Let’s go Climb……….SnOwDoN!

So this is what happens when you invite your sister for a weekend adventure.

Brecon Beacons was the original plan, a nice hilly hike around Llyn Y Fan Fach and Llyn Y Fan Fawr; lakes and mountains, what’s not to like right! I’d got parking up for the night in Florence sorted; somewhere remote where we wouldn’t be seen, and the sound of us pissing in a bucket wouldn’t be heard. Piss. In. A. Bucket!! Turns out my sister was having none of it, needed at least the comfort of a toilet near by {suck it up buttercup}.

She’s a bit more ‘classy’ than me shall we say {not that I’m Stig of the dump you understand}. She’s used to the luxury of 5 star hotels and all inclusive holidays to places such as Cuba and the Caribbean. Not pissing in a bucket even if it is pink {it’snot, but I thought it might sway her}………..so the search was on for a campsite.

Have you ever tried finding an open campsite in December? It never occurred to me that camping in Winter isn’t a thing, but yeah, who actually goes camping in December? Van or no van! My search expanded and I eventually found a site in Snowdonia {it’s still Wales}. Ah what the hell, we’ll just have to climb Snowdon instead. I wouldn’t tell her there were other mountains or hills we could climb in Snowdonia. Ignorance is bliss. It’s still just putting one foot in front of the other just on a grander scale. It’s been on my bucket list for so long, hers too.

Imagine the views we could get.

We might even catch sunrise.

This was going to be epic {i’d even started thinking about Summit conquered photo’s}

She accepted the new plan {I knew if I said it quick enough she wouldn’t realise what she was signing up for}. See……… I’m the bossy one apparently. She knew I wouldn’t let her say no so nodded and smiled like a good big sis should.

Staying on a bossy note, she was given instructions to go buy some kit; warm and waterproof. Or at least water resistant. She was fine she said, she had a HOODIE!!

A fookin hoodie!

I ask ya!

Did she think she was going for a stroll in the park? I still can’t get my breathe! Bullied some more by her little sister, she dutifully purchased a coat that would keep the wind and a bit of rain out. I still wasn’t convinced but I’d go with it. I’m sure there’s a Cotswold Outdoor on the way!

That flippin HOODIE!

The weather got checked more than I can admit to leading up to the weekend, good job too as it was changing every hour. Would it be snowy on Snowdon? It was on Tuesday so we might be lucky. The weather can be good in the valleys but shitty as hell three and a half thousand feet up a mountain. Fuck it, we didn’t care! So long as it wasn’t going to blow us off our feet {cos that would just be dangerous right} Whatever happened, we WERE going to have fun! And a challenge.

A 3 hour drive on a Friday afternoon was all that stood between us. We loaded up the van and off we went. I was in charge of everything. Other than the hoodie!! Breakfast, coffee, tea and post hike fuel all packed. Along with Jelly Babies and protein bars for snacks en route. Oh and water!! Anyone would think we were climbing Everest. Honestly. Snowdon might be high but it’s actually not that long a walk. Roughly 10-12KM depending on which route you take. But it’s better to be over prepared ey!

Look how excited we are!
Best. Chips. Ever

You can’t beat a good road trip with good company and good music {thank god for all the tat i’d purchased for Florence} twice the phones to keep charged and twice the phones to play music from. Keeping our charge up became a military operation, leads all over the place, switching and changing and charging & arguing over who had the most charge!

Our bladders finally gave up at Betwys Y Coed {does this happen because your body know there’s a toilet in sight or is it actually real}. Plus nice food places and and…… and, a Cotswold Outdoor – we were like kids n christmas morning! So after purchasing mandatory kit – Rab coat and bobble hat for the sis and Kendal mint cake for me cos lets face it, is it even a hike without Kendal mint cake? You might as well just put your hoodie on and go for a walk in the park. And are you even outdoorsy without a down filled Rab coat! Fuelled by Pizza and the most incredible chips I have ever tasted, we piled back in Florence for the final leg of our journey.

