Two Weeks

Steve has had the last two weeks off work - I was simultaneously looking forward to some quality family time and some quality non-family time, and that's (largely) what I got. We had plans to visit my family down south thanks to Steve's parents lending us their (fifteen year old) car and other plans to visit places we can't easily get to by bus.

So here's the super-condensed diary version of the last two weeks, accompanied by each of the pictures I chose for my (private) photo-a-day project:

Amazing toddler raincoat

The plan was a family trip into town to get Matilda new shoes and to have a cafe lunch. The only part of the plan she was on board with was the food, which took place at 11:30 after our visit to Clarks was aborted. We blamed teething. We blame most things on teething; I'm not sure what we're going to do when those last two molars (finally!) pop through and we lose our explanation. Shoes were bought in secret while Matilda was being fastened into her car seat; luckily, she loves them (they're shiny! they've got butterflies on them! they flash when she walks!).


Emma and I spent the morning eating cake and pottering around the garden centre (for once, it wasn't because I was exploiting her car ownership; it was all her own suggestion). We went full on blogger, filling her car with an array of plants which included a hydrangea (for her) and some tiny little succulents (for me).

Steve, Matilda and I spent the late afternoon playing in the garden with the toddlers from downstairs, planting my new acquisitions plus some healthy stuff of Steve's choosing, and discovering that the overgrown pot we have been failing to empty since buying the flat (four years ago) contained a thriving ant farm.

Hanging from a fence

Matilda and I headed to our semi-regular Monday morning play date with friends on the other side of town. Matilda and her pal are at a stage where they need only minimal snatching-related supervision; most of the time, my grown up pal and I are able to have cups of tea, chat about her baby, my bump and life with toddlers, and sometimes even sneak cakes or biscuits without the children noticing.

Late afternoon, Steve and Matilda headed into the garden while I lay on the bed, scrolling social media had a nap.

Toddler feet running in grass

A visit from Steve's parents: lunch around the dining table; bubbles in the garden; birthday cake for his mum.


The three-and-a-bump of us piled into the car and set off to visit my family in The Scottish Borders. It was the furthest we had ever travelled with Matilda (yes, yes, she's passed her second birthday without ever visiting her grandparents' house) so we were a bit nervous but it all went smoothly - snacks were consumed; every windmill was pointed at; comedy versions of Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes were sung.

We stopped en route at the Scottish Deer Centre (near Cupar) which Matilda loved. We got to feed lots of deer, watch bears eating their lunch and attempt to engage wolves in conversation ("Ah-woooooo!"). And there were otters. And sandwiches.

"Doe or Die" Gate

Our first day in The Borders. The three of us, my mum, my sister and her two kids all met up at Harestanes Countryside Visitor Centre which is a great place to take energetic children, regardless of the weather (indoor games; large playground; woodland walks). Matilda was in her element. This was followed by lunch at the gloriously wild Woodside Garden Centre, a couple of miles down the road.

In the afternoon, my sister and her eldest child were taking part in a pony and bike ride (some people on one, some on the other) through the town, so the rest of us went to watch and cheer them on. After some initial bafflement, Matilda was hugely excited about all the ponies.

Toy ponies

So excited about all the ponies, in fact, that we spent much of Friday reenacting the ride with toys (good thing my mum has a garage full of grandchild-friendly plastic).

In the morning, we went to my sister's house. It was so lovely to see Matilda playing with her big cousins (eh... not that I saw much of it, given that my mum, sister and I sat in the living room talking about babies while Steve was stuck upstairs, stopping small children from throwing themselves off the bunk beds).

In the afternoon, my mum and her husband took Matilda to the park while Steve and I had some time to ourselves (read: sat in a supermarket cafe having Depressing Adult Conversations About Money And Suchlike before wandering around, trying to spend £40 on things we actually needed so we could use a £6 off discount voucher. "Things we actually needed" included a toddler cardigan and a Bing sticker book, of course).

"Cuppa" cup of tea

As is traditional whenever we visit, my brother-in-law cooked a massive breakfast for the extended family. This was followed by a couple of hours of tea, chat and card games/Duplo/being sat on by cats. Perfect.

It was raining in the afternoon. Steve and I went to visit a new craft beer shop just because it was there and it gave us an excuse to vanish for an hour or so. Afterwards, I had a verrrrrrrrrrry long nap whilst Steve, Matilda, my mum and her husband played... whatever it was they played... Jigsaws, mostly, I think.

Rainy Forth Road Bridge

A nail-biting journey home in pouring rain. We were about ten minutes into our drive when the "check engine" light appeared on the car dashboard; black smoke was belching out of the car every time we tried to accelerate and we were having a hard time getting above 50mph. In perhaps not our best decision ever, we decided to press on, though we ditched our initial plan of making two stops (one around Edinburgh, one around Montrose) and focused instead on making it to Dundee (because Dundee is close enough to home that we could probably call a friend to pick us up, if worst came to worst!). It was a bit too long a drive for Matilda who managed to wriggle free of her car seat just outside Perth (argh!!!!!!!) but we made it, ate some barely adequate food in a supermarket cafe, bought some apples and hit the road again. And made it home. In twice the time it should have taken. Vowing never to get in that car again.

Wooden rabbit toy on a chair

Steve's parents collected their ailing car first thing. The day continued on in the errands-and-chores vein for me; meanwhile, Steve took Matilda to the bouncy castle which is spending its summer holidays on top of the St Nicholas Centre, much to her delight.

Play Dough

It was a dreich, drizzly day so we holed up at home. There was play dough, crafting, bread making (them) and napping (me). Lovely.

Rain on the window

Steve's parents returned the (allegedly) repaired car; they, Steve and Matilda spent most of the day at Aberdeen Science Centre. I was feeling shattered so I mooched about at home, enjoying some time on my own - I'm aware of how much of this diary is "spent some time alone!!!!!!" but I'm sure most people who stay at home with a toddler all day understand the sheer joy that is drinking a cup of tea and reading a book uninterrupted during daylight hours.

Matilda with a daisy

I had an antenatal physiotherapy class this morning; meanwhile, Steve took Matilda to her rescheduled dentist appointment (wearing her shades turned out to be a great idea as they blocked out the bright light shining in her face). Afterwards, we met up at the park where she played with a couple of older girls until the rain came on.

Red flowers at Duthie Park

We headed to Duthie Park to meet up with some (grown up) friends; we were treating one of them to birthday cake in the newly refurbished cafe. Matilda had a great time exploiting their child-free energy in the playground and then we spent about an hour wandering back and forth between the fish and the frog and the terrapins in the Winter Gardens.


We headed along to Mud Pies at Hazlehead Woods. I've been wanting to take Matilda to Mud Pies for aaaaaaaaaaaaages but it's not practical by bus, so I was thrilled when I realised we could get along to one of the summer one off sessions while we had the car. And sure enough: we all loved it. We gathered sticks, lit a campfire (or, rather: watched one being lit), ate freshly popped corn, toasted marshmallows, squelched in mud, threw pine cones in a pond and ran around the trees. Matilda, the Child Who Doesn't Nap, slept all afternoon (and woke up with a brand new tooth - hurrah! Only one more to go!).

Deep pink hydrangea

All the mums who knew each other in the newborn days got together with our toddlers. Three hours of fun were had during which the kids played alongside each other, nobody threw a screaming fit and the parents managed several cups of tea. Perfect.

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