So that day is finally here. That day that I’m so ready for. My kids are so ready for.
Yet I feel so not ready! The day we send them back to school
Back to school after 6 months of adventures
6 months of family adventures. 5 months of home schooling.
I want to look back at this time when my grand kids ask about it for their history lesson as a time where we lived our best life yet! That time in our family’s life where we truly realised what life is about. What matters the most.
Back to school
Today I send the big twins back to school for a new school year. But it feels strange.
We have had so many adventures over since the pandemic hit. (Who would have thought that would be a sentence?)
Oh the adventures we’ve had!
We’ve kayaked, found a love of river swimming, picnicked, geocached, cut our own hair, painted our own nails, cried, laughed, had at home festivals, traveled Europe from the comfort of our garden, played uno, watched box sets, hugged, finally saw our family, finally played with friends, celebrated birthdays together and from afar, took on an allotment, cooked and ate more than ever before, learnt too appreciate our local area, remembered to be thankful to those who help.
What is Back to school going to be like?
We don’t really know what’s going to happen In the next few weeks, months, or really ever? But Today we start our next adventure. Back to school. Back to some kind of normal.
Keeping hold of that lockdown life
We may be getting back to some kind of normal but that doesn’t mean we have to let go of that life we lived during lockdown so I’ll be Trying to keep hold of those memories, those grateful feelings,
Keeping hold of some of that life we created during lockdown.
What do you want to keep hold of from lockdown? What have you learnt, or started doing since the pandemic hit? Are you ready for some normal to return?
A week ago aptly just before allotments week 2020 I was granted an allotment plot. I have been thinking about one for months. I put my name down back at the beginning of March Before lockdown hit. This is The Good Life – Allotment Adventures | Starting Out
I was inspired by the Lovely Emma – Emmas Allotment Diaries . She has been entertaining us all the way through lockdown. Emma confess she is an amateur allotmenteer and wings her way through the growing process. However she has grown a whole host things in her plot. She has really inspired me to get growing.
The Good Life – Allotment Adventures | Starting Out – Diary
So here starts my “Good Life Diaries”. I have no idea how my plot is going to turn out. If anything will grow but this is the start of the journey and so far I am enjoying the ride.
The Good Life – Allotment Adventures | Starting Out
Viewing the plot |Wednesday 5th August
I arrived on the plot on day one to find after over a year of neglect weeds had grown everywhere but thankfully the neighbouring plot had strimmed it down so it actually looked more manageable. So I said I would take on the challenge.
Its Mine! This is It The Good Life – Allotment Adventures | Starting Out| Thursday 6th August
After accepting to take over Plot Number 8 I was given the keycode and off I trundled with my dad to survey the plot. I’m not sure who is most excited him or me. I have to keep reminding him It is actually my plot!
The ground is so hard underneath all over the overgrown weeds. It is going to take a-lot of digging over.!
Early Starts are now a thing. |Saturday 8th August
On Saturday morning I was that excited to get out to the plot to make a start I was out of the house by 5.30am! I went to digging out the weeds in a little area at the front of the plot. It really is going to take forever and a day to get this plot ready to plant. But at least we have the winter to get it ready.
Save The Bees!
While I was digging over a little area at the front I came across a bees nest under the ground. I didn’t even know they lived underground. But as I scraped some of the weeds a bee came flying around my head and i just wafted it away then around 15 more came shooting out of the ground. So I ended up leaving them to it and starting somewhere else.
Help Required |Sunday 9th
On Sunday I managed to persuade a friend to come and help me put up some fencing across the front of the patch. I need to get my plot secured really so that i can bring the little twins down to help. It was harder than I thought to dig out a hole for our makeshift fence posts to go in. But we managed it to put up all apart from one. It’s looking better already.
I put up a little fence for the bees while we were putting up the fencing. In the hopes that they stick around to help pollinate my plants.
The Bees are Gone
I managed a little allotment date with Chris after dinner. The bees had gone by the time we went back on Sunday evening. However Chis has now taken a chimney topper down and hopefully they will come back and nest in there.
Getting the kids to help! | Monday 10th
I took the kids down to the plot today however it was quite warm but I went to take a few bits down to like a lockable box for my tools and couple of pallets for fencing down one side. The kids however made fiends with next door and more importantly the chickens. When we left they came home with a handful of beans, a couple of sticks of rhubarb and a small tomato plant.
Up Late | Tuesday 11th
I was up late on Tuesday so I missed out on an or two of digging over. I did manage to get there to measure a couple of things up for a future project though.
