The school holidays are at an end and while I'm looking forward to the odd moment or two of peace and quiet, I'm not quite ready to return to the old routine of school runs and stricter bedtimes. The boys don't really believe in lie-ins so our days haven't started any later but they've most certainly been a lot lazier.
In moments of madness, I'm sometimes tempted to pack as much in to our time off as humanly possible, but for my two, it's the simple things that make them the most happy. Of course, we've had the odd big day out or two ... a trip to the capital to the Natural History Museum and a whirl on the London Eye was a massive highlight. However, ask them what they've enjoyed most about the past two weeks and they're equally as likely to tell you that the best thing was being able to play in the back garden until midnight (8pm).
Through our adult eyes, little things like later bedtimes and chocolate spread on toast for breakfast don't seem all that exciting, but when you're four and six, they are HUGE deals. And so it's been lovely to pack our two weeks with the simple things that our boys truly love ... playing in the park, new board games, second breakfasts, sweets in paper bags from the local paper shop, extra books at bedtime, missing bath night to play more swingball, wrapping up in layers to toast marshmallows in the embers after an cool evening's BBQ, and an extra half hour watching cartoons on the iPad at the weekends. Nothing extravagant, but mostly met with huge smiles - of course their was the occasional tantrum and sulk ... you can't win them all.
Collectively, I think our most memorable day was spent at one of our favourite National Trust properties, Bodnant Garden. It's somewhere we spend a lot of time as there is so much to see and do and an incredible amount of countryside to explore. The gardens are beautiful, which I love; there's a bug hunting challenge, which the boys love; and the tea and cake opportunities are plentiful, which we all love. It really is a gem of a place.
With a few grey clouds in the sky and the threat of showers in the air, it was the ideal day for putting our new coats from Belfast brand, Lighthouse, to the test. Much like the Welsh, the Irish know a lot about weather. It bonds us. It also means that they know a lot about the type of clothing you need to battle the various elements that are thrown at us coastal dwellers on a daily, if not hourly, basis. They've just launched their new Spring Summer 2017 collection and it's gorgeous ... packed with unique designs, thoughtful touches, and practical, durable waterproof features. They're the perfect coats to sport on outdoor adventures and for finding joy in life's simple things.
A huge thanks to Lighthouse for sending us these gorgeous raincoats and asking us to share the simple things that make us happy ... from our clothing choices, it would seem that bright colours are one of those things.