A Weekend With Friends

A couple of weeks ago my best friend and her husband came to stay with us for the weekend.  It had been over a year since we last saw them and we’d been trying to arrange it for months and months and months.  They live three hours away in Southampton, she is very close to completing her PhD and her husband is a Doctor and works a lot of shifts.  Combine that with my busy life of raising the girls and working, plus my husband working shifts too and it’s rare that we all get a weekend off together at the same time.  (Since they came to stay we’ve already been having conversations about planning the next visit and at the moment we’re looking closer to 2017 than this year!)

So when we do get to see them we really try and make the most of it and this weekend visit was no exception.  They arrived late on the Saturday afternoon, so we spent that afternoon and evening catching up on all the news we’d missed out on over the last fourteen months – we talked and talked and talked.

I know it’s a bit of a cliché but I love that we can quite literally pick up from where we left off last time and it’s like we haven’t been apart.  She’s been my best friend for 25 years (since we were 8 years old) and even if we go for what feels like forever without even so much as a text exchanged between us I know that she’ll be there for me and I’ll be there for her.  We were bridesmaids at each other’s weddings, she came to my Dad’s funeral to support me and I’ve been there for her when she’s been through difficult emotional times.

Sunday dawned beautifully warm and sunny, so we planned to go for a walk and a picnic at one of my favourite places – Seven Springs on Cannock Chase (which we call The Stepping Stones).  We try and go somewhere new each time they visit and I knew that they would love this little piece of heaven that we’re lucky enough to live so close to.

Before we left though, my best friend announced with a mischievous twinkle in her eye that she’d brought her face paints with her.  Cue instant delighted squeals from the girls 🙂  They insisted that she and I joined in too and we thought “Why not?!”.  Once we were all decorated we headed out for a day of fun 🙂

Here are some of the photos I took on the day.  (Warning: I really love all of them and found it very difficult to narrow down which ones I wanted to include so there are quite a lot!)

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The littlest one having her face painted

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Twins!

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All three girls absolutely delighted with their newly decorated and very pretty faces

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Of course we had to have a photo of me in there as evidence that I had my face painted too

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My best friend and I

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Setting off on the path to The Stepping Stones

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Even over the course of just a short walk the landscape changes so much

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There was beautiful heather everywhere

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All three girls love James, my best friend’s husband, but Lola in particular took a bit of a shine to him. Here they were apparently chatting about “flowers and trees and birds and the sound of the wind” according to Lola.

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We made it to the Stepping Stones!

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Piggy-back rides to avoid getting wet feet (it didn’t work!)

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Eating our picnic at the clearing by the Stepping Stones

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Having a well-deserved rest. MY girls call them ‘Aunty Rachel’ and ‘Uncle James’. There is no blood relation between Rachel and I but I consider her to be the sister I never had – I love that my girls consider them to be family too.

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