Just before lock down we discovered a lovely local hot spot for our scooter/skateboard loving boy. Prevail Junior in Bournemouth is an indoor flow park for young people under 13. For just £10 your child can skate or scoot their heart out for 2 hours. They also serve coffee and snacks, which gives the grown ups time for a little break. Obviously unless your little one is very little and needs your help.
Thankfully our little dude is happy to scoot off without a backwards glance for at least 15 minutes, before summoning us to observe various tricks and new skills. It is the kind of place that will help your kids grow in confidence and get some ideas about new skills they can practice.
Prevail Junior also holds special events like toddlers/girls/adults/parties only. They are also located quite centrally in Bournemouth, which means you could meet a few friends there (once rules change) and then head for dinner.
The park is big enough for your little scooter fans to enjoy the ramps and turns, but not too big that your little one gets lost among a sea of scooters. It can get busy, especially on rainy days. So if you want to get out of the sun on hot days, it is usually quieter then.
Watching the little dude’s confidence grow in just one visit was really lovely. By the end of his first visit he was going down the big slopes and whizzing round the corners. It is also super cute seeing all the teeny little ones with scooters as big as they are.
Towards the end of lock down our little man had a scooter related accident when he took a fall off an 8ft ramp. But he has told us he can’t wait to return to Prevail Junior soon!
With lock down relaxing and a new way of visiting places occurring, we decided it was time to spread our wings a little and venture to one of our favourite places in Dorset. Just an hour away, Lyme Regis is a gorgeous place to enjoy the beach, local businesses and fossil hunting.
When we arrived, our little dude had only one thing in mind, fossil hunting. So instead of heading to the popular part of the beach, we took a left and headed towards the cliffs and a popular area for fossil hunters.
Lyme Regis is a fantastic place to go fossil hunting if you have any budding fossil hunters wanting some easy discoveries. It is also home to Mary Anning, an interesting woman, that discovered the first complete Ichthyosaur in 1810-1811 with her brother.
The best area for fossil hunting is located a short walk from the main high street. It is accessed by some stairs that get cut off by high tide, so be careful and check tide times before heading off on a long fossil hunt. The tide had started to come in as we finished fossil hunting, so we had to jump over the sea at the bottom of the steps to avoid wet feet.
We hadn’t been on the beach long before our little dude had found his first ammonite of the day. It was a beautiful fossil set within a giant rock. It spurred him on and soon he had one he could fit in the palm of his hand. Both Clara and I got hunting too and managed to find a couple for him too. Clara became a pro hunter and managed to find some gorgeous ones under a massive rock.
If you spend long enough on the beach, you are almost always guaranteed to discover at least an ammonite. Even if it is one within a giant rock. It is a beach we will certainly be returning to, in fact since writing this we have revisited with friends and found even more fossils.
This weekend (11th-12th July) I am taking part in a Scout camp and I can’t wait. Since lock down started, one of the things I’ve missed the most, is not seeing my Beaver Scouts face to face, at their weekly meeting. We are lucky to have a very supportive group that has helped me keep Scouting during a weekly zoom Beaver meeting. But camping is what I love most about Scouting.
With sleepovers and trips to camp grounds cancelled, my Group Scout Leader decided to organise a virtual Scout Camp. Within days of it being planned, the official UK Scouts announced plans to host their own Great Indoors Weekender. Which means every Scout and even if you are not a Scout, can join a fun weekend of activities encouraging Skills for Life, with special celebrity guests and more.
There will be den building, compass coding, camp fires and even a bed time story. The great thing about it all being online is you can dip in and out of whichever activities you feel like participating in. You could also use it as inspiration to plan your own camp. Set up air beds in the living room, or dust the tent off and see if you can all spend two nights in it. I know we’ve all spent the last 3 months together within 4 walls, but mixing it up a bit might add some more fun to your weekend.
The little dude and I will be using the time to brush up on his Cub skills before face to face Scouting returns. He really wants to master using a fire steel, so he will be our camp fire starter for the weekend. I am looking forward to some tasty S’mores.
If you do join in this weekend, make sure you use the hashtags #TGIWeekender #TheGreatIndoors. It would be great to see lots of people joining in
I have always been against racism, I have challenged friends and family members on jokes and subtle comments on stereotypes, I have thought up until this point that by me not being racist I was part of change in my generation, that was needed. That was wrong, it is not enough for me not to be racist, I need to be actively anti-racist. I was ignorant about my part in the bigger picture and for this I apologise. But through education and action, I can be part of the change. I am in a position to use my platform to amplify Black people’s voices and their activism.
We are accountable for the systemic racism that runs deep in our country. Raising a White son, it is important that he is aware of his privilege and is active in being an Ally to the Black Lives Matter movement.
