On Wednesday we went to Cambridge, the famous university town. As always Sanaa’s trusty 4×4 (bugaboo cameleon 2nd gen) came with us. Cambridge’s reputation precedes it so I had high hopes.
The journey was so fast and straight forward it’s a wonder it’s taken me so long to go. From Brixton underground, we caught the tube to Kings Cross and from there we could get a fast train to Cambridge. It was a Great Northern train that got us there, I’ve never been on one before but they’re quite nice. The pushchair space also doubles up as wheelchair space too (only downside it’s next to the loos, they’ve got a baby change in them which sort of makes up for it) and can accommodate 3 pushchairs so a fun day out with friends and babies is easily obtainable. All together in less than an hour and 30 minutes we were at Cambridge station. All 3 stations had street to platform step free access, wahey that’s a first!
I had a browse around online for points of interest and things I might like to see but I didn’t really do much planning, so instead of heading somewhere straight away I decided to go for a walk. There were street signs pointing towards the university buildings and town centre so I just headed in that direction. About a 5 minute walk down the road and we came to the Cambridge University Botanic Garden. It £5.50 for adults £4.95 for concessions and under 16’s go free. As you can imagine there was a plethora of greenery. The fountain is a good place to remember because no matter how lost you get if you head back to it, you know the exits aren’t far. My top pick would have to be the Glasshouse Range, which are essentially deluxe open greenhouses. Each one comprised of micro plant ecosystems from around the world, it’s a sight to see! I’d say in hindsight, the botanic garden could have been my favourite part of the day but we got attacked by swarms of thunder flies, obviously it’s unavoidable; certainly it didn’t help that the 4×4 is so colourful I think the whole colony showed up.
Straight up the road with some local directions and the odd road closed due to works is the Fitzwilliam museum. My description of the Fitzwilliam museum is: if the British Museum had a younger sister which solely focused on the Old World it would be this place. There were loads of artefacts and collections, they allow photography if there’s no flash. The free entry is a bonus also they have different play packs to keep little ones occupied. For babies, they had a sensory mat with blocks and different textures. The guy at the front desk said we could use it anywhere, including near the open exhibitions it was nice to be in such a relaxed environment and Sans loved playing too. Alongside their constant installations they also have a few temporary exhibitions currently there are two to mark the 70th anniversary of Indian independence. For more information, you can find their website here.
After we left the museum Sans was fast asleep so I went for a stroll and ended up outside Kings College. It’s open to visitors for around £6 but if you don’t fancy paying most of the other colleges are free just check if they’re open for visiting the day you want to go. I can see why Kings charges for entry though, the architecture is so detailed and grandiose it almost has a magical feel to it. Coincidentally it was graduation day so all the students were walking out in their distinctive Cambridge university robes.
As Cambridge is quite small and everything is within walking distance there were only two things left to do on my list. A good friend of mine told me to go to Fitzbillies, a world-renowned bakery that’s been a staple in Cambridge since its doors opened nearly 100 years ago in 1921. They’re mostly well recognised for their Chelsea buns which have a distinctive syrup glaze. Of course, I had to try one and yep they’re as good as they sound! The decor of the whole shop feels like you’ve gone back in time its been preserved well. Fitzbillies also sell other cakes, sweet treats and have a full menu and an adjoining sandwich shop.
No more than 3 minutes walk west of the shop is the River Cam, where we were had a clear view of the Mathematical Bridge in Queens College and people punting along the river. I’m still not sure what you call the people who row the boats, in my opinion it makes sense to call them punters but apparently that’s not the correct term. So anyway, I’d have loved to take Sans on the river but the 4×4 simply wouldn’t make it on the boat.
Cambridge is a nice place and I did enjoy our time there however I found it slightly boring in comparison to my expectations. Possibly because Sanaa isn’t walking yet so most of the “attractions” had an understated effect. In addition, the pavements were mostly cobbled and narrow so getting around proved testing at times. Unless your aim is to go and relax not explore, I’d recommend Cambridge as a visit from London but a whole day was far too much time. The quiet was welcome nonetheless, just past our buzzing city it’s pleasing to know peace is near.
There aren’t any photos this trip because I forgot my camera and only had my phone which took DREADFUL pics.
NEXT STOP: Liverpool
BBB Travels are independent reviews by booksbabyandback.com
So I know in retrospective I shared with you how I found out I was pregnant and how it felt.
What I didn’t tell you about was the day after.
It was the most anticipated day of my year so far. I along with my boyfriends sister was off to see Adele, for my first ever concert.
In 2011 she released an album: 21. I was 17 I had just left home and had a pretty crappy break up (another story for another day).
On that album like 19 and like the rest of the world I was in awe, the songs resonated with me in such a personal way. It was her coming of age that struck me as so honest. Nevertheless, I was already a bit of a superfan not a creepy one though honest. When the day before the concert came, my life as I knew it changed.
I was 6 weeks past a mess and didn’t even want to go to the corner shop, much less to see Adele. I ended up going after all, my boyfriends sister is visually impaired and wouldn’t have been able to go without me. The news was so fresh I definitely wasn’t trying to tell her but she knew something was up.
