Family adventures: The Forest of Dean part 2 | AD

  (read part one here)

Sunday morning we all awoke to the sun filtering through the trees had a had another lazy breakfast before taking a little walk with the dog round the woodland trail right behind our cabin.

We followed the path through the woods, passed by runners on a morning jog and other dog walkers and spied yet more cabins nestled in amongst the trees. We had a little play and climb in a clearing before continuing on the loop that took us right round and back into the site. This is what I loved most about the Forest Holidays setting, that it was so easy just to step out the door and be immersed in the woods and nature.

Our plans for the day included a trip to the near by Beechenhurst lodge for a walk around and to have a go at the Go Ape they have on site there. Theo actually visited this place for his birthday back in January, where he and two friends and Rob travelled up just for the day to have a go, this is what originally inspired us to discover the Forest of Dean further! Seeing as Rob went last time Theo wanted me to join him, which I did thinking it would be easy but in actual fact I quickly realised that I'm not too keen on heights! This was actually only the kids trail, so I definitely wouldn't be able to do an adult one! Who knew that getting older meant that these fears suddenly creep in without you knowing?! Theo had a great time though, even though he was still a little hesitant - maybe he was picking up on my vibes! The staff were all really friendly and understanding that some people need a little more time and really tried their hardest to make you feel at ease! It definitely makes for a great place to take kids for a birthday or special occasion, or just something fun to do on a day out. Prices are £19 per person and you get an hour up in the trees and it is pretty fun (even if you are a bit afraid of heights!)

After having our fill of the heights we met back up with Rob and had a little lunch in the cafe on site and met up with my mum whilst we played in the park which was lovely for both the boys. We then went on a little walk around the grounds which has a sculpture trail and a mini 'Zog' trail for kids which you could purchase a little activity bag for for £3 in the cafe. Rohan had a little sleep whilst we navigated around and did the trail and the pup loped around having a whale of a time! There is a sculpture trail which we tried to follow in parts, but we either got a little lost or the sculptures were no longe there as we didn't see any which was a shame, but by this point the weather was just starting to turn so we decided to head back to the lodge for dinner.

We had bought ingredients for a BBQ and even though it was tipping it down we decided to have it anyway, but just eat inside, but if the weather had been nice there is a big table on the outside decking which would be perfect for sunny evenings eating surrounded by the forest. We of course had another dip in the hot tub, even in the rain!


On Monday it was time to pack up our lovely lodge and leave, even though we all agreed that we could have definitely stayed for a week and explore more! We were definitely sad to leave, so much so that we decided to stop off on the way home just to make the most of it, plus the weather was pretty lovely so it felt a shame to waste the day seeing as it only takes an hour to get home.

We stopped off at Goodrich Castle where we've been a few times before so we knew it was a good place to spend a few hours. It's set in a beautiful grounds and scenery and it's so interesting to read all about the history of the castle. Rohan had a little wander around whilst Theo and Rob climbed up the towers and we just soaked up the quiet morning!

We had an early picnic lunch back at the cafe and shop area before reluctantly heading back home. It really was such a great way to spend the weekend, and really made us have quality time as a family doing things we all really enjoy. I didn't really realise how easy it was to get to this area from Bristol, especially now that the bridge is toll free and there's just so much more to do here, so we'll definitely be back to explore further, next time even bringing our own bikes maybe!


Our trip was in collaboration with The Forest of Dean tourism board, our accommodation, travel and activities were gifted as part of the review but all words and images are my own. 

Easter adventures part two


We took our annual trip down to Teignmouth for the second part of the Easter holidays, me with the boys for most of the week with Rob joining us for the weekend. We were having our house decorated so we needed to be out the way for most of it but visiting Rob's grandparents and being by the sea is one of our favourite things to do so it really wasn't much hassle!

We timed it just right with the mini heatwave hitting at just the right time meaning we spent a few days down by the seafront, and Theo even went properly swimming! Rohan was still pretty apprehensive about the water, think he may be more of a warm med kind of boy!

This visit will be our last proper one to Teignmouth itself as Rob's grandparents are due to move to a nearby town in the Summer. Before I'd met Rob I'd never really been to this part of Devon, but it's safe to say that it's one of our favourite places to visit. We've been here so much over the past 9 years that it's crazy to think how much of our lives have changed. We've seen me visit right at the end of my pregnancy, through all of Theo's infant-hood to him staying down on his own like a big boy and to Rohan being born. We've had a visit to the hospital when he was pretty poorly and enjoyed introducing him to so much that we love here.

We've been on countless steam trains, played in the sea, eaten 10,569 ice creams, been to the zoo, museums, play parks, the aquarium, explored surrounding towns, visited all the charity shops, been to the cinema, had takeaways, eaten chips on the seafront, celebrated Easter's with woodland egg hunts, and most importantly have spent so many wonderful weeks with Rob's grandparents. I've always been made to feel so unbelievably welcome and like part of the family from the very beginning, and can just see how much joy visiting brings both the boys. We've all been throughly spoilt whenever we've visited and it just makes me feel so happy about the adventures and time we've spent down there. I know we'll be able to visit Teignmouth again when they move, as it's really not far and we have a new place to explore with them, but I just thought it deserved it's very own mention. I'm going to go and have a look through old posts now and probably cry at how much time has passed!


We of course also visited the pier and for the first time Rohan had a good old explore and just loved watching all of the lights and the machines, I think we may have to also get him addicted to 2p machines like the rest of us!




Then it was time for one last Easter egg hunt in the beautiful nature reserve just down the road from the house, it's been our place to go for the past three or four years and Theo is just about still believing! We had to tell him that the Easter bunny will move locations when they move and that also every child is assigned their very own bunny when they are born...not sure that one will really last!


Thanks Teignmouth x

Family adventure: The Forest of Dean part one | #AD


Last Friday we packed up our bags, picked everyone up from school and nursery ready to hit the road and drive the short distance from Somerset/Bristol to the Forest of Dean. It couldn't have come at a better time, Rob had been away all week for work, our weekends have been all over the place and it really felt like we needed to reconnect as a family. Planning holidays usually takes quite a bit of effort for us (like most families!) but we really have to consider travel time as Rohan doesn't do very well in the car for long distances, so travelling for just over an hour to somewhere we've not really explored before was perfect.