It’s so freakin dark in Wales. Is it cos it’s Wales or just that it’s December and there is very little lighting on the roads. Full beam on, full beam off, on off on off and so it continued until we found our campsite. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love little Florence, but without power steering she is a bit of a beast to turn around and after having driven past the entrance, we were now looking for somewhere to turn around, in the pitch black. Preferable somewhere a double decker bus would easily be maneuvered! I get so anxious in such situations. A 3 point turn in a car ends up as a twelvety seven point turn in Florence. No cars following so we were all good and took a chance. Half hour later we were facing in the right direction {not quite half an hour but you get the jist}

Campsite was quiet

……….and very dark

Dark. So very. Very. Dark

but it had toilets for the precious one so we were winning.

It was windy and wet and being parked up by trees was not helping with the anxiety. We could of moved. I mean it wasn’t like it was busy, I’m pretty sure there was just us! I was going to make her use that bloody toilet every hour after the fiasco of finding somewhere, even if she didn’t want to I’d march her there under orders. I’m sure in the height of Spring and Summer this site is beautiful, and I can’t wait to go back and see it bustling with like minded people all eager to go exploring and start their adventures in Snowdonia. But for now it was spooky. Wind whipping through the trees and whistling around the van, knowing we were the only people there meant we would be first to be sacrificed if the zombie apocalypse was scheduled for December.

Strange how much of a laugh you can have in a van. On a pitch black campsite. In December, with nothing noteworthy to entertain you. The swivel seat was great entertainment for a while as were the fairy lights once i’d remembered I’d got them. We chatted and laughed, laughed a lot actually. Ate sweets and drank coffee. Forgot the beers & savoury snacks but don’t worry, it’s been noted! It’s a wonder we got any sleep, hyped up on sugar and caffeine, wind whistling around us and the thought of being taken by zombies. But we did. It was like a sleepover from our childhood and as we lay there snug in our sleeping bags, we still chatted and laughed. A lot.

We set off early the next morning to head to Pen Y Pass carpark before it got busy with mad idio……..I mean like minded adventurers like ourselves. We sat in the warmth of the van drinking coffee and eating bagels and porridge, whilst the daft fools around us set off in the hope to catch the sun rising between the mountains. It looked highly unlikely as I looked out the window of Florence into the gloomy damp morning. But, who knew what was going on three and half thousand feet up mountain.

Pyg track up, Miners path down, that was the plan. I didn’t want to go the motorway route {Llanberis path}, I wanted a bit of a challenge and variety. I knew it was doable but that there was going to be a bit of scrambling involved. Did I tell my sister…….nah, she likes surprises {honest}. So long as we didn’t end up on Crib Goch, we’d be fine.

It was damp, and very misty and I knew, the higher we got visibility would be poor. Did we even go for the views? Partly. But mostly to challenge ourselves and tick it off our bucket list, as well as a bit of sisterly bonding, and giggles. The path up disappears in places but luckily we were joined by a couple who were battling their way up too. Safety in numbers. We picked our way through the non existent paths and scrambled up and over the rocky sections, the whole time, the precious one saying ‘oooooh i don’t know if I can do this’.

Side note here – we are not useless females. We might not have much hiking or navigational experience between us, but we are fit. We both train at the gym and run, so fitness and strength was never going to be an issue. And this is what I had to keep reminding my sister.

I’m not sure I would’ve liked it had it only been the two of us. Not seeiing where the path you are taking is going to end up is quite unsettling. So long as we weren’t the only ones going that way I reckoned we were safe. It wasn’t difficult, just some tricky parts scrambling up {think we actually deviated from the ‘path’ at some points}. We met plenty of people who were on their way down all with different stories of what the weather at the summit was like. “Views for days”. “Hold on tight its blowy”. “Wet and cold up there.” God damn, I knew we should’ve taken the umbrella. Could’ve doubled as a walking pole too. On we trudged, then suddenly, it was like someone had opened a can of people.