An Addition For The Plot | Wednesday 12th August
I got up and out again for an early morning digging over and managed to clear a space ready to move the greenhouse that was left. The greenhouse has no glass in it but there are a few sections left I think we are going to use some Poly sheeting to replace the panels. Anyway space now cleared so once I have a couple of willing helpers to move it It can then go into place.
In the afternoon me and my dad collected an addition for the plot
Details of which I will leave you guessing for now as I need to get permission form the council first and i dont want to jinx it!
My in-laws called on Thursday to tell me that their gardeners are coming to move some bits around in their garden next week so If I want to rescue some strawberry plants from going to the tip Im welcome.
So On Thursday Morning I set too and cleared an area on the plot ready to put down the Strawberry plants. Then in the afternoon I dug them out with the intention of going to put them in the ground later that night unfortunately The boy are feeling a little off it so Ive decided to take a few days off so first thing this morning I grabbed a few pots and the compost that was due to go down to the plot just to cover their roots over and give them a good drink some of them are a little worse for wear however I’m crossing my fingers that they make it.
Friday afternoon was spent looking at allotment plots and catching up with Emmas allotment vlogs once again.
The Good Life – Allotment Adventures | Starting Out
And that is it for this first Allotment post. I hope you enjoy watching my plot grow and change through the seasons as much as I hope i like planting and digging!
I can already feel the benefits to this allotment life. The purpose to get up in a morning and head straight out. The fresh air and exercise. I feel so much in a better place. I dont think its from the allotment alone however a few things that have put me in a better head space.
The heatwave is on its way for the weekend which means families all over will be trying to find ways to keep their cool. Recently online I have seen many families taking up water based hobbies like Kayaking and paddle boarding. Some like me and my friends have even started Wild swimming Or river swimming. However how many times have you heard horror stories about people getting into difficulties in and around the water. Here are some tips for River Swimming – Keeping Safe.
Water based hobbies in uk waters although a great way to exercise and cool off can however be dangerous if you dont respect the water.
I have complied a few tips that I have learnt along the way.
River Swimming Keeping Safe Tips
Before you start make sure the water you have found is clean and safe to swim or paddle – Stagnent water can carry disease. In summer blue/ Green Algae can form and after heavy rain some rivers can get a discharge of sewerage in them.
Always know your limit. – If you are not a confident swimmer stick to shallow water where you can touch the floor. Even seemingly shallow waters can drop off into deep pools in places.
Be careful of currents, tides and waves. water is such a powerful element, waves have the potential of pushing you over.
Check the flow. Rivers can be deceivingly fast flowing. Throw in a leaf or stick and see how fast it flows down stream.
Cold Water Shock – Most accidents where people have become ill (Or died) from the cold water are because they just jump straight in. Take time to get your body acclimatised. The best way is to paddle and put in your wrists for a while then gently lower the rest of your body in the water. Its not so bad once you’re in!
Slipping – River beds can be very rocky so its often best to wear some kind of non slip swimming shoe or sock. Never run near or around the water.
Always take a swim buddy. _ If you get in to difficulty a swim buddy can help. Imagine you slipped or needed help to free you if you head wild swimming alone it could be ages before you are found by a passer by. Hyperthermia could have well set in by then and you may not make it out at all.
Stay Sober – alcohol and water do not mix unless you are drinking the water! So dont swim drunk!
Respect others – Many rivers have boat users or fishermen using them so be conscious of them when looking for somewhere to swim!
Easy Exit – Its all very well jumping in the river to cool off but if you cant get back out what are you going to do? before you head into the water look around for where you can get out. River swimming can make you tire quicker and the cold water can impair you swimming ability.
Never leave children unattended. This really goes without saying but it only takes a second for a child to drown. even in shallow water.
Buoyancy aid – If you want to feel that bit safer while playing at the river banks you could always wear a buoyancy aid. There are some pretty cheap ones out there but make sure they fit well and can tke the weight of the wearer.
IF IN DOUBT STAY OUT!
As always when having fun in and around the water make sure you take home any litter. Imagine turning up next week and having to swim through crisp packets and soft drinks cans. Try and use reusable items and take home any litter.
I hope these tips will help keep you a little safer. Then you can enjoy the many benefits from river and cold water swimming. Just remember to keep within your limits. Even if friends think they can manage something doesn’t mean you can!
Lockdown has seen some crazy purchases happening. Remember the days when amazon carts were filled because you couldn’t sleep, 4 well in 2020 they are filled and bought due to being bored in lockdown! Keep reading to see what some other blogger bagged during lockdown! We bought a canoe. A 3 person Canoe! If like many others I’ve seen also bagged a canoe you may need to read this. So You bought a canoe but now what?
