Airdrie and Canmore

We are spending 3 weeks in Canada. Taz has extended family here. For part of the trip we’re staying with Taz’s dads cousin, Linda who we stayed with 8 years ago.

we booked earlier this year. It was either Asia or Canada. This time, Canada won! It’s been a while…

We mde our way to Manchester airport by train. When we drove to the airport last month to go to Germany it was way more hassle than it was worth. This way we could play with Evelyn and she wasn’t screaming in a carseat. It really was a pleasure to go by train.

After checking in we had to stop in our favourite place for breakfast.  Giraffe. Then for a beer with Ev asleep in her sling.

Long haul with a 14 month old

We took off to Canada on a Sunday afternoon (I hate early morning flights that leave you tired all day), 2pm UK time and landed 4pm Canada time 9 hours later! It was an experience taking a baby on a 9 hour plane journey and adding 7 hours to her day with the time difference! We prepared as much as we could to help her adjust and help ourselves cope but there’s not a lot you can actually do about it. 

She was good on the plane. Didn’t like the take off and landing restriction as I had to hold her in the burping position, but we had such amazing seats with leg room she played happily most of the way. Shes a cruiser now so liked to walk around holding on to everything and olay peekaboo around the divide infront of us. We 100% made a top decision paying extra for those seats. She could bum shyffle at our feet! We payed about £700 for the flights for all 3 of us with Canadian Affair and £200 in total for the better seats. Evelyn was included in this and was only about £50 as she’s under 2. I took a hand luggage suitcase with toys in it. We walked around the rest of the plane and ordinary seats were St restricting we’d have struggled to keep her happy I think. I know I’d have had way more anxiety anyway and that rubs off on Ev. A massive bonus was there was no one in the third seat so we hd all else seats to ourselves. Amazing.

Airdrie, Alberta

Sam, Ian and the kids Jenna and Brianna met us at Calgary airport and helped us sort out the hire car. It was a nice surprise that they came to help! Linda is Taz’s dads cousin. Ian is Linda’s son. Last time I saw Brianna she was 9 months old. She was 9 years old last week! They all live in Airdrie which is just 20 minutes from the airport. We got a free upgrade as expected really, rental places dont stock any or many small cars it seems… so we paid about £400 for £1000 worth of car for our 3 week break. This has happened to us before in France and Spain. Yey.

Back at Linda’s we were reunited with her. Last time we saw her we took her to Fishermans Retreat about 6 weeks before we got married there to show her. I can’t remember if I was pregnant at this time or not?! 

We all had a few cups of tea, showered and I hit the sack with Evelyn for our brief sleep.
We spent 5 nights at Linda’s in Airdrie. It was like deja vu from 8 years ago when we visited.

During our stay we bought a jogging pram at babies r us: A Bob Revolution. We love our new jogger and can’t wait to take it to parkrun. They are better prices here, the same price in dollars as they are in pounds at home. It’s 1 pound to 1.6 canadian dollars at the moment. I think it was a little better before bloody Brexit.

We went to visit Ian at his new building in Calgary. He upholsters vehicles. 

We went for tea with Linda, Sam, Ian and the kids Jenna and Brianna. Another night we cooked for Linda and then she cooked for us. We feel very at home at Linda’s! Her cats are friendly too: Bill is still around who was 2 years old last time we came to Linda’s, quinny the Manx and Sully the huge fluffy ginger cat. Evelyn has a big Blue Sully teddy at home from Monitors Inc so I think the name Sully confuses her because she’s like, that’s not Sully. We went out for breakfast a few times. Breakfast in Canada is goooood. I love streaky bacon, love eggs and love pancakes. Especially with maple syrup 🙂

We did a short run each In Airdrie. Not logging the miles we should be for this marathon at the end of October! Oops.But we plan to do more out of Airdrie.

When it was really windy we explored a few shopping places. There are loads of bike and outdoor shops to keep us busy.

The weather was HOT when we arrived and gradually cooled over a few days to cold and windy with a threat of snow. But dry. So dry my lips are on fire! Airdrie is a super dry climate. Keeping them plastered in vaseline but they are coming off in flakes. Ouch! On the plus side my hair loves Airdrie. Humidity is the devil to my locks and there’s none here. I can wear it down with no effort and the curls just scrunch up in the dry air and don’t frizz. Yes! I was clearly designed for a dry climate 😉 I had some colours put in a few weeks ago. I fancied a change as I’m turning 30 whilst we’re in Canada… I remember similar hair bliss in Rhodes, Greece. Hot an humid Asia was not nice to my hair so I was a scruff with a bun most days like I am at home!

