A family day out to Escot

Last week we decided to have a family day out at Escot, somewhere I’d come across on the internet before the summer when researching places to visit for days out during the summer holidays.  The thing that attracted me to visit was the Amazing Maze built using over 4000 Beech plants.  Alongside is a woodland full of of exciting things to find and do.

escot 14When we arrived we headed straight for the maze, and the children were full of excitement as they ran around the hedge lined paths, twisting and turning while mummy and daddy chased after them.  After about half an hour they slowed down and let us take the lead as we attempted to logically think about which way to go, it felt like we were going around in circles but after about 50 minutes of wandering, we finally made it to the centre where we could admire the view and then take a bridge back outside of the maze.

escot 13Around the corner from the maze we found a pond full of busy little otters eagerly awaiting feeding time. They were dipping in and out of the water faster than you could take a picture but I managed to catch a couple of them.  We also saw some chickens including some rather cute little fluffy ones!

escot 16We then decided to follow the path through the woodland and the first thing we came across was a huge fallen tree, Miss M immediately took lead and began to climb up!

escot 10Across from the fallen tree was a huge picture frame, perfect for striking a pose!

escot 11There were also various obstacle courses and climbing frames littered among the woodland that the children were delighted to find and enjoyed the challenge of climbing, balancing and sliding on.  We did find a huge enclosed drop slide at the back of the woods that Miss M bravely ventured down and loved, although she was coming down at such speed I couldn’t get a decent photo of her in motion!

escot 12Mister B enjoyed the various animals we came across, such as a Wild Boar enclosure where we saw the cutest litter of baby boars trundling around after their mummy!  There were also lots of birds of prey and we sat and watched a display where they came swooping down brushing across the tops of our heads!

escot 7The red squirrel cage kept us amused for a while as they darted up and down and across tunnels then stopping momentarily while their beady eyes checked us out.

With trains to climb aboard, tunnels to crawl through, this was certainly a woodland walk with a difference.  Which ever way you turned, hiding behind the next set of trees was something to do.

escot 6I loved this hand built cannon that Mister B found, he pushed it around pretending to fire and made all the right noises to go with it!

escot 5Miss M and Mister had so much fun running in and out of things, hiding behind things and exploring, this is definitely a must for children who love the outdoors, with so much to do, little ones certainly won’t be bored!

escot 9My favourite picture has to be off them in the stocks!! lol

escot 3We had a light shower of rain, but were not deterred as there was a big soft play barn next to the maze for lots of indoor fun, I managed to catch my two rolling about in the ball pool.

escot 8One thing that they both loved, yet was so simple was this huge hanging rope swing from a large tree.  As they swung around they had an amazing view over the fields beyond, I almost wished I’d been younger and could of had a go myself!

escot 17On our way out we found this huge trampoline and the children flew across to have a bounce.  They long for one at home but we don’t have a suitable size garden so they certainly made up for it on this not wanting to come off!

escot 2Miss M went on the trampoline with one very wobbly top tooth and came off with it hanging by a thread and lots of blood, so I told her she’d need to pull it to get it out.  With one little tug it came loose, her first top row tooth to come out.  Although she was a little alarmed by the experience, she was very excited about the visit she’d get from the tooth fairy that night.

escot 4We had a really lovely family day out at Escot, somewhere I’d thoroughly recommend visiting and that we’ll definitely go to again.

Hope you’ve all had some great day’s out this summer and with the warm weather looking to continue over the next few weeks, hopefully we can squeeze in a few more fun days out at the weekends.

 

42 days of Summer fun with BN biscuits

Six weeks of school summer holidays means 42 days to have fun with the children, days out, days at home, some in the garden having fun, others inside playing games, baking and making crafty pictures.  So much to do, so much fun to have, where do we start.

If it’s sunny and you want to get out but not go to far, why not try out a local park that you’ve never been too.  We discovered one the other week that ended up being fabulous, the children loved it, lots of new things to do and we ended up spending a good few hours there walking around and playing.

They loved the zip wire, in fact we didn’t know we had one so close to home.  They are now eager to return!

devonport park 1This big hammock like swing was a huge hit and my two lay on it for ages relaxing while mummy gently pushed them.

devonport park 2There was also a huge wooden structure to climb on, which Miss M was eager to try out.  Mister B wasn’t so keen but gave it a go.

devonport park 3If it’s a dry day why not get the children out on their bikes and scooters for a ride.  Mister B has just mastered his scooter after many months of insisting he couldn’t ride it.  The summer is a great time to teach them how to ride things.

scooterIf you need to get on with some household chores, then get the children to help.  They love it more than you think.  Here they are helping me to clear some of the plants and weeds from their grandparents garden.

gardeningIf it’s raining, there are plenty of things to keep children occupied with indoors, board games, cooking, crafting or how about face painting?  Miss M made her first attempt at face painting the last week when she painted Mister B’s face with Spiderman.  I was very impressed and we had lots of fun for the afternoon decorating each other’s faces!

