The Great Outdoors

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One of my best purchases over the last year was not a new bag or a pair of shoes, but a family membership to the National Trust. So far we have enjoyed a Boxing Day walk at nearby Claremont Landscape Gardens and an Easter egg hunt at Ham House as well as trips to Petworth House and Uppark, both in Sussex.

The staff are great at engaging the children with stories of what life was like in ‘the olden days’ and there are usually little activity stations and play areas dotted around the houses. What my three enjoy most, however, is exploring the often vast grounds and gardens – climbing trees and rolling down hills, things they don’t really get to do on a day to day basis. And best of all, once you’ve paid for your membership, if you bring a picnic it’s virtually a free day out and all that fresh air is sure to guarantee sleepy children by bedtime.

Yesterday we spent the morning at Bodiam Castle in Kent, about an hour away by car from where we live. We had promised Casper that we would go there before Christmas as he missed a school trip to the medieval castle when he had his operation a couple of months ago. It was a grey and drizzly morning but we had lots of fun exploring the castle which was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dallingridge, a rich soldier. As it wasn’t quite picnic weather, we warmed up afterwards in the National Trust cafe with home baked scones slathered in butter and jam and cups of tea and hot chocolate.

A lovely day out.

{Bodiam Castle viewed from the courtyard}

{Bodiam Castle viewed from the courtyard}

The children contemplating whether or not to roll down the muddy hill outside the castle. Luckily they decided not to!

{The children contemplating whether or not to roll down the muddy hill outside the castle. Luckily they decided not to!}

Listening to a talk about the history of the castle

{Listening to a talk about the history of the castle}

There were lots of nooks and crannies to explore

{There were lots of nooks and crannies to explore}

Cameron looks rather pleased to see his brother in the stocks!

{Cameron looks rather pleased to see his brother in the stocks!}

This Week’s Favourites

This weeks faves 17:11:13

Sunday night again. The kids are in bed and I’m waiting for Homeland to start but first a quick update on another week that flew by.

1. I took all the children to have their hair cut at the start of the week – the boys’ fringes were getting so long they could hardly see! Clemmie and Casper were happy to just let the hairdresser get on with it but Cameron had very specific ideas about what he wanted – short back and sides (using the clippers) and longer at the front. He spent most of the journey home admiring his own reflection in the car windows!

2. Thursday morning saw the much-anticipated launch of the H&M collaboration with French designer Isabel Marant. As sod’s law would have it, the online shop opened at 9am which is the same time that Clemmie’s preschool opens. As my husband refused to take the kids to school and be late for work so that I could get first dibs on the highly coveted collection (men, eh?) , I had to race home after dropping them off only to be greeted by this message on my computer screen…

3. Until finally, after pressing the ‘Try Again’ button a million times (it seemed like it at least), I was in! Sadly, most of the items on my wish list had already gone but I managed to get my hands on these stunning shoes and also a grey jumper (rather nondescript in the picture but, hey, it’s Isabel Marant at less than £40!).  I have since read that it was one of the fastest selling collaborations of all-times – not surprising I guess, given all the hype surrounding it – so I think I was very lucky to get anything at all.

4. To raise money for Children in Need, Cameron’s school invited all pupils to dress in their pyjamas on Friday while Casper’s school asked them to wear polka dots. The first one was easy enough but as Casper was not keen to wear his sister’s spotty pyjamas (I can’t imagine why!) we ended up cutting out sticky-back felt circles and putting them onto an old plain T-shirt.

5. Finally Friday and candles lit for a cosy night in..

6. ..and a glass (or two) of bubbly to celebrate the end of the week.

7. A very dear friend gave me these four Mateus cups as a belated birthday present. Definitely worth waiting for!

8. Despite the grey, drizzly weather, we went on an outing to Bodiam Castle in Kent this morning. It took just over an hour to get there but it was well worth it.

9. We wrapped up the weekend by having dinner at Pizza Express with the grandparents.

And that’s it. Another week done and dusted! Have a great Sunday night. X