31 Aug 2015

My August 2015

Gosh, August was a busy and eventful month! But wonderful all the same. We spent lots of time as a family and had a special occasion thrown in right at the end, namely Alex’s christening. But I won’t pre-empt things and go straight into my highlights of this month:

1. Going for a drive through the countryside and stopping at some gorgeous lavender fields. It was the perfect picture backdrop in the glorious sunshine.

2. Spending lots of one-on-one time with Becky during my Wednesdays off with her. It was so good to give her this undivided attention and to make the most of the time with my little girl before she starts school in less than a couple of weeks.

3. It was a busy month work wise, too, with lots of trips away to trade shows. But one of the perks was lots of nice goodies, including a selection of beautiful notepads with some very motivational and poignant slogans on. They should come in handy for all my blog ideas and inspiration.

4. Visiting the Bristol Balloon Fiesta - another beautiful weekend spent with my little family.

5. Getting all of our bits and bobs ready for school and Becky modelling one of her new school uniforms. I’m laughing and crying inside all at once at the thought of her going off to big school.

6. Fairies & Pirates getting a little make-over and also being mobile responsive now. It’s – intentionally – not hugely different from my previous design, but a facelift nonetheless.

7. A little holiday in Cornwall, which started as a bit of a washout, but ended on an absolutely beautiful day and we all left on a high.

8. Alex and Becky continuing to bond. Watching their relationship blossom fills me with so much happiness. This was taken in our hotel room in Cornwall, where Becky asked to go into Alex’s cot to munch on some dry Cheerios (Don’t ask! They are both addicted!) with him.

9. Alex’s christening, which took place yesterday. I’ll do a separate post on that, but doesn’t Alex just look absolutely gorgeous? Like an English Gentleman, as my Mum said. Such a dude! It was a beautiful, happy day spent with friends and family. 

28 Aug 2015

My 100th Blog Post

This is my 100th blog post, so I thought it was the perfect time to take stock and appraise the first few months of Fairies & Pirates.

I started this blog last November, after toying with the idea for a good while, but not plucking up the courage for ages. Those who know me can attest that in the past I had been rather cynical of the whole blogging thing, maybe because I’m a writer and editor, and I suppose it didn't sit right with me that “anyone” could just publish their thoughts and musings.

However, once I started reading and properly following a couple of blogs, my opinion quickly changed. Especially the parent / family / mummy blogger scene struck a chord, and the more blogs I followed, the more immersed in the blogosphere I became. In the end, some of my favourite mummy bloggers really inspired me to start my own. I, too, wanted to document my children’s life and create lasting memories; I, too, wanted to share my thoughts; and I, too, wanted to become a part of the community, which I found to be so friendly, open and supportive. I guess until and unless you run a blog yourself, it’s hard to appreciate the bigger picture and the fact that there really is a close-knit blogging network out there.

It took me by surprise just how much I would enjoy producing this little diary. I spend all day writing and editing, so I wasn’t sure whether I would have the energy, inspiration and dedication to stick with it and carry on writing in the evenings, but once I started, I was hooked. It has become a hobby and outlet that I cherish, and I find it actually hugely therapeutic to be able to write down my thoughts on motherhood and being a working mummy, to capture precious moments of and with my kids and my family. Especially the Siblings Project has quickly become my favourite feature of the month, I just love it, and I look forward to it every time, as well as my regular round-up of every month, which I’m sure will be so great to look back on in the future.

Keeping memories is my main motivation for this blog, but I have to admit that I’m constantly walking a tight rope between sharing my kids’ shenanigans and not over exposing their lives on here, as I am all too aware that the internet can be a dangerous place, and of course I want to protect them from everything. I try to not to use detail shots of them on their own, but images with me in it, or wherever I can, I use images where their faces are obscured or I have taken side or back shots. Of course that’s not always possible, and I am the first to admit that sometimes the proud mummy in me comes through and I just use lovely images for images sake, because I love them and want to share them. But overall, I do try to be careful with what I post and the photographs I use, and this is something I need to be even more vigilant about in the future. I would be really interested to hear how other parent bloggers juggle this balance, so do drop me a comment below.

Every comment, every tweet, every like I have received has been a huge thrill, and I’m grateful to everyone who has taken the time to read my reflections.

