Undley Pumpkin Patch & Maize Maze

Halloween is nearly upon us and that can only mean one thing, pumpkins! Since having kids pumpkin carving has become one of the highlight of halloween, but up until last year we just picked them up from a supermarket. Last year I wanted to visit a proper pumpkin patch, but we ended up leaving it too late, there wasn’t anything left really at the place we visited so we ended up back at the supermarket once again.  This year I wanted to make sure we got to one, mainly for the photo opportunities, so had a bit of research of what was around us. There were a number of pumpkin patches that we could of visited, but one kept cropping up as highly recommended. Undley Pumpkin Patch.

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Undley is just over an hours drive away from us, near two US RAF bases,  so I  knew that it would most likely have some American influences. As well as the pumpkin patch it has several other attractions including a Maize Maze, which we considered was worth making a trip over. Each attraction does cost extra money but if you go with a budget in mind then it doesn’t have to turn in to an expensive trip out.

We headed off with cameras and picnic/snacks in tow. As we got closer to our destination it became apparent that we were in a line of many vehicles all headed in the same direction. Fair enough we thought, this place has a good reputation, there’s bound to be plenty of people there. We had no idea of how busy our day was about to become. As we turned the final corner to the farm we suddenly saw just how many cars were already there, and how many were piling in to the field. I have to admit to being taken aback a little. We joined the queue of cars and then bumped across the field where we were flagged in to our space. We gathered up what we needed and headed towards the main field. It was absolutely heaving. There were people everywhere. Obviously it only got busier as the day went on.

We’d decided to tackle the Maize Maze first, so headed off to buy our tickets. It cost us £13.50 for the four of us to get in as under 5’s were free. We got handed maps, and told that there was 10 answers to 10 questions we had to find within said maze. Answering them all meant we could enter a prize draw. At first we let the children just lead us whichever direction they wanted, but we soon learnt that this probably wasn’t a good idea so we tried to work out where we actually were on the map.


The map advised to allow 30-40 minutes to complete the maze, but I think we were in there for well over an hour! I can tell you that mazes certainly can bring out the worst in people and we did all get a bit stressed with each other. I managed to get confused even with the map to help, so consequently got lost… Taya also had a moment when she ended up needing a change of clothes, while in the middle of the maze, in the mud. We never found all 10 fact points, but luckily knew the answer to the last question! The maze itself gave some great photo opportunities though…

…and overall was a lot of fun. It was well worth the money, and listening to other very confused people wandering around was rather entertaining too! I’ll admit it did make me feel a little sad that this huge field of maize was essentially wasted for the enjoyment of people. I could be wrong, but I don’t think dead maize is of any use to anyone (please feel free to correct me if I am wrong on this) and that the farmers must make a lot of money from the pumpkins to feel comfortable wasting this amount of food. However, I did notice that they will be doing a summer Maize Maze, where the crop is presumably harvested after the summer, so a better option in my eyes.

When we finally made it out of the maze we went to join a queue for a photo opportunity amongst different pumpkins and gourds. By this point there was fairly lengthy queues for everything, but this was one queue I didn’t mind waiting in as I couldn’t pass up on the chance of getting some nice photos of the kids. Not that they ever look at the camera at the same time, or smile nicely, but I was happy to have that chance!

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Finally we headed over to the pumpkin patch. We didn’t bother queuing for a wheelbarrow, I think demand far exceeded supply, plus we hadn’t planned on picking either many, or large ones at that based on the price. Bear in mind we’ve never really been to a proper, full, pumpkin patch before, but let me tell you, there were pumpkins as far as the eye could see, thousands upon thousands of them. I was suitably impressed. Despite there being many, many people in the field there was still plenty of space to have a little bit of the patch all to yourself. I did try to take photos to show the sheer volume of both pumpkins and people, but it was very difficult to capture. (I can imagine a drone would of taken an awesome photo at this point!)

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We had to pass the queues for the pay station on our way in to the patch, and it was at this point I think we decided not to get any pumpkins, just to take some photos. There was a lot of other people taking photos, and who wouldn’t pass on such an opportunity? We even passed the cutest little baby dressed up in a pumpkin onesie! I think everyone should have a photo shoot in a field of pumpkins, they just look so awesome!

Even Mr Heberling had to have some photos taken in amongst them, upside down of course!

When we said that we were going to go home now the kids got upset. They wanted to get a pumpkin while we were there. So we headed over to where all the little ones were at the far end of the field. We chose 3 small ones…

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…before heading for the queues. We waited, and inched forward, and waited. As we got close to the front we suddenly noticed the signs that said you had to spend a minimum of £10 to pay by card. Darn. So we had to leave the queue. I waited with the children while Kiba went to look for some more pumpkins on his own. He returned with a big one, and a small decorative gourd type pumpkin. Once we had finally made it through the queue once again Mr Heberling had worked his magic and amazingly they cost us £10.50 for the 5 of them! For each pumpkin you bought (presumably it didn’t matter what type, they have about 20 different types at Undley!) you got a ticket to fill in to enter in to a prize draw for £1000. We didn’t bother with these though, we were all fed up and tired by this point, and as Mr Heberling pointed out, there were so, so many people there for just that day alone, that our chances would be incredibly slim. So we decided to go home at this point, marvelling as we went once again at how many people there was. I spied the hay-bale mountain underneath at least 100 odd kids. It was slightly bedlam. Mr Heberling vowed never to return, it was just far too crowded for our liking.

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If you’re looking for a family fun day out, and don’t mind the crowds and waiting in queues then I’d highly recommend making a visit. (I mean, just look at any theme park!) It could easily entertain you all for a number of hours, just remember to have saved up a bit of money, or be ready to say no to your children when they ask to have their face painted, ride a donkey, or go on the awesome looking pumpkin shaped bounce house. If it wasn’t for the crowds I would of enjoyed myself a lot more, but I’m just not comfortable with that amount of people, especially with small children in tow. Oh, and don’t forget wellies if it has rained recently before you go, remember it is a farm still, there will be mud! What pumpkin patches have you visited?

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Our Wedding Day

Today marks four weeks since I became Mrs Heberling on what was to me, the most perfect day. Time seems to go so fast with kids about anyway, but these four weeks have flown past. I don’t feel so silly to call myself Team Heberling now that I am actually one! I finally finished editing the photos the other week and have shared them in so many places since, so thought I’d share a selection with you all (The ones I can, not everyone wants to be seen all over the internet understandably, and I respect others wishes), and some details of the day. I shall be doing a special thank you post soon, thanking all the awesome people who helped make the details of the day special. This is going to be a very long one, (with a lot of exclamation marks!) so get comfy and enjoy!

Wednesday 25th July; The night before.

