We did something a little different for Ollie’s birthday this year… most years he has a party where all his friends are invited and a small family party at home too but this year when given the choice between a party for friends or a trip camping, he chose camping. Nate hadn’t ever been camping and Ollie hadn’t been camping for a good while… I’d not camped for about 4 years. We were so excited!
Ollie had to go to school on his birthday so we opened presents before he left in the morning. This year his most requested presents were inline skates and a real life tool kit. That’s what he got. He was so excited and immediately asked if it meant we could go skating together. The tool kit we got was Red Tool Box which makes real usable tools but for kid sized hands. He can’t wait to get started with them.
Birthday brekkie was pancakes with syrup and sprinkles…
…and then he went to school while James and I tidied the house and packed for our camping trip.
We headed straight to Bloody Bridge in Newcastle when we got Ollie, weather was lovely so far albeit a little windy, we found a lovely spot, pitched our tents and the kids ran around like they’d never known freedom before while I started a BBQ for Ollie’s birthday dinner.
We had chicken kebabs, pork chops, hotdogs, BBQ corn on the cob, mushrooms and sweet chilli chicken fillets. James told me I brought too much food, but almost everything got eaten in one sitting. There was cake for desert. I made a quick chocolate chip cake with chocolate fudge icing before we left the house and decorated it with chocolate stars in the shape of a ‘7’.
After dinner and cake we had a small fire and toasted marshmallows and made smores before it got windy and chilly and we got into the tent.
The boys fell asleep really well. Ollie was sleeping in the small tent with James and I was sleeping in the larder tent with Nate. Everyone slept better than I did… I got myself terrified imagining what all the noises were outside and the wind was crazy. I saw 3 o’clock and then managed to snooze a little.
The next day we decided to head to Tollymore Forest Park which is really nearby after braving the campsite showers. The weather was being a butt though and we weren’t sure if the rain was going to go off at all but after waiting in the car during a downpour for half an hour, the rain stopped and we got some lovely sunshine to enjoy a dander through the forest.
Tollymore is one of my favourite forest parks and it brings back memories of when I was a kid. I haven’t been in a very long time. There is so much to explore there.
After Tollymore we headed to Mourne Seafood Bar for lunch where Ollie got mussels, James got chowder and chilli squid, Nate got langoustines and I got langoustines and thai mussels. It was all so good and I loved that they bring kids a half plate of anything from the adult menu. We then made our way back to base camp to hang out/ snooze/ read/ play.
Dinner was along the seafront in Newcastle. We got chips and sausages and tried to not get blown away haha! It was lovely and peaceful and the sun was out the entire time.
Back at camp the boys made some friends with a family who had arrived that day. They both make friends so easily… there is no strangeness or anything, just an urge to get stuck in a play together. We did colouring in, played zombie dice, played Battleships (one of Ollie’s birthday presents) and lit the fire again to toast the remainder of the marshmallows before bed.
When the boys went to bed, James and I climbed into the car to eat treats and play games until we were tired… James then left to sleep in the tent while I stayed put in the car. I figured I’d get more sleep there than my previous night of just a few hours.
Sunday morning, we didn’t shower or anything… we packed the car and headed home! Everyone loved the trip but being home, in comfort, is good too and Ollie got a chance to play with some of his gifts.
On Monday night we had the usual birthday tea party crowd over. It’s always the same group of people, every year, for both Ollie and Nate’s birthdays and Halloween parties… so it’s lovely that everyone knows each other by now. We made spaghetti bolognese, pizza, garlic bread, cocktail sausages and lots of sweet treats. Ollie had requested a ninja cake and beamed when we brought it out to him all lit up. That grin reminds me every year why I make their cakes myself. That grin makes the cake decorating stress so so worth it.
I say it every year, but I feel so lucky and happy to know the boys each have so many loving people in their lives.