I absolutely love having my girls home from school for the holidays. Relaxed mornings, no schedule to stick to and the chance to spend some quality time together. February half term can be a bit of a tricky one to know what to do with though: there isn’t the excitement of all the festivities to keep the girls occupied like there is during the Christmas holidays; the weather is usually pretty miserable; and the freedom and long days of summer still feel like they’re a long way away. I’ve struggled quite a lot with my mood this winter (which seems to be lasting forever) and I’ve been craving time outdoors – my body’s way of telling me it desperately needs some Vitamin D.
As a family we’ve stayed fairly close to home throughout January and February (though I’ve had a couple of excursions across the country for various events) and whilst I think the girls have needed the downtime it’s been all to easy to fall into the habit of too much screen time. Because of the distinct lack of family adventures over the last couple of months I was absolutely determined that the girls and I would have some quality time outdoors together during the week-long break from school, partly to allow us all to unplug a bit and also to reconnect with each other. Being stuck indoors for months on end inevitably leads to more bickering and it felt like we’d lost some of the closeness we’d built up during the autumn months and our trip-of-a-lifetime to Walt Disney World in Florida back in October.
I’ve learnt from experience that leaving it until the day to decide what to do doesn’t work so well for us, because everyone ends up wanting to do different things and we end up going nowhere. Instead we made a little plan of the places we wanted to go and figured out when we were going to visit them in between the other commitments. As a result we’ve ended up spending more time out and about in one week than we have for the whole of the last two months, and it’s been wonderful. We’ve been quite lucky with the weather too – it’s been dry and whilst some days have been grey and cold there have been pockets of sunshine and promises of Spring.
My Mum came up to stay for the first weekend of half term and we headed out for a walk along the canal and into a little area of woodland that the girls love to visit so they can climb trees. We finished off our stroll with coffee and cake at Canalside Farm Café and a trip to the farm shop. A perfect way to spend a Sunday 🙂
One of our favourite places to visit in any season is Trentham Gardens and it had been months and months since we’d last been, something that I’d really wanted to rectify during half term. We spent a happy afternoon wandering through the gorgeous gardens, playing in the adventure playground and exploring the lakeside walk.
Our final little adventure of the half term break was to meet Laura from Little Ladies Big World and her two daughters, Eva and Roma, at Wolseley Wildlife Centre. I love Laura’s blog – her photos are beautiful, her words are always honest and she just comes across as the loveliest person. I’ve been wanting to meet her for ages and I’m so glad that we were able to arrange it.
It’s always quite odd meeting someone in real life that you’ve been ‘friends’ with online for a while – you know a lot about what’s going on in their world even though you’ve never spoken a word to each other. I’m pleased to say that of course Laura is just as genuinely lovely in real life as she is online and I hope that we can consider each other real life friends now too. Eva and Roma are so sweet and my girls completely fell in love with them. Lola and Eva, with almost exactly a year between them, were instant friends, whilst Mimi took little Roma under her wing, bless her. It was good to revisit Wolseley too – we haven’t been for several years now and we ended up spending about three hours there, the girls making their own entertainment as we wandered around and chatted. I’m already looking forward to the next time we meet up.
It really has been such a good week and I think we all feel much better for having been outside in the fresh air so much. The girls went back to school this morning and I’m already counting down the days to the Easter holidays – five weeks to go!
As the weather gets better I’m sure we’ll be heading out for family adventures more regularly and I can’t wait to see the other places we’re hoping to explore. There are still a lot of National Trust properties we’ve not been to yet so I think they will be top of our list. I’m so looking forwards to seeing blossom and leaves on trees and being able to go out wearing less than four layers. Roll on Spring!