Spiderman faceSo no matter what you do, whatever the weather, you always tend to feel a little peckish and tired in the afternoon.  This is a great time to sit down and have a little snack.  As it’s the summer holidays then why not make it a fun snack, such as a McVitie’s BN biscuit!

bn 1These crispy sandwich biscuits come in Chocolate and Raspberry flavours, with a fun smiley face on the top.  Miss M and Mister B loved these particularly the chocolate flavour and I have to agree they did taste rather good!

bn 2McVities BN biscuits are perfect to bring a smile to hungry children and are not too heavy so make a great snack.  Why not try some to bring a smile to your summer?

This post is an entry for 42 Days of Summer Linky Challenge sponsored by McVitie’s BN.

Looking Back – First Day at School

Almost two years ago, I was busily preparing for my daughter, Miss M’s first day at school.  I was a mixture of nerves, excitement and anxiousness as I awaited the day that my daughter took a new step in her life and met a group of people who she will spend the next few years learning with, gaining experiences with and building friendships with.

first dayWe had only visiting the school briefly before the summer break for a welcome afternoon, so there was a lot of new things ahead, new faces, a new environment and getting used to the school routine.  Miss M was really eager to start somewhere new, learn more things and build on her existing skills after spending three and a half years at a very small nursery looking at the same four walls each day.

In the weeks beforehand we went shopping together and picked out various pieces of uniform, a P.E. bag and a lunch box to take to school.  On her first morning she proudly got dressed in her uniform, I plaited her hair and we walked the short journey around to the school.  Her younger brother Mister B came with us and they walked ahead together, Miss M holding on to Mister B’s reins, a proud big sister embarking on a new journey in her life!

first day 2I’m pleased to say the first day went well and although we had a few wobbly days in those early weeks where she felt a little unsure of things, she has progressed really well over her first two years in school and we are looking forward to starting Year 2 in September.

With the start of the new school term nearly upon us, one thing we all need to think about is school uniform.  We all want something that’s durable and lasting and George at Asda have come up with theAsda George at Asda 100 day money back guarantee where you can return any item you are not satisfied with within 100 days along with a proof of purchase for an exchange or refund!

Why not check out the uniform ranges at George at Asda, they have a great choice available  including some rather cute Hello Kitty designs which I’m sure Miss M would love.

This is a sponsored post.

A Trip to Looe Beach in Cornwall

A few weeks ago, we ventured down to Looe in Cornwall for the day.  The husband was working and the children are always itching to get out and love the beach so Looe seemed like the ideal place to go without being too far to travel.

The weather wasn’t as good as I’d hoped, a bit drizzly, but the children didn’t bat an eyelid as we parked up and walked off.  We couldn’t help but walk past a rather fun play park at the end of the car park so I let them have ten minutes to run around.

In fact the park was so good, I wished it had been nearer to home as it would be a great place to pop to for the children to have a play.  Mister B loved climbing a spider web like rope structure to be like his favourite superhero “Spiderman”.  Miss M was at home on all the ropes and swinging paraphernalia being the action girl that she is!

looe 1With swings, slides, things to climb on and lots of rope activities, they could have stayed here all day, but we soon headed down towards the beach.

looe 2The children were delighted when they saw the vast sandy beach in front of them, Miss M ran straight down to the water to fill the buckets whilst Mister B couldn’t wait to start digging in the sand.  He happily built himself a little castle and found a feather to put on top.

looe 3They both played happily in the sand before deciding to dig a hole by the sea.

looe 4The tide was coming in so they dug faster and faster eager for the sea to fill their hole, and when it did they excitedly giggled before encouraging each other to dig even quicker to make a longer river for the sea to fill.

looe 5As you can see the finished river was quite long and if it wasn’t getting a little chilly and the sea wasn’t coming in quite so fast, I think they would have been happy to stay their until bedtime!

looe 6

looe 7All in all a successful day at Looe, my children love the beach whatever the weather and being somewhere we can travel to in just under an hour, it’s a great day out that always guarantees fun and excitement.

As you can imagine, after something to eat and a hot bath, they slept soundly through the night after a day in the fresh sea breeze.

