I think we've had a good balance between busy and resting, out and about some days and other days just doing our own thing around the house. The weather has played a big part in that; I could say that it's been typical British summer weather but actually it hasn't; it's been more unsettled. It's been warm and wet, cold and wet, torrentially wet and sometimes beautifully sunny. It's been hard to predict from one hour to the next sometimes.
On our indoor days, small daughter wanted to learn how to use the sewing machine so we set it up one soggy afternoon. She took to it like a duck to water - and hasn't wanted to touch it since. Perhaps she just needed to prove to herself that she could sew straight lines down her fabric, and perhaps she'll choose to come back to it another day.
She also got to burn off a bit of energy at a new trampoline centre which has opened just down the road from us. She had fancied going for quite a while so when a friend asked if she wanted to go, she quite literally jumped at the chance! I have to say, it looked like it was great fun and I've never seen so many trampolines in one place!
Big daughter chose a couple of our outdoor outings. With not going away this summer we have had more days out that we might usually do. Sometimes we've gone to the beach or the park, and sometimes we've been on an organised visit, like the one to this place. Do you recognise the destination?
Perhaps this will help!
My husband and I went on the Coronation Street tour many years ago when it was part of the Granada Studios Tour but that shut down in 1999 which was a real shame. One of my Canadian cousins is a huge Coronation Street fan and he would have loved to visit the set when he was over here in 2010 but unfortunately the new tour wasn't up and running then. The set has been rebuilt in the new Media City at Salford Quays and it seems there are still discussions about the fate of the old Street.The new Coronation Street tour is currently only expected to be available until Christmas, but it would be another shame for them to shut it down completely. Like it or loathe it, the Coronation Street soap opera is part of our British culture and having been on our TV screens for over 50 years now, is something that has been shared and enjoyed by generations of families. We wanted to take our girls to see the Street whilst we still had the opportunity, and we were very glad that we did. The tour guide was excellent and was clearly a huge fan himself which always makes for an interesting experience, and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience - I can definitely recommend it!
One of big daughter's other successful suggestions was the Moonlight Flicks open air cinema showings of various films in locations in Cheshire. She went to see Mamma Mia with a friend and the pair of them got absolutely soaked but still stayed and sang along with the film, and then a couple of weeks later we all went to see Paddington, the film about the bear in the duffle coat who comes to London from Darkest Peru. Having grown up watching the stop motion series of Paddington stories, I wasn't sure whether I would like this film at all - for a start, Paddington himself looks very different - but it's lovely, and a lesson to us all in putting aside our prejudices about people (or bears) who look different to us. My very favourite bit is where Paddington and his creator, Michael Bond, acknowledge each other with a raised glass and a tipped hat - brings a tear to my eye every time!
On one of our days we went into Liverpool on the train - it's only 20 minutes by train from Newton-le-Willows, our nearest station, and there's no fuss about parking. We took the underground across Liverpool to the waterfront to the big new Museum and then worked our way back up through the shopping centre to the station again. In the summer, there are pianos to be found around the Liverpool One shopping centre for people to play; it's well out of my comfort zone to perform in public but I've made myself sit and play the last couple of years that this has been a part of the summer entertainment. It reminds me that however self-conscious we feel about doing something, often it's all in our head and our imagined fears hold us back far more than we know. Did anybody stop to look, or laugh, or point out that I'd gone wrong once or twice? No. They just carried on walking, and I carried on playing and I was very pleased with myself that I did. (And yes, I have pretty much lived in those cut-off jeans and trainers all summer!)
Other than that, it's been a summer of gentle relaxation. I can't tell you how lovely it has been to be able to get up later (and often not that much later) and not have to rush around, reminding small daughter that yes, it is a weekday and therefore we do have to get to school, or looking for things that need taking into school or college today and should have been put ready the day before but of course weren't. To be able to sit on the front step in the early morning sunshine and catch up with a few rounds of sock knitting. To smell the flowers and take time to realise what lovely people my girls are growing into. I've felt calm and it's been wonderful.