30 August 2016

Cartwheels and Chocolate ice cream

With Daddy having a few days off this week we have been out and about every day, we have been on several walks, an animal park and swimming and cycling too. Being National Trust members we are able to get into their places as part of our membership so we often just pick up the handbook and see what is nearby that takes our fancy.

This time we picked Dyrham Park near Bath, we threw together a picnic and all headed out. Dyrham has a large house and gardens but also has a huge area of land with lots of large hills perfect for running and rolling down.

After stopping for lunch when we arrived and walking down the LONG drive the girls were off running and rolling down the steep hills and banks, with Little 3 in tow Daddy and I just couldn't keep up with them. There was lots of giggling, laughter and Little 3 running as fast as he could making that kind of jiggly shouting noise as he followed them his feet hitting the ground hard as toddlers do.

We took time to look around the house and greenhouse and began to wander around the gardens. 

I took this picture of Little 1 and 3 in the greenhouse, it pretty much sums them up to a tee right now. Little 1 dotes on her little brother and cares deeply about him. She doesn't like it if he is unhappy or grumpy and will pick him up and cuddle him or try to entertain him until he is all cheeky smiles again. 

Little 3 is just a cheeky fun loving chap who loves to be the centre of attention, hold up the camera and he pulls his best smile and cheeky grin. I had hoped to take a nice picture of the three Little Ones but Little 2 would rather be in a photo by herself than with her brother and sister at the moment. 

I did just about manage to get a shot of the three of them a moment later when they were stood together but no one wanted to stay still for a proper second shot so it wasn't very good.

Little 1 has been perfecting her cartwheels lately and has just learnt to do round offs too. Every opportunity she gets she has been cartwheeling this summer and the gardens at Dyrham were no exception, thankfully today she had chosen to wear shorts rather than a dress.

Cartwheels were closely followed by tubs of chocolate ice cream, Little 3 shared with daddy and I but still managed to get covered in it! After rolling down dusty hills and being all sticky he needed a clean up, luckily I had a pack of Johnson's top to toes wipes in the backpack, large and sturdy enough for even the messiest toddler and they smelt good too!

We continued exploring Dyrham, walking up to the church and the lost terraces, taking in the summer flowers and spotting wildlife.

The girls, Little 2 in particular took great interest in the pond life at Dyrham, they spent quite a while lying on their stomachs looking into the water spotting water boatmen and bugs. Little 3 was more interested in the lone duck we found, quacking away at it!

It wasn't long before it was time to head home for tea, it was a long steep walk back up the hill with the girls taking turns to hop into the pushchair while Daddy carried Little 3. Whilst Dyrham is not going to be one of our favourite places to visit we had a good time and I am sure we will visit again, it would look great in Autumn when the many trees are changing colour I bet.

N.B We were gifted a pack of Johnsons Top to Toe wipes for their inclusion in a blog post.

29 August 2016

#MaternityMondays is back from our Summer Break

#MaternityMondays is back...

We have had a busy summer here and the Little Ones still have a week left of their school holidays but Emma and I were missing reading about your pregnancy updates and baby and toddler posts that we decided to cut our #MaternityMondays holiday short.

Have you had a good summer? Do we have any new pregnancy announcements or babies?

We would love to read all about them.

We have a brand new badge (but I am having a few technical issues with it my end at the moment so bear with me!) so make sure you grab it and add it to your blog posts.

You can link up one or two blog posts each week, old or new. In return, we ask you to comment on both of the host's posts - that would be Emma and me. Then comment on the link up before you and hopefully as many more as you can - after all, it never gets dull reading about other people's lives does it?

Posts can be about TTC, pregnancy, birth and life with babies and young children.

We can't wait to read.

Have a good week and I'll see you next week when normality resumes.

an inlinkz linkup

24 August 2016

Looking at Lilies at Stackpole

We visited Stackpole about 4 years ago on another holiday and walked around Bosherton lakes, the famous lily pond and across the headland down to the sea spending the day there admiring the views, playing on the beach and hunting for wildlife. This time we went for an afternoon stroll, parked at Stackpole Court and walked down along the lakes down to the lily pond and the famous bridge. 

