Exploring Swansea with kids – Rhossili

Exploring Swansea with kids – Rhossili

Last year Rhossili bay was voted as the best beach in Europe and my family and I are lucky to have this gorgeous sandy beach right on our doorstep (well, almost). Since moving back to Swansea we have spent loads of time at the seaside and exploring the Gower peninsula, this is where you can find the idyllic Rhossili bay. It may be breathtakingly beautiful, but is Rhossili family friendly? In this first post in my ‘Exploring Swansea with kids‘ series, I am going to share all my local knowledge of different places we have visited in and around Swansea so if you are planning a family holiday here, you will know where to take the little ones for a day of fun. View Post

Day out with Thomas at the Watercress Line

Day out with Thomas at the Watercress Line

*collaborative post*

When Leo was two he was obsessed with Thomas the Tank, I mean ob-sessed! His bedroom is still full of various bits of track, he has about five little Thomas trains and a James, Gordon, Harold the helicopter, Percy and, well, you know all the rest right? We took Leo on a Day out with Thomas at Eastleigh miniature railway when he was two and he loved it so when we were invited along to go for another Day out with Thomas, this time along the Watercress Line, I knew my Thomas super fan would be desperate to go. Last week, during the Easter holidays and on the sunniest day Hampshire had been blessed with in months, Leo and I headed out for a Day out with Thomas, singing the theme tune the whole way there in the car. View Post

Stick Man Live – the perfect first theatre experience for toddlers

Stick Man Live – the perfect first theatre experience for toddlers

What toddler doesn’t love Stick Man? Actually, what adult doesn’t love Stick Man? If you have no clue what I am on about, let me quickly fill you in. Stick Man is a children’s story written by the brilliant Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, the people who brought us the modern day children’s classics of The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom and so many more beautifully imagined story books. The story of Stick Man captured my Leo’s heart a couple of years a go and when I saw Stick Man Live was coming to our local theatre I just HAD to take him.  If you have a Stick Man fan in your family then you are definitely not going to want to miss this. View Post

A day out at the Roald Dahl Museum with Mr Kipling

A day out at the Roald Dahl Museum with Mr Kipling

If I had to write a list of all the things I love to do in life, two things that would make it pretty close to the top are reading and eating cake. I have been a massive book worm for as long as I have been able to read and my all time favourite author as a child was Roald Dahl. So, I am sure you can imagine how excited I was to receive an invite to an event celebrating the collaboration between Mr Kipling and Roald Dahl this summer at the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre. A chance to get to know more about my favourite children’s author and the opportunity to eat loads of cake? Obviously I said yes and this morning the kids and I headed off to Great Missenden, Roald Dahl’s home and inspiration for several years, to discover more about the wacky world of Roald Dahl and to find out all about the Mr Kipling Splendiferous Summer. If you are partial to a French Fancy (or 5), would like to find out how to win some amazing prizes this summer holidays and love the children’s literary mastermind that is the amazing Roald Dahl, then you are definitely going to want to read on.. View Post

Cycling in the New Forest – Our child free weekend

Cycling in the New Forest – Our child free weekend

On the weekend Oli and I had our first night away since Alex was born last October. Obviously, we have had nights away from home since becoming a family of four but the kids have always been with us. Last Saturday was the first time we have had a whole night child free since our babymoon in Reading last June and it was so needed. If you read my blog regularly you may have seen my post the other week about how I have been desperate for a break from parenting these last couple of months. To make the most of our freedom, Oli and I decided to do something we are nowhere near brave enough to do with our 3 year old and baby – we spent the day cycling in the New Forest and decided to drag out our child free time even more by camping just half an hour from our house. View Post

Pumpkin picking fun at Pickwell Farm

Pumpkin picking fun at Pickwell Farm

Don’t you just love autumn? The crunchy leaves, the beautiful colours, an excuse to drink hot chocolate whilst wearing your favourite jumper and scarf? One of the reasons I love autumn so much is because I love Halloween and what better way is there to get the whole family into the spooky spirit than to go pumpkin picking. After reading about Pickwell Farm over on the fabulous Dear Mummy blog and knowing how much Leo loves going to pick your own fields, on Saturday I knew exactly how we would be spending our morning and we all had a great time searching for the perfect pumpkin. View Post