There are lots of bloggers that I admire and who have made huge successes of their blogs. Thanks to their generous tips and advice, I am very aware of how you can grow a blog very quickly and enhance your readership and social media status – as well as stats! - , but I took the decision very early on to just go with the flow and let things happen organically. This is partially because, after all, I still have a full time job and only limited time in the evenings to dedicate to this corner of the internet, but also partially, because by nature I am a very ambitious person, and I know how easily I could become obsessed with stats and rankings and I was worried that this would then take over – many fellow bloggers have written extensively about the pressure they feel to keep up their Klout scores and Tots 100 rankings, and I know how easily I could get sucked into this, too. 

So, even if that makes me sound na├»ve (or stupid), I have so far resisted the urge to check my rankings and analytics as I know that it would irk me majorly if it was below where I would want to be, and I would probably start fretting over it. That’s not to say that I don’t want to develop and grow the blog and its readership, but for now I am happy with this approach, though I know that this isn't a long-term option, especially as I have had some great PR enquiries from companies who kindly want to work with me, so I'll have to face up to this sooner rather than later. 

I do have a list of things I definitely want to improve on though. My social media, for instance, is a major element. I love Instagram, and am quite active over there, but I know I am rather bad at Twitter and I miss out on so many great conversations. It’s mostly a time thing, to be honest. Between sorting out the kids and working full time, travelling for work and running a house-hold, I really have so little time to dedicate to this properly, and even though I keep lists, I still miss so much great engagement. So this is definitely an area I want to try to get to grips with more and really try to carve the time out to dedicate to this.

It’s a similar situation with my Facebook page. I have so far mostly used it to plug my posts – rubbish, I know, and against all social media “rules” – but again, it’s a time issue that I want to tackle with a little more organisation.

Finally, I also want to become better at photography. John's background is in professional photography and I have so far always relied on him taking nice images of us (I think you can tell the difference between the photographs he’s taken and my little iPhone snapshots) without engaging my brain as to how lighting works and all the technical side of things, so my aim is to get him to teach me a bit about this and to improve on the aesthetics of my own images, so my blog overall will be a nicer space.

So, yes, that’s pretty much it. My first nine months of blogging in a nutshell. Hopefully, there’ll be lots more to come.

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27 Aug 2015

Our (Almost) Washout Holiday

A few days ago we returned from our little holiday in Cornwall. It would have been the perfect break if it hadn’t been for the fact that we were really unlucky with the weather. Even if you take the capricious British climate into account, for the first half of our stay we probably had some of the worst conditions possible.

We set off on a relatively hot and sunny day, with the forecast for the week ahead being cloudy and intermittent showers – which we were ok with, it's England after all, not the Carribean. However, when we arrived, thick fog had set in, which hadn’t lifted one bit the next morning, with heavy, persistent rain pouring down.

We went for breakfast, a little bit deflated and lost as to what to do with our day. Thankfully, after breakfast the fog seemed to disappear, and the sun was peeking through the clouds, so we decided to stick to our plan and visit the scenic sites nearby, starting with St Michael’s mount (picture above).
We had an hour of really nice, dry weather there, before the rain came pouring down again and the fog set back in. Undeterred, we decided to carry on with visiting Penzance, Mousehole, Minnack Theatre and Land’s End, hoping that the weather would change as quickly as it had done in the morning. But no such luck, which is why we don’t have many pictures of that day, apart from the Land’s End one below (check out the fog!), as there was just no point. 

On the second day we weren’t bothered by the rain, as we decided to visit the fabulous Eden Project, which in most parts is indoors. Again, as we set off from our hotel, it was pouring down with rain, but by the time we actually arrived there – about 45 minutes’ drive from our hotel – the sun once again came out, and we had a wonderful time at the Eden Project, visiting the biomes, learning about plants, checking out their Dinosaur exhibition, eating Dinosaur Burgers and digging for “gold” (Becky).

It was such a nice day, but as it started to rain again on our way home, and the forecast showed more rain and fog for the rest of the week, we decided to stay another day and then cut the holiday short and head home the next evening. There is just little point being somewhere, when it’s raining and foggy so much that despite being wrapped in rainwear, you literally can’t even do or see anything or escape the cold and rain other than sitting in your hotel room, especially with two small kids.

On the next day, however, we woke up to beautiful sunshine, which was just as well, as we had another scenic and packed day planned. We went to The Lizard in the morning, which was just breath taking. Such beautiful, rugged landscapes – that’s what Cornwall is all about, and at least we got to experience it on that day.