We had the whole weekend ahead of us to unwind, explore and spend time together all in a beautiful setting. Whilst even though it's so close we've not really properly explored this area before, more skirted around the edges whilst visiting my Mum, who lives not too far away in Malvern. It's always been one of those places I'd heard of but not realised that it was quite so close as it is!

We were lucky enough to be invited to spend the weekend at the Forest Holidays Park near Coleford, which proved to be an excellent base for lots of exploring, as all of the places we visited were less than 15 minutes drive from here and there was so much to do. We were staying in a woodland cabin and realised that this meant it came with a hot tub, much to all of our excitement! I don't think we've ever quite been the family to holiday in places with hot tubs, or know anyone with one, so it was still a total novelty. The cabin itself was beautiful, with so much open space, floor to ceilings windows that perfectly framed the view of the forest behind. There was a wood burning stove, a fully equipped kitchen, and in our two bed cabin we had an en suite bathroom as well as a main with a bath. There was everything you'd need to stay a week or more! It definitely exceeded our expectations!


Once we'd settled in and unpacked we ordered some pizza from the main reception (which had it's own bar and cafe), to be delivered to our cabin so we could enjoy an evening in. We brought our own food too for the rest of the weekend, which really helps to keep costs down, but having one little treat on the first night was great. Once we'd settled Rohan into bed we enjoyed dinner, then hopped into the hot tub that had been warming up all day. It was a perfect way to unwind and really feel like we were on holiday, that and a glass or two of prosecco! 

The next morning after a lazy breakfast we headed a short drive away  (under 10 minutes) to Pedalabikeaway Cycle Centre to hire bikes for the morning and explore the forest on two wheels. The service was brilliant as they checked and fitted all of our bikes, including swapping to a trailer for Rohan as we felt he'd enjoy it a little more this way, and give Onyx a rest if he needed it! We were soon all set up and on our way, deciding to take the ten mile family trail round the forest. It was a great distance for us, taking around an hour and a half (with a few stops!) and provided us with such stunning scenery. The trail was also relatively quiet, with us being the only users on it for good portions, which was great to feel like we could spread out and go at our own pace. Onyx ended up running the whole way with us, he was definitely a tired pup at the end of the day! The views were just beautiful and it's so relaxing cycling through the woods, it really reminded me of a place we used to go to as a family for cycling over in Norfolk. 


Once we'd returned our bikes we headed back to the cabin so Theo and Rob could head off for a forest survival session located onsite. They spent a good few hours with an expert who talked them through all sorts of skills, giving tips and advice as they walked along through the woods. Theo seemed to take so much of it in and came back chatting about all that he'd learnt, especially about fire lighting and wanting to get his own steel and flint. After building a camp fire and having a go to light it, they finished off with hot chocolate. I think they'd definitely recommend having a go at this! I just think it's so important for kids to get out in the woods and immerse themselves in it, and learn some new skills along the way.


Determined to explore as much as possible, once Theo and Rob had returned we jumped back in the car to go up the road to Puzzlewood Forest. Unfortunately they don't allow pushchairs on site, and the forest isn't accessible to wheelchairs, something which isn't very clear from their website and we were only told when we turned up, so something to bear in mind to plan for if you want to visit! It's a shame it isn't more disabled accessible, but I do understand that it's an ancient natural woodland. If we'd known we would've taken our back carrier so we could all visit the wood, but Theo and I just had a wander round instead. That being said there was a lot to do for Rohan without visiting the woods themselves, so he was happy. When we arrived we headed to the cafe for a late lunch, and sat outside in the lovely picnic area surrounded by trees. The area had a mini music garden and a great hill for rolling down which is perfect for keeping kids entertained whilst you wait for food, we stayed in this area for quite a while as it really relaxing in the late afternoon and not too busy at all. 

After lunch (which was nice and well priced!) we wandered over to the playground and farm area and said hello to all the animals which was very fun...I always have a soft spot for goats! It was actually quite nice not to have the pushchair for a few hours as I think it encourages Rohan to be out on his feet and engaging in the world a little more, he is too heavy to carry in our arms constantly and I like seeing him wander about as much as possible. After the mini farm we headed to the barns where they have a few activities such as a maze that Theo and I tackled and a toddler area with lots of ride on cars and scooters which Rohan had a lot of fun on. Whilst he was entertained here Theo and I headed into the magical forest itself where we followed small winding paths taking us through the woods and off on tangents around and under the roots of these old trees. The woods was dark and mysterious, covered in moss and smelling of damp earth. We followed steps leading through between towering rocks and held hands as we explored round scary corners. It was so quiet and still, except for the occasional rustle of the undergrowth where we managed to spot little mice travelling through their tunnels and poking their heads out occasionally. The watched squirrels dart from tree to tree and just stood and marvelled the ancient trees and the magical surroundings. You can see why it's been used as a backdrop for so many films. 

After we'd wandered around a while and managed not to get too lost we made our way out of the forest as it was nearing closing time. We definitely could have stayed a lot longer and explore more of the woods. I think we'll add that to our list of something to visit again, this time with a carrier for Rohan! 


Despite their faces they did enjoy themselves! We made our way back to the cabin ready for an evening of hot tubs, eurovision and the log burner...sounds good doesn't it?


Come back for more soon!




We worked together with Forest of Dean & Wye Valley Tourism board for this post, in exchange for a review of local attractions and accommodation. Our cabin, entry to places and travel has been covered in exchange for the review, but I've not been paid for my time or opinions. All words and images are my own. 

Easter part one


So Easter came and went pretty quickly didn't it? The first week was spent pretty close to home, trying to get outside in the still pretty chilly sunshine as much as possible. Things aren't always the easiest when both the boys are at home for long periods of time as Rohan just becomes impossible to be around Theo without being really physical with him meaning they have to mainly be separated. It's not much fun and to be honest I'm not particularly looking forward to the long 6 weeks of the Summer!

My sister did come to visit towards the end of the week and that was a great distraction, we went on walks, baked, had a mini easter egg hunt in the garden and visited the beautiful Ethicurean for tea and cake. We had a potter around the garden admiring the flowers and the beautiful view, I always feel pretty lucky that this is on my doorstep!



