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Articles tagged with: Days Out

A Magical Adventure...

on Wednesday, 11 June 2014.

The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning after opening my eyes is check my phone, more specifically my social media.  I have a quick glance at instagram, or twitter, or facebook, and then I may say good morning to my husband.  How bad is that?  I am slightly over dramatising the scenario (only just!) but the reality is I do spend a fair portion of my time absentmindedly flicking through social media for no particular reason.

I adore having my blog, I love that facebook helps me keep in touch with old friends or that I can gain inspiration through sites like instagram, and I love that my online life has brought me so many opportunities and friendships, but I can't remember my life before my blog.  Now any moment that I am not looking after the girls, seeing friends or working is taken up with the online world.  Nap times are spent writing blog posts or doing my usual pointless flicking through various apps.  What did I use to do with my time?  My house would be a lot cleaner that's for sure.  

But sometimes you just need to switch off and that's exactly what we did this weekend.  We had a family weekend away to the MOST MAGICAL PLACE ever.  It deserves capital letters as it really was that amazing.  A remote treehouse in the middle of nowhere in Wales.  No electricity, no phone signal, not even an indoor shower or toilet.  Just my little family and going back to basics.  It was absolutely perfect.

My photos or video will not do this treehouse justice but just imagine living high up in the trees and that is exactly what it was.  There was no one around for miles, just us and A LOT of sheep.  It was beautiful, peaceful yet oh so stylish.  Although the weather wasn't great (The sun did come out periodically!) we went on lots of walks, ate lots of sweet treats, snuggled, read books by candlelight and played games.  It was just what we all needed.  

The girls were so good considering we were all sleeping in the same room, although Mads didn't go to bed until near enough 10pm on the first night. (when it is windy the trees REALLY creak!)  We had a simple, lovely few days, topped off by visiting my grandparents on the way home.  I am so thankful for my little family and the opportunities that we get to experience and I will treasure the memories of the past weekend.  

I also proved that I am not necessarily a country girl at heart, firstly by putting my lovely PJ bottoms on a candle and setting them on fire and secondly by freaking out about needing a wee at 2 am (the toilet was outside) and waking Mr E up to come with me to hold my hand!

 I didn't charge my camera and it went on to low battery while we were there, so because I wanted to save it for seeing my grandparents on the way home, I thought I hadn't taken that many photos.  Turns out you can take the blogger away from social media but you can't taken the blogger away from her camera!  I couldn't go completely cold turkey- I may have self combust or something. Oops... Here is our weekend in photos and a little video...

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The most beautiful place ever.

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Girls in bed.  Candles. Wine. Sat on a treehouse balcony with an amazing view. Check.

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Posing on the spiral staircase.  Not an easy feat while holding two wriggly children.

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You had to access the treehouse by a number of bridges which Mads thought was the best thing ever.

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The 'wibbly wobbly' bridge.

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We took a trip to the local seaside.

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Writing your name's in a heart on the sand.  Standard practice.

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We stopped off at a gorgeous little sweetie shop for an ice cream.  Doing the normal tourist thing and getting the lady to take a photo of us all.

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Lots of snuggles were had.

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The treehouse had no electricity and the hot water was powered by the fire, so we spent a lot of time lighting candles.  And then a lot of time stopping LL crawling and picking them up.

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Mads kept cheating at Jenga but as we love her we let her do it.

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 We did lots and lots of walking.  Well as much as you could do when had forgotten to pack the baby carrier.  Oops.

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 And did lots of swinging.

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 Plus lots of Gruffalo hunting.

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Log walking was also a must.

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Late afternoon sunshine is the best kind of sunshine.

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This girl loved running about.

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We stopped off at my Grandparents on the way home as they live on the border of Wales.  I will treasure this photo of Mads and my Nana.

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The obligatory family photo we take each time. :) 

 

And here is a little video of our adventures...

 

 

 

 

Just a little note at the end to say thank you so much to Loved by Parents.  We won this trip through them and I couldn't finish this post off without thanking them for giving us the opportunity for such a wonderful weekend together.  They haven't asked us to write about it or mention them in any way, but I just wanted to say thanks.   We have already said the treehouse may be our special family place and we will definitely be returning!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes You Just Have To Forget About The Housework...

on Monday, 02 June 2014.

June is an exceptionally busy month for us, with two weekends away, my first ever race and of course our holiday.  We can't wait but it is going to be hectic.  Therefore this past weekend we deliberately made no plans, bar jobs, errands and housework.  

Saturday went according to plan, in the morning I did my first ever Parkrun, which was great fun and really motivating as it was the first time I had ever run with anyone else.  We then managed to get a few jobs done plus an 'exciting' trip to the supermarket to do our weekly food shop.  Sunday however was a different story.  We woke up early and the sun was shining so brightly.  After the week of basically non stop rain we have just had, it was a very welcome change.  It was a day that just called for an impromptu adventure.

