Our Easter 2016

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.PhotoGrid_1459082245077

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!PhotoGrid_1459088128180

Oh and yes the place is seriously stunning so I had to get some pretty shots too.PhotoGrid_1459088344946

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.PhotoGrid_1459085468261

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.PhotoGrid_1459085584186

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! *PhotoGrid_1459168415696

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!PhotoGrid_1459085831382

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.PhotoGrid_1459104159966

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.

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*Poundland provided the craft materials free of charge for our use over Easter. 

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!

Loving our Garden

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.)

garden aug 2015

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!

Monkey Gardening

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.Monkey and worm

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 :).

Do you like gardening with your kids?

My word of the week is gardening.

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Lyveden New Bield, Northamptonshire

A couple of weeks ago we had a visit from my lovely Aunt for the weekend. In spite of (or maybe because of) all of the illness in our house we were desperate to get out and about and have some fun in the sunshine. We decided to visit a local National Trust place that we have only visited once before, on a very bleak February day, Lyveden New Bield. It was really lovely to go back at a completely different time of year and really see it in a new light.WP_20150530_032 The building itself is ever the same, an unfinished Elizabethan ‘garden lodge’ which is bigger than 4 or 5 of our house put together!WP_20150530_021

It is hugely impressive, perched on a hilltop and as atmospheric as it was last time we went.WP_20150530_16_08_48_Pro

But the gardens are totally different at this time of year as everything is lush and green. There is a tranquil moat and hilltop mounds. A maze, an orchard, woodland and fields. It really is very, very picturesque!

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It was ‘Lyveden Alive’ weekend so there was a lovely nature trail to go on and lots of lovely activities for kids including bird watching (they have a swallow nest with babies in with a webcam set up looking at it) and pond dipping. Monkey adored wandering about with binoculars on, and the pond dipping was great fun – not something I would have thought he could do yet, but with Daddy’s help to prevent him falling in he thought it was brilliant!

Lyveden alive

The nature trail, certainly helped keep him entertained throughout our visit, seeking out little doors to find letters to spell a word on our activity sheet. He was very, very proud of himself by the end and very happy with the choccies he got as a reward!

lyveden nature trail


All in in all it was just a lovely day, nice to get out and enjoy the sunshine and have some fun together with my Aunt 🙂

lyveden 3

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Bug Hunting

Last weekend Monkey’s Auntie Ericha and Uncle Paul popped over with a surprise for Monkey – his very own magnifying glass and bug pot! I had thought about getting Monkey a magnifying glass for a while for our nature hunts, but hadn’t got round to it. I hadn’t thought about getting a bug pot though and it is fantastic, both went down a treat!

After showing Monkey how it all works the intrepid explorers headed out into the wild (of the back garden) to go bug hunting!


They found a centipede, tiny snails, woodlice and a wiggly worm to inspect in the bug pot.

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It’s great because both hubs and I are a bit wimpy with bugs (especially spiders, I have a really irrational phobia as I am sure many people do) but we really don’t want to show Monkey our fears and make him scared of them too. So whenever he is around I have to stamp down my fears as much as possible. For example there was a HUGE moth flying around the conservatory the other day while we were in there and I was trying to let it out but it kept flying at me. I hate when things fly at me but was trying to keep calm and laugh it off in front of monkey, but when it flew at him it really freaked him out bless him!

Anyway, I digress, the point is that by encouraging Monkey to look at bugs without being scared, hopefully we can avoid passing our fears on to him. After bug hunting they “gently” put the bugs back where they live.


Monkey had so much fun bug hunting so we will have to do it again, and the magnifying glass is a huge hit as he is inspecting everything with it bless him! Including a story at bedtime 🙂

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Autumn Walk and Leaf Painting

Friday morning, to give me a bit of a break, Daddy took Little Miss to the office with him for a couple of hours in between feeds. At that time of day she is happiest snoozing in the baby carrier so Daddy has become quite the baby wearer! It felt a little weird for her to be away from me for so long but what was really lovely was that I got to have some good quality time one on one with Monkey. Daddy has spent most of his paternity leave focussing on Monkey and they have got even closer lately and while Monkey has seemed ok with me being with the baby most of the time, I have wanted to get back to doing some nice things with him.
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Chasing Bubbles and Collecting Conkers

WP_20140926_11_27_53_ProI love Autumn. I love all the colours and the crisp autumn air. It is particularly lovely with the warm weather lately in that there are gorgeous blue skies and a bit of warmth in the sun to go with all of this. At 8 months pregnant I am not getting out to enjoy the autumn as much as I would normally and it has been bugging me.