Summit was in sight.

Actually no it wasn’t cos we couldn’t see bugger all. It was windy and very wet and there were now a fair few people battling the elements to get to the top so they could retreat to the calmness of the sheltered mountain sides. It’s the top of a mountain so I understand that it is exposed to the elements but jeez it was brutal.

Our summit photo wasn’t quite what I had in mind, neither was our celebration. A large group of men hogged the summit while we stood dithering waiting for them to move so we could get our moment of glory and self satisfaction. Some people are quite unaware of their actions aren’t they. As they passed around the beers and cracked them open, we just stood there hoping one of them would be polite enough to point out to the rest of the group that we were waiting to climb those final steps . At last!! They shuffled to one side so we could get our ‘we conquered Snowdon’ photo. I wanted a solitary moment of being the highest person in Wales & England, I didn’t want to share it with anyone.

A selfie stick and a soaking wet glove are not the best combination to try and take a photo with, especially when the rain and wind are battering you into submission. We weren’t hanging around, partly because of the elements and because of other folk awaiting their moment of being higher up than anyone else in Wales.

And so the decent started.



But feeling incredibly humble that we made it to the top of the highest mountain in Wales and England. Even if couldn’t see a thing around us.

Next time will be a right treat!

The miners paths is a long old way down and really hard work under foot until you get towards the bottom. We just wanted……i’d say the warmth of the van but its effin cold in there! No, we just wanted to be in dry clothes and get some warm food inside us. Stripping off soaking wet clothes in the confines of a VW T4, is not easy I tell you. Funny, but not easy. Not helped by the fact we were laughing so much. I’d laughed at the size of my sisters bag for one night away, but when she magically produced a towel I was very grateful! By now we were hopping around trying to remove wet clothes, not form puddles on the floor and not get the dry clothes wet. A logistical nightmare. I apologize now if anyone saw a boob or half a bum cheek……….doubt it was pretty!

So, Snowdon, we came, we saw {well kinda} we conquered. You were ace! Now to plan our next adventure!

Time to Reflect.

Testing the water……

My first adventure was not particularly fancy, nor was it big……..just me, my little car and legs for walking.

Back in October 2016 I thought sod it, I’m going away on my own. I was in an relationship at the time, with a guy who was going through a particularly tough time with his mental health. We’d started dating back in the Spring and things were looking promising, but it wasn’t long before the ‘Black Dog’ returned and ended up being the third wheel in our relationship. As his mental health deteriorated, my life got taken over by his constant need for my support. Doctors visits became trips to A&E, counselors and then eventually to the psychiatrists office. My summer holidays were spent driving backwards and forwards between our two homes {his being over an hours drive away} and basically being at his beck & call. What could I do? Threats of suicide and him wanting to run away couldn’t be ignored. Did I have a choice? On reflections maybe yes, but at the time he seemed to rely on me so heavily that I felt there was no escape, or if there had been, it could have had devastating consequences.

Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash

So 6 months into the relationship I felt I needed to get away and clear my own mind…….have some time to myself. To look after my own mental health, and get a grip back on reality and my life. The Summer holidays had been a complete disaster and every waking moment was spent worrying about him {and I’m not a natural worrier} so, I decided {selfishly?} to make the most of my week off work for half term and just bugger of somewhere. Sure I’d missed the best of the weather, but Autumn’s not so bad and so long as it stayed dry {fingers crossed} I was sure I was going to have an OK time.

I’d never been away on my own before so this was going to be a big step. I’d often felt I should just do something by myself but never been brave enough, maybe this was the push I needed………..maybe he was my ‘reason’ {a reason, a season or a Lifetime}.


