The National Trust to me when I was in my teens and twenties, was just for old people. It conjured up images of boring old buildings with lots of grey haired walkers wondering about in mud clad boots. Fast forward to now and actually that last image isn’t far wrong (!!), but there is a whole lot more to the National Trust than just the older generation. It’s effectively a conservation organisation, founded in 1895 it protects country houses, gardens, grounds, coastlines and historic landscapes. It’s a lifesaver when it comes to saving our beautiful countryside, but I’ve also learnt that it’s a fantastic lifesaver for parents too. I bought myself membership last year and it’s one of the best things I’ve spent money on since having a baby. Membership gives me access to some great places, wide open spaces (unintentional rhyme), a bit of history, houses to nose around and of course, great coffee and cake too. Now that the kid is two, I can sometimes (sometimes) coerce her into a bit of walking, so NT places are great for exploring, climbing and just being outside in the fresh air. I’m a big believer (not beliber) of getting both me and her outside as much as possible, it keeps me sane and it wears her out, win win. Here are some of the awesome places that I’ve ventured to so far.
No amount of information or advice from friends or family really, truly prepared me for having a baby. I read every book going, did NCT and even did the free NHS classes too. I was a complete swot and asked lots of questions and wrote a whole heap of notes. All in preparation for becoming a ‘parent‘ (dun, dun, duuueeerrr!) I was ready, like a runner lining up in the starting blocks, or so I thought. But when my baby arrived, everything I’d learnt or read went out of the window. Funnily enough never at one point did I refer back to my trusty ‘notes’. The last thing you think about doing during a 3am feed followed by a ‘poo-splosion’, is consulting your pages and pages of handwriting. You genuinely have to wing a lot of it. There were some very confusing moments when my baby was new (often involving poo or sick) but I got through those dark times and hey presto, I came out the other side having learnt a new skill, wahoo! (to any potential or new parents, you will at one point be stood covered head to toe in sick, holding a baby also covered in sick and you literally won’t know where to start) Here are a few truths for you, a few things that I’ve discovered along the way.
Coffee, it’s wonderful stuff isn’t it. Dark, rich, velvety, milk-foamy, chocolate topped loveliness. Making and drinking it has become part of my daily, morning routine. It signals the start of my day and often gives me a much needed kick-start, especially if the kid has been up wailing in the night. A favourite past time of mine used to be sitting in coffee shops, watching the world go by *sigh* but those days are long gone. Nowadays, going out for a relaxed cup just doesn’t have quite the same appeal as it used to. A trip to a nice coffee shop now is actually a mission in itself, requiring tactical planning in advance. Something that was once so easy, can now be a tad stressful. After a recent visit to one establishment, I left with some serious top lip sweat, red faced and apologising to people as I went after the kid launched a muffin at someone, forced people to wave at her by shouting ‘alloo’ at them in her best Danny Dyer voice, she shrieked a lot as I attempted to remove my cake from her hands (her anger resulted in the muffin throwing) and she finished off by doing the crocodile death roll when I attempted to get her back into the buggy. I’m fairly certain I saw the entire shop heave a collective sigh of relief as I exited.