#Throwback Thursday: Holiday in Yorkshire and Lancashire

A version of this post first appeared on my old blog. As it’s holiday season, I’m re-posting a blog about a family holiday. I’m rather surprised I first posted this without any photos, but I can’t even find any from that holiday on Facebook. Settle Play Barn has closed down but I’ve left in that part of the blog post because the girls liked Nana Pat’s crafts so much.

We spent the week in a farm cottage on the border of Lancashire and Yorkshire.  The complex had won an eco-tourism award and I’m unsure whether that enhanced or detracted from our holiday.  Tap water came from a bore hole, and stank of sulphur.  They had to drain the hot water system so Munchkin and her cousin could have a bath without chunks of sediment floating in it.  The decor also seemed a little tired and dusty – maybe that’s more environmentally friendly than regular painting and dusting.  That said, there was an on-site indoor pool that went down really well with the kids.

We’ve visited some lovely kiddy-friendly tourist attractions this week, and had a fabulous meal out for our wedding anniversary:

Tourist Attractions:

  1. Skipton Castle – Munchkin has wanted to visit a castle for a while.  Skipton Castle didn’t disappoint.  There’s just enough information to keep pre school children interested.  The castle is compact enough for toddlers and those with restricted mobility to walk round without getting exhausted.  We left with the obligatory toy sword!  The best thing is, it’s free for under 5s.
  2. Thornton Hall Country Park – This farm park had some extras that we hadn’t experienced before.  The children collected eggs (though Munchkin was disappointed they weren’t chocolate!), fed animals, and went on a barrel ride.  There was a toddler music and yoga group there, which Munchkin enjoyed whilst her cousin staged a walkout.  Munchkin’s favourite things were bottle-feeding the lambs, and milking the pretend cow.
  3. Bowland Wild Boar Park was on a similar theme to Thornton Hall, but some of the animals were more exotic, and the play equipment more varied, albeit outdoor.  Munchkin milked another imitation cow, and cuddled a chick.  She refused to feed the lambs – I think they were more boisterous than the Thornton Hall ones.  This was probably our most expensive trip of the week.
  4. Settle Play Barn – We were a tad put off by the industrial nature of the Play Barn when we first arrived.  This was soon forgotten when Nana Pat arrived!  Pat is a former playgroup leader and runs children’s craft sessions at the Play Barn once a week.  We stayed all morning, and the girls didn’t really bother with the soft play.  Pat got the kids making fathers’ day cards and gifts.  Munchkin and her cousin  made gift after gift.  Pat even stayed late so they could finish an extra item.  They also went outside to watch the steam train that runs past the Play Barn’s back door.  The soft play is OK – we’ve probably been to better, but the activities make up for that. The food is quite tasty too.

Fine Dining
We went to The Box Tree in Ilkley for our anniversary dinner.  The food and the service were superb.  If it wasn’t so far from home, I’d love to go back.


Reblog: Holidays with Kids. Reality vs Expectation – My Family Home

This summer we went to France camping with our 2 rugrats. It will be fun! I said to myself, the kids will play happily in a safe campsite with lots of other French enfants. They will pick up the language so easily by the time we return home they will be fluent. Mr familyhomeblog and […]

via Holidays with kids. Reality versus expectation  — My Family Home

I really like this post from Jules. Please take a look at her blog and let her know what you think. The difference between reality and expectation when it comes to children definitely rings true with me.

My Liebster Award Post

I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Lisa, who has decided not to write any more after her third nomination! Thanks for the nomination, Lisa. 🙂


Here are my answers to Lisa’s questions:

1. What inspired you to start writing your blog?

I’ve blogged on and off for over ten years. My first blog was more of a diary, connected to MSN Messenger, and could only be viewed by my friends – maybe I’ll share an old post on Throwback Thursday at some point. I guess I wrote it because I lived alone and lacked anyone to talk to. I later wrote a pregnancy blog, mainly as a record of what was going on at the time. My more recent forays into blogging have been as a way to keep writing, and also to promote myself as a writer now that I’d like to get some of my work published.

2. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what book would it be?