CONTACT

Abigail and the future is open to working with companies and featuring product reviews, sponsored posts and paid content that are in keeping with the style and taste of the blog.
Please feel free to email me to say hi!
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ABOUT & CONTACT


A family blog, documenting our days and adventures, finding inspiration in the world outside and around us and everything else in between.
We are a little family of four living in Bristol, England.
I started this blog when we found out I was pregnant by (a lovely) surprise! What started as a space to record the feelings, frustrations and ever growing stomach of pregnancy, to no-one in particular has grown into a space that follows our journey into parenthood.

As we've watched that tiny bean grow into the child he is today, I've tried to record events, milestones and capture the essence and personality of this little boy who changed our lives forever. I hope that in years to come we can all look back together at this, our family album.


Here you will find a record of our journey into parenthood, recorded memories, places we adventure to near and far, the people we meet along the way, the things we love,  what we are inspired by and all the other ups and downs along the way. 

We welcomed Rohan into our family in January 2016, and have been on quite a journey already. I've used this space to document our experience and share news of Rohan's condition, and all that goes along with parenting a baby with additional needs. Please do follow along! 

Abigail and the future is open to working with companies and featuring product reviews, sponsored posts and paid content that are in keeping with the style and taste of the blog.
Please feel free to email me to say hi!
abigailandthefuture@gmail.com
You can also find me here:
Twitter
Facebook
Pinterest
Instagram
Bloglovin
Google+

A Rohan Update

I thought it was about time for a little Rohan update, seeing as he's just seemingly had a huge leap in development. He just keeps blowing us away really with what he's achieving and I just wanted to make sure I documented it.

So where to start, I guess the biggest and the one we have been working towards is walking. Rohan has been using his little walker for a while now, I guess properly since around September and October and has just been gaining in confidence ever since. He seems so much more stable on his legs and just goes whizzing about, and that was great but he couldn't change direction or move the walker in any other direction other than forwards that was until one day he just decided that he could. He dragged it to one side to move it and then it all just seemed to click into place! Later that day I took him to the sports centre for Theo's swimming lesson and only took his walker in, and with a few more practice lifts and drags he suddenly mastered being able to turn it in any direction he wanted! I couldn't believe it and had to hold back the tears and just wanted to run and tell people what he'd just learnt because I was so proud! Since then he's not looked back and is getting so confident with it. I've been trying to encourage him to use it as much as possible and ditching the buggy whenever possible so he gets used to walking places and not just being sat down and wheeled around everywhere.

This confidence on being on two feet hasn't just been limited to his walker though, as he's pulling himself up and cruising everywhere he can and even taking tentative steps (whilst still holding on!) between furniture which is so good to see his confidence growing. He's suddenly surprised us too by taking a few steps completely unaided between us! I couldn't believe it when it first happened, it was almost like hang on, we've been waiting for so long for this moment, I've had dreams about it where I've woken up and had to remember that it wasn't real to then suddenly see him wobbling along on his own was just something else. I think it took a while to sink in really. We've just been working so hard to get his confidence up, making sure he's walking around supported by us or his walker as much as possible to get used to being up on his feet that I'm so happy to see some of it start to pay off, but at the same time I have to remind myself that it's still going to be such a slow process to him actually being able to walk properly. If we've learnt anything in the three years we've known Rohan, it's that he does things in his own time and his own way. Yes he can suddenly surprise you by a sudden leap, but that line won't always follow an upward ark; it will do loop the loops, zig zags and go forwards and backwards. I don't want to feel like I'm being negative, more just reminding myself to be realistic before I get too excited about him walking and picturing our summer with him bounding over the beach etc. Plus he's pretty stubborn and won't do something if he doesn't want to!


 So let's move on to communication shall we? This boy is learning pretty quickly at the moment and seems to be understanding so much more which is great, the only problem is interpreting what he wants and how to teach him the correct signs back. He gets pretty insistent on wanting things and actually has developed a pretty annoying habit of just making a whinging sound until he gets what he wants. I'm desperately trying to teach him as many signs as I can and we're working on a little picture book so he can identify objects he may want, but I know it's all going to take time. He's not really developed any clear speech sounds yet, but he definitely has different ways of making sounds for the things he wants or in different situations. He'll wave hello and goodbye on request, will stick out his feet when you ask him to put on his shoes, he'll lift up his arms when you say "arms up" and has just started point to different parts of his face when you ask where something is (he doesn't always get it right but you know it's a start!) His little pointy finger emerged at some point last year and I really love that he can point to things now, and press buttons and all sorts, it really is the sweetest! He can choose between objects, will respond when you ask him if he wants to go to bed/have a bath/have food/play/ask for more. He likes you to sing a lot and will often ask for more singing, his favourite song being wind the bobbin up! He can sign book and will go and choose which one he wants out of the whole shelf and at bedtime will go and pick one then bring it to you, turning himself around and snuggle into your lap with his bottle, he'll then turn the pages or lift the flaps or just listen to the whole story (which in itself is amazing for his concentration!) and it really is my favourite thing to do with him. Rohan also picked up the sign for biscuit remarkably quickly...I wonder why and now asks for it and will sign please too, I'm desperately trying to get him to sign Mummy but so far it's not going in, cheers for that Rohan! Other signs include: cat, dog, more, finished, milk, food, banana, book, bath, sing, go, brother and tv.

He started doing a little movement which I think came from me counting to three on my fingers and saying ready steady go, so now when he sits at the top of a slide, in a swing or at the side of a swimming pool he'll make a little pointy finger and move it backwards and forwards so you say: ready steady go! At the go he points to the side and hopefully actually moves, but you know, this doesn't always happen! But it's very sweet and he just loves it, I really feel like it's his little game and it's good when we both understand the rules. His confidence with playing and being outside has grown massively too, and whilst he does still like to sit and observe other children he is pretty keen to explore and join in a bit more too, it really does depend on what sort of mood he's in! I take him to a little play group in the village and sometime he'll sit in the middle of the floor, with something to chew on and just find great delight in watching the other children zoom about. Other times he'll get himself in a little car and push himself backwards (we're nearly there on moving forwards but it takes a lot more effort!) or climb up the little slide or go along on a car ramp. He will sit himself down for snack time and join in with the other children at the table and I just love to see him doing the same as all the other kids. He really is so sociable, and at nursery and his childminder they say that's what he likes doing the most, watching and taking it all in.