5 reasons you need a National Trust membership

5 reasons you need a National Trust membership

Family days out are just the best, aren’t they? There is nothing like getting everyone in the car and heading off somewhere in search of adventure and fun. There are loads of free things you can do as a family out of the house, trips to the beach, country walks and so on, but some days out can cost a small fortune. I don’t even want to work out how much money Oli and I have spent on trips to the zoo, farms, aquariums, theme parks and activity centres since we had Leo 3 years ago. My guess though is that it would be a lot! When my super generous sister bought Oli, Leo and I an annual membership to the National Trust earlier this year I was so happy. What a fantastic way to get us out and about and exploring new places as a family. Since March we have visited lots of National Trust properties and we will most certainly be renewing our memberships when they expire next year. If you don’t know what the National Trust is all about you should check out their website and see if there are any properties near you waiting for you to explore. I love my National trust membership and here are 5 reasons I think you might just love having one too. View Post

Animal fun at Kington Small Breeds Farm

Animal fun at Kington Small Breeds Farm

I honestly don’t think there is a better day out for a toddler than visiting somewhere with animals. They get to see the real life versions of all the animals from their books, they can stroke them’ hear them and if they are lucky they even get the opportunity to hold and feed them. A day out with animals is a full on sensory experience for your little one. Zoos are great fun but can be a bit pricey and I am not ashamed to say sometimes I class a trip to a garden centre to look at the fish and the rabbits as a fun day out. Leo loves animals and a family trip to a farm always brings a smile to his face. Last weekend my mother in law and I took Leo to Kington Small Breeds Farm and Owl centre , we had such a fabulous day and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. View Post

Our day out at Paultons Park and Peppa Pig World

Our day out at Paultons Park and Peppa Pig World

It was Leo’s third birthday a couple of weeks ago and to celebrate a group us headed off to Paultons Park in Romsey for a day full of pig and dinosaur fun. We have been living only 15 minutes away from Peppa Pig World for nearly a year and I honestly can’t believe it has taken us so long to go. Like most kids his age, Leo is obsessed with Peppa Pig and I’m sure spending a day completely immersed in a world based on his favourite show is like some kind of dream come true. Paultons Park is not just about Peppa Pig World though, there are loads of rides to suit all ages and the new Lost Kingdom part of the park is a must for any dinosaur fan. For anyone planning a trip to Paultons Park you can find out all about it here and my thoughts on it as a family friendly day out. Spoiler alert – we LOVED it. View Post

Thomas Land, a fab day out for toddlers

Thomas Land, a fab day out for toddlers

On the weekend Oli, Leo and I were up in Leicester visiting our lovely friends for their little boys 3rd birthday party. As we were up in that part of the country we decided to head on over to Thomas Land on the Sunday for some locomotive, tooting good fun. We have previously visited Thomas Land in December on one of their magical Christmas days, Leo loved it and I couldn’t wait to take him back to meet his favourite engines all over again. If you have a toddler who loves trains and is also a Thomas fan, I can’t recommend Thomas Land enough. I have decided to write about our day to convince any parents out there that a trip to Thomas Land is always a good idea. I hope you enjoy reading about our fun filled day and I have also chucked in a few tips to help make your day as fun as possible too. View Post

A day out with Thomas at Eastleigh steam railway

A day out with Thomas at Eastleigh steam railway

My boy Leo loves Thomas the Tank. If you have read my blog before or if you know my family in the non-blog world then you will know just how much my boy adores that little blue steam engine. In December we took Leo to Thomas Land in Drayton Manor as an early Christmas present and he loved it. Unfortunately, it is quite a drive for us to visit Thomas Land so when I saw Thomas and his friends were coming to play at the steam railway just 10 minutes from our front door, I just had to book tickets. View Post

