shops.
After a quick change we headed out to dinner.
We headed to Glassboat for dinner, which is exactly that- a glassboat serving European cuisine offering panoramic views of the river. It was absolutely stunning inside and the girls were so excited to be eating dinner on a boat.
Posing outside the restaurant.
We had an early reservation meaning that we were able to watch the sun go down, which was gorgeous. The restaurant was lovely, but I wouldn't say it was massively child focused- they didn't have a separate children's menu but they did kindly do us a smaller plate of the butternut squash risotto for the girls. As it got later it became quite a romantic venue being that it was Saturday night, and they were the only little people in there. It didn't bother us as our girls are used to eating out and don't get up from the table but it's worth bearing in mind.
For my main I had the butternut squash en croute, roast chicory with a roquefort sauce, which was delicious.
On Sunday as the weather was dreadful we decided to head to At Bristol- an interactive science museum. We weren't sure whether it was going to be too old for the girls, but it turns out they absolutely loved it. There's so many hands on things for them to do and they loved playing with all the experiments. I love this photo of the wonder on their faces as they took turns in building a parachute and letting it fall to the ground. Their other favourites were the giant bubbles and the way you could milk a cow. You easily could spend a whole day there- it was brilliant.
After a morning at At Bristol we headed to a restaurant called Bordeaux Quay for lunch, which was a lovely deli, restaurant, bakery and cookery school on the harbourside. I love this photo of LL and Mr E doing a spot of colouring!
Testing her knowledge of all the Mr Men characters!
I had the pulled pork bun which was so yummy.
Followed by the creme brulee for pudding. I have this obsession for creme brulee at the moment which doesn't appear to be doing my fitness mission much good!
LL was fascinated by the fish and learnt two new words while we there- 'fishies' and 'turtle'. Her speech is still taking a while to come along but when she does say things it's the cutest thing ever.
After a busy day we headed back to the hotel. The girls and Mr E got room service while I went out for dinner with two of my favourite blogging friends Fritha and Lori, who live in Bristol. It was lovely to be able to get the chance to see them while we were down here, and we laughed all night long.
Here is a little video of our time in Bristol....
Part Two of our weekend coming soon!
NB: Visit Bristol invited us to stay for the weekend and gave us a media pass to enter some of the attractions. Although they gave us lots of information about Bristol, what we chose to do was up to us, and all thoughts and opinions are our own.
As a family there is nothing more we love than having adventures. I tweeted the other day that my eighty year old Grandparents were off to Thailand for a month, and lots of people commented saying wow and good on them. It's nothing new, they often head off to far flung places and have done a few times a year since I was small. But I think that's just it, I have grown up in a family where travelling and experiencing new things is just something we love to do, and I definitely get my passion for travel from my Grandparents. There's that word 'wanderlust' which is classed as a desire to wander or travel and explore the world and I think I have always had that.
That being said though, I am still always so happy to return home. While I do love to go away, I love to be at home even more. I thrive on routine and structure, so do my girls, and I love just going about our ordinary life. I get stressed and on edge if we are too busy, I definitely like being at home and just experiencing the simplest moments. I know that my girls will remember the holidays and the weekends away, but I also know that the things they will remember the most are the smallest and most ordinary of moments. Just being together as a family. An adventure doesn't have to be in a far flung place or away from home- we have mini adventures on a day to day basis. When you are four and two, a carpet picnic on the living room floor, or a trip to the garden centre to look at the rabbits, is just as much of an adventure as going away.
Last week we decided we would film our ordinary lives. It actually ended up being slightly more hectic than an average week. Monday I was in London for meetings with my fellow Space In Your Case ladies (spot the cameo from Alison!), Tuesday was a all day session at nursery for the girls and a day of work for me, (with a sneaky drink on my 'lunch break') Wednesday was LL's birthday, Thursday was a seven hour round trip up to Manchester for an all day meeting (plus a sneaky and delicious meal of tapas and chats with Charlotte), Friday was a quiet day with the girls and Saturday was a special trip out for LL's birthday. We wanted to document it all the same so in years to come we can look back and look at what a week in our day to day life looked like. Plus we wanted to show how much we use our Subaru XV on a daily basis too.