We had an audiology appointment recently, following up from his last on in November when they tested his hearings after he had grommits put in. They found that they weren't really working all that well and in fact he just had a lot of wax and congestion and thought that his hearing aids wouldn't really help the situation either, so he's been without them since September. This time around they found that whilst he was still congested he was hearing more or less most of the sounds he needs to and actually his underlying hearing if perfect it's just that pesky middle ear congestion making it harder, but they decided that he still didn't really need the hearing aids which is positive. So fingers crossed once the warmer weather starts to arrive he'll be a little less congested.


His eating is more or less going well, he can tolerate a lot more solid food now like rice cakes, bread and toast. He definitely has a massive sweet tooth so I know we'll have to watch that one as he gets bigger. I'm trying to introduce him to different types of fruit as so far he will only really eat banana, the same with other vegetables. He will of course have vegetables in his meals, but they're more all mixed together as he's still on fairly soft toddler style meals. I think we missed a lot of that whole weaning process in the beginning of getting him used to different textures and colours as we were just so worried about his weight from his constant sickness, it really hit my confidence and I was just so concerned about getting food in him and him keeping it down that it didn't really happen. I hope it's not too late now and that his stubbornness doesn't make it even trickier as I know going forwards his diet and weight are going to be really important to keep on top of as he gets older.

But for now we're in an alright place, he is more or less sleeping through the night every night, he's making such progress with his physical skills and communication so now we just need it to continue really. We just need to stop the whinging and horrendous noise that he makes so we can not feel so tense when it happens as it really is intense. I feel a little like we've found our feet, things are a bit more stable and I just hope it continues in this way. I know there's probably a million other things I need to update on that I've forgotten, but I know if I don't press publish on this now it will be months out of date and then I'll never get round to writing an up to date one!




April and the would be birthday


I've not spoken about this for a long while but suddenly this time of year rolls around, the trees are heavy with blossom, new life is emerging every where we look and whilst it fills me with joy there is also this feeling of sadness for could have beens around this time. It all feels like a cruel trick sometimes.

This was when we were supposed to be meeting our April baby, the one that never made it. I should be remembering that time when I was heavily pregnant, eagerly awaiting the time we'd get to meet our second baby. Would we have celebrated those first few birthdays with little picnics in the park under the heavy blossoms, would we now be celebrating the fourth birthday, soaking up those last few months before they would start school. There are so many unanswered questions and it breaks my heart that we'll never know.

The thing is, there's not much time that goes by where I don't think about that little life and what it could've been, who you might have been and how different it would all look now. Would the sibling relationship be different, would they be able to play together more, would our lives be filled with another boy or would it have been a girl this time. It's such a strange feeling to mourn memories that didn't ever happen but it's that feeling that gets me the most. Like a little window opening up and a glimpse into the future, but like a train whooshing past a station without stopping, those images and views are gone so quickly, that moment lost but yet the journey keeps on going.

I'm not sure whether I'll ever be able to look at April in the same way, whether this date will always hold some significance but it's all we really have left to link us together, me and the would be babe.

April and the would be birthday


I've not spoken about this for a long while but suddenly this time of year rolls around, the trees are heavy with blossom, new life is emerging every where we look and whilst it fills me with joy there is also this feeling of sadness for could have beens around this time. It all feels like a cruel trick sometimes.

This was when we were supposed to be meeting our April baby, the one that never made it. I should be remembering that time when I was heavily pregnant, eagerly awaiting the time we'd get to meet our second baby. Would we have celebrated those first few birthdays with little picnics in the park under the heavy blossoms, would we now be celebrating the fourth birthday, soaking up those last few months before they would start school. There are so many unanswered questions and it breaks my heart that we'll never know.

The thing is, there's not much time that goes by where I don't think about that little life and what it could've been, who you might have been and how different it would all look now. Would the sibling relationship be different, would they be able to play together more, would our lives be filled with another boy or would it have been a girl this time. It's such a strange feeling to mourn memories that didn't ever happen but it's that feeling that gets me the most. Like a little window opening up and a glimpse into the future, but like a train whooshing past a station without stopping, those images and views are gone so quickly, that moment lost but yet the journey keeps on going.

I'm not sure whether I'll ever be able to look at April in the same way, whether this date will always hold some significance but it's all we really have left to link us together, me and the would be babe.

February in Pictures


February, you moved in a blur but actually any step closer to Spring is always good in my book. We spent the month trying to get over illness, avoid hospital (which we did!) and Rob and I even managed to take a trip away for a few days, more to come on that soon! We had a day of snow which meant time off school then we added a very special member to our family - our little puppy Onyx! He's a rescue puppy from Romania and is 5 months old. We're very much in love with him and have spent the weekends taking him to our favourite places for walks and am very much enjoying the fact that he's getting us out the house a little more.

Half term then rolled around pretty quickly, and we were treated to some amazing (if not a little worrying!) warm weather for February, but made the most of it by taking visiting the beach and Avon Valley Adventure Park.


February in Pictures


February, you moved in a blur but actually any step closer to Spring is always good in my book. We spent the month trying to get over illness, avoid hospital (which we did!) and Rob and I even managed to take a trip away for a few days, more to come on that soon! We had a day of snow which meant time off school then we added a very special member to our family - our little puppy Onyx! He's a rescue puppy from Romania and is 5 months old. We're very much in love with him and have spent the weekends taking him to our favourite places for walks and am very much enjoying the fact that he's getting us out the house a little more.

Half term then rolled around pretty quickly, and we were treated to some amazing (if not a little worrying!) warm weather for February, but made the most of it by taking visiting the beach and Avon Valley Adventure Park.


2019 and the month of birthdays

January is a strange one for me, it always makes me just want to hibernate still and not have to be all organised and looking forward for the new year. I think it's a strange time to start a fresh and make new plans, when the world around you is still sleeping and in self preservation mode waiting for the warmer weather to appear and unfurl, unfold and open up ready for the light and warmth.