So this is the start of the research I have done, resources to educate, provoke discussions and to be part of vital change. It is our responsibility to focus on anti-racism and to help support and be part of change in building a better and safer future for the Black community.
This list is not exhaustive, there are hundreds of resources available. Just a little research is needed.
When They Call You a Terrorist A Black Lives Matter Memoir – Patrisse Khan-Cullors
So You Want to Talk About Race – Ijeoma Oluo
Me and White Supremacy: How to Recognise Your Privilege, Combat Racism and Change the World – Layla Saad
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism – Robin DiAngelo
How To Be an Antiracist – Ibram X. Kendi
The Kalief Browder Story
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson
The Hate U Give
When They See Us
There are so many great guides on being an Ally, please do go visit them and support them. Accounts on Instagram such as @shiftingtheculture and @mireillecharper are a great place to start.
Black Lives Matter is global, this is not just “an American” thing, this is not something White people need to avoid. White people, we may make mistakes, we may stumble and worry, but we can get back up and challenge ourselves to be better and do better. Don’t be afraid of saying the wrong thing if you are actively working on doing something right. Sign petitions, donate, attend peaceful protests and make signs with your children.
I am educating myself each and every day, as well as educating my son. I am learning something new with each book I read and documentary I watch. We must continue to work on change.
Last week our new normal changed ever so slightly. With the government announcing new guidelines for lock down and new procedures being placed in public places, we decided to venture a little further from the house for some exercise.
We are very lucky to live quite local to the coast, so a drive to our local beach isn’t much more than 25 minutes. We hadn’t planned to visit the beach, but with us passing by on other business, we just couldn’t resist setting our feet down on the sand.
We are an outdoor family, being confined to our home for so many weeks has taken it’s toll on all of us. Both Clara and I have a love of the water, her with her paddle board and myself with my kayak. But due to restrictions, we’ve kept our water sport accessories firmly locked in the shed. Where we would normally launch from is incredibly busy due to the changes and warnings to “stay alert”. So a little paddle in the sea is the closest we are going to get to some time on the water for a while.
The little dude was very happy when we told him we were going to go on to the beach for a little bit. We all removed our shoes and almost felt like the fear had gone, for just those first few seconds our feet felt the sand. But gazing across the beach, it was easy to see how it is not quite normal yet. Shops and cafes remained closed, families sat far apart across the sand and it was incredibly quiet for one of the best beaches in the UK.
Our time on the beach was short. Due to my health issues I am anxious about being out too long at the moment. I don’t want to add to the work our amazing NHS is undertaking at the moment. But we did promise the little dude that we would return at some point. One day our old normal will return and we want to stay safe so we can see it.
On the 16th March my boss made the decision for us to start working from home, due to concerns in the rising numbers of Covid-19. The little dude was still in attendance at school and Clara was still teaching.
Each day we watched the news covering increasing numbers in cases and then deaths in the UK. Schools were eventually closed and we went into lock down and our temporary new normal was created.
It’s been a very odd time, as I imagine it has for everyone else in the world. The corner of our living room has become my office, the dining table has become Clara’s office and our little dude moves between living room and kitchen for his home schooling.
We’ve tried our best to make the time at home fun for our little man. But don’t get me wrong, there have been frustrating moments and arguments.
Our days are a mixture of school work for M, work for both C and I and on top of that we are both studying for additional qualifications. Our aim is to provide a happy space for M to learn what we manage to teach him from his school work, as well as teaching him some life skills and enjoying time in the garden.
Since lock down started we’ve enjoyed a home cinema trip, a stay at home Camp Bestival, lots of trampoline time and the addition of Disney+ to our lives.
A couple of weeks into lock down I suggested ‘Fancy Fridays’, a day we can get dressed up and either watch a new film or have a nice dinner at the kitchen table. It really made a difference to how we all felt by the end of the week, plus it gives us something to look forward to.
We’ve decorated our front window with messages for key workers and a couple of rainbows for the NHS, including a gorgeous knitted one from M’s Nanna.
It all still feels very strange, not seeing friends and family. But we are lucky to have technology that bridges the gap. We’ve played virtual Cards against Humanity with friends, I’ve had a weekly horror film Netflix Party, M has enjoyed games via House Party with school friends and Clara has FaceTimed friends.
We are so thankful for the NHS and everyone that is keeping the country going. This may change us all for ever, but hopefully the history we are helping our little dude create isn’t too scary.
Long before we were confined to our home, the little dude and I spent some time travelling to Kimmeridge Bay in Dorset to find some fossils.
Located on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site in Wareham, Kimmeridge Bay is a must visit for any fossil hunter. Access to the beautiful bay car park is via a toll road, which costs £5, but once that is paid, the car park is free.
It was rather a wet, cold and blustery day on our visit, but that didn’t stop us from trekking down the muddy slopes onto the beach. Almost straight away we started to spot ammonites within the large rocks that led on to the beach.
