Earth Mother

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Growing up in the countryside I never thought I’d ever be a city girl, so I’m still kind of surprised that I’ve spent most of my adult life in cities and, god forbid, am bringing my children up in the suburbs surrounded by houses and cars, rather than by animals and fields.

Sadly I’ve realised that sacrificing the view of cows from my kitchen window is better than sacrificing hours of my time every day commuting.

But living in the suburbs shouldn’t and doesn’t stop us from getting out in the countryside and going a bit earth mother every so often.

Every summer since I met my husband I’ve suggested going strawberry picking. We’ve never actually made it, so it’s become a bit of a running joke between us. And once again this year we missed strawberry picking season, but at a loose end this weekend we decided to make a trip out to Kenyon Hall Farm near Wigan, where they have a year-round supply of pick your own fruit and veg, a playground, farm shop and of course a cafe.

Well, we can’t be leaving all the urban comforts behind now, can we?

Whilst G excitedly ran up and down the rows of peas, sweetcorn and blackberries, C took it all in from her vantage point up on my back – our trusty woven wrap being far more useful in this case than a pram.

We came home happy, with a slight pink tinge from the late sunmer sun, three corn on the cob, a punnet full of garden peas, and a rather sad handful of blackberries – the blackberry bushes having apparently been stripped by visitors earlier in the day.

After teaching G how to shell peas (another ‘earth mother’ moment right there), they made it into that evening’s Sunday roast, with the rest of our haul saved for another day.

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At 8 and a half months old, C is perfecting her pincer grip, and this coupled with inheriting her big sister’s love of food meant she made short work of dinner, peas included.

I had a fleeting realisation when I looked back at the photos that if we go again next summer it’ll be with with not one but two children running up and down the rows.

Time really does fly, doesn’t it?

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Our Favourite Sunny Day Trip – Hathersage Outdoor Swimming Pool

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Blimey it’s been a while since I last blogged – we’ve been pretty busy since our holiday and I just don’t seem to have found time! So I’m playing catch up here.

It was on our way home from our holiday in Sherwood Pines that we decided to make the most of the sunny weather and stop off at one of our favourite sunny day trips – Hathersage Swimming Pool.

Nestled away in the Peak District, and handily located off the Snake Pass which runs between Sheffield and Manchester, Hathersage pool is a 1930s heated outdoor pool that makes a fabulous spot to visit. We’ve been quite a few times with G when she was growing up, so it was a great place to take C for only her second ever swimming trip.

Before swimming, however, came lunch. And our favourite option in the area is the nearby David Mellor Cutlery Museum. Yep, you read that right, a cutlery museum.

Technically I think it’s the David Mellor Visitor Centre and Design Museum, but ‘cutlery museum’ is a bit more attention grabbing, in a ‘what did you say’ way, don’t you think?

I have to be honest here, I’ve never looked round the museum, I just go for the yummy food in the cafe, and a browse around the too-tempting fancy kitchen shop.
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From the cafe I have learnt, however, that alongside cutlery David Mellor is responsible for the humble yet ubiquitous traffic light, as there’s one in the middle of the cafe where G still delights in pressing the crossing button over and over again. Apparently his achievements included recognising that you need less electricity to run traffic lights at night when it’s dark, as they don’t need to shine as brightly. It’s one of those things that makes total sense when someone says it, but you would probably never have thought of yourself.

So lunch it was, before we headed back to the pool for the afternoon swimming session. On a sunny weekend you have to get there well in advance to join the queue that snakes down through the car park, but being a Friday it wasn’t too bad. We were soon up the stairs and in, ready to nab a coveted table on the grassy section between the changing rooms and the pool.

Despite only having been swimming once before I think C has the makings of a bit of a water baby. She watches her sister’s swimming lessons intently every week,and loves bath time, so I really need to sign up for some baby lessons for her. As it is we remembered enough of the baby swimming lessons that we did with G to play a few games, sing a few songs and brave a quick go at underwater swimming (babies have a dive reflex meaning they hold their breath when submerged).

It wasn’t long before she’d had enough though, and I got to soak up the atmosphere from the side as G splashed and swam with Daddy. Until of course G remembered the promise of post swimming ice cream from the pool cafe!

We were grateful for having made the stop off as we crawled our way back to Manchester through heavy traffic.

But it was a lovely end to a lovely holiday, and a place we’ll hopefully be visiting more often through the summer months.