My last post that was truly a backpacking post was back in January 2013 which was about Kuala Lumour and Koh Tao, the last stops on an 80 day trip through a few spots in Asia. An entire lifetime ago…

It’s great to be writing a blog entry about this upcoming trip. Decisions have been made. Details have not been finalised. But its a start. 

I haven’t felt butterflies for ages. I didn’t have butterflies on our wedding day or when I realised I was about the give birth. But NOW I have butterflies πŸ™‚ Strange!

But first….

News: I’m pregnant! I had my scan last week which confirmed baby is well and is now about 15 weeks grown, due 27th December 2017.

Evelyn is almost 23 months old and has been a few places: She has been to Greece and Germany. She has been to Canada. Spain twice (I’ve yet to blog about the second trip… but I can sum it up in a few words: all inclusive, swimming pools, la palma, car hire adventures and kids disco’s). She has also been caravaning and youth hostelling here in England and Wales. She cries to go in the caravan. She loves it immensely because I’m sure she associates it with late nights, lots of other kids and fun. The trip to Coniston for the marathon is the most excited I’ve EVER seen her. Here she is napping in the caravan. She was giddy the whole weekend and kept throwing herself on the grass and rolling around… 2 weeks ago we were caravanning in Stafford for Taz’s 70.3 iron man on the hottest day EVER (He did fantastic, I think 6 hours 30.) But she hasn’t been on “backpacking trip” yet and that just doesn’t seem fair on any of us πŸ˜‰

Marathons are a big deal for me: I managed Coniston marathon in 5 hours 40 minutes at 10 weeks pregnant. Very chuffed with that especially as there’s around 2800 feet of elevation gain. Evelyn had the BEST day with Taz riding about in the kid seat on his bike. She’s so happy to be outdoors. We had warm weather with merciful cloud and a tiny sprinkle of rain the whole day. Perfect! Whether I’ll manage Snowdonia Tail Marathon in 3 weeks is yet to be decided.

Back to the trip:

I blogged 4 years ago, long before I had Evelyn that having kids was no excuse for a life without a backpack if this is what you wanted from life. Time to suck it up and take a bit of my own advice. I’m sure at the time it was thought “what does she know, she has no kids”.

It has crossed my mind how much harder it will be to peel ourselves away from our comfy life and go travelling with kids… Taz is deep into running his own electrical business. It has always been harder for him than me to pack up! Planning to up sticks and leave is never an easy call to make (for him). With a little push in the travel direction I’ve always been able to convince Taz. He hasn’t regretted either time we backpacked, in 2009 or 2013. Who would?!

We were close to buying a new house a few weeks back. The estate agents had been around, mortgage sorted. And then I got cold feet. “Lets stay where we are. Let’s travel instead.” Our current tiny mortgage is a blessing. 

It just takes some balls to go for it πŸ˜‰

Our baby is expected at the end of December. “I” am planning to leave (and take Taz with me, he he) in September. 9 months later. Evelyn will be 3.5 years old and a year away from her start at school. 

How long we’ll be away will depend on where we go and how much we move around as that’ll affect the cost. The savings for this is coming solely from my maternity allowance and a payment I’ll be receiving for looking after my sister’s foster children for 2 weeks, which in total isn’t a massive amount but plenty for at least our international flights and travel for 3 months. September to December would be ideal. And then I guess we’ll come home and go back to work or if things are going well we’ll work something else out… Nothing ventured, nothing gained eh?!

We need to take this trip so I can show Taz that it’s possible πŸ™‚

I like the unknown, the nerves, the feeling of being out of my comfort zone, even the shit transport, petty robberies and the queue jumpers make a day more interesting than a day at home and I love those memories: Tapping the glass furiously as vietnamese bus ticket vendors refuse to look up and serve you… Leaving a laos hospital in worse shape than you arrived… Sleeping on the floor because we didn’t book a room in advance over Chinese New year. All travel memories are great memories. And did I mention STREET FOOD for every meal of the day?! I love seeing new places, eating the food and people watching. I like talking to other travellers. Everyone’s dying to tell you where they’ve been and where they’re going. I miss that. And the weather! And Chang beer. And the warm sea. I like to feel alive!!
Time to daydream about my favoirite part – deciding where to go! The possibilities are endless. But my grumbling belly is pointing towards Asia… for a change.