Stackpole is part of the Pembrokeshire coastline, a large area originally about 12,000 acres comprising of farms fields, coastline, woods and lakes as well as the lost Stackpole House. The Stackpole estate is now much smaller with much of what remains having become part of the National Trust which now manages the woodlands, lakes and coastline.

Apologies for the pictures in this post most of them have been uploaded from my phone as I didn't take my camera that day.

We headed through the wood from the car park and found ourselves looking at old buildings which looked like they could be holiday cottages in a large grassy area which I believe used to be the old Stackpole House. The children found some swings and had a short go before we started walking down to the lakes.

We followed the path down along the lake, looking out for wildlife. We spotted several herons, ducks and birds too. There are apparently lots of otters in the area and although we didn't see any I did hear some otter barking sounds coming from underneath where we were standing at one point.

Following the path down, the Little ones playing with sticks and climbing muddy banks, we reached the bridges heading across the headland and down to the sea. After a short sit down we continued on down to the lily pond and bridge to take in the view.

The lily pond bridge is famous as there are thousands of lilies growing around it, the view is amazing and so beautiful. In winter the water level in the reserve rises so that the bridge is impassable and all that can be seen is a bit of the fence and in the heat of the summer the water level drops very low and the bridge can be meters above the water. This time there was still a fair amount of water compared to last time we visited when the water was very low.

There were lots of fish in the lake and shiny water beetles too. We watched them for a while then began to head back up, Little 3 was rather tired and nodded off in the pushchair.

Once we were back up, it was coffee, squash and cake all round while Little 3 ran around the grass exploring and the girls took turns on the swings. 

We only walked a couple of miles on what is a huge estate, there are many car parks in different places and with the beach, headlands, lakes and small towns there is lots to explore, we will certainly go again next time we are in Pembrokeshire.

21 August 2016

The Little Ones go wild at Wild Place, Bristol

Those of you that know the Little Ones know that they never sit still, all three of them love nature and animals and that they are at their happiest when they are free to run, play, explore and get close to nature.

Not far from us is 'The Wild Place Project', somewhere we had not yet visited despite it being seconds off Junction 17 of the M5, well this week the Little Ones got invited to the official photo session for the opening of their new exhibit- Gelada Rocks.

The Wild Place Project is a little different to a normal zoo, it hopes to inspire families to enjoy nature with its emphasis is on outdoor adventure, play and learning. There is plenty to do at Wild Place for young children and as well as exploring and playing there are animals to see too. Wild Place is working towards protecting threatened habitats around the globe.

We rocked up bright and early before normal opening hours and headed over to the new exhibit where we met the project's director. The girls were eager to see the Gelada baboons and were not disappointed. We watched as the baboons ate, chased, groomed one another and chatted in their funny language. 

Then while the Little Ones went off to play like baboons on the play rocks we got chatting to the director who told us all about the baboons and Wild Place.

Wild Place has been open 2 years now and while they have achieved a lot in those 2 years they still have access to an enormous amount of land and some big ideas to develop it so each time you visit you never know what more you might find.

Eventually it was time to stop watching the baboons and head off to see what the rest of the park had to offer, but first we had to prise the Little Ones off the play rocks.

Even Little 3, who loves to climb, was safe on the lower ones and pleased when he reached his sister at the top.

The Little Ones didn't want to stop playing and look around but the great thing about Wild Place is that there is somewhere to play around every corner. Walking back along the path from the exhibit there was a den building area and then some balancing beams, over/under bars so we stopped at each of those while the girls played before we coaxed them along to the next bit. Soon they were running ahead looking out at what was next to find and play on while we caught up and looked at the animals in between.

Congo Bongo Play area

By this time it had been AGES since breakfast and so we popped into the cafe and  tucked into coffee (for Mummy and Daddy) and yummy huge chelsea buns and muffins, perfect for a refuel before hitting the play fort and swings.

One of my favourite animals is a Meerkat, but who doesn't love them. We stopped and watched these little guys for ages listening to a talk and watching them get fed, it was great to have glass around the enclosure so Little 3 could easily see in from the pushchair and there was a sand pit for the Little ones to pretend to be Meerkats themselves too.

Playing as a Meerkat.
The barefoot trail was a huge hit with the Little Ones, remove your shoes and follow the circular trail over slabs, straw, bricks, logs, pebbles, safety glass among other things and finally into the mud (there is a tap to wash muddy feet). The girls kept wanting to go back over and over.

