Snowdrops Week at Easton Walled Gardens

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.PhotoGrid_1486993192113

Even on such a bleak day it was still obvious how lovely and how well cared for the gardens are. PhotoGrid_1486993514477

We loved having a good old explore, and LM particularly loved the giraffe statues… She does love a “gi-rar!” PhotoGrid_1486993862252

And the snowdrops certainly didn’t disappoint! PhotoGrid_1486994037732

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!
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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! PhotoGrid_1486994665771

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!

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Babyfoote

My must-haves for getting out and about in winter

Brrr! Winter does feel a long old time doesn’t it? Dark mornings, dark afternoons and some days so grey that it barely feels like it gets light at all. So easy then to just stay indoors in the warm, but I’ve written before about how much we like to get out, even during the winter months as it really does us all good! (and, random timing, but I’ve just read an article in the news about how much kids need outdoor time for their development!)

But how to make sure that it is a successful trip? With happy little people throughout? Well I have a few suggestions of things to have with you to help keep the smiles despite the cold.

  1. Warm clothing. Lots of little layers and for us it often includes waterproofs and wellies. Waterproofs mean puddles are no bother and wet slides at the playpark don’t result in soggy bottoms! They also work as an extra layer and can help with windy days as well to stop the chill permeating.PhotoGrid_1486126285252
  2. If it is a fairly dry and mild day and we forego the waterproofs I try and remember to take some old tea towels with us instead. Just in case any of the swings or slides are still soggy!
  3. Food and drink. A bottle of water and some healthy snacks. LM is at an age where I am wary of her snacking too much as it stops her eating her dinner, however some dried fruit or cheese can prevent a full on meltdown on the way home! Biscuits work well too of course but I try and encourage healthier options as much as I can.
  4. Spare clothes. Depending on waterproofs etc. and I don’t worry about these on a short trip to the park but on a longer trip out we have spare clothes, socks and even gloves in case the first pair get wet or overly muddy!
  5. Something to inject some fun! Regular readers will probably know that I rarely leave the house for a walk without taking a ball and some bubble mixture. Kids love bubbles and a few mins of bubble chasing can (not always mind you, but most of the time) avert let downs or persuade little legs to walk the direction you want them to go! We also recently did a bit of a nature hunt with Monkey, which is great for slightly older kids and definitely kept him entertained while we were out! Fun can be impromptu though too as hide and seek around trees always goes down well, or a simple game of chase!PhotoGrid_1486126054629

That’s probably about it really, other than a camera to capture all the smiles and fun you have :). What are your must-haves for getting out and about in the colder, wetter months?

Country Kids

Babyfoote

Getting outside in the Winter months

It’s really turned a lot colder here lately and winter is well on the way. My little toddler can be inclined to laziness and would probably be happy sat in front of the telly all day long (I say sat but she rarely actually sits still, she climbs and fidgets and wriggles and goes and potters and comes back again) but she likes the tv on and she likes to be inside. While that is all well and good some of the time, I don’t like that much TV time for her, and it does both of us good to get out and about.

Fresh air is good for her and there is so much to see and explore outside of these four walls… Plus I go a bit stir crazy indoors. A change of scene and some fresh air really refreshes me and makes me a better mummy the rest of the time, so I definitely need to get outside, whether madam likes it or not.

It can be tricky to persuade her though, especially now it is cold and wintry out, and the more she says no the harder it is to motivate myself when it is cold too, but still, it is necessary. So I have a few tricks to tempt madam out the door even on the cold days.

Bubbles

I’m yet to meet a child who doesn’t like bubbles and they are used regularly in our house to get us outside. A wand is my preferred tool as it is easy to get big bubbles, but I will use whatever we have. photogrid_1480488042325

Both kids enjoy a good chase of some bubbles and I must admit I think they are so pretty… I may have 1 or 2 (thousand) pictures of them!

A ball

Simple choice but again it works, both my kids like a good chase of a ball and giving it a good kick about. We have had some lovely sibling moments out with a ball too. (and some less lovely moments in truth, they are siblings after all!)