The kids and I stayed round my parents house the night before, after going and setting up at the venue. We didn’t get back till late, although the kids were full of beans after having ice creams at Whitwell Station. Once back at my parents we said Hello to Fidella and met her fiancé Luc who’d flown in that day. (Both their flight and another families flight had been cancelled on Tuesday night, what are the chances?!) I then attempted to put the kids to bed. We were all going to be sleeping in my sisters double bed, it was stifling hot and they were both as high as kites. Needless to say it took them a while to settle. Luckily I just left them to drop off themselves and went and showered, or else I’d of never got in to bed! When I was done I said goodnight to my parents and headed off upstairs. I sent Mr Heberling a message (who was still on his way back from Stansted airport, he didn’t get home until around 1am!) and then carefully balanced on the edge of the bed that had been left for me. We had the windows open as it was so, so warm (and the door shut so the eyeless cat couldn’t either escape or attack us, she hates me…) and my first thought was how noisy it was. Despite growing up there my whole life it wasn’t until I moved to the countryside 5 years ago that I realised how noisy it was at night. You can hear the main road, and the airport. I soon got used to it though and started to drop off. Suddenly an almighty bang woke me up. Logan had fallen out of bed on to the laminate flooring! He sat up and mumbled something before climbing back in to bed, while I put the unused quilt down on the floor just in case it happened again. Turns out he didn’t remember it at all in the morning, but he thought it was hilarious. Thankfully we all got a fairly decent sleep after that.

Thursday 26th July; Wedding Day!

I’d set an alarm, but really I didn’t need one. My excitement got me up in good time despite the late night. Even Taya was up bright and early, as usual, so while Logan slept we crept downstairs and had our breakfast with my mum while we watched Peppa Pig. It didn’t take Logan long until he joined us and he was obviously starving. He told me that he was so excited for the wedding, and that he actually felt nervous about it, exactly what about I’m not sure, he never really told me. We had to be at County Hall Archive Centre for 9:30 so it was all hands on deck to get everyone ready and out the door in good time. I left my Mum in charge of getting the kids dressed while I went to get myself ready. We were almost late out of the door as I had been taking photos of our rings, oops!

We had decided to go for the simple 2+2 ceremony. It meant it was at 9:45 am in a standard office at the registry office, with just us, our kids, and our witnesses there. We’d asked Mum & Dad to be the witnesses who were delighted and very eager. People have always asked us about our plans and no matter what they say you can always see them process our choice. But it is exactly that, our choice. We wanted it to be as fewer people as possible as we’re not the type of people to like all the attention on us. Anyway, we got up there and Kiba and some of his family were waiting for us. We had a bit of spare time before needing to go inside and were waiting for the flowers so took a couple of photos in the time being.

As you can see they have a really awesome plane outside the Archive Centre and Kiba was rather proud that he managed to include it in the background. Before long it was time to go inside. The flowers still hadn’t arrived but we booked ourselves in and then sat down to wait. We weren’t waiting long before Kiba and I got called through. We double checked all our details were correct before my parents and kids were invited in to the room. The ceremony itself was just lovely, it all went flawlessly and just like that we were officially husband and wife. I’ve never felt happier, to finally be able to call my soul mate my husband was a dream come true. Logan was beyond happy as we let him be in charge of the rings, he was included in the ceremony to bring them up and pass them to us. Taya had gone in to her super shy mode, where she won’t look at anyone and stays as still as possible. It was lovely to take some photos within the room after the official signing with a posed signing, and the ladies who conducted the marriage helped take a photo or two of us all.

Afterwards we headed back outside where Kibas siblings waited for us, with the flowers that had finally turned up, they’d been delivered to the wrong place! Oops. More photos had to be taken as newlyweds, and it turns out these ended up being the only family photos where Logan actually had clothes on his top half, due to it being the hottest day of the year, so I am glad we took this opportunity to grab some photos of us. Firstly of just the two of us, husband and wife.

It’s not often we have proper photos of just the two of us, even more rare is a photo of us and the kids, I’d love to have a proper photo shoot one day but for now I’ll treasure the photos we have. In the morning was the only real time we got photos of Logan in his rainbow waistcoat too, by the afternoon it was much too hot, so I don’t blame him for stripping off, but I’m also kind of sad as he looked amazing in it.

A few quick shots with the rest of the family members and we decided to head off. Kiba dropped me off at my Mums to get myself and the kids changed. With a good wait until the afternoon I wasn’t risking the kids getting their outfits dirty! Dad then dropped us off home.

I’m not going to lie, as I walked in to our house it was a bit like a bomb had gone off. When I’d left for Mums the night before there had already been 5 extra people in our 2 bedroom house, but now there was an extra 3, so in total there was 12 people all together, 5 of them being kids. It was noisy, everyone wanted to use the one and only bathroom and the kids were as usual hungry. It was chaos, but it was a nice kind of chaos. I took a moment to just watch it all, everyone was getting ready, having something to eat and chatting away in German. I can’t say I understood it all but I understood some. Before long it was time to get back in to my dress and head over to Whitwell. I wanted to go earlier so I was ready for everyone to arrive and to make sure that all the finishing touches were perfect. I was also meeting the photographer ahead of guests arrival. The kids came too and revelled in the fact they had the bouncy castle to themselves! It all looked so beautiful and I couldn’t wait for people to come see it.

One of our tables was set up with the cake, and then on the other longer table I had a print I made (inspired by Babipurs ‘Gwawr’), basket for cards, my bouquet of flowers and our alternative guest book. Above these hung fairy light pegs with photos of both my Grandad, who died in 2012, and Kibas father Gerold, who sadly passed away in September 2017. It was really important for us to incorporate them in some way as we knew they would have loved to have been there.

People slowly started to filter in and it was lovely to see how everyone had embraced our bright and colourful theme. I think every child that came through the door was instantly attracted to the bouncy castle out the back. We’d organised for cupcakes with tea and coffee to be served upon arrival. It was far too hot for any hot drinks though, I think it was over 30 degrees by this point, but some people got stuck in on the selection of cupcakes while others chatted to each other. Our photographer was in hot demand to get lots of photos of groupings of people. It didn’t take long for a lot of people to drift outside, although even that didn’t help you escape the heat that much! I helped Taya (and her friend) jump on the bouncy castle, as she now was very nervous due to a lot of boisterous bigger kids on there, and we also played in the teepees that a friend had very kindly let us borrow.

We had been offered the chance to let our photographer go up in to the control tower so she could take a group photo from above, and we snapped up the offer. It was a little difficult getting everyone ready, and I don’t think any of the photos have everyone looking, but there was a total of 9 under 10’s so I think it was pretty good going! Plus Taya never looks at people when they call so I knew it was probably a lost cause for her!  (I’d already told the photographer she would have to be sneaky and get natural shots, as there was no way Taya would pose for her) I’m not going to share the group photos though, as I know some people would rather I didn’t. Kiba and I then got the opportunity to go up ourselves which was nice, part of me wanted to stay up there longer and just watch our guests from a distance. Instead we came down and took some more posed photos with the photographer which I absolutely love.