4 day jet lag adjustment

  • Day 1 

Evelyn slept for an hour at about 12 noon before we boarded. She slept an hour on the plane too. Once in Airdrie she fell asleep at 6pm Canada time so it was 1am in England! We thought this would mean a big sleep that night maybe 6 or 7 hours to catch up. No. She was up one time for a suckle, then up for good at 12.30 midnight for 5 hours which was as expected as i suppose that is 7.30am at home!

  • Day 2

So at 5.30am she went back to sleep til 8am. Evelyn fell asleep in the car at 2.30pm for 1 hour and 15 minutes. In bed at about 8pm. Up briefly 2 or 3 times and then up for the day at 3.30am. An improvement on midnight.

  • Day 3

She went back to sleep at 5.30am for an hour and then 9am for nearly 2 hours as we walked to a breakfast place with the new jogger. Went to sleep at 6pm in the car. Woke at 8pm. Straight back to sleep. Woke her usual frequency in the night and up at 5.30am. More improvement on the 2 previous nights.

  • Day 4

So after her 5.30am get up she slept on me 8am to 10am and I sat and chatted to Taz who was busy using all Linda’s family tree information to update his own. She was up all day after that other than a little half hour sleep in the car at 3.45pm. She often sleeps later if she has an afternoon sleep so that night she was out cold at 8.45pm.

4 days doesn’t sound a lot but it was tiring. 

This is where jet lag ends I suppose. She goes to bed between 7 and 8 ish and gets up about 6am now. She has officially adjusted. Linda was very kind to be so welcoming despite how much we must have disturbed her these first 4 nights!


After 4 nights in Airdrie we took a day trip to Canmore. Didn’t remember it was only 90 minutes away by car. A breathtakingly beautiful drive. We timed it well with a sleep there and a small sleep back in the afternoon. We did a lovely walk, the weather was brilliant. We had some crap food at the hogs head but that didn’t ruin the day. We love Canmore. What a cool mountain town! Reminds me a little bit of Crested Butte near where I worked in Colorado.  But I think I still prefer Crested Butte, or maybe that’s just the memories of being young (20) and excited in a cowboy town so far from home. 

    A year has passed, Evelyn is one :-)

    So a whole year has gone by since Evelyn was born. Today she’s a year and 3 days old! My last post was AGES ago. I was struggling getting to terms with extreme sleep deprivation and a lack of exercise!! I don’t get lots of sleep but I manage it better now – we bedshare. And I’m used to it. I get enough exercise to keep me sane. I run twice a week and usually climb once a week with a new partner, Laura. Running has been great for me. I started needing to do something so in February I started legging it around the block for 20 minutes so I wasn’t away long from the baby. Then I got a little bit better and it’s just gone from there. For climbing I had to drive there, boulder alone or find a willing belayer and drive home, running was more accessible and didn’t take me away from home long. I have done a couple of “races” like the Rivington 10 mile trail race, the Hendon Brook half marathon and the Snowdonia Trail Half Marathon. Taz too. We’re both doing the full marathon in October in Snowdonia too. My sister Laura babysits and has been my saviour, as usual. All this without much sleep and while still managing to breastfeed has felt like an achievement for me, and a good 12 months. I went back to childminding 3 days a week in April. Taz’s business is doing well.

    Those initial months with a baby though… tough isn’t the word. More details about that on the baby blog if anyone’s wondering. Climbing wise, Taz has lost his mojo completely and doesn’t go anymore. He’s very into his running though and his cycling and still like his open water swimming, so an ironman is on his mind, or at least more triathlons. Hopefully this winter he’ll get back on indoor climbing and be ready for some adventures next year in the summer.


    We’ve had some little adventures along the way these last few months. We’ve been to Centre Parcs in Penrith for our first wedding anniversary, Greece with my lot, and camping twice. In 2 weeks we’re going to Germany for a week to see Craig and Doerthe, their 2 kids and the progress on their house build there. Then we’re off to the Isle of man just for a weekend where Taz is doing a big ride in memory of his cousin Luke who died at Christmas with a large group of cyclists. We’re going to Canada in September and will be there for my 30th birthday, for 3 weeks! 2 weeks later (please let Evelyn be good at managing jet lag) we’ll be in Snowdonia again for the marathon. Finally in November we’re off to Centre parcs with my family. We can’t do everything but I think we’re doing ok. The plan is still to spend some extended time in Asia next year… Planning to leave is the hardest part, once you’ve made that decision it’s easy.