We stayed a couple of hours, eating ice cream, having a wonder around and taking in the views, and then we decided to go to the Cornish Seal Sanctuary nearby, which is a fab place that rescues and looks after injured seals. Becky had a hoot “meeting” all the seals in the centre, and even Alex was very intrigued by the big and wet animals.

From there we headed to St Ives, where we spent the rest of the afternoon, had a lovely dinner and set off back home in the evening, so the kids could just sleep through in the car. That day was actually the perfect ending to a shorter than anticipated holiday, but we all left on a high.

We might not have had the weather we had hoped for, but we still had a wonderful experience. It was lovely to spend some much needed quality time as a family, not being rushed off our feet, having amazing conversations with Becky, laughing at our little joker Alex, and overall marvelling at our two gorgeous kids and how clever and funny they are.

As a little perk, back home the next day, John and I decided to grant ourselves a child-free break and do something just the two of us on our last day off. So we drove the kids to nursery and then went for a lovely lunch in our local deli, followed by a nice spell of shopping. It was great to spend some time sans kids, and it felt special, because – having no family nearby – this is something we hardly ever get to do, and it finished off our (almost washout) holiday nicely.

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26 Aug 2015

Room For Growth

We currently live in a three bedroom house – pretty standard, I guess, for a family of four. Only that space-wise, we are actually bursting at the seams, or starting to anyway. The main reason for this is that I work from home the majority of the time, so our second big double bedroom is used as my (and John’s) office.

Becky’s nursery occupies the smaller, single bedroom, while Alex is currently in with us in the master bedroom; in his own cot, might I add, as I’m not much of a co-sleeper.

This set-up still sort of works for us while Alex is so little, and secretly I have to admit that I love having Alex close by, being comforted by his gentle snores and deep breaths while he’s sleeping and being able to react quickly to cuddle him if he wakes up at night.

But I know that this stage will come to an end, and that eventually he will need his own room – and herein lies the problem. I know we probably have a grace period of maybe another year, maximum, before we have to make changes, but changes we will have to make eventually.

John and I have been discussing various future options, one being to move to a four-bed house, the other one being either an attic conversion or extension to the house.

I’m undecided which option I would prefer, but depending on house prices and availability in and around where we currently live, staying put and expanding may be the most viable option.

So I’ve been dreaming – and pinning – my dream attic conversions and extensions. One can never be too organised too early, right? I can’t quite decide what I would prefer, an extension, or an attic conversion. Currently I’m more inclined to think along the lines of an attic conversion, as it will probably be less hassle and cheaper.

I’m imagining our master bedroom up there, with a beautiful Juliet balcony or roof to floor skylights. We could have lots of storage space in the eaves and make a really stylish, tranquil and cosy room up there with lots of natural light and a calming colour scheme in off-whites, creames and greys. 

Or, we could turn it into a kids bedroom, either for one of the kids or for both to share. This, too, has crossed my mind.

Alternatively, we could move our office up there, out of the way, which could help separate work from home life a bit more.

I love all of these options, so when we are eventually ready to make our dreams a reality, we will have to give this some serious thought, especially the practicalities of it all and which use of space would be most advantageous for our home and family life.

The one slight drawback of a loft conversion is that – even with proper insulation – things can get very hot, and very uncomfortable up there in the summer. We once lived in a house with an attic bedroom, and in the summer months it was unbearable. But there are simple solutions that can help alleviate this problem. For instance, VELUX have got an array of blind options, including an external awning blind that stops sunlight and reduces the heat of the sun by 90 per cent, which could be just the ticket to ensure a comfortable climate.

It may be still a little while yet before we have to decide which direction to proceed in, but I’m already getting excited about having more space to roam and spread out in as a family. If you want to have a little peak at my Pinterest board, check it out here.

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23 Aug 2015

My Sunday Photo 23rd August 2015

This photo was taken earlier this week during a children’s festival we attended. There were lots of “arty” things to do, like building and decorating a city made out of cardboard, and Becky was in her element. She loves drawing, painting and crafting things, and I adore the concentration on her face. 


20 Aug 2015

Alex's Christening Outfit

Alex’s christening is taking place at the end of the month, and one of the main things on my agenda has been to sort out his little outfit for the day.

For Becky’s christening four years ago, this was a really easy task – there are so many lovely christening and special occasion dresses for girls out there, and I fell instantly in love with a gorgeous silk Mamas & Papas one. I just added a little hair band and some cute socks and booties, and she was ready for her big day.

