16 January 2014

OUR URBAN PLAYGROUND

Earlier this week we stepped outside into the first real frost I've seen this winter. We were met by neighbours dutifully scraping their windshields, condensation rapidly evaporating with each breath, beautiful and blinding winter sun shining down as we cautiously shuffled forward, slippery underfoot.

After being cooped up in the house for most of last week due to F being ill, I was determined to get a little fresh air and stretch my legs, even if it was only for a venture round the block. After a few moments of toddler stubbornness and F refusing to get up off the step, we left our street and took a stroll. I love taking walks, normally I love strolling through the woods, surrounded by the rich green trees or wandering shoeless along the shore, toes wriggling down into sand with every step, but there is something to be said about an urban walk.

For me it isn't just tree lined streets with fancy houses, set back with their beautifully presented gardens that grabs my attention. Often it is the gritty, unloved areas that are most interesting. Where plants push their way through paving cracks and spill onto the streets unnoticed,  small graffiti marks tucked away in shy places, left for someone as a secret. The strong contrasts of cement, tarmac, brick and cobbles wash together to create a landscape waiting to be discovered. Normally in these places we tend to overlook our surroundings, these bricks, the same as yesterday hold no importance when running for a bus or popping out to get milk. So to take a slow walk – toddler speed – and breathe it all in is refreshing. I am an observant person by nature and visually take a lot in: shapes, colour, light, but to visit it through a child's eyes in the morning sun was as lovely as the cool blue sea.

The trick to seeing all this beauty, the mix of green nature versus mankind's grey, is one word. SLOW. Who am I to rush this boy when he wants to peer into puddled water, green algae, decomposing leaves, painted hearts, tangled weeds, faded numbers? If I can not stop to appreciate the small things then how will I ever realise when the big things are standing right in front of me?


This is our urban playground. 
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48 comments

  1. Great post, and your right :-) love the no 4

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    1. Thanks, four is one of F's favourite numbers so we had to snap a pic of it :) x

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  2. It's amazing what we can see when we slow down :) I love an urban walk - did a 25 minute walk around my area as part of my project 365 last year - really makes you stop!

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    1. So true, when there's no need to rush or just by looking up or down once and a while, it creates a whole new world. x

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  3. I often think this with Wilf, so much of the time he walks so slowly and I need to just be patient and let him look in the puddles, or at the leaves in the bushes. Although the other day we walked back from nursery (which should take 20mins) and it took 55mins..in the rain! ha! x

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    1. I'm definitely not patient all the time, I would have probably picked up and ran in the rain ;) but I do like to do this regularly, walking with nowhere to go. I think it just allows them to figure out their world x

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  4. Very good post and fantastic pictures . x

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  5. Love the hat and your calm attitude. I'm trying to learn to slow down and let T stop to look at all the little things, like the cracks as you pictured. I can often be in such a rush to get to places when often, it doesn't really matter! I've found too that when I'm willing to go at her pace, she's more willing to walk. When I'm insisting we get somewhere, she wants me to pick her up or wants to get in the pushchair.

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    1. That hat is actually mine :) In fact he always insists on wearing my hats for some reason, I think he has a major love of oversized pompoms. It's so true, if I go at his pace he is so more willing to walk and he tends to comment on all sorts off things, which is fascinating. x

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  6. A lovely post, and it's so true you can find beauty in (almost) everything.

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    1. I'm a huge believer of being able to see beauty in most things, you just need to look for it x

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  7. Love the whole slowwww attitude, life needs to be savoured and enjoyed !

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    1. Absolutely, sometimes when you're rushing around you're missing the best bits x

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  8. i really should leave with more time to explore in future

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    1. Thanks a great idea, just adding on an extra 15 mins opens your walk up to so much more x

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  9. Wonderful photos and it's great to find your own fun isn't it!

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  10. In our case I think its the other way round! I'm so often urging Theo to slow down and walk as he's constantly rushing around, running and not watching where he's going! But we do love a little walk around the neighbour hood, jumping in puddles and pressing buttons, sometimes its great to get out and not have a purpose or somewhere to go!

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    1. Bless him, great that you guys get to go out and jump in puddles! F loves doing that x

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  11. Love the photos! You are so right. I rush the boy everywhere. I really need to stop that.

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    1. Thanks. I think it beneficial for everyone to slow down once in a while. I'm trying not to use my phone when I walk somewhere on my own. I'm so used to using that time to catch up with stuff that I even miss things. A new 'do' for 2014 x

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  12. So right about SLOW. It's the only way to go! :-)

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  13. love these pictures. My girls love a slow walk around, with no need to rush and the time to really look around where we are

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    1. Thanks, I bet you can find some real treasures when you're out and about. Great for their self esteem too as no one is nagging to hurry up :) x

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  14. What gorgeous photos. I love the cobblesones. You are right - there is beauty everywhere, if only we stop and take things in x

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  15. What a fabulous post. You always want to rush but they're so inquisitive aren't they. Makes you appreciate what's around you. Great photos too :)

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    1. Thanks. Their curiosity is endless and amazing, seems strange to think we all seem to loose the ability to see the little things as we get older x

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  16. What a great post...and gorgeous photos! I need to learn to slow down...with three children we always seem to be rushing from one thing to the other but it's true, there's so much to see around us. Very inspiring!

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    1. Thanks, I hope you all get to go out and take a slow walk soon x

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  17. How lovely! One of my tutors once told me we should always take time to look up, as we miss so many amazing things just be only looking at eye level when out and about and your post reminded me of that! Nothing like a walk with a toddler to remind you there is something new to explore everywhere, is there?

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    1. Definitely, he is always pointing out stuff to me and asking questions. It almost like going back to school and learning to see everything in a new light x

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  18. Such a good point, sometimes it's so easy to forget how everything is so new and exciting to children. I'm looking forward to when my little boy is older and can walk too, I feel like I'm always rushing my little girl around recently, mainly because he's so grumpy and starts crying all the time! x

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    1. Bless her. it's hard to slow down when they're not in the mood and we certainly don't get to do walks like this all the time. But I try to do a walk for the sake of walking at least once a week, carving out some time to mindful. When F was little, I used to push him around with an almost constant description of what was around me, and used to get a lot of funny looks x

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  19. I loved the easy pace of life when I had just one, and maybe two when #2 was tiny, but it seems that we are always rushing around now. Nice to be reminded (by some lovely photos!) how important it is to slow down :)

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    1. I can imagine it being more difficult when juggling more than one child, yet to experience that :) x

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  20. You're so right it's easy to forget to take time for the little things. Beautiful pictures.

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  21. So true! I love to go at my toddler's pace and it is so sad when I get comments from our neighbours like 'it's going to take you a long time to get anywhere at that rate,' as they don't realise that we are enjoying the journey and the moment. Lovely post.

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  22. I really recognise what you say about looking at your surroundings a bit more. I've trained myself to look up a bit more. It's amazing what you can see above shops or further up on houses if you just look up.

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  23. Love this! So important to slow down - for many reasons. The passion with which they become absorbed in things that we consider to be mundane is an education in being present.

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  24. I do love the occasional urban walk. It gives me a chance to be really nosey and have a peak in other peoples gardens ;-)

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  25. Great post and you are so right. We tend to rush around all the time, and I know we need to SLOW right down. x

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  26. Thanks for linking in with the #samedifference linky :)

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  27. Here here to slowing down. looks like it was a fab walk! # samedifferent

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