    Climbing with the baby

    Getting the opportunity to climb has been hard. Our baby is unpredictable, barely sleeps in the day unless she’s asleep on my chest which doesn’t really allow for climbing… But we go when we can. Usually once a week. Like everything else we’ve found a system: we boulder and pass the baby between us, rope with a sitter who is at the wall or leave her with a sitter for an hour and rope. I long for a time where she’ll join in and we can all go together! The reality is far from what I imagined, hours spent bouldering each week alone this winter whilst the baby sleeps snug I’m the pram by the mats. Not gonna happen!

    I’ve managed to get some sort of standard back. I have some of my strength, just lacking a bit in my super stretched out core and my fingers! I am missing endurance too but that won’t be back for a while, I don’t go often or for long enough to get that back just yet. I have some of my leading confidence back. I think exercising until the end of my pregnancy helped. I was at aqua aerobics the day before I went into labour. I love exercise.

    Taz goes occasionally without me, this is his time to spend all night chatting and working routes. When we go its just climb, climb, climb. No time to ponder on a harder route. We squash everything we can into that hour!

    Sometimes I go on my own during the day if I have a sitter. By sitter I mean Laura or my mum. My sitters have allowed me to continue being myself, to stay sane and feel good about myself. How people manage without good people around them I don’t know? They do have a gym crèche but I couldn’t think of anything worse. Half the time I’m crying when I leave her with Laura or my mum, probably more than half the time. Pathetic really! But it’s the breastfeeding aspect. She feeds sporadically and not from a bottle so I worry when I’m not there. So I prefer to have her with me just in case.

    I have also managed to fit a few classes in to help with fitness, like a toning class or body pump or circuit training. So normally I get 1 class and 1 climb in a week. Doesn’t sound much but it makes all the difference to me. Also managed a 20 mile bike ride a few weekends ago (left baby for 1 hour 40 mins which is the longest stint yet). Considering Evelyn is only 4 months and typically seems to time her most horrific sleeps to the night before we’ve arranged to climb, I’m doing OK. I climb with bags under my eyes. I’m probably unsafe to belay! And yep I have a wobbly belly where I carried Evelyn for 9 months but the weight has gone and I couldn’t be happier. I could be spending this time catching up on sleep or doing housework but this time is precious and I’d rather climb. It makes me happy.


    Mini Wolstencroft

    This is a travel blog. A climbing blog. But there’s no denying a mention that we’re also parents now too. Its my birthday tomorrow and our baby will be 12 weeks old. Travel, climbing and a baby are our future, they all mesh together now and will make for interesting writing…

    Evelyn arrived a day early. One minute I’m pregnant and the next I have another person permenantly attached for the foreseeable future. I have a whole other devoted to the baby blog.




    Evelyn is firmly glued to my side 99% of the time because breastfeeding is tying. Its the way it should be but it is exhausting so we’ve got a few little strategies to cope with that because she won’t take a bottle of expressed milk. I don’t blame her. I have a bath or catch up on house work when Taz gets home and walks the dog with baby in the sling. I sometimes get chance to swim when Laura sit in the gyms cafe where I can be waved out if needed, or run for 20 minutes if she’s fed and happy when Taz is home, or climb while others are entertaining the baby in the same room. We even boulder just the 2 of us, one climbs and the other entertains. Where there’s a will there’s a way.

    It has taken 12 weeks to feel like a balanced human being, with more sleep and a bit of time for exercise.

    Mini wolstencroft will be traveling. It’s just a question of when. She will spend quite some time playing with sand in south East Asian countries. We are drawn to this part of the world.

    For the remainder of this year we’re grounded. We’re at centre Parcs for a few days between Christmas and New year, including our first wedding anniversary.

    Next year were going to Italy for Sarah’s wedding. I’m going on hols to Greece with my mum, sister, niece and of course Evelyn who will be 9 months old I think… Maybe another couple of trips in there too. In the mean time we’re saving for a bigger adventure! We think 2017, before Evelyn is 2 so we can save on a seat price and have a numb lap instead 😉

    This is a small post for 12 weeks! But pictures say 1000 words so here’s a few of the little beauty!



