Unfortunately, I’ve been struggling a bit more with Alex’s outfit. I’ve looked at lots of specialist christening brands, including the likes of Rachel Riley, Angels and Fishes, Emile et Rose, Adore Baby, Little Darlings and so on, as well as special occasion ranges in John Lewis, Next, Debenhams, M&S and Not On The High Street, and I’ll be honest, I didn’t like any.

They were either too classic for my taste, or too much down the sailor outfit route, none of which I’m keen on. I also don’t really want an all-white outfit, because I think boys look a bit strange, and let’s face it, we wouldn’t even make it to the Church without instantly getting stains on it.

Then there’s the traditional christening gowns a la Prince George, but again, I think boys look a bit funny in those anyway, and if anything, only really newborns or small babies can get away with it. But Alex is one year old already, so I feel I had to find an outfit that was more suited to a toddler than a small baby.

Also, there is the small but important detail of cost – most of the proper christening outfits are quite expensive, and I don’t really want to invest this much in something that he will, realistically, only wear for a couple of hours before I have to change him into his comfy joggers and tees.

So, after a lot of looking around and hours spent on t’interweb (my favourite past time – online shopping!) I ended up buying a little combo from Monsoon consisting of a white shirt and a lovely silver grey vest and cravat (we’ll see how long that one will stay on for! I hope at least until after the ceremony!). Sadly, they didn’t sell any matching trousers with this, but I found a lovely pair of silver grey linen trousers from Next, which I have teamed with the cravat set.

To finish off the outfit, I also ordered some very cute pram shoes from Baypods, as Alex is not walking yet, but just turning up in socks or nothing on his feet seemed a bit odd, too. I bought them in light blue, as I thought it would create a nice but subtle contrast whilst still being a light colour to match the occasion, and I can still use them afterwards. I am in two minds whether I should have bought a white pair instead though, looking at the outfit put together, but then again, I probably would never put Alex in white booties again. We’ll see. I still have over a week to order another pair if I do change my mind.

So this is it, my little boy’s outfit for his big day. I’m really looking forward to it now, the closer it’s getting. It will be a very small and private affair, but hopefully we’ll all have a lovely time and celebrate our gorgeous boy.


18 Aug 2015

Ouch!!! My Baby Bites

 Nothing is safe from his gnashers, not even the swing. Disgusting, I know! 

In addition to being perpetually covered in puke and snot stains (you can read all about it here), I’m also covered in marks – bite marks to be precise, courtesy of my little man.

Since Alex cut his first few teeth, he’s been nibbling and biting on everything he can get his gnashers into, including me (and John, though not as much as me).

And, without wanting to sound like a wimp – it really hurts! And obviously, it’s not a particularly nice thing for Alex to do, even though, of course, he doesn’t do it with bad intent, he’s too young for that.

He’s teething badly at the moment, which is a factor in him chewing on everything and anything, but he also does it when he gets excited, and I actually think he uses it as a sign of affection, as he does it when we are cuddling and kissing and having lots of cwtches together (can you tell I’m married to a Welsh man? Love this word!), and it’s obvious that he is trying to kiss me back. I love his affections, so I don’t want to punish him or discourage him from them, but at the same time, I’m not really keen on running around with teeth marks on my cheeks either!

The problem is that I just cannot convey to him to stop and that it’s not a nice thing to do and hurts. Whenever he does it, I immediately say “no” with a stern facial expression, but he just thinks it’s funny and repeats it. Even when I say “nein” in German (getting the big guns out now, ha!), and look even more sternly, he giggles, and then does it again to provoke another reaction that makes him chuckle even more.

On occasion I’ve been giving him a gentle pat on the lips when he’s done it, but to no avail, and obviously I wouldn’t do it any more forceful, so it’s quite ineffective, too, as he just thinks it’s part of a game.

Of course I would like to nip it in the bud sooner rather than later, and before it becomes a habit that is even more difficult to break, especially as he is around other children and carers at nursery; thankfully, he has never bitten any of them  - yet - and I’d like to keep it that way.

