I’m a bit late writing this post but a few weeks ago we met up with some lovely friends of ours, Sarah from Run, Jump, Scrap and family, at National Trust’s Canon’s Ashby. Living a fair distance from each other we often meet up somewhere like this in the middle, and I can’t believe that the last time we went to Canon’s Ashby was a little over a year ago! We’ve met up at other places since then but still hard to believe it was a year since the last time we were there, playing in the autumn leaves. We were particularly excited to meet up with them this time as it was to be the first time that we met the newest addition to their family, beautiful baby piglet.
We got there a little early, and it was absolutely freezing! Thankfully we were all wrapped up warm and while LM was fixated on seeing the chickens, Monkey and I ran around having a bit of a leaf fight,before we headed to the cafe for a hot chocolate while we waited for Sarah and Co.
After warming up and having a little snack it was time to head out and explore the grounds, after the kids had a game of hide and seek with hubs that is!
The gardens are great fun and the kids loved running about, though poor Gremlin took a tumble and twisted her ankle which stopped the fun a little.
To warm up we headed into the house itself, and headed straight to the nursery which is set up with toys for the kids to play with. They had loads of fun in there and the gorgeous piglet woke up so we got to enjoy some cuddles with her.
We headed for lunch not long after and after some yummy food headed back outside for a play, adults and kids alike haha
Then the rain started. We headed into the priory in the hope that it wouldn’t last too long. The kids had a whale of a time chasing each other round the pews and generally messing with each other while us grown ups got to have a good old natter.
With the rain getting worse rather than better we decided it was time to call it a day. We had so much fun though as always and look forward to our next meet up
Last weekend we were headed to the Peak District to celebrate my aunt’s 70th. As it is a fair old distance for the kids in the car we decided to do our usual and break the journey at a National Trust place along the way. We chose Sudbury Hall because I heard it had a great play area and also because we thought that the kids may enjoy the museum of childhood if the weather turned sour.
On Bank Holiday Monday we met up with our very good friends Chris and Sarah (from Run, Jump, Scrap) and their gorgeous Gremlin. We chose to head back to the wonderful National Trust Stowe to see what it was like there in Spring and on the whole it was such a wonderful day. It was';t without it’s challenges though as was bookended by some pretty bad traffic and well with 3 under 4s there is bound to be 1 or 2 tantrums during the day isn’t there?
The day started off well and of a couple of different routes, we chose to go via Milton Keynes, as we thought it was the fastest option. Unbeknownst to us at the time however there was a marathon on and loads of road closures. We were making good progress and then, suddenly, boom. Road Closed. No warning, no diversion, not even a reason why. Just got to a roundabout and the A421 was closed. We followed a couple of cars down a different road that seemed to lead to an alternaye route but all roads leading from there were closed too. We ended up down a dead end and waited our turn to do a u-turn. Then a parked car suddenly reversed, crashed into the side of our car – and drove off! We just sat there in shock and disbelief but gathered our wits enough to note down their number plate and take pictures of where we were and what happened.
We carried on and with thanks to google maps on my phone managed to navigate our way out of MK and on to Stowe where we tried to put it behind us for a few hours! We were lucky that despite forecasts for grey clouds we had a lot of sunshine and it was really really mild. The kids had a lovely time exploring and we had a lovely picnic.
Monkey and Gremlin also had lots of giggles with bubbles and hiding under a picnic blanket together bless them haha.
There was a lot of tree climbing going on which was lovely but also tricky when the kids are so little and there was one or tantrums at this point haha. All good fun though!
We then came to a fantastic monument up a hill which the kids adored rolling down, climbing up, running down etc. We spent quite a bit of time here and enjoyed the sunshine and scenery.
There was one brilliant moment where Gremlin was trying to roll down the hill but not really pointing in the right direction. Her Daddy tried to help only to be firmly told “no Daddy I can do it” and I have to admit when she hadn’t moved a few minutes later I did think to myself “Hmm are you sure about that??” hehe bless her.
We were having so much fun that I decided to try and get a group shot of us all using the selfie stick and capturing a frame from a video. As you will see in this unedited video, it did not go too well haha.
Three uncooperative kiddies with four desperately encouraging parents! haha love it all the same as just makes me giggle, especially the Gremlin’s face!
I also loved trying to get a photo of all 3 of the kiddies smiling sat together on a bench… completely impossible haha
a compilation of the best 3 shots however, is gorgeous!