January is also the month of babies being born, well both of mine, which means birthdays. Which means a whole range of emotions. So really January is a time for massive change, well it has been for the past 8 years when Theo tumbled into the world and into our lives, changing them forever. It's been a time of learning something new, embracing new normals and finding strength to carry on. Sometimes I can't believe we've been parents for 8 years but at the same time where has that time gone. How is Theo 8 already? Soon it'll be double figures.

There's this massive bittersweet feeling that's so hard to describe, but it always breaks my heart every time a birthday rolls around. I have a big sob and cry looking at old photos and videos because my body aches to be able to travel back in time and spend a day with Theo (it's a little different with Rohan) at each of his ages. His tiny newborn self all froggy legged and velvet haired, his cheeky toddling one year old just starting to discover everything around him, the train obsessed word saying two year old with the sweetest high sing song voice, the outgoing adventurous tree climbing (still train obsessed) three year old, the curious independent but still my baby and best little friend 4 year old, the most sensitive, caring, bravest brand new brother and school going 5 year old, the non stop talking, Harry Potter, lego and books obsessed 6 year old who thinks he knows everything and finally the game obsessed, sensitive, confident, fact obsessed, strong willed 7 year old. How can it be that all this time has passed?

I'm so conscious of the fact that we had five long years of a life of just Theo, getting to know him and whilst there is a huge part of me that regrets not having a sibling for him closer together and of course a sibling relationship that was perhaps easier than the situation we have now I'm still so thankful of all that time I had with Theo, just him. He was truly my little mate and sidekick for so long and I miss that. I miss our days just playing and learning at home, going out on adventures on trains or to the park, the travels we took as just a family of three. I know it's easy to look back with those rose tinted glasses and think how idyllic it all was but sometimes I look at photos of us and think about myself that I had no idea of what was to come.

Gosh it really sounds like I prefer it before doesn't it? But I really don't, I'm just still really trying to come to terms with it all and just mourning that life we thought we'd have still, or our life before. That's why I don't or can't look back at Rohan's early years or birthdays in the same way just yet. Those times are filled with happiness yes but also so much pain and worry and stress. Our lives changed in unimaginable ways and it's still not or will ever be the way we imagined it. I feel guilt, I feel sadness and pain over so much that happened but I also feel love. I think it's important to realise that I can feel both at the same time, just because I feel pain over what happened with Rohan doesn't take away the love I have for him, they don't cancel each other out but co-exist. I may not be ready to look back at his birth and the years that have followed quite in the same way I do with Theo, I'm not ready to jump back there if the chance arose but I'm hoping with some help that one day I will.

But now that January is coming to a close and the birthday's have passed I feel like it's time to start coming out of hibernation, once we shift these colds of course...

2019 and the month of birthdays

January is a strange one for me, it always makes me just want to hibernate still and not have to be all organised and looking forward for the new year. I think it's a strange time to start a fresh and make new plans, when the world around you is still sleeping and in self preservation mode waiting for the warmer weather to appear and unfurl, unfold and open up ready for the light and warmth.

January is also the month of babies being born, well both of mine, which means birthdays. Which means a whole range of emotions. So really January is a time for massive change, well it has been for the past 8 years when Theo tumbled into the world and into our lives, changing them forever. It's been a time of learning something new, embracing new normals and finding strength to carry on. Sometimes I can't believe we've been parents for 8 years but at the same time where has that time gone. How is Theo 8 already? Soon it'll be double figures.

There's this massive bittersweet feeling that's so hard to describe, but it always breaks my heart every time a birthday rolls around. I have a big sob and cry looking at old photos and videos because my body aches to be able to travel back in time and spend a day with Theo (it's a little different with Rohan) at each of his ages. His tiny newborn self all froggy legged and velvet haired, his cheeky toddling one year old just starting to discover everything around him, the train obsessed word saying two year old with the sweetest high sing song voice, the outgoing adventurous tree climbing (still train obsessed) three year old, the curious independent but still my baby and best little friend 4 year old, the most sensitive, caring, bravest brand new brother and school going 5 year old, the non stop talking, Harry Potter, lego and books obsessed 6 year old who thinks he knows everything and finally the game obsessed, sensitive, confident, fact obsessed, strong willed 7 year old. How can it be that all this time has passed?

I'm so conscious of the fact that we had five long years of a life of just Theo, getting to know him and whilst there is a huge part of me that regrets not having a sibling for him closer together and of course a sibling relationship that was perhaps easier than the situation we have now I'm still so thankful of all that time I had with Theo, just him. He was truly my little mate and sidekick for so long and I miss that. I miss our days just playing and learning at home, going out on adventures on trains or to the park, the travels we took as just a family of three. I know it's easy to look back with those rose tinted glasses and think how idyllic it all was but sometimes I look at photos of us and think about myself that I had no idea of what was to come.

Gosh it really sounds like I prefer it before doesn't it? But I really don't, I'm just still really trying to come to terms with it all and just mourning that life we thought we'd have still, or our life before. That's why I don't or can't look back at Rohan's early years or birthdays in the same way just yet. Those times are filled with happiness yes but also so much pain and worry and stress. Our lives changed in unimaginable ways and it's still not or will ever be the way we imagined it. I feel guilt, I feel sadness and pain over so much that happened but I also feel love. I think it's important to realise that I can feel both at the same time, just because I feel pain over what happened with Rohan doesn't take away the love I have for him, they don't cancel each other out but co-exist. I may not be ready to look back at his birth and the years that have followed quite in the same way I do with Theo, I'm not ready to jump back there if the chance arose but I'm hoping with some help that one day I will.

But now that January is coming to a close and the birthday's have passed I feel like it's time to start coming out of hibernation, once we shift these colds of course...

Christmas traditions


A few weeks before the beginning of December Theo asked me whether I could make the advent calendar similar to one a few years back when I filled little bigs with chocolate and festive activities and outings. I must have been the year before Rohan arrived because I definitely don't feel like I could've managed it these past two Christmas's, especially not when we ended up moving house four days before! But I'm glad that he remembered it and wanted it again instead of a shop bought one, considering he had a lego one last year I was pretty pleased that my bodged together one held fond memories for him!

