Friday, 9 October 2015

Fairytales, Tartan and Little Mice...#LittleLoves

Things have been pretty quiet on the blog this week; I finally got caught out with the dreaded back to school bug.  Overall the kids have been okay but it has hit me for six and totally ruined the routine I had literally just found.  Hopefully I'll be back up and running as normal this time next week.

It has definitely made me consider the small things though; when you haven't been able to get out and about as much it is definitely more difficult to think what went well and what you enjoyed!

James was working on Saturday and we woke to a grim and grey autumn morning so we all sat in bed and did some reading...of sorts anyway.  I started a new book which I have been meaning to get to for a while; I've been dipping in and out all week and am really liking it so far.  It's given me some inspiration for my own book too which I am currently working on.

Far too many episodes of Once Upon A Time.  I had watched seasons one and two last year and didn't realise the rest were on Netflix...well I know now!  I've just about watched the whole of season three this week; it's a perk of not feeling so well.  I love how well they have brought in all the different characters from the fairytales we grew up with and I'm always wondering who they are going to bring in next.  And it has absolutely nothing to do with a certain pirate...nope nothing at all...

We also went to Meg's class assembly this week.  Their theme was 'harvest' and they all dressed as little mice; it was very sweet.  Meg was given the role of leading the prayer and she was so nervous because it was quite a lot to learn off by heart but she did so well.  We were both really proud of her.

I am having a bit of a thing with tartan at the moment; I can't get enough of it.  I've bought two shirts and a scarf this week and had to really stop myself from buying two skirts I spotted on depop.  Somebody send help...or bagpipes...

I had my nails done in a gorgeous deep burgundy with some sparkly gold which I absolutely love.  It feels very autumnal and perfect for the weekend trip we are taking to...wait for it, the romantic city of Birmingham (yep, I know)

The wonderful news that our application for the new house is all approved and definitely going ahead.  There was a short period of time when we weren't sure it was going to happen but it is and we have been back this week measuring rooms and deciding on which of our furniture we can take with us and which we can't.  It's also meant lots of time spent browsing online for inspiration and ideas for our new home.  I'm sure it has been driving James up the wall but I love it!

A trip down memory lane...I have a friend who is just a few weeks away from giving birth to her second baby girl and we were talking this week about all things bump and babies and laughing over this picture of me when I was pregnant with Eli.  This was about a month before he was born and I had just done a 5 mile walk.  I still can't believe that a) I walked so far b) my bump was so huge and c) that my bump was so low...I should have guessed it was hiding an 8lb 13oz baby in there!!

And Lastly...
With bonfire night just around the corner I wrote a post earlier this week about how to keep your dogs (and other pets) safe...but there's also the chance to win £50 Argos vouchers with Argos Pet Insurance, something which might come in very handy with Christmas being just around the corner.  Why not go and enter?

Hope you all have a great week.


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Family Day Out: Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire

Just before we headed off on our mammoth road trip to France a friend gave me a piece of advice; she suggested that on our way back up through the UK we factored in time to visit somewhere for a mini day out.  Not only would it break up the driving but it would also give the kids the chance to let off some steam.

Although we left it until the last minute we picked Waddesdon Manor as it was only slightly off the route we would be taking to get back home and because the morning we set off it turned out to be an absolutely beautiful day.

Set in Buckinghamshire, Waddesdon Manor is a National Trust property and is a stunning manor house which was built in the style of a 16th century French chateau; we couldn't have chosen a more fitting place to visit actually.  It was like being transported right back to the south of France.

On arrival, you are given the choice to travel up from the car park to the house by bus or by walking.  We were advised that it was quite a long walk for the children and that we might be better taking the bus.  There are three stops; the manor, the coach house and the car park.

The manor itself is surrounded by gorgeous countryside.  Oxfordshire, the Chiltern Hills and the Vale of Aylesbury all surround the estate.

We hadn't realised prior to turning up that you have to book in advance in order to be able to see inside the house and there are only certain appointment times.  Definitely something to bear in mind if you are travelling specifically for the house.  It didn't matter too much to us as we were looking more for the outdoor adventures to help the kids unwind.

There was a special event running alongside our visit to relating to pirates.  Although it cost extra we couldn't say no.

The kids could take part in a treasure hunt around the woodlands and were given little bags with hats, telescopes, eye patches and stickers inside which went down a real treat.  I am always a fan of the National Trust special events as I think they put a lot of thought and effort into them and this was certainly no different.

We didn't eat at the manor as we had brought our own picnic but there are several options should you want do; the Manor restaurant, the Stables cafe and a couple of food outlet stands dotted around as well.

As well as the woodland walk the manor also has Victorian style gardens, an aviary filled with exotic birds which we didn't manage to get round to visiting, a woodland playground and plenty of opportunities for children to get up close and personal with wildlife.

We particularly liked the bug house tree which was set up along the woodland walk and Eli got in some tree climbing which was fine until he got a little bit stuck and had to be rescued by his Daddy!

It was absolutely heaving on the day we visited which I imagine is in connection with how nice the weather was that day alongside the special event but it is something to bear in mind; the playground is not huge and there were several moments when we we lost eyes on the kids.

Overall thoughts:-

* Remember to book an appointment if you want to see inside the manor.
* The playground is quite small for the size of the estate, which could prove tricky on a busy day.
* There are lots of ways to explore and get close to nature which is always a winner for us.

We had a really nice day and what was supposed to be a short break for lunch and a leg stretch ended up being well over 4 hours!

Waddesdon Manor is in Buckinghamshire, UK
Entry prices: Free for National Trust members / Adult: £18 (Gardens only £8) / Child: £9 (Gardens only £4) / Family: £45 (Gardens only £20)