A Weekend of Little Legacies

When I first started blogging I joined in with a series called Little Legacy, created by Penny (Parentshaped) as way of sharing the little things that helped her remember her mum and the legacy of her in present day. As I had lost my mum a couple of years previously too I found it such a helpful way of working through my grief. Due to their personal nature I didn’t bring many of these posts over with me to this blog, but if you do a search a couple may pop up. During our weekend away in the Peak District at Sandybrook I was reminded of so many little ways my mum influenced my life and in turn my children’s lives. While in her home county I felt it was important to share a few little legacies with my girls.

I’m fully aware of the self indulgent nature to this post, but I hope you enjoy it and it helps you think of the little legacies in your own life gifted from previous generations.

Our Saturday in Bakewell

Bakewell is a town I remember going to every time we’d stay at my Grandma’s house in Darley Dale. Whether it was scouring the market for bargains, wandering around the shops or just calling in on the way back from a walk in the Dales. When visiting with my girls I enjoyed pointing out shops and places I’d go to as a child and of course I shared with them the joys of the Bakewell pudding (not tart!).

We came across an old fashioned sweet shop packed floor to ceiling with huge jars of sweets. My girls paced back and forth trying to decide just which to choose. I remember coming to places just like it as a child, clutching coins in my sweaty palm desperate to swap them for striped paper bags bulging with treats. My mum would treat herself to a few coconut mushrooms while I had as many different kinds of sweets as I could manage!

When buying our Bakewell Pudding I also picked up some oatcakes. I’d not seen these in years and have strong memories of being sent down the road to the butcher to buy oatcakes and bacon for our cooked breakfasts. My Grandma would treat us to a cooked breakfast whenever we stayed with her, it was one of the highlights of any trip to see her, that’s for sure!

 

Monsal Dale

We scattered my mum’s ashes in Monsal Dale ten years ago. My eldest was only a few months old, so of course doesn’t remember but we’ve talked about it together and she’s always wanted to go back and see it. On the other hand trying to explain the concept of ‘scattering ashes’ to my seven year old was a tricky conversation that’s for sure! It was a rather muddy walk to get to the right place but I’m so pleased we did it. Of course it was a rather emotional time for me but my little family were right there with me.

When we go to Derbyshire again I’ll be taking my girls to Matlock to visit family, as well as exploring some of the beautiful stately homes that we’re closed such as Chatsworth House and Haddon Hall. Giving my girls a sense of their history and heritage is so important to me. It does make me sad that there are no women in the generations before mine, but it’s in ways like this that I can keep their memory alive. Thankfully my daughters love learning about their Grandmother and Great Grandmother and Great Aunts and it makes me so happy to see the strength (and stubborness!) they’ve inherited from them. 

Do you have Little Legacies that you can spot in your own life?

morganaA Weekend of Little Legacies
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Our relaxing weekend in the Peak District with Sandybrook

Over Mother’s Day weekend we had a family treat and stayed at Sandybrook Country Park in Derbyshire. Nestled in the countryside near the town of Ashbourne, Sandybrook is a perfect little family getaway location. We had a lodge with two bedrooms and a living space with kitchen diner and relaxed seating area. Just what you need as a family of four. Our cosy lodge was perfect for evenings of family board games and films, and provided the perfect base from which we could explore the local towns and trek around the dales on muddy walks.

We stayed in a Classic Vogue Lodge, unfortunately all the lodges with hot tubs were booked up, otherwise I’d definitely would have gone for one of those! It was warm and cosy, the perfect bolt hole in the cold and rainy weather.

Top tip (and something I wish we’d done) most of the main supermarkets can deliver to your lodge. This makes things so much easier so you’re not bringing loads with you or wasting time trekking to the supermarket when you could be enjoying your holiday.

The bedrooms were just the right size, we had a double and a twin room. There was plenty of storage for clothes and other essentials and all linens and towels were provided.

 

With it being March we expected the weather to be unpredictable and feared the worst with a forecast of rain for the four days. I wasn’t worried though, with a swimming pool and restaurant on site combined with rainy day games and lots of food we were prepared. To my delight the weather improved and the non-stop rain I’d anticipated didn’t come so we were able to get out and about to explore the local area as well as making the most of the on site facilities. 

