My birthday and bluebell hunting

It was my birthday at the weekend, and it as a very lovely birthday. It’s difficult as you get older, to know how to celebrate your birthday sometimes. We thought about having a big bbq with friends and family round but in all honesty I couldn’t be bothered. I do love hosting things like that but it is a lot of work and actually, for my birthday, I didn’t want to do it. I just wanted to relax instead.

So on Saturday I left hubs with the kids, and popped down to London to see some friends. I was armed with a picnic and hoped the weather would be kind as I headed to Greenwich Park. As it turned out the weather was perfect, warm and dry but not too hot either, and I had the loveliest day with my girls, just sitting doing nothing but chatting. It’s so rare to do something like that and I enjoyed every second.PhotoGrid_1493101586890

I was home by 11 so it wasn’t too late a night and wasn’t too hung over the next day for my actual birthday.

Thankfully LM slept in for us that Sunday Morning so I had a relaxed start with tea and presents with hubs and Monkey. I had a nice hot bath and got ready while hubs sorted a picnic for our day out bluebell hunting.

One of the things I love about having my birthday at this time of year is that it is very much bluebell season. There are some woods not far from here that I have visited regularly over the years, but this year I wanted to try somewhere new. I saw that Brampton Woods were supposed to be nice, and are only about 20 mins away so thought we would try there.

Uncle Mark & Auntie Fran came with us, and well we weren’t disappointed. Almost as soon as we entered the woods we were greeted by some beautiful bluebells.PhotoGrid_1493101874151

I had read online the best spot to find the bluebells so we headed in that direction and wow it wasn’t wrong. There were bluebells as far as the eye could see, it was stunning and everything I had hoped it would be.PhotoGrid_1493101975270

We spent a while larking around and taking pictures and just enjoying the bluebells, then had a lovely little picnic before carrying on exploring the woods.PhotoGrid_1493102128232

There were areas in the woods where it almost looked like it was showing, or like we were in a misty swamp or something as there were fuzzy spores everywhere. Think like the seeds from a dandelion clock, but everywhere!PhotoGrid_1493103467704

We spoke to one of the rangers and apparently it is the sores from an aspen tree. Normally they get washed or blown away but because it has been so dry recently they are just gathered together. So it’s very unusual but was kind of cool and felt pretty ethereal. Even during our picnic there were spores flying around us, it a LM out felt like ash falling the scenes from avatar after home tree burned down. Even though it was quite cool I was glad to be in the non fuzzy areas again as it was just everywhere and it felt like you were breathing it in!

We had great fun and it is a lovely wood as it is so diverse, with open area, ponds as well as the more dense woodland areas.PhotoGrid_1493102559585

We had a lovely day and it was just perfect for my birthday :)

Hills & Holes, Barnack, Lincolnshire

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.PhotoGrid_1484575491854

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!PhotoGrid_1484574948014

It’s difficult to see in the pictures just how hilly and undulating it is… but I’m sure you get the idea! PhotoGrid_1484575419728

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?PhotoGrid_1484575642847

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?

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Mummy’s Crazy Countryside Adventures

You may have seen that we have been having a rather lovely holiday in Dorset. I wrote a post about some of the many fun things you can do with little ones while you are here, but I also wanted to share a few of our other adventures while we’ve been away. You see I love the countryside and I like to get away from the beaten track sometimes. I like the peace and am always on the hunt for stunning views. This can take us to some slightly crazy places, and well, because we are a little bit loony, we’ve come up with a song about these adventures.

(to the tune of Andy’s prehistoric adventures)
“Mummy’s crazy countryside adventures, come join the crew!
Come into the countryside but watch out for that poo!
Yeah mind the poo!
Mummy’s crazy countryside adventures, Mummy’s crazy countryside adventures! ”

Cheesy but it amused us! Anyway sometimes these adventures are wonderful.. Other times a little less so.

Our first adventure on this holiday was to see the NT site of Eggardon Hill, the site of an Iron Age Hill Fort. Parking was a layby on a “roman road” opposite a footpath. We headed down the extremely overgrown, bumpy and long footpath and I know at times like these my hubs seriously doubts my sanity.PhotoGrid_1470458127743

But it was worth it when we arrived. It was so windy but oh the views! We were up and down the terraces of the Fort like mountain goats (or something like that) and well the kids loved the adventure of it all.PhotoGrid_1470458369570

I love seeing the kids run around and have fun amongst the long grass and wild flowers. We didn’t stay too long but we got some fresh air in our lungs to blast away the cobwebs and had a good run around.PhotoGrid_1470458710162

Our next adventure was another NT site, to see the chalk giant of Cerne Abbas. Monkey was hugely excited at the prospect of seeing a giant and when we got to the viewpoint he loved pointing out his legs, his willy and his nipples haha as you can imagine any 4yr old would!PhotoGrid_1470458965611

I wasn’t sure if you could actually get to the giant and I’m afraid we didn’t manage it. We did set off but on this occasion had the buggy with us. We got part way up the hillside tracks until the path considerably narrowed and became heavily overgrown and you had to start crossing stiles. Much to Monkey disappointment we gave up, then turned into the village itself for a lovely wander past a stream and found a play park! Always a good find with little ones so all was not lost . PhotoGrid_1470459085476

Another adventure on our holiday, and by far the least successful one, was our trip to Maiden Castle, the largest Iron Age Fort in Europe apparently and an English heritage site. (All of these places are free to visit though). It was at the end of 2 horribly wet days, and we were all a bit stir crazy from being indoors. (The cottage we were housesitting in is lovely but very small to contain an adventurous LM who won’t sit still for 5 mins). The weather had dried and sun come out so we headed off. Unfortunately though as we arrived the clouds and misty rolled back in.

Unperturbed we put on our waterproofs and headed up the hill. To say it was windy was an understatement and LM hated it. She screamed her little head off and seemed terrified she was going to lose one of us as she kept going between the two of us and wasn’t happy in either of our arms for more than a few seconds at a time.PhotoGrid_1470459401963

We reached the top and in a small bit of shelter had a drink and she did cheer up a little so we went for an explore.PhotoGrid_1470459676810

Unfortunately though she just became more and more upset so we really didn’t stay long at all, which was a shame as Monkey was enjoying himself, and so were we, even though there was no chance of views. The screaming was awful though so we headed back down the hill, trying to avoid the sheep poo which was everywhere! This adventure definitely goes down as a fail as I have rarely heard LM quite so unhappy!

We got back and the kids had a great run around in the puddle by the cottage so at least the outing had a happy ending (until Monkey face planted the puddle and cut his hand, ouch!)PhotoGrid_1470459864795

Mummy’s crazy countryside adventures may have there ups and downs but on the whole I love them just as much as I love the more traditional touristy days out, and look forward to many more adventures with my little ones as they grow. (At least for as long as they put up with them haha).

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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