Last weekend we finally visited somewhere I have wanted to visit for ages, Fineshade Woods, to do the Stick Man trail. Fineshade is about 20 mins from where we live and yet we had never been, bonkers! So with the sun shining we donned our wellies and headed off for a walk through the woods to rectify that.
Stick Man is one of Monkey’s favourite books so he was dead excited to follow the trail. He excitedly ran to each of the signs and was excited by every picture from the book. Hubs also used the opportunity to help with Monkey’s reading by helping him read the signs, which Monkey found great fun.
He also loved doing the activities at each point. I thought they were great too, building nests and towers and dens out of sticks! It was nice seeing those left over by others too and the kids had a fab time playing in a den left behind by previous explorers!
For her part LM adored exploring the woods and yep the mud. She was straight in to any muddy puddle she could find and was so happy! (She got covered though as you can imagine!)
On the whole we had a lovely time and lots of fun as a family. Then when LM’s welly got stuck in the mud and she stepped out of it covering her leg in mud we took as it a good time to end our visit and head to the lovely top lodge cafe for a hot drink and yummy food.
There are some fantastic play areas at Fineshade too and though we had to cut short our visit because of a very muddy LM we look back to returning soon!
What you should know about visiting Fineshade Woods.
Fineshade is easily accessible and well signposted from the A47 between Peterborough and Uppingham.
Pay & Display parking is in operation, £1 for an hour or £3 for the day, coins only at the moment so don’t get caught out!
You don’t need an activity pack to complete the Stick Man trail but it does add to the fun. The pack cost £3 and is available from the cafe where the staff are so friendly and helpful.
I have never been much of a gardener, and in all honesty have been pretty uninterested in becoming a gardener. That is, until we renovated our garden. Suddenly I really enjoy it! I don’t like weeding and I still don’t really know what I am doing but I do enjoy choosing plants and seeing them grow. Luckily hubs knows a bit more about gardening than I do so it is very much a joint effort.
Renovating our back garden was such a good decision as we spend a lot of time out there and it really is looking so lovely out there now. We just bought some beautiful new plants to inject some more colour and texture. We like to try and mix up things that flower at different times of year and are different colours to keep a nice bit of variety. (You can see the before and afters of the renovation here.)
Monkey loves the garden and he loves gardening too. He is great at watering the garden, with the hose or a watering can and he just loves to dig. We do have to stop him digging up plants as he can be a bit overenthusisastic sometimes! He loves helping though and is always happy to push bits around in his wheelbarrow too, little love!
I’m also really proud of him as lately he has gotten so inquisitive with bugs and beasties that we find when gardening. He so so loved finding some wiggly worms when we were digging at the weekend. just love seeing how happy he is to touch and explore them. He has picked up woodlice, ants, ladybirds and all sorts too.
I’m proud of myself too as I hate all these things and don’t like touching them but I try really hard not to share my fear with him. I really don’t want him to learn to be scared of things because they scare me, if that makes sense.
We really enjoy all of our time outside together and hope we can continue to for many years, and get LM involved too when we are less concerned about her eating mud and worms :).
It seems that Spring is springing into action at the moment doesn’t it? We have had some lovely sunny days and some have actually been really quite warm too which makes a lovely change. Saturday was one of those days, and with the sun shining, Monkey’s Chicken Pox clearing up and some bluebells to plant from Hub’s Dad we spent some time enjoying the sunshine in the back garden.
Monkey loves a good dig in the mud and Daddy likes to put him to work… though unfortunately he always ends up targeting plants rather than weeds and there is one that we are hoping has survived being attacked by Monkey’s trowel…
While Hubs and Monkey were planting I was doing a bit of pruning, dead heading and leaf raking that we didn’t get round to in the autumn (we aren’t the best gardeners in the world!) and enjoying the signs of spring. The crocuses and daffodils blooming in the front garden..
and the buds on one of our new trees (we got these in the sale in August, already marked down to £15 which we thought was a bargain they actually only cost about £8 each), this one looks like it is going to be beautiul once it is in bloom!
Then we had a lovely moment watching some Bees collecting Nectar from the crocuses talking about how Bees make Honey, was very cute!
With yet another week of illness (my turn now) I am hoping that Spring will bring some better health along with the sunnier weather so this week my word is Spring.
Not to far from where we live is Sacrewell Farm. It is a great child friendly place to go and I have blogged out it before. It is lovely but the entry price is a little expensive for us to be able to visit too frequently. Last Saturday they had an open day which meant it was free entry for everyone so they could talk about what was happening over the year. Well we couldn’t resist so we wrapped up warm and headed over.
Of course being a free open day, it was packed! They have an amazing play barn and we had hoped to have a play but there was a queue to get in throughout the day and we decide not to bother. It was actually a lovely sunny day and we wanted to make the most of it by being outdoors even though it was freezing and very, very muddy!
Monkey loved seeing the animals (even a pretend one!)…
though we all got a fright when he went to say hello to a goat, and it rammed the fence trying to get at him! It shocked us all but thankfully Auntie Ericha saved the day by telling Monkey that the goat was just saying hello. It was a bit scary but we know what Monkey is like for getting scared and that fear hanging around for a long old time, so it helps to persuade him that it wasn’t that scary really!
There is a little stream running through the farm and who can resist a game of pooh sticks? We have tried to do it with Monkey before but he didn’t really get it at the time. This time however he loved it!
So much so that he didn’t want to stop in fact and just kept saying all day “I know, throw sticks in river!” over and again! We have created a monster!! I don’t mind though, I have such strong memories of looking for sticks to play pooh sticks with as a kid! Such great simple fun
Now that the landscaping has finished in the garden renovation, we are starting to think about plants! Money is a little tight at the moment though, so as it was my birthday I asked people for plants and garden centre vouchers, and thankfully, a few people obliged, yay! So we popped out last sunday and bought our first few plants!
Unfortunately the the beautiful hydrangeas are actually a birthday present for hubby’s sister in law, lucky thing, it’s only unfortunate, because I am jealous of them lol! We did buy a hydrangea, but ours won’t flower until later in the year.
Anyway, we realised that before we planted them, we needed to dig over the beds. One is really full of clay, and another is a lot drier, which is slightly bizarre as they are all basically the same but hey ho. So Daddy, with a lot of erm “help” from Monkey spent a while out there digging over the beds, to combine the two a little, and then we will add some compost when we actually plant them.
Monkey had a lot of fun though and needed a good bath before nap time that day as he was covered!
As the clearance stage of Operation Garden renovation is over, and we are waiting for our contractor to start work on making the garden pretty again, we have been enjoying a bit of a rest from garden stuff. However the front garden has definitely been a bit neglected and is in serious need of some weeding and TLC.
So with the sun out on Saturday we went out for a spot of weeding in the warm weather. Monkey helped a bit too, though mainly he just played in the mud. We didn’t mind him entertaining himself though
It was good to see some soil around the plants rather than just weeds!
It was also lovely to have a good look at some of the plants. There were a few shrubs that we thought hadn’t survived after our long summer last year and the very wet winter, but to our delight even the most dead looking plants have got some beautiful green buds.
I love the little flowers on this gorgeous shrub too, Spring is well and truly here, hip hip hooray!!
Unfortunately we have quite a bit more weeding yet to accomplish but we at least made a good start. I’m just looking forward to my bluebells flowering now!!