So, one day last week Monkey and I went for a little Autumn walk and it was just lovely. Monkey loves going for a walk but I do try and take a couple of things to entertain him while we are out, and one of the best things is a big bubble wand. Aren’t these things just fabulous inventions? Just a wave around and you get some gorgeous big bubbles. With some cheap bubble liquid from the garden centre they are refillable too so we keep refilling and using it.

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National Trust Blickling Hall

On the way to our little holiday in Norfolk last week we decided to take the opportunity to stop off at a fabulous National Trust property I have wanted to visit for a while, Blickling Hall.


The Blickling Estate is huge and has so much to do see and do, with a variety of walks and cycle rides you can do. They even have holiday cottages on the estate as there is so much you can do there, much more than you could do in a day!

Because we were just stopping off for a fairly short visit, and because even with my pelvis support I can’t walk as much as I normally would at the moment, we confined our visit to the lovely gardens and grounds surrounding the house. With one of the prime reasons for the stop off being so that Monkey could run around and burn off some energy, we decided not to go into the house.

When we arrived, a lovely lady asked whether Monkey would like to do a scavenger hunt in the gardens, and of course we jumped at the chance. So he was given a lovely little basket and a list of things to find – which included some different seeds, something fuzzy, something round, etc, etc. So we set off to stretch our legs from the car journey, and see what we could find.




The grounds and gardens are so beautiful and there is so many different paths and directions you can go. Daddy loved showing Monkey the different seeds, such as sweet chustnuts and acorns, and Monkey loved collecting things like sticks and stones and popping them in his basket.

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While we hunted for acorns we found a lovely fluffy looking caterpillar on the floor which Monkey was fascinated by!


When it was time for lunch we took the basket back to one of the lovely volunteers and showed her what Monkey had collected, and Monkey got a sticker! We could have get all of our, er…. souvenirs but as we were going to the holiday home we decided to leave them behind 🙂

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After a lovely lunch we had a a bit more of a run around and Monkey was very brave, walking the along a huge fallen tree!

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Soon enough it was time to continue our journey to the holiday cottage. As ever though we had a lovely time at the National Trust house and look forward to visitng Blickling Hall again at some point, hopefully with enough time to see inside the house and see more of the estate!

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Creative Play – Nature Hunt & Painting – 21 months

I saw this idea on A Whole Nine Months and thought that as her little boy is younger than Monkey, and obviously enjoyed it, that we should give it a go…. But, have to be honest, I kept putting it off! I just wasn’t sure how it would go, whether he’d be interested in the nature hunt side, and how much mess we’d make with the painting… But that’s the point of the Creative Challenge, pushing myself to step outside of my comfort zone, and be more creative, with playtime in this case!

So one day we headed out on a little nature hunt and to start with it was mainly me doing the hunting part, while Monkey spent a good few minutes hugging a tree??

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Though he did get quite interested in a feather.


But then he got a bit obsessed with a stick, ok, branch and tried for ages to bring it with him.

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He was honestly doing this for AGES, I have loads of photos and a couple of videos of it. He’s such a determined little Monkey but eventually I persuaded him it was a bit too big to carry and we did a bit more nature hunting.

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Then it was home and time to get the paints out! We also noticed that one of the daffodils in the front garden had been trampled at some point so we picked that up to explore with too.


And, basically, he had a whale of a time, exploring the leaves and twigs in the paint..

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and generally just getting really messy 🙂

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So all in all, lots and lots of fun and definitely worth a try – and with the two elements this took up quite a large chunk of the day – which is always excellent in my view! 🙂

Have you been on a nature hunt?

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