Out and About

Now that the weather is getting a bit better we had a lovely afternoon where we spent a bit of time in the garden.  It was something so simple yet Boo had a whale of a time, she explored the grass and all of the bushes (we really need to tidy our garden now that spring is here and the grass really needs a cut.) But Boo didn’t seemed to mind the long grass and she walked lifting her legs up really high as if she needed to reach above the grass, it was so cute to watch!

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Boo found some stones, and she picked three which she then carried about and kept putting down in a little pile and then picking up and moving to another part of the garden, I have left these stones to one side so that she can play with them when we next go out in to the garden to play.

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It was such a simple thing but it was so amazing to watch Boo explore.  When the wind gusted she stood still and gasped as the wind moved her hair and moved across her face, she was delighted by it!

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Boo discovered a snail, she picked him up so gently and the disappeared into his shell and then she popped him back gently on the ground, Boo has never seen a snail before, but from the way she handled him (I don’t know maybe he was a lady snail? I am not sure how you tell?) she just seemed to know that he needed to be treated carefully.

It was a little on the cold side, and as Boo doesn’t like hats or gloves we sadly had to come in sooner than Boo liked, and she did get upset, but we did some painting and she was happy again. in the garden 3

It is so lovely that Boo could have so much fun just outside in our back garden… we REALLY need to tidy it up and start cutting the grass regularly again (we have not cut it since before the winter) I have also decided to get some outdoor specific toys for Boo so that she can play out there I am thinking of water/sand table and maybe a slide.  I really want to see the garden as an extra room in the house so to speak so that Boo can spend as much time as possible outside over the spring and summer.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Zena's Suitcase

inspired by Hannah over at Mums Days and her 2015 Castle challenge, I set myself the rather more modest challenge of visiting one of the local castles which we had never been too.

Stafford Castle - sharing our winter adventures to Stafford Castle

What a lovely surprise and what a shame we hadn’t visited before now! It was a great afternoon out.  There is not a great deal left of the actual castle, but there is a nice visitors centre, and lots of information boards dotted about.

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We arrive after a short drive and found, much to our surprise, that the parking was free… where has free parking nowadays? From the carpark it is a short walk up to the site of the castle.

Stafford Castle

The weather was a little on the cold side, but were were all wrapped up warm and ready to get our shoes muddy!  It was the first time we had taken Boo to somewhere like this without the pram/trike and she did amazingly well to walk as far as she did! And there were lots of little hills which she dealt with really well.

There are information boards dotted about the site with lots of interesting information on, which would be great for older children to either have read to them or read themselves.  There was also a marvelous circular board which had lots of places of local interest listed on it showing the direction and the distance.

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The ruins of the castle are really beautiful and I had great fun trying to take some photos of things other than my cheeky Boo!!

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The view from Stafford Castle ruins themselves is amazing, and I honestly don’t think my photo does it justice.

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Boo enjoyed exploring the ruins, and we were lucky in that there were only a few other people around, so she could run free!  The walk up to the castle had caused some difficulties and we did have one slip over, and some muddy knees, but a day out isn’t complete without a bit of mud!!

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castle5At certain points, I must admit it did feel like we were in the movie Labyrinth!

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We had to have a stop on the way back to the car so that Boo could have a rest and check the mud on her knees was still there!  Daddy was on hand to carry a tired Boo back the rest of the way back to the carpark, (which was about 5 minute walk at normal speed). Though I think I was a bit slow, as I was stopping to take pictures as Boo kept looking round and waving at me!

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All in all we had a really great time at Stafford Castle, I think it’s marvelous and it’s a real shame we haven’t been before now!  I think it would be even better in the summer and we intend to go back with a picnic!

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

 

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The big day has arrived! Father Christmas is coming to Cannock Chase! How exciting. We decide to take Boo to see Father Christmas arrive and the to see the man himself! She was only a tiny tiny baby last December (her birthday is the 13th Decmember) so she missed out on seeing Father Christmas before her first Christmas.