Our camping holiday in Somerset

Our camping holiday in Somerset

It has become a kind of family tradition for Oli and I to go on a summer holiday with my parents every year. Last June we went on holiday to Majorca without them, whilst I had a great time with Oli and Leo I did miss having my Mum and Dad there. When it came to booking a holiday for this year we all decided a UK break was the best option and we booked 5 nights camping in beautiful Cheddar, Somerset. View Post

The Vyne, Basingstoke – #mynationaltrust

The Vyne, Basingstoke – #mynationaltrust

Recently, my sister bought Oli and I a National Trust membership as a belated birthday present, this is my idea of a perfect gift. There are so many National Trust properties in the Hampshire area, so many places to explore and thanks to my sister, lots of free family days out for us to enjoy. I am going to make it my mission for us to visit as many as we can before our membership runs out next March. On Saturday we decided to see what this National Trust thing was all about and headed off to The Vyne in Basingstoke for an adventure.

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Woodland adventures with Trespass – Toddler rain suit review

Nothing beats a nice, long family walk, don’t you agree? There is just something about exploring the great outdoors, soaking up nature’s beauty and enjoying the peace and freedom of the countryside that I absolutely love. Put Leo in a forest or on the beach and he is in his element, his curiosity free to run wild and his inner explorer unleashed. If you follow me on InstaGram you will know that Leo and I are always off on little outdoor adventures, splashing in puddles and navigating our way through various local woodland. Being a family that loves the outdoors, I was so excited when Trespass, one of the most successful outdoor clothing companies in the UK, asked me if I would like to review one of their products.

It was so hard to decide what to review as there is so much amazing choice for outdoor clothing on the Trespass website. Eventually, I decided this would be a great opportunity to get Leo a new rain suit. His old one has got too small and, with the amount of time this boy spends in puddles, it seemed only logical to get him a new one. The Dripdrop navy waterproof suit is £26.99 and is available from age 2 up to age 8. Leo is small for his age so the age 2/3 suit was a bit long on the arms and legs but apart from that it fits him perfectly,

To give his new suit a proper test run we spent Saturday afternoon exploring a forest 10 minutes away, one we have not visited before. I was very impressed with how easy the suit was to get on, sometimes getting a toddlers wiggly limbs into all in one clothes can be difficult but I had no trouble zipping Leo in. As it was quite a chilly day Leo had a jumper and jeans on under his suit, he said he was ‘very cosy’ and the suit slid on easily over his bulky clothes. The fleece lining helped keep Leo nice and snug and the suit is also windproof. There was a chilly wind, rattling through the trees and rustling the leaves but Leo was happy exploring, the cold not bothering him at all.

Leo sure put the rain suit through it’s paces. He was climbing over tree trunks and running down steep slopes with his Daddy. Even though the suit was a bit too big Leo had no trouble moving around in it and running through the trees. The elasticated waist means the suit fits like a dream, not too tight and not too loose, making it easy for your little one to explore in comfort.

Unfortunately, the weather has been uncharacteristically dry for the UK so we were unable to discover the full potential of the Dripdrop rain suit, We had hoped to find a stream or something in the woods but no such luck. Just by looking at the rain suit I am very confident in it’s waterproofing abilities; the elasticated wrist and ankle cuffs will effectively keep little arms and legs dry and the hood is a good size. The polyester outer coating is waterproof up to 2000mm, perfect for keeping your little one dry in a rain shower, or if they get a bit enthusiastic with their puddle jumping!

The rain suit also has reflective piping along the back, a great little feature to make sure your child is always visible even on the dreariest, rainiest walks you go on. It is really easy to roll up the rain suit and pop it in your bag if the sun starts shining and your toddler gets too warm. The Trespass Logo is stylishly placed on the front and the suit looks great, just look how cute Leo looks in it.