My bike

Thankfully LM loves a ride on the back of my bike and even seeing her little helmet will get her racing to get her shoes on. We are lucky to live very close to a country park with gorgeous views and lovely play parks. The other day LM didn’t want to get down and play, but she loved seeing the ducks on the lakes, shouting “choo choo” near the train tracks and neighing at a horse in a field, and I got a bit of exercise too.photogrid_1480487652791

Friends

One thing LM is, is sociable, and our girl loves seeing our friends and family. One sure way to get her out the door is the promise of seeing some of those. We have some very good friends who live close by. Their eldest is at school with Monkey and their youngest is a little older than LM. Add the promise of meeting them for a bike ride and well LM is literally running for the door (seriously she did this yesterday, I have never seen her move so fast as when I suggested we get on my bike and go out with them ha). The kids have a lot of fun together and LM adores their Mummy the most of all I think haha.photogrid_1480515042662

Food

I don’t use this too much but there have been a couple of times recently where I have persuaded LM outside with the promise of a treat. Bribery I know but sometimes the end justifies the means and we ended up having a lovely time in the garden, away from the tv, all thanks to half a mini twix bite (I may have eaten the other half haha) !photogrid_1480487761201

Winter can absolutely be a time for snuggling up in the warn with a hot soup of a warm drink… But it’s even more fun to snuggle inside when you’ve had lots of fun outside first. You can see a few more simple ideas for playing outside in the Winter here.

Do you like getting outside in the Winter? What are your top tips for getting the kids outside?

My word of the week, is “outside”

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Monkey and Mouse

National Trust Stowe Gardens in Winter

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 sceneryPhotoGrid_1453804146597

Climbing the monumentsPhotoGrid_1453804408566

Puddle splashingPhotoGrid_1453804604030

Chasing bubblesPhotoGrid_1453804937962

Generally having a nice time running about and catching up.PhotoGrid_1453805129858PhotoGrid_1453805260393

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!

A lovely winters day

I don’t like winter when it is grey, wet and gloomy, but give me clear blue skies and fresh frosty air and I absolutely love it. I love to get bundled up warm and go for a walk in the crisp air before heading somewhere cosy to warm up afterwards. After a wet week last week the forecast for the Saturday was for a perfect winter’s day, so we made plans to walk over to our local country park. It started out just as us then we thought we would see if the in laws fancied a stroll with us, then hubs’ younger brother decided he would like to come for a bit too.

We strolled over then after meeting up with Granny and Granddaddy had a play on one of the playparks.PhotoGrid_1453220093982

Uncle Simon arrived shortly after and we headed in to one of the cafes to warm up with a cuppa and cake.

My teacup is empty at thhis point by the way!

My teacup is empty at thhis point by the way!

Then it was out for another explore. It was interesting making sure LM stayed away from the lakes as she does love water! She enjoyed strolling along with her family though.PhotoGrid_1453220373293

There was a really funny moment where another little one of a similar age saw LM and began ecstatically waving and shouting to her. They had a little meeting of minds here I think and then LM wanted to follow him and his mummy instead of coming with us haha!PhotoGrid_1453220433587

We continued our walk via the site of roman villa that hubs and I remember playing on when we were kids.PhotoGrid_1453220693786

Randomly there was loads of pretty shellfish shells about (assuming they were dropped by birds but did they get them from the lakes?) some had ice in and Monkey very cutely
decided that they were “baby ice” that were missing their mummy. Daft little cutie!PhotoGrid_1453220742447

We got the selfie stick out at this point to get a shot of us all and didn’t too badly with hehe.20160116140127

By now it was getting toward lunchtime so Uncle Simon headed home and we popped into the other cafe for a bite of lunch and to warm up with another cuppa.

Food obviously tastes much nicer from Mummy's plate

Food obviously tastes much nicer from Mummy’s plate

Last stop of the day was feeding the ducks with LM repeatedly shouting “dah” “dah” at every duck she saw haha. She says dah to other things too but will always shout it at any duck picture or duck she sees so I am pretty sure she means duck some of the time. PhotoGrid_1453221025658

Then it was time to head home, with a quick stop for a family selfie along the way.20160116_131512

20160116_132147A lovely winters day.

