We are almost at the end of our two week Easter break and honestly, it has been a wonderful time of nothing and everything. For the first time in over a decade (since I was very heavily preggers with Little Lady in fact) we made the decision not to go down to Dorset this holiday. Although I have really missed not strolling about beside the sea on my home turf this Easter, we've enjoyed a very relaxing and restorative time here at home.
Rather predictably the weather has been very mixed, but as we made zero plans for this holiday other than to wake up each day and enjoy not having to do anything much, it's been great. Early on in the holiday, we had a short run of beautiful, sunny Spring weather so on one gorgeous morning we set out early to make the most of it.
It delights me to tell you that after a lengthy stint (months? years?) of enduring the Little People protesting like crazy every time we suggested a venture into the great outdoors, these days they seem to positively enjoy the idea of it (shock! horror!) It's been a welcome turn about, and not something that I've voiced aloud to them for fear of jinxing the good walking vibes, but oh, I am so so so so glad!
This walk we did to "climb the crag" is a favourite for us - it's local, so less than 10 minutes in the car, and not that lengthy either as the whole round route is only 3 or 4 miles long. The actual climbing bit though, oh that's quite something and takes a bit of doing. The pathway up to the summit is steep and rocky and so for a good 20 minutes there is plenty of huffing and puffing (and possibly a bit of mild, under-the-breath cursing from time to time) as we scrabble slowly upwards.
But the feeling when you finally reach the top and get to flollop down in a heap is like nothing else, it's exhilarating (in a breathless sort of a way), satisfying and just plain wonderful. This was an impressively early jaunt for us, and we were sitting up amongst these rocks with chocolate, jam sandwiches and hot coffee just after 9 am.
The Little People embraced this walk with such energy and enthusiasm, it made me so happy deep down in the pit of my stomach, like a heart squeeze multiplied by a million.
Spring is always so slow to get to us here in North Yorkshire, but during April there are always a handful of blue sky days where we feel the first real sunshiny warmth of the year. It feels sooooooo good when those warm days happen!
At the start of the holidays, the warm sunny days encouraged the Little People to take their play outdoors for the first time this year. It's always a lovely time when we can prop open our front doors and listen to the sound of the neighbourhood children playing up and down the street. I generally leave them to it and don't think to photograph what they are up to - but it's pretty much the same simple play that takes place year after year after year. Wheels, bubbles and chalks. Sometimes balls, sometimes an assortment of other toys, but always scooters, skateboards, bubble wands and street chalks. This bucket was half full at the start of the holidays - there has been a LOT of chalky art happening out there!
I didn't decorate for Easter this year, for the first time in ages (last year's efforts are here, if you are remotely interested in my chaotic hang-all-the-things approach). I don't know why I just didn't feel like I wanted to bother, but I'm not going to over analyse that fact. I was content with just a jug of very pretty little daffies on my table, wafting out the most delicious scent.
In fact, thinking back over the past two weeks, I've spent a lot of time sat at my dining table indulging in quiet me-things. I finally plucked up courage to pull my cable sock out of the naughty corner and give it a thorough telling off. I then spent three hours pulling back the whole of the toe section which had gone horribly wrong and re-knitting it. The relief and the pride was enormous, considering it's just one sock, but oh I am proud! Since I took this photo, the second cable sock is also finished and believe it or not it was even more of a mare than the first one. It took me t-h-r-e-e attempts to do the toe on the second sock, I can't even tell you how cross it made me. But they are finally complete, and I love them, and I am super-proud. I'll write a proper sock update post soon to show you properly and give all the deets.
In and out, this holiday has been thoroughly dictated by the weather it seems. We spent a lot of time snuggled up at home that's for sure, but on days when it was dry and we all felt like it, we ventured out to walk.
We visited Bolton Abbey a few times this holiday, and I was surprised to see that the bluebells were well on their way already.
The weather last week was cold and grey and felt much more like Winter than Spring, so the bluebells looked at odds underneath the still-bare branches of the trees. Still another week or two before they reach their peak here, so I must remember to prime the fam and warn them of an imminent Bluebell Appreciation outing.
Gosh, never mind the flowers, there has been a lot of chocolate appreciation happening in the Attic these past few weeks. I've been filling little bowls with mini eggs here and there, partly for the pleasure of seeing them sitting prettily on the table, but mostly for the pleasure of being able to pop one in my mouth whenever the mood strikes. I happen to rather like a small chocolate hit with my first coffee of the day, and think perhaps I might need to keep having bowls of little foil wrapped chocolates about the place. The Little People are slowly working their way through their considerable stash of giant hollow chocolate eggs as I'm being very Mumsy and rationing it to small bits each day after dinner. The Teen rebelled a little and took a whole big egg out with him one day last week, but mostly even he is towing the line and sticking to his daily rations.