    Getting ready for babies arrival… And my climbing decline

    Jemma here. Since my last post, much has happened! All of this is on the baby blog in great (and probably boring week by week) detail. But to summarise:

    • I’ve sprouted a BIG belly and it still has 7+ weeks left of growing to do, I’m 33 weeks pregnant now (well, tomorrow…)
    • We’ve been planning for our future, sorted a few financial things out, the main one being a good mortgage deal for our house.
    • I’ve been talking Taz into travelling one way or another with our baby when she’s 2 or 3.
    • I stopped climbing and I’m ok with it!

    When I last posted I was a newlywed, and I felt like morning sickness had completely taken over my life and would never subside. Thankfully it did give up at around 13-14 weeks and I’ve been quite comfortable since. I’ve been very active and feeling “normal”. I did get back into climbing in my second trimester when I wasn’t sick any more, I swam and did yoga and also did kettle bells, went to the gym etc. Here’s a summary in photo’s of the “second trimester”:

    I just about got used to the idea of being pregnant when the third and final trimester rolled around. This is when the heaviness and sleeplessness started to set in and my exercise is now limited to swimming, yoga and walking. This was a good time to go to Tunisia with Laura and Lily! So we went for a week of sunshine and all inclusiveness. It was really nice.

    So here’s the climbing story: I stopped bouldering immediately, stopped leading at 20 weeks and stopped roping all together at 22. Traversed up to 26 weeks:

    • 5 weeks – Emotional and crying on the lead rope that I was going to lose my climbing ability forever, shaky and weak. My head had gone, I was scared. So I stopped bouldering and leading because I was scared of falling. I’d heard about the placenta being ripped away from the uterus wall through sport and this terrified me (irrationally) although there wasn’t much of anything even there yet.
    • 6-10 weeks – No climbing, very sick, exhausted and weak.
    • 11-18 weeks – Back from 5/6 weeks off. Weak from time off but motivated, not scared. After a few weeks back I can still flash my usual 6b+ level, still trying harder routes on the top rope. Leading confidence back. Full body harness from 15 weeks. Presuming the crying and fear of the earlier days came from initial baby hormones! And shock. Now feeling unstoppable.
    • 19-20 weeks – Only leading the easiest of routes (Up to 6a+). Can still do 6b+ level on top rope but anything harder feels impossible, probably down to loss of strength through not bouldering, and not pushing myself as much.
    • 21 weeks – Just top roping now but the downside is the top rope walls are slabby and my bump gets in the way so routes feel harder, I’d still be able to top rope lead walls but have no-one to put the rope up for me – injured partner!
    • 22 weeks – Last top roped climb. The small foot holds scare me as if I slipped there’s a good chance I’d land belly first on the wall.
    • 23-25 weeks – No climbing, partner still injured and no motivation for slab walls.
    • 26 weeks – 15 minute continual traverse on the steep wall. This was possible, extra weight is obvious in how hard it feels. lots of rests and shaking off on the wall. I could keep this up a while longer but it’s boring and seems pointless, also hard to find a quiet time when I can traverse.

    I thought I’d be flying up routes at 40 weeks but this isn’t how it happened for me and I’m ok with that. It felt pointless after 20 weeks really because I couldn’t put the effort in that I wanted to without compromising myself and my bump. I’ve found other things to do that are insanely boring (apart from walking the dogs, I like that) but keep me active. I plan on using some maternity time to take the baby to the wall during the day, which in my experience in my student days means I’ll have it to myself probably.

    The third trimester (so far) in photo’s:

    We’re in Germany for Taz’s 32nd birthday this year while we’re over for Craig and Doerthe’s wedding. We are on our way there now, going for 4 days and staying in Doerthe’s mums b&b. Should be a really nice break together and I’ve no doubt the last before the baby’s here 🙂

    So here’s me a few days ago. I don’t know what I’ll look like in 7 weeks time!


    Florida, Marriage, Babies

    A lot has happened since we went on that camper trip back in August last year.

    • Taz cycled from London to Paris
    • We went on holiday to Florida
    • We got pregnant (I have a separate blog for the baby
    • We got married

    Blogs about London to Paris (if I can get Taz to knuckle down and write one), Florida and getting married are still to come, but here’s the one about our baby! This blog post will probably be very very boring to people that don’t climb. DSC08257 I reached a point where a baby came up all the time in conversation with Taz. It sounds terrible to some people, but climbing was one of the main reasons I kind of dreaded ever having a baby, that and limited/awkward travel. Not just because it’s a sport I like but because it’s my lifestyle. Such a short break sets you back at least twice as long as you’ve had off, how long would a baby set me back? Would we be able to have random adventurous climbing holidays the way we do now? And what if something went wrong and I never went back? But I got over it with positivity. Lots of people carry on, lots go back and if worst comes to it, what’s more important in the grand scheme of things? I found my peace with having a baby through blogs about pregnant climbers and parent climbers and on youtube. And my mum did say having a baby was a whole new adventure!

