31 March 2014

Weekend in the Sun

This weekend has been just gorgeous, as we had a free weekend we decided to make the most of the sunshine and head out to Rufford Abbey and Sherwood Pines with a spot of gardening when we got home.

We visit Rufford a lot throughout the year, but I don't think we have been on such a spectacular day before, sun shining I donned my Sun Jellies and headed out into the sun.

It is hard to believe that less than a hundred years ago this was a lavish and beautiful house, now it is a ruin in places.

The cellar was really beautiful and the abbey is said to be haunted...

This tree was supposedly planted by Charles II, if you remember your history then Charles II was overthrown by Oliver Cromwell.

On to the playground, lots of tubes and places to run, jump and hide.

Onto the sensory garden, with lots of musical instruments made out of natural objects and things to run around, through and to see.

There is a tiny house with windows and in each window is a different object, I loved this foot.

 Running across the lawn

Further into the park is a section where you can watch cars driving through the ford, always lots of people watching and even at 21+10 I still enjoy it. We got the chance to drive through the ford the next day as we visited nearby Sherwood Pines, the kids loved it in the car as much as, if not more than watching ;)

Sunday we visited Sherwood Pines, there is lots to do. First we had a picnic and a kick of the football, then the children found some pinecones and sticks to make stickmen with.

We found this area where you could build dens, loads of logs to build up against the trees.

There are also lots of these houses in the woods which are perfect for chasing each other in and around.

Finally after a spot of gardening and therefore trees to get rid of we had an impromptu fire in the garden and of course marshmallows.

Overall the sun has been most welcome this weekend and what a lovely weekend it was, spending it just the four of us.

29 March 2014

Weekend Box Review

We were recently sent a Weekend Box to review, a life saver on a rainy afternoon.

The box comes addressed directly to the child, so it is an exciting bit of post especially for them to open.

Although I am not sure if it was just my ineptness but without ripping the box it was a little difficult to get into, maybe just ‘super’ glue.

However once in the box is an endless treasure trove which I can see a child looking forward to opening every month with something to something to Cook, something to Make, something to Explore and, something Green.

With stickers, pictures and activities all beautifully colour coded in paper bags (great as everything is recyclable) it is a wonderful box of fun for children of all ages (even us grown up children).

First of all we made the our rocking springy birds, we ended up using an extra piece of card to the one supplied in the box so the children could make one each, but with everything included even glue you don’t need to worry about making sure you have anything in (only slight issue was the glue had gone all jelly like and wouldn’t actually stick but this isn’t a problem with the Weekend Box more the supplier of the glue).

Simple and easy to follow instructions guided us through the making process, my son was able to follow them on his own and he is almost six.

I think you’ll agree these are rather cute…

Next up was the sound explorer activity, a fun activity getting the children to make sounds like animals and match the animal to the sound.

Next we attempted to make the Robot Voice box and with practice, I am sure we will get it to work but as the video states it does take a little practice, the video itself was really interesting and informative and was certainly great to find this, I have even made a note of it to pass on to school as it was so interesting.

The whole idea behind the box is great, although we like to get creative and craft it is sometimes difficult to think of things to do and to get the children interested in the actual craft at hand, however with the aid of the stickers and characters from the box it was much easier to get them to work through to the end.

Each activity has a card and a bag which is colour coded, perfect for older children who can work through the box themselves if they want.

A subscription would make a great gift for a child either at Easter, Birthday or Christmas and I am sure this would be appreciated by both child and parent.

It fits through the letter box so there is no need to worry about being out and the bright colourful packaging is easy to see and something for children to look forward too.

It only costs £7.50 (inc P&P) which I think for a weekend of activities I think this is reasonably priced, and it doesn't have to be limited to rainy days, get out in the garden with a blanket on the grass and make in the sunshine.

Best of all the lovely people at The Weekend Box are offering my readers their first box free with code ELLIE28 so what have you got to lose? Why not pop on over and try this fantastic box of activities, perfect for your own children, grandchildren or if you just fancy a treat for the children a month.

NB We were sent this box to review, however all opinions and pictures are my own.

24 March 2014

Prettiness and Supporting Small Business

So you may or may not know I have a small place in my heart for all things small business, if I can I try and buy from small businesses for birthdays, christmas etc I will.

This week I would like to tell you about two fabulous businesses I found on Instagram, both offering a gorgeous array of products, designed by themselves.

First up is Loving Dot, owned and all products designed by a fabulously talented sixteen year old. I don't believe I could have done anything this amazing at that age.

I ordered a goodie bag for £5, it costs a mere £1 shipping whatever your order value and it was dispatched within 24 hours so I received quickly and all wrapped up beautifully.

I received a gorgeous badge, mirror and some nail transfers, now if only I could just master doing my nails right ;)

Next up are these gorgeous felt brooches from Revamped Betty's, I cannot even begin to convey how gorgeous these are. I have got these to pop on my jacket, the bunny is perfect for the run up to Easter and well the toast….eep the toast.

