Days out, Pets, Uncategorized

A puppy?

We’re thinking of getting a puppy. Actually, I think we’re pretty much there. We’ve just got to decide on which breed and when to get it!

I’ve often thought a dog would be a lovely addition to the family, but with my husband having been brought up with dogs and saying they’re more of a responsibility than children we’ve waited until the children are a little older to finally make the decision. I never had a dog when I was growing up but my nan and aunts always had them and I used to enjoy taking my nans dog for a walk when I was allowed.

There are loads of places to take dogs for walks where we live and with Bodhi starting school in September I will have plenty of time to be able to walk a dog and give it lots of attention. I should probably be thinking about going back to work rather than getting a dog, but I’m hopeful that any work I do get I’ll be able to do at home, as i still want to able to do the school drop off and pick up.

Charley would love a dog and I think she would be good at helping out with it. Bodhi isn’t quite so sure, though most dogs are bigger or the same size as him so I’m hoping if we do get a puppy it will make him more confident around dogs.

It will also get us up and out of the house at the weekends, or at least I’ll have a good excuse to get out if no-one else wants to!

Of course, the dog will have to be able to fit in with our camper travels as well so this would also have to be a consideration. Nothing too big, but Tim also wouldn’t want too small a dog either!

Tim brought me a book on different dog breeds for Christmas so we all keep having a look through this.


So we’ve narrowed it down to a few:

A labrador – the family favourite and the most gorgeous puppies!

Springer spaniels – bouncy and lively and not too big

Boxer – slightly dopey (be great in our house!)

Beagle – how can you resist those eyes and long ears

We’ve  got house and (hopefully) garden renovations happening early spring so it would probably be sensible to wait until this has been mostly completed but I’m not sure I’ll get past the time when Bodhi starts school………!

There is still lots to consider and read about but hopefully later this year we’ll have a new addition in our home.




Days out, Travel

A weekend in Somerset

Our third trip away in the camper van was to Somerset, near Cheddar, staying at Bucklegrove Holiday Park (at the end of November!). It had been quite difficult to find a campsite/ caravan site that was open and had availability for this weekend. It seems a lot of sites close late November. It was the coldest (though lovely and sunny) weekend we’d had so far so I was determined to take as many snuggly clothes and sleeping gear as possible, knowing that I hate getting cold. In the weeks before our trip I’d bought thermals for myself, fleecy onesies for the children, a snugly throw and some hot water bottles. We might be saving some money by not staying in hotels but the amount we’ve spent kitting out our camper van…….. well!

Somerset weekend

We were pretty organised and left not long after the school pick up amazingly, stopping on the way for a takeaway McDonald’s. Also amazingly the children stayed awake for the majority of the trip, and only falling asleep about half an hour away from the site. We found the campsite really easily but unfortunately the owners were not around to let us in but another caravanner was. We picked our place (correctly), not far from the toilet & shower block and set up for the night with both the children very dozy and sleepy.

We got the top of the camper set up with sleeping bags, duvets, throws all ready to go. Charley woke a little so at least she got changed into her pyjamas whilst Bodhi remained asleep. It’s a bit of a mission as we have to move the car seats onto the front seats out-of-the-way. Once we’ve (actually my husband) has worked out how to put the awning up it should be a lot easier as we can put car seats etc into that, creating a bit more space in the van.

Once Charley and I were up the top and Bodhi had been put onto the front seat asleep Tim could set up the downstairs into sleep mode. We had the heater on most of the night and whilst it was pretty fresh upstairs we all had a pretty good sleep, only being woken by the children about 6.30am.

Somerset Charley 1

Somerset chilly morn

We had breakfast in the van, fruit and yoghurt for the grown ups so we could enjoy bad food for the rest of the day and variety boxes of cereal for the children.

After showering and dressing (shower block was clean and spacious with plenty of hot water – something I’m still getting used to!) we headed for a day out at Wookey Hole, not realising that the Winter Wonderland was on. We had a lovely chat with Father Christmas in the grotto, where Charley and Bodhi were both happy to have their photos taken and receive a present. A big change from a few years ago.

Wookey Father Christmas

Lunch was great and all the hot food looked really tempting, but I sensibly stuck to some soup whilst Tim had an amazing macaroni cheese & chips!!

It would have been a really quiet day for visitors at Wookey Hole if the whole of the district of Bristol area cubs hadn’t descended there too, which did make the soft play areas a bit of squash at times, though Charley and Bodhi were obviously very happy, Charley taking on the big sisterly role and looking after Bodhi, though I’m not sure that he needs it.

After lunch we went on the guided tour of the caves which lasted nearly an hour. It’s a casual tour, and we had a very funny guide called Brian who knew the caves really well. They are absolutely amazing and are so worth visiting. There are a few places where you have to duck down and a few steps up and down, a couple of narrower walk ways but they are just amazing to see, my photos really don’t do them justice.