We had seen on the map that there was a cafe on the far side of the gardens so headed there. It was in one of the monuments which was so cool so we ordered and waited. Never fun keepung the kids entertained in those situations and the order seemed to be taking forever. So with stress levels rising we eventually asked what was going on, only to be told that there had been a power cut and they couldn’t fulfill our orders. Why they couldnt have told us that I have no idea! It didnt really make sense as hot drinks seemed to still be going out to other people so we didnt really get what was going on so eventually just got a refund. Thankfully we all had a few supplies left from the picnic to placate the kids and we started the walk back across to the entrance.
On that walk back it actually started too rain so maybe it all worked out for the best anyway. We eventually got back to the entrance, by which time LM had fallen asleep in the pushchair, and decided to make our way home. Thankfully LM transferred to the car easily and slept for another hour at least as the traffic on the journey home was terrible! A journey that should take a bit over an hour took over two so we were shattered and grumpy by the time we got home!
Still, none of that detracted from the fun we had with our friends. The police and insurers are on the case about the driver who hit us so hopefully we won’t lose out as a result of that either. In the meantime we look forward to catching up with Chris, Sarah and Gremlin again very soon!
A couple of weeks ago Monkey came down with Chicken Pox and though he is much better and his spots are nearly gone, it has been a bit of a waiting game to see if /when LM would catch them too. With an incubation period of up to 3 weeks, we knew it could potentially coincide with our weekend away in Yorkshire and after lots of um-ing and ahh-ing about whether to go or not we decided to go. And, well, what do you think happened? Yep she got poorly while we were away.
She had zero symptoms the day before and we thought that if she was coming down with it then she would probably have some cold type symptoms so got all packed up and ready. Woke up Friday and there was a few little spot like marks on her back but she was still fine and we were ready to go, so we headed off.
We broke the journey at the National Trust site Clumber Park. We do like to make the most of our NT membership and feel a stop off at somewhere like this is a bit more fun than just a service station. Shame the weather was wet and grey but we all had wellies and waterproofs so set off for a good explore.
We chose to do a simple walk as though we would love to walk around the lake there is no way little legs can manage it at the mo, not on such a quick visit anyway. So we explored the gothic Chapel, the pleasure ground and the lake.
Monkey also enjoyed exploring amongst the trees where he found an amazing den that someone had made.
For her part, LM was enjoying exploring and was still perfectly happy, and her usual, independent self.
We stopped for food at the cafe and enjoyed a view out the window and LM loved sitting on a big girl chair.
After lunch we visited the fab woodland play area where lots of fun was had. LM got cranky and it was nearly nap time so time to resume our journey North. There’s so much we didn’t get to see at Clumber, including an indoor play area but I am sure we will be back another time.
We headed to our holiday cottage in the gorgeous village of Hutton le Hole on the south of the North York Moors, which is such a stunning part of the country. The village is amazing, so picturesque with a gorgeous little stream running through and we loved the cottage we stayed in as it was so full of character (including some very low doorways haha) , had everything we needed and wasn’t too expensive either so we really want to go back!
We had a good explore of the village before heading out to nearby Pickering to buys supplies and have a fish and chips tea. LM wasn’t eating much which is weird for her but was otherwise fine. At bath time we noticed a few more spots but she was still fine in herself and both kids went down to sleep no probs.
The next morning however things took a turn. LM woke up at 4am really unhappy with a terrible high fever. She was suddenly covered in nasty looking spots and was clearly unwell. Cue decision making time and both of us feeling that we just needed to be at home for her. We obviously also felt guilty for coming away at all at this point but we really weren’t expecting it to get worse with such a bang.
So anyway we packed up and got ready to go home, while LM watched some TV and thankfully perked up with a bit if medicine. She even managed a bit of an explore around the village and a go on the trampoline in the garden. She is really not one to sit still!
We re-questioned our decision again but still felt it was time to go. She slept in the car for nearly the whole journey home (bar a quick stop for a nappy change and to put on her coat as she was cold) which just never happens, to sleep nearly 3 hrs in the morning?? We got home and she was still unhappy and slept for another couple of hours in her bed. Definitely the place to be.
So it was possibly the shortest holiday ever and a long way to go for such a short amount of time… But we did have a nice time and it was worth coming home to where she is most comfortable. She has been very up and down and has so so so many spots poor thing that have been really really irritating her.