I rarely read the same book more than once. One of the exceptions to that rule is Brighton Rock by Graham Greene. I think I’m drawn to it because it depicts Brighton, a place I’ve been familiar with all my life, at a particular period in time. I’d love to go on a Brighton Rock tour to see all the places where the book is set.

3. What is your favourite Disney film?

The Aristocats. It was old when I was a child, but has stood the test of time. Munchkin and her friends love it as much as I did.

4. Which of your blog posts are you most proud of?

A Gap in the Market, because it describes a goal I’d like to achieve. I went on to achieve it, after being inspired by other bloggers. Also the posts about shoe shops in my home town because they attracted so many views.

5. Who is your favourite film/TV show character and why?

I’m not sure she’s my favourite, but I like Rey in Star Wars because she’s a strong female character.

6. If you could spend the day with three celebrities, who would they be?

I’d probably pick three comedians, since I like a good laugh. If Victoria Wood was still alive, she would definitely be one of them. I also like Dave Gorman and Tim Minchin.

7. What is your favourite thing about blogging?

The ease with which I can write something and put it out there for anyone to read.

8. Do you prefer to be in front of the camera, or behind it?

Behind it. I’m shy and rarely like the way I look in photos.

9. What is your favourite animal?


10. What was your dream job when you were a child?

When I was really young, I wanted to be an artist. As a teenager, I wanted to be a journalist.

11. What is one thing you have learned since you started blogging?

It sometimes feel like I’m learning a whole new language. I now know what a “linky” is. Otherwise known as a link party, it’s an opportunity for bloggers to share links to posts on a particular theme. There are still many aspects of the language – should we call it bloguage? – that I don’t understand. For instance, what on earth is DA followed by a number?

I nominate…

  1. Shoshi – Shoshi Reads
  2. Courtney – Paperback Beaches
  3. Kat – Frau Naish
  4. Jules – My Home Family Blog
  5. Passport and Pixels
  6. Lucy – Lucy Goes Dating
  7. Luisa – Films, Fish Fingers & Football

Liebster seems to do things in groups of eleven, so I need four more people. If I haven’t tagged you and you fancy having a go, please do so anyway.

My questions…

  1. How long have you been blogging?
  2. What is your favourite book?
  3. Do you have children?
  4. What is your blog about?
  5. What makes you laugh out loud?
  6. Do you blog on WordPress, Blogger or another platform?
  7. Do you have any blogging goals?
  8. Did you have a favourite childhood toy?
  9. Tell me an interesting fact about yourself.
  10. Do you listen to the radio? If so, what’s your favourite radio station?
  11. Do you have a favourite food?

Once you have answered these questions, nominate your favourite new bloggers (or those with less than 500 followers) and write eleven of your own questions for them to answer. I’m looking forward to reading your answers. Don’t forget to leave comments and follow all blogs linked (as well as mine) in order to fully complete the Liebster award!

Tag me on Twitter or Facebook, or leave me a comment when you write your Liebster Award post, as I’d love to read it.

Reblog: 12 Easy Steps to beat procrastination

Procrastination can be a huge problem for writers. Here are some easy tips and tactics from professional writers to banish this monster forever! 1) Rise up and move You need to change your mindset so you can get back to work as soon as possible. Challenges will only prove difficult when you don’t attempt to…

via 12 Easy Steps To Beat Procrastination — Bang2Write

Of course, I never procrastinate so I don’t really need this article. Well, OK, maybe I do a little bit. Perhaps if I managed not to procrastinate, I would have written twice as much and not talked myself out of submitting most of it.

#ThrowBackThursday: Arriving in Auckland

Today’s throwback is from my 2008 New Zealand travel journal. I’ve edited it slightly as I think my writing style was more wordy back then, and I liked brackets and exclamation marks!

I arrived in Auckland airport to discover that my brand new case had been completely ripped apart by baggage handlers, so my first stop was the Baggage Services office, where Air New Zealand provided me with a new case that was slightly larger and appeared to be better quality than the one they’d destroyed.

We were going to stay with friends of the family: Andrew and Kay.  Kay was there to meet us soon after we came through customs.  It’s just as well she recognised me, as I was unsure I’d spotted the right person, having last seen her some years ago! She took us to One Tree (or to be more precise No Tree) Hill and Mount Eden, where we were able to get good views of the city.  We then went back to her house in Mount Eden, where we met her daughters and Lacey the cat.

