From parentshaped

Travel can involve a lot of time sitting, and the more I do travel, the more I want to make that time count too. Sometimes of course, it is great to just look out the window and be alone with your thoughts, especially I find on trains. But other times, I think it’s nice to have something to pass the time. Double win if it also helps you to unwind.

Over the summer we decided to retreat to a fairly out of it cottage in Wales, I decided it was time for some time offline and to try and remember exactly what my hobbies were too. I’m really proud that the time I spent in Wales really helped me reconnect with myself and that lots of those activities have really stuck for me, so I thought I would share them.


I dabbled in yoga each morning out on the grass overlooking the curious sheep and green hills. I watched the ants crawling to distract myself as I held a plank in the sun salutation. I’ve kept it up too, just a little each morning, often while I wait for the kettle to boil.  A few sun salutations and whatever poses I can remember from all the classes I have dabbled in. Yoga is the perfect antidote to travel aches and pains and the stiffness that comes with sitting still. Sometimes the kids join me, and Ive managed to teach them a few relaxation activities too, including this one of my Mum’s, to help them sleep anywhere.

In this picture they also found some natural clay and made little sculptures, nature crafts can be brilliant.


On a whim in Wales I picked up a knitting and crochet magazine, which came with some wool and needles/hook. I have so many half finished craft projects, but this time it felt a little different, it really helped me to feel mindful of my holiday time and to relax.

First I crocheted a mandala storage box – mandalas in themselves are quite therapeutic -and suddenly felt like my crochet skills took a leap forward. Then I used some of the wool to teach L to knit which took me right back to sitting on my Gran’s knee. I’ve always felt passionate that it’s important to treasure these skills, and pass them down. It made me happy to watch L move from me guiding her, to busily clattering off a scarf for a teddy. I’m going to look out more patterns for her as she is keen to try something more complicated now. Deramores have crochet and knitting patterns to order online, I wonder if L might like the penguins and Christmas baubles.

My latest crochet project, a rainbow blanket is really growing, it’s been on our last two trips too, to North Norfolk and to stay in the Ben 10 Rust Bucket too, so I feel like it’s almost stitching together the memories of those adventures too.


I love taking photos to remember wherever we go, and I’m never happier than when I have landscapes and places to photograph. I’ve always felt a little shy taking pictures of people, but I’m learning that I love buildings, trees, fields, forests, horizons, seas and the great outdoors. Sometimes I take my big camera, other times my phone will do, but the more I take photos, the more photo opportunities I see when we travel. This was snapped on my phone in Ashbourne, Derbyshire.


Simple pleasures are the best. I like to ask my friends on facebook  before I go on a trip for their book recommendations and make sure my Kindle is all fired up and ready to go. I also like to indulge in some magazines and newspapers, I like to read more about how our minds work, how to be happier, books that will inspire me to improve my life while I have some extra headspace. I find in flight magazines are brilliant for more travel writing ideas too. Mum gave me this mini book of the Moomins, little books like this are great to keep in a travel bag for the kids, who always forget to bring a bedtime story.


I try to write while things are fresh in my head, I think it is the best way with travel writing. So on planes, trains, in the car I am always tapping out notes on my phone or scribbling ideas in a notebook. It also means the writing up isn’t hanging over me when the post holiday blues set in.


Whenever I feel stressed and in need of a holiday I am reminded of the little things my grandmothers did which seemed to give them so much headspace. Crosswords and puzzles are good when you really need the brain to totally switch off. My Grandma did one daily and was unbelievably mentally agile into her 90s, so I always mean to take a leaf out of her book. I am sure the knitting helped her too.


Travel games are another way we get quality family time, magnetic ludo was a huge hit on our last trip, Yahtzee went down well on our Scottish road trip and we found a jigsaw in the cottage in Wales – long forgotten simple pleasures!