She does seem to be a lot better now though thankfully so hopefully we are coming out the other side and hey we never have to worry about chicken pox again do we? Unfortunately since we have been back Monkey has also had a tummy bug so it has really been a week of poorliness! So that is my word for this week. Poorliness. Here’s hoping that everyone is well for Easter!
We love a good day out, and that is one reason why we love being members of the National Trust. There are so many places to go that are great fun with kids. It is even better when you have friends who are National Trust members too as you can combine a lovely day out with having a good catch up with friends.
Last weekend was one of those days as we met up with our lovely friends Chris (who hubs has known since he was a kid) and Sarah (who blogs over at runjumpscrap) and their little Gremlin at Stowe Gardens. The weather was thankfully kind to us and we had a really great fun day.
Enjoying the gorgeous scenery
Climbing the monuments
Generally having a nice time running about and catching up.
Important things to note if you plan on visiting Stowe.
There is quite a walk from the entrance and visitors centre to get to the actual gardens. They reckon 10mins at adults pace (if that) but with little legs this can take a lot longer so it may be worth taking a buggy, that way you can conserve their energy for when you are actually in the gardens rather than just getting there and back.
The paths are very accessible for buggies which was brilliant.
The cafe itself is at the visitors centre so bear that in mind if you are planning on eating lunch there and maybe think about eating at the start or end of your visit. Otherwise you will do as we did and basically get to the gardens then turn back again to get lunch then get down to the gardens again!
I think next time we will actually take a picnic (weather permitting) as there is so many lovely spots to have a picnic throughout the gardens and then we could spend more time exploring.
We really did have such a lovely time and the kids enjoyed having a good run about while we were nattering and it was nice to get out and enjoy the fresh air. It was so peaceful there too and really did me the world of good. I look forward to visiting in the summer as I imagine it will be stunning!
We recently arranged to meet some good friends of ours who live in Newcastle. Being a good 4 hours away from each other we like to pick somewhere halfway to meet up for the day so Yorkshire is usually where we head, and as always we do like our National Trust places for a lovely family day out. This time we chose Beningbrough Hall as it looked like there was lots to do and see with the kids, and indoor spaces as well as outdoor areas if the weather turned on us (it is November after all!) and it did not disappoint.
Although it was lovely and sunny when we left home, it got foggier and foggier the further north we drove which made the journey interesting! It was pretty easy to find but it was really funny as we were driving up the long drive wondering where exactly the house was and it suddenly loomed up out of the fog right in front of us!
We had arrived a little early and it wasn’t open yet so we headed to the little farm shop and cafe a short walk from the car park for a nice cup of tea and cake while we waited for our friends and chatted with some other parents with little ones. Our friends arrived and we headed in to the grounds, which are huge. The gardens were lovely, even on a gloomy day and the kids were loving exploring and basically having a good old run around after a couple of hours in the car!
I believe there are meant to be some gorgeous views….. but on the day we went we could only just make out some cows and trees through the fog! Still it was very atmospheric (Hubs feels that “bleak” is a more appropriate word haha)
It was lovely to catch up with our friends and meet their gorgeous new addition, look at these gorgeous cheeks! LM loved meeting her too and the older boys had a great time together again.
We wandered over to the fantastic outdoor play area for our picnic lunch and to have a play. It really is an amazing lay area with a hige fort, boat, house, loads of swings, a den building area and some trikes and bikes that you can use. The kids had an absolute whale of a time and the fact that it was wet and muddy really did not spoil their fun! I was glad they all had waterproofs on though!!After lunch we went into the hall itself for a look around. They have a lift which is very handy and small stroller buggies you can use as they ask big buggies to be left outside. As well as the more standard rooms and exhibitions they also had some fantastic interactive displays which were perfect for the kids. Because they had an exhibition on loan from the National Portrait Gallery of the Royal Family (which was fab) there was a portrait zone where you could dress up and set the scene to create your own portrait – great fun! There was also a fab playroom which the kids absolutely adored, of course.
When we headed back outside we had some lovely bubble fun and then some family group shots before it was time to head home.
We loved seeing our friends and as always the National Trust delivered a fab place for us to do so. Beningbrough Hall had so much to see and do and I really look forward to going back one day, hopefully when the weather is nice so we can see those gorgeous views!!
