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Apr 25

April Ramblings

Baby has just turned ten weeks. I had forgotten just how difficult it is to get anything done that involves sitting still and concentrating with a newborn, so instead of writing a lot of posts, I have instead had plenty of time to think about Baby Routes instead.

The results of my reflections are that I’ve realised that my blog is well, not always so ‘bloggy’. Walks make up most of my content and to avoid confusing those who simply want to know which way to go, I avoid using too much personal voice in their write-ups. This means that you miss out on breaking news such as Roo falling face-first in a puddle (it was messy) or practicalities of a full-blown, clothes changing, straight-in-the-bath poosplosion from the ten week-old mid-walk and miles from civilisation! Thankfully the last one is still to happen. So the upshot is…welcome to my new monthly round-up post!

Whilst preocuppied with emerging slowly from new-to-two-mum hibernation, it transpired that spring had been doing the same. Depsite the occasional ‘swinging in the rain day’ at the local playground, the weather has been pretty good, the blossom is on the fruit trees and spring seems to have sprung. I’ve been easing myself slowly back outside with plenty of gardening and learning how to get out by myself for a wander with both girls.

Swinging in the rain...

Swinging in the rain…

The thought of tackling trails with both a toddler who is distracted by every tiny thing along the way and a tiny baby who requires en-route feeding and nappy changes was pretty daunting. My initial forays into walking with two tots were kept very brief, close to home and included plenty of recovery time (for me not them). I’ve also been procrastinating by testing out as many different slings and carriers as I can get my hands on around the house for a new Baby Routes review. Trouble is, to complete my research I had to start taking them out into the field – quite literally.

On one sunny afternoon with both the girls at home it seemed a crime not to get out and enjoy the gorgeous weather. Armed with the world’s largest changing bag, several slings, the all-terrain buggy (mainly so I had a way of transporting all my excess gubbins) and a good degree of trepidation, we headed for Reading to attempt another section on our Thames Path challenge.

Reading to Tilehurst Thames Path Walk

It took me at least 15 minutes prep time and two return trips to the car before we got going. Once we set off though it was lovely and my fears of walking with two were quickly allayed, meaning I got to raid the emergency edible bribery stash. The whole route from Reading to Tilehurst is 6km and Roo walked a good 2/3rds of the way. Somehow I managed to hold her hand, carry the snoozing baby in the sling, not steer her empty pushchair into the river and still enjoy myself.

Annoyingly the railway underpass I had planned on using to exit the Thames Path at Tilehurst turned out to be a railway footbride with a gazillion steps. Tilehurst Station also turned out to be a stranger to the concept of accessible platforms  with another footbridge to enjoy. My thighs and arms got a good work out and my trusty BOB buggy’s bouncing credentials were put thoroughly to the test (it survived yet again) but Roo enjoyed the birds eye view of  the trains so it wasn’t a complete disaster!

A short train ride later and we headed for picnic supper in Christchurch Meadows (the adventure playground is awesome) before finally limping home at dusk. We all slept pretty well that night!

Bluebell season is in full swing and we have been taking full advantage of this magical time of year. Our local woods are just as spectacular as ever and I’ve been amateurishly attempting to capture some of their spirit on camera. One of these days I’m going to go on a proper photography course but until then, here is my best attempt at sharing their sheer beauty with you.

Bluebells

I always try to hunt out new bluebell woods and this year we chanced upon the most spectacular collection in the woods behind Nuffield Place. Even better, a quick exploration confirmed my hopes that they formed part of a lovely little walk – perfect for toddling tots and all-terrain buggies!

It was my first visit to the National Trust property – an impulse outing after I had forgotten that Roo’s favourite music class wasn’t on over the Easter holidays and rashly promised my tearful toddler cake and a walk in compensation. As National Trust properties go, it is not the most extensive nor the most exciting for children but they have still had a good go at making it kid friendly. Roo enjoyed making dens and leaping on logs and we both wasted no time getting stuck in to our first cream tea of the year.

Easter Weekend saw another bluebell foray. Cowleaze Woods is a good stop for those travelling on the M40 (I’m thinking it’s time for another Alternative Motorway Stops article) and the woods make a pleasant wander but the bluebells weren’t quite at their peak yet and untidy forest management meant the carpets of blue were not quite as impressive as they could have been but still pretty amazing.

After the Easter chocolate excess, we also finally discovered first hand what a toddler sugar come-down looks like. After gorging herself throughout Easter Sunday, Roo howled most of our hour and a half journey home from relatives accompanied in sypathetic chorus by her baby sister. I think the cause of her distress was her sock falling off, or being on, or possibly just being a sock. Shaking with relief during the brief silence of a sock-trauma enforced stop, we began to question our summer road trip plans…

Den building & cream tea at Nuffield Place

Den building & cream tea at Nuffield Place


It is hard to believe it is the last weekend in April already. We have had Roo’s godmother staying with us and so yesterday was spent in an active blur of bluebell hunting, National Trust visiting, April shower dodging, walking and visiting the baby animals at Odds Farm.

All that activity has set me up nicely for May when I’m intending to at long last ditch the new-baby sugar aids and attempt to regain some of my former pre-pregnancy fitness. I’m considering signing up to a 10k to scare me into action but I’ll let you know how I go with those lofty ambitions! More realistically I intend to hit the trail more, to plan our summer road trip (all 30 minutes of our sock-trauma rescheduled itinerary) and to enjoy my first proper Pimms of the year!  Cheers!

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