I would have managed to keep it together for those few hours. However, Adele opened the show letting the audience know it was the 1st show on the tour her son had seen her perform. Along with talking about why she took a break from music. Her words were I had a baby.
She then went on to talk about how her start was wobbly, she had baby blues and had to figure some stuff out. I literally burst into tears. Can you imagine that, you’re finally getting to watch someone you idolise and their life experiences make you feel even more despair ?!?!?!? The water works continued on and off the whole show which was still as amazing as I knew it would be but my news had me preoccupied. That was only March 2016 and now a year later, with bundles of life experiences myself.
I get what she was trying to say. Life happened on a very primal level but because of that encounter I know myself better and I’m okay now.
I get it because famous or not some things are a rights of passage that you come out the other side and reflect on how much you’ve grown. Somehow, again with my boyfriends sister tonight the universe has given us a do over. We’re off to see Adele woohoo, I’ll probably cry again because of how moving her music is and because of how incredible the past 15 months have been.
Particularly because that night, I thought my life was about to be over when truly being a mum has been the making of me.
I can proudly say I’m okay now.
How much thought do you give to being thankful? I mean seriously carving time out and basking in the ambience of gratitude. Personally speaking, I can say I’m acutely aware and appreciative of all the good in my life. I can also say that I’ve never sat down and taken a few hours out of my day to focus solely on them.
Well that all changed last month! I went to an event and the best description I could give is, if meditation, happiness and gift swapping had a baby it would be Gratitude Circle!
The premise of the space is that you come and share all you are thankful for, along with all you want to be thankful for. Directing all of your energy into those thoughts through meditation under the soothing guidance of Aziza Francis.
Sharing such a pure and sincere experience. With people who had all come into the space, with the same positive intentions was a powerful thing. Particularly when living in London right now has so much caution attached it’s calming to pinpoint the rhythm of your own thoughts. Finally as a further thank you for being there you do the (surprise)gift swapping, I got some art work from Pearl Ivy and I gifted a leather bound journal. In the hope that preserving the words of someones life, will aid in the reflection upon their journey. I left feeling all radiant and full of optimism, it was the best 2 hours I’ve had in a while.
This was an independent review by booksbabyandback.com
Now we’re adults and we understand the world just that little bit more. Experiences have allowed us to feel and love with belief tantamount to happiness. Our little girl gets the most refined versions of us because we know what it meant when we were less. The days you’ve spent nurturing your individuality, so she knows and has an example of the good person you are is telling.
You wanted children more than I did, I always knew you’d be a good dad but you’re more than that. You’re the best dad and it shows how much you care. Getting up in the middle of the night to check she’s alive so I can sleep is something my dear. Taking a job that let’s you work from home so you’re around for all the firsts was so endearing. The logistics of how our madhouse works aren’t important because of our efforts we manage it.
As you always remind me when I’m having a “let’s plan the next 10 years so we’re sure life will be alright” moment, we have the rest of our lives ahead of us and we’ve come so far already.
The days after we got home from the hospital shell shocked and unsure of what to do. You said to me it’s fine we’ll figure it out together and boy we did. With the support from our really helpful family and friends we cultivated a family. May the idea that this is forever always remind us of the value in our jobs as parents. The responsibility we have interpreting the world for her young mind to absorb is one you take seriously with pride. In truth you’re not doing anything out of the ordinary.
You’re doing what you signed up for.
You’re being a man I respect and following through on your promise.
You’re doing the only task for which no preparation is enough.
You’re being her one and only.
You’re being her dad.
A bond which is incomparable, yet so necessary.
A lifeline which can alter a whole being. A dad and his daughter. December 2014 I began on a journey to fix what not having a present dad had done to me, that among other things. The influence of the lack of fatherly presence on my life is something I chose to “overcome”. It’s something I felt had never really affected me.
I’d never known any different, I’d always had pretty stable male figures in my life and family so what’s a missing dad, right?!?
If only it was that simple pregnancy taught me my “overcoming” wasn’t really over; My fears weren’t gone they were suppressed!
It didn’t matter to me the semantics of a two decade odd breakdown that I became a product of. What mattered was the outcome.
What mattered was that I was 22 pregnant and couldn’t imagine a future where we celebrated fathers day, all woke up under one roof, had family dinners and communicated as parents without the assistance of third parties. Reason being I had never experienced any of those things not even once. I was faced with a realisation, that I was the product of a broken home and as a result my belief in the family unit was also broken.
This wasn’t a question of good or bad people nor was it a question of good or bad decisions, it was a question of consequence.
Was the naivety that happy ever after existed a contributing factor to why happy ever after never came? Would it be my fear or his certainty that prevailed. Although it was only a few roads between our childhood homes they didn’t just separate us physically. They taught him family is everything and any sacrifice for the wellbeing of the collective is imperative. They taught him dads come home after work and tell you to listen to your mum. They taught me I have the most phenomenal godfathers in the world and my grandad is a bad ass even though he gave me my first drink of Caribbean rum at 14.