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As I went round making sure I was able to speak to everyone the kids sure did play, and I mean the big kids too! Kiba and his brother Fabrice were having just as much fun as they younger kids on the bouncy castle, and showing off their strength and skills. I was shortly dragged on with Kibas sisters, and it was a real laugh, I was almost crying from laughter. It just felt so impossible to bounce! While we were almost wetting ourselves in a pile at the back of the castle, my Mum was being dragged over by Taya, and in her wise decision Mum thought it would be a good idea to go on the bouncy castle too (despite having a bit of trouble with her heart recently!) but completely misjudged herself and ended up in a heap on the floor!! I don’t know how she managed to not drag Taya down too, but as if I wasn’t having a hard time not dying with laughter anyway. When I finally managed to get off, and mum was on her feet again, my tummy hurt so much from laughing, and my face ached from smiling so much already that day.

After composing myself and downing a good amount of water it was time to cut the cake! We were so excited to see the inside of the cake, and to see how everyone reacted to it! I had been worried that I’d muck it up due to being watched by everyone, but actually it was a dream to cut, and the Oohs and Aahs as we opened it up were so cool to hear. It looked, and tasted, amazing! Our wedding toppers are so gorgeous we shall be having them on display in a box frame.

BBQ time came and everyone was ready to eat their fill, it was certainly very yummy food. It was a moment when everyone was quieter, and it just all felt so relaxed. Although the calmness didn’t last long, everyone was soon back to playing and thoroughly enjoying themselves.

We’d chosen ‘The Greatest Showman’ as the song to kick off the disco, which was the perfect choice, even if no one wanted to come dance really! Taya, her friend and I enjoyed having the dance floor to ourselves for a while! As it was so stonking hot, the hottest day of the year so far, we had to compromise a bit on the disco. For the music to be louder we had to have the doors to the garden shut, so we decided to have regular intervals where the music was quieter just so we could have the doors open and the air flowing. I think most people ended up having a bit of a boogie, but it was unfortunately too hot to dance for more than one or two songs at most, so I feel like maybe we could of gotten away without having had a disco! It was nice seeing all the requested songs though when they returned their RSVPs.

As the sun had begun to set it had become a lot cooler outside so it did make for a nice escape, and I think most people stayed outside from that point on. We took some more group photos, and generally chilled out with each other.

I then had a bit of a sudden panic that the light wouldn’t be good enough for photos of Kiba and I on the bouncy castle together. We did it anyway, and although the lighting wasn’t perfect we got some decent shots. I struggled to bounce, my legs went to jelly on me, and the few times I was caught in the air I think was all down to Kiba double bouncing me! We then got our two on with us which was a lot of fun. I think that is the  only time we’ve actually had a proper family photo shoot. I really, really wish we had of done these earlier on when there was better light, as the lack of light does effect the quality. Alas, it was my own fault for leaving it so late, I shall just have to plan a family photo shoot in future.

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From then on it was more of the same, relaxing and enjoying each others company, having a dance on the dance floor, playing, drinking gallons of water. People slowly started to leave as the night went on. The youngest kids started to get tired and it was clear they weren’t going to last much longer. My Mum was cuddling Taya when Bon Jovi – ‘Always’ came on, this was the song she had requested as it was her and Dads wedding song. My niece came over and asked me to cuddle her, so there we were, both with a small child bobbing and swaying to Bon Jovi as the little girls slowly got heavier. They literally fell asleep within seconds of each other and it was such a lovely little moment. My niece is 7 months older than Taya and living in Germany this was actually only the 2nd holiday we’d been together in the flesh, last time being a year previous and she wouldn’t even acknowledge me, so this was definitely a special moment. I handed her over to her Mum and amazingly they managed to lie her down without her waking. We did attempt to lie Taya next to her (imagine how cute of a photo that would have been!) but she promptly woke up!

I remember taking a moment where Kiba and I sat out on the bouncy castle in the dark, looking in on the party, it felt so surreal that our special day was nearly over, and was lovely to just be us for even just a few seconds. By 11 we were all done, everyone was absolutely partied out. Due to not having enough seats in our car I told Kiba to take his family home first, which left just the kids and I with the staff at Whitwell Station, one of them being a good friend, so we had a natter as we reflected on the day. I helped tidy up and sort out what we were taking home and what would wait until the morning. Logan suddenly remembered his football was still outside so he trotted off with one of the staff with a torch to go and find it. Kiba got back at half 11 to pick us up.

We got back home around midnight, and for a moment we just sat in the car. Taya was fast asleep, everything was quiet. A hedgehog ran across the road just ahead of us. I managed to carry Taya in and pop her in bed without waking her up, and got Logan sorted too. When I returned to the kitchen we were asked if we’d open our cards and presents, as Kibas sister and her family were leaving the next day and didn’t want to miss us doing so. The first present we unwrapped was a hedgehog house! So very apt after just seeing one. We also got solar lights, a personalised rainbow word art print, tickets to Thrigby Zoo and a very generous amount of money. The cards were all lovely and very much appreciated. It was about 1am when we finally collapsed in to bed, I was very, very sore, but ever so happy.

We were every so lucky to have had such a gorgeous day to celebrate on, and have amazing family and friends who wanted to celebrate with us. Thank you ever so much to those who helped make our day special (blog post coming soon!), to those who took the time to come and celebrate with us, and those who thought of us on our special day. And if you got this far, then thank you too!

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So much to do, so little time

Hello! I am still here, promise! Everything just seems so chaotic at the moment. Do you sometimes feel like you have a million and one things to do to fit in to a small amount of time? Yea, that’s me currently. No excuse really to fall off the wagon, but I have every intention to step right back up. I do try and keep more updated with posting photos on Instagram so make sure you’re following us there for the time being. So, what exactly is it you’re doing that makes you so rubbish at doing blogs you ask? Well, Suppose now is a good time to tell you.

First off, Birthdays. Logan recently turned 7 and Taya turns 3 very soon. Plus other family and friends around that. I find searching for presents ideas etc a very time consuming task, mainly as I’m so, so indecisive. We like to stretch our celebrations out and make it extra special for the children. Logan turned 7 on the 7th of June (Did you know that’s a golden birthday?) which was a school day. He took sweets in to school, then had his friends round for dinner and cake. On the Friday we went to the park afterschool. On the Sunday we took him for his first cinema visit to see Jurassic World: The Fallen Kingdom. It was awesome by the way. So yea, now planning Tayas!

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Secondly, Photo editing. I am still majorly, incredibly behind in editing and sharing my photos. I’m still in January in fact, and are you aware of how many photos I actually take?! I love the taking the photos part, I love the sharing of photos, but my gosh editing them is just so tedious. I do apologize, there are a lot of people waiting on photos of themselves, their kids, pets etc. I will catch up eventually. Maybe if you lock me in a room for a week I may make a dent?

