Last night of the holidays

It’s the last night of the Easter holidays, and it’s been a really lovely couple of weeks here in our little corner of the world. Weather wise it couldn’t have been more mixed, with whipping winds, days of glorious sunshine broken up by a string of unexpected April snow showers – a December-worthy blizzard swirling down outside as I type – , and in the middle – just when we needed it most – some wonderful warm and springy weather.

Right in the middle of the holidays fell Easter itself and for us it was an extra special weekend as our littlest girl turned 1 on Good Friday. We had a wonderful few days of celebrating her with visits from family over a few days for such memorable gentle but joyful garden visits that were so special. Born a week into full lockdown last year, we celebrated her 1st birthday on the very day that lockdown began easing this time around with the “Stay at home” advice being lifted in her honour! Next year hopefully a more normal world with family all able to gather together, but we were so very blessed to spend time with everyone individually and even more so to have some gorgeous sunshine to do it in.

We’ve really made the most of a lovely couple of weeks’ break. Our first “school year” is just about to enter its last term, with our biggest little having been at playgroup nearly a year now, the loveliest start to learning and playing for her before she heads to school nursery in August. After a delayed start to last term and a whirlwind of settling back into normality over a few weeks, she seemed to really enjoy the holidays, and we’ve filled them mostly with park trips, mornings at the farm with the pony and catching up with family and friends where we can, and have really enjoyed the change of pace and the quality time.

As we get ready to return to our normal routine again from tomorrow, after a wee family film night tonight and an evening pottering around packing gym shoes and spare clothes, it’s lovely to be settling back to many of the things that bring us our anchoring stability day-to-day – and that seems to be happening all around us as at long last our world begins to open up again. This morning as I drove up to the farm for Charmer’s morning visit, I passed a small group of people just coming out of the little church at the bottom of the track looking so happy to be back to a first service after a year of disruption; and when I got to the top of the hill some of the girls and ponies were loading up for a Pony Club day, horse lorries, fleeces, travel boots and the chatter of pre-show excitement filling the yard again. It’s wonderful to see people getting back to the things that are important to them after so long, and I’m really looking forward to the start of summer term, time with both girls, continuing to settle in again at work, the easing of lockdown and all the time with family and friends that will bring, and the sunshine slowly but surely edging ahead of the winter showers in their springtime wrestle!

Hope you are all well, and have a great start to the week xxx

Brighter days

It’s so long since I’ve written and life has moved on so much for us in some ways. The long-awaited return to playgroup for our oldest finally arrived after a two-month Christmas break and she is all settled back to long happy days of playing and learning with her friends and thriving on all the interactions and the re-instated routine. My maternity leave came to an end after a year fully at home, and I’m in the midst of navigating my first few weeks back at work, a mix of returning to some things with a welcome familiarity and of learning the ropes all over again with lots of completely new dimensions too. Our littlest one is approaching her 1st birthday and seeming so very grown up all of a sudden, and has been enjoying a bit of time geared more around her while her sister is off at playgroup, finding her feet in lots of ways. And as for the pony, turning 25 in a few weeks, his winter coat is coming out in handfuls and he is happily seeking out spring grass as he makes it clear he’s 100% ready for the season ahead.

But, in other ways, it feels as though life has stayed still the last few weeks and months, as we have reached 3 months since we last went into lockdown with no change, the weight of restrictions on time with family and friends and all our normal day to day activities still on us. I’ve found these last few weeks some of the hardest, and have been so looking forward to the turn of the tide. This week it feels that it finally is upon us, with the some of the springiest days we could have wished for – glorious sunshine from morning until night – and an announcement from Nicola Sturgeon on the easing up of lockdown over the next few weeks, with some very positive changes ahead and one already in place that lets us enjoy walks and garden visits with some family again after such a long wait since Christmas time.

Doing my mucking out at the farm last night, I stepped out the back and had to stop and just enjoy the sound of the birds singing and the sight of the bats swooping overhead against a sky that was just losing its light at 7pm. This has been a very long winter while we’ve waited and waited to feel a change in the air; but now at long last we can – and I am so, so looking forward to the summer ahead.

Really hope you are all doing well, having a good week and enjoying some of the first signs of spring. X

May Days 🌸

Life is moving at a very swift pace as we’ve somehow made our way through April and arrived into May. Our youngest daughter has just turned 5 weeks old, and so for us these weeks have been centred around settling into life as a family of four. The first couple were undoubtedly a blur, sleep very elusive and everything a new and different whirlwind, but the last few weeks everything has hit a very steady rhythm and we’ve had time and space to settle to all our new roles and to getting to know our little girl.

