Welcome back to my A Few Favourite Things series. This week I have Catherine from Passports and Adventures showcasing her favourite things. Pop over to her Instagram feed for her fun-filled #wanderlustkids community.
A Few Favourite Things –Passports and Adventures
I am Catherine, and I blog as Passports and Adventures as I believe we are all battling through the adventure we call parenthood. I am mum to a 3 year old boy and black German shepherd dog, who we call crazy dog in our house, and wife to hubby, an IT consultant. We are originally from Ireland but have been living in the UK for over 13 years and are about to emigrate again, this time heading south to Portugal.
Family life revolves around our son at the weekends. On Saturday you can often find us having breakfast in our favourite café in Abergavenny, South Wales, before we head off to hunt some dragons in one of the many castles we have in Wales. We generally like to have a family day out on Saturday which leaves Sunday free for our Waterbabies lessons and chilling out with the hubby before the week begins again. I love swimming and am quite a good swimmer and one of my goals where my son is concerned is to have him swim as well as me. That’s where Waterbabies came in and where I will continue when we leave the UK.
I recently gave up work in preparation for our move, but up until then, I was working as a scientist in a company in Cardiff that does chemical testing across a range of disciplines and areas. I had been working full-time up until last summer but reduced my hours to spend more time with my son in the evenings which I loved. I absolutely loved my job and was very sad to give it up but unfortunately, the nature of my work was completely lab-based so wasn’t something I could do from home. Perhaps once our son starts school I can look for something in the field of science again but until then I am going to enjoy my time with him. Giving up work has also allowed me to spend more time on my blog.
Favourite room in your home
Currently, my favourite room in our house has to be the kitchen and our cwtch room off it (cwtch means cuddle or hug in Welsh). These are the heart of our home, where we often spend time together. I will generally be cooking a meal while my husband and son play in the cwtch room. If my husband is away with work, our son is often in the cwtch room playing with his toys or watching the TV. Since our son was a very small baby, it is the room where he and I spend most of our time together. It is a cosy little room off the kitchen and is always warm as it gets the sun all afternoon. We have French doors that lead out into the garden it both it and the kitchen and is just a great room to spend time in. I will sorely miss it when we go.
The kitchen is also the room we spend the most time in when friends and family are visiting, particularly my Dad who is a retired chef, although he usually takes it over when he comes to stay.
Our house is quite a modern house, less than 10 years old, and a lot of our furniture and decorating is modern. We tried to keep a minimalist look and feel to it, but the bigger the house the more stuff you gather and that soon went out the window. I am only just realising exactly how much stuff we’ve gathered in the four years since we moved in as I try to reduce our belongs in preparation for our move. A lot of our belongings are going into storage so I am trying to be realistic about whether we need each item or not. That said, as most of our belongings are modern and neutral I do think they will fit in most houses, regardless of the age or décor of the house.
Favourite thing you own
The one material item I treasure the most is my eternity ring from my husband which I received for Christmas 2014. It is the one item I would be absolutely devastated to lose. It is a De Beers diamond eternity ring and the reason it is so special is that my husband bought it for two reasons.
Firstly to celebrate our son’s birth almost a year prior to the Christmas I received it for. And also to commemorate my birthplace. I was born in Botswana on a De Beers diamond mine and for a long time said I’d love a De Beers diamond. So my husband thought combining the two reasons would be a good excuse to buy me the eternity ring and to say I was ecstatic would be an understatement.
I’d love to revisit Botswana when our son is older and I have no memories of it, we left when I was 2. My husband knew how much it would mean to me to have a De Beers diamond ring but I never expected it so soon. I will treasure it forever.
I always struggle with this question as I am not sure if I really have a favourite colour. To look at my wardrobe or the rooms in our house, you’d never be able to pinpoint one colour that stands out. If I had to choose one it would probably be blue. I do own more clothes with blue or shades of blue in them but no room in our house is blue. My car is a shade of blue but I didn’t pick it, my husband did. I do like red and have been told it suits me but I never purposely go out and buy red items of clothing.
My absolutely favourite season is autumn. It never used to be but a few years ago my husband and I visited Westonbirt Arboretum during autumn and seeing the amazing colours of the leaves on the various trees changed me forever. I was doing a photography course that year and did my final project for it based on the trees and leaves of Westonbirt. Each year since we make the hour and a half trip across the Severn to Westonbirt during autumn, with me keeping an eye on their Facebook page for the best weekend to visit.
Since our son came along, we have also visited each year with the sole purpose of photographing him with the leaves. It has become a mini project for me and will be something I’d like to return to the UK to from time to time to continue. I also purposely dress him in a brightly coloured coat as it makes the photos so much more interesting against the backdrop of coloured leaves.
We also had an autumnal family photo shoot last November and were blown away with the results. So autumn is definitely my favourite time of year and the changing colours of the leaves are something I will miss when we leave the UK.
Favourite about where you live
We currently live in South Wales on the edge of the Brecon Beacons and I love how quiet it is. Although we are in a relatively new-build estate close to the main A465 dual carriageway, it is very quiet. We have the common land no more than 50 yards from our house and quite often all you can hear are the baaing of sheep or the wild horses on the common.
The neighbours are great and everyone looks out for one another, without being in each other’s laps too. We are right on the edge of the countryside and yet no more than 15 minutes away you have supermarkets and most high street shops in reach.
Our son can play in the garden on his bike and we have no worries about him. If we weren’t moving for the sunshine and warm weather of Portugal it would definitely be my preferred place to bring up our son. However, the grey and wet weather we get most of the year round is what has made our decision for us.