18 September 2018

The End Of A Parenting Era

I realised the other day, rather randomly while shopping for tights for Lottie, that we have all of a sudden moved on to the next stage of parenting. Time is quite simply flying by. Ellie and Phoebe are now at school and Lottie is in her preschool year at playgroup before joining them next year, its a total cliche but where DOES the time go?! The baby and toddler days are behind us and I have hardly even noticed. I thought it would be something I would grieve, but the trade off of things finally feeling that little bit easier far outweighs any sadness I feel about reaching this 'end of an era' milestone.

our girls are growing up and we are leaving the baby and toddler days behind


A pair of tights might seem like a funny trigger for this realisation but looking for age 3-4 tights meant that we had no need to go into the baby section of all the usual stores for the first time in nearly 7 years. We've also barely used the pushchair recently, except as a bit of a donkey on our days out to carry picnics, coats and spare clothes and have no real need for it other than that. I also very seldom have a child on my hip these days... Lottie still likes to be carried occasionally when she is tired but it's definitely becoming a rarity, I often wonder when the last time will be. 

Other than the tights we just bought and buttons or buckles, Lottie can almost dress herself like her big sisters do which is quite liberating given that not so long ago we used to have to physically dress all three of them. We are a nappy free household after Lottie potty trained earlier in the year, the beakers in the cupboard haven't been used in ages as they all drink from a regular cup and I have a large pile of outgrown clothes in the corner of my bedroom. When I eventually organise myself there will be very little traces that we ever had babies in the house apart from the three little girls they have grown in to and two slightly jaded parents who are still recovering from all the lack of sleep! 

Watching my family and friends with their babies and remembering how tiring and intense those early years can be, has made me reflect upon the fact that we are coming out the other side and I'm now able to sit back a bit and watch the girls from afar as they are more independent. I even manage a hot cup of tea and 2 minutes to myself and I'm really grateful for that. Anyone who knows me knows that I love the baby days, those early years are full of such magic, but also very hard, overwhelming and all consuming at times. I've had pangs of broodiness but I am able to rationalise them... I really don't think I could take any more sleepless nights! 

I've also been MIA for a number of years when it comes to socialising and keeping up friendships and I'm really sorry if those around me have ever felt a little neglected, but raising these girls of mine, at one point three under 4, has taken everything I have. Couple that with working and trying to be a half decent wife, sister and daughter, capacity for much else been minimal! I am always here for you even if it takes me 3 days to reply to a message and now that I'm emerging from this stage of life and finally clawing back a bit of time for myself I'm going to make a conscious effort to ensure there is more of me to go around. 

This next stage of parenting we have found ourselves in is still very intense and full on, just in a different way. The girls still need us and we continue our roles as chef, nurse, maid, taxi driver and PA!  There are now busy schedules of birthday parties and after school clubs, reading and homework - supporting them emotionally as they navigate the world and just teaching them to be good humans. Learning to crawl and walk have been replaced by learning to ride bikes and to read and write and we find ourselves feeling prouder and prouder with every day, not only of the girls, but of ourselves as parents. Rather than being sad that this stage is over we have found ourselves enjoying watching our babies grow as they spread their little wings and it feels like all our hard work is paying off. We have wholeheartedly thrown ourselves into parenting our girls, they are our whole world and if this stage we are leaving behind has taught us anything it's that every long day, challenge and sacrifice is so very worth it. 

Me x

5 September 2018

Phoebe is starting school

To Phoebe

Tomorrow is your first day at School. 

When your playschool teacher asked you what you are looking forward to most about starting school you said 'everything', when they asked you if there was anything you were worried about you said 'nothing' and I think that sums you up pretty well! 

Phoebe all ready for her first day at school

I have been a bit nervous about this impending milestone as you do everything on your own terms and I knew if you didn't want to go we would have a fight on our hands! Luckily you are ready to begin this adventure and really excited. 