Tractor Ted Farm Show at Bowood House

Last weekend my children got to meet their favourite tractor.  I hadn’t told them in advance of where they were going but I knew they’d be excited and have a fun day!  We went to Bowood House, where Tractor Ted’s Farm show was being held and we weren’t disappointed, both in the displays and the weather – it was scorching!!

bowood 5My children ran through the gates in total amazement at all the tractors and farm machinery ahead of them, more excited than I expected to be honest but they loved it!  They’ve watched Tractor Ted’s dvd many times and have been pretty glued, and this showed through here at the show.  I half expected them to walk past but they were interested and intrigued and recognised certain vehicles that they saw.

bowood 3The children were keen to check out everything so we had a walk around, viewing different things in marquees, such as farm animals, including some mega cute baby chicks!  There were several Tractor Ted marquees, where we did some colouring, had a go on little ride on diggers and browsed around their shop – which had special prices available just for the show!

We also very briefly met up with the lovely Mary from Over 40 and a Mum to One, a shame we didn’t have time to catch up for longer but there’ll be time for that next weekend at Britmums!

We took a family ride in a trailer, towed by a huge CLAAS tractor around the Bowood estate, saw some sheep being sheared and then watched some amazing JCB displays in the arena.  One of our favourite things was the Bowood Lamb National, a race between five sheep, which the children thought it was hilarious!

bowood 4 We took a look at some diggers and tractors close up and the children were allowed to jump inside to try them out – Mister B couldn’t wait to get his hands on the gear sticks!

bowood 2One thing my children had spotted was the funfair, I don’t normally like paying for them to go on these sort of rides but as we hadn’t paid to go in, and they had been so well behaved, I said they can choose two each.  Miss M, the fearless and ever daring girl that she is wanted to try the trampolines in harnesses and the mini quad bikes which she really enjoyed.  Mister B whose a bit timid and shy stuck to the bouncy slide and swings.

bowood 6Last but not least, my children had been requesting all day to have a go on Tractor Ted’s bouncy castle, so we let them have a go before the long drive home.  They loved it and it made a great end to a great day!

bowood 1

Easter Egg Hunt at Anthony House Cornwall

Easter Egg hunts are something my children love and adore so I was determined to take them a few over the weekend.  Today we ventured out to Anthony House, a National Trust property in Cornwall to go on a trail.  I hadn’t mentioned anything to the children so after Miss M’s diving lesson this morning, instead of heading home, we drove towards the Torpoint ferry.  Miss M immediately picked up on the fact that she didn’t know where she was going and became intrigued, and then they saw the water “Where are we going, don’t drive into the water daddy”.  I loved watching their excited faces as we crossed the water on the ferry and then a couple of mile down the country lanes on the other side we arrived at Anthony House, the location where Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland film was shot.

Anthony House National Trust 4 We wandered into the grounds and Miss M soon became aware of lots of people wearing the same hats. Then we came across the Easter tent which offered Easter Egg hunts and their eyes lit up.  They couldn’t wait to build their eggsplorer hat and then we set off looking for clues.  Mister B spotted egg no. 1 and ran ahead super excited.  Each egg asked a question and then hinted where to find the next clue.  The idea was to write down all the answers in order to exchange them for a chocolate egg at the end.

Anthony House National TrustBoth Miss M and Mister B got completely into the spirit of the egg trail and eagerly ran ahead looking for the next egg.  They found one under a huge bell and one in a cone shaped hedgerow.  The gardens were stunning, I’ve not visited here before but was impressed by what I saw and keen to come again some day.

Anthony House National Trust 2They soon spotted a croquet lawn and were more than keen to have a game, but we decided to press on with the egg hunt and if we had time later we’d pop back.

Anthony House National Trust 8We found more clues by a huge tree in the middle of the lawn, by a pear tree and by the pond.  It was a gloriously sunny day and it was so nice to see the children running around freely but also a with a goal of what they were looking for.

Anthony House National Trust 3 The clues then sent us down to the bottom of the huge back lawn where behind some trees we found a huge wooden caterpillar and a giant connect four game.  We also found the “rabbit hole” slide.

Anthony House National Trust 5They both couldn’t wait to have a go at sitting in the giant story telling chair.

Anthony House National Trust 6Then having completed all our clues we headed back to the Easter tent to collect a Cadbury’s chocolate egg!  The children also went in the craft room to make a grass head by decorating a piece of paper and glueing around a cup.  They then filled it with soil and grass seed and brought it home to water.  They now await the grass to grow so they can trim and style it’s “hair”.