Did I mention that this past week has been cold? Freezing even? We've been back to lighting the fire, no joke, and although I would much rather throw the doors open and step out in my brand new flip flops, the fireside cosiness has been welcome this holiday. It's felt snug and homely here in the Attic, and we've all spent a ridiculous amount of time wearing pyjamas.
The kitty has seemingly enjoyed having us about at home, she is a cat who likes to be close to her humans and I've frequently found her curled up with Little Lady or Little B.
As you can see from the above picture, my lovely Hydrangea blanket is very much in use here at the moment. Due to the persistent cold weather, all my blankets have been used a lot during this holiday as we've indulged in a lot of sofa time. It makes me really happy to see the Little People using my blankets (they've all got blankets on their beds right now too), and I wish for these blankety memories to stick fast and hold tight for a long time to come.
This is how the corner of our living room looks right now though, with the blankets being used to make a rather sprawling hideout for Little B. Goodness knows what goes on under there, but he's been in and out of it all day long.
In and Out - a different kind of out this time though, and as far from the bluebell woods as you could be. We took a train ride to Leeds for a day of shopping, lunch out and posh afternoon drinks in our favourite Sky Lounge. It was the first time we'd taken the Little Peeps to the Sky Lounge and they absolutely loved the whole experience - the big glass revolving doors into the hotel, the ride up to the 13th floor in the lift, the plush golden sofas and velvet cushions, the views, and the posh drinks delivered to our table (pictured above is my mojito which was stunningly delicious)
For the shopping portion of our trip we split into two - J took Little B shopping with his pocket money to the Lego store (huge excitement for this!), whilst I accompanied Little Lady on a bit of a clothes buying jaunt. I don't think I am the best clothes shopping companion (it drains me just thinking about it), but we did OK and she was really happy with her modest purchases. It was such a lovely day with the Little Peeps, one of those times when everything just clicks into place and feels easy and good. Little B was in his element, still so excited by simple train journeys, in awe of big city shops and streets, thrilled by escalators and lifts.
Yesterday we went to the coast to meet up with J's mama who was spending a few days in St Annes. It wasn't particularly beach weather (it was freeeezing) but we wrapped up warm and made the most of the day.
After a delicious morning coffee in the cafe on the pier, we set out to attempt to see the sea. This might sound odd given that we were right there at the seaside, but low tide in St Annes means that the actual sea is far, far away. This is more SANDside than seaside. The beach here is seriously huge with great long miles of gently rippled sand, and you need to be quite determined to make it as far as the shoreline. We walked and walked and walked.........
.....and after HALF an HOUR we still didn't make it. I kid you not. We did reach a shallow patch of sea water, but not the sea itself.
Impressive sand ripples though, yes, we saw lots and lots of those. And I loved watching the Little People lark about on the beach as we walked. Collecting shells, using driftwood sticks to draw in the sand and generally letting loose with all that stored up kidlet energy.
After lunch, we spent some time in the municipal park - Ashton Gardens is so beautifully designed and kept, it's a really lovely place to visit at all times of the year.
I went a bit bonkers when I spotted the tulip beds (the local lady walking her dog looked at me as if I were utterly crazy, getting down on my knees to really loooooook at the blooms, which were huge and beautiful and well worth looking at up close). The Little People burnt off the last of their hot chocolate fueled energy in the play park before we called it a day and headed back inland and home.
After some wonderful Outings this week, some In days are needed now though as I try and catch up with all that has been neglected recently. After all the excitement and long, full days which led up to the Hydrangea Blanket reveal (thank you so so so much for all your shared excitement over that by the way!), I've appreciated this quiet down time with my family very much. Back to it now though - lots of Yarndale stuff happening behind the scenes right now, as well as some other bits and pieces I'm working on for magazines too. I've been designing and working on a commission this week using this gorgeous, soft summery palette of cottons, as well as writing stuff for various features and generally trying to do what people are asking of me.
Gosh, this has been a super-long post, I've been writing it on and off for days! It's been so lovely to catch up though, and I promise I'll be back very soon with a proper sock update (I'll have Man Socks on my needles next, what colour do you think J has gone for?????!), and some other yarny news too.