I am sure you'll agree these are beautiful and if you pop on over to their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page you'll be able to see regular updates on beautiful new items.

Loving Dot - Facebook - Instagram - Twitter


23 March 2014

Caffe Cagliari - Italian Coffee Meets Nespresso

I have raved a lot about my Nespresso machine, and how I love it for it's easy coffee making qualities. There is nothing I love more than sitting in the kitchen enjoying a quiet coffee and reading a recipe book whilst listening to the distant sound of children playing.

My five minutes peace and quiet, this time bought to you by Caffe Cagliari's new Nespresso compatible ilove Espresso CapsulesCaffe Cagliari are a family company steeped in over 100 years of Italian history. Alessandra Cagliari, the great great grand daughter of the founder handles the marketing and packaging today, so even now it is still family run.

With five different coffee's to choose from there isn't as big a range as Nespresso themselves. They cost 30p a capsule (or slightly less if you buy 80 of one variety), so they are around the same price as Nespresso's cheaper capsules.

The coffee itself was divine, I am not normally one to drink an espresso at home, known mostly for my love of a latte, however with this coffee I was drawn to drinking it as a short as it was so tasty. Having never been to Italy I cannot compare with the coffee over there, but having drank many an espresso in cafe's in both England and France, I recognised the smoothness and distinctive taste of a great espresso.

Whether it is the way it has been roasted or the choice of beans I was impressed by the quality of the coffee, even the decaf tasted great, making it perfect to drink throughout the day all day if you want.

Sitting in my little corner of the kitchen I got to enjoy my coffee, a biscuit and five minutes peace.

I really enjoyed the coffee and will definitely be buying more for our machine, the coffee was tasty, smooth and very drinkable. Perfect for an early morning pick me up or after dinner coffee, to find out more about Caffe Cagliari or if you fancy giving a try then you can pop over to their shop.

NB I was sent a few coffee samples, coffee cups, sugar and biscuits to form this post. All opinions are my own.

17 March 2014

Fun at Twinlakes

We visit Wheelgate all the time and with a recent half term offer of go with your underwear over your trousers we got free tickets to Twinlakes, so with the weather being super lovely we headed on over with a picnic.

In the lovely countryside of pork pie country, it is a huge park with lots of different areas and activities, with plenty of outside space to enjoy too.

From the moment we got there the sun was shining, it was a glorious day, but with lots of indoor space it is a perfect place to visit whatever the weather.

Quick stop at the farm, spotting the different farm animals (at the moment we try and encourage the children to say them in French as well as signing)

On the adventure playground, perfect for practicing your balancing skills...

There were about a dozen peacocks, I love them so much and this one was displaying it's feathers in all their glory.

This one was rather cheeky, waiting for some scraps from lunch...

On the fabulous jousting horse ride, the sun shining was beautiful...

The falconry centre houses some beautiful birds of prey, this peregrine falcon was a particular favourite.

Overall we had a wonderful day only made better by the wonderful weather, the great thing about Twinlakes and Wheelgate alike is that even on busy days because of the size of the park there never really seems to be huge queues and with small children that is always a bonus.

There is lots to do for both the younger and older children and even the adults can enjoy them too ;)

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

12 March 2014

I Don't Speak French...

...I just try my hardest to teach my children the language of a country I love.

Today as I stood in the pet shop looking at the animals with my three year old daughter I wondered how odd I sounded asking my daughter what the animals were in French.

I am by no means fluent in French but as we go there on holiday most years I do try my best to speak the language or at least have a go at it.

Through my children I am slowly grasping more words and how to use the language, although my husband can speak it and understand it better than me his accent leaves a lot to be desired and on more than one occasion has been misunderstood.

Like with signing I always try to incorporate foreign language into our days out or even when at home? So I just wondered is it me? Do I sound like some crazy person or is it perfectly normal to practice in this way?

My son is currently doing La Jolie Rond after school and like with everything I like to keep at it at home too, we play French word games before bed, again so both the children and us adults can practice our French.

Would you look at me and think I was silly?


11 March 2014

Weekday Park Fun

Well, I think it is safe to say spring is officially here and what better way to while away the hours than at the park.

We have a few local parks and they are all wonderful in their own ways, one I don't use much is Woodthorpe but it is a really great park with a tropical house and lovely walk to the playground. It even has it's own golf course.

Looking at the waterfall and fishes...

Trying to spot the bananas, nothing on this tree...

Smelling the tropical flowers...

We loved this bird of paradise flower, really beautiful...

Pretty orchids...

Stopping to look at more flowers...

There are the fish, basking in the sun...

And finally we spotted the bananas...

Playing peepo through the trees...

A really sunny day and lovely to walk around the park...

Pretty view through the trees to the grange...

Stopped off for a hot chocolate (I love hot choc no matter what the weather)...

Looking at mosaics, this one represents the old train line that used run through the park in to Nottingham.

Linking up to Country Kids over on Coombe Mill

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall