Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The Gallery - Walks with kids in Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire. A county full of places to walk, ramble or hike.

I could dedicate a whole blog to Gloucestershire walks (is anyone doing that?) but for this post I'll concentrate on walking with kids. It's the thing we do most because it's the easiest, they just run free in a safe environment and get to make their own fun.

Here are my top 4 places to walk with kids - within spitting distance of my house in the South Cotswolds. 

If you go on them I expect you to return wet or muddy, or both. Otherwise, what was the point?

Coaley Peak - FREE 

A council run picnic site on the Cotswold escarpment with views across the River Severn to Wales and the Forest of Dean.

Windy, exposed and spacious, with gliders taking off above you and paragliders jumping for their lives as you walk.  Kids can run about, fly a kite, play football or rugby, or just enjoy the open space and explore the woods. And you know when the ice cream van is there 'cos he puts a sign on the road.

Woodchester Park Play Trail - FREE (£1 to park if not NT members)

This National Trust park has 3 set trails through woodland and the shortest one (about a mile) is great for kids.

With a zip wire, rope swings, see-saws and plenty of places to climb, if you take a picnic to keep their energy up, you can easily spend three hours here.

It's good for parents too, although you shouldn't go on the zip wire in a summer dress.


Dursley Sculpture Trail - FREE

Not as glamourous as its Forest of Dean equivalent but loads of fun all the same.

It's a woodland walk which is good enough for kids, but with interesting sculptures to spot as you go - in the trees and on the ground. Most of the trail is suitable for pushchairs and it's located on Stinchcombe Hill which is also a great place to walk - with views across seven counties on a good day.

Westonbirt Arboretum

£4-£8 for adults. Under 5s free. Annual Membership around £30.

The stunning National Arboretum near Tetbury is split into two parts (the old and new) with a restaurant, cafe and play area. The old arboretum is flat with tracks suitable for pushchairs (and wheelchairs) and lots of places to explore for kids.

Great in hot sunshine because there's plenty of shade but also great in the rain because there's lots of shelter. Full of muddy puddles and although bikes aren't allowed - little ones with stabilisers are. One of my favourite places to be, all year round. Annual membership is brilliant value.

This was posted as part of The Gallery on the Sticky Fingers Blog. Click here to view more posts.

Monday, 25 March 2013

She wears velour

Dressed in grey she says goodnight
Closes her eyes and holds him tight
Listens to him snore away
Thinks about another day

She hears?

A cry to pierce the silent house
Footsteps quiet....a night time mouse?
Across the hall it creeps, until
it stops....then it is still

A voice

WAKEY WAKEY! right in her face
(can't she be some other place?)
A snotty smile before her stands,
Giggles loud then grabs her hands

She sighs

With heavy heart and mansize bags
She heaves her weight, her stomach sags
The scars she bears, the price she pays
For creating life as her hopes fade

She moves

Across the hall, “Now back to bed
You gorgeous *testing* sleepy head,
It's 2am not time to wake
No waiting for the day to break

She's tired

Tired of sleeping off and on
Of seeing day at half past one
Of greying whites and hairy legs
Of eating slops and drinking dregs.

She's lost

Lost in a haze of night and day
Of never putting things away
In their right place (she found the milk
Underneath the kitchen sink)

It's sour

Sour milk, burnt toast
Looking like she's seen a ghost
And all because she hasn't slept
For five years now, her self unkempt


The only thing to right her day
And wipe the sleepless nights away
(That and smiles of kids at play
their faces wipe your cares away)

She laughs

She smiles inside although she weeps
(cos all she wants is bloody sleep!)
Still - they give her so much joy
This snotty girl and cheeky boy

She's fine

Wine you say? of course she will
It helps her sleep, makes her still
Tomorrow that's another day
Try not to wish this life away....

She dreams

That soon they'll stay in bed til noon
Pray that moment comes real soon!
'Cos then she'll sleep, she'll rest, she'll care,
She'll give a damn what clothes she wears

Not yet

This is now and here she lies
Wide awake with open eyes
But no regrets despite the moans
She loves this place, this time, this home

For now she's mum, no time for more
She wears velour.

'Help me' blocks by Imogen Harvey-Lewis

Saturday, 23 March 2013

This time last year

I'm watching the snow fall and it's blowing a gale.

This time last year my son had chicken pox and I had a couple of enforced days off work.

Here are the pictures.

What a difference a year makes *reaches for the cake, grabs a beer*.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

The Gallery - RED moments


There are times when your kids make you laugh out loud. These two pictures are from the last few days.

1) My two year old in what she calls her wet suit, on a slide (Sunday)

2) And one I found this morning as I switched on my laptop to start work. (I wasn't going to bother with this blog post until I saw this). The four year old's idea of a joke - my new desktop image.

(Red is also the colour of the Chancellor's Budget Box (well, Gladstone's) but let's not talk about that)

This is in response to Red on the Gallery, click the icon to see posts from others.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The Gallery - C is for Calm

Looking down from Frocester Hill across the Severn Vale, Gloucestershire

Something I need a lot of in my life.
I create my own noise much of the time so I seek calm on top of hills, in cafes and in rooms with a view.
Look and breathe.

North Morte Farm Campsite. Devon.

Coffee at Nom Nom Cupcakery, Nailsworth

This is in response to 'The Letter C' on the Gallery, click the icon to see posts from others. Of course it should have been C for clumsy, but I don't have enough photographic evidence of my falls ;)

Friday, 8 March 2013

My West Wing hero - International Women's Day

Female role models, do you have any?
I’m going to celebrate International Women’s Day by writing down my female heroes, as they stand, right now.
Because role models change as we change. As you have new priorities in your life, so your outlook shifts, you turn your head in a different direction and there they are - new role models you never knew existed before.
I do wonder what role models say about us. Are they out-of-reach aspirational? Or real people sitting in the office next door, willing to help and mentor whenever you need it? Or entirely fictional, coming to life from the TV or pages of a book, into your subconscious and commenting silently on every decision you make?  
Mine are mainly real and are mostly journalists. I take a little bit of something from all the role models I have, I don't necessarily want to be them, there's just something about what they do, who they are and how they approach life as a woman that appeals to me.
Anyway. On this day of celebrating all things female here's my list - I have more who are close to me, but I'll keep those to myself.

CJ Cregg

(I’ve even provided links).
Eleanor Oldroyd – Broadcaster of 5Live fame. (I’ve worshipped her almost as long as I’ve stalked Bryan Robson)
Ann Leslie – Foreign Correspondent
CJ Cregg – character from the West Wing
Sue Davie - Chief Executive Meningitis Trust
*New entry* Fleet Street Fox – Tabloid journalist and proud
And here's an Oxfam link for good luck :)