A day trip to Benllech

We’ve had a few lovely day trips during the school holidays there are so many lovely places to see and visit in the Cheshire and North Wales area near to us.  One of the nicest day visits we had was to Anglesey when we visited Benllech beach.  A little further than we might normally go for a day but well worth the drive.

We went to the pretty beach at Benllech, the coast around Anglesey is home to some stunning beaches and Benllech is certainly that, a sandy beach with rock pools access is easy, straight and safe onto the sand and while busy in the summer months it didn’t feel overcrowded when we visited at the height of the August holiday season.

There is a café and toilets accessible from the beach and a shop selling everything you might need for a beach day from buckets and spades to towels and parasols.  There is a lifeguard service at this beach which I sincerely hope never to need but it still gives me a little reassurance when by the sea to see them in the red and yellow recognisable colours.

The girls had the most amazing time building sandcastles and paddling in the sea other beach goers were swimming, body boarding and surfing and everyone looked to be having a great time.

benllech beach

Pregnant with baby number 3

We are now 23 weeks pregnant with baby number 3, we already have two girls aged 7 and 4 and this baby will join us in December 2014.  It’s been a mixed reaction to the news that we are having a third child from family and friends in some ways it is perhaps understandable that people have questioned our decision to have another baby our family is perfect as it is and yet it just didn’t feel to us as though it was quite finished.

The response to the news that we are expecting a third baby has certainly been more muted than when we announced our pregnancies with Ruth, number 1 and Rosie, number 2. It seems acceptable in todays society to have 1 or 2 children, that is a cause for celebration but when you go past the magical two people look at you as though they feel sorry for you.  The most common misconceptions raised in response to our pregnancy announcement seem to have centred around the idea that it must have been ‘an accident’ an unplanned pregnancy or that if it was indeed a planned bit of madness then we must be trying for a boy, having two girls already. Surely the perfect 2.4 family is Mum, Dad, two gorgeous kids, one who is a boy and one a girl.  The only acceptable reason for wanting a third is that we must want a boy… right?

Sorry but wrong… we’re having a planned third child because we want the joy and delight of raising another child, because we’ve loved every minute of the beautiful chaos that raising kids brings with it and that’s whether this baby is a boy or a girl.  We’re having another child because this baby is a wanted and loved individual who will add another dimension to our family.

At times I’ve wondered if we are mad having a third child, our life as a family is wonderful sometimes it feels as though it is greedy to want more, but we’re here now at 23 weeks just a week off official viability and we can’t wait to meet baby number 3, a very lucky little boy or girl with two wonderful big sisters.

Roll on December!

Some exciting news!

There’s been a gap in posting again, that’s for two major reasons, firstly the summer term was absolutely manic and two, we have some very exciting news to share… we are expecting a baby!  Baby L number 3 will make it’s arrival the first week of December.

baby number 3

What do you think? Blue or Pink?

 

A first sleepover!

Last weekend saw a major first as Ruth went for her first ever sleepover. A centenary celebration for the brownies saw 80 brownies from different packs around Chester head off to a play barn for a sleepover.

Although Ruth was keen to go she had never actually slept away from us before even when one of us has been away she has always been with the other parent so I was pleased that she was enthusiastic and keen to join in.

After a full day at school and a ballet lesson she was finally home and ready to pack on the Friday night of the sleepover, sleeping bag, roll mat, pillow, pyjamas, torch, wash bag, the list went on… she was well prepared.

After a quick goodbye to Dad and Rosie we set off, only a short drive to the playbarn and we were soon there.  Arriving the place was buzzing with excited brownies all looking much older and grown up than my little 7 year old stood wide eyed with her over large bundle for the one night stay.

We spotted a friend and joined them while we waited for the leaders to call some order to the chaos.  Ruth stuck to me like glue and I could see she was feeling a little anxious, I wondered whether she was going to let me go or if there would be tears in the same way there were at nursery when she was a baby.

And then it was time to leave, tempted to just take her back home with me I wished her an upbeat goodbye and left the building heart thumping she quickly went off with her friend and brownie leaders.

Back at home and it was a very long night, I slept with my mobile, the house phone and my car keys on the bedside table just in case of a call out but none came and in the morning I returned to collect a happy smiley little girl who had just finished an enormous bacon sandwich and had the most amazing time.  Driving home she seemed just a little bit more grown up somehow…

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Longbourn – Jo Baker

I’m a big fan of Pride and Prejudice so this novel by Jo Baker was on my must-read list, Jane Austen’s world famous love story, the world of the Bennett Family’s Longbourn but from a fresh, new perspective, that of the servants.

At the start of the novel we gain a taste of the harsh and real world the servants live in, Sarah is drained from starting work early in the morning and finishing late in the day, she has chilblains and aching limbs from physically demanding work serving the family.  We also meet the other servants Mr and Mrs Hill and the youngest girl servant Polly who is but a child.

The plot follows the story of the original and starts as Mr Bingley and Mr Darcy have arrived at Netherfield.  This is the cause of great joy for the family but extra work for those below stairs.  Newcomers in the form of Mr Bingley’s footman Ptolemy Bingley and James, the mysterious yet hardworking man servant who joins the Bennett family add some interest to Sarah’s existence as each one of them journeys to make peace with their past and find hope for the future.

The characters of the Bennett family remain fairly true to form as in Austen’s orginal work but for Mary who in Baker’s story has a hidden lonely depth, a girl who has dreams and yet none of the charms of her sisters that can help her win her man.  We also get an insight into the privilege of class and rank where even immorality can be dealt with and hidden by wealth contrasted against the harshness and suffering of the servant life, the abuse of power to protect reputation.

Although at times I found the story somewhat depressing the themes of Pride and Prejudice, marrying for love or marrying for money, security and stability remain, a woman’s lot in an unforgiving world is shown through the servant characters as it is in the families they serve.  Ultimately Baker’s story is a love story, the triangle of Sarah, Ptolemy and James is eventually resolved and as we understand the complexities of the servant characters they become perhaps even more colourful and interesting to the reader being all the more human and real each one a triumph over adversity and despite all the hardship each one capable of loving and being loved.