Leo loves his new ‘splash suit’ and I am actually looking forward to a bit of rain so we can see how it holds up during a toddler puddle splashing marathon. Even with Spring tantalisingly close, a rain suit is a must when you live somewhere with unpredictable, often rubbish weather like we have here in the UK. This boy’s rain suit makes a cosy alternative to a traditional rain coat or jacket and knowing your little one will be nice and dry, hopefully you will be encouraged to get out exploring, whatever the weather may be,

What do you think of the Dripdrop rain suit?Would you consider buying one for your little one?Do you like exploring the countryside too? It is our favourite way to pass the time 🙂

Disclaimer: I was sent the Dripdrop rain suit from Trespass in return for this honest review, All words and opinions are my own.

This post is linked to..

Cuddle Fairy

WHATEVER THE WEATHER LIFE UNEXPECTED

Diary of an Imperfect Mum: Family Fun Linky
A Cornish Mum

A frosty walk at Titchfield Abbey

Brr, it is getting cold out now isn’t it? The in-laws have been staying with us this week and on Wednesday morning I decided we should all go out for a nice walk and enjoy the crisp fresh air. It was really frigging cold out but there was white frost coating the grass and it looked so pretty outside, it would have been a shame to stay in. I decided to take them to see Titchfield Abbey, it is not too far away, it is free and the Abbey was bound to look impressive surrounded by a gloriously blue sky, with a sprinkle of white over the ground.

We all got seriously wrapped up (I think Leo had about 5 layers on!), I scraped the ice off the car and we headed off down the M27 to check out Titchfield Abbey – or the Thomas Castle, as Leo insisted it was called.

What is behind the massive door?
Finally starting to look like winter.
When we arrived at Titchfield Abbey, Leo was very excited. He immediately declared he was going to go and hide in the castle and that is exactly what he did. There is a small car park on the abbey grounds and, even from the car, the view was spectacular. Although they are extremely old, the ruins are still amazing to look at and the walls are so tall. Leo looked smaller than ever stood up against the massive entrance door.

So high!
I want to live in a castle…
Blue sky.
Titchfield Abbey is a ruin so there is not that much to see but there are little plaques dotted about with information and facts about the buildings history. The Abbey was built in the 1200’s and was home to several canons. It has switched hands a lot over the years and was suppressed during the reign of Henry VIII. There are original tiles preserved and roped off outside, they were not protected enough for Leo, who attempted to stomp all over them. That boy clearly has no respect for historical artefacts.

Facts about the tiles.
Castle selfie.

Leo loved running around the Abbey grounds, hiding in the ancient chimney flues and opening and closing the massive door. We lost sight of him at one point, we ran around in a frenzy shouting his name only to find he had managed to get down the extremely warn away staircase all by himself. He was really pleased with himself but I was so mad at myself for loosing sight of him as he could have so easily fallen.

Exploring.
Going down stairs with a worried looking Nanny.

In the grounds surrounding the Titchfield Abbey there is a funny looking path. My mother-in-law and I decided it must have been a maze once upon a time, there was no other explanation for the way it was set out. Leo enjoyed running around the ‘track’, crunching the frosty grass as he went. We  found a small icy puddle and Leo was quite confused when no splashing occurred when he jumped up and down.

Ice puddle.
Walking around ‘the maze’.

We were wandering around Titchfield Abbey for about 45 minutes but we were all starting to get really cold, I definitely could have done with some gloves and an extra pair of socks. We said goodbye to the Thomas Castle and popped in to the garden centre next door for a nice hot coffee and Leo got to feed the fish.

Feeding the fish.

Titchfield Abbey is a lovely place to visit if you are looking for something free and fun to do in Hampshire. It is open 10am-4pm from October to March and then from April to September it is open 10am-5pm. Leo really enjoyed exploring the Abbey, I think he would have stayed there for hours if we hadn’t have bribed  him away with milk and biscuits!

Have you visited Titchfield Abbey before? Does your little one like castles? I can’t wait to take Leo to a proper castle, one where you can climb up twisty staircases and have lots of rooms to explore.

A Cornish Mum
Life Unexpected