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Archive for the category “Out and About”

Old haunts – good for the soul.

What I didn’t realise about motherhood, until it happened to me, was how many cogs I had to adjust in my brain. I couldn’t just put myself first – there was a small, sometimes shouty prawn that told me she was more important.

This meant I had to wave goodbye to some aspects of my old life. The problem, though, with sacrificing things – my job,  lie-ins, instant gratification, a decent pelvic floor – is getting carried away.

I made so many adjustments and sacrifices I forgot I didn’t have to lose everything from my old life.

Am I the only one? Do we only think we’re good mums if we constantly toss our loves, pastimes and hobbies on the sacrificial flames of parenthood?

It’s early days, but I’ve found myself going back to old haunts and old interests recently and finding the whole thing really UPLIFTING. I’d even go so far as to say it’s felt SPIRITUALLY CLEANSING. I feel stronger. 

Here are some things I’ve rediscovered over the last month or two:

  1. The pub in my old hometown. A lunchtime drink and a walk by the canal. Amazing.


  1. Messing around on the Clifton Downs. I used to come here all the time when I’d just moved to Bristol, marvelling that I’d swapped this:Commuters in LondonFor this:

clifton downs


But after I moved to South Bristol and got married and had a kid, I stopped going, I have no idea why. It was one of those mental barriers that needed to come crashing down. Anyway I recently took P. and bought us both an ice-cream, and after I’d taught her how delicious the chocolate cones were, she left me alone to read a section of my newspaper in peace! It had been at least three years since I’d spent an afternoon here and I couldn’t believe I’d left it so long. Definitely one of my spiritual homes and I’m glad I reconnected.

the downs

  1. Spending a few hours in Bristol Central Library. This is one of those places I used to spend hours in. Recently, I read about a series of events about writing being held in the library, and managed to go along to one of the sessions one sunny Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago. I hadn’t been in for years, having stuck to my local, much smaller library, but as soon as I walked in it felt amazing. And I spotted this little post-it note on the wall:


  1. Cycling the Bristol Bath cycle path. This place meant a lot to me when I first moved to Bristol, and I would try to cycle along it at least every couple of months. Hadn’t been back for about 5 years and as soon as I got on my bike I started grinning like a fool and didn’t stop, not even when I swallowed a bug. Look at this view!



I know it’s really, laughingly simple. Pubs, libraries, bit of grass, and cycling. Like I said, it’s early days, but I feel inspired.

Partly I think it’s just time – now P. is two years old, things are much easier in terms of where I can take her and how portable she is. But I can’t wait to try out other stuff and adventures on a domestic scale that I’d felt were out of my reach before.

What’s your experiences of visiting old haunts since you’ve become a mum? Do things feel just the same, better, or worse? Where would you love to go again if you could?



Out & Wonderful and being a bit sick in .. The New Forest

When my in-laws offered to look after our daughter for a few days so B. and I could sleep for two days spend time together, we tried not to look too eager as we said: “When?”

They live in Hampshire so we opted to spend some time in the nearby New Forest. Have you ever been? It’s like a fairy-tale grew legs, looked around, and said: “This will do.”


Trees shrouded in mist? Yep.

Chocolate-box cottages lying languidly around, wearing nothing but daffodils? Affirmative.

Cute ponies? Tick.

Whole swathes of wood to yourself? Yessir.

Spending a romantic night in your B&B, wearing a Calvin Klein slip, and puking? Oh…

It started well. Our break began with a boozy lunch at The Jetty in Mudeford, Christchurch.

We had complimentary glasses of Prosecco, oysters, chablis and a buttery, succulent lemon sole. Pudding was a white chocolate tiramisu with cappuccino ice-cream.

I looked out onto the Solent, breathed in the nappy-free air, undid the top button of my trousers, and sighed with happiness and indigestion.

After checking into our B&B, I had a nap and read a magazine. Then we went for a walk. That was a pretty good way to see in an afternoon. The next day we had a three hour walk, another staggeringly yummy lunch, (so good, we decided to sack off walking home, and sent for a taxi! The decadence!)

Everything was lovely until around midnight on our last night. I got up, staggered to the bathroom, and proceeded to circle the toilet like a rabid dog. My husband has never heard me being sick before, and he was in for a shock.

“You’re so dramatic,” he chided. Until it was his turn.

So we spent our second and final night on our first weekend away in 12 months, caressing the big ceramic loo in our en-suite.  Maybe it was the oysters. Maybe it was all the rich food we’d had over the last two days.

Maybe our bodies had gone into shock from one lie-in and 48 hours of no parental responsibility. Yeah, that will be it.

Either way, I’d do it all again. The New Forest is lush, practically empty, and full of ponies. And our land-lady told us that if we came back in November, we’d see “pigs being chased by ponies. It really is quite a wonderful sight.”

Well, for that reason alone, I’m already canvassing my parents.


We stayed at the Cottage Lodge in Brockenhurst. We ate almost everywhere, but my favourite place, apart from The Jetty (oysters apart) was The Oak in Lyndhurst.

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