    Cimbing this autumn in Wales helping a friend with his photography project.

    Climbing this autumn in Wales helping a friend with his photography project.

    One of the first blogs I found was this: Crush Crux. This is where I learned about the first harness designed for pregnant people – The Mountain Mama. The woman who wrote it, Cate has the philosophy that “at the end of nine months, I will ask my body to do one of the most physically demanding actions I will ever ask it to do. So why would I spend the months leading up to that moment letting my fitness and strength decline?” I was also reassured to read that she shrugged off negativity about climbing pregnant and that there was a specific harness that would allow me to carry on safely and comfortably. If MadRock make maternity harnesses, climbing with a bump must be ok and becoming more common. I had visions of me hiding my bump and only climbing when it was really quiet, to avoid people voicing their opinions at me – our climbing hall is full of observing parents who sit watching while their children have lessons. I was worried about an audience of disproving looks. But they don’t climb, they don’t know about the good it does for your mind and body and how addictive it is. I dug a little bit deeper and found this on youtube: a professional climber call Carrie Cooper, who climbed right past her due date. Her relaxed attitude is cool. She has climbed for 10 years and didn’t intend on stopping unless her body said so because she loves everything about it so much. This cemented the idea that I’d be ok. As if this wasn’t inspirational enough, I saw another video shortly after of the same lady going on a climbing trip with another mum. Then I saw a very pregnant climber at my local wall, the only one I’ve ever seen climbing with a bump in the flesh. I took it as a sign. Normal people can do it too. Her husband had her on a tight top rope and she breezed the wall, clearly doing what she has always done. 10736005_10152880498103760_791500471_n A couple of days after getting back from Florida I went climbing. I was feeling lazy. After 2 full weeks off and only doing a couple of sessions prior to this with all the wedding planning getting in the way, motivation was low. So when I struggled to get up the wall and was easily tired I put it down to this. In the following weeks pure exhaustion set in, a constant head ache plagued me and I was finding getting through my working day with my eyes open really hard. Then I found out I was 4 weeks pregnant.

    I was 9 weeks pregnant at my hen do:

    Maybe the only time you’ll see Taz in a dress:


    I was also really ill from the day after my hen party and this stayed all over Christmas: a flu bug and then continual raging morning sickness to go with it. I was in bed for 5 days solid, completely out of it. The thought of tea and coffee made me feel sick. I don’t know if it was the baby or the cut down from 10 brews a day to none that gave me the first migraines of my life. I have a separate baby blog.

    We got married on 29th December, 10 weeks into growing a baby. Our wedding day was beautiful and I don’t think our ceremony could have been any more special. When we get our professional photo’s back, I’ll post a couple. 10906563_10153058270628760_4553543143758460738_n 10952362_10153101469353760_2232238196122654672_n We went away to Scotland for a mini break with the dogs where all I did was blissfully sleep the entire day. 10885377_10152443955326511_4440971759105877937_n I ordered the Mountain Mama from the USA to prepare for my climbing future. For those wondering how much it costs to get it to England, basically it was $120 to buy $20 to post and £25 in taxes at the UK side to pick it up, so it was a £120 investment by the time I got hold of it and it took just over 3 weeks to arrive. A tip from crushcrux though: ask your local wall if they’ll stock a MountainMama that you can rent, if you don’t want one of your own. 10950912_10153092228908760_1276876220_n I had to tell the children’s parents that I look after that I’d be having a year off from 17th July which is the start of the summer holidays. I plan to work every single day. I’m self employed, so if I’m off I’ve got to pay for the cover or organise refunds if I’m off and that’s just not practical when you’ve just paid for a wedding, as reasonably prices as it was. I also have my maternity to save for – you don’t get much being self employed but it’s nice that you can have some time off like most people. The MountainMama harness arrived so I will try this out – my ordinary harness still fits but for catching falls it’s better that it isn’t my waist taking the strain. I am hoping I’m still able to use this in Spring and early Summer when we go camping and and have the opportunity to climb outdoors. 10937435_10153103815143760_1636600530_n I’ll I’ll update the blog soon 🙂 Jemma x