The pool, jacuzzi and steam room are fantastic, so clean and well maintained. My girls had a blast swimming and splashing and I loved relaxing in the jacuzzi and then watching from poolside with a book.

My family are such water babies that a pool on holiday is such a must. I don’t think my eldest can go a day without being in a swimming pool! The pool at Sandybrook is situated within the same building as reception and is only a short walk from all the lodges. It took us minutes to walk there from ours.

As well as the pool there are also lots of extra activities for children, from archery to water walking and mini golf, you can see the full list here – sandybrook.co.uk/go-active, these do cost extra and its recommended that you book in advance. If you’ve got little ones there is also a little indoor soft play for them. As we had lots of family activities off site planned we didn’t get the chance to try any of activities. 

Sadly was a little too wet and muddy to try out the mini golf and play area – something for next time!

We did try out The Coach House, the on site restaurant and bar, having lunch there on the Saturday and our evening meal on Sunday night.

 

  

The building is lovely and atmospheric and has excellent pub style food for us and the kids. Not to mention the wonderful gin and tonic menu! The staff were friendly and helpful too.

With long lazy mornings, walks and wanders then coming back to the warm lodge after our days out, it was pretty perfect to be honest. In the evening we’d pop on our ‘jamas, get out a board game or card game, grab snacks and drinks and stay up enjoying family time together. The perfect antidote to busy day to day life as a family with older children.

Whether you use it as a base to explore the Peak District from or you spend the whole weekend on site Sandybrook is a great place for a family getaway. I’ll be sharing more of where we went and what we got up to on our weekend in another post that I’ll link here when it’s up.

 

Our stay at Sandybrook Country Park was complimentary, though we paid for the extras, such as dining out at The Coach House.  All views are our own.

morganaOur relaxing weekend in the Peak District with Sandybrook
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What type of mum are you?

Confession time. I’ve got a thing for online quiz’s, you know the silly ones that test just how much of a Greys Anatomy fan you are (FYI- huge), or what personality type you are. Don’t worry I’m not someone that takes these tests and spams all my Facebook friends with every single result from what Disney princess I am to which character in Friends I’d be.  They are a bit of fun and I’m always intrigued to see what I come out with. I recently took a fun test to find out the kind of mum I am, you can take it too if you have a penchant for this kind of thing as I do, ‘What type of mum are you?’

My result told me that I was a Lion Mum – ‘you are a fearsome but wonderful thing to behold, especially in the eyes of your cubs. You work hard and play hard, a life mantra you’ve passed onto your kids; you believe this will give them the best opportunities in life. Speaking of opportunities, you don’t make them shy away from a bit of competition and a lot of fun, as you’re sure this will prepare for the world that lies in wait for them.

I don’t stand a huge amount of stock to these kinds of things but I’d say that’s pretty accurate. When I had my first baby at 23 I had no idea what kind of mum I’d be. Thrown into motherhood half way through university, I felt vastly under prepared for the task. I wasn’t planning on having children until my thirties, after all that’s when my mum had me. I found having a child in your early twenties a disorienting experience. No one really knows where to put you. I wasn’t in the young teen mum category but then I also wasn’t a career first then children mum either. I didn’t fit in at baby groups and felt like I was always having to justify myself as a parent. Adding to that losing my mum soon afterwards meant that not only did I have to prove myself I also had to go it alone and forge my path without the oversight of my own maternal figure.

All of this has shaped me into the mum I am now. Now I’m in my thirties and my children are older I no longer feel the need to prove myself as a good mum. Like the ‘Lion Mum’ persona I guess you could say that I fight for my children in that I want to show them they are important and have a valid and unique voice. I don’t want to hand things to them on a plate but give them room to grow and a chance to learn for themselves and show them that tough times are just opportunities to learn. I don’t know if I’m the kind of mum I thought I would end up being when I first held my newborn baby. Of course I’m much more of a shouty mum than I ever thought I’d be, but then again I don’t think I’d anticipated just how long it takes to get out of the door in the morning with children!

