A little round up
I have been off work this week, I took Colin's 'week change over' (he works shifts) off so we could all have some time together and slow down the daily hand overs, lists of passed information and tag team. With lots of things planned and days with very little planned in equal measure, I was ready for some time with my little family. With working in retail it's my Christmas break and I felt like I was crawling to the finish line. I was literally craving proper time with the girls.
I don't often do these kinds of posts with what we have been up to but I would like to make them more of a thing, even just monthly. I want to document the days, put words to the pictures and really keep to the essence of why I started this blog.
So here's a few highlights from our week off together...
Clear wardrobe, clear mind.... or however the saying goes.
On Saturday I had a big clear out of Bella and Annie's wardrobe (they are growing like weeds and I can't keep up, neither can my bank balance!) I then started into my own wardrobe so it was a day of pjs on, hair up in a bun and getting stuff done.
I posted about it on my Instagram (you can read it here) as I couldn't help but feel a little guilty about getting time off work and spending it 'doing' though as a working mum when can you do these things other than our time off? Yes they may wait, but they are only waiting for one person.
I've came to the conclusion it's about being available for the kids wants and needs in between, it's a different kind of busy to the juggle when at work and it's just life, at least I was home and present. I'm managing my expectations of how often I can have 'slow moments' and just 'be' when so many plates are spinning. It's another pressure I don't need to add to myself right now and by going to work feeling more organised I'll be a less stressy mum and I think everyone's a winner there. I'm also managing the girls expectations too, amazingly fun days have mundane (normal) days in between... that's life.
Exploring our Doorstep
I take it for granted the beauty that's on our doorstep. We have been members of the National Trust now for 2 years and have had many amazing Sunday's in our coats and welly boats with a picnic in tow exploring some of Northern Ireland's most beautiful locations.
We both haven't been to the Giants Causeway since we were kids. After reading a story about Finn McCool to Bella she became fascinated and couldn't believe we lived so close. On Sunday we packed a small over night bag to 'go on an adventure' (in Bellas words) to see if we could find Finn McCool, however after watching this old advertisement on YouTube she knew he wouldn't be there as he was hibernating.
We couldn't have picked a better day, the sun was shining, there wasn't a cloud in the sky and it was pretty mild. We set off early to grab brunch in Portstewart before arriving at the Giants Causeway.
After some fun exploring the visitors centre and watching the story of Finn McCool on the cinema screen we headed on a guided tour (they run hourly). The girls both walked for over an hour from the top of a mountain to the Causeway itself, with not a peep out of them, hearing about the wildlife and stories as we went along.
Maybe it was due to the fact that we didn't have high expectations of the day as it was so local or the fact Annie woke up in the morning ready to fight with her shadow and when she's in that mood I'd rather take on Finn McCool himself, but the day was beautiful and one that is just such a tonic.
We stayed that night in the The Causeway Hotel, it was lovely to have a night away, no cooking, cleaning up after, no fuss. Someone once said I was mad staying so close to home but I think that's even better, reduces the travel too. Bella and Annie call getting a night away 'going on holiday' I have to agree with them. As we ate our dinner that evening we watched the sun set over the water, it was just the icing on the cake.
Bella confirmed, as we sat in the bar having a drink before heading to bed (at 8pm) 'the pub is so, so good. I love it' - wish us luck, I've a feeling we may need it.
As we were all sharing a room and needed both silence and darkness for the girls to sleep Colin and I sat on the floor in the bathroom, talking rubbish and drinking gin. Our bums were numb but our hearts were definitely happy!!
I get asked a lot for hotel recommendations and if you are touring the North Coast I'd recommend the The Causeway Hotel to stay in, it's decor is very traditional and has a lovely homely feel, the staff were fabulous (especially with the girls), food is incredible (I think every restaurant around the North Coast is fabulous) and the location is perfect.
We continued our adventure on Monday morning and drove around the coast stopping at Balintoy Harbour to 'go on a bear hunt' through the caves and then to the Dark Hedges. Colin was in charge of the driving and I sense a Game of Thrones theme here.
Something a little different.
A few weeks back Kathryn from Day and Age Films got in touch about doing a lifestyle film, a very unobtrusive document of our day to day and 'behind the scenes' as such. I jumped at the chance to do something creative together. I had the pleasure of meeting Kathryn before in work whilst creating a commercial film. I was amazed by the end result as during the day of filming I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary (creating a fabulous film on a busy Saturday in a supermarket is no easy task though she made it just that!)
I am hoping to start adding a few videos to the blog. I'm excited to try my hand a little at video editing although I can see how complex it is, I will give it a go anyway and I'll know when to call it a day if it looks like a prolonged dodgy snap chat video. I hope that the aim of one video per month will be manageable (time wise as much as anything else).
Keep your eyes peeled for the film, I got a sneaky peek at the raw/ unedited clips and I was so delighted with them alone. At one point while watching the footage I had a tear in my eye. I noticed as I reached across Bella to lift something she grabbed my arm and kissed it and as I was cutting flowers and adding them to vases with both her and Annie I noticed how they looked up at me, watching my every move. I miss so many little moments like this, I'm normally the one behind the camera recording the little moments so just having day to day moments documented with my girls that I'm faffing with flowers with them and chatting together is priceless for me and I'm sure someday in the future will be priceless to them.
I think it's always really hard returning to work and leaving your little ones after such an amazing time off with them, but I'm so glad for the quality time we spent together with a lovely mix of normal and extraordinary moments, I'm sure we have all banked great memories!