A cycle ride at Moors Valley Country Park

After spending the days since Christmas Day eating leftovers and having relatives to visit, we decided that it was time for some fresh air.

After a quick check of the weather yesterday morning to see that Friday was going to be a washout, we decided to get wrapped up in our new scarves and gloves to take TJ for a spin on his new bike around Moors Valley Country Park.

When we got there, the car park was full of people with the same idea as us. We headed straight for the cycle hire to get bikes for us so that we could cycle round with TJ – something we’ve never done before.

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Winter Sun

Luckily for us, we all finished work/school on Friday so we have a good week to get ready for Christmas. We kicked off our holiday yesterday with a trip to Brighton to visit family and drop off some Christmas presents (stopping off at Starbucks for the obligatory Gingerbread Latte!)

We visited my dad and grandad first and TJ was so proud to show everyone how well he could read now and managed to read all of Green Eggs and Ham which was super impressive.

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Pull a Pine – Arne RSPB Nature Reserve

Since moving to Dorset, we’ve made it our mission to explore as much of this beautiful county as possible. We stumbled across Arne about 2 years ago now and it’s one of our favourite places to go.

Every year, they host a ‘Pull a Pine for Christmas’ event in order to help clear away the pine trees to enable the rest of the plants and vegetation to grow properly. Last year, over 2000 people cleared 17 football pitches of pine! In return for helping, you get to take away as many Christmas trees as you like! It’s a completely win win situation.

Non-RSPB members had to pay a £10 entry fee with members only paying £5. When you consider that even the smallest real Christmas tree will probably set you back £25 in the shops, this represented incredible value for money and you are helping with conservation at the same time.

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Camp Bestival – 5 reasons why you shouldn’t miss it

Last summer, we were very lucky to get the opportunity to take TJ to Camp Bestival for the first time. Our friends over at My Two Mums have been going for the past few years and have always had an amazing time and it was great this year to get to share the fun with them.

We were very excited last week when this year’s theme – Camp Bestival Sets Sail – was announced and can not wait to see who the headline acts are for this year.

This got us thinking about the top 5 reasons why you should dig out your tents, dust off your sleeping bags and get your tickets booked for 4 days of fantastic family fun.

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Half Term Fun

We’ve only been back to work/school for a week since half term, but it seems like it was ages ago! We had such a busy, fun packed week with lots of outdoor fun in what turned out to be a week of amazing weather.

On Monday, we took a trip to the Sealife Centre in Weymouth to visit Zelda the witch and to take part in the Halloween activities. There was a pumpkin hunt where you had to find the letters written on pumpkins to spell out a word which TJ was able to do completely on his own this year. We then went to visit Zelda in her hut. I have to say the Zelda experience was a bit of a let down – last year the children made a magic potion and were then given a slush drink to take away with them. This year, the activity was making slime using tarantula legs (shaving foam) and some form of glue – I think TJ was fully expecting another slushie drink (as were we) and, although he enjoyed the activity, I’m not sure it was worth £4 (£5 if you don’t have an annual pass).

On Tuesday, we went to Bailey Ridge to pick up some pumpkins ready for Halloween. As I have written previously (Pumpkin Picking – An Annual Tradition), it wasn’t quite the same as picking your own pumpkin from a field, but the place was really nice and TJ was able to make his very own broomstick which he loved.

Wednesday morning was spent in Southampton recording a debate for BBC Woman’s Hour about whether it was safer for children to be brought up in the city or the countryside. I really enjoyed being able to talk about this matter as it is something I feel really passionate about and it was good to be able to discuss our reasons for moving out of the Big Smoke. You can listen to the podcast here.

On the way home, we stopped off in Lyndhurst in the New Forest for a walk. It was approaching ‘Golden Hour’ and the light was absolutely beautiful. It wasn’t long before we came across some ponies and donkeys. You are advised not to touch or feed the animals, but the donkeys came straight over to us and were literally standing next to TJ to be stroked. They were so gentle and stayed there for ages. It was a lovely end to an exciting day.