Fossil hammers are prohibited on Kimmeridge Bay to protect the area, so the little dude had to leave his full fossil hunting equipment in the car. But there was plenty to spot using just our eyes and our hands.
The bay was quite quiet on our arrival, but after about half an hour it started to grow busy with other fossil hunters. It was interesting people watching, those that were there to find fossils and those that were there just to enjoy the beautiful bay.
The little dude was soon finding lots of lovely fossils and pretending he was a professional fossil hunter on a big mission to locate the biggest fossil in the world.
I love how interested in fossils, this little dude is. He could quite happily spend hours exploring and discovering.
We want to say a massive thanks to all vital key workers during these awful strange times. Stay home and stay safe!
Ever since our little dude could pick up rocks he was filling his pockets with them. Shiny ones, small ones, large ones, rough ones, smooth ones and ones that didn’t even look like rocks. He also started collecting shells, gemstones and fossils, determined to create a collection that could rival any great museum.
At the time it could have been any passing phase, but nearly 4 years have passed and his passion for rocks and fossils has grown. We are lucky to live super close to the Jurassic Coast, the best place in Dorset to discover fossils and beautiful rocks. Which means family time usually turns into fossil time.
During this visit we only managed to find some beautiful shells and smooth rocks, but I’ve promised him a visit to a local beach known for it’s ammonites soon, so he was happy with his discoveries.
I love the care he takes which each of his discoveries. If they are lucky enough to make it home, he washes them and adds them to his giant box of fossils and gems.
For a while now the little dude has told us he wants to be an ologist of some kind. He wants to discover fossils, or explore and find special rocks. I love his thirst for knowledge about his discoveries and enjoy seeing him spend time learning about the ages of the fossils he has and how many years old they are.
So we seem to be raising a rock star and I am quite pleased with that. Because to be honest, as long as he’s happy and doing something he loves, then I’m happy driving him to the next beach for more rocks!
2019 was certainly the year for family. At the start of the year we’d intended to spend Christmas just us three, but by the end we’d spent it with all our close family and it couldn’t have been more perfect. We both had a very tough busy year, with loss and illness, career change and studies. Meaning we were really at our limits by the time we both broke up for the Christmas holidays.
We kicked off the big family Christmas on the day before Christmas Eve by attended my in laws wedding. It was a lovely private celebration, with their children and grandchildren. We took over Zizzi’s with our celebrations as the kids enjoyed racing outside to watch the winter ice skaters in the square. It was exactly what we needed as a family, spending time with those that made us laugh and whom love our little dude just as hard as we do.
On Christmas Eve we enjoyed watching the excitement build in M as he excitedly talked about what Santa was going to bring. In our home, Santa brings one special gift and the rest of the gifts are from us and family. This year is the first year M wasn’t too specific about what he wanted from Santa, so it was going to be a total surprise for him.
Christmas morning came around very quickly as M woke us both with a “Santa has left me a stocking on my bed Mama and Mummy, can I open it?”. We were up and downstairs within 30 minutes and smiling at M’s look of shock at the gifts under the tree. The gift from Santa (What’s in the Box? game) was a hit, and soon we were under a mountain of paper as M unwrapped at record speed. I really started to sound old as I kept telling M to “slow down or you won’t appreciate everything”.
This year M had decided to get us matchy matchy (his words) gifts, from his school secret Santa stall. I lucked out with a new lunchbox and Clara got a rather fetching new reusable shopping bag.
For our Christmas lunch we’d been invited out for our first ever Christmas dinner at a restaurant. It was lovely to spend more time with Clara’s side of the family as we donned party hats and ate Christmas lunch. M adores his cousins, so for him it was rather special that he got to spend Christmas day with them. Once we’d eaten we headed back to my in laws home for gift exchanging. This was a big highlight for me as my Mother in Law had bought me the best pair of shoes ever, in the form of Rainbow coloured Pride Converse.
Boxing day continued our theme of family, as we headed to my parents for a lunch, games and more gift exchanges. My sister and Niece joined us which was lots of fun as we played some silly movie games and Heads Up. Beau joined us at my parents, which was lovely as he adores my parents. Plus he knew he was bound to get fed lots of treats.
The rest of our Christmas seemed to speed by in a flurry of illness (I got tonsilitis and Clara got an awful cold), days out swimming/climbing/soft play and Pokemon Go hunting.
On New Year’s Eve we kept up our tradition of going to the cinema and took M to see Frozen 2. We then enjoyed our own mini family party for three at home. We were all shattered by the time the countdown began, but we enjoyed mini sparklers just after midnight.
Our final few days before we returned to work/school have been a blur of outdoor adventures on the coast, walks in the park and some rock climbing for the little dude.
It’s been a mixed bag this Christmas, but I am truly thankful for the family I got to spend it with.