I’ve looked for guidance on various forums, and the advice is fairly diverse and inconsistent. Here are some of the theories I have come across:

-         biting back 
-         crying uncontrollably to make them understand they have hurt you
-         lip smacking
-         putting their own hands in their mouth when they are about to bite, so they feel their own pain
-         persevering with repeated “no, we don’t bite” until they get it
-         hugging them after they’ve bitten in the way of “we don’t bite, we hug”

None of these seem particularly authoritative or like a convincing remedy to the problem (especially not the last one, which seems a bit odd to me, almost like rewarding him for biting).

The one method that I keep reading about and that seems to be most effective is the biting back, but I just cannot make myself do it – yet anyway, maybe when he is a bit older and can understand the cause and effect a bit better. In the meantime, I think I might try the crying and see what he does then.

If anyone has had a similar experienced with their little one, I’d be interested to know what worked for you and how you got on, so let me know in the comments below.

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16 Aug 2015

#My Sunday Photo 16th August 2015

This picture was taken at a country park where Becky and I went on our Wednesday together. They had a massive bouncy pillow, and I just couldn’t get Becky off it, she loved it so much. I managed to capture her literally jumping for joy while no one else was on it, and I love how small she looks on this huge and vast bouncy pillow. 


15 Aug 2015

#Siblings August 2015

I’ve loved observing the dynamic between Becky and Alex this month. They are both becoming increasingly confident around each other, with Becky frequently tickling, kissing and trying to pick up Alex (which she fails at, as he’s such a whopper!), and Alex following Becky around, trying to pull her hair (affectionately, I like to think!), and generally seeking her company, even when she’s busy with stuff, like drawing or watching the iPad and doesn’t want to know.

Every morning Alex and Becky wake around the same time, and Becky is now insisting that I bring Alex into her room first thing so she can say hello to her “Smally” and give him a kiss (while I have to hold his hands, so he doesn’t pull her hair, which is his usual reaction).

She really encourages Alex in his development, whenever he’s done something new, she’ll be saying “Good boy, Alex”, but she also tells him off when he is crawling somewhere or picking up something he is not supposed to. It’s lovely that she is developing a good sense and awareness of what he is and isn’t allowed to, and she actually helps me keep an eye on him and keep him safe.

Alex adores Becky and always wants to be where she is. He’s so happy when she gives him the time of day and plays with him, especially passing his little soft ball backwards and forwards, or when they both play away with the Duplo blocks.

And they look more and more alike, my blond and blue eyed babies. Love them so much!

dear beautiful

14 Aug 2015

Getting Ready For School

In about three weeks Becky will be starting primary school, and we’ve been slowly getting ready and prepared for the big day.

Most of the school uniform is bought, name labels and stickers have been ordered, and Becky’s excitement levels are rising by the day – bless her!

It’s actually been a lot of fun buying Becky’s school uniform and associated paraphernalia. Her school’s colour scheme is grey, white and red, and I just love the cute little dresses, shirts and skirt combos, especially the checked summer dresses that they are allowed to wear.

Before I bought everything, I spent a bit of time looking around all the high street shops and comparing, not so much prices, but the quality of the garments, and having looked around M&S, Matalan, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Next and Asda, I ended up buying the majority of Becky’s basics in Sainsbury’s, as I preferred the quality and the fabrics of their garments to everywhere else.

Sainsbury’s Tu range has lovely soft but thick jersey dresses, which I much prefer to the stiff – and in my opinion rather horrible - polyester garments of other brands, so I stocked up on a number of cute pinafore dresses and some lovely pleated jersey skirts – Becky refuses to wear trousers, has done so since she was really little, so dresses and skirts are our main option.

We also stocked up on those checked summer dresses, which I feel have got the nicest cuts around, with extremely cute heart buttons, as well as plenty of white polo shirts for underneath.

We also found a beautiful red winter coat, which I immediately snapped up. I just love all the pieces, and at £4 per summer dress, £5 per pack of 5 polo shirts and £8 for two jersey dresses and two skirts, it is an absolute bargain, with the added bonus that all are machine washable and tumble dryer safe, as well as being Teflon coated and stain resistant, so Becky should get quite a bit of wear out of it. I think the Sainsbury’s range has come out on top in various high street schoolwear tests that I have seen, and so far I’m really pleased with the garments. I will report back once we’ve put the clothes through their paces and several washes to see how we’re faring with them.

Footwear-wise, I always thought I would just go to Clarks and buy Becky’s shoes there, as I’ve only ever bought her branded footwear from either Clarks and Charles Clinkard, but when I looked at their ranges, I actually didn’t like any of their styles. Most were either boring (I know, I know, it’s schoolwear, hardly fashion, but I want Becky to like her outfits) or clunky and heavy, and I just wasn’t keen.