Next up, German lessons. I once again fell off the wagon with this one. Then last week I suddenly panicked a bit that all Mr Heberlings family would be coming from Germany and that I’ve forgotten everything I ever learnt. Alas, I haven’t it seems, and I know more than I like to think, but it’s always good to have a refresher, and hopefully it’ll make it all a little less awkward. This time I’m going to continue with the lessons. Promise.

Most importantly, I’m getting married in less than 5 weeks! Whereas to start with I was so relaxed with the planning, I got to the point of, oh, I better hurry up and sort this all out. I was a scene of calm while everyone questioned me as to why I hadn’t sorted things out. I think I have most major things either sorted now, or they’re currently in the hands of being sorted by someone. One thing I can tell you is that this is going to be one amazing party. I am so happy with how it’s all going, and although I am really not a party person and hate being the centre of attention, I am really looking forward to this. I do still have a lot of decorations to finish off. I’ve made what feels like a million origami wish stars, and am currently making pompoms. I can’t wait to share photos with you all, and I’m planning on doing a great big blog post thanking all the wonderful WAHM’s and small businesses that have helped towards making our big day special.

There are also many other little jobs and things that I have to fit in too, around the kids, around Mr Heberling, in between school runs and bedtimes, between household jobs and workout sessions, between play groups and play dates. Sometimes I do wonder if any of it actually counts as ‘me time’ but I’m happy with my somewhat chaotic life. I think I’d be really bored and fed up if I sat down and had absolutely nothing to do. Just a smaller to do list would be nice!

As a sorry I’ve abandoned you all, please forgive me attempt, I’ve got two photos to share from wedding preparations! Most of it is all being kept pretty top secret, but these will give you some clues to what the day may entail.

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Invites, RSVPs and song request cards. I KNOW there is a spelling mistake. It slipped past me and two proof readers, oops! I took all the photos myself using toys and items that we’ve got at home, all from Babipur and I absolutely love how they came out! In particular the actual invite. Bet you can’t guess what the theme is now, huh?

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I received the absolutely beautiful Gwawr rainbow for my birthday from Kiba (Again, from Babipur) and I just had to make myself a poster to match it. Seeing as we are going full on rainbow theme for the wedding I thought to myself, why not use it as a decorative piece? This quote was perfect and I love how the poster came out. I can’t wait to have this up on my wall, along with my alterative to a guest book. You shall have to wait a bit longer to see that one!

I better get back to photo editing now, maybe I can catch up before the wedding? Ha. That’ll be the day! Wish me luck…

10 Things I have learnt after 2 and a half years of Breastfeeding

Today Taya turns 2 and a half, which means I have been breastfeeding for 30 months now! If you’ve heard of the breastfeeding Boobie awards then that means I’ve been awarded my ‘diamond boobs with jade crystals’ and I have to say I’m pretty darn proud of myself. I’ve spent many an hour thinking about everything I’ve learnt while on this successful breastfeeding journey, stuff I had wished I’d of known when I failed with Logan, and stuff that I’d probably of liked to have known before feeding Taya. Not that any negatives would of put me off, but sometimes a heads up is nice to get you prepared! So here are my 10 things I’d like to pass on to others:

  1. Breastfeeding is hard work, and takes a lot of determination, patienceIt’ and perseverance. It may well be natural, and babies instinctively search for the breast, but it is a huge learning curve for both mum and baby. I’d advise anyone considering breastfeeding to research it as much as possible. Positions, latching on, feeding cues, signs of successful feeding, everything you can think of. Despite all this, no matter how much knowledge you take with you in to parenthood it is purely down to the strength of your will. It is not easy, but nothing ever worth doing is simple, you have to put the work in to reap the rewards. This was the hurdle I never passed with Logan, and the hurdle I was so, so determined to leap over with Taya. I can say that it took a lot of blood, sweat and tears (many, many tears!) but I wouldn’t change those first few difficult weeks for anything. I think it took a good 6 weeks to really fully grasp it, enjoy it even, but after that it’s fairly plain sailing.
  2. Everyone has an opinion. As with all other aspects of parenthood, everyone (and anyone) will have their own opinion about breastfeeding. If it’s really best, when you should stop, where you should do it etc. Becoming a parent forces you to become quite thick-skinned. Most of the time you just have to smile and nod, even agree. If only for your own sanity. If ever you feel that someones ‘facts’ or opinions are making you doubt yourself go and do some research or ask for support from friends/support group.
  3. Nipple-twiddling is the worst. When Taya discovered her hands nipping, pinching and pulling became a firm favourite, and my breasts took a beating. They’d be covered in little scabs, and it really hurt. I’d hold her hand but then she’d get frustrated. A fiddle necklace became helpful, but she didn’t take that much notice of it as I’d of liked. Then she started the nipple twiddling. Oh my days, it’s horrible! It genuinely makes me feel a bit nauseous. And she is obsessed. She has to have her other hand down the other side if she’s feeding. She’ll also often stick her hand down for comfort. It drives me nuts, but nothing stops her. I’m constantly moving her hand, or covering up the other nipple. Sometimes she does give up, other times, like when she’s very tired or grumpy she gets frustrated and it makes her want to do it more. On more than one occasion I’ve just let her get on with it as it’s just not worth the hassle. I’m guessing she won’t outgrow this one, so I’ll just have to find ways to cope.
  4. Washable breast pads are so much nicer. I went through a lot of disposable breastpads in the early days, and to be honest I think they irritated my nipples more than I thought. I wish I had swapped to washables a lot sooner. They may not always seem cheap, but they are well worth it. They’re a lot comfier and just bung them in the wash when you’ve finished using them. You’ll end up saving yourself a lot of money if you are a big leaker like myself!
  5. There is quite often an alternative medication. I see this getting asked a lot in the breastfeeding support groups on facebook. Often Drs or whomever say you can’t have a particular drug, but they are often not very informed. If you are ever unsure ask. Ask in support groups, or research. The Breastfeeding Network – Drugs in Breastmilk is a great resource with lots of information and fact sheets. They cover all sorts of drugs but also procedures, which I checked when I needed a colonoscopy. Sometimes these are handy to print out and take with you to appointments where you think you may hit a problem. If you can’t find your answer or are still unsure you can drop them an e-mail or use their helpline which is run by a qualified pharmacist who is also a BfN Registered Breastfeeding Supporter. It is an invaluable resource, and I’ve often mentioned it to Drs when talking about medication.
  6. Breastfed baby poo isn’t actually unpleasant. Okay, so this may not be universal, but I actually miss exclusively breastfed baby poo. After baby has passed the meconium it turns to a yellow, runny poo. Sounds gross, but actually isn’t all that bad. It’s most often got a sweet kind of smell and is easy to clean up. The only 2 downsides I ever found where that it did stain white clothes well, and that you do not want to get caught out when the baby poos without a nappy on… Imagine water soaker pistol but with yellow poo…
  7. Night time feedings may cause you to want to kill your sleeping partner*. Okay, that may be overreacting, although I’ve seen a lot of posts on Facebook support groups which lead me to believe this. It seems some mums don’t get the help they want and/or need. Oviously I suppose you could express a bottle for partners to help with the night feeds, but ultimately you should be pumping that missed feed anyway, so you’d be up no matter what. There are other ways a Dad could help out at night, but still, when you’re up numerous times in the night feeding the baby, at some point you will probably look over at your sleeping partner and think I hate you.** It’s inevitable, and perfectly normal, you’re not alone on that, but heaven forbid said partner then makes a comment on how tired they are in the morning.
  8. It’s okay not to enjoy it all the time. It’s often believed that because you made the choice to do something that you have to enjoy it. All. The. Time. Well you chose to do it didn’t you? True. However, it is more than acceptable to not like it all the time. As a parent do you enjoy every aspect of parenting all the time? No. Kids can drive you crazy at times, and everyone has a breaking point. At some point you will more than likely say “I can’t do this anymore!” and the best advice I can ever give is to never give up on a bad day. Every stage shall pass. The witching hour? It shall pass. The teething causing biting? It shall pass. The endless sleepless nights? It shall pass. The baby stage? It shall pass. In years to come it’ll all be a fleeting memory. It’s okay to not be okay with it. (Unless you hate it all the time, then I’d seek advice)
  9. Nursing Aversion is a thing, it’s unpleasant, but not your fault and more common than you think. This ties in pretty well with number 8, and I’m pretty sure most breastfeeding mothers will experience this at some point. Breastfeeding/Nursing Aversion can often make you feel guilty for even feeling it, so I think it is something that is often not talked about as much as it should. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed about it. Sometimes I just want Taya to not feed, it makes my skin crawl and I just want to pull her off. At times I can distract myself and let her feed, other times I have to distract her, to try and get her mind off “Baba”. As said before, breastfeeding isn’t always easy. It’s like a roller coaster ride in fact, it has its highs and lows. If you’re struggling reach out, there is always someone to listen to you and offer some help.
  10.  Women are bloody amazing! The female body, it’s something that is quite often underappreciated. Women seem to have this obsession in picking out their flaws, in wishing that their body was ‘better’. From a young age it seems drummed in to you to obtain a seemingly unreachable ‘perfection’. But seriously, how amazing are woman’s bodies?! They grow small humans, and that in itself is no easy feat. Then, they birth them, and whatever way they do that I think is incredible. A mother sacrifices that ‘perfection’ that everyone has perceived to be the ultimate goal to bring life in to this world. Then on top of that a woman’s breasts are all you need to nurture and nourish your baby for the first 6 months of their life, your body knows exactly what they need and provide it for them. Now that seems pretty damn awesome to me.