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Life Unexpected

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

A Winter Nature Walk

Some mornings it is completely bonkers in our house. So bonkers that I feel like if I don’t get myself and the children outside immediately then I will completely lose my sanity. Ever feel like that?

Wednesday was one of those mornings and thankfully it did not coincide with a torrential downpour type of morning. So by 9am (it was a no playgroup day) the kids and I were wrapped up warm and out on a walk in the cold foggy morning. And you know what, it was mainly lovely.PhotoGrid_1452254000135

LM was being really grizzly but she loves getting out (often presenting me with shoes and coats when to illustrate her point) and Monkey jumped at the chance to go out too. He said he wanted to find conkers. I did point out that it’s not really the time of year for conkers but said we could go to a good conker spot and see what we could find.

It wasn’t too far away and when we got there I let LM out of the buggy for a wander while Monkey and I searched. We found lots of conker shells and half a conker that had been half-eaten presumably by squirrels. No pictures of it though as at this point I wasn’t planning a blog post (bad blogger). Then Monkey found a stick who he decided was “stick man” of course. The kids were very cute wandering round and exploring and it was lovely.PhotoGrid_1452254165376PhotoGrid_1452254235126

Then LM got grizzly (I did say it was mainly lovely) so it was back in the buggy and on we went. I decided to continue the nature hunt theme though and Monkey and I looked at all the different colour berries and were talking about why the trees were bare etc. It was lovely and LM was enjoying looking at the berries and bits too.PhotoGrid_1452254458452

There was the obligatory bit of hide and seek (Monkey loves hiding…. All the time) and LM got out a couple of times too to explore the bushes etc. PhotoGrid_1452254582188

It was freezing but lovely and just nice to get out and escape the insanity that being indoors a lot can result in at this time of year!

Wintery Walks

The last couple of days the weather has been more what I expect at this time of year, after such a wet and miserable Christmas. We are lucky, I know, that we don’t live somewhere that has been remotely affected by the extreme rainfall and flooding and I am so very grateful for that. Nevertheless the weather has been weird this year, warm and wet! So I have enjoyed the colder turn the last couple of days.

The air has been crisp and fresh and though very cold at times it has been the perfect weather to get out and have some fun with kiddies on a couple of wintry walks.

The first was just us as a family. It didn’t get off to the best start as Hubs asked me to pick up his flask of tea and, not realising it was open, I managed to spill it all very me. Cue one very painful scalded hand. Ouch. But after some cold water and aloe vera we carried on and walked to a nearby shopping centre and then stopped at a park on the way home.
The kids loved being out and about running round like loonies and especially enjoyed the play area.

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On New Years day we were out again. My parents popped over and we went for a lovely walk to a park at the local school. There was lots of fun and smiles and larking around before heading home to warm up with some yummy hot soup.
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Nice to get out and about and burn off some energy in the fresh wintery air.

5 Cheap Fun ways to Play Outside in Winter with Toddlers

Monkey, like most toddlers, loves getting outside and burning off some energy. So while I would probably prefer to snuggle up in the warm and watch a film, he is generally itching to get outside and have some fun. The good news is that for the most part he is easily pleased with regards to what we do when we are out there and doesn’t need some hugely imaginative activity. The simplest things really are the best sometimes, so here they are, 5 cheap fun ways to play outside in winter.

This post contains a few affiliate links, so basically if you were to click on the link and buy something it wouldn’t cost you extra but I would receive a few pence to go towards the upkeep of this blog (so far earnings from affiliate links have been negligable so not entirely sure why I bother with them) and I never link so something I wouldn’t buy myself :).

A lot of these we do in our garden as it is the easiest place for us to go when LM is having a nap but you can do most of these things out and about if you don’t have any outside space of your own.

bubblesBlowing Bubbles

 

An oldy but a goody and suitable for all times of year really. You can make your own bubble mix (though I haven’t dared to try yet I will admit) which makes it uber cheap or I picked a huge bottle of it up from a garden centre for only a couple of quid. The best investment we have made for bubble fun is a bubble wand. You can get one from amazon for less than £2 so we are not talking a huge investment, but they do make the best bubbles :).