You don’t need to go big or extravagant to have a real adventure, it’s ok to start small and build momentum along the way. You learn how to get comfortable, then you can build on your success the next time . It might be marmite, but unless you take that first step you will never know if escaping the mundane makes the mundane more bearable. Seriously, I had nothing to lose.

So……….let’s start small.

As kids we holidayed in Pembrokeshire and Devon; being from the West Midands I guess these were the easiest options and so I’d carried on this tradition with my own family when my children were small and cute! I could’ve picked the easy option and gone somewhere familiar and comfortable, and if you’re reading this and thinking of going solo for the first time, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, I felt a need to challenge myself {competitive by nature}, so somewhere new that held no memories would be an opportunity to create new ones, and somewhere I could revisit under different circumstances in the future………maybe? So I booked myself a room in a ‘pub with rooms’ in Great Massingham on the North Norfolk coast.

The room was booked!……I was doing this…….but moments of panic and self doubt set in during the weeks leading up to my small safe trip. The sensible confident me knew it was going to be fine, but the not so confident quiet me was telling me differently. I couldn’t help doubting myself…..it’s human nature right? I’m always preaching that the thought of doing something is always worse than the actual act itself; time to follow my own advice.

My mind was going crazy bonkers conjuring up all sorts of things that could go wrong, mostly on the drive over there……..I mean what would I do if the wheel fell off my car {highly unlikely} and what could actually go wrong? The chances of bad things happening are minimal, I just needed to get a grip and seize the opportunity. And if disaster happened, it would make a great story.

Great Massingham is a cute little village……….think Midsummer Murders! A church, a green, even a duck pond and obviously a pub. The Dabbling Duck, perfect for some alone time, a comfortable snug bar area and lovely cosy restaurant complete with log burner. I’d blend in no problem and I was sure nobody would even notice me. Either that or I would get mistaken for a ‘food critic’ and get the best service ever……..unfortunately I don’t think this was the case, the food and service however, were great.

North Norfollk has vast expanses of beach………I’m talking bloody massive and apparently {just found this out } it’s the only location in the east that has west facing beaches, therefore, the sun sets over the sea! Had I known this prior to my stay, there would be an epic beach sunset picture below…….but I didn’t……so there isn’t! Apologies to my readers and the Norolk tourist board!

My time was spent just wandering along beaches with my own thoughts. At times I felt like an utter twat being on my own ……. no child, dog or significant other which seem to be standard walking accessories, but it didn’t matter. I liked my own company and the fact I didn’t feel forced into making conversation with people. The skies in Norfolk are massive and the dry bright weather successfully magnified the fact…….yes, I know the sky is the same size no matter where you are but Norfolk is literally as flat as a pancake so no bloody great hills interrupting it, and with no bloody great hills, the view is literally just sky.

The trip wasn’t epic, I did nothing spectacular. I just put one foot in front of the other and wandered along. There were beachy beaches, a beach with a ship wreck, beaches with sand dunes and a beach with a forest. Some of them full of families making the most of their half term break and others with barely a soul in sight. I went on a boat trip to Blakeney Point to see the seals; it was rough out at sea and I can’t say that I was really enjoying it and I put on a good show for the 3 year old who also didn’t feel safe {I don’t travel well on water} but the promise of seeing the seals made it more bearable, I was just thankful that I hadn’t had time to eat beforehand………and no way was I risking taking my phone out to take photo’s, but I promise you I saw seals. And I wandered around small villages mooching in the tiny little shops thinking what a refreshing change it was not to be in a never ending shopping mall full of people rushing about and looking totally pissed off.

I loved my little room and it turned out I was comfortable eating on my own, just sitting people watching. Alone with my own thoughts and the fire crackling gently in the background. I had my phone as back up if I started to feel awkward and thankfully, if I remember right, I even had phone service, and I had a book, standard singleton accessories. But i didn’t need them, I was comfortable. Everyone was too busy enjoying themselves to even notice me, why I thought they would I don’t know.

