Five on Friday

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{A family outing to Leith Hill Tower. The breathtaking views from the top were definitely worth the steep climb to get there.}

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{I visited the Designer Showrooms at London Fashion Week for work earlier this week.}

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{Our new kitchen is slowly but surely coming together. And no the doors aren’t meant to be bright blue – they are just covered in a protective film!}

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{I went to see this year’s most talked about film with a group of girlfriends. I haven’t read the book but apart from some sniggering at the more, shall we say, risque scenes it was actually quite dull.}

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{Spring blooms snapped on the walk home from school yesterday. I’m definitely ready to wave goodbye to winter now.}

Hope you all have a great weekend! X

A Family Outing to Osterley Park & House

Osterley House 2

I know I’ve said it before, but we are lucky to have so many amazing places filled with history on our doorstep. Last Monday was a Bank Holiday so we grabbed our National Trust cards and drove down to Osterley Park and House, near Isleworth in Middlesex. A huge imposing Georgian mansion, dating back to the 1780s and surrounded by the most stunning gardens, it is one of the last surviving country estates in London. We had a quick coffee and snack in the stables tea room and then set off exploring the house and the colourful formal gardens.

It’s funny, both my husband and I can remember being dragged to visiting these places as children and while our own kids may not love all of it (the guided tour of the house springs to mind!) they do enjoy roaming the grounds, playing hide and seek and climbing trees. Hopefully, in years to come these outings will also give them some appreciation of this country’s history and culture that they in turn can share with their own children.

Osterley House 1

{I love the sweeping staircase}

Osterley Garden 4

{A beautiful summer house}

Cameron jumping

{Jumping high}

Casper jumping

{And there goes the next one}

Clemmie flowers

{Every corner of the garden was bursting with colour}

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{I seem to have developed an affinity for taking pictures of flowers – unlike the children they stay in one place!}

Osterley Garden 3

{Gorgeous tulips}

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{I wish I could have brought this flower pot back to my garden}

Osterley Garden 5

{A short rest before the next game of hide and seek}

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!}