We've been to get your new uniform (which you wanted to wear out of the shop), we've got your school shoes and book bag and we've got a good dose of courage and confidence ready for the morning. 

There are definitely benefits to being a younger sibling, you have dropped Ellie off with us every morning for the last two years so school is a familiar concept and you sort of know what to expect in terms of the new routine that awaits you. You look up to your big sister ever such a lot and are thrilled to be joining her at school. You both put your uniforms on last week and you asked daddy if he could tell you apart as you thought you looked exactly the same and were so proud. 

You are really lucky in that you have just 10 children in your class this year and the most wonderful teacher who is just like Miss Honey from Matilda, we really couldn't ask for a better start for you. On top of that you'll have your big sister there with you to give you a reassuring smile in assembly, help you in the lunch hall and to play with at break times. 

Starting school is such a big milestone for you and for me, it's so hard to let go but when I give you a squish at the classroom door tomorrow I promise I will, at least physically! You are going to have the best time my darling and although we are going to miss you so much (Lottie will be lost without you) we can't wait to watch you bloom and grow. 

Good luck little one, we're so proud of you and all that you are.

Mummy x

2 September 2018

Glamping at Polgreen Cornwall

This summer we booked a very last minute escape to Polgreen Glamping in Cornwall, located on a farm in a gorgeous valley in between Mawgan Porth and St Mawgan. It was a lucky find after scouring the Cool Camping website late one evening dreaming of sand between our toes, scones and fish and chips by the sea. Polgreen is a pop up glamping site that opens over the summer holidays with six bell tents and with just one tent left it felt like fate. 

Glamping at Polgreen Cornwall

Oli and I are very fond of Cornwall having visited together in our early twenties on a surf trip and again when Ellie was just a few months old. Our dearest friends relocated to the area last year and opened a fabulous fish and chip shop which we were yet to sample so we were well overdue a return visit. 

Our Bell Tent - Home for the week

We haven't quite braved actual camping with the girls yet but have enjoyed glamping on numerous occasions in Suffolk and Yorkshire which they simply adored so I knew right away that Polgreen would be perfect for us. If you are looking for an adventure and to enjoy the simple things and uninterrupted time together as a family I honestly can't recommend it enough. 

Our campsite was called 'The Field'

We arrived at Polgreen after a 6 hour journey and were greeted by our wonderful hosts Sarah and Simon. We immediately felt as though we had got away from it all as they led us into the field, also the name of our tent, which we would be calling home for the week. Our bell tent had everything we needed including a double bed, a double futon which the girls all slept in together, a coffee table, crockery and equipment to cook with, as well as lots of pretty finishing touches.

Beautiful attention to detail inside our bell tent

Outside it was a picnic table with a canvas shelter over it, a barbecue and a gas stove. We just packed clothes fit for a great British holiday, a bit of food and some bed sheets and towels; it was the perfect base for us to explore the surrounding area where there is just so much to see and do.

Breakfast outside - all part of the glamping experience

We had some wonderful days out many of which were suggestions in the fantastic information pack which Sarah and Simon sent over before we arrived including: 

Walking from Polgreen to St Mawgan 

A lovely 20 minute walk (half an hour with young children) up a farm track with great views of the rolling countryside below. The village is really pretty and nice to wander around and there is a small play ground, shop, pub and cafe where we had the most delicious scones and ice creams.

Walking to St Mawgan


Mawgan Porth 

Such a nice beach and just s short drive away from camp, the girls really enjoyed paddling and running around here. We had dinner at 'Catch' one evening which was fantastic and they were really child friendly with a great menu.

On the beach at Mawgan Porth

Padstow 

Padstow is the perfect spot for wandering around and enjoying a cornish ice cream! There are lots of lovely shops and restaurants as well as some great spots for crabbing on the quay. It does get very busy but its bustle is of all part of the atmosphere of it.