My children are now seven and ten, and I’m super proud of them, and I know it’s not the done thing to say this but I am actually proud of myself too. I had a rocky start to motherhood but we got through it. I’m not a perfect mum by any means but I am the perfect mum for my girls. I’ll never stop learning from them and growing and I hope they will one day say the same.

 

If you’re a mum, what kind of mum do you think you are?

If you take the test put together by SunLife then let me know what you got, What Type Of Mum Are You? and don’t worry you don’t have to give your email address to get the answer or anything silly like that! I’d love to find out what the others are.

 

This is a commissioned post

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My travel bucket list – Bali

Having a family so young, I was 23 when I had my eldest, meant that we’ve not really been away much over the last ten years. Money has been spent on the children, on renovating our home, and sadly, not on holidays. While we were in our early twenties our child free friends were off back packing and exploring the world and we were in a sleepless, nappy and milk filled haze! Having children at that age could have its upside though, my husband and I would console ourselves with the idea that we’d have our time to travel the world once the girls moved out. We’d be in our early 40s and have more disposable income than we would have done in our 20s! So less living out of a backpack and more air conditioned luxury hotels! We’ve already started making a travel bucket list, obviously some of the places we plan to visit with the children while others will be for just the two of us. The list is getting longer all the time! Whether it’s staying in a luxurious hotel in the Maldives or in the best villas in Bali we’ve got lots of exploring to do. The is the first post of a series I want to write, all about the places on my travel bucket list, the first up is Bali.

Photo by bady qb on Unsplash

 

Ever since I watched the film, Eat Pray Love on the first day of my maternity leave on my own in the cinema I just knew Bali was a place I had to experience for myself. While I doubt I’ll be staying in an Ashram while I’m there as Elizabeth Gilbert did (played by Julia Roberts in the film), I was captivated by the beautiful scenery and culture. I’ve been having a browse online and already got some ideas of where I’d love to visit and the things I’d be keen to experience.

 

Ubud

One of the main places featured in the film (and of course whether the author herself, Elizabeth Gibert stayed) was Ubud, known as the cultural capital of Bali, it’s a real must visit. 

From the market, as shown here in a still from Eat Pray Love, to the palace, the art galleries and museums and the Sacred Monkey Forest. It seems there is plenty to do and see, that’s before you even mention the yoga retreats and spas.

Tegalalang Rice Terrace

Situated in Tegalalang Village just north of Ubud. is the Tegalalang Rice Terrace, one of the famous sight seeing locations in Bali.

Beautiful scenery, of these large and organised rice fields would be worth the hike needed to get there. 

Find out more – Tegalalang Rice Terrace

 

Sacred Monkey Forest

Found in the dense jungle known officially as, Mandala Wisata Wanara Wana, is the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. Within the jungle there are three temples, including the Pura Dalem Agung. This nature reserve is home to over 600 grey-haired and long-tailed Balinese macaques. 

 

Find out more – Sacred Monkey Forest

 

Lembongan Island

Moving further south, another place I’d love to visit is Nusa Lembongan. This is a beautiful island just off the coast of Bali. This is a place that has seen a lot of change and development recently. Once a place for surf shacks now there are boutique hotels and temples that are being renovated due to the money brought in from the tourist industry. From its pristine white beaches, to attractions such as a mysterious underground house, lush mangrove forests, and farming villages that retain their old ways.

 

Ceningan Channel – the underwater Buddha

From the look of these photos, snorkeling in Ceningan Channel, a diving spot located between the Lembongan and Ceningan Islands is a definite ‘must’ in my book.

Apparently, this Buddha temple garden are part of an underwater garden initiative to help rejuvenate the coral. It’s not a sacred site and apparently not a well known ‘attraction’.

Find out more – Nusa Lembongan, Lonely Planet

Finding the Underwater Buddha – The Travel Girls

 

Canggu

Situated on the south western coast of Bali is Canggu, and like Nusa Lembongan (and lets face it – Bali in general!) it is a place famous for its surfing. From growing up in Cornwall and learning to surf at our Surf Snowdonia trip last year, surfing is an activity we’re keen to get more involved in. There are so many beautiful beaches in Canggu, with one in particular being Echo beach, or Pantai Batu Mejan.

