A Coastal Wander

Portencross

We recently took a trip to another stretch of the coastline at Portencross in North Ayrshire, a place we first visited last year. It had been raining and overcast in the morning but just as we arrived the clouds passed revealing blue skies and beautiful views of the Isle of Arran and the Isle of Cumbrae across the sea.

Portencross Castle

There were quite a few other people there at the same time either visiting Portencross Castle (which we skipped), walking their dogs or fishing on the pier, but it never felt crowded.

Taking it in turns to carry our daughter, my husband was happy to explore the rockpools finding crabs and showing them to our daughter, while I picked out shells for her to see and touch.

We’re really appreciating the freedom to visit some of our favourite places around Scotland after spending so long at home during lockdown, and I always find a day by the sea refreshing. Have a lovely week. X

Here and There

Swans on the Sea

We’ve been making the most of our beautiful country over the last few weeks, enjoying the freedom to visit places and people we haven’t seen for months during lockdown.

At the top of the list of places we wanted to visit once restrictions around travel for leisure were lifted was Croy Shore. We were last here in January just before I gave birth, and it was so lovely to return with our little girl for the first time on a breezy summer’s day in July.

Culzean Castle Ailsa Craig

Even on a busy day, it’s a quieter beach than most so we had plenty of space to wander without bumping into anyone else, and we could take our time, relax and appreciate the refreshing wind, the crash of the waves and the familiar sights of the Isle of Arran, Ailsa Craig and Culzean Castle, and on this particular day the less common sight of swans.

Croy Shore

There have also been lots of catch-ups and reunions with our extended family dotted around the country over the last few weeks, chatting over tea and cake with some, and rambling through fairy woods with others. Grandparents were delighted to be able to cuddle our daughter again, and there were some very cute scenes when we introduced our daughter to her younger cousin (born during the lockdown) with the babies gazing and smiling shyly at each other for the first time.

My daughter and I had our first playdate at the park with a few of my best friends and their children recently too. While the youngest (my friend’s son and my daughter – born just a month apart) were too little to join in with the toddlers’ games, they enjoyed seeing other small people and grasping each other’s hands whenever they were close enough.

Here and There

Closer to home, last week I visited our local supermarket for the first time since mid-March to get a few essentials I’d forgotten to add to our click & collect shop, and had my hair cut for the first time this year. Wearing masks, standing behind plexiglass screens and all the other changes that are likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future still feel strange and it’s going to take some getting used to.

Life still doesn’t feel anywhere near back to normal, but all these people, places and shared moments that would have seemed ordinary a few months ago, now feel so precious. Take care, and have a lovely week. X

Stories, Music and Swans

LittleBookworm

As lockdown restrictions are being relaxed here in Scotland, I’ve been reflecting on how I’ve spent my maternity leave so far. My days still mostly revolve around my daughter’s feeds and naps but she’s always been very curious and animated, never content to just watch the world from her pram or playmat, and it’s been a fun challenge keeping her entertained without the usual range of playgroups that many parents rely on (though I have signed up for baby massage classes on Zoom).

Unable to go to the library or bookshops during lockdown, I feel like I’ve kept Waterstones in business ordering books for the three of us. My husband and I try to read at least one story to our daughter every day, and we’ve discovered some really lovely picture books (that I’ll review at some point!). Our little bookworm also has a few scrunchy, cloth books that she can gnaw the corners and practise turning the pages.

LittleBookworm2

I’ve always wanted to learn to play piano and started teaching myself last year, but it fell by the wayside and so far all I can play is a passable version of Jingle Bells. As we’ve not been able to join any of the local baby music groups, instead my daughter and I have been plunking away on the piano, and shaking rattles or clapping along to nursery rhymes at home. My husband and I also sing to our daughter (Jason Mraz and Sara Bareilles are favourites in our household at the moment), and bounce her on our knees to the William Tell Overture, Orpheus in the Underworld (the Can Can music) and other jaunty classical pieces.

Piano

Our little girl loves getting out for walks and starts grinning as soon as she sees the baby carrier. We avoided parks during the lockdown, but wandered round our local park for the first time in months when it seemed quiet recently, and our daughter saw the resident swans, cygnets and coots in the pond for the first time.

Pond

I’ve tried to make the best of it over the last few months, but at times I’ve struggled with loneliness and self-doubt. I’m very aware of all the ordinary experiences our daughter has missed out on, but fortunately she’s too young to understand how strange this year has been and for the most part she’s a lively, cuddly girl who keeps me busy and we have a lot of fun together.

As restrictions are lifted, I’m looking forward to taking our daughter further afield, sharing new experiences together and seeing the world through her bright eyes. Take care, and have a lovely week. X