In the mean time this blog is about a family that travel during maternity leave. Her 2nd baby is still tiny but they’re packing up amd heading off for a year. Again! And this one’s happening right now, a family travelling in Asia. I think they’re in Bali now πŸ™‚

Hardest run ever?

It’s not the hardest run ever but it will be for me… that trail half we did last year whilst we were camping in Wales… this year I’m back for the full marathon.  18 miles of undulating trail before the “main event”. Over the top of Mount snowdon, down and round and finishing at what I’ve been told is actually around 27 miles and 5500 feet of ascent later. I’ve entered the coniston trail marathon which is 4th June: 7 weeks before Snowdon. It’ll be a good test of whether I’ll be able to make it round. It’s not exactly flat either: it’s around 2600 feet of ascent. I managed snowdonia road marathon in about 5 hours 40 minutes but that was on the road so I don’t know how long coniston will take me on trail. And I can’t event guess how long for the snowdonia trail… I hear 8 hours is still a respectable time… But I’ll be ready. I’ve joined bowland fell runners. I’ve started doing as many of my runs as I can with BIG hills I them.  I’ve probably done more ascent in the last few weeks of training than I did in total for Snowdon all of last year. 

I have found entering some challenging events takes your mind off what is mundane everyday life. I do feel guilty for saying I need these challenges to keep me busy because I have a very privileged life: Taz, Evelyn and the rest of my family. A job with plenty of time off. A small mortgage and lots of holidays… I still hope that one day Taz just says “ok let’s take off and have an adventure”.

And whilst I’m marathon ready I’m fitting in the challenge of Snowdon because it’s quite possible I’ll be pregnant again soon, maybe this year.  So I want to achieve a few things first!

Jem and Ev go to Spain

Working only 38 weeks a year providing childcare for kids that are using their 15 free hours entitlement means that at the moment I get 14 weeks a year off! Last time I was off was the last week in January. I don’t take most of my “holidays” in the school holidays because… why would you if you didn’t have to!? In January we didn’t go anywhere. It was nice to be off. Just me and Evelyn. But it was crap weather. Cold. Wet. I kicked myself for not grabbing a late deal. Taz had to work. He doesn’t get 14 weeks a year like me πŸ˜‰ In better weather we’ll use the caravan but in the pouring rain this country sucks. 

This time around I knew I’d regret it if we did nothing. I waited and waited for Taz to agree. But no agreement happened. He’s busy at work. So I finished work for the week, went to our friends 40th on Friday night, didn’t do much on Saturday. On Sunday morning I had made up my mind. I got up and booked a flight to Malaga for the following day. Just me and Ev. Skyscanner pointed it out as one of the cheaper destinations for Monday to Sunday and I saw it was then only a short hop on the train to all the resorts.  Ideal. But it wasn’t exactly cheap. About Β£250 for a budet airline flight – monarch out and easyjet back. Evelyn was thankfully the price of peanuts. On my lap. I was open to anywhere! Malaga just worked out convenient. The cheap late deal I’d been daydreaming about didn’t exist for this week! But I was sold when I googled the weather though. 25 degrees! Our flight out was 3.30pm Monday.

For me Sunday was packing, getting Ev some new shoes and printing boarding passes πŸ™‚ My mum made us a roast dinner so no need to fuss and make tea.

I needed a bit of adventure. It’s only Spain and it’s only a resort… but taking a demanding one year old on todd was adventure enough. 