I haven't quite gone all out Instagram and fashioned one out of a branch, foliage and string but instead found a fairly non-offensive felt calendar with fill your own pockets (that's ok right?!) then I went about filling it with activities to do and spend time together, because really in this crazy time of year, even something as simple as going to a cafe, making some hot chocolate together  or playing a board game can be a real treat, and I think these are the things that Theo held on to from those years ago and that made me feel pretty happy. I love how Christmas traditions are created and evolve over time and are passed on to your own children from your childhood memories.

Last weekend we had our first activity which was to go and pick our tree. We've not really created a solid tradition with this yet, getting it from a variety of places over the years but this year we decided to go to a cut your own for the first time. I had those visions of walking amongst the rows of trees happily deciding which one would be ours to take home, and actually it was pretty much like that, except for the weather was pretty miserable, Rohan wasn't that keen on being put down and it was harder than I imagined to find the right tree! But in the end we did, or well Theo did! We think he did a pretty good job selecting our tree, called Jane (they are all named!) and luckily we made it back to the car before it started raining again and Rohan had had enough! So I thought I'd share some photos of our little trip out and hopefully we will come back again.









Christmas traditions


A few weeks before the beginning of December Theo asked me whether I could make the advent calendar similar to one a few years back when I filled little bigs with chocolate and festive activities and outings. I must have been the year before Rohan arrived because I definitely don't feel like I could've managed it these past two Christmas's, especially not when we ended up moving house four days before! But I'm glad that he remembered it and wanted it again instead of a shop bought one, considering he had a lego one last year I was pretty pleased that my bodged together one held fond memories for him!

I haven't quite gone all out Instagram and fashioned one out of a branch, foliage and string but instead found a fairly non-offensive felt calendar with fill your own pockets (that's ok right?!) then I went about filling it with activities to do and spend time together, because really in this crazy time of year, even something as simple as going to a cafe, making some hot chocolate together  or playing a board game can be a real treat, and I think these are the things that Theo held on to from those years ago and that made me feel pretty happy. I love how Christmas traditions are created and evolve over time and are passed on to your own children from your childhood memories.

Last weekend we had our first activity which was to go and pick our tree. We've not really created a solid tradition with this yet, getting it from a variety of places over the years but this year we decided to go to a cut your own for the first time. I had those visions of walking amongst the rows of trees happily deciding which one would be ours to take home, and actually it was pretty much like that, except for the weather was pretty miserable, Rohan wasn't that keen on being put down and it was harder than I imagined to find the right tree! But in the end we did, or well Theo did! We think he did a pretty good job selecting our tree, called Jane (they are all named!) and luckily we made it back to the car before it started raining again and Rohan had had enough! So I thought I'd share some photos of our little trip out and hopefully we will come back again.









Getting Festive at Avon Valley adventure and wildlife park!


Last weekend we decided to start the festive season early (actually is it even considered early? Things seem to start before then now anyway!) Anyway, we were invited to visit Father Christmas in the North Pole (actually Avon Valley adventure park!) and go on a Christmas adventure!

We always try and fit in a little visit to Father Christmas over December and with Theo turning 8 in January I'm pretty conscious of how long he's still going to believe in it all, as well as that Rohan is becoming so much more aware of his wider surroundings and really enjoying activities too, so we thought it would be the perfect place for them to visit and both enjoy!

We arrived just in the nick of time (a warning, if you're going then make sure you read the ticket properly and arrive ten minutes before unlike us!!) but even though we were there slightly on the late side everyone was really accommodating and waited for us before it all started. First of all we entered into a small cave like room filled with foliage and lights to meet two very enthusiastic elves! It was a great introduction and really set the tone for how the whole experience would go. We had to use magic to get through the door and walk through a wintery tree lined path to meet the other Elves, in the toy making workshop. The children then had to help the elves make some teddy bears (and then give them back again which I was surprised none of the children complained about!!) as well as use some Christmas spirit to get the machines all working. It was so well done and all the children were completely captivated! Rohan loved watching the Elves as they jumped around lots and just giggled with delight every time they came near, they made sure they said hello and interacted with every child which was lovely.

Next we travelled on to the gingerbread workshop where the children could decorate their own biscuit (and thankfully keep!!) and had a story read to them by the three Elves; Snap, Crackle and Pop. Rohan pretty much just sat and ate most of his chocolate whilst we helped him decorate and Theo got properly stuck in to the decorating, including wearing the sweet chefs hat!


Once we'd finished the last workshop we entered into the Yuletide Square and the Enchanted village with about an hour to spare before taking the magic portal to Santas Grotto. It just felt so magical with dozens of snowy Christmas trees lining the square, rides and Christmas music! We entered into the dark and cosy village full of tiny Elf houses, decorated trees and reindeers and visited the mail room where Theo wrote a little letter to Father Christmas before it being whizzed off. He liked the mail room so much that he volunteered his services to help out! We had our photo taken with some snowmen and showed Rohan all the lights and the (fake) snow before heading back outside for our free hot chocolate and enjoyed some doughnuts too (because it's totally ok to have just sugar for lunch in the North Pole right?) 


After we'd finished up our snack we visited two real Reindeer (Donna and Blitzen if I remember correctly!) and the boys were able to feed them themselves which I think Rohan was very intrigued by! The whole feel of the village and square was really magical and I'm pretty sure Theo believed that we were actually in a different place to where we started and I just thought the scale and detail of the event was brilliant. We managed to a little go on the rides just before we had to go on to the next part of the experience to meet Father Christmas. I liked how we didn't feel rushed though and had the full hour in the village to be able to explore properly.


The last stop was upon the virtual reality shuttle which took us on a long journey around the world to see the sights before arriving at Santas secret location. Rohan loved the ride so much and again giggled through the whole thing! We were taken in a small group into his cabin filled with trinkets and pictures where Santa Claus and Mrs Claus greeted us and asked what the children wanted as gifts, it was all pretty magical and very believable! Next the children were given presents with their names on (a really lovely touch I think!) before having a photo opportunity. Non of it felt rushed at all and there was none of that panic to try and get your photo in quick and move off again.