Last weekend we went out for the day to meet up with the very lovely Sarah from Run Jump Scrap and her family. Our husbands go back a long way and have been good friends since school. Sarah and I have met a few times over the years and went to each other’s weddings but living so far away from each other there wasn’t really a chance to get to know each other very well. Since she started blogging it has been great as I feel I know her so much better now and that we have a lot in common. We decided to meet up and with both being National Trust members chose Canons Ashby near Daventry as it is about an hour away from us both.
It wasn’t the most beautiful of days, being a bit grey and damp but at least it wasn’t raining and the autumn leaves brightened our day.
I always find National Trust places are great for kids and Canons Ashby didn’t disappoint as they provided us with a treasure hunt checklist of things to find. We had a good run around the garden ticking things off the list and it was great as it gave the kids a purpose while we grown ups were catching up!
The gardens were lovely and surprisingly blooming despite the time of year, adding to the gorgeous autumn colours. They were tiered giving gorgeous views of the surrounding countryside.
There was a croquet lawn which was the hit of the day, particularly with Monkey as it was a job to get him away from it! We grown ups had fun on there too of course!
The house itself was very grand though very dark, especially on such a dreary day. One of the favourite rooms was the playroom which had toys that the kids were allowed to play with. They all had great fun on the playhorse and Sarah’s Gremlin loved playing with what we thought was a rather creepy doll – as it had lost its eyes!
Monkey was chomping at the bit to get back to the croquet bless him and he played that some more with the daddies and Gremlin while Sarah and I caught up and I tried to stop LM from eating mud and stones! We eventually tempted Monkey away from the croquet with some running and hiding behind some fab bushes in the next garden. It’s safe to say we all had a lot of fun running around hiding and chasing each other!
Then with tired out children it was time to head home but we all had a very lovely time and will be meeting up again soon.
I love Autumn, I always have. All the gorgeous colours on the trees and the best days are the ones with a clear blue sky and a crisp feeling in the air. We have been really lucky I think with the weather so far this autumn and there has been some really glorious days. We are also really lucky where live as we are surrounded by trees and I love seeing all of the colour when I look outside or go for a walk.
Our week started off with a lovely trip down to London. We started in the east visiting some very good friends of ours in Bromley. Both of their kiddies are almost exactly 6 months older than each of ours so it is lovely watching them all grow up. We wrapped up and went for a play at the local park and the littlies had a lovely time… but unfortunately both the older 2 fell and hurt themselves, which led to Monkey having an epic meltdown which was a real shame.
Then we drove west to stay overnight with my auntie In Raynes Park. From there we went to Box Hill in Surrey to enjoy some gorgeous autumnal scenery. I remember visits to Box Hill as a kid and it was lovely to share it, and the amazing views, with hubs and the kiddies.
It was a glorious day and we had a great time exploring – though it is worth noting that many of the trails, including the Hill Top Stroll, are really NOT suitable for buggies. LM did not enjoy bouncing around all over the place and in some areas we had to carry it anyway as it just couldn’t get over the stones and tree roots so we gave up after a while and just carried her or let her walk. Some of the trees are magnificent though and it was also really fun walking past cattle which grazing on the hillside.
There was lots to do and we enjoyed a gorgeous bit of sloping hillside with magnificent views… though we nearly lost the ball a couple of times and had to run and catch it!
There are a lot of natural play areas to explore and a nature play trail… unfortunately we only just started on this route before Monkey fell and scraped himself on the logs, giving him a huge graze on his side. Bless him this led to another meltdown and in some ways I don’t blame him but he really is a drama queen as his meltdowns are the same for a tiny cut as a nasty one. Anyway he wasn’t much interested in playing any more after that so it was homeward bound.
Monday dawned very wet and miserable and with hubs having a crisis at work and me with PMT it was definitely a gloomy start to the week and I was honestly so grumpy, bored and just fed up. But I have decided to snap out of it and stop being so moany as I am so lucky to have the life that I have and wouldn’t want it any other way.
So the rest of the week has seen some lovely autumnal strolls with the kiddies. Now LM has some proper little boots to walk about in that keep her feet dry in the wet grass we are able to get out and explore a bit more on foot. We don’t get very far as she is fascinated by every blade of grass but still it is lovely to see her wandering about and enjoying the fresh air.
