It feels like I've blinked and the holidays have nearly finished.. I actually changed my mind about a day's childcare later in the week this week so that I could see the girls and do some special things before school and routine starts off all over again. Because of work commitments and general busy-ness this year we haven't ventured very far over the past few weeks, really. Just a few day trips here and there and pottering about in our local area. I've also not let myself feel guilty for some lazy days hanging out at home either, and letting Vivienne read, do something crafty or just watch a film (or three.. as it turned out one day last week..)
Vivienne loves to get out and about on her bike or scooter, and we often walk down into Yarm for ice cream, lunch, or to visit the library. We're also lucky enough to have Preston Park about 5 minutes drive away which we love - the play area is huge, there's a Victorian street musem, a walled vegetable and flower garden, mini golf, a skate park type thing and Butterfly World.. and it's cheap as chips too. This year they've installed a beach at one end of the Victorian Street which Viv and Sylvie loved (until Sylvie started eating fistfuls of sand).
My Dad has lent us the family tandem bike (my side are pretty enthusiastic about cycling and there were always a few bikes to pick from lying around in the garage) and has adjusted it for me and Vivienne. She absolutely loves it and when we go out on it often says 'this is the best day of my life' - she's pretty strong on it and we did about 43km in total in different outings last week. It's lovely to have something to do which is just me and her, so we can chat and spend some time without Sylvie interrupting or needing attention - it's nice to be able to give Viv some one-on-one too. Saying that, I'd *love* to get a baby seat for Sylvie on it too - thought I don't know whether my legs are strong enough to cycle both kids around.. Our gym has started doing some parent and kids classes too - like HIIT but not as intense, and we often go swimming at the gym and occasionally book a court for Viv to practise her tennis.
With a week or so left, Vivienne wants to invite a friend or cousin round and camp in the back garden in the next few weeks. We're also hoping to get to York and Whitby just us three girls, and Vivienne has asked to go kayaking at Tees Barrage after we sat on the bank and watching a class. Tomorrow is a rainy day so I think we're going swimming (always the easiest option when the weather is crappy..), pottery painting and to MIMA art gallery to see what's on. Below is a little list of things we do when I have a day with the girls or as a family.
OUR FAVOURITE THINGS TO DO IN TEESSIDE WITH THE KIDS
- Preston Park - the museum, the grounds, the park and Butterfly World.
- Stewart Park - huge and once a month there is a pretty big farmer's market.
- Tees Barrage. Doesn't seem like the most exciting place in the world but Viv loves watching the various water sports and seal spotting there.
- Saltburn. Always one of our favourite places. They also do a fab farmers' market and once a year they do a huge food festival which we *love*.
- A day trip to York, Tynemouth or Whitby - anywhere it's possible to get the train is a bonus too.
- Cycling from our home. We are lucky to live a few miles from a few different quiet villages and we've loved cycling between them all. I'm hoping to take Vivienne a little further each time and maybe visit parents and grandparents on the tandem.
- Getting out walking up in the hills. We love Carlton Bank, Roseberry Topping, Captain Cook's monument and near Sheeps Wash.
- Jump 360, Clip'n'Climb and AirTrail.
- Prissick Base Cycle Track
- MIMA art gallery - often has activities and open days for kids in the holidays
- Guisborough Wood Walk
- Sundaes Ice Cream Shop in Yarm. Not strictly an activity but *so good*.
- The libraries offer so many activities in the holidays for kids, Viv is in the middle of a reading challenge and there are different themed days during the week.
- Hardwick Park - also have themed days for little ones.
And obviously sometimes *nothing* is the best thing to do. I'm definitely declaring one day a duvet day before the holidays are out so we can watch back-to-back films and eat junk food.. if you can't do it in the holidays when can you?!
Where are your favourite places around here? I still have a week or so to fill before the dreaded school routine starts all over again and I'd love some new haunts to add to the list :)