February Half-Term and Sunshine!

Traditionally February half-term is probably my least favourite – it’s cold and the weather is usually pretty miserable and we struggle to get out and about as much as I’d have liked. Not so this year, this year we had something of a flirtation with spring, the sun shone and the rain stayed away for the most part and meant we could really get out and about.

Our half term started with a day out at Salford Quays – a bit of shopping, some lunch and a trip to the theatre made for a lovely day of quality time together. Sunday we had a full on Sunday roast with friends (does anyone else only have a roast when they’ve got visitors?!)

Family day out at Lowry Outlet - Salford

Having kept a beady eye on the weather forecast, I decided to make the most of Monday being the brightest day of the week and bundle everyone into the car for a trip to the coast. I’ve been feeling the need for some sea air for a while – the fresh breeze and wide open spaces really do something for me and I always find myself feeling much better for a day at the seaside. Of course being February we needed to wrap up in our warm coats and wellies, I packed flasks of hot chocolate and snacks and even remembered a blanket to snuggle up under! You can read more about our trip to Formby here but it really was a great start to our week.

Three children wearing bright coats and paddling in the sea at National Trust Formby
Drinking hot chocolate on the beach at Formby wearing a bright yellow hat and rainbow jumper

Once we got back from Formby, Chloe went to her best friend’s house for a sleepover so Dave and I decided to take Amy for a swim during Ben’s swimming lesson. Dave hasn’t actually seen Amy swim since our holiday in Tenerife last summer. I really want him to be able to take her to one of her Swim Academy lessons so he can really see her progress but her lessons don’t fit in with his work schedule. As it was, the pool at the local leisure centre was really too shallow for Amy to swim properly, she couldn’t help but put her legs down, however it did allow Dave to see just how much more confident she is and how happy she now is to be under the water. It was a really lovely hour of playing and messing about in the pool together!

Tuesday morning we packed up our flasks of hot chocolate once more and headed up to Heaton Park (which regular readers will know is a favourite of ours) to meet my friend Hannah and her girls. Hannah and I taught together in Leeds and have been friends for a long time. We’re pretty good at making time for dinner together every couple of months but the children hadn’t seen each other for so long that Hannah’s youngest girls had no idea who we were – of course that didn’t stop them and very quickly our gang of six were merrily laughing at the peacocks and climbing trees together!

Kids climbing trees in Heaton Park
Heaton Park in Feb half term

Usually in the school holidays I tend to book a day a week’s childcare to allow me chance to keep on top of my work (and for my own sanity if I’m honest) but this half term I decided that I probably didn’t need it – I didn’t have loads of work to do and the kids were going to Nana’s for a weekend anyway so I wanted to make the most of being able to spend time with them. As it was I ended up with a few tight deadlines all of a sudden and found myself wishing I had booked that day after all! Having had two full days of adventures, all three kids were more than happy to spend Wednesday morning watching TV and playing Xbox while I got some work done – which meant I felt a whole lot more able to relax in the afternoon. Ben even helped me to take some photos and I taught him to scan documents for me which saved me some time and earned him a few pennies!

Having got my work out of the way we headed round to see the Butlers for lunch – the girls had a lot of fun dressing up and putting on shows whilst the boys played on the Xbox leaving Mich & I free to have a good old catch up! We also made a lot of plans for adventures and camping trips through to September (but don’t tell Dave I’ve been filling our calendar up that far in advance!)

Dave was working away on Wednesday night so of course that was the night that we were struck with a bug – Chloe was sick from about half 9 through to half 1 in the morning, Amy followed suit shortly after breakfast though thankfully was only sick once. As it was, we hadn’t really made any plans for the day so nothing was missed and I was eternally grateful that Ben is now able to walk to the corner shop on his own for supplies as I had run out of washing liquid for the clothes. I was also hugely appreciative of the sunshine meaning I could get all that bedding out on the line!

Poorly child with sick bowl and blanket

Luckily, after a day at home and a good night’s sleep everyone was feeling much better by Friday morning – in fact Chloe informed me she felt “like a shooting star!” – her pale face suggested otherwise but at least I knew she was well enough to go to Nana’s as planned!

Dave and Ben went out for an early morning bike ride (just over 8 miles at 10mph average!) whilst the girls and I got everything ready for their weekend away. I dropped them off at Nana’s shortly after lunch and Dave made his way down to Oxford for a lads’ weekend leaving me free to enjoy some quality time with my best friend!

As I said at the beginning of the post, February half term is traditionally not my favourite, in fact at times it’s a week that I dread. I usually end up spending a fortune trying to keep everyone entertained and we struggle to get out and about. Not so this time, I spent about 1/3 of what I had budgeted for the week, we spent loads of time outdoors and everyone has gone back to school feeling happy and well rested but wishing the week had been a little longer. Long may the sunshine last!

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