I’m pretty sure I could have provided more points, but alas, my booby-monster wants her ‘Baba’ and who am I to deny her? I don’t know how much further we will get in to our journey before the dynamics change or we stop completely, but I am glad we were able to have this experience, and right now, I don’t want to stop. It kind of feels a very definitive end to the baby years, and I’m not quite ready to let that go at this time. So for now I am very glad I can continue to provide her nourishment, comfort and much more.
*Whereas the thought may occur to some, I admittedly have never wanted to kill my OH, and I’m sure no one actually ever does. 

** I don’t hate Kiba, maybe in the heat of the moment where my hormones have been all over the place and I’m incredibly sleep-deprived I may suddenly think it, but then instantly regret it. He means the world to me and does so, so much for me that I could never hate him. I love him more than anything. You know, just sometimes everything gets to you and you do wish your partner had milk producing boobs too! 

TBTBlog – Logan in the snow

And we’re back for Throwback Thursday Blog! This week I’m feeling excited at the prospect of some snow. We haven’t had ‘proper’ snow here in a long while, a mere dusting every now and again, but I think the last good covering that hung about for a bit was in 2013. 4 years ago. That’s a long time. Where Kiba comes from in Germany, winter always consists of snow. Plus the cold. I remember when I spent time there for my first winter, and the day time temperature never got any higher than -10C! Now that was a shock to the system, but boy oh boy did I enjoy the snow! I’ll have to find you some photos for another TBT blog, although I did just find this one of Kiba taking a photo:

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Logan did see snow before 2013. In 2011 for his first Christmas at 6 months old we spent it in Germany. My parents came out beforehand for a visit, and then flew back home for Christmas. I do believe the snow had started to fall by then. We were flying home in between Christmas and New Year for a 2nd First Christmas with my family. As we got to the airport the snow was coming down thick and fast on top of a good layer already on the ground. Our flight was delayed, and we watched nervously as the snow continued to fall. After the plane was de-iced it turns out we were the last flight out, and then the last flight in to the UK, as the snow had begun to fall here too! Ours didn’t last that long though.

Fast forward to January 2013, Logan is 1 and a half years old. Snow begins to fall, and as it starts to settle, then accumulate, I think we all steadily got more excited.  We were living at my parents at the time, and they had huge patio doors, so I taught Logan something my sister and I used to do. Taking a cushion and lying down, looking up at the snow falling. It was always so pretty, and kind of magical, looking out for the largest snowflake. By the next morning we had a good amount, and the biggest child, Kiba, got let loose to go play while we watched from the warmth of the lounge!


It didn’t take too long to convince Logan to go out and have a play, and to inspect Daddy’s snowman! So we wrapped up warm and headed out, Mum meanwhile took photos of us from the inside, although I do believe she did come out with us in the end. I am also pretty sure we took the video camera out with us, so I shall have a dig about and see if I can find the footage for you all. For now, photos shall have to suffice!


I think Logan thoroughly enjoyed the snow, although was never overly keen on how cold it was! In 2014 (I think) my parents bought Logan a lovely green sled, and since forth it hasn’t really snowed enough to ever use it! Both kids would seriously love some snow. I lot of people hate the disruption it causes, but it really is remarkable, the joy it causes, and the sheer beauty of it. I’d love some snow! If we don’t get a good dumping this winter I will admittedly be disappointed. I remember the snow days and missing school to go and play, making snow angels. I’d be sad if my children won’t get that. In any case I’d love to go over and visit Kiba’s family next Christmas, or any after, as I know we’d definitely get some snow then! (And have I told you how amazing their Christmas markets are?!)

I know a few of my family and friends answers, but, who wants some snow?! There’s a weather warning this weekend for some, and I’ve personally got my fingers crossed! I’m guessing it’s something you either love or hate, what side do you lie on?

Keeping the tradition of St. Nikolaus

Long time no see, huh? Sorry about that, seems I had fallen off the wagon a bit. I’m hoping that I can hop back on and get right on track, but realistically that may not be fully until after Christmas, as I am sure you all know, Christmas can be a very hectic time! Actually, today’s post is Christmas related.

