Jessica Rose Knowles Jessica Rose Knowles

Life in Cheltenham

This year when I decided to move to Cheltenham I was taking a complete leap of faith. I chose to move myself and Eddie during a turbulent time in the hope that I would create a secure and happy home environment for us. I never completely empathised with my parents until I became a parent myself – no one can prepare you for the decisions you have to make and the overwhelming responsibility.

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It might not sound logical to anyone that hasn’t found themselves in this situation, but I felt as though I let Eddie down this last year, myself and his father made the decision to separate and then when I was diagnosed with cancer I was too unwell to look after him alone. When I decided to move with him again, less than a year since we had arrived back from Spain I felt a tremendous amount of pressure to make it work; to provide him with a routine and a happy family life, to accept help when I needed it and to include his dad in that.

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It’s not always easy but Eddie started pre school today and I can honestly say – it was the right decision to come here, we are both so happy. Cheltenham itself is beautiful, there is literally nothing better than a sunny day spent in the Imperial Gardens followed by a stroll around Montpellier.

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Come rain or shine we can be found at Milkbar eating ice cream – my recommendation is the salted caramel chocolate, Eddie would say to go for the strawberry. If you’re not in the mood for ice cream then visit Swallow Bakery next door to Milkbar – they do divine salads as well as a whole host of beautiful cakes, sausage rolls and what can only be described as artisan sandwiches. If I’m too embarrassed to go and eat cake at Swallow Bakery for two days in a row, we go to Tea At Ten in the Suffolks – Eddie is partial to a scone; and it’s these little moments as he’s growing and speaking (non stop) and laughing (all the time) where I am at my happiest.

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We spend a lot of time with my mum who lives in Cheltenham and my dad who lives in Gloucester and when Eddie’s with his dad he spends his days with his older brothers. If being unwell has taught me anything it’s that family is everything – I want Eddie growing up with a large, busy family life.

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Spending so much time in Gloucester I’ve fallen in love with Gloucester Quays – there’s something so lovely about strolling around the docks – even on a grey day. For as long as I can remember, my dad has supported Gloucester Rugby and last week I donned red and went to Kingsholm to watch the first game of the season – it was the most incredible atmosphere made even more wonderful when Gloucester won.

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As soon as Eddie’s old enough I’m sure he’ll be attending games with my dad. So as I sit counting down the hours until I go and pick Eddie up, (I’ll take him to Milkbar for a celebratory ice cream), I’m reflecting on what’s been, at times, a trying but mostly wonderful year so far and I have no doubt the best is yet to come.

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Photos Archie Young (IG @archieeyoung)

(Gorgeous video of a day in the life of me and Eddie is available on Archie’s YouTube channel https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=46GSNrnCA5I )

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