Finally our experience was drawing to a close, and we took a little train ride out of the village and arrived back in the park where we could spend the rest of the day to enjoy the grounds, animals and indoor play area. We honestly had the most magical experience and it was such a great way to kick off the festive season! I thought that the level of detail and entertainment that you get for your money (considering it includes entry to the park also) was brilliant and it really was a whole days experience, compared to paying a tenner at the local shopping centre for 5 minutes! I know the tickets have all pretty much sold out as I speak, so if you can't make it this year I highly recommend getting in early and booking next year!





We were gifted the experience in exchange for a review but all words and images are my own! x

Getting Festive at Avon Valley adventure and wildlife park!


Last weekend we decided to start the festive season early (actually is it even considered early? Things seem to start before then now anyway!) Anyway, we were invited to visit Father Christmas in the North Pole (actually Avon Valley adventure park!) and go on a Christmas adventure!

We always try and fit in a little visit to Father Christmas over December and with Theo turning 8 in January I'm pretty conscious of how long he's still going to believe in it all, as well as that Rohan is becoming so much more aware of his wider surroundings and really enjoying activities too, so we thought it would be the perfect place for them to visit and both enjoy!

We arrived just in the nick of time (a warning, if you're going then make sure you read the ticket properly and arrive ten minutes before unlike us!!) but even though we were there slightly on the late side everyone was really accommodating and waited for us before it all started. First of all we entered into a small cave like room filled with foliage and lights to meet two very enthusiastic elves! It was a great introduction and really set the tone for how the whole experience would go. We had to use magic to get through the door and walk through a wintery tree lined path to meet the other Elves, in the toy making workshop. The children then had to help the elves make some teddy bears (and then give them back again which I was surprised none of the children complained about!!) as well as use some Christmas spirit to get the machines all working. It was so well done and all the children were completely captivated! Rohan loved watching the Elves as they jumped around lots and just giggled with delight every time they came near, they made sure they said hello and interacted with every child which was lovely.

Next we travelled on to the gingerbread workshop where the children could decorate their own biscuit (and thankfully keep!!) and had a story read to them by the three Elves; Snap, Crackle and Pop. Rohan pretty much just sat and ate most of his chocolate whilst we helped him decorate and Theo got properly stuck in to the decorating, including wearing the sweet chefs hat!


Once we'd finished the last workshop we entered into the Yuletide Square and the Enchanted village with about an hour to spare before taking the magic portal to Santas Grotto. It just felt so magical with dozens of snowy Christmas trees lining the square, rides and Christmas music! We entered into the dark and cosy village full of tiny Elf houses, decorated trees and reindeers and visited the mail room where Theo wrote a little letter to Father Christmas before it being whizzed off. He liked the mail room so much that he volunteered his services to help out! We had our photo taken with some snowmen and showed Rohan all the lights and the (fake) snow before heading back outside for our free hot chocolate and enjoyed some doughnuts too (because it's totally ok to have just sugar for lunch in the North Pole right?) 


After we'd finished up our snack we visited two real Reindeer (Donna and Blitzen if I remember correctly!) and the boys were able to feed them themselves which I think Rohan was very intrigued by! The whole feel of the village and square was really magical and I'm pretty sure Theo believed that we were actually in a different place to where we started and I just thought the scale and detail of the event was brilliant. We managed to a little go on the rides just before we had to go on to the next part of the experience to meet Father Christmas. I liked how we didn't feel rushed though and had the full hour in the village to be able to explore properly.


The last stop was upon the virtual reality shuttle which took us on a long journey around the world to see the sights before arriving at Santas secret location. Rohan loved the ride so much and again giggled through the whole thing! We were taken in a small group into his cabin filled with trinkets and pictures where Santa Claus and Mrs Claus greeted us and asked what the children wanted as gifts, it was all pretty magical and very believable! Next the children were given presents with their names on (a really lovely touch I think!) before having a photo opportunity. Non of it felt rushed at all and there was none of that panic to try and get your photo in quick and move off again.

Finally our experience was drawing to a close, and we took a little train ride out of the village and arrived back in the park where we could spend the rest of the day to enjoy the grounds, animals and indoor play area. We honestly had the most magical experience and it was such a great way to kick off the festive season! I thought that the level of detail and entertainment that you get for your money (considering it includes entry to the park also) was brilliant and it really was a whole days experience, compared to paying a tenner at the local shopping centre for 5 minutes! I know the tickets have all pretty much sold out as I speak, so if you can't make it this year I highly recommend getting in early and booking next year!





We were gifted the experience in exchange for a review but all words and images are my own! x

Weekend adventures: Dyrham Park in the Autumn


So Winter's suddenly here now right? I've not been very well these past few weeks (hello sinus infection urgh) so my time outside has been pretty limited but on a day when I had to venture out this week I was suddenly struck by how Wintery it was suddenly looking. The trees suddenly felt all bare, the grass and roofs of houses have been covered in a thick layer of frost, and I even heard that allusive word of snow drifting round a few times! That Christmas feeling has started to creep in and the urge to haul all the decorations out of the loft is getting stronger, I need those pretty lights and glitter to lift my spirits a little! But before I fully indulge in the festive season I thought I would share some photos from a little trip to Dyrham Park, a National Trust near us on what was probably our last Autunmal outing (without me knowing gah!)

Theo had been staying with my Mum for the weekend so we met half way to pick him up and this seemed like the perfect place to meet. We had a little late lunch (hello jacket potato with cheese and beans, my favourite!!) before having a walk around the beautiful gardens and grounds. Rohan had a really good go with his walker and walked the furthest he ever has around the grounds, and looked so pleased with himself in the process, as well as some lovely encouragement from Theo! We stayed until the sun started dipping down and made our way back home.

Hope you enjoy the pictures, I really enjoyed taking them!


Weekend adventures: Dyrham Park in the Autumn


So Winter's suddenly here now right? I've not been very well these past few weeks (hello sinus infection urgh) so my time outside has been pretty limited but on a day when I had to venture out this week I was suddenly struck by how Wintery it was suddenly looking. The trees suddenly felt all bare, the grass and roofs of houses have been covered in a thick layer of frost, and I even heard that allusive word of snow drifting round a few times! That Christmas feeling has started to creep in and the urge to haul all the decorations out of the loft is getting stronger, I need those pretty lights and glitter to lift my spirits a little! But before I fully indulge in the festive season I thought I would share some photos from a little trip to Dyrham Park, a National Trust near us on what was probably our last Autunmal outing (without me knowing gah!)