Pantai Batu Mejan

This black sand beach is an experienced surfers paradise, so probably one we would end up enjoying as spectators rather than surfers! The strong current means that it’s not a great choice for a beginner like me! 

There is a Hindu sea temple and plenty of restaurants and bars on the seafront, so a great place to visit and enjoy the view.

Splash Waterpark

For something a little less cultural Canggu is also home to a waterpark,  so if we do end up going with the kids, this will be a place we’ll definitely be trying out. Oh who I am I kidding, we’d go there with or with out the children! 

Find out more –

Echo Beach – Tripadviser

Splash Bali

 

 

Bali seems to have the sense of relaxation that I look for in a holiday combined with so much to see and do. I’d definitely look to spending some time in a luxurious villa by the sea first and then do some travelling around the island and beyond.

 

Have you been to Bali?

Where’s on your travel bucket list?

 

 

 

This is a commissioned post

(Images – Unsplash)

morganaMy travel bucket list – Bali
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Self Care – Five Quick Pick Me Ups

I mentioned on my Instagram Stories last that I find this time of year, the tail end of Winter, to be a bit blah. January is such a busy month for our family, that along with the new start and plans for the year it feels like we hit the ground running and just don’t stop until the end of the month. I always joke that I’ll need to nap through February to compensate so I guess that’s all part and parcel of that really. Pondering over the ‘blahness’ of February in particular and chatting with some of you on Instagram has got me thinking about prioritising self care with a few quick pick me ups when we feel a bit down. Feeling this way isn’t exclusive to this time of year after all! I wish the answer could be a free holiday to some beautiful destination, I should be so lucky! Instead I wanted to share some little tips that don’t cost the earth. These ideas are very much biased towards the introvert, which I am, so if you’re an extrovert your ideas may look very different to this.

 

A good book and an early night

self care easy pick me ups

I’m someone that needs sleep, I wish I could say that I can survive on a few hours but everyone around me would fall about laughing. I am my worst self when I am tired (or hungry, or both!!). I have no tolerance or patience and turn into a right Negative Nelly. I now know that to give myself the best chance at being the best version of me I need to get an early night and not stay up scrolling Instagram Stories or watching just one more episode of whatever series I’m currently obsessed with. Reading a book rather than reaching for my phone is an ongoing battle. I think I need to plug my phone in somewhere else to take away any temptation to reach for it when I climb into bed or when I can’t sleep. 

 

Flowers

Now this may seem a little frivolous, but plants and flowers really brighten my mood. I honestly don’t know why but grabbing a £1 bunch of daffodils at the checkout to pop in a vase at home makes me smile. This time of year as we are teetering at the start of Spring is just my favourite for flowers. Like I said, you don’t have to go crazy and get a huge bouquet delivered – though if you want to and can afford it then by all means go for it!

 

A little treat

 

Whether it’s a new nail polish, a candle, a face mask or just a quiet coffee these are all little pick me ups that give me a sense of pampering without breaking the bank. A new book often does the trick for me, especially if it involves wandering around a book shop! You might stretch to getting your nails done, a new haircut or whatever, just check your budget and go from there.

 

Exercise 

Before you roll your eyes and keep scrolling, and I’m talking to myself here more than anything! Regular exercise really does help lift your mood. In whatever way that looks for you, a run, walking the dog, a yoga class or a workout dvd in your living room. There’s definitely something you can do that fits your ability and lifestyle. When I’m feeling down often the last thing I want to do is exercise. I’d much rather wallow and eat my feelings, I’ve learnt that this habit just doesn’t help me – funny that eh? And by learning to make healthier choices I’m improving my mood and my health. While I’ll never run a marathon, going out for a job a few times a week while listening to a podcast is enough for me.

