If I could give you one gift it would be to see yourself through my eyes and then you would see how special you really are.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016


We could hear the river before we saw it, the overflow from the surrounding hills and farmland were making the waters high and frothy, yet really really clear. As always we followed the path along the rivers edge towards Watersmeet where a tea rooms awaited us. We strolled leisurely along watching how the waters changed depending on the landscape. The fast flowing waters crashed against the rocks that have traversed the river over the years, displaced and worn down by the winter storms. These Rapids are interspersed by quiet pools of calm, where the children could paddle in the clear cold water and skim the smooth, flat stones found all along the waters edge. Sometimes the path led us up into the hills still following the meanders of the river just higher giving beautiful views and an opportunity for child 4 to throw the rocks that sit awaiting him, down into the depths, creating huge splashes. Occasionally he would change the trajectory and aim for the hillside opposite where we walked and would dance delightedly when one of his rocks bounced off the green and ricochet into the waters below.
It is these days that are my favourite, our "famous five" days out. Involving picnics of sardine and chilli sandwiches, homemade sausage rolls, grapes, home made flapjacks and cake, Pringles and squeezy yoghurts. Child 4 loves the whole thing from preparing the food, to loading the car to arriving somewhere new. He isn't even that fussed as to where we end up, in fact the more low key the place the less anxious he is. We spent a day at the zoo where he ran from enclosure to enclosure almost worried that he would miss out if he didn't see everything "right now." Once we had visited all the animals he was desperate to see, he calmed down and was happy to meander about. The trips out that were the most successful during the Easter holidays were the ones to the moat to visit and feed the swans and the ducks and then a stroll through the gardens and a play in the park. The other was an overnight with grandparents and cousins to Lynton and Lynmouth, child 4 spent the whole time there throwing sticks and stones into the river.  There was no anxiety, no demands and no tantrums just contentment.

Although it is lovely to spoil the children occasionally with a visit to a zoo or an adventure park, I have found that for child 4 in particular, choosing a place of natural beauty, the woods, a hill to climb, the beach or a river is a calmer, less stressful option.

We need this time, time to decompress, away from school,exams, work and the humdrum of life. Time to be together without the easy distractions of wifi and TV, time to walk together, talk together, just be together. The petty arguments decrease, the tantrums cease and we tolerate each other so much more. This is when I know our family is doing ok and I feel myself relax and just enjoy moments in the here and now, not worrying about what is yet to come. I am content!

So with this in mind I have started to hunt for more outdoor stuff to do. Pinterest helps with scavenger hunts and garden play. I have found a Forest School that we can join and learn from and we are going to take part in the Wildlife Trusts 30 Day Wild Campaign by completing 30 Random Acts of Wildness during June (maybe something for #taspic perhaps?)

Someone once told me that her mother had always told her when she wished to wish for contentment. What a wonderful gift, to be content and I believe that the natural beauty of the English countryside offers us that. Contentment.