Bought A Canoe But Now What?
Well we really fell into an amazon hole this time. I have fancied a kayak since our trip to Norfolk and heading out on the kayak and coffee trip with Norfolk outdoor adventures. Then during one of our family exercise walks we spotted a couple of people on inflatable kayaks paddling down the canal. We have been totally influenced. We came home and straight away started googling inflatable kayaks. First one person kayaks than 3 person as We thought maybe we can get 2 and head out as a family if we like it.
Add To Basket
We eventually found a 3 person Kayak within our price range and clicked buy. So we bought a canoe but now what?
Having had a boat some time ago on our local canal we decided to find out if we need anything to play on the canals or rivers with our inflatable canoe.
Can we just stick it in the water?
Chances of being caught on the waterways are slim. If you are heading out on your new Kayak often though you need to purchase a couple of things.
Insurance – What if you had an accident on the water and needed towing in or damaged someones property while paddling your new canoe?
Canal & River Trust Boat licence – Yes even for an inflatable canoe
You can buy a boat licence through the canal & River trust website. however if you head on over to British Canoeing you can obtain a waterways licence and insurance for one yearly payment. This will save you loads. I paid £45 for the year! There are loads of benefits to becoming a member of British canoeing too. Access to competitions and money off at cotswold outdoors.
You also need to think about safety while enjoying your new hobby.
One thing to think about is a life vest or buoyancy aid. I would do your own research here. Some vests will be restricting and may result in not being able to paddle or even see as some tend to ride up when you are sat.
Dont go out alone – As with all water activities its always best if you can head out with another person. Canoeing would be a great activity for a socially distant catch up if you both have a canoe.
I am a feet can touch the floor wild swimmer. Which means I very rarely swim out of my depth. The same goes for canoeing. If I think I wouldn’t make it the the river bank or tow path should something happen to my kayak, I wouldn’t go there in the first place. Stay within where you feel safe.
Things to note!
The waterways are an amazing community of people. From fishermen, to live aboard barge owners. It should go without saying respect others around. Keep the noise down, and keep a distance from others and their boats.
The best thing for me when we head out canoeing is the cuppa and snack at the end. I hope I am teaching my kids to respect the environment enough so they know not to litter when we are out and about. I always take my rubbish away with me as often riverside bins are left until the last minute which means they overflow. Never leave litter just on the ground. Not only is it harmful to the environment and wildlife living by the river but it doesn’t make a nice place to spend time if there are crips packets, and pop bottles floating along side of you.
This is by no means an extensive list however this is what we try and take on our trips on the canal
Canoe – Obviously! We have a Tahiti plus two person plus child kayak.
Paddle – Ideal ones would be a two piece so it is easily dismantled for travel and storage.
Dry bag/Sack – Best thing for storing your phone and keys and obviously you picnic.
Flask & Snacks- Really important for that well earned cuppa at the end of your voyage.
Rope – It is a good idea to have some rope to tie your kayak to the side of the canal this make it easier to get in and out and you are less likely to get wet and or lose your canoe.
NonSlip wet shoes – We already had these for our trips to the seaside but they are so handy for the canoe. There are no buckle or metal that could puncture your inflatable. They are super grippy so you wont slip while manoeuvring in and out.
Buoyancy vests – Mine is currently on order and the kids ones are not really right for what we need as they are just too big so they make it difficult for them to see and paddle. However they are a necessity for our kayak kit to make our hobby safe. So if you have an ideas please do let me know.
Compact Towel – You are bound to get a little bit wet during kayaking. We have been Carrying a microfibre compact towel on every trip just incase.
Changing tent – Spare clothes – Well you just never know! We leave these in the car just incase.
Go-Pro The amount of times I’ve wanted to take a couple of photos but not wanted to get my phone out just incase. Im known for dropping my phone like a-lot! So taking a go-pro or similar waterproof camera is handy!
Phone in a waterproof pouch – You can get some decent waterproof pouches to put your phone in. Im still in need one one but I wouldn’t leave without my phone just incase of emergency.
Now Get paddling!
I hope this post is a little bit of a help for your kayak adventures. if you have any tips why not leave them in the comments below!
I can see a few more kayaking related posts appearing on here as it really is our new favourite hobby. If you are interested in kayaking or being on the river/ canals dont forget to follow along. I also post our kayak adventures and other daily adventures over on instagram daily.
What did You Buy?
I mentioned at the beginning a-lot have purchased random things during lockdown. I asked a group of bloggers what they had bought during the 2020 pandemic here is what they said!