 

RE-setting boundaries

Sometimes we have to learn to say no. I’ve found that this is especially hard for me at this stage of my life. I no longer have endless energy and free time, I have to be so aware of my time management skills. Like so many, my life is often dictated by my family commitments, as well as work. Doing too much and over committing can lead me to feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and irritable. I’ve worked on this area of my life so much that I’m conscious now of what I take on and what I say yes to. I cannot give my best self when I’m stretched thin. When I start to feel that foreboding sense of overwhelm set in I have to take a step back and review what I’m doing. What can be dropped for a while, can I do something in a more efficient way – or even am I being a martyr and not asking for help?! Talking this through with someone and making a list will usually give me perspective enough to reset my boundaries.

 

These are just a few of my ideas, and some my resonate with you while others won’t and that’s ok. My main aim when writing this was to encourage thought and discussion around the topic. Most importantly I think is to reflect on what healthier choices you can make for you when it comes to self care. It might be something like learning how to say ‘no’ to things and respecting your boundaries or maybe you first need to set yourself boundaries! Take a few minutes now to reflect on what you can do be better at self care.

 

When you’re going through a bit of a blah time, or feeling a bit down what are your quick pick me up tips?

 

If you enjoyed this post you might like this one – 5 Things I Do When I Feel Emotionally Drained

morganaSelf Care – Five Quick Pick Me Ups
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Introducing Luna and Moony and their new home, the Tetra Cascade Globe (AD)

When my youngest girl was little we’d make regular trips to the local garden centre, in fact this became one of her favourite places to go. We’d have a wander around and always end up in the aquarium section. She’d stare at the fish for ages, pointing at all the different ones and chattering away about them. Even now when we pop in it’s the first bit both of my girls head over to. I think there is something rather calming about watching the fish swim around. There’s often been talk in our family of getting a pet, with my youngest continuing to faithfully raise the idea of getting fish, no surprises there! We would agreed in principle but life gets busy and it ended up being just another thing on a long list we hadn’t got around to doing anything about. A couple of months ago I was offered the fish tank – Tetra Cascade Globe – to try out. I knew then that it could be the perfect chance to get those little fish we’d been wondering about.

As you can see it’s a rather stylish looking fish tank, with a waterfall effect. It’s also rather small so doesn’t need a lot of space.

Now I’ve never had fish, and neither has my husband, so all of this is completely new to me. I’m no expert, obviously, so if you have any fish related questions I’ll do my best to answer them. You’d be much better off having a chat with someone at your local pet shop, which is exactly what I did before we even got the tank set up!

I was advised to set up the tank and fill it, letting it run and settle for a least three days before introducing any fish. I generally found it really simple to set up though initially had problems fitting the filter motor. After a quick internet search I found that this wasn’t a common problem so I added in a little more brute force and the two bits slotted together – crisis averted! We did have one issue though, there should be a transparent piece of plastic that fits to the top of the waterfall. This eases the water in and stops it being so noisy and disturbing. Unfortunately, I rather efficiently got rid of all the packaging and missed this bit in amongst it.

While at the pet store we picked up black aquarium gravel for the bottom of the tank as well as a small pretend plant and a rock. After rinsing the bowl, which is removable, and then the gravel we filled the bowl with cold water and turned on the pump. We started to hear a funny buzzing noise (a bit like a broken toilet!) and soon realised we needed to fill it higher to make sure the motor was submerged – it advises this in the instructions that I’d neglected to read! I’d suggest filling it all the way up and leaving just about an inch at the top, this also quietens the sound of the waterfall as the water doesn’t have as far to drop. 

There is no water heater as this is a cold water tank, so not a home for tropical fish! It’s also worth noting that this is a rather small tank so it’s really important to ask advice as to which fish are suitable.  Don’t let your kids get their heart set on one kind of fish only to find out that they are too big for the tank. It makes for rather awkward conversations and tears in the middle of a pet store with a rather bemused and apologetic shop assistant. Not that I’m speaking from experience at all….. After chatting with the pet shop adviser about our actual options we chose two Danios. Another great option for this tank would be cloud mountain minnows.

