Easter fun at Delamere Forest

20140418-202348.jpg

“Now, where are those wiggly worms, hiding?”

Good Friday is a family day! No-one is working, hopefully the sun makes an appearance as it’s almost May (and it did!) and we’re all together.

We decided to make the most of a fantastic warm, sunny Good Friday by taking a trip to Delamere Forest.  We have been before – and bought our Christmas Tree there not long ago – but it had been a while since we’d ventured to this lovely part of Cheshire.

As we approached the forest park through the beautiful Cheshire plains, I was reminded of how much it impresses me.  It’s so easy to park, for one thing – which is so welcome when you’ve got two lively girls in the back eager to leap out of the car and explore.  There’s a big car park and a separate overflow car park for busy periods – although we managed to get in the main car park even on Good Friday.

Coffee always features highly on my list of resources that must be within reach wherever we go, so I love the cafe there which sells a collection of panninis, toasties, sandwiches, cakes and children’s food (kids’ sandwiches, beans on toast etc.) and of course, good coffee.

What’s even better is that there’s loads of seating – both inside and out, and you can take your own picnics and sit outside on covered benches. I don’t know about you, but I hate being caught out places where you can’t take your own food. When you have small children, even if you intend to buy lunch you inevitably end up taking a ridiculous amount of snacks on every outing anyway.

Yesterday they also had a BBQ outdoors which was very popular, and of course the ice cream stall! I did manage to fend off the demands of my daughters for ice cream until after we had done some walking – I’m not sure how, actually. Pure fluke, surely?

20140418-202356.jpgOnto the walking…we still use a pushchair for our 18 month old so we chose a route recommended to us by a friendly chap handing out maps at the entrance.  Yesterday, there was an Easter Gruffalo trail which we followed.

Our trail took us to a clearing in the forest with little dens that the girls thought were just the best thing since chocolate mini eggs.  They love playing at ‘houses’ at the best of times, and this really got their imagination going.

We found quite a few piles of logs on the way, and three and a half year old was fascinated when we explained to her that each ring on the cut side of the log represented a year of the tree’s life.  She spent quite a while browsing those logs!

It was a great opportunity for both girls to stretch their legs, walk and run around exploring.  Bug hunting is a big favourite with us so they were lifting stones and trying to spot worms and well, bugs.

We’re not cyclists, but we did see lots of cyclists around.  The Forest Park is huge, with a range of trails and a cycle hire stop.  I also saw quite a few runners, too, although they must have been bonkers to go out running on Good Friday (surely they rewarded themselves with a pint, later?).

I was impressed with Delamere Forest – it’s a great family day out.  Our girls were suitably tired when we arrived home – bonus for Mr EC and I who as I write this are sipping a Good Friday glass of well deserved wine while they sleep soundly in bed.

Forget-me-not-Friday #50

Forget-me-not-Friday

Last weekend, I was away in Barcelona for a whole three days, without children. It was amazing, although I missed my two lively girls. Obviously I couldn’t wait to get back to them.

In my absence, it would appear that my three and a half year old and Daddy had been having a few ‘chats’.

My two girls and I are having a walk in the sunshine, a couple of days after my return.

Three year old: “Mummy, how did you and Daddy make me out of love?”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Three year old: “Well, Daddy said you and him made me out of love.”

Me, panicking slightly: “Yes that’s right, we did.”

Three year old: “But how did you make me out of love?”

Me, hoping an ice cream can would just suddenly materialise in front of me or something : “Well, we just loved each other a lot and then there was so much love that it made you.”

Three year old: “Yes, and it made my sister too.”

Me, breathing sigh of relief: “Yes it did”.

Mr EC, you have some explaining to do!..

Forget-me-not-Friday #49

Forget-me-not-Friday

We are watching the Disney film Frozen. Three year old is dancing around the lounge, swooshing her arms around in order to mimic the character Elsa’s magical abilities.

Three year old: “Look, Mummy! I can do magic like Elsa!”

Me: “Yes, wow! That’s really good!”

Three year old: “my magic is really special.”

Me: “Why?”

Three year old: “Because I do naughty magic!”

Keeping sane through childhood illness

20140409-210313.jpgI’ve been a bit quiet on the blog over the past couple of weeks due to a bad run of illness in the Expression and Confession household.