By coincidence I found a lovely pair of patent leather shoes at M&S, which I bought, and on one of my many trips to Sainsbury’s, I also came across another cute pair of coated leather shoes, too, so I popped them in my shopping trolley, and Becky now has two pairs to alternate between. And at £22 for the M&S ones and £15 for the Sainsbury’s ones, they are a fab price, too, considering they are both 100 per cent leather and coated and padded etc.

For all the other, branded stuff with Becky’s school logo on, I went to the specialist schoolwear shop associated with our school and bought several cardies, jumpers, T-shirts, PE kits, a book bag and a PE bag, so I think we’re pretty much set up. Just need a few more tights and socks, and Becky is ready to go.

Well, she might be ready, but I will still need to get used to the idea that my baby daughter will shortly be a proper little schoolgirl *sob*.

*Linking up to Twinkly Tuesday and #ShareWithMe

13 Aug 2015

Why I don't feel guilty my kids go to nursery

Becky is coming to the end of her nursery days, as she’s starting school in September. I know she is soooo ready for it, but I can’t help but feel a little bit sad that this chapter has come to an end.

She was ten months old when she first started going to nursery and I returned to my full time job as magazine editor.

It’s been a brilliant (almost) four years that she has spent at nursery, and I have absolutely no regrets or guilt about that, but look back at this time with fondness and a lot of gratitude to the nursery staff who have helped look after my little girl for all this time.

They have become very close to Becky and have been important people in her life that she has grown very attached to. They were there for her at key stages and have supported her development throughout. And I, too, have become very fond of them and our morning drop-off and evening pick-up routine, our chats and catch-ups about Becky’s day etc.

But I am grateful for Becky’s time at nursery in more than one way. I believe going to nursery has been good for her, vital for her development and has helped shape her character, personality and generally progress.

She is such an open, friendly and outgoing little thing, more so than many other kids her age and within our group of friends / peers / acquaintances, and I credit nursery with a lot of that. She has been used to being with and around other kids from a young age and has had the chance to develop essential social skills and interact with peers in a positive manner, and even difficult situations, learning to cope with arguments or confrontations, that I’m sure have set her up for life. She never seems fazed by large groups of boys and girls or approaching children she doesn’t know at playgroups or playgrounds etc. and easily forms relationships.

She’s made lots of friends over the years, so many beautiful strong bonds, and it’s a pleasure to see those continue and strengthen each day. I met my best friend at kindergarten, and she is still my closest and best friend some 35+ years later, and I really hope that Becky will have the same experience.

Luckily, she will be going to school with quite a few of her friends from nursery, and again, I’m glad that she already has a strong, familiar network of peers that she will make the transition with.

Having worked full time, I’ve relied on the nursery set-up. But even if I hadn’t been in a demanding career, I still would have wanted Becky to be at nursery, as I would have never been able to give her the stimulation, variety and fun at home that she had there. I’m not overly maternal and before I had kids I had never been particularly exposed to little ones – apart from holding someone’s newborn for ten minutes – so I would have struggled to entertain her in the consistent way her bright and sharp mind has needed.

And I’m glad that Alex is now benefiting from the same nursery and the same level of great care as Becky has (though I am very pleased that our double full time childcare bill will finally be reduced come September!).

For us, nursery has been a brilliant experience with people Becky and the rest of the family love and respect, and we can only recommend it. 

9 Aug 2015

Balloon Bonanza

As I said in one of my earlier posts this week, we really want to make the most out of this summer and make some lovely memories as a family, so yesterday we travelled to the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, a renowned extravaganza for hot air balloon enthusiasts and everybody else, really.

And it didn’t disappoint. Set in the vast and beautiful grounds of Ashton Court overlooking the city of Bristol, it was not just a hot air balloon showcase, but also a huge fun fair with a great festival vibe.

We had a great time. We had a picnic, Alex enjoyed crawling round the huge lawn while Becky went on various rides and bouncy castles, we had nice food and drink and towards the evening watched an array of colourful hot air balloons ascend into the blue sky.

We also stayed for the nightglow, whereby the hot air balloon pilots lightened up the night by igniting their burners, making the balloons look like giant light bulbs in the sky, all synchronised to the sound of some great tunes. 

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