Introducing Luna and Moony! The Harry Potter fans among you will probably recognise the names, with both my girls being huge HP fans it was inevitable really.  As these little fish are white – though in such a white home they look more of a peachy colour,  they opted for Luna (Luna Lovegood) and Moony (the nickname of Professor Lupin).

 

    

We’ve had this tank and our new additions for a couple of weeks now and they’ve settled in so well. The girls are in the routine of feeding them a pinch of fish food a day. We’ve been sure to order additional filters, as these need replacing every 3-4 weeks. I’ve got used to the noise of the water now and in it’s home in the kitchen it’s hardly noticeable, and actually when the house is quiet I enjoy hearing the sound of running water.

If you’re looking for a stylish tank and something small and manageable then this is a good option. As I mentioned earlier it’s worth noting that because it is so small you are limited on the fish you can get for it. We’re really happy with ours and I think Luna and Moony are pretty happy with their new home too.

 

 

This is written in collaboration with Tetra UK who gifted us this tank for the purpose of this review. As always all content and opinions are my own. 

 

 

morganaIntroducing Luna and Moony and their new home, the Tetra Cascade Globe (AD)
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Feeling inspired and making changes to the dining room in our new build home

This is a commissioned post

We moved into our new build home in May of last year and I can definitely say that it feels like home now. With it being a new build we’ve been advised not to paint or wallpaper the walls yet, but as each wall is painted white I’m not in much of a rush to change it yet anyway. I do, however, have a few changes up my sleeve to work on our dining room to make the most of our open plan kitchen diner.

white minimal kitchen

We have an open plan kitchen diner which I love, in fact it was a huge selling point for me. The kitchen is white with marble effect worktops and a grey tiled floor. The only downside which I clocked immediately was the carpet in the area that would be our dining room. In the plans it suggests using this space as a family room and the room across the hallway as a dining room (also carpeted), but I wanted that room as an office. 

 

This is the view from the dining room into the kitchen.

 white kitchenwhite kitchen 

and of course the kitchen to the dining room..

kitchen dining room

dining room open plan

I like to think that even though it’s a new build there is a Midcentury and Scandinavian feel to our home, this is achieved by thinking through the furniture and accessories choices and making the most of the white walls and space. I’ve talked a few times about my love for a minimalist vibe and I wish this was reflected more in my home but sadly my children prefer the cluttered, hoarding kind of look! I do try and keep the kitchen as clear as I possibly can, and thanks to plenty of cupboards this is easy, if I’m on top of things and the children don’t just use it as a dumping ground after school.

 

The dining room is still a work in progress for me and I do have a few changes up my sleeve, with help of course from my trusty Pinterest board for inspiration

With the room being so neutral I’d love to bring in more colour and texture. I’m loving dark green and leafy botanical prints at the moment so incorporating them in this room will be a must. In fact I’m currently on the lookout for thick dark green curtains for the patio doors and plan to buy a lot more plants! I’d like a more industrial looking dining room table, maybe one with benches, you can see my ideas of Industrial Styling here. Prints are a great way of adding in colour too, or even trying out the trend of hanging plates on the wall as I spotted at the hotel Another Place in their living space recently.

As you can see we currently have tiles in the kitchen and a carpeted floor in the dining room. 

The biggest change I want to make is to do with this, as I really don’t like carpet in dining areas, especially when there’s children at home. Having to shampoo the carpet with stain removers every other day can get rather soul destroying. I’d much prefer wood flooring as with one quick wipe or steam mop and you’re good to go. I contemplated sourcing the same tiles as the kitchen but actually I’d prefer to zone the room a little more and I think wood floors would work better for that.

This herringbone pattern has really caught my eye, it brings a mix more texture and style to a neutral room as shown in the picture above. All I need to do is make sure it compliments my kitchen tiles and doesn’t clash with one room flowing into the other. With having heavy oak doors already I think I’ll use them as a guide colour and tone wise.

 

What kind of flooring do you have in your dining room?

Got any tips on where I should be looking for my dark green or leafy botanical print curtains?

 

 

Life With Munchers

 

This is a commissioned post

morganaFeeling inspired and making changes to the dining room in our new build home
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