At the moment, it seems every time I turn on the news, I am shocked and saddened by the events unfolding in front of me. Only a few weeks ago, we were up in Manchester visiting family, and then the day after we returned home, the terrible attack on Manchester Arena took place. My husband’s cousin was there with his wife and daughter watching Ariana Grande, but thankfully, they were all safe. It certainly made us pause to reflect. And, then last night, in my old stomping ground close to work, saw another horrific assault on innocent lives in London Bridge and Borough Market.
I can’t put into words how I feel, particularly as this recent attack feels so close to home, on a street I walked on a daily basis. I held my children a little bit tighter yesterday… And, while I still don’t want to be cowed by these evil killers, it’s made me question yet again, whether the world we live in will ever be safe. My heart goes out to all those affected by these atrocities.
At first, I wasn’t sure if I should publish this post, talking about frivolities seemed a little insensitive. But then I realised that in these dark times, reflecting on happier moments is the way forward.
I may have mentioned in a previous post that I was looking forward to attending Traverse 17 – a travel blogging conference held in London’s Greenwich. Not only did I get inspired by the brilliantly talented bloggers and influencers sharing their knowledge, but it was so much fun catching up with a whole host of UK family travel bloggers. We drank, ate, drank some more – it was a merry time, culminating in a scenic river cruise down the Thames.
At the beginning of the month, we also had a double celebration. It was our eight year wedding anniversary, and a week later, my birthday. So we had two fantastic day trips to mark both occasions. The first was to RHS Wisley – amazingly, even though it’s only 20 minutes away by car, this was the first time we had ever explored the stunning horticultural delights of this world-class garden. After a spot of lunch we walked through the different landscapes, marvelling at the different plants, flowers and trees. But before we knew it, we had to leave to pick Monkey up from school. A return visit is definitely on the cards.
My birthday saw another trip to our favourite spot by the sea – Whitstable. Hubby treated me to a wonderful lunch at The Whitstable Oyster Company – I had bubbles and fish and chips, and walked along the beachfront enjoying the sunshine. My idea of heaven.
One thing that’s been playing on my mind is the need for me to get fit once again and lose some baby weight. When a friend suggested we do a strenuous walk across Box Hill, I was particularly keen to see the Stepping Stones across the River Mole. The walk takes in some glorious views of the Surrey Hills and passes by one of Box Hill’s oldest buildings, the Fort. Going downhill is pretty easy but, of course, what goes down must come up, and the steps leading back were pretty hardcore. I won’t lie, my body was aching for some days after! But at least I’ve begun on the road to exercise once again, although I’ve since had a setback after eating and drinking far too much on our half term break in Sardinia.
We’ve never been to this Italian island before, and for once, I refrained from researching too much choosing instead to go and discover it for myself. We went with good friends, and stayed in the beautiful resort of Valle dell’Erica, part of the Delphina brand of hotels. It’s rare that I yearn to stay for a few extra days, but we weren’t quite ready to pack up and leave.
That said, home we went, and even though we had a tiring journey back to the UK and I’m still working my way through tons of washing, it was worth it for the sheer enjoyment we got from being able to spend quality family time together.
So, in the midst of the heartbreak that is currently gripping our nation, we must remember to not give into fear, to remind ourselves of what we hold dear – family, friends, kindness and hope. I’ll leave you with this quote…