Theo had been staying with my Mum for the weekend so we met half way to pick him up and this seemed like the perfect place to meet. We had a little late lunch (hello jacket potato with cheese and beans, my favourite!!) before having a walk around the beautiful gardens and grounds. Rohan had a really good go with his walker and walked the furthest he ever has around the grounds, and looked so pleased with himself in the process, as well as some lovely encouragement from Theo! We stayed until the sun started dipping down and made our way back home.

Hope you enjoy the pictures, I really enjoyed taking them!


A Rohan update


So where to begin...over the past few months I had been slowly adding to a big long update post and was just ready to publish when I did something stupid (when I thought I had the text backed up) but managed to wipe the whole thing. So here we are, back to square one.

I’m so desperate to keep this blog alive, to keep recording but sometimes I do wonder whether it’s dying its own death on its own. Self-sabotage. Maybe that’s something that’s happening to blogs in general. I mean this blog has never had a huge following but I guess it’s had a steady amount of readers who like to check in, and for me it seems like a much more permanent (aside from my most recent error!) form of recording than an Instagram post. I tend to do much shorter updates over there, but I do like being able to expand a little more but perhaps I should try and keep it to shorter sections here as to not make the task of writing a massive post too daunting and therefore taking me MONTHS to complete.

So, let’s talk about Rohan’s development, or really if you want to get technical, his gross motor skills.

I can’t remember really where he was when I last updated but suddenly it seems as though he’s really clicked with walking and wanting to be on his feet. At the beginning of the summer we were given a walking frame by his physio which, like most things with Rohan has taken a little while for him to get used to. It started ok, he was keen and liked being congratulated but we only used it for really sort tester periods at home, but he still preferred to bum shuffle about and even started crawling more often. There were moments where he frightened himself a little when it became unstable when he lent against the back of it and therefore became a little resistant to using it, but we persevered and I started to take it with us to his nursery settings to try and get him used to using it in as many environments as possible. 

I guess I should add that one of the things that changed with his walker was that I became a little more confident in taking it out with us. It's such a massive and bright obvious thing and it screams for attention, and it's not out of embarrassment but me being self conscious. I didn't want an extra thing to make us stand out or to mark us as different so it's really taken me quite a few months to build up that confidence to take it out in public. We started just by taking it to our local park where I know most of the people who go there, and therefore they know Rohan too and whilst I know that else where people would either be curious or well meaning I perhaps wasn't ready to have to have the conversation as to why he needed the walker or what it was for. I spoke a little about this on my instagram and it's so true that sometimes it's just exhausting to always have to have answers prepared, to have a little script that you default to and it just felt like another thing I needed to build up to and add. Sometimes I just dream of going out without feeling like I need to be armed with all these things, sort of just needing an invisibility cloak or a shield to just be able to blend in a little more. But then slowly things shifted and I knew we needed to incorporate Rohan's walker into our everyday to encourage him to use it more and get him used to being on his feet and walking places instead of being carried (also my back will thank me) so it became more important than any of my own hang ups.

And really since then we've not even had to have that many conversations, I've had smiles and comments of how sweet he looks from adults and innocent questions from children, and actually you know what, I'm so proud of Rohan just being able to be around and do things that other kids are doing, with his walker alongside him. I think it's great that perhaps those kids will go home and not think twice about it or the next time they see another child using one, and actually the more open and using it in public the better as the more normal it seems.


We also started to encourage him to walk with us holding his hands, which probably isn’t the best for him to practice balance, but in my head, it was getting him used to the idea of being on his feet and taking steps instead of being on his bottom, and this mixed with him using his walker has hopefully helped him build confidence with being on his feet more. He’s been pulling himself up onto furniture for a while, from kneeling then standing and then experimented with a little cruising. Now he’s fully able to cruise around furniture, and even taking little steps (whilst still holding on) between gaps. I’ve seen him take a few tentative hands off also and balance on his own for a few seconds too! All exciting stuff. He's become a master stair climbing now too, after a month or two of practicing, which I was actually surprised at how quickly he picked it up! We've now had to install a stair gate as he became so ninja like at climbing them that a few times we had no idea he'd got himself up and found him half way up the stairs! Whoops...He's not mastered going back down them yet but I guess we'll figure that one out. He also decided that he doesn't mind crawling on all fours and does a mix between that and bum shuffling, to be honest I'd rather he crawled so he didn't ruin so many pairs of trousers as they all eventually get massive holes in the bum. 

The thing is with Rohan, is that he is developing. Every day he seems to try or gain confidence in his abilities but it’s just at such a slower rate, it’s like everything is protracted or in slow motion, and it’s like viewing things through a magnifying glass. What with Theo may have taken a few weeks takes months and months with Rohan which means we notice every single detail and little change, which is amazing actually as you can really see the process it all goes through.
I feel like we’re heading in the right direction, I just hope that he continues working on his confidence in his abilities and becomes a little more daring at what he’s willing to try.



His fine motor skills are coming along pretty nicely too, he recently discovered his pointing finger and I don’t know why but I find it the cutest thing ever. He’s started to point to things a little and know taps on things like my phone with it, which means perhaps we can start playing a few more games with him like that. He’s got pretty good hand control and can pick up most objects and use a pincer grip, he can also feed himself and knows where his mouth is, he can use a spoon and fork also and is really working hard to load them himself too. 

I think it's all so promising and it seems like only a matter of time before perhaps he will take a few steps and I just can't wait for that day! It's so strange, I've had a few dreams where Rohan has taken steps, or said his first word and it all seemed so natural and normal and the feeling was so joyus. It feels weird to wake up and remember after dreams like that, like I almost have to check that it didn't happen for real. I know he'll get there in his own time but there's still a part of me that is impatient for it, I want him to suddenly one day just get it and start walking and whilst I know that's not our reality I would be lying if I wasn't impatient sometimes. I just have all these moments and pictures in my head that I can't wait for; him to toddle over to my open arms, him to walk by my side holding my hand, him to run around the park or play on the beach. I know it's all there waiting to happen, but sometimes I want it to be now.

But for now we're so proud of how far he's come!