We are really lucky to have the most beautiful reservoir a few minutes down the road that is famous for it's cycling.  I have really fond memories of cycling round there with my Mum and Dad when I was little and Mr E had his first dualathon there a few weeks ago, so we decided that it was the perfect opportunity to have a day out there.  Mr E is bike crazy, but it is the first time we have thought about doing it with the girls as they were always a bit too small before.  We packed a picnic and arrived at the cycle hire place bright and early, hiring a couple of bikes and a little trailer for the girls.

We had a great time and ended up biking about ten miles in total.  The girls loved it, Mads thinking it was the greatest adventure ever, smiling from ear to ear and chatting away as they sat happily in their little chariot.  We stopped off for an ice cream before cycling on the road, down little mud paths and up hills with the sun beating down on our shoulders.  After a couple of hours we headed back, finally finding a little spot by the lake to sit and eat our picnic.

It was one of those spur of the moment days that go exactly according to plan and make you feel all warm and happy inside...

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The 'I just got caught eating one of Mads biscuits' face.

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My beautiful grown up looking girl.

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Picnicing- Daddy's make great seats.

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I adore this photo.  When I was pregnant and found out we were having another little girl THIS right here is what I imagined when I thought of having siblings.  Big sister helping Little Sister learn to walk.

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She is so nearly there with her walking, but just won't take any steps without holding someone's hand.

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Sometimes you fall but it's ok when you have a sister to catch you.

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Sharing a mini cheddar.  As you do.

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More walking practice.

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Swinging.

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She has grown super tall of a sudden.

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Sharing a joke with Daddy.

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The way they look at him gives me goosebumps.

 

We also made a little video of our first family bike ride.  I have my bestie Lucy to partly thank for this.  As I mentioned above, Mr E is very in to biking and has been after this action gadget for his bike for absolutely ages but I wasn't convinced, thinking it would be a bit of a gimmick.  However after seeing Lucy's fab, fab video, he managed to persuade me that getting one would also be beneficial for recording our family videos too, so this video was partly done with that and my normal camera.  Thanks Lucy for inspiring me and for making Mr E very happy! ;)

 

(You can check out my previous videos on You Tube.)

 

*****

On a separate note I found out on Friday that my blog has been shortlisted in the Loved By Parents 'Blogger of the Year' awards.  I can't believe it, so amazing, especially as there are a couple of my favourites on the list too!  

If you like my tales of family life and wanted to vote for me you can do so by clicking the badge below.  Thanks so much if you do! :)

LBP-Awards-2014-Shortlisted

 

Our Lovely Long Easter Weekend...

on Tuesday, 22 April 2014.

The Easter bunny has been and gone and we now have at least a year's supply of chocolate currently taking up space in our cupboard causing us to have a tremendous amount of lost willpower.  Our four day weekend was just what we needed, a chance to relax and have some quality time together as a family.  I couldn't have asked for anything more and I am sad it is over for another  year. 

I have been feeling really emotional this weekend, I don't know if it was seeing the magic on my girls faces while out hunting for eggs, seeing my 90 year old grandparents and creating memories that I treasure so much each time, or just spending time with different members of my family but I have had to blink back tears on a few occasions as I have sat back and watched the people I love having a good time.  

It was a quiet yet subtly hectic weekend- Friday was spent over at my grandparents having slow roasted gammon and hunting for eggs on their farm, Saturday we went over to my Dad's where my other grandparents were visting, Sunday we went to a local farm for a day out with my sister before going over to my Mums in the evening as it was her birthday and Monday was spent being lazy and doing some tidying and baking.  It was just a laid back lovely weekend with two little girls who were on their best behaviour considering the amount of E numbers consumed.  (Although on Thursday night Mads drew a masterpiece on my new wallpaper with biro and we can't get it off but I couldn't hold a grudge with a three year old all weekend!)

Below are some photos and a (rather long) video of our bank holiday weekend together.  Why can't every weekend be four days long and full of chocolate?  

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A little early Easter treat.

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Bunnies everywhere.

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The girls Easter baskets- a gorgeous Jellycat bedtime bunny and mouse, the obligatory bunny ears, chocolate friends and marshmallows.  We normally have them on Easter Sunday but we had them on Friday this year as we went over to my Grandmas for an egg hunt.

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The little hand knitted chicks from my Mother in Law had kinder eggs hidden in them- Mads loved them and said 'Wow' when she realised there was her favourite treat inside.

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The cheekiest Easter bunny that there ever was.

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We went over to my Grandparents for lunch on Good Friday with my Mum and the rest of the family.

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Ready for egg hunts.

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Some new friends guarding the egg bucket.

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Hunting.

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Mads had a great time searching for eggs in Great Grandma's garden.

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'Found one Mummy!'

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Checking out her big sisters loot.

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My Mother in Law made the girls these gorgeous 'matching but not matching' bunnies and my Mum also made them a lovely Easter basket each.  They were very spoilt with little treats.

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More friends.

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Mads went for a walk with Great Grandma (they live on a big farm with lots of gorgeous land) and picked me some flowers.  Her little face was so cute, she was so proud to give them to me.