As most of you know, Kiba is German. Before meeting him I had never heard of St. Nikolaus Day, despite knowing of St Nicholas; his origins and becoming known as Father Christmas. If you look it up you find that over Europe there are a lot of variations of how people celebrate this one legendary man with a lot of names. Basically though, St Nikolaus or whomever you call him, comes to check on children to see if they have been good, and leaves treats if they have.

“Sankt Nikolaus is usually celebrated on a small scale. Many children put a boot called Nikolaus-Stiefel (Nikolaus boot) outside the front door on the night of 5 December. St. Nicholas fills the boot with gifts and sweets overnight, and at the same time checks up on the children to see if they were good, polite and helpful the last year. If they were not, they will have a stick (eine Rute) in their boots instead.”
– Wikipedia on Saint Nicholas Day in Northern Germany

I was introduced to this idea when I first spent time in Germany in December 2010, even though it is for children really, as I had never experienced it Kiba convinced him Mum that him and myself should get a little something. So we did. I got a cellophane bag filled with chocolate, and some money. Later when we picked up some of his siblings from Kindergarten I found out that even they celebrated, each child had a clementine. I thought this was a lovely thing to do, and knew I wanted to do it with my own children (I was pregnant with Logan at this point).

I don’t think we did it the year Logan was born, or even the year after, he’d of been too young to really understand, but after that Logan has chosen a pair of shoes or wellies to clean. He caught on quickly to chose the newest and/or cleanest pair to then pop somewhere for St. Nikolaus. We’ve never popped them outside as I’m sure with the weather here in the UK they’d of ended up soaked! Over the years he’s had a mixture of gifts, always a chocolate santa, some other chocolate like coins, and often a small present like a toy car.

This year both kids eagerly  cleaned some footwear and popped it out in the hallway. Once they were both fast asleep I split the chocolate coins, penguins and snowballs between them, and  both got a Lindt santa too. They were both up early and I heard many shouts of CHOCOLATE as they disappeared down the stairs with Kiba. Taya took no encouragement to dig right in, and Kiba had to confiscate her welly boot and bring them back upstairs to me! Unfortunately he left it within reach, so when I said they  could down while I got dressed (Kiba had left for work at this point) so as I came down the stairs I was greeted with a very happy toddler stuffing her face with a chocolate Santa!

When Logan was in Preschool I mentioned it to them, hoping maybe they’d look in to it and adopt the tradition themselves. They never did, but maybe I should have been more forthcoming and outright asked them? I’m too shy for that I think. However, that preschool closed, and is now run by a Montessori Preschool, which Taya will eventually go to when she turns 3. I think they’ll be quite happy to offer a clementine to each child, but we shall see. It’s actually kind of scary that that is only a year away.

I love having our St Nikolaus present as a family tradition, and it’s a perfect way to get the kids excited for Christmas, for the impending arrival of der Weihnachtsmann, Father Christmas, Santa, or whatever name you like to call him! I’m going to write another post all about some of our Christmas traditions, so look out for that, and in the mean time, tell me about the traditions you have in your family? Or between friends?

This is Halloween! (’16)

Boys and girls of every age, wouldn’t you like to see something strange? 

Come with us and you will see this, our town of Halloween

If you didn’t just sing that then please go and listen to that song, then come back and sing it. Okay? Good. This weeks #throwbackblog is going to be about last year’s Halloween celebrations for Team Heberling! 
I love Halloween. I’m not a fan of being scared, and I hate, hate, hate clowns, but generally I quite like all the celebrations. Kiba was the same, and when Logan was little he became a scare actor for a local attraction where he dressed up and scared the life out of people. I think he really enjoyed himself and I hope he can do it again one day. Logan likes the dressing up and the trick’or’treating which he has partaken in the past 2 years, but hates anything scary! A friend and I took him and a friend (plus siblings) to said attraction, the Dinosaur Park, albeit the daytime kid friendly version and he still got very spooked! Taya was scared of the dinosaurs but thought the Halloween decorations, including scarecrows, were great! 

Last year we had a go at pumpkin carving as a family for the first time. We didn’t go to a patch, just a supermarket (twice actually after Kiba and Logan loved the first two!) and then I got the job of emptying the guts, while the males gagged in the corner from the smell! I chose 2 easy designs, one was actually Logans choice of a scary face, and Taya had a cat. Kiba went for more intricate, scary designs, but they all came out really awesome! With battery tea lights they looked perfect so we took them out for a photoshoot:


On the first photoshoot we found a nice secluded spot as the sun set, sorted the tripod out and got shooting. Taking photos in low light is not particularly easy. We were next to the road in the growing darkness, the kids thought it was great, so we attempted to get them in some shots as well. Shooting small people who can’t sit still in very low light is very, very tricky. We did manage to get a couple shots we were happy with though.

By the time we packed up ready to go home we already knew we wanted to get some more photos done the next night. So fast-forward to dusk the next day and we headed to some local woods dressed up!

I felt a lot more comfortable doing this shoot, mainly as the kids could explore as we weren’t by the road, but also I had a better understanding of what settings I should be using! 



This year I’m hoping to visit a pumpkin patch to get our pumpkins, Logan is very excited and I hope he chooses an easy design! I may let him lose with a drill, as that has a pretty cool effect. For all hallows eves trick’or’treating Logan is dressing up as a ninja, and Kiba has DIYed a Genji mask and sword, I shall share them with you on Halloween! I won’t be dressing up as I think Taya would be a bit upset. I’m not sure on whether to take Taya out at all, as she’s quite sensitive and often tells me things are scary this time of year with all the decorations out. We may just hide out at home, we shall see. Hopefully though everyone will enjoy themselves, as that’s the point, to have fun, and fingers crossed we can get some more lovely photos. 

How do you celebrate Halloween, if at all? 

Klean Kanteens – Why I love them, and so should you!

A few years ago I can’t say I’d heard of reusable non-plastic bottles, let alone Klean Kanteen. I, like many, many others had grown up having plastic reusable bottles, and as a parent you are bombarded with loads of different options. Different styles, different volumes, different colours. You get the point. But as a parent, I realized that despite being reusable, they really didn’t have that long of a life, especially with kids. They’d break or be impossible to clean. I’d end up throwing them out and replacing them with an equally disappointing bottle. After Taya was born I discovered Babipur. You all know that of course, as I am slightly obsessive. Through them I was introduced to the world of Klean Kanteen, who make stainless steel drink bottles and food canisters. My initial reaction was how much?! and I kind of backed away from them. I was a product tester for another company at the time and got asked to try another brand of stainless steel bottles. Taya loves hers, and although initially I was impressed it did have one of two bad points. This made me wonder back to the KK’s (Klean Kanteens) and I read more and more good things about them on Babipurs facebook group ‘Babipur Hangout’. Eventually I asked for my first one for my birthday.

