60 Days of Summer: Week 5

60 days of summer logoThis past week has been crazily busy. When I went through my diary last Sunday, we had something scheduled in every single day, and all of those things were out-and-about things. So it’s been a really fun week.Sunday 10th

Sunday was our Godson, Sebastian’s, first birthday party and dedication. We are really good friends with Carina and Andre, his parents, and they are godparents to Ben. We were privileged to be asked to be his godparents, and we really enjoyed visiting our old church for his dedication. Tim and I prayed over him during the service, and Ben had a great time too.

His party was lovely – an animal themed party in the church hall. Carina made an amazing lion cake, which Ben thought was brilliant. It was lovely to meet so many of Carina and Andre’s friends too, many of whom I had heard about but never met. 

Monday 11th

On Monday, I met up with my Sister in Law, Pippa, and my Brother in Law, Si, and their three children. We went to the viewing park at Manchester Airport. The children really enjoyed the play area and running around through puddles, and I think Si probably enjoyed the plane-spotting most.

Tuesday 12th

Another place on my ‘Places to go before we leave Manchester’ list was Dunham Massey. We’ve been several times, but I really wanted to go around the house as it is currently being the ‘Stamford Military Hospital,’ as it was during WW1. We met Tim’s parents there, and they kindly looked after Ben while I toured the house, which was excellent. I’m hoping to do a separate blog post on it when I have the time, so I’ll leave you with this photo of a deer. The deer were the most settled, and the closest to the house, that I’ve ever seen them. 

Wednesday 13th

 

On Wednesday, we went to Reddish Vale Farm with some of our NCT friends. Ben had a new splash suit that he was very proud of, and spend more time playing in the soft play area than actually feeding the animals. But we got him and Ariana to share a bucket of carrots and pose from some photos. 

Thursday 14th

We did do exciting things on Thursday – swimming and a play date – but I didn’t take any photos. So I took a photo of our trusty car going over 185,000 miles on the clock. Let’s hope it lasts until we move house!

Friday 15th

On Friday, I took Ben to ‘Play and Cake’ at the Chill Factore, Manchester’s ski slope, with real snow. This is a session aimed at under 4s, and is a combination of soft play and snow play. Again, I’d like to do a blog post about this, but let’s just say it was really good fun. 

We went to the Trafford Centre after this. I was hoping Ben would fall asleep in his buggy; he didn’t. Instead, he played in the Barton Square Beach – a huge sandpit, where buckets and spades are provided. Fortunately, he was then so exhausted that he didn’t protest too much as I dragged him round the home shops.

Saturday 16th

On Saturday, we headed over to Liverpool to celebrate our nephew Luke’s 6th birthday. He was on holiday in South Africa for his actual birthday, so he had his cake in the shape and design of the South African flag. Ben loves seeing his cousins, and we had a great time with our family. 

Andre, Carina and Sebastian came over for dinner on Saturday evening, which was lovely. We now have only 5 days left (all being well) in this house, so packing is well underway.

I think I will be taking a break with 60 days of summer for a couple of weeks while we move, and until we get our broadband set up. Instead, I’ll leave you with a photo along the lines of the next week.

Boxes

 

 

 

60 Days of Summer: Week 4

60 days of summer logo

This has been a week of birthdays in our home. We went to a 2nd birthday party on Sunday, and Ben had an incredible time on the bouncy castle.

Sunday 3rd Aug

Ben also met up with some of his friends from his old nursery, which was hilarious as he remembered them. Thanks for inviting us to your party, Annabella!

On Monday, it was Ben’s 2nd birthday. We had three of his cousins, his grandparents and his Aunt and Uncle over for the morning and for lunch. He absolutely loved opening all his presents, and did recognise that his hurriedly-made cake was a dinosaur. I got to meet my newest nephew, Joseph, as well, so I enjoyed some baby-cuddles before my own son got too jealous.

Monday 4th Aug

 

On Tuesday, we took his new balance bike out to the park for a bit of a practice. Ben just loves pushing it along.

SONY DSC

We also visited the National Football Museum in Manchester, which was fun, and also heard that we have exchanged contracts on our new house, hooray!

On Wednesday, we had a quieter day and stayed at home. We did lots of painting and playing with glue and glitter.

Wednesday 6th AugOn Thursday, we went swimming and then went to the park in the afternoon. I went out for dinner with my NCT friends, and completely meant to take a photo of us for the blog. However, we were so engrossed in catching up that I completely forgot. So instead, here is a photo of Ben on the roundabout at the park.