In the afternoon, Kay dropped us off in Parnell, where we wandered around the shops (mainly arty shops and boutiques) and had lunch.  We then made our way to Auckland museum, where we saw a Maori concert, and various displays that I can’t quite recall (museums really aren’t my thing!).  We then walked across Auckland domain (it’d be called a park back home!) to see the winter gardens and fernery.  The winter gardens are pretty, and it’s free to get in, which is always a bonus!

winter gardens, auckland

Kay picked us up, and we went back to her house, where we met Andrew and their two sons.  By dinner time I was getting really and kept having micro sleeps at the dining table!  I nodded off holding a glass of wine, which I tipped all over myself. I managed to stay up until 9pm, then went to bed, closely followed by everyone else.

Hotpod Yoga Comes to #Worthing – my latest post on Worthing Mums

A new hotpod yoga studio has opened in Worthing, and owner Katie invited Worthing Mums to come and try it out. She has a special offer for our readers if you’d like to try it too. With hot yoga, the heat enables muscles to stretch more, opening up into tighter areas safely, as well as……

via Review: Hotpod Yoga Comes to Worthing —

As well as writing my own blog, I sometimes write for Worthing Mums. My most recent post is a review of the new Hotpod yoga studio that has opened in Worthing. I’ve practised yoga for some time, but hot yoga is a a completely different experience. Open the link to find out more.

My guest post on Queer Little Family

After a shower. When Bread listed the subjects her blog covers, I decided to write about cats. Since my own blog Dog Days and Delights relates to parenting and creative writing, and the other blog that I write for is Worthing Mums (the clue’s in the name), my cat doesn’t get much of a look…

via Guest Post: Another Village…Another Cat — Queer Little Family

Here is my guest post on Queer Little Family. Like me, Bread blogs about parenting and she writes poetry and fiction. The subjects on her blog are pretty diverse and include cats, LGBT, and mental health issues. I don’t think my cat has forgiven me for posting a picture of her when she came out of the shower. So I thought I’d offer her some redress and write a blog post about her. I’d recommend checking out Queer Little Family, as Bread writes some interesting stuff.


#ThrowBackThursday: Counting Magpies

I’ve decided to post a throwback post once a week. This will be either a blog post or journal that I’ve written at some point in the past. Some will still be available in the depths of the internet, others will have never seen the light of day before. Today’s is from my 2011/12 pregnancy blog.

Being pregnant makes me superstitious.  Is that normal?  My “new best friend” Heidi Murkoff doesn’t seem to have anything to say on the subject.  I’ve heard of people not wanting to buy things for the baby too early in case they “tempt fate” and I’m probably with them on that, but with me it’s all about the magpies (and I don’t mean Newcastle United).

It started last year, when I was about six weeks pregnant and waiting for a scan which would tell me whether my pregnancy was viable.  I looked out of the kitchen window and saw a magpie on the fence.  I’ve never seen a magpie in my garden before or since and the phrase “one for sorrow” sprung to mind.  I can’t say I was surprised when I was told I’d had a miscarriage at my scan a few days later.

This pregnancy, I seem to have spent a lot of time saluting solitary magpies.  Apparently you only need to salute the first one of the day, but it’s still quite time consuming.  Quite often, I’ve saluted a magpie only to find he has a mate.  Surely a good sign…”two for joy” and all that!  On several occasions, I’ve seen three magpies (“three for a girl”) together and once or twice four (“four for a boy”).  The threes outnumber the fours, and if I’m being honest, I’d prefer a girl so I’m hoping the magpies are right!

Last week I had my combined screening for Downs Syndrome, and was told I’d receive a phone call if I was high risk.  I knew I was low risk because I saw two magpies and a black cat crossed my path when I was on my way to work.

Well, I’m off to count magpies, avoid ladders, dodge the number 13 and not wear green.   I’m just glad that I won’t be having my baby in the same maternity hospital as my sister-in-law, where a tame magpie perches on the window sill outside the maternity ward every day.