Meanwhile Taz is looking very miserable. He’s supposed to be going out on his bike, doing some ironman training. But it’s raining for a change so he has to pedal away in his cold unit where he keeps one of thiese indoor rollers for his bike. I told him it’d be nice in Benalmadena where I’d found a hotel for me and Evelyn. It’s  Β£300 room only for 6 nights. The 4* Benalmadena palace. He could come for the weekend? So we booked him a flight for Thursday night after work. He’d only have to miss a day of work. We all planned to come back together Sunday evening on a 8.30pm flight.

Myself and Evelyn were dropped off by Taz at Preston train station for our 10.45am train. In true taz style we made the train with 2 minutes to spare. Evelyn loves the train and I love taking her on the train. We have been to the airport on the train before and to Penrith just a few weeks ago. She just likes to play. It’s not worth driving. She usually hates the carseat and it’s just plain stressful. It was a busy time on a monday. The train was a no brainer. I had a small suitcase, a small backpack and the pram. And Evelyn. 

She went to sleep for 10 minutes just before we arrived at the airport and then was up. Typical disrupted sleep. We were delayed getting on the plane about 1 hour 15 minutes. Lots of time to raid the play area and the arcade. All she wanted to do was press buttons. No stress. Easy food from Boots.

So the airport was easy.

Nothing major but Evelyn kicled off in the boarding queue. Tired because of tje 10 minute sleep on the train in the morning. By the time we took off at 4.30 she was flat out on the boob.2 hours 20 minutes to go…

She slept about an hour. Was quiet most of the way once she got up. I flicked the lid of her sipy cup up mid flight and it must have been the pressure but it exploded water all over me and the miserable man next to us. Oh well. I don’t really care much for people that can’t be assed saying Hello.

She was full of beans when we got off. Security was fast and so was getting the pram off the carousel. 

We got the train to benalmadena. The station is just a short walk across the road from the airport. She was quite happy with this and riding in the pram. This made life easier with the suitcase. 

And we walked from there to the Benalmadena Palace. I got lost but it was ok. All downhill. Once there we’d missed any food but pizza. So me and Evelyn had a pizza in the bar. There was music and she was happy to people watch. She didn’t really eat any but she’d been snacking all day. In the room we both had a quick shower and quickly learned the tiled floor throughout our 1 bedroom apartment soon became tiles of death when wet! She was quickly fast asleep in the 2 single beds I’d pushed together. I spoke to taz on the phone and went to bed soon after!

Long but exciting day…!

West to East

​I don’t even have time to go into everything we did in Canada over the last 3 weeks so this is brief. But we’ve been on british soil since 9am monday morning. And Evelyn has barely slept!!! It seems coming home from West to East is more difficult than East to West. She wants to sleep lots in the day and lie in in the morning, but we’ve got her up by 8am and let her have a 1 to 2 hour nap during the day. Shes gone to bed 7pm no problems. But then she gets up between 10.30pm and midnight for 3 to 4 hours. And doesn’t want to get up in the morning. She’s done this all 4 nights we’ve been home with no improvement. 4 days into canafa and she had adjusted. So this morning, being the first I didn’t have to get up and ready for work I let her lie in til midday so that I could too. So she didn’t nap today and refused to go to sleep until 10pm! So maybe she’ll make it to a reasonable time tomorrow morning? 

This jet lag thing is tiring.

8 days til snowdonia marathon…26.2 miles. Shit. Please sleep baba…

This is her about 9am on second day when she didn’t want to get up… cute eh?!

Photos of the travels since radium hot springs (seems a lifetime ago already)…

Waiting to check into our banff hotel:

Back at lindas. I love the banana faces:

We weren’t expecting snow and Evelyn wasn’t keen on the gear she needed to wear to be able to play in it:

We got drunk a few times with the Solomons. They couldn’t have been more welcoming πŸ™‚

We took the kids swimming:

One last road trip for Evelyn to Lake louise via Canmore where we came across a fantastic sports facility called Elevate. They have a climbing wall which you see as soon as you come in, we used the kids pool, Taz used the steam room. It was a nice hideaway when it was cold outside. Evelyn hates the clothes layers when it’s cold, see photos;-)

She cried all the way home from Lake louise to Linda’s 😦 That night she had a raging temperature (again?!?!) and of course she was ill and screaming for hours before bed on my birthday (shit I’m 30!), poor Ev 😦 Perked up a day later for the flight home though but did unfortunately do her fair share of kicking off on the quiet, dark night plane. Neither of us slept a wink. Probably no one in the surrounding area either. Oops.