Lockdown continues to be in place here and defines our days at the moment – its biggest impact on us at the moment being separation from our closest family and friends, which I really am feeling now, especially knowing how desperate they are to meet our newest addition. Very conscious however how very blessed we are just to have the health of our loved ones in this uncertain time, and how important it is to follow all advice to weather this pandemic. In the meantime trying to focus on positives, the chance to have so much focused time as our little unit here being a big one. We leave the house once a day for our walk, all together wherever we can, which serves as our exercise and fresh air and also leads us into a much-needed nap time for the oldest little one too! Other than that we’re focused at home, inside and in the garden where it’s been wonderful to have such amazing weather.

Life has returned in some ways to “normal” this week with my husband back to work after paternity leave – but as that is just at the kitchen table it’s a much gentler transition than it would have been otherwise! Finding my feet creating the day’s routines for two little ones and juggling what they both need, and been so enjoying the time with them and entering into this new chapter. Online story and rhyme sessions and at-home versions of yoga and music classes have made their return, tents and makeshift “parks” have been popping up in the garden, and we’ve had FaceTimes with my oldest’s little friends – it’s all different and unusual but we are finding our way with it all and enjoying the challenge – and the wonderful benefits too, like being able to shout my husband through yesterday to witness our baby’s first wide-mouthed smiles!

I’m so grateful to still be able to be getting along to check on the pony too, and very happy to see him looking healthy and thriving on the transition into summer. My photos in my last post of a fluffy bear of a pony in glinting winter sun seem so far away already as I arrive on May mornings at the farm with the sun already high in the sky at 7am, the smell of citronella spray in the air as I greet my short-coated fly-rug-clad boy.

These are undoubtedly very strange days and it can be an unsettling time for us all, but keeping focused here on how lucky we are to be well, have each other and have the technology to keep so well connected with family and friends while we look forward to getting together again. Hope everyone reading is safe and well, coping alright and enjoying the beautiful weather as May settles in. Take care all. Xx

Our new addition to the family ❤️

Just a little update from our corner of the world, where, despite life for most of us generally being suspended in time at the moment, with lockdown continuing on and every day exactly as the one before; our worlds were changed forever earlier this month with the arrival of our new baby daughter.

She is now nearly two weeks old, and it is by turns still taking us by surprise that she is here with us at last and also becoming hard to believe that she hasn’t been for much longer. Over the past couple of weeks, since she arrived safely into the world – (with the truly wonderful and unwavering help of the most incredible midwives and staff at our local hospital, despite the unprecedented times they find themselves in, for which we are just eternally grateful) – we have enjoyed our time at home as a new family of four. It is very strange not to have our family and friends around as they would be so excited to be able to be, but although we so look forward to joining with our wider family and introducing them to our little girl when we can; it has been lovely settling into a little unit here.

So very grateful for a safe arrival and for the opportunity to find our way towards some rhythms; embracing the quiet stillness of nights up with a newborn and the sleepy days that follow them, and watching our family come together – with first meals and walks as a four, first ventures for the littlest one into the spring sunshine in the garden, and our two daughters beginning to get to know each other and showing already what wonderful friends they will be; – all finding our feet together.

Just a little hello from us all and hope this continues to find you all safe and well. Xx

Saturday Rambles ❤️

Started our weekend off with a lovely wander in some local woods, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine, gathering sticks and twigs and admiring the nature surrounding us.

A beautiful and sunny “leap day”, this morning felt more like March than February and gave a lovely taste of times to come. Just love these days on the tipping point between winter and spring when the first buds appear and the warmth of the sun breaks through even just in small doses ☀️💛

Our little one couldn’t have enjoyed the exploring more, wellies on, branches trailing along behind her and wrapped up in her woolly hat and gloves.

It’s lovely to be able to spend Saturdays like this – I’m so enjoying settling into maternity leave and really loving the opportunity for slower paced weekends and family time all together.

This afternoon too I had a lovely chance for a bit of time with my biggest boy, who is doing very well at the moment and at his most recent vet check on Thursday they were really pleased with the progress of his mouth healing up. Still unsure of whether his second operation will be needed but everything going in the right direction and really pleased with how he seems.

By the time I got along to the farm, the weather was back to more January-esque, as it has mostly tended to be recently; and it was in between sleety showers and with a thick coat zipped up to my chin and the lead rope in my hand pushed deep into my pocket that I wandered Charmer round to the field. Took the long way round, enjoying a bit of time with him and stopping off at the snowdrop- lined grass to let him have a munch on the way.