Another Canoe Purchase
It (Canoe purchasing) must be a thing because my brother bought an inflatable kayak. Fine for living by the sea whilst he’s staying with my parents during the pandemic but less useful when he returns to his ‘normal’ flat and life in London!
I bought a mini polaroid camera, several packets of (very expensive) polaroid film and a scrap book to stick the pics in. It was going to be a project that we could do during lockdown. We were going to take a pic each day, stick it in the scrapbook and get the kids to write a little description. So far it has barely been out of it’s box! Too many different priorities…At least the intentions were there!
We decided to bite the bullet and buy an emperor sized bed. One of the boys always ends up with us at some point between 7pm and 7am and we are sick to death of having rubbish sleep because we are being kicked or rolled onto. Seemed like a really good idea mid-way through lockdown, now I’m thinking how is it gonna fit up the stairs?! We will find out tomorrow when it arrives!
I bought a sewing machine because I thought I could fix some old clothes during lockdown. When it arrived, I remembered that I hated sewing in school. Needless to say, the sewing machine hasn’t seen much use.
We have bought the ‘Fermzilla’ (think Godzilla of homebrew fermenting containers!). You can brew up to 50 litres of wine or beer in it at once. We thought it was a fun new hobby to start, with the benefit of booze at the end of it – but it is absolutely enormous and there is no room in my house for it. At the moment it is towering in a sinister manner, taking up a complete kitchen worktop!
With only two weeks left of school whatever that looks like for you at the moment it’s time to think about our summer school Holiday. Time to dust off the note pad and write out a summer bucket list. It’s time to do some Summer School Holiday Planning!
Summer School Holiday Planning
I’ve said before I love a bucket list. A little bit of a plan for the holiday period. It’ s the best way to make the most of our holidays and not have to think of things to do or places to go on the spare of the moment.
This year summer may look a little bit different with social distancing in place and the threat of local lockdowns looming. However I’m not going to let that stop us making memories and having a summer of mini adventures.
Summer 2020 Bucket List
So what is on our Bucket list for summer 2020? Or Summer no 9 In our 18 summers countdown!
BBQing is a given over the summer weeks isn’t it? Those nights spent in the garden while the kids play and the adults chat with a wine or two. I’m hoping that we will be able to have friends over a few times also.
I would love nothing more than to spend the whole summer exploring new places. Taking a road trip in a motorhome like we did last summer. I do have a couple of road trips in mind even if they are only short ones here and there.
Heading to the seaside has to be one of my favourite road trips to take whether thats to stay overnight somewhere or just to head out for a day beach life adventure are some of my best memories from previous summers.
We have for the past few months been spending Saturday nights having movie night. Setting up our big screen and projector in our front room or sometimes even out in the garden. as a family we all look forward to movie nights though I think the kids look forward to the snacks more than the actual film watching.
A global pandemic calls for creating new hobbies. Our new family hobby involved a bit of an impulse buy from amazon (The lockdown place of wonder) Yup we are the family that bought a canoe! Though I have to say ever since myself and SpencersARC Daddy went on a coffee and kayak trip on the broads in 2018 I’ve thought it would be a great hobby I could do. Little did I know that the big kids would love it too. So one thing I’m sure we will be doing over the summer is getting out onto the water and canoeing.
One hobby we have had for some years is Geocaching. We love it and this year especially during those weeks in lockdown where we were allowed out for exercise we have really got back into it. The kids love grabbing a map and searching in trees and bushes for those little pots of treasure.
When I was a teenager one year (for about 2 weeks) I had a job strawberry picking for a local farm. As an adult though I have never been to a pick your own. The kids have requested they want to go strawberry picking even though grandma has a patch that we pick from I think they fancy seeing how many strawberries they can eat when there is a whole field full of them!
There are so many little pleasures in life and seeing the sunrise over the sea has to be one of my favourite things. Living so far away from the seaside and not getting up very early its not really an option right now. Though watching the sunrise and the sunset over a nice landscape and not just from our garden has made it to our summer bucket list. now if someone can just point me somewhere fantastic within the east midlands to do so I would be eternally grateful!
The last thing on our Summer bucket list is toasting marshmallows. We often light a fire on a sunny evening and get out the bag of giant marshmallows to toast. The kids love it and thanks to their love of watching vlogs they have now discovered s’mores too! (Alexa add s’mores kit to the shopping list)
I hope our simple Summer bucket list has filled you with some more inspiration. Hopefully to fill your summer with memories and adventure.
It has been a strange year so far hasn’t it. But better days are coming. Days without fighting with “Home schooling” days where hopefully if we are all careful we can explore what the world has on offer once again.