We’ll miss you Solomons. Evelyn took to you like you have always been around πŸ™‚

Linda thank you for your 2 spare rooms, your breakfasts, brews, teas, tolerance of the ridiculous  noise we made and your company πŸ™‚

Radium Hot Springs

Finally caught up on the blog. Been using driving and baby sleeping hours to write.

We drove 1.5 hours to Radium from Fernie. Cue baby sleep. Cue peace. We have a good travel (or run) while she sleeps system going! 

We had booked a hotel that morning on again. Turns out it was actually a motel! These are weird. This one was called Radium chalet and was run by a Philipino woman. It was ok! It had a separate living area with a tv so we didnt need to disturb evelyn with our chatting at night. It cost us about Β£45 and included a breakfast which we made the most of. It was limited in variety but what was there was surprisingly good. A night was enough in this small town.

Evelyn sent her postcards πŸ™‚ We’ll probably beat them home!

We spent a couple of hours in the springs. It’s a cheap and fun way to spend an afternoon. Less than $7 each to get in. It’s toasty in there! Far from the springs we are used to in Thailand which are mostly not so developed! Some strange woman came and started singing lullabys to Ev. The changing rooms are crap but the spring itself is relaxing so job done I suppose!

We ventured to a nearby steakhouse. You couldn’t tell from the outside but we got in and it was busy and the baby was tired and we were like SHIT please don’t kick off. Amazingly we both got to eat hot food at the same time because Evelyn was fascinated with the bowl of grated cheese that the waitress gave her. Thank you waitress. You saved our bacon. And the food was goooood. 

Strangely though the highlight of the day was getting the baby to sleep and finding a current episode of xfactor UK on the TV. We cracked the beers out. It was like date night. Sorted! Small things eh πŸ™‚ We even put the fire on and made it cozy!

We didn’t hang about in the morning. We took off after breakfast. Evelyn had destroyed yet another eating area with bits of everything flying everywhere. We cleaned her up and headed for Banff. We’ve been before. I love mountain towns. The views on the drives we’ve been doing are stunning. Clear water, trees and mountains… 

Kind of gutted we’ll be doing no climbing. We’re in a good spot for it. I miss climbing. Taz has promised me he’ll come with me again when we get home so we can climb outside next summer when Evelyn us bigger and we can escape for days out or take her with us if she’ll hang about with us. I look forward to that.

Such a life adjustment, this child rearing stuff!


We spent 3 nights in Lizard Creek Lodge just outside of the town of Fernie. Our hotel was in a great spot to get some pram jogging in! We did 2 runs, one hilly/mountainous and one flat.

We relaxed in the outdoor pool one afternoon which was heated. They also had a hot tub beside it which was really, really hot! All with great mountain view. Another afternoon we took Evelyn swimming at the aquatic centre. That was indoor and a bit warmer so we spent ages in there! We cooked our own tea a couple of nights because we had a full kitchen and we did a few breakfasts at the room too, but ate at Smittys once too and that was the usual fantastic Canadian breakfast with unlimited coffee and tasty eggs and bacon. Our accommodation was huge and we felt at home here. 

We stocked up on beer, whiskey and port at the liquor store and settled in. And snacks! We need something to unwind and we can’t go sit in a bar πŸ˜‰ Every night is a night in! And that’s still something I’m trying to get used to 14.5 months later πŸ™‚

3 nights later and we packed up and set off to Radium where they have hot springs! Yey.