Sunday 29 December 2013

Blog Challenge: Great Adventure #30

I love family traditions, and Christmas especially is full of them. From the new pyjamas waiting outside the bathroom on Christmas Eve, to the satsuma in the stockings on the fireplace, I love carrying on traditions for the newest generation. I also love creating our own traditions, and finding new things to incorporate into our family rituals.

Last year we decided to have sushi on Christmas Eve. Home made sushi always seems to take ages to make, and is a bit of a faff, so we rarely get round to making it. By dressing it up as a ‘Christmas tradition’, I can now guarantee myself an evening of sushi at least once a year.

I love hearing about other people’s Christmases, and how they celebrate with their families. A few of my friends reported enjoying Christmas Day walks with their families, and though we never did this growing up, I thought this sounded lovely. Christmas is such an indulgent time - chocolate for breakfast, prosecco before lunch, and presents filling the living room - I loved the idea of getting away from it all and spending some time outdoors.

So, for our thirtieth great adventure, we took a walk with my parents on Christmas Day. We drove down to Etherow Park, and walked once around the lake. It was a nice crisp day, and Ebony was able to show of her beautiful new scarf (lovingly knitted by a friend). Ebony wasn’t overly keen on walking the whole way round, but walked part way with a bit of persuasion (and chasing).

It was nice to go for a walk on Christmas Day, and Ebony was suitably tired out and ready for her nap by the time we got home. It will definitely be a part of our family Christmas from now on, because it was such a lovely way to break up the day.
Did you go for any  great adventures on Christmas Day? 

Monday 23 December 2013

Blog Challenge: Great Adventure #29

As you might expect, December has been a pretty busy month. I’ve been really busy with work, and desperately trying to get everything finished in time for Christmas so I can have a break. Laurie has been doing the same, so our evenings have been spent hunched over our laptops furiously typing away in the race to get things finished. I won, and managed to finish all of my projects by Thursday. Laurie didn’t quite make it and has been tying up loose ends today, on the first day of his Christmas holidays.

Ebony has been poorly this month, the weather has been grim and time has been at a premium, but we managed to squeeze in an adventure to Delamere Forest. When I was a child, we used to buy our trees from Bolton Abbey. You choose the tree you want, and they cut it down for you. It was always exciting to be able to pick the tree we wanted (the biggest one available, obviously). After the tree had been netted, paid for and strapped to the roof of the car, we would go for a walk. It was always cold, and often wet, but we always enjoyed it.

I wanted to continue this tradition with my own family, although Bolton Abbey is a little too far from where we live now. I found a Forestry Commission site not far from us, at Delamere Forest, so we decided to go there to choose our tree. It wasn’t quite the same as Bolton Abbey, the trees were already cut so there was no trudging through muddy fields trying to find the best tree. They had lots of variety though, and it took us ages to choose one.

Ebony was dragging branches round with her, and helping us choose the best tree. At one point, she was using a discarded piece of tree as a walking stick, and very slowly patrolling the area. It took us ages to find the right tree because we needed one that would fit in the car. We wanted a nice big one but one that wouldn’t make the journey home too uncomfortable. Ebony was dressed up warm, and marching round the tree site while we were deliberating, and helped us to pick the final tree.

Once the tree had been paid for and put in the car, we decided to head into the forest for a walk. I wanted to do the Stick Man trail, which is a two mile route filled with fun activities for kids. We discovered that this was at the other end of the forest, and we’d have needed to drive round to the start. Getting Ebony into the car seat is always a hassle, so we decided instead to just do a quick route from where we were. I’m hoping we’ll make it to the Stick Man trail before it finishes next month, but we shall see.

Ebony was pretty tired by this point, and asked to go in the carrier. We walked through the forest, and immediately came across a collection of half finished dens constructed from fallen branches. The leaves on the path were ankle high and great for stomping through. If Ebony hadn’t been so sleepy, she would have loved running through the leaves, and adding to the dens. I really hope we go back over the Christmas break, because it was like a outdoors-loving child’s paradise. After a quick explore of the dens, we got back onto the path and began walking. Ebony was asleep within ten minutes, so she missed out on the real adventure, but we had a nice walk exploring the forest.

Did you manage any successful adventures this week?

The full story behind the great adventure blog challenge can be found here.

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Blog Challenge: Great Adventures #27 and #28

Argh, six months in and I’ve finally fallen behind on my own bleedin’ blog challenge. Well, I’m actually on track with the challenge, sort of, I just haven’t had time to blog about it. Last week I took on a big freelance project and stopped sleeping so I could get it finished on time. There was no time for laundry, or blogging, or anything else, so that’s why this post is covering two challenges.

My lovely friend Alys came to visit a couple of weekends ago, and while we spent much of the weekend recovering from an amaretto-induced hangover, we did managed to head out for a quick walk before she got her train home. It was not a hugely successful adventure, with Ebony being mostly interested in a single tree, but at least we made it out of the house. Ebony is very northern, and as such believes that coats, hats and gloves are for the weak. As you can see from the photos, Alys is wrapped up warm, while Ebony is prancing around in just a thin dress.

Ebony has a new obsession with walking around things, usually me, in huge circles. Often at playgroups I am being circled in a semi-predatory fashion these days. Ebony found some decaying leaves and exclaimed, “Oh dear!” many, many times while Alys tried in vain to explain the concept of fungus.

Our next adventure is even worse I’m afraid. I spent all week desperately trying to get my freelance work done, and then our weekend was taken up with an ill husband, a birthday party, a sick toddler and a trip to London. It was a stressful week to say the least. As such, we didn’t really have an adventure into the wilderness as usual. However, a couple of weeks ago I had a Twitter conversation with Cathy Bussey, about getting outdoors with kids, and she said her daughter loves to go and find the moon at night. I thought that was such a lovely idea, and have been meaning to do it ever since. Unfortunately, we didn’t enjoy a moonlit walk amidst the hills while looking at stars, instead we stared up at the sky from central London.

Ebony wasn’t feeling one hundred percent on our first day in London, so we were trying to avoid the sweaty nausea of the tube, and were instead walking around the capital. To keep Ebony entertained (and holding my hand) on one such walk, we decided to look for the moon. Of course, it kept disappearing behind towering buildings, and Ebony found great enjoyment in trying to find it again. It was a bit of a cheat great adventure, but I promise to be back on track in time for next week, in fact, I should have a pretty great one to share!

Have you been on any great adventures this week?

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