I must say what a lovely time we had there.  It was very very busy as expected but I can honestly say that it was magnificent.  Father Christmas arrived on a sleigh pulled by reindeer and it was so lovely to see a sea of excited faces, children and adults! Boo is still to young to really know what it happening, but she did seem to enjoy the atmosphere and had a good old nosey at everything that was going on.

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After Father Christmas had arrived and got settled they started allowing the children in to see him, well a say him, I mean them (in a very discreet fashion at the end of the walk through the grotto the path split in two and a very lovely lady sent children one and a time into the alternate Santa’s room, and the way the queue and the whole area was set up I nearly didn’t notice.  It meant that queue wasn’t too horrendous.  The ticket system worked by given people an hour time slot in which they could queue, meaning that the queue didn’t get too long and children didn’t get too bored, overexcited etc.  The two Santas also helped keep things moving. As this is a place where local, and not so local go to buy their real Christmas Tree so it is always amazingly busy.

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The grotto which you had to walk/queue though was amazing, and there was such attention to detail it really did keep all the children I could see around me occupied, looking at the displays and there were several activities such as ‘How many Fairies can you see?’ We also managed to spy The Gruffalo, who had decided to get involved in the Christmas Festivities and take a break from being the focus of  The Gruffalo Trail. There was also a story to read about Christmas Trees which I thought was very cute.

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The room in which Father Christmas was in was amazing, lots of old fashioned wooden toys and in a lovely wooden hut, exactly how I would imagine where Father Christmas spends his time, with a huge sack of toys for all the nice children.  Boo got a baby reindeer teddy and a baby Christmas Tree which we are going to plant and keep for her, (provided we don’t managed to kill it like we usually do our plants).  The baby Christmas Tree is such a lovely special idea, and it really adds to the whole experience.

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The price was not too bad, £6 for Boo and £1 for each adult, now we had taken my parents along with us, as Boo is their first grandchild and they were very excited. So all in it cost us £10 which I honestly think is a fair price for the whole experience and the reindeer teddy and the baby Christmas Tree. But obviously this would be cheaper if there hadn’t been four adults. In all honesty I don’t know why they charge for adults I haven’t seen this before, but then again I have never been to see Father Christmas as an adult and so don’t really know if this is standard practice?

Overall it was an amazing experience and I honestly think we will go every year with Boo, the whole thing had a very magical Christmassy feel was was the perfect way to start Christmas off.

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Despite the weather yesterday, Boo, her grandparents and I went for a lovely walk at Birches Valley on Cannock Chase, and we met the Gruffalo!!

It was absolutely amazing and even though it was raining on and off all afternoon Birches Valley was very busy with lots of different people, mountain bikers covered in mud and enjoying the trails, teenagers enjoying the Go Ape! climbing experience and younger children enjoying the Healthy Heart Walk and visiting the Fairy Village and of course the Gruffalo!

Me, Boo and The Gruffalo!
Me, Boo and The Gruffalo!

I am not quite sure what Boo made of the Gruffalo but she adored being outside and feeling the tree trunks and the ferns, and touching all of the wooden sculptures along the Healthy Heart Walk. It was also nice to see more sculptures being made, so next time we go there is going to be even more to see and do.

Healthy Heart Walk Sculpture
Healthy Heart Walk Sculpture

There was so much to see and do and the walks were really lovely; well made, wide paths with buggy access and decorative benches at regular intervals for people who need to rest on the way round.  It was obvious that all of the children were having a whale of a time. The Fairy Village seemed to be a firm favourite with the younger children. It was really well made, and lots of children had chosen to leave gifts for the fairies.

The Fairy Village
The Fairy Village

It is really nice that we have something so great so close to us, and I will definitely be taking Boo there again.  As she grows she will be able to be involved in more of the activities so she will probably like it even more!

 

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