It’s definitely been a mixed day, and the heating is on now as we settle in back home for the night, but it has been a lovely day for bursts of the outdoors in the tug-of-war between the early spring sunshine and the winter chill.

Have a lovely night all. X

Early February days at the farm 💙

The last few days at the farm with my fluffy boy have held all of February’s long-awaited first glimpses of the season ahead.

As we disentangle from the darkness of January and move into the new month, it is lovely to see so many small changes in the days. The lightening of the afternoons, so gradual until now, seems so much clearer all of a sudden – field walks as late as 5pm in the last of the daylight at last. The wet and wintry days are interspersed with at least the odd slightly drier one, bright sunshine making a welcome change and a feel of energy in the barn as I start to organise and tidy up a few bits and pieces around the stable.

Charmer himself is clearly feeling it too, with the beginnings of his winter coat coming out right on cue as I took his rug off on the second morning of February.

I’m sure he’ll end up hanging on to most of it for a couple of months to come, and just as sure we’ll have some weather curveballs before the winter is through; but lovely nonetheless to see the start of the turn of the tide!

Charmer is doing well, enjoying his field at the moment and keen to come in just for his dinners and a bit of fuss most days, lining his wee feet up right back at the door as soon as his bucket’s empty, ready to go back out and re-join his friends!

On others of course though, in the driving wind and rain, he’s definitely keen for a much-appreciated longer stable stint.

We’re just a few days away now from his stay at the vets’ to have his tooth extracted. Still very nervous about the the whole thing and trying not to think about it too much ahead of time, although this weekend we are letting him have a little practice load in the trailer with my friend at the yard who is kindly going to drive him up next week, so will be lovely to have a chance to settle him a little to the travelling side of things at least!

We are still very much in winter yet, and any evening visits are wrapped-up ones, standing in the darkness of the field shoulder-to-shoulder with my boy, enjoying the chance to see his view on the world.

It’s really lovely though to have had the chance in the ever-lengthening days to get out for some bright, dry leg-stretches and look forward to spring not too far ahead. 💚

Have a lovely week all. X

April into May 🌼🌸

It’s been another month that’s passed in a flash here, but a good one – the weather is on the turn and days have been spent more outside than in which has been lovely after a long winter.

The little one in particular has been loving exploring the garden, parks, woods and all the flowers and animals we can find – especially enjoying all the ladybirds in the garden this year!

Had a family jaunt at Easter time to a favourite place not too far away, the Five Sisters Zoo in West Calder, an absolutely lovely place for a day out. Closer to a rescue centre than a Zoo in feel, it is full of animals including ex-circus lions and bears with amazing and sometimes very sad stories who it is just so lovely to see enjoying a second chance at life and finding their feet in their new surroundings. We all very much enjoyed our outdoor day in the sunshine and the chance to see all the animals enjoying it too. ♥️

Charmer my lovely old boy has celebrated his 23rd birthday and is enjoying life at the moment now being out at night again and spending most of his time just chilling in his field, his favourite way to live!

The rat boys are doing not too badly too though very definitely in their old man stage now. Both are enjoying their evenings out on the settee with us and their arranging and playing in their cage. Jasper particularly is showing a fair amount of signs of slowing down and needing a little extra care and boost to his weight but seems happy cuddling with Jet in his bed and still getting around alright which is lovely to see.

Into May now, a showery and bright April come and gone and really enjoying the blossom season being back upon us!

Happy Sunday all, hope you are all having a good weekend. X

Pony diaries – edging into our summer routine ☀️

Thursday night was a big one in my fluffy boy’s calendar and one I look forward to every year – never quite knowing when it’s coming! He spent the night out in his field rather than in his stable, after a long winter of coming in every night – and thoroughly enjoyed it too, both him and his fieldmate having to be coaxed in last night at nine o’clock in the last of the daylight, obviously having adapted very quickly to being outdoor horses once more!

I always like to take the lead from Charmer on when it’s time to make the shift, and the night before when I had brought him in I knew he was ready when he finished his dinner and lined back up at his stable door again, no interest in the cosy straw or pile of hay that he’s been so appreciative of all winter – just keen to get back to the field, where he loves the freedom so much.

Will keep him in every second night at least at the moment while we transition to a summertime routine, so he was in again last night, and got him out for a stretch of his legs this morning before the day began on a beautiful sunny Saturday.

There’s something so energising about this time of year, a curtain of blossom hanging on the trees and daffodils lining the roadside, still the smell of haylage in the air as we pass the horses’ fields – a tug of war between winter and summer going on as we meander along. ♥️

Back out again today to stay overnight again, and grazing happily. Looking forward to the new season ahead!

Have a lovely weekend all. X