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I got the 12oz Wide Vacuum Insulated Cafe in Neptune Blue. I instantly fell in love. Not only is it a beautiful colour, but it is amazing! My only regret is that I didn’t get a slightly bigger size. For tea it is the right amount, but I’d never say no to more hot chocolate! Being insulated it keeps hot drinks hot for 8 hours, and cold ones for up to 24, and no, that is not exaggerating! It really does keep them that hot, that hot in fact that you’re better off making it at drinking temperature, so you don’t scald yourself! (The outside doesn’t get hot in any way, perfect to have round kids!) In the summer, My mum took the kids, my friend and I, and we went and watched the Red Arrows perform at the coast. I made myself a KK of tea at just before 9:30am. I had a few tentative sips enroute. By the time we got to the coast, parked and walked a long way back to clifftops due to awful parking (thank goodness for my Pride Connecta!), watched the Red Arrows and then by the time we got down on to the beach it was 11:35. Picked up my KK and took a swig. My Mum look absolutely horrified and said “You’re not still drinking that, it must be cold tea now!” I actually laughed. Passed over the KK asking her if she thought it was cold. She burnt herself. She was absolutely amazed at how hot it had kept it, and my friend was pretty impressed too. I know I’m a bit mean at letting my mum get burnt, sorry Mum, but a lot of people just don’t believe how effective they are!

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Technically it says you shouldn’t have milk in there, but it’s perfect for hot chocolate! One clever mama has said she’ll be filling up her kids KKs full of hot chocolate on Christmas Eve so it’ll be perfect temperature by the time they wake in the morning. Now I think this will be perfect for any parents who may need a coffee or tea fix ready for that early start. It’s kind of perfect for any parent really, being leakproof it can be chucked in your bag or under the pushchair, and is a staple on any day out over the winter for me!

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In the summer it keeps drinks cold too, so just as good for days out in the summer too. On Sports day I even put ice lollies in for Taya and her friends to have while the boys ran their races. I did have to cut them to fit, and they had started to melt, but I reckon with a slightly bigger KK and some ice they’d be perfect for taking icy treats out and about.

Lots of people use theirs to get takeaway drinks, I don’t as I can’t afford it mainly, but just think of all the cups you would be using then chucking away if not? With this, it’s just a simple clean where you take the lid apart, and then it’s ready to use again and again. All in all, if you are considering an insulated KK, don’t dither, just get one!

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Since my first KK I then wanted to get a reusable water bottle. I didn’t want to keep buying plastic bottles of water when out, so I asked for one for my birthday. I couldn’t justify an insulated one, although that would of been awesome, but I asked for the 27oz classic loop in tidal pool. It compliments my Neptune perfectly colour wise, which suits me to a tee. It has been great for days out! Kiba and I will generally share it, or use it for backup when the kids run out of their drink. With the loop cap it means that I can use a carabiner to  attach it to the pushchair when I’m using it. I’m normally quite bad at drinking enough, especially on days out, but this has helped me stay hydrated and remind the kids to also drink!

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I soon realized that I’d love the kids to have one each. Although I was a bit nervous at how rough they are with their belongings, I was getting sick and tired with how dirty Logans got, and how utterly impossible they are to clean. I haven’t made the jump with him yet, cost has prevented us so far, but my awesome friends got Taya her own for her 2nd birthday. She was gifted the Kid Kanteen 12oz Sippy, in school bus yellow, which is such a gorgeous colour. Taya is used to a 12oz bottle, so I wasn’t worried about the weight, as they are a bit heavy when full (be mindful of toes, Taya dropped her other stainless steel bottle on her toes and it hurt, a lot!) but as she was used to the straw on the other would she take the sippy spout? Nope! She downright refused it. I was slightly heartbroken to be honest. I then remembered I had a spare sports cap lid, and although it isn’t recommended for under 3’s I gave it a shot and…

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…Tada! She still prefers her other bottle, but she will use this one. And so will Logan, so I know he’d love his own. He has asked for one, and I really do want to get him one if budget allows us too. I’d probably get him a slightly bigger one as he does drink a fair amount. Being stainless steel they do not retain any smells, or flavours, which is amazing, as I am sick to death of the stink from Logans bottles. I think these would be a lot more durable too, all plus points that are pushing me towards getting him one. Plus, wouldn’t another look pretty in our collection?

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I have a couple of other Klean Kanteen items on my wishlist, particularly the stainless steel straws. Again, they’re reusable and have a silicone tip, and although they may seem expensive, by cutting out the need to use plastic straws feels like a big win in my eyes, and I am sure the planet would be thankful. Plastic one use items are making the news a lot recently as there has been a shift in way people see them, they are damaging to the environment, and now we have that chance to make a difference. I’d highly recommend in to looking in to reusable products, maybe not necessarily Klean Kanteen, but although they seem expensive, they are so, so worth it, for your benefit and the planets. Team Heberling are very much Team Klean Kanteen here, as well as Team Babipur and like to think that we try our best to do the best for our kids future.

Hope you enjoyed the blog, feel free to ask any questions, sorry if I waffled on a bit, hope I didn’t miss anything out!

Autumnal Chicken Pox Adventure

Wahoo! It’s finally half term! 10 days with both my kiddies lies ahead, alas I’ve caught some sort of lurgy along with Taya, but, I have to make the most of both kids being home, so as long as Taya is up for it, and Logan doesn’t catch it also, we shall be having lots of fun! Hopefully! 

Talking of the lurgy links in with today’s #ThrowbackBlog going back to October 2014. Logan caught chickenpox at the end of September. He wasn’t happy, he was very itchy and wasn’t impressed of being housebound. As he started to scab over we decided we just had to get out, but obviously didn’t want to go anywhere that we could pass on the pox. So we visited both the beach and the woods, the fresh air did us all the world of good and it was nice for Logan to burn some energy off. Today’s photos are from our trip to the woods. I actually believe they may have been taken on Kibas birthday.

We’re really lucky in that we live in an area that has loads of natural landscapes to explore. We have heaths, woods, marshes, broads, beaches and many green spaces to explore. The particular woods we went to this day was just a short drive away, we literally parked on the side of the road and wandered in to the autumnal sunshine streaming down through the leafy canopy. 



Logan decided to take his (plastic) sword along, I can’t remember the particular reason, he could of been a pirate, a knight or maybe hunting Dragons or demons. He had a great time whatever he was doing. He mainly followed Kiba around, who I’m sure was looking for decent trees to climb. Logan mainly used his sword for the many, many brambles that covered the woodland floor. It made it slightly tough going, but to be honest we didn’t wander particularly far, and just let Logan have free reign to explore the area. 

After a while Logan found some charred wood, where it was obvious that someone had either tried to make a ‘campfire’ or were just burning something. Logan loved playing with the ash, and using his sword to cut in to the softer wood, breaking bits off. He was getting pretty filthy as you’d expect, but as he was enjoying himself we let him get on with it. We’re fairly relaxed with mess as it is, everything, including clothes can be cleaned. 