So, I now knew that a) I liked my own company. b) wheels just don’t fall off cars and c) It’s ok to be on your own, nobody cares. I now had a thirst for adventure, to do more on my own, but when would I next get the opportunity? For sure I was going to make plans, but when would they come to fruition I didn’t know. All I knew was…….this is ok, I can do it……..more of the same please. And yes, the mundane is more bearable when you have a sense of achievement and a story to tell.

Thank you, I hope you enjoyed reading.

I’m interested to hear if you have embarked on a mini adventure on your own or if it is something you would like to do. Where would you go? Drop me a comment below, let’s hear your thoughts.

Visit my Links page for more information.

Take a Chance!


So this is where my real midlife starts……….with a home on wheels. Bear with me while I digress……

I’m a great believer in people coming into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime, and believe me, I’ve had my fair share of reasons and seasons. But I can happily say, hand on heart, mostly positive reasons and mostly through the wonders of online dating {maybe more on that in future blogs}.

I wanted a van, end of, and I was bloody well going to get one…….I’d treat myself for my 50th. It fit nicely with when I would finish paying the bank the money I borrowed for the car . . . . . . . .I could just ‘reborrow’ it, we’ll call it recycling {I’m all for doing my bit for the environment and if recycling cash counts then I’m in}. Plan made, all hunky dorey!! Then I went on a date, and as we got chatting over a glass of pop {the perils of driving to a date, but, safety first!} a seed was planted, ‘just have a look and see what’s about now’ he said, “no harm in just having a look” {no harm! Famous last words}. It would at least kill the curiosity and I could possibly find a bargain? Let me just say here that I have no luck, it’s not that I have particularly bad luck, its just that the luck gods always have their backs to me. So the thought of actually finding a actual bargain van that I could afford never occurred to me! No harm right, so I looked, at first a little peek, then I got well and truly stuck down the rabbit hole that is the internet. You know how it is, it draws you in, it’s like a challenge, a battle of wills and you can’t stop until you find exactly what you’re looking for {bloody google}.

In true woman style, I went against all the advice out there because, obviously I know best. . . . . . . . . .and wanted to buy the first van I laid eyes on. There were lots of moments of doubt and the guys at work got my whinging and whining and self doubt full force. Every lunchtime for a week, all we talked about was ‘the van’. I’m sure their encouragement for me to buy it was just to shut me up so we could get our lunch breaks back to normal! They were keen and knew it was a great opportunity, so for once I took their advice and took the scary giant leap of faith. Achieving your goal 18 months before your deadline is definitely a win and one to be dead proud of I reckon. . . . . . . . . Hoorah for the VAN! The luck gods were smiling on me at last, either that or I just didn’t give a flying fuck anymore {see. . . . . midlife, happening right there}. So, thanks to the kindly man at the bank allowing me to ‘recycle’ my money. . . . . . .she was soon parked up on our driveway and I had a big daft grin on my face {that lasted for days}

So for all those who say you can’t find love on Tinder……I kinda did, just not the traditional sort! I fell in love with a Van than came about via Tinder. Proof that Tinder can work out!

fLoReNcE is older than I would’ve liked, but so am I ! She’s loud and chuggy, simple & basic, but the living space is mint. I could now escape reality whenever I felt the need. Weekends climbing hills or roaming endless beaches AND free accommodation. But…….NO SAT NAV! or cup holder…..ffs!! Looks like me getting used to using Google Maps instead, so with a selection of tat from Amazon; phone holder, cables, usb lighter sockets and rather unstable cup holder, problem solved!

She wan’t Florence before me, she was just a big ol’ green van {think scooby doo mystery machine}. But she deserved a name, she was to be my sidekick and sidekicks need a name, I mean ‘Batman and the young dude‘ would’ve never worked. Florence just…..suited her I guess. Anyway, now the real adventures could start, my downtime could be spent planning adventures and studying google earth {anyone else get lost on that app for hours ?} for somewhere to sleep, and my sleep time dreaming of our road trips together. No more school holidays spent twiddling thumbs and redecorating just for the sake of it, going back to work listening to stories of peoples getaways and admitting to doing nothing and feeling totally let down by life.