I only ever really film our days out or trips away, so this is a slightly different kind of video for me, and is a lot longer than my usual ones. But I know that one day we will look back and smile on what a random week in our lives looked like....
I know, I know it's January and people are sick of Christmas by now. The tree has been taken down, the new toys have all their found new places in the home, and people are thinking about Easter, at least they are if the Easter egg adverts that are already on television will have you believe. But I wanted to take a moment to reflect on our Christmas 2014.
We ended up having three Christmases this year- one with my Mum and that side of the family, one with Mr E's side and one with my Dad and his side. We aren't a large family by any means- although different members of the family popped in to say hello, but I am lucky enough to have all four of my Grandparents still around. This, coupled with the fact that my parents are divorced, means that we end up having a lot of different celebrations which of course is most welcome. The girls don't actually receive a lot of gifts from any one person, but inevitably with three sets of Grandparents, an Aunt, an Uncle, two step Aunties, two sets of Great Grandparents and some very close family friends, it does end up that they receive some truly lovely gifts.
As we have Mads birthday on Christmas Eve, it does end up that the girls are pretty hyper and tired on Christmas Day, but all in all we had a lovely time with my Mum's side of the family. We started off the celebrations with a Christmas Eve party at my Mum and Stepdad's house, where our close family friends came over. This has become a annual tradition and is pretty much my favourite part due to the anticipation. We stayed at my Mum's house for the night, before heading to my Grandparents house after a lazy Christmas morning in our PJ's. This year we came home to our house to sleep and had a quiet evening just myself and Mr E, which was actually quite welcome after the madness of tired, hyper children all day. Then we headed off to Manchester early on Boxing Day morning. We had a great, relaxing time up there, having another 'Christmas' on Boxing Day itself and a quiet lunch out on the 27th, before it was back home on the 28th for our third and final Christmas at my Dads.
We have really enjoyed some quality family time, after all that is exactly what it's all about for me, and we have all thoroughly switched off which was exactly what was needed. No one checked their emails, phones or social media for a good few days (apart from the odd instagram photo- you can't just abandon instagram!) and Mr E didn't go back to work until the 5th which was just lovely. We relaxed and enjoyed each other's company and I actually prefer the period between Christmas and New Year the most- the pace of life just slows down a little yet you are still in the throes of the holiday season.
Here is our Christmas in photos and a little video...
Hooray he has been. We put their main presents they have asked for from Father Christmas in their stocking, plus a couple of little bits too, which I know is a little different to others, it's just the way my Mum always used to do it. It does mean Father Christmas gets all the glory though- this year he bought Mads a big Buzz which she was after for absolutely ages.
Emptying their stockings. LL didn't really know what was going on and was most interested in the Peppa Pig bubbles that came in hers.
Matching Christmas PJ's with my sister and a cringey staged photo. Awkward. Sorry for putting this on the internet Anna.
I loved the girls beautiful Poppy England dresses they were wearing- here they are having a little dance while we were waiting for everyone to come outside to go to my Grandmas.
Such a pretty light- we were so lucky with the weather over Christmas as the sun shined the whole time even though it was freezing.
Curly, mop heads. Their hair is so frustrating to brush as it gets so tangled but I couldn't bear to cut it.
When I was younger, even as young as about 12, I was always allowed one Babycham only on Christmas Day. I wouldn't allow my girls to drink alcohol at that age but it was different then. My Grandpa got me some babycham to relive the good old days- I love it still!
I love a good brussel sprout and it's the rules that even though Mr E doesn't like them he has to have two- my Grandma checks to make sure he has them on his plate. ;)
Most of us don't like Christmas pudding so my Mum always gets this amazing Malteaser cheesecake from a local deli- it's absolutely delicious.
Christmas tree lights.
Boxing Day was spent at Mr E's Mum's with his side of the family. I love this photo of LL and her Baa as she really does take him everywhere with her.
All of a sudden she is just looking so grown up.
Our third and final Christmas was back in Cambridgeshire with my Dad.
I love this photo of my terrible twosome.
We always take (and treasure) some photos with my Grandparents- my Grandpa is 92 and my Nana is 89.
Here is a little video of our 'three Christmases'...