Sunday, 27 March 2016

Happy Easter everyone!!

Happy Easter to you all!

Good Friday was gorgeous wasn't it. Little Boy and I went over to my mum's house to help to do a spot of gardening, and the weather was just right. He had fun with his diggers and trucks loading up gravel from the drive, whilst I got stuck in trimming back the rambling rose and generally tidying and deadheading.  

We don't go overboard at Easter time but it's hard not to get a little involved, especially when you have children. I'm not religious in the slightest, but I think it's a good idea that they have a basic idea of why we have Easter, and the significance of Easter eggs, hot cross buns etc. They don't get heaps of eggs, and I don't like to just buy a commercially packaged egg as I think all you are really paying for is the printed box. I like to put a bit more effort and thought into a gift, so I bought two little wicker baskets and filled them with a variety of Easter related goodies, one with a Peppa Pig theme and the other one Minions. My favourite item has got to be the little fluffy chick. When you put him on your hand and stroke him he cheeps like a real little chick - aaahh!

Easter baking was a simple affair this year, as I've caught OH's cold and really don't feel like doing much. I just made a fairy cake recipe, and decorated them with coloured icing topped with mini eggs and pieces of flake. Little Boy helped colour the icing, and its a good job we are replacing our kitchen as we now have a lovely little yellow patch on the worktop!

My favourite Easter make was the door wreath. I'm lucky we have a great floristry wholesalers in our area, but I also collected bits and pieces for it from Waitrose and Amazon. All I need now is to find a good but not too expensive wreath holder to keep it safe from one year until the next. 

It's one of my sister's birthday today, and my mum's on Monday, so we had a family get together today, with an Easter egg hunt for the kids followed by a Moroccan inspired lunch. So we all had a great Easter (apart from my crappy cold), hope you did too. 
Back soon with some holiday photos of our short break in Carmarthenshire


Sunday, 13 March 2016

Brockhampton Part II

Yes, we are back again already! OH was a bit more mobile on the Sunday, so agreed to come back with us and finish our tour of Brockhampton. The day was even nicer than Saturday, and it registered 12 degrees on the car's temperature display. 
Apologies in advance, this post is a bit photo heavy. Congratulations if you make it to the end!

 The inside of the manor was set out as a journey through history, starting at 1425 then increasing in time with each room you stepped into. There were imitation candlesticks for the children to carry around with a battery powered 'flame', and a quiz sheet. 

The Great Hall...

Laid out on one of the beds was a sheet, printed on which were 'instructions for my new servant on night-time preparations'. What a job - check the bed for fleas, comb the lady's hair for lice, and be on call during the night for when she wakes. All that and then be up at six to start all over again! I wonder what minimum wage was in those days?

Laid out on one of the beds is the uniform and kit of 19 year old Albert Sprague. He volunteered to fight for his country and decided to join the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry. A National Trust volunteer was in the room and very kindly offered to get the rifle down from the wall for us to hold. It was surprisingly heavy, and it was quite humbling to be holding something that most probably killed people in not only the First but the Second World War too. 

The kitchen...

The 1950s sitting room was my favourite, and I could quite happily have settled down in there. The radio was on, the fire was lit, and some knitting was laid on one side. I was very tempted to pick it up and knit a few rows 😉

I spotted several lovely handmade crochet blankets too....

Next stop was the courtyard where you could browse the gift shop and get some refreshments from the small cafe....

There were several things to keep the kids interested whilst parents browsed the shop, including this great idea. You chose one of three characters who had lived on the estate, picked up the receiver and actually got to listen to them talking about a range of subjects...

Last on the to do list was have a look around the chapel. It is a ruin now but I guess would once have been quite impressive. It would be nice to have an image somewhere showing what it once may have looked like....

Just time for a quick push on a lovely swing hung from a tree, just the right size for two little bottoms to share....

Congratulations - you made it to the end! Happy Easter for this weekend to everyone who celebrates it.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Brockhampton Estate


We woke up on Saturday morning a few weekends ago to quite a pleasant day, with not a drop of rain in sight. Unfortunately OH had 'man flu' so we left him feeling sorry for himself in bed, and took a trip to Brockampton Estate near Bromyard in Herefordshire. A National Trust property, it comprises a 1700 acre traditionally farmed estate at the midst of which lies the medieval manor, Lower Brockhampton. 

Today's post only explores outside, you'll have to come back with us another day to see inside the manor. Little Boy is still getting over a cold, and a tramp around the woods drained his batteries. I didn't fancy dragging a tired three year old around a 14th century building that probably wouldn't float his boat even if he was feeling ok.

There are miles of walks around the estate of varying lengths featuring ancient trees and sculptures depicting parts of the history of Brockhampton. There is also a rich variety of wildlife (we didn't see any live animals, but we saw deer hoof prints in the mud, and lots of rabbit poo in the woods!) and historic farming breeds such as Hereford cattle and Ryeland sheep. 

We opted for the Natural Play Trail, a 2 km walk dotted with things to explore, climb, and look at. It's aimed at children aged 7 years and older but Little Boy still had fun with a little help from me. 

It's a good job we all had our boots on, as down in the woods, 'muddy' was an understatement....

The hide was a great idea, and inside was decorated with posters describing all the animals and birds we could see. Unfortunately, all the bird feeders were empty so we didn't hang around for long as there weren't any birds around to see. 

The wooden xylophone was fun, and there was even a song with all the notes to play on a wooden board at one end, but I think it must have been out of tune as it was hard to tell what song it was when Big Girl had a go 😉

The best part of the walk I thought was the den building area. There were lots of cut branches to choose from, and basically the kids just got to make whatever kind of den they wanted. My two started, but it was getting near lunchtime so they ended up exploring the ones already made (and there were some great ones) before we headed on. 

When we arrived home we discovered that OH was up and about, so we headed outdoors for a spot of gardening. In New Zealand we had around six acres and now have a very small suburban garden, but at least this one is a bit more manageable. There is rather a scruffy buddleia near the shed, so I decided to give it a hard prune. OH and Little Boy helped to tidy up and cut down the prunings so I could fit them in the boot of the car to take to the tip.
Here it is during its pruning...

And after....

Tea was a ready meal and a sticky bun from the supermarket. Majority of the time I cook a meal completely from scratch, but with a sickly, stuffy nosed household at the moment I wanted something easy that I wouldn't mind if some got left. After dinner entertainment was a 1000 piece puzzle I got for only £1.99 at the charity shop. Little Boy has always been good at puzzles, completing ones well above his age range with ease, and so he was keen to help. He was quite happy to do the sorting jobs that no one likes doing, such as 'find all the sky pieces', or 'sort out all the blue flowers'.

I do like puzzles but I also think they are rather a waste of time. You spend hours putting them together, then the moment they are finished what do you do? Take it all apart and put it back in the box! At least with knitting or crochet, you get a finished article at the end of it. 

Take care, speak soon