16-07-2014

California Drawing

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When Visit California emailed to tell me that they had chosen me as one of 25 bloggers in with a chance of winning a dream trip to the Golden State, it was a no-brainer that we were DEFINITELY up for getting involved with the #DreamBigAwards

Sam’s big travel plan has always been to embark on a great American road trip. (It was what he was working towards when we were surprised with Arlo). He loves all things Americana, and California is his number one place to visit, so he practically begged me to let him do all the child-wrangling for a day so that I could crack on with creating our entry.

For me, California most appeals because it’s the most familiar place that I’ve never been to before. I am really intrigued to visit all of the places that I know so well from film and television. Also, I love beaches and American food, so California is a win-win there.

And there’s no doubting that the kids would have a time to remember – California has some of the best attractions and activities for families. Sam and I are past the days of longing for chill-out holidays where we relax by a pool with books for two weeks. Nowadays, we are all about having the best possible time with our children whilst they are young and still want to hang out with us. We are all about having fun and creating lasting memories.

California would be a great big adventure for all of us.

As you might have noticed, I am rather partial to a visual blog post. But I don’t have any of my own images of California to show you.

So, how could I write a blog post explaining all the things we love about California without using impersonal stock images? How could I avoid long paragraphs and too much typed text? And, as this is a family trip, how could I involve the whole family in our entry?

Well, the result was this – ‘California Drawing‘.

(If you are reading via RSS you may have to click through to the actual blog post to see the embedded video).

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This post serves as our entry into the Dream Big Awards competition with Visit California. 

If you have been to California, what was your highlight? Or if you haven’t been, where in California would you most like to visit? I’d love to hear about your ‘must-dos’.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com
 

 

14-07-2014

Adventuring

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Sam and I share a lot of interests (film, food, being right all the time), as well as having a lot of different interests too. (Sports. Cough. Social media. Ahem.)

One thing that we have in common is that we both have a natural curiosity to explore our surroundings.

If there is a nearby town that we haven’t been to, we will take a day trip on our next free weekend. If there is a park that we haven’t tried, we will go there in favour of our nearest option. If there is a pub that we haven’t yet checked out, it will be next on our list to try.

Some of our best outings involve bikes, parks, a good long walk, rounded off with a drink in a pub. Something for everyone.

In the last few months, I have noticed that Arlo has most definitely adopted this interest too. “What’s down that road? I’d like to go there one day. Might be a new park. And then afterwards we can find a pub”.

Yep, it’s definitely in the genes.

Going on our little adventures keeps us active as a family, without having to actively TRY to be active as a family, which is my favourite part – enforced fun can sometimes take the fun out of it, for me. I’m happiest going off for a wander, going with the flow, and seeing where our moods and our legs carry us.

Summer is the best and the easiest time for adventuring. With Arlo now at preschool,  this summer will be his first experience of the long school break. I’ve introduced the idea of a summer adventure wishlist, and Arlo has taken to the idea with A LOT of enthusiasm.

Arlo and I have been busy adding activities to our list, so far this is what we have:

Make chocolate rice crispie cakes

Go on an open top bus tour of London

Go on the DLR

Go to the Shard viewing platform

Visit the Princess Diana Memorial Playground

Go to Kelsey Park

Give surplus toys and clothes to charity

Go on a photo walk

That’s it so far, but the list grows daily. I have six weeks and a LOT of time to fill, so let me know if you have any fun suggestions for us.

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This post is my entry to the Mark Warner quarterly blogger challenge.

10-07-2014

Siblings (July)

They jump on the sofas, clamber on all available flat surfaces, decimate a tidy room in seconds, swing gleefully from the curtains, screech excitedly at one another, and goad each other to climb higher and higher.

I don’t live with children. I live with adolescent chimps.

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Is it just me, or has summer high energy turned anyone else’s children feral?

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This month I’m sending you to see Lucy and family over at Dear Beautiful. She’ll be sharing a photo of her children from this month, and sending you along to visit someone else. You can follow the circle around to see what all the hosts have been up to.

Have you taken a sibling photo this month? Link it up below!



03-07-2014

Capturing Colour (yellow)

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A long time ago I wrote about my failure to succeed with “Fun Fridays”, and that I’d decided to put Arlo into preschool on that day too.

This leaves us with Monday as his only full day with me (and is a much better balance for us both!)

Mondays are “Mama Mondays”, and especially now the good weather has kicked into gear, it is when we have our best adventures.

I recently realised, with a pang, that we have just one more year left until school. That’s just one more year of Mama Mondays, and then we will be tied to school timetables and needing to be in close proximity to home throughout the week.

If we want a London adventure, it will have to wait until the weekend.

Living with central London and its HUGE variety of things to do, right on our doorstep, is one of my favourite things.

We have the scope for some great, budget-friendly adventures (Arlo’s favourite outing in recent history was bus-spotting on King’s Road).

Arlo is at an age where he is really starting to appreciate London and its offerings, and I want to make sure that we make the most of it in our last year before school.

This week’s Capturing Colour photos were all taken during our trip into London last Monday:

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Here are the other bloggers taking part, take a look at how they’ve been capturing colour this week:

Clare | Kirsty & Clara | Lauren | Hayley | Lucy

Next week’s colour is orange. Post your shots to instagram using the #capturingcolour hashtag.

 

02-07-2014

Rory’s First Steps (family videos)

Over on Youtube, I have been attempting to stick to (almost) weekly family videos.

Day-to-day, I find that I take just as many little video clips as I do photos, and I’ve been enjoying putting them all together into a little summary of our week.

If you want to keep up to date, click the subscribe button below:


 

I won’t go overboard by doing a blog post for each individual video, but I wanted to share this week’s one, as it’s a particular favourite of mine so far:

I love that videos give me more of a presence for my family to hear and remember – I have so many lovely photos of the boys, but in those, I’m the silent one behind the camera, and it seems easy to gloss over the fact that I was even there.

Sometimes, I look back at photos of Arlo as a baby, and I can’t transport myself back to that point in time. Recently, Sam and I accidentally stumbled upon some videos of Arlo talking when he had just turned two. We were knocked back at how different he sounded. We realised how easily we’d forgotten the smaller details. The videos were so surprising and nostalgic that I found myself shedding a tear or two.

I love that videos mean that I can easily recall exactly how they talked, and their mannerisms at any particular age, at the click of a button.  I love that I can capture those ‘firsts’ on camera.

Creating family videos has fast become another layer in my memory-keeping practises.