Little 3 took a lot longer to get around as he stopped to sit in most of the pits to pick bits off his feet and inspect what he was standing on, as soon as he stepped into the mud he went on his tip toes and wanted to get out but the girls loved running up and down in the mud pit.

As we wandered around we saw a donated Chelsea garden, a maize and a butterfly maze, information about declining forests and displays about helping other countries become self sustainable. Much of it was physical so there were things for the children to touch and look at not just lots of signage.

The Wild Place Project is home to a number of different animal species, they all looked happy and content with plenty of space and places to hide away from the public in their enclosures. We even managed to spot a tiny newborn Okapi which is part of the giraffe family with huge ears and a stripy rear. I can't remember having seen one of those before and we have been to a fair number of animal places.

A giant spider's web perhaps?
We had our picnic lunch in a lovely field which had been opened up, we sat under a shady tree and the Little Ones had a run around too. One thing I liked about 'Wild Place' was that there were lots of places to sit, there were benches and picnic tables around every corner and a couple of open grass areas with logs to play on or similar. It felt like we were being invited to just come and take a seat and have a leisurely lunch while the children played.

After lunch Little 3 gave in to tiredness and had a snooze while the girls climbed a fallen tree to get a better view of the wolves. Little 2 climbed all the way to the top spindly branches (with daddy ready to catch her) while Little 1 sat gingery lower down.

We all enjoyed walking around the lemur exhibit, after leaving the pushchair outside, we were within inches of them. Little 3 enjoyed watching some eating while I cooed over 2 tiny twins as they practiced climbing and jumping all over their parents.

We spent the whole day at 'Wild Place; watching the animals and letting the Little Ones play several times on all the play things. It was a great day out for us, the Little Ones were thoroughly shattered and all fast asleep in the car on the way home. 

N.B We received complementary entry to Wild Place in return for this post however all views are our own honest thoughts.

16 August 2016

The Little ones play Robin Hood at Carew Castle

In the past 18 months or so the girls have shown a lot of interest in buildings, houses and castles and having driven past Carew Castle a few times on holiday when getting back to our caravan the Little Ones were keen to go.

It was a damp and dreary looking morning in Wales but the weather app promised better weather to come  so we donned the layers and raincoats and headed to Carew Castle.

We headed inside the Castle first to escape the drizzle, and began to explore and climb the windy staircases, the girls were imagining being princesses and locked up in the tower as well as pretending to be Robin Hood and Maid Marion. By the time we had looked around it had stopped raining and had began to brighten up.

With it being the summer holidays there was plenty laid on for children, the girls took part in a craft activity to create their own foam lance and face mask although Mummy and Daddy ended up doing most of the lance making.

There was a Robin Hood event going on too. We saw several people dressed up and at the front of the castle there was an archery range set up where you could pay to have a lesson, from Marion herself! There was also a fun children's learn to sword fight class and later on while we were having our picnic we watched a group of children running around and hiding pretending to spot enemies and learning how to call using grass and owl sounds although we didn't see any information about either of these so we unfortunately missed them both. The girls didn't mind though, they were too busy pretending to be Robin Hood and lance fighting in the grassed over moat!!

In the afternoon the weather brightened up and the coats and cardigans were shed. Carew Castle also has a huge tidal mill and very large millpond attached to it so we were persuaded into buying some icecreams by the girls and walked the pleasant short stroll around the millpond to the mill.

The millpond is tidal and one of the best crab fishing spots in the area, so they say. There were lots of people crab fishing along the bridge, they had caught quite a few big ones, the Little Ones took time to watch and inspect all the buckets but were not keen to have a go themselves.

We headed into the Mill, it is not in operation anymore but the machinery is still there and has been restored along with an exhibition and interactive displays the Little ones enjoyed. It was interesting to look around and see the water wheel under the building.

The Little Ones favourite part was making their own flour from wheat provided and they got to take home a little bit in a bag too.

We spent most of the day at Carew wandering around the castle and mill, having a play and a picnic and strolling around the millpond, it wasn't that expensive to get in either, we paid £13.50 for a family ticket, a great day out was had by all.