Wookey Hole cave 1WH Caves 2WH Outside

I’m terrible at listening to things like this, even though I found it really interesting it just doesn’t stay in my head! I do remember him saying though that Blue Peter and Doctor Who had used one of the chambers for filming, and that the caves stay a moderate 11 degrees all year round so a bit warmer than it was outside.

Once out of the caves there are some dinosaurs and a massive King Kong statue. There was also an area to uncover some dinosaur bones which kept the children amused for a little bit.

WH King Kong

We managed to coax the children back inside for a walk around the mirror maze which is very bizarre but funny and then the children wanted to go on the softplay which was great for us as it meant we got to sit down with a hot drink. It was a bit chaotic here because of all the cubs around, but we didn’t manage to lose the children and they had a great time.

WH mirrors

At three o’clock there was another showing of their Christmas themed circus show. Local children trained three times a night preparing for the shows and they were just brilliant. Juggling, skating, hula hoops, high bars, magic tricks and some of the children really didn’t look much older than Charley but they were all so confident and obviously loved doing it. At the end of the show a massive inflatable Father Christmas popped up and children could go and have their photo taken with it. Charley also got her hair covered in  spray snow (though we’re not sure where it came from!!).


We had a last look around a model village and it was pretty much time for the site to close and us to head back to the campsite.

However, once we arrived back at the campsite we thought we might go into Wells for dinner rather than get comfy in the camper, so off we drove.

We found a lovely pub and managed to get a table just under the TV playing a rugby game but the atmosphere, menu and wine were just right so we stayed in there for a meal. Bodhi was happy to play with his little train set he’d been given from Santa and Charley was happy to do some drawing and I was very happy to have a few glasses of wine. Win, win all round. Tim had the rugby to watch!


The children fell asleep again in the van on the way home so we again got all the bedding out and then pretty much put them to sleep in what they were wearing and they had a great nights sleep. It was so toasty that night in the camper that I didn’t need to wear my fluffy socks and I took my beanie hat off too!

We woke up about 7ish, I can’t remember who but someone needed the toilet – that sort of means the whole van has to wake up!

After our breakfast I took the children swimming in the site pool. There is a code to get in which I’d fortunately remembered to take with me. There was a toddler pool as well as a deeper pool, which were both lovely and warm compared to the air outside of the pool. I had to persuade the children to get out of the pool when Bodhi started going a bit blue! We warmed up with a shower and headed back to do the last tidying up of the camper van before going to the local pub up the road. We had a really tasty Sunday lunch, fuelling us for the journey home.

Considering it was one of the chilliest weekends of Autumn so far I think we did pretty well in the van. I am looking forward though to using the van in the warmer months when we can spend more time outside.







Days out

Wanting a sea view with fish & chips in the camper


With a free day and the promise of a sunny Autumn day we headed to the south coast with the mission of finding somewhere we could park up in our VW California whilst eating fish and chips in the warmth of the van. Poor old Betsy the camper had been a bit neglected over the last few weeks.

We set off for East Wittering, not finding quite what we were looking for and then onto Bracklesham Bay before heading to our favourite beach at West Wittering, not that we’re fussy buggers!

Wittering beach_1

Finally we got our fish and chips (sausages and chips for the children) which were a bit disappointing for the amount it cost (£24!!) with no drinks. Even Charley looked at hers and said she didn’t have enough, but at least the beach was pretty stunning!

Fish and chips Wittering Autumn

For a change we had a (slow) walk around East Head, the children sliding down the sand banks, running, digging in the sand and generally being really nice and friendly with each other. A nice change from how they’ve been in close company with each other recently! It was pretty stunning, with the tide out and the sun peeping round clouds.

Bodhi sand dunesCharley sand dunes

Eventually we got back to Betsy for hot chocolates and cups of tea, unfortunately we’d forgotten to bring the milk from home that we had specifically bought (i.e. a small 2 pinter) so Tim had to go and get some from the cafe. Glad I didn’t have any as it looked like powdered milk when it was boiled up for the hot chocolates for the children. Yuck. I really, really need to get more organised when we go out in the camper van.

One last photo of the beautiful sunset on Wittering beach before we set off.

Wittering sunsetWe then headed to some nearby shops to get some tea on the way home. Edible but unhealthy! Pork pie for husband, sausage rolls, crisps, cookies (raspberries & strawberries not eaten), cocktail sausages. Why is it so hard to buy healthy food to go – or maybe it is and I just need to change my thinking/buying habits?


Betsy Wittering

Great day out in the camper though, just need to get a bit organised and get some healthy food in just in case we’re out longer than expected, it can always be kept in the fridge if not used.

Looking forward to our next trip!