He’s still pretty darn gorgeous whether picking his nose or covered in spots! I’m glad we took the opportunity to get out and grab some fresh air, you sure do get cabin fever when you’re stuck in with a sick toddler. I encourage anyone who has a kid with the pox, if they’re feeling up for it, grab some outdoor time, away from the public, you’ll all feel much better for it. When Taya eventually has chickenpox then we’ll be taking the same approach, sometimes you just have to blow away the cobwebs and germs! 

P.s. The photos have an older watermark on them, it’s actually logans footprint from when he was a baby! 

Orcas: The First Encounter

I’m going to set the matter straight away before I go any further. This is NOT going to turn in to a debate of whether or not these beings should be in captivity. This is a memory, do not tarnish it. If you really feel the need to know my opinion, ask, in a nice manner, I may tell. I respect your opinion, but please do not go telling people what they should think. Research, experience, then make your own mind up. Thank you.

~~~

This week, my cousins are sunning it up in Tenerife the lucky devils, and yesterday they went to Loro Parque, and throughout the day on my request, I was sent photos and videos of the sealions, dolphins and Orcas. I couldn’t decide whether I was loving the updates, or just plain torturing myself as I wasn’t there but so dearly wanted to. Anyway, you probably all know that I love, love, love Orcas. Always have done, and I’m sure I always will. They are my favourite ever animals, for so many reasons. If you don’t know what I am talking about then please go and google. I’ve decided for todays throwback blog I am going to tell you all about the time my heart exploded as I saw Orcas in the flesh for the first time.

It was 2005. November to be exact. The Christmas before our parents had surprised us with the trip to Florida, we had a little envelope with photos of the places we’d be visiting, and of course I’m sure I was almost crying when I held the tiny piece with Sea World on it. It seemed like a lifetime to wait until the day we flew out. I’d never been long haul before, and am a nervous flier, but knowing what was waiting for me the other end helped so much. I remember it actually took me a few days to realise I wasn’t dreaming and that it was a reality. Everything is a bit fuzzy now, I can’t even remember how many days we spent at Sea World. I’d of happily spent the whole trip there. If you’ve never been to a theme park then you won’t quite understand the atmosphere of them. I was there for the animals, I don’t like roller coasters or most rides. I was there for the orcas. Shamu. I was giddy with excitement the first day we went. I couldn’t quite believe that I’d actually be seeing one.

At Sea World, you can either see the Orcas during a show, which was The Shamu Adventure at the time, in the underwater viewing area, or by doing Dine With Shamu. Naturally we did all of them.

Walking in to the stadium, it’s sheer immense size, you’re looking down on to the pool. We chose seats close but not too close. (Mum or Dad may remember how many rows back!) It was still in the “Splash Zone” but my parents did not believe we’d get wet so far away from the water. I did try to warn them but it fell on deaf ears. Then I heard the ‘pff’ of an orca surfacing. My head whipped round, and there just in front of us was this black and white creature, so smooth looking, gliding through the water. I’m sure I cried. It was everything and more to be in their presence. I’d studied this particular group of whales, and vaguely knew how to ID them, but that pretty much went out of my head with just a few facts stuck in my mind. I also only had a disposable camera at that stage in my life, but I took some photos, not very good mind. I can only find a few of them, but will share what I took, and shall update the post if I find the lost ones.

PicsArt_10-12-10.11.44Photo: Preshow, who was watching who?

The show was amazing, personally I think it was better than ‘Believe’ which it had changed to before my next trips in ’07 and ’09. I remember there being a kayak involved, and a lot of facts and waterworks. If you don’t know, waterworks are where the trainer performs in the water with the whales, a practice that now doesn’t exist due to health and safety.

PicsArt_10-12-10.10.05Photo: I used to remember what this was called, but it’s impressive to see nonetheless.

It got to the splashing part of the show, and the big guns came out. Tilikum. I’m sure many of you know of his name, he drew a lot of media attention before his death this year. My heart still aches that I won’t ever get to see him again. He was the king. 22.5 foot long, 12,500lb in weight. He was spectacular to see perform, pure muscle. So when he came, and you were suddenly faced with his flukes (tail) about to send a ton of water towards your way, you knew you had no escape. My parents faces. The look of realization, they were about to be drenched, I was right. I’ll never forget it, it was hilarious. Sadly, as I hid my camera I didn’t get any photos of him myself that year. Following years I did, although I did a lot of filming as well, but I shall share with you another time if you’re interested.
PicsArt_10-12-10.08.16Photo: Takara, Kohana and Skyla. Takara was pregnant with who turned out to be my favourite little (not so little now!) orca ever, Trua, who happened to be born the day before or after we flew home! Typical. (I can’t remember what day we flew home) It made meeting, and interacting with him, in 2007 even more special though.
PicsArt_10-12-10.06.29Photo: Kohana on the slide out. She is one of the orcas that my cousin is seeing in Tenerife!
PicsArt_10-12-10.20.57Photo: A few more of the snaps I got while I was there. They’re very special memories to me. I just wish I could go back with my DSLR now!

We also got treated to Dine With Shamu. I shall have to go and raid my Mums computer for some photos really, as you can see the pure joy and excitement in my face. I barely took my eyes of the whales. Basically you get delicious buffet food and then the trainers perform an up close little show. This does cost extra, but it is well worth it in my eyes! Or at least it used to be, don’t count me on that for now! It was definitely a cool experience, and the food was really yummy too! Afterwards, at the end the trainers come round and you can meet them, have your photos taken and have a chat.

From the same pool that they do Dine With Shamu in is where the underwater viewing is located. I would honestly love to sit in there all day. My cousin and I actually did spend a large proportion of one of our days in there in 2007. In 2005 however we didn’t see as many of the whales in their as we liked. Obviously they have freewill and have a choice of pools to go in. We did see Tilikum and Taima though. Taima was gorgeous. She was also pregnant at the time, and didn’t want to play at the glass, but to just watch her swim, for her to be gliding past just the other side of the glass was enough. When you are that close you can really respect them, they are huge, powerful. Again, I need to raid my mums computer for photos!

PicsArt_10-12-10.03.48Photo: Taima swimming past. Another whale I can’t believe is gone. She died giving birth, and I remember just after I gave birth to Logan I was thinking (and may have asked out loud) that I hoped Taima didn’t die in the pain that I just experienced.

So there you have it. It was probably all just a babble, I just love Orcas so much, particularly the ones who I have seen with my own two eyes. You just can’t describe their presence, or their true immense size and power to someone who hasn’t seen them. They’re so, so amazing. I’d love to see them in the wild. When I went whale watching in ’06 the trips before and after us saw them, but we weren’t so lucky! Maybe one day I will. I also hope to one day get back to Orlando, or at least see some in one of the closer locations.