Anthony House National Trust 7All in all we had a lovely afternoon at Anthony House and can’t wait to visit again.  The weather was glorious, the children were happy so we had a lovely family day out.

Having fun with a Chocolate Easter Egg Kit

Thanks to Stay in Devon, we were sent a Make Your Own Chocolate Egg kit to play with.  Having two young children who love baking and getting messy in the kitchen this was ideal and they couldn’t wait to get started.

stay in chocolate eggsThe kit came with two bags of chocolate buttons, a bag of sweeties and four half egg moulds.  I cut the moulds in half so they each had two halves for their egg.  I then melted the chocolate buttons in the microwave before we spooned a small amount into each mould and swirled it around to cover all of the sides. We then left it to set for ten minutes before adding another layer.  In total we put three layers in each mould.

stay in chocolate eggs 2We left the chocolate egg moulds in the fridge overnight to thoroughly set, before turning them out in the next day.  I was surprised at how easy they slipped out of the moulds, which I guess is partly due to the thin layer of oil that we wiped over each egg mould before starting as suggested in the instructions.

stay in chocolate eggs 3Miss M and Mister B were both keen to put the sweeties inside the egg so after dividing them up they filled an egg half with the sweets whilst I placed the other half of the egg on a hot baking tray to gently melt the edge.  I then carefully placed the two halves together to form a whole chocolate egg.

stay in chocolate egg 5Miss M then insisted we decorate the outside too, so we found a tube of Smarties in the cupboard which she proceeded to make face designs with to stick on to the eggs.  We used a small amount of melted chocolate to stick them on.

Ta da – Miss M with the finished eggs!!  Both children really enjoyed making these and can’t wait to crack them open on Easter Sunday.

stay in chocolate eggWe received the chocolate egg making kit from Stay in Devon as part of their #stayinhappybunnies campaign

A 10th Wedding Anniversary Stay at Kitley House

Last week we reached our 10th wedding anniversary, having been together for almost 18 years.  I’m not sure how we made it this far, but I’m keeping this post positive and want to show you the beautiful hotel we got married in and returned to last week to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.

On the morning of our anniversary, my husband passed me an envelope with an anniversary card in.  Within this card was a note instructing me to pack the children’s bags and take them to my mum and dad’s house along with Mister B.  Miss M would be picked up from school and I was to wake the husband at 1.30pm (as he needed a bit of a sleep after coming off night shift that morning).

So we set off and as we drove I had my suspicions as to where we were headed.  We soon turned in to the long, winding entrance lane to the hotel we married in exactly 10 years earlier – Kitley House.

kitley 7Immediately I could feel the memories flooding back as well as feeling incredibly relaxed.  The building hadn’t changed, apart from a bit of the decor which had naturally been updated.  I love the beautiful double sided staircase which I walked down with my dad to the room I got married in, the dining hall where we had the afternoon wedding meal in, and the peaceful ambience of the whole place.

kitley 2The stairs haven’t changed but they do have a new red carpet!  It got me looking back at old photos and I found this one of me and my dad walking down the stairs into the ceremony room back in 2004!

File0010After checking in to our bedroom, “the bridal suite”, where we stayed 10 years ago, I felt so relaxed and away from everyday life.  I found out the room has literally just been refurbished in the last few weeks and my husband had only seen it in a mid decorative state when he booked it so wasn’t sure on the final finish.

Gone was the four poster bed and in it’s place was much larger queen bed, which although I like the idea of a four poster, the luxurious queen bed was definitely more indulgent being three whole pillows wide and littered with rose petals – a treat I’ve never had before.

kitley 1The view from the bedroom window is one I won’t forget in a long time, it looked so tranquil, I felt I was a million miles from home, although only 7 & a half, but felt like I was in a different place and time.  I love this picture and can’t believe it was taken from my phone through an old little pane of glass on the panelled bedroom window.

kitley 8When we arrived in the room I was overwhelmed to find flowers and wine from my mum, and champagne waiting for us due to my husband having ordered the indulgent package for our overnight stay.

kitley 6We then explored the room and I couldn’t forget the enormous bathroom that I’d got ready and dressed in for my wedding 10 years ago, before arriving a fashionably ten minutes late to the ceremony!  It had the same sink and bath but was revamped with new wallpaper, wooden style flooring and some lighter dressing table furniture which really lifted the room giving it a lighter, French feel to it.

kitley 5A then and now picture below, although I must stress that the now doesn’t mean I’m single – we just didn’t have anyone to take a picture of us both and couldn’t stage the camera in the middle of the doorway to get the same view!

