I make no secret of that fact that we like to get out for an adventure, whatever the weather… But I have to admit that the weather forecast for this weekend tested even our resolve! Grey, rainy,snowy and freezing… We did debate our sanity ever so slightly but after a chat over the breakfast table, the kids were adamant that we go so go we did, to somewhere we hadn’t been before, the Walled Gardens at Easton, just south of Grantham.
I saw some friends had visited last year on Facebook and thought it looked lovely, so had a bit of a nosy. When I saw they had opened for one week in February to show off their snowdrops, I was determined we would go for a visit. I have to admit I had hoped for a perfect winter’s day with blue sky… But sadly that was not to be on the day we had earmarked to go. So we wrapped up and donned waterproofs and it was off we went.
Even on such a bleak day it was still obvious how lovely and how well cared for the gardens are.
We loved having a good old explore, and LM particularly loved the giraffe statues… She does love a “gi-rar!”
And the snowdrops certainly didn’t disappoint!
There is a a lovely little hut in the gardens, which would be a lovely place to sit on a summers day… And was a lovely place to escape the drizzle for a few minutes!
We had a lovely lunch in the tea rooms of jacket potato, baguettes and warm soup to thaw us out a little, then, after a tantrum about wearing her coat it was back outside to explore the rest of the gardens. I loved the fact that they provided balls, hoops and even quoits to play with and we certainly put them to good use!
Then it was time to come home and thoroughly defrost ourselves and snuggle in the warm. We had a wonderful day, though with some serious tantrums and feistiness from our madam alomg the way… Though I doubt any outing would exist without those from her at the moment!
I was so glad we braved the weather, though, as we really enjoyed ourselves, and I look forward to. Coming back in the warmer months, hopefully on a sunny day!
A little to the north of where we live is a little known nature reserve, and a place that I love, called Hills & Holes. It is the site where limestone was quarried to build Peterborough cathedral, and quite simply this left the area with lots of hills, and lots of holes!
I know it sounds a bit odd but honestly I love it there. I have so many awesome memories of running up and down all the hills and in and out of the woods there as a kid. Hubs did the same with his family too so it is a place we have always said we wanted to take the kids, and finally it feels like LM is old enough to start to enjoy it, so with some rare sunshine forecast on Saturday morning, we headed over.
Monkey could not get his head round what we meant when we said we were going to Hills & Holes, and he was even more confused when we pulled up in one of the few laybys that class as parking on the edge of the village and walked through a little gate. But as soon as we got in and he saw the hills, well he was about as happy as a 4yr old gets at the prospect of an adventure!
It’s difficult to see in the pictures just how hilly and undulating it is… but I’m sure you get the idea!
I was so proud of LM as she did so well walking up and down some of the seriously huge hills holding Daddy’s hand… Though her little legs definitely got tired after a while and she needed a carry the rest of the way.
At some times of the year there are sheep in some areas of the reserve. We wandered over to say hello and they were all staring at us and being quite friendly. But then when we carried on walking they started following us, which unnerved LM a bit bless her. We were a little perplexed and turned back to see the ram push his way to the front of the sheep and start stomping his feet at us! We weren’t really sure what to do at that point other than calmly but swiftly carry on our way. They all followed us, with the ram leading them, though thankfully at quite a distance, for some way until we went through a gate into another section of the reserve. I have to admit that I’ve walked through herds of sheep a number of times but have never been confronted by a ram before. What should you do in that situation?
Anyway, after that little bit of excitement, as LM was needing to be carried we were getting a bit tired (carrying a toddler up and down hills soon becomes hard work!) so headed home. We had a lovely time though. I’m so glad the kids are old enough to start to enjoy it now and look forward to going back many more times over the years for some fresh air and a run around!
Things you need to know about Hills & Holes.
Hills & Holes is on the edge of the village of Barnack, just to the south of Stamford, Lincolnshire.
Parking is in a few laybys on the road between the reserve and the village itself.
Dog’s are welcome but there are signs up when sheep are in the reserve to let you know they need a lead.
It is not remotely buggy friendly or even accessible so if a little one isn’t big enough to walk themselves then they will need to be carried!
No toilets or refreshments etc. of any kind.
If you live nearby have you ever been to Hills & Holes?
I love being a member of the National Trust and love a good family day out at a National Trust property. We’ve visited quite a few now but my favourite has to be Belton House. I remember visiting as a kid so there are lots of great memories associated with it, but it is even better now if anything. It’s just a stunning place to go, whatever the time of year, and there’s always so much for the kids too.
I’ve been itching to go again so this half term my Mum and I took the kids for the day and had an amazing time. As we got close to Grantham up the A1 on the way there a heavy fog descended and it was decidedly grey and chilly when we arrived so we popped to the fantastic stay and play cafe for some tea and cake first.
My word of the week this week, is Holiday! We have been away with my parents and the kids for a lovely family holiday at the good old British seaside resort of Skeggy :). Well, to be precise we have been staying just outside of Skegness, in Burgh Le Marsh in some beautiful holiday accomodation at Jockhedge. I will write some more detailed posts when I get the chance but here is a quick summing up of what we have been up to over the past week.
We started off with just our little family and, as always on our journeys we try to stop at a National Trust place for a break, and I have been dying to see Tattershall Castle with the kids for ages so we aimed for there. It was a beautiful day and we had so much fun. It’s a fab perfect castle and they put on some fab activities for the kids which were really brilliant.
Then we explored our gorgeous holiday cottage and the fab facilities on site.
