Well here we are, half way through our six week summer holidays and for the most part I really am enjoying it. Sometimes it feels a bit too hectic, a bit too stressy, but mostly I feel like we're managing to successfully find the right balance between being lazy and being active, between staying home and going out and about. My favourite days this week have without doubt been the lazy ones, and we've become quite slobbish around here (like still in our pj's at lunch time, eh-hem). But it's been necessary to have these lazy days in order to recover from the days of rather frantic activity.
Last week as you know we were away in Connievan and if I'm honest with you here, the lazy/active balance was a bit skewed really. There just wasn't enough slow time or slobbishness for my liking. Not enough lounging around in our pj's. It was a busy, sociable, scheduled, active type of a holiday involving lots of friends, lots of get-togethers, lots of outings. The Little People had an absolute ball. I did too, but oh boy was I exhausted by the end of it!
Staying in Connievan for a whole week was absolutely, undeniably BRILLiAnT though. We were pitched in a busy campsite a few miles outside of York city, right beside the river Ouse. The above picture shows you the view through Connie's door, which was rather scenic it has to be said. It looks like the perfect backdrop for lazy, lounging, slobbish outdoor days doesn't it? Such a pity they didn't occur!!
No, there wasn't a lot of time spent lazing around the campsite but there were certainly Moments. Moments of peace and tranquility, of sitting beside the river in the early mornings before the rest of the campsite was awake, drinking that first delicious cup of tea. Kingfishers skimming, swans gliding.
Moments in the early evening after a long day's play when I would sit quietly by the water and watch the clouds scud overhead. These moments were short, but very very sweet.
Of course, Moments To Myself were extremely limited, no matter what the time of day. The Little People were my constant companions, but it was wonderful to watch them enjoying the outdoor life so much. I was totally in awe of their energy levels. They honestly did not stop. All day. Fourteen hours (minimum) of frenetic activity each and every day. Running, cycling, swinging, sliding. Den-building. Rocket-launching. Frisbee-throwing. Duck-feeding. And plenty of other children to do all those things with. Like I say, the Little People had an absolute ball.
York is the place that we used to live before we upped and moved across the hills to Attic-land, so of course we know it well and have lots of friends still living there. It's a beautiful city, bustling and vibrant.
Lovely shopping streets.
Lined with lovely shops....
....ahhhhhh yes, I did make it into the divinely wonderful Cath Kidston shop. Squuuuueeeeezed it in between School Uniform buying and a bit of stressy parenting in this shop and this one. It's not all about The Kids you know :: us Mums need to be catered for too.
The Little People couldn't remember the centre of York very well (they were aged 3 and 5 when we moved away), but certain things did jog their little memories. A fountain. A toy shop. A clock. And this unusual cafe. Situated in an old church right in the heart of York, it's a gem of a place for harassed mothers with children/babies in tow. Exceptionally child friendly, and a bloomin good range of homemade cakes to sit beside a bloomin good cappuccino. I remembered it well, it hadn't changed one bit.
We did a great deal of the above last week in York. The city has some wonderful parks with wonderful play areas for children. My Children did indeed think it was wonderful. They played and played and played. And I enjoyed sitting watching them do it.
One of the outings we made was to Beningbrough Hall, which is a National Trust property just to the north of york. The working gardens here are breathtakingly beautiful.
A mixture of flowers, fruit and vegetables, it was just wonderful. Beauty around every corner.
And then we stopped for tea in the tea room. And that was pretty darned good too. Oh, and in case you were wondering, yes there was a very long time spent at the Wilderness Play Area. More swinging and sliding and climbing. And sitting/watching.
It was wonderful to spend time last week with good friends. Friends I met almost eight years ago when my Little Man was a babe and we were all first time Mums together. Our children grew up through babyhood and toddlerhood together. Special times and special friends.
But you know, as lovely as it was being so sociable, going to this park and that park, here for playtime, there for lunch, to the pub for dinner, barbecues and drinks and playdates at this house and that house, it was blissful to come Home to Connievan each evening. It really was. She was so cosy! So welcoming! And already so familiar and so very much Ours if you get what I mean.
About half way through the week I suddenly really missed having fresh flowers about me. I very rarely live without fresh flowers at home, as you know. So early one evening I took the Little Lady on a short walk around the campsite and began gathering a few wild blooms from the verges and hedgerows. Buttercups, clover, balsam, ragwort, yarrow and honeysuckle.
So beautiful! Oh I just adored this little posy soooooo much!! Popped it into a jam jar and it made my little heart go skip-skippety-skip with delight.
Being all domesticated with Connievan is such fun. At home I love and adore my Dishwasher. Hate washing dirty dishes at home. But not so in Connievan. I can happily stand at the little pink enamel sink, hands in hot soap sudsy water washing up the pretty plastic stuff. Gazing out the window to the view of field/hedgerow/river feeling totally blissed out. Amazing. Washing up and feeling Blissed Out. Who would have thought it?
In fact, Connievan life in general feels quite Blissed Out. Last week the Little People didn't spend a whole lot of time inside cos they were generally busy being hugely busy outside. Frenetic remember. But sometimes they did choose to settle themselves down at the table and occupy themselves with books and pens. Truthfully, quite a lot of bickering banter accompanied the above scene, and there was some nasty falling out over The Black Pen but hey-ho, it was mostly good.
My time inside, when I wasn't being all Blissed Out at the sink or tidying up or looking after Little B was mostly spent gazing at my stripes. I didn't have one single moment to actually crochet last week (my crochet never even made it out of the car, that's how hectic the week was) but oh I did manage some serious gazing. I can't tell you how fabulous it was to install the Granny Stripe. I unfolded it and draped it and arranged it, then stood back and kind of felt like I could jump up through the roof with happiness. It was heart-bangingly exciting, yes it was!!! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee it was maaarrrrvelous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Need to address that cushion and those curtains, but ohmygoodness, the blanket is so great.
Ps...There is now a Flickr group dedicated to the Granny Stripe, so please please do add in your own pictures if you're working on a stripe. And if you're not hooking, please please do feel free to pop over and gaze upon all the stripy gorgeousness anyways, cos it'll make you feel good I promise.