For the best part of my working life at school I’ve kind of dreaded breaking up for Summer, having nothing to look forward to other than a rest and a lie in, a depressing thought. Don’t get me wrong, I have managed a couple of getaways due to the new lifestyle of ‘living with mom’, but nothing like what I had in mind for Florence and I.

Conscious Change!

I just need to get my sh!t together

2017 and the world, and life were passing me by, and all I was achieving was an extra candle on my bloody birthday cake {fire brigade on standby} and an ever growing list of places I want to go and things I wanted to try………….a list, albeit with no ticks! Most of my reasons for living a static life in the past have been financial; a single wage, rent and bills took most of my money, leaving very little to actually live with. I was surviving, just about head above water, some months better than others. I remember in the early days after my marriage break up, not even having enough money to buy bloody tampax {no pun intended}……period poverty was as real in 2011 as it is now. I cursed those 5 week months! Now I live with my mom, I have financial stability, more disposable income and a way out of the hole I’ve been living in for the best part of forever. Hoorah……I see the light, at friggin last!

Being single, I didn’t have to worry about fitting in with anybody else’s plans. My youngest born is an independent spirit who ping pongs between me and his dad, basically laying his head wherever is most convenient to him. And hats off to him for that, for not feeling like he HAS to share his time! He goes out when he feels like it and stays in when he has nothing else to do, doing god knows what in his room. I barely see him when we are here together other than when he’s hungry, so he probably won’t even notice when I’m not…………….other than I won’t be around to play teenage taxi! There’s buses, oh and legs, he has legs therefore can walk!! Marvelous! For 25 years I’ve been a mom, I know it never stops but for goodness sake there must be some respite? He doesn’t want to hang around with his mom I know I wouldn’t. He has his own groove to find right? Maybe it would be different if he was a girl, but he’s not so……..

So now I’ve justified myself, I can crack on with doing something that will make ME feel like I’m not wasting a life that I have been gifted with.

I thank social media, in particular Instagram, for my need and want to change aspects of my life. I started following the more adventurous folk out there, people who go out and seek adventure, in particular Alistair Humphries. It was the time he was championing the Micro Adventure lifestyle…………an interesting take on escaping the mundane I suppose. So instead of spending weekends prepping for your next working week, get out and explore……..go away, climb a mountain, walk up a hill, find a lake, go wild camping, go jump some waves, go for a big old walk somewhere different. In short, stop finding reasons and making excuses not to do something different. All sounds fine as a single man or if there’s a few close friends who want to join you, but what if you’re a single woman…………………….scary shit huh!


FEAR……..this is the single most powerful feeling that stopped me from pursuing all the things my head tells me I could do. Fear of looking stupid, Fear of feeling alone, Fear of feeling lost, Fear of feeling vulnerable, Fear of what other people think. Fear of it not working out. But like most things, the thought is usually worse than the actual doing! It’s one thing to be independent and crack on with getting your shit together as a singleton, but it’s scary business. As is the thought of spending a couple of days and nights in my own company, with just my head and all those thoughts, brain fart after brain fart interrupting the views…….who needs that!

Don’t believe every worried thought you have. Worried thoughts are notoriously inaccurate

Renee Jain

Get over yourself! What’s the worse that can happen………..you have a shit time……So what, you still did it!

All the beach

And so, I DID IT!

I recently read a great blog post about Fear on Quiet The Hive. Have a read, maybe it will inspire you as it has me! http://quietthehive.com/fear-serves-a-purpose-it-keeps-us-safe/

What stops you from changing aspects of your life? Fear? Finance? Family? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts/stories.