Flora has gone back to school today and I’m missing her so much already. But reflecting on our fantastic summer holidays, we crammed so much into just six short weeks. Trips away, catch ups with friends, arts and craft activities, fun and games, we’ve got some really golden memories – here are a just a few of my favourites (warning: this is quite a loooong post!)
Taking Flora for a fun pony morning at our local riding stables in Frome. She LOVED it! Having to groom, muck out, tack up, and ride a pony for three hours (albeit on one of the hottest days of the year) was an experience she still talks about now. And, of course, she wants to start riding lessons again too… bye bye money…
Going to see The Incredibles 2. Huge tubs of popcorn, sweets, and drinks. Just her and me. A proper Mother-Daughter date.
Visiting our friends in Dundee. We go every year and every year it’s better. From the most amazing ice creams in Broughty Ferry, to the glorious beach at Kinshaldy. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen plenty of beach pictures spam #sorrynotsorry 🙂
Not forgetting all the animals at Camperdown Zoo, and the fabulous Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow. Fun fact: the Museum was built back to front because the builders got the plans the wrong way round!
Catching up with some very dear friends from Flora’s nursery days. We only see them once a year in the summer holidays but it’s one of those lovely friendships where the kids and mums both slot straight back together. Just as if we saw each other last week. This time we went to Shearwater, a fabulous freshwater lake and surrounding woods on the Longleat Estate for a picnic. Heaven for the kids to run around in, and with a sweet little tea shop for a cream tea too.
Enjoying time with visiting family. Flora’s eldest sister and her daughter came to stay with us for a few days but rather than race around taking them to lots of attractions, we decided to show them around where we live. So into Frome, with all its independent shops, into Bath (obviously), and over to Bradford-on-Avon for a stroll around the canal and workshops there.
I think it’s easy to forget how much there is to treasure when it’s right on your doorstep, and we all really loved staying local.
Visting our friends on their farm and playing with their goats. Honestly, I had no idea just how intelligent, calm, and peaceful goats are.
They’re by far my favourite farm animal – although we won’t be getting any, much to Flora’s disappointment, as they’d strip every flower, fruit, and vegetable from my beloved garden…
Going back to Cornwall for the most fabulous week by the sea. OK, it wasn’t that sunny, but Flora had a ball with her body boarding and rock pooling. Oh, and she had her first scuba dive experience, and got a proper PADI certificate from the Cornish Diving Centre too! We went riding again, ate our body weight in fish and chips, and ice cream, revisted our favourite Trebah Garden, and I caught up with a lovely fellow freelancer friend over some gin (what else!). Also not forgetting our trips to the National Marine Aquarium – once on the way down and once on the way home – for our future marine biologist.
This summer we’ve also had a lot of fun with some toys, games, and art products which were very kindly gifted from Printkick. The company specialises in personalised products and their website makes the ordering process really straightforward. This is something I would have loved to use during my years of sourcing promo products for clients! You can shop the full range of different products from their website but here’s what we received in the meantime.
Beach tennis* was a great way to warm up in Cornwall when the sun went in. Both the wooden bats and ball are of a good weight, not too heavy but not flimsy either. They came in a string net, which is a useful storage bag as you’re less likely to lose the ball. And they’re a good park activity too, it’s great fun watching the kids racing around trying to find the little ball 🙂
I enjoyed using the Adult Drawing and Colouring book* because there was no way I was going swimming in the freezing Cornish waters. Featuring 50 sheets of graphics, it also has 12 coloured pencils that fit in the thick cardboard cover through an elastic band. And it all folds up to neatly fit in a handbag or beach bag. I’ve always been wary of losing pencils before but these really do fit snuggly into their holders. I can see me using this set again and again in the future.
Ah, dominos. I’d forgotten the simple pleasures of just playing with these tactile, wooden pieces. A perfect rainy day activity, or for when you want some down time, this Domino set* of 28 pieces comes in a little wooden box that, once again, would fit easily into any bag. A go anywhere game. And if you don’t want to play dominos, you can just have fun stacking or building shapes.
I had no idea what these weird plastic orange discs were for until Flora kindly (and excitedly) explained. They’re a Suction Ball catch set*. The two holders fit in the hand, and they catch the suction ball on contact. Ideal for outdoors, they’re actually good for indoor play as well, provided you don’t throw too hard. They don’t work so well when wet, however, the suction ball just slides off holder, making you think you’re a worse catcher than you really are – or maybe that’s just me…
This Painting Set in a wooden box* was my favourite item in our goody bag. It’s got everything you’re likely to need when painting and drawing on the go: a paint brush, sharpener, eraser, pencil, eight wax crayons and 12 watercolours. We loved it – here’s Flora’s mixed media artwork, using everything in the box! Another item that fits inside my handbag and will be coming away with us in the future.
We’ve been very lucky to have visited quite a few countries over the years, both before and after Flora was born. As an ex-RAF officer, however, Alan is way ahead in this game, having been stationed in various countries around the world. So we had a lot of fun with this amazing interactive List of 196 Countries Travel Poster* from Bold Tuesday.
Seeing the relative size of one country compared to another is quite an eye opener. Russia is HUGE and I had no idea that the Vatican City is regarded as a country in its own right. The names of capital cities are underneath each country and the idea is you use the included red dots to mark where you’ve travelled or perhaps want to travel to. The poster is made from sustainably sourced high-quality paper, measures 61 x 91.4cm, and comes in a very sturdy cardboard tube.
Our poster is certainly a feature and a talking point for visitors. And (hopefully) it’s a work in progress that we can add to over time after future holidays. The Bold Tuesday posters are being officially launched at the Top Drawer show this month but a big thank you to Beyond Living for our preview copy in the meantime.
This has turned into a rather long post so if you’re still reading, thank you for staying with me! I’m very lucky to be a freelancer and I know my childcare solutions aren’t open to everyone. Being able to choose which days I work and which days I have free for Flora has been a blessing this summer. Yes, I had to work much harder on those work days and sometimes in the evenings too, but she’s worth it. So much so that I wish our school summer holidays were eight weeks instead of six – now there’s something I never thought I’d be saying!
What have you enjoyed about the school summer holidays (whether you have children or not)?
Items marked * were gifted in exchange for a review but all opinions are my own and these are honest, unbiased reviews.