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On Saturday we went over to my Dad's as my Grandparents were visiting from Wales.  Nothing is more special to me than these family times, we are aware how lucky we are to be able to make these memories.

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Digging in the garden with Grandpa.

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 Sharing a joke with Daddy.

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On Sunday we went to the farm that we went to last year, Mads loved feeding all the animals.  I didn't take many photos while we were there cause I didn't want to get my camera wet (obligatory British bank holiday rain) but I took some quick video clips. 

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Because when my girls are grown up they will really want an awkwardly posed photo of their Mummy and Auntie in front of a ridiculously old fire engine.  Who wouldn't?  

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Mads and I did some Easter baking on Monday because with all the mountains of chocolate we had in the house we just needed that little bit more sugar.

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I love this photo of my Nana and Mads.  I will treasure it for all the happy smiles.

A little video of our weekend too.  It is rather long, anyone who gets to the end can have a leftover Easter egg.  Maybe.

 

 

All in all it was a lovely weekend.  One of those ones where you just feel thankful to have a slightly boring ordinary life.  Roll on the next bank holiday!

 

NB We were very kindly sent the Jellycat bunny and mouse for Mads and LL's Easter Basket. Thank you! :)

Two Very Special Friends.

on Tuesday, 15 April 2014.

There are many very special things about being a parent.  But one of them is seeing the magic on your children's faces when they experience something new and exciting for the first time.  Those twinkly eyes dancing around, the happy smiles and the sheer wonder etched across their faces.  

Blogging has brought me a great many things but last week I did something with my girls which truly was so simple yet so special.  We went to make two very special new friends.

I have known about Build a Bear Workshop for a long time, in fact Mads has 'Rosie Rabbit', who one of our dear friends bought for her on the day LL was born.  However we hadn't been before, mainly due to the fact that I wanted to wait until they were old enough to understand.  I was really excited to take them, and Mads was excited to go and 'make a special friend' too. 

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We arrived and were greeted by the two lovely members of staff who were helping us make our new friends.

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There were lots of different animals to choose from but after careful consideration Mads decided she wanted a lamb and she wanted LL to have a bunny.

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First up we were told to cuddle each animal to make sure that the cuddles were good.  Mads thought the lamb was very cuddly!

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It was then over to the sound machine to pick a sound for our new chums.  Mads decided that her lamb would say 'I love you' and LL had to have One Direction 'What makes you beautiful' because she gets so excited and dances every time the song comes on.  

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The Build a Bear experience is so hands on for children, Mads was absolutely transfixed with everything that was going on and her smile was honestly so wide.  

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The next thing to do was give our friends some stuffing.  Mads get to help do hers and LL's by pressing on the foot pump.  This was 'the best thing ever.'

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LL was in awe of everything and the staff were so lovely with her, telling us that she had made their day with her happy smiles.  Auntie Annie doesn't look so impressed!

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Cuddling to make sure the stuffing was perfect.

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Next we needed to give our friends a heart.  We had to kiss it, shake it and rub it on our knees as our new friends would always '(k)need us.'  The staff were so great at making it an amazing experience.

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His heart went in so he was ready to be stitched up.

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LL loved to crawl round the shop and stand up to try all the things for herself.

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Next up our new friends needed a bath and their fur brushing.  

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We then had to decide on outfits for the as yet named Lamb and Bunny.  Mads decided the lamb was a boy and the bunny was a girl so we set about sorting out their new wardrobes.

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As Mads is obsessed with Toy Story, it was entirely necessary to go for a Woody outfit.  LL's bunny was dressed in a pretty summer dress.  We also bought them a pair of pj's each as well.

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Finally we needed to make our new friends a birth certificate.  It was decided then that lamb would be 'Woody' (we are nothing but original) and bunny would be 'Blossom'.

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And that was it!  We were given boxes to carry Blossom and Woody and sent home to enjoy our new friendships.

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I can honestly say that since we brought them home, Mads hasn't been too far away from her new friend Woody.  She absolutely loves him, and the fact that she got to experience seeing him made has meant it is all the more special for her.  She asks to put his PJ's on every night, although this means bedtime takes twice as long.  And LL loves to snuggle in close to her new bunny Blossom too.

The Build a Bear concept is simple, but we truly had such a special time there.  The staff were amazing with the girls, and the whole experience is so special for children.  Mads was at the perfect age to enjoy it and find it so magical, and LL just smiled and giggled non stop.  I found it so wonderful watching them having such a great time, and I will remember it for a long time.  There is something so lovely about watching your children's innocence and child like wonder.  

We can't recommend Build a Bear highly enough, and I know that Woody and Blossom will be special for a very long time.  In fact as I write this there are two little girls snuggled up in bed asleep with their arms tucked around their lovingly created new friends.

 

NB. We were invited to try out the Build a Bear experience and given two bears and some accessories (plus buying some too!) but all thoughts and opinions are my own, and we would have written about it anyway.  It's the most fun my girls have had in ages!

 

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