Monkey loves running around the garden chasing bubbles around and they are a great enticement to keep him moving when we are out and about too!

 

 

 

chalksPavement Chalks

 

Pavement chalks are great fun as they wash off in the rain. We have been known to take them out and about with us as great entertainment that do no harm to anyone. We chalk numbers, letters, shapes and even dinosaurs and rainbows! Admittedly most of the big things we chalk at the moment are drawn by Mummy and Daddy but Monkey is getting really good at doing the zigzags down the dinosaur’s back and likes drawing circles and all sorts really. I am sure in time he will take the lead and get really creative. We picked some chalks up from our local supermarket but someone bought us these Crayola ones which I have to admit are fantastic as they have a nice point and were even a bit resistant to snow!

 

 

water paintingWater Painting

 

Give Monkey a paintbrush and a puddle and he will occupy himself for ages painting, decorating, cleaning, and generally pottering about the garden. He just uses a brush that we got as part of a crafty set and after being outdoors for a while it has now started to rust a little on the metal bit, so a fully plastic one may be better, but whatever you have works. For a while he was using a really old paintbrush of ours… which he would probably still be using but I don’t know where it went – it possibly got buried or something :). It’s a great way to practise numbers, shapes and letters too. Once Monkey drew a huge 2, though I think it was a fluke!

 

 

 

puddlesSplashing in puddles

 

Great for rainy days and a firm favourite with most kids I think, puddle jumping! I do recommend a good pair of wellies and waterproof trousers/waterproof all in one to make the fun as comfortable as possible and make it last. We bought Monkey a huge pair of waterproof trousers that were far too big initially (I think I bought them well over a year ago) but fit perfectly now and still have a bit of room to grow – so I am definitely getting my money’s worth out of them! it is nice to know that I don’t have to worry too much about spare clothing too as he can splosh to his hearts content and stay nice and dry. A few weeks ago we found the biggest puddle ever! Great fun :)

 

 

runningRunning around

 

If all else fails there is just good old running around. Monkey likes to run pushing things for some reason. He has a little wheelbarrow and a really rubbish cheap plastic lawnmower, but his favourite thing to push round the garden is his little toy buggy. He adores haring round the garden pushing the buggy round, and I have to admit I prefer him doing in the garden than in the house – there is a lot less things to crash into. He also likes just running around chasing each other too, or running up and down hills so no need for any props really!

 

Do you like playing outside with your kids, even in the winter? Or are you looking forward to getting out more in warmer days?

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

#ToddlerApprovedTuesday

Playing outside in the Winter

Monkey, like most toddlers I imagine, seems to have boundless energy. He is always haring about the place so we try to get out of the house as much as we can. Last year we started our “operation garden renovation” to turn our mess of a garden into somewhere he could play without us having to go anywhere. This was aimed at being ready for playing outside while I was pregnant, and it was amazing. It is still amazing now, as when LM sleeps upstairs, Monkey and I can get outside and burn off steam – even in the middle of winter!

We don’t very often get snow where we are but we have been enjoying running around on frosty mornings. He loves legging it round the garden, pushing his buggy around, and of course Mummy has to run too.

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Mummy getting told off for not running!

Mummy getting told off for not running!

And we finally got our first smattering of snow last week, which Monkey was HUGELY excited about! We thought this may be the extent of what we would get this year so we were out there making the most of it.

 first snow

Then, much to our surprise, a few days later we got a proper covering! So Monkey and I went out while LM was asleep and had some more fun. I have to admit, I love snow. I am a big kid and love building snowmen and snow just makes everything so pretty and white (until it turns into slush anyway, yuk!) and I was determined to build a snowman. I tried to get Monkey involved but he was too busy stomping around making footprints and was more keen on knocking over my snowman mid-build. “Twease, twease, knock it down, twease” um no.

snowy fun

I managed to fend him off and here is the finished result, thankfully he loved it when it was finished and even gave him (apparently it is a Daddy snowman :)) cuddles!

We love playing outside, even in the winter, do you?

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
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