Finally, on Thursday LM and I visited one of our favourite local farms (Sacrewell Farm). A neighbour gave us a voucher that expired this week so though it felt weird to go without Monkey I decided it worked better for the two of us to go alone, and actually, we had such a lovely time! She loved all the animals and really enjoyed wandering about and chasing the pigeons and even though it was a really wet and miserable day it was such a lovely morning. LM went through 3 pairs of trousers though with all her plonking on her bottom – I have ordered her some waterproof trousers and they will come in very handy for the rest of the autumn and winter!
So there we have it, a very autumnal week this week and now I have got over myself and stopped acting like a mardy teenager I have really enjoyed myself. How has your week been?
Whenever we go on a long car journey we generally try and find somewhere to stop off along the way for a run around and have a bit of lunch. On our journey down south for our Dorset holiday we looked at a few places around halfway and settled on Basildon Park near Reading – partly because it was a filming location for Downton Abbey (we very much enjoy the show), also because we have National Trust membership and it looked like it had some lovely grounds for Monkey to have a run around.
The house didn’t disappoint, though smaller than some (which, obviously, doesn’t make it small) it was still very grand and had some gorgeous rooms. We rarely go round inside but couldn’t resist seeing the rooms Downton was filmed in and were allowed to take some piccies.
The grounds were very lovely too and what made it really perfect was the fact that they have fantastic ball runs dotted around the grounds. Upon entry you pay a couple of pounds for a tennis ball and put your name on it. Then as you go exploring you come across various different ball runs throughout the park, which really are great fun.
The first was in the woods on the way up to the house. It is worth noting that there is a fairly steep walk up to the house from the car park which included a few steps that we carried the pushchair up.
Then there are various in the grounds, I loved these ones made out of big old logs and tree trunks – as did Monkey! He had great fun running backwards and forwards and putting the balls down holes and working out where they would come out.
This big long one was brilliant too and Monkey had so much fun chasing his ball down and trying to catch it at the end. He managed a spectacular fall at one point though, literally going down head first (:() thankfully he was fine though and carried on running after a brief cuddle from Daddy!
There was also a great ball run which was perfect for older kids which had various bits and bobs so they could assemble it themselves. A bunch of kids were having great fun with it and had made a fantastic ball run which Monkey loved testing out – and once again, chasing his ball down to see which way it would go!
For her part LM enjoyed having a wander and watching her brother running about like a loony
It was the perfect little stop off on our journey and Monkey had so much fun that I actually wsh we lived nearer so we could revisit the ball run which will be there all summer. It is definitely worth a visit if you live nearby!
Regular readers will know that we were on our hols in Yorkshire a few weeks back. We stayed in a lovely barn conversion just outside Thirsk, which was the perfect base to explore lots of wonderful places.
First of all, we headed west to Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal Water Gardens near Ripon. We have some very good friends who live up in Newcastle and we had arranged to meet up with them while we were staying “up north” and Fountains Abbey seemed like the perfect place. It is a National Trust place which is perfect for us as we have membership and it is huge too which means lots to see and do to keep the kiddies entertained!
We started out at the West Gate which is nearest the Abbey itself. It is not the main entrance but friend is heavily pregnant so I wasn’t sure how far she would want to walk, as it was she was fine but it was still a good place to start.
The Abbey is incredible and ginormous! It is so sad to think that the abbeys are ruined by choice. After being basically bankrupted, monks were forced to leave the abbey, and then the monarchs ordered the roofs to be removed so that they could never return and the abbey fell into ruin.
It was a beautiful sunny day, though pretty freezing at the same time unfortunately. We all had a great time exploring the ruins, then when it was time to feed LM we got out the bubble wands and let the boys run around in the sunshine chasing the bubbles.
We then had a lovely wander, following the stream towards the Studley Royal Water Gardens which was created in the 1700s. They really are magnificent and beautiful and a lovely place to explore.
After a little picnic we carried on all the way to the lake at the opposite end, where we saw a Swan’s nest!
By this point we were all so cold and very happy to see a nice little tearoom where we could go to get warmed up. It was really lovely and I have to say they had the nicest baby change room I have ever been in. Even after a bit of cake both toddlers were getting a little tired by this point from all of the running around and exploring, so we started the long walk back towards the abbey and our cars.
We had a lovely lovely day exploring both the Abbey and the Water Gardens, but there still bits that we didn’t get to see so we will definitely return one day to see more. It was a great place to go and visit with so much to see, and the perfect spot for us to meet our friends.