At the moment, when every other blogger and magazine writer seems to be trotting off to all the festivals and jetting off to different countries, or packing up their posh bell tents and vintage camper vans, we are in the midst of probably the skintest period in our entire lives. Copywriting has peaks and troughs, and while I've got enough to keep us ticking over, we're certainly not going to be buying organic handwash or heading out for dinner any time soon (it was the Husband's birthday yesterday - we spent the afternoon in the garden, then had a takeaway pizza and a banoffee pie from Waitrose with a candle stuck in it....).
Still, they say that comparison is the thief of joy, so to be honest, I'm steering clear of blogs and websites at the moment; the last thing I want to do is get caught up in that downward spiral of self pity that's so easy to get sucked into. We might not have much (any!) money, but we have our health, and a home and each other, so we've still been making the most of the beautiful weather with plenty of day trips out to parks, gardens and beaches; watching the kiddos is the best possible therapy, as they're at their happiest with a wide open space, some nature to explore and a scooter to whizz about on. Daisy is utterly fearless; she embraces every experience with open arms and an open heart, diving into water, rolling through long grass and enthusing over everything, while Ben is more cautious and likes to examine creatures carefully, get lost in his own thoughts and read his beloved Lego comics. They both remind me of what's important in life, and I think the times when you feel like you have nothing are the times when you realise you've got the most.
We pack pretty much the same things for days out, regardless of where we're going; the usual suncream-anorak-hat-wellies combination (because this is England, after all!), and then some other bits and pieces which we almost always use.
- Being super skint means that we haven't been able to go out for good coffee for ages, so we've started taking our own out with us in a flask (ours is not nearly as wonderful as the vintage one above, but it's a good representation, don't you think?), and then drinking from sturdy beakers or enamel mugs - if we're heading out for the day, we take a cool bag and our picnic basket with us to hold the food (because there's nothing worse than warm, squashed sandwiches!).
- With Daisy being in nappies, we still have to take some spares, wipes and whatnot with us, so the Husband usually carries all this (plus some toys and books) in a backpack; he used to have a Kanken, but the zip broke after about a year, so we've replaced it with a Mi Pac - they come in a huge range of prints and colours, and have all sorts of nifty elements, like the waterproof headphone socket and padded laptop section. (This sounds like a sponsored post, but it isn't - we're just really pleased with our bag!)
- We always take at least a couple of towels with us, and the obvious blanket - although the clouds might be out when you leave, the sun can appear at any time, turning it from a huddling-on-the-shore day to a throwing-yourself-into-the-sea-with-abandon day, and you want somewhere comfy to dry off.
- We don't usually take many toys with us, just a ball or scooters, because Daisy and Ben prefer to just run about and explore, but I always take a magazine or two, just in case there's a chance I get five minutes to myself; I'm currently in love with Cereal and Another Escape, which combine stunning photography with beautifully written articles. I've been reading Cereal for a little while, but only just tried out Another Escape - they're both really interesting, and I find myself coming away feeling like I've learned something magnificent and unusual.
- Apart from that, we take drinks and snacks (Fentimans for a treat, fruit juice otherwise!) and my huge straw bag to carry any extras and found treasures in. Oh, and of course there's my camera - I take that on every trip we go on, even if it's just the local park!