We had just got over the trauma of a hospital stay with three and a half year old who had a virus and a cough and suddenly developed breathing problems, when seventeen month old got chicken pox!

All’s well – three year old is recoverered although we are being referred for an asthma assessment.  Seventeen month old has also perked up although the night time itching is still driving her crazy! Poor thing.  Chicken pox is some virus isn’t it?  The flu like symptoms she got before the spots came out were terrible! She was so out of sorts and didn’t sleep hardly a winky for two nights.

At least we’re getting it out of the way. Did you know that they vaccinate against chicken pox in the US and Asutralia as part of the childhood immunisation programme?  Whereas in the UK it’s not thought to be cost effective, unless you’re considered to be in an at risk group (pregnant women, those with impaired immune systems).

This is where I have a marginal whinge as the nature of chicken pox means your child can’t go to nursery or school (or actually anywhere vaguely interesting) until they are no longer contagious, which is usually around five days after the spots appear.

Five whole days.

Now is it me or does this mean a serious interruption to productivity in the workplace? As it happens, I have a VERY kind family who looked after my children for a number of days while I went to work, but I still had to take two days off.

Anyway, I’m sure a nice team somewhere have the cost benefit analysis all worked out (I’m sure they do!).  It’s been a tough couple of weeks – and now it’s over (hopefully!) I ask myself “how did we get through it?” Here are a few  ideas  on how to keep same during periods of seemingly never ending illness in your children.

  • Read parenting blogs. Great for indoor activity ideas.  One thing about chicken pox is that you actually can’t go anywhere, unless you want to spread the disease around every street corner.  My favourite blogs for ideas are Ghostwriter Mummy and Casa Costello, the latter being great for cooking with kids.
  • Take up offers from kind friends. I’m lucky enough to have some very lovely friends, who also happen to have children who have alrady had the pox.  Cue some fun playdates which took the edge off going stir crazy.
  • Look after yourself.  This is difficult when you’re so concerned about your children.  I was on pins for the first week after my three year old returned from hospital, putting a baby monitor back in her room inches from her face so I could hear her breathing.  It’s hard to remember to look after yourself, but if you don’t and you become ill or run down, how can you be effective in being there for your kids?  I just made sure I kept eating regular meals and getting sleep where I could (chocolate was also involved!).
  • Have a word with yourself. Cooped up children vs not losing your temper. Not easy! Mentally prepare yourself for the temper tantrums and general demands on yourself that this period will bring.  But it’s not forever.
  • Beware of the ultimate power freak-doctors receptionists. Might seem a bit harsh, but picture the scene: you’re tired and you miss the ‘timeslot’ for requesting a callback from the GP by five minutes. The unfriendly ‘gatekeeper to all knowledge’ that is the receptionist won’t budge. You lose your temper big time and put the phone down, fuming for hours afterwards and writing about it on Facebook. Erm – don’t do this. Try to anticipate the feelings a conversation with this strange being will bring forth and devise manipulative ways to get the call back you desire (e.g. bursting into tears, , threatening to complain, begging – it’s only this once, after all).
  • Try and sleep when you can. Stop! Before you switch off because I’ve dared to say the thing that all midwives tell you after your baby is born, and which we promptly all ignore – where preschool illness is concerned this is a must. And possible – just about! In fact what I really mean is just go to bed as soon as they’re in bed. Have your tea early rather than wait for your partner to return home from work. Hop into bed at 7:30pm – try and get a few hours on before they wake itching, coughing, or wanting a cuddle.

…and on a practical level:

  • ViraSoothe Gel. Wonderful stuff – really halts the itching of chicken pox. A friend kindly recommended this to us and it really helped.

How have you found dealing with childhood illness?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback.

Forget-me-not-Friday #48

Forget-me-not-Friday

Three and a half year old had a night in hospital this week, with virus-induced breathing problems. But never fear – she’s back and bouncing around! This includes telling me what she thinks of me in no uncertain terms.

Some friends have invited us to see their new chicks which have just hatched. We’re not going until next week, but three and a half year old is impatient.

Three year old: “Is it
chick day yet?”

Me: “No, it’s next Friday.”

Three year old: “Well I’m not talking to you then!”

Me: “I can’t make the days come any quicker – it’s next week!”

Three year old: “Well Father Christmas is not going to bring you any presents!”