A visit to Padstow


Titangel Castle 

This English Heritage castle ruin is said to be linked to King Arthur and Merlin, quite a long walk for little legs and some high ledges but rather magical with spectacular views, caves and even a waterfall to explore!

Waterfall at Titangel Castle


Falmouth and Trebah Gardens

We stopped at Falmouth on our way to Trebah Gardens (The Eden Project and Lost Gardens of Heligan are also under an hour away) We did the park and float catching a river boat into the harbour for a spot of lunch and then pottered around the shops. The gardens were really pretty with lots to explore including a small private beach.

Exploring Trebah Gardens


Watergate Bay 

Only a few miles down the road and a great spot to watch the tide come in and the sun set. The girls loved beachcombing here and watching the surfers. It's also home to Jamie Oliver's restaurant 'Fifteen' and a great little cafe called 'The Beach Hut', both of which we have enjoyed on previous visits.

Sunset at Watergate Bay

Holywell Beach 

This was probably our favourite spot of the week, a stunning National Trust beach with sand dunes and plenty of space to run and play. The girls loved body boarding down the dunes and running in and out of the waves followed by supper at The Village Chip Shop in Cubert.
Bodyboarding down the sand dunes at Holywell Beach

We made sure we had slow mornings and spent some time enjoying our surroundings at Polgreen each day. With no mobile phone signal it was glorious and although you can hear the planes take off and land from Newquay airport and the music from Boardmasters Festival (if you happen to be there whilst it's on like we were!) it's just a little haven. I only mention this because I read about it in other reviews before we went and it honestly did not bother us at all and the relaxing sound of the pitter patter of rain on canvas and hooting of owls is truly what we remember. 

All cosy inside our bell tent

Also on site at Polgreen are two hot showers and washing up stations with eco friendly toiletries provided. There's a communal washing line for hanging towels and other things to dry and even a salad and herb garden which you can help yourself too. There is a little shed to borrow body boards and buckets and spades from for your beach adventures as well as brooms and vacuums to borrow so you can keep your camp tidy.

Shower block, galloping style!

We probably got out and about more because it was quite a rainy week while we were there, otherwise we would have quiet happily spent a whole day barbecueing and being in the sunshine there. Being the peak tourist season everywhere we went was really busy and it was just lovely to come home to our bell tent and escape the crowds when we were ready. 

Lottie enjoying the meadow at Polgreen

There is a pantry on site which is open in the morning and evening that works on an honestly tab system where you can stock up on essentials and treats as well as food to make full meals with recipe card ideas. There is a cupboard of books and board games you can borrow and colouring pens and paper laid out for the children. There is also a children's wildlife trail around the field which the girls really enjoyed. 

When in Cornwall... Scones it is!

One particularly rainy Sunday Sarah left scones in there for all the guests which was just the loveliest touch. Everything about Polgreen is so well thought out and stylish and nothing is too much trouble, you feel so welcome there the moment you arrive to the moment you leave. 

The girls absolutely loved their holiday at Polgreen

The thing the girls love the most about glamping at Polgreen is how free range they are able to be, they simply step out of their tent and into a field where they can run around, forage for blackberries, jump in puddles and play hide and seek. 

Compost Toilets at Polgreen

They loved the novelty of the compost toilets and the outdoor showers which were accessed by crossing a babbling stream over a little bridge. They loved using their torches and sleeping altogether in a pile . They loved having pancakes cooked on the stove wearing their anoraks at breakfast time when it was a bit drizzly, and we loved watching them enjoy all these simple things.

Happy Girls, Happy Holiday for us!

It's no wonder that Polgreen was featured by the guardian as one of the '10 best family campsites', it's just a really special place. Unsurprisingly Polgreen gets booked up really quickly so it would be worth registering your interest with them here if you're interested in staying next season, you definitely won't regret it.
  

Me x

*We received a discount on our stay in exchange for an honest review.
 All thoughts and opinions are my own.*