Days out

Adventures in Betsy – the camper van

At the beginning of September we picked up our new, shiny VW camper van. (Now named Betsy by the children). We needed a second car and decided before our summer holiday that this would be it. The idea being that we can just take off at the weekend for a little break away. Probably easier said than done!

Adventures in Betsy-2


The first night we had the camper van we had fish and chips in it to celebrate its arrival with the children clambering all over it, finding all the buttons and having a great time.

First dinner in Betsy

The Saturday after this we drove to West Wittering with my parents to give it a little test run, though we decided to use the camping gas outside rather than make Betsy all stinky! Even after just a day in it there were a few things that we found we’d need to do differently to make it easier.

Our first night away was booked for the end of September which meant we had time to buy essential plates, cutlery, sleeping bags etc.

First van purchases

We cautiously booked just one night the first weekend away in it, just to see what worked, how the sleeping arrangements would be (I always hope the children will sleep!) and essential items we might need for the future.

I’ve never been camping or in a caravan before so I was a little curious/anxious to see what it would be like to stay on a campsite but fortunately our first experience was pretty good.

The campsite was in Cirencester and is part of the Caravan and Motorhome Club. Yep, we must have reached a certain age.

We didn’t arrive until early evening as we’d met up with family in the afternoon but first impressions were pretty good. As the time was getting on we decided to get a picnic tea from the nearby supermarket, as even though we’d bought sausages with us we didn’t want to cook in Betsy and make her all smelly!

First night away tea in Betsy

The toilet/shower block was really clean and well looked after. Before we came away I was wondering if I’d actually use the shower but seeing it I was sooooo pleased and we’d also been able to choose a plot about 10m from the shower block. Handy for when Bodhi needs his midnight toilet trip!

After tea Tim took the plates and cutlery to be washed up, and then swapped the seating area into beds, while I took the children to get cleaned up for bedtime.

Charley had decided she wanted to sleep on the top bed while Bodhi wanted to be on the bottom bed so I went up with Charley and Tim was downstairs.

First nights sleep – hoping to take better photos in camper too

Charley finally fell asleep about 9.30pm and Bodhi decided he wanted to come up too and went to sleep about 10pm. I decided I may as well go to sleep at the same time as I wasn’t sure what sort of night it would be! It was pretty noisy at times with heavy rain and it did move a little when anyone turned over but overall it wasn’t a bad nights sleep and the children slept all night until 7.30am. I had to pull the children down the van a couple of times as we had the top bit open so maybe next time they will have to lay with their heads the other way. It would be nice if we could eventually get them sleeping upstairs by themselves and we could have a sit downstairs with a few glasses of something.

Fortunately the rain had stopped in the morning and it was lovely to wake up to a fresh morning and funny to see people wandering to the toilet block in their pyjamas and dressing gowns! Also, bizarre having to walk to the toilet block first thing in the morning in my pyjamas but everyone was so friendly and obviously very used to this.

We had an easy breakfast of croissants and fruit, hopefully one day we’ll get more adventurous and get the bacon and eggs on but we’re building up slowly!

After showers, washing breakfast things (with the children helping may I add!) and getting Betsy back to travelling mode it was time to set off for another family meet up before heading home.

Anyway it can’t have been too bad as we’ve booked to go to Dorset for two nights and then to a music festival in it next year – by then we will be pro’s!!








Where did the summer holidays go?

Wow, this seems like a looooong time ago. We’re well into the school year and nursery but I thought I’d post this anyway to remind me of that summer before school started!

This summer I wrote a great big long list of all the outdoor places we could visit for when the weather was good and a not so long list of things to do if the weather was bad. 7 to 8 weeks of no nursery seemed like such a long time at the start of the holidays but it has flown by and my eldest shall shortly be starting reception at school and my littlest starts nursery.


I was looking forward to all the places we would go thinking I would be broke by the end of the holidays, but apart from the expense of a lovely holiday in Italy (actually that was my husbands treat) and a few other random nights away our days out have mostly consisted of going to local parks (with a picnic). Bargain. It seems every time I asked Charley what she wanted to do, she said go to the playground, so that’s what we mostly did. Sometimes taking her bike to try and get her using that, sometimes with balls or a frisbee, and more often just going on the swings.

I’m not sure what happened to all those planned days out, days seemed to get taken over with visits to hospitals, small little chores to do in towns, friends to catch up with and parks and playgrounds seemed to fill the gaps nicely.

It’s seemed like a special summer holiday, a last one before Charley starts school and we’re then stuck in the mundane routines for years (apart from the school holidays). I hope the children have enjoyed their simple days out in our amazingly sunny summer, I haven’t heard too many shouts of ‘I’m bored!’

We’re hoping to have one last special day out at a Theme type place when the majority of children are back at school as Charley starts school the week after most. Hoping we get some lovely last sunny weather to enjoy our last days of freedom!