On Thursday, we went to Longleat to visit their Autumn Exhibition. We also got a sneak preview of the Festival of Light which looks like it’s going to be absolutely amazing. After the success of last year (Santa Train), we have booked to see Father Christmas there again this year and can’t wait to see the stunning lanterns in all their glory. The Autumn Exhibition was really good and TJ got to make a fish out of willow as well as learning about Owls.

On Friday, our friends came down for the weekend from London and we met up at Kingston Lacy. Again, the weather was glorious and the children loved running around, hiding in dens and taking part in some of the autumn activities which had been set up for them.

Although it was a bit chilly on Saturday, we decided that we couldn’t have our friends down without a visit to Weymouth. The children loved it and all managed a quick paddle before having a much needed hot chocolate to warm up. We then went to Billy Winters for a bite to eat and got to watch people Kite Surfing while the children carved pumpkins which had been kindly provided for them.

Our half term ended with a brilliant Halloween Party over at MyTwoMums’ house. We met for the first time at Halloween while we were living in London, so Halloween has become a kind of anniversary for us now. The boys had a great time together and we are looking forward to meeting up again soon.

As per usual, our holiday was full of fun, friends and adventure. Next stop……..Christmas!!!!

 

 

Country Kids

A New Family Hobby

When we lived in London and saw photos on social media of TJ’s godmother out kayaking or paddle boarding, we couldn’t help but get pangs of jealousy. We both lived by the sea as children and really missed it during our time in the Big Smoke.

When we moved to Dorset a couple of years ago, we were determined that TJ would enjoy living by the sea the same as we did and that he would also get the opportunity to try a range of water sports.

We are lucky to live pretty close to Weymouth Watersports on Ferrybridge which hires kayaks and paddle boards for very reasonable prices. TJ’s first experience in a kayak came when he was just 3 years old. We hired a 2 man kayak and paddled around with him in the front for almost an hour! He absolutely loved it and so did we. There’s such a sense of freedom and calmness being out on the water.

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A Cornish Adventure

Last week we made our annual visit to beautiful Cornwall. We have been almost every year since TJ was born and now that we live in Dorset, we are only around 2 hours away from Newquay.

For the past couple of years, we have stayed at Gnome World Holiday Park which is in St Columb around 9 miles from Newquay. It’s a fantastic little site with ample sized pitches, electric hook up, water stations, clean facilities and within easy access of both the A30 and A39. In addition, its amazing value for money. We paid just £52 for 3 nights camping with electric hook up which, in the middle of August, is so reasonable.

We arrived on Wednesday morning with the weather scheduled to be pretty dodgy. After surviving Camp Bestival and everything that threw at us, we knew we would be ok. After pitching the tent (in a record 18 minutes!) we took a drive into Newquay to pick up a few essentials and to have some lunch.

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Camp Bestival – Day 3 (Sunny Sunday)

After Soggy Saturday, things could only get better with the weather. As we woke up on Sunday morning, we were smiling for two reasons. Firstly, the sun was out and the mud was slowly beginning to dry out and secondly, and most importantly. it was M’s 5th birthday! We attended his brilliant pool party a couple of weeks ago, but it was really nice to be able to share his actual birthday with him.

We had quite a busy day planned and, after treating ourselves to a lovely breakfast of sausage sandwich, some ‘proper toast’, a crepe with honey for the boy and a cup of tea, we headed to the Big Top to see the rather brilliant Andy and The Odd Socks.

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Camp Bestival – Day 2 (Soggy Saturday)

After refreshing my weather app about a million times on Friday (and having to buy more data!), there was no escaping the fact that Saturday was going to be……soggy. The wind and rain that we endured on Friday was nothing compared to the rain that was expected but there was no way that it was going to dampen our spirits! (To be honest, we were rather relieved that our tent had lasted the night – quite a few didn’t and we thought that if we can survive that, we can survive anything!)

Saturday morning started off bright and sunny with TJ able to eat his breakfast ‘al fresco’. The theme for this year’s Camp Bestival was Rockstars and Popstars and the boys got kitted out ready to face the day.

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