Sunday was set to be another glorious day weather wise so we headed to the coast, As it was bound to be busy at Skeggy itself we found a quieter beach a little further up the coast, at Anderby Creek. What else can I say but that it was stunning. Absolutely beautiful, and the kids adored it. The tide was going out which meant there was a little creek between the sandy beach and the sea, and LM adored this. There were some very stoney bits of beach too but as the tide went further out the kids adored playing on the wet flat beach and both kids loved splashing – though the sea itself was a little scary for LM!
Sunday night my parents joined us so Monday we all went into Skeggy. We had a very windy trip to the beach in the morning which was great fun but a bit chilly after a while, then we had a good round of Pirate Crazy Golf before hubs and I bought LM back to the cottage for a nap and Nanny & Pops took Monkey to the arcades.
Tuesday was miserable, there was no other word for it, the weather was vile. But we headed to the Aquarium in skegness, which was lovely but LM was teething and under the weather and well it didn’t make for the best morning! thankfully we did have some nice moments though and as ever she loved some puddle splashing.
Wednesday dawned wet again but thankfully dried up mid morning. So after some fun in the arcades we had another round of crazy Pirate golf. While LM slept that afternoon Monkey, Nanny, Pops and I walked to the windmill in Burgh Le Marsh itself, but unfortunately it was closed as we are a bit out of season. Still we had a lovely walk on what turned out to be a glorious afternoon, then had great fun playing out with the kiddies in the evening.
Thursday the weather was beautiful so it was back into skeggy again. We were perhaps a little over eager and got there very early when it was far too chilly,so we had some gorgeous hot drinks and cakes at a fab little cafe before heading to the beach mid morning when it had warmed up a little. It was still pretty windy but there was great fun building sand sculptures and flying a cool pirate kite then going for an ice cream.
On the whole a fabulous but pretty exhausting week! How has yours been?
For me the best thing about easter isn’t the chocolate, it’s spending time with family and celebrating the arrival of spring by spending a lot of time outdoors. So that is primarily what our our Easter has been all about… With a few treats thrown in.
After all the illness we’ve had lately with both kids having chicken pox, and Monkey and I suffering with tummy bugs we were a bit worried it was going to be a bit of a washout but thankfully we were all miraculously well and able to enjoy the weekend.
We kicked off with a day out with my family to one of my favourite National Trust places, Belton House near Grantham. The weather was incredible and we had a wonderful day.
It was seriously busy and sadly my older brother and his wife got stuck in traffic getting in, but they did eventually arrive and even though it was so so so busy, because it is such a huge site it didn’t feel too busy. Other than the queues for the restaurants! We were pretty lucky in that I had been to the play and ride cafe as soon as we arrived and got a timed ticket to get in, then a big enough table vacated as soon as we walked in which was really fortunate.
We had plenty of space to explore, climb trees, run around chasing bubbles and playing aeroplanes. We sat and had ice cream in the sun and partially completed the easter hunt, though gave up when we saw that the queue to collect the egg afterwards was absolutely ginormous and in our mind the chocolate wasn’t worth the queue!
Oh and yes the place is seriously stunning so I had to get some pretty shots too.
That night my aunt, who had come up from London for Easter, stayed with us and we had a lovely evening. The next day we took her to the local farm that we are members of. It could not have been a more different day weather wise and was windy and bitterly cold! Still we had a lot of fun completing the easter hunt there and we even met the easter bunny! Not that the kids were too sure about him haha. We had a bit of fun in the soft play then headed home for lunch.
After lunch it was time for a bit of a team effort making some easter nests. It’s a proper easter tradition for us and the first year LM could take part, though she was shattered and needed to go for a nap before we had finished. Monkey really enjoyed it though.
While LM slept that afternoon Monkey had some fun with some of the crafts and activities pound land kindly sent us to try out, and I was very grateful for something to keep him busy as I was shattered! We had already done some of the other crafts earlier in the week and I was impressed at all they have for a pound! *
Easter Sunday itself was a bit more of a normal day for us. We went swimming in the morning and then our neighbour popped in with her kiddies for a bit. After lunch we did a the other of our Easter traditions and we put on a little easter hunt for the kiddies. Because Monkey loves treasure maps I made a simple map of the back garden and made a trail for him to follow before having to dig for his treasure! He loved it!
LM sort of went along for the ride but didn’t really get what was going on I don’t think!
After LM’s nap that afternoon we headed over to hubs’ brother Andy’s house for a roast to celebrate his birthday and easter. It was lovely to get together all of hubs’ family too and we had a lovely time. Hubs bought his brother some star wars lego which the boys all had great fun building that. LM had fun with all of her relatives too and very much enjoyed a ride in Aunty Julie’s wheelchair while she rested having cooked us all a yummy roast.
Monday was the most relaxed day of all and we pottered in the morning and made a roast for lunch. My little brother aka Uncle Marky joined us (sadly Aunty Fran was poorly and missed out) and played with kiddies and had a good catch up. More like a normal Sunday I guess, with laundry and little jobs that needed doing etc. Just what we needed after a busy few days.
I’m painting a picture here that is filled with sunshine and smiles and to a certain extent it is true and we have had a happy weekend. But it has also been difficult with toddler tantrums from LM and major threenager meltdowns from Monkey. They have been overexcited over tired and over chocolated (not a word I know but seems to fit :)). We barely buy any treats (only for the nest making and treasure hunt) but our lucky kiddies have lots of adoring family who have given them lots of treats. I have drafted a post about the over commercialisation of Easter (as I was having a rant moment) but I am not sure about sharing it. I am instead choosing to remember the happy moments of a lovely easter spent with our lovely my.
I hope you had a wonderful easter too.
*Poundland provided the craft materials free of charge for our use over Easter.