Thursday 7th AugOn Friday, we went to a place I have been meaning to go to for ages, Brookside Garden Centre in Poynton, where they have a miniature railway. Ben is train-obsessed, and this place was perfect for him: a train-themed play area, a shop for all your Thomas the Tank Engine based requirements, and a really good miniature railway. Rides were a bit pricey at £1.80 for all over 2s (should have gone last week), but he absolutely loved it. It’s also a lovely garden centre, with lots of playhouses and a good aquatic centre where were spent a while watching the fish. I think we’ll try to go back before we go.

Friday 8th AugSaturday was the day before my birthday, so I arranged to go out for brunch with some of my best friends to The Ash Tea Rooms. If you haven’t been to The Ash, I highly recommend it: in a converted hotel, you will find a chocolatier, a cake-decorating business, and a gorgeous tea room. The food is excellent, and the cakes are divine.

Again, it was lovely to catch up with the girls, and really lovely to have some grown-up time – we actually managed to have whole, complete conversations, and the only distraction was the food.

Saturday 9th AugI hope you’ve all had a lovely week too. I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to.

 

 

 

 

 

60 Days of Summer: Week 3

 

60 days of summer logo

 

This week, we had our holiday in Northumberland. We went with my parents, my sister and brother-in-law, and my parents’ dog, Petra.

I love Northumberland. Tim knows it really well, having studied there, and we went 3 years ago for a weekend celebrating our wedding anniversary. So when my parents suggested going for a week for our family holiday, we signed up straight away.

We live quite a long way from my parents, so having a holiday together for a week in the summer is a great way for them to spend lots of quality time with Ben. We had a great time in Essex last year, and a great time this year. UK holidays are excellent when you have a small child: you can take your car, you don’t have to worry about the heat, things are familiar enough for the child to be happy and it’s easy to arrange a doctor’s visit or a babysitter if necessary.

 

Sunday 27th July.jpgThe house we stayed at was in Warkworth, and part of Tidal Properties. It was right next to the river, so on the first day we hired a boat and rowed upstream. Ben hated the first five minutes but loved it as soon as he got to help row. We didn’t let the men row the whole time, but they were a bit more skilled than my mum and I! I should also point out that in the photo we had our coats on because of a very short shower; the rest of the day was beautifully sunny.

Monday 28th July.jpg

The one place everyone wanted to go to was Alnwick castle, so we planned this for Monday. Tim and I had been before as it was our main destination on our anniversary weekend. There was one reason for this, originally: some of the first two Harry Potter films were shot there. With me being a massive Harry Potter fan, we spend most of our time on that visit in the castle. This time, as it was a beautiful day and we had Ben with us, we only visited the gardens.

Alnwick gardens were surely designed with children in mind. These fantastic dumper trucks were occupied all day, and Ben was lucky to grab one as soon as we arrived. The children can scoop up water from the fountain and then redistribute it elsewhere. There was also a scheduled water fight, as well as loads of interactive water features. The rest of the gardens are both fascinating and beautiful.

We were lucky enough to grab a table at the Treehouse cafe for lunch, which was much more reasonably priced than I expected. We eventually left around 2.30pm, with Ben falling asleep in his pushchair on the way back to the car. I cannot remember the last time he just fell asleep in his buggy, so he must have been suitable exhausted.

Tuesday 29th July.jpg

With family holidays, we’ve found it works well to alternate busy days with quiet ones, so we spend Tuesday pottering on Warkworth beach. Northumberland beaches are beautifully sandy, and with hardly anyone there. This was really the first time Ben has spent much time on the beach, and in between building sandcastles, paddling, collecting shells and pebbles, running and flying a kite, he had the time of his life.

I love this photo of my sister – you can really see her baby bump!

Wednesday 30th July.jpg

On Wednesday, we went to The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, which gets cut off from the main land at high tide. This is a really beautiful, dramatic place, with the ruins of a medieval priory and a castle in a stunning landscape.

Thursday 31st July.jpg

We had another day on the beach on Thursday. Ben also tried beach cricket with his Dad, Grandad and Uncle Simon. We also booked a babysitter and went out for a grown-ups only meal.

Friday 1st Aug.jpg

 

Friday was the only rainy day we had on holiday. After a morning trip to Craster and Seahouses, we had a little family party for Ben, who turned 2 on 4th August. Tim baked and decorated this cake, with a seaside theme. The party was complete with Pass the Parcel and ‘Hop Little Bunnies,’ and everyone joined in.

On Saturday we headed home after a lovely holiday. When I was putting Ben to bed, I realised I hadn’t taken a photo of him that day, so I snapped this quickly as he was brushing his teeth.

Saturday 4th Aug.jpg

 

I’m not very keen on the quality of my photos in WordPress at the moment. If anyone can give me any advice, please let me know!