Anniv1After dropping our bags off it was time to go down to the bar for a cream tea, I had hot chocolate with my warm scone, jam and clotted cream – a proper bit of indulgence for the afternoon that I hadn’t been expecting!

kitley 4We then enjoyed our bottle of champagne before freshening up to go down for a three course meal in the dining room.  I loved the little bread rolls that were served to us in flowerpots and my meringue dessert was amazing!

kitley 3The next morning we took a stroll around the grounds, down over the little bridges across the lakes.  It turned out that we were staying for lunch and you never guess who turned up – my beautiful children accompanied by my parents who were celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary that day!  A lovely lunch followed before it was time to head home and leave the idyllic surroundings of Kitley House behind us…

kitley 9

Making Slime at the National Marine Aquarium

A few weekends ago, the National Marine Aquarium put on an special activity for children “Slime Weekend”.  I had no ideal what it entailed but being annual members we decided to pop down to entertain the children for a couple of hours.  Although it ended up with me dropping the children off with daddy while I did the weekly supermarket shop, then went back to pick them up.

When they came out they were very excited, telling me that they had made their own goo, put their hands in it and it was so much fun!!  I was impressed with all the pictures daddy had taken and love looking through them especially this one below of them dressed in lab coats ready to start the slime making process.  It seems neither would look at the camera at the same time though!

Goo 1It was then time to get mixing!!

Goo 3Now for some sensory fun, feeling the slime with our fingers!

goo 4Ooh, and now a huge bowl to get our hands into!!

goo 5What fabulous sensory fun, the looks on their faces shows how much fun they had.  They then moved on to a huge tank of slime which they could touch and feel with fishy shaped toys inside.  Daddy said this reminded him of Gelli Baff, so something you could easily recreate at home.

Goo 2What an excellent way to entertain children and something a bit different.  I do love the activity room at the aquarium as each weekend there are various crafty activities to entertain little ones.  The slime one has to be the best yet though!

Winter Adventures with Barny Bear

There’s nothing my two love more than going out on an adventure, but the weather has been grim, the rain hasn’t stopped, it’s cold and to be honest I’d rather be snuggled up on a nice warm sofa.  But as I’d promised the children a little walk out in the fresh air, I couldn’t let them down.

So it was time to wrap up warm, put on the rain suits and wellies, and off we go to see what we could find.  Miss M and Mister B were excited to go out in the rain and walked hand in hand along the pavement towards a little grassy area that we had heard about.  We were heading for an area that we’ve never explored before to make things a bit more interesting and not knowing what we might find.

barny bear 5We hadn’t gone far but we soon came across something very exciting along the pavement.  Lots of muddy puddles!!  Before I had a chance to say anything, they were jumping up and down in the puddles with excited grins on their faces, giggling away like it was the best thing they’d ever done.  It’s amazing how much such a simple thing can bring so much pleasure.  They were so happy that I stood and let them enjoy the moment!

barny bear 2We then found an opening between some houses which we went through, down some zig zag paths to a river with a little bridge across.  We tried to play pooh sticks but there were lots of leaves and it didn’t quite work out, so we carried on until we came across a clearing with piles of leaves.  Once again they were off lifting piles of leaves into the air, watching them float gently back down to the ground.  Then Miss M found two large sticks which she held in the air and declared herself to be a tree!  Mister B soon copied but then decided that his big stick was going to be a sword and waved it around from side to side.

barny bear 3After a while we continued along the paths where Miss M spotted a bench and immediately ran over, took off her wellies and emptied them out.  Yes you guessed it, they were full of muddy water from all the puddles she had jumped in earlier!!

barny bear 4By now I was getting rather cold, and their little tummies were rumbling, so we decided to make our way back to the house.  Back over the bridge, along the zigzag paths and along the pavement past the muddy puddles and then in the bush, something glistened!  What was it, they delved in to find out and would you believe it, they only found a couple of boxes of Barny Bears in there!!

Barny Bear1The grins on their little faces said it all, they love Barny Bears!!!

They’ve tried chocolate Barny Bears before but here we had some new flavours, Strawberry and Apple.  Each Barny is a soft, moist sponge and in the shape of Barny Bear himself.  The bears are individually foiled wrapped for convenience and they couldn’t wait to tuck in.  It didn’t take long for their Barny Bear’s to disappear into their hungry little tummies, but the consensus was that although they liked both flavours, the strawberry Barny’s got the biggest thumbs up from us!

This post is an entry for BritMums ‘Winter Little Adventures Challenge’ sponsored by Barny, individually wrapped bear-shaped sponges with a hidden filling. Find out more about Barny here.