A New Adventure At Hever Castle

[GIFTED] Hever Castle has been one of our favourite places to go over the Christmas period, but for some reason until the other week we had never visited during the summer so I was very excited to see what it would hold at this time of year.

We arrived in the blistering heat with some friends and I was amazed at how stunning the gardens were in full bloom and as always the boys loved running off through each and every pathway that connects them.

We had a pretty swift walk as the children were eager to get to the new adventure playground that was a new addition to us.

As we arrived the mixture of wood and sand immediately appealed to me and the children took off within seconds to explore.

There was a huge sandpit with areas to climb and hide and in and as we walked through we discovered rope bridges, slides and a huge castle at the top which the boys absolutely loved.

Mine tend to get itchy feet pretty much anywhere we go and I was asked we spent a whole three hours there without a moan or groan…well aside from a couple of sand throwing incidents!

There is a coffee hut inside the play area which allowed me to have a natter over a drink whilst the children played.

We filled up on ice cream at the main cafe before heading into the maze which is always a big hit.

Next up was the water maze which again isn’t something we have had the pleasure of enjoying before.

It was so much prettier than I was expecting and was formed of a huge rock formation covered in foliage with pathways running around the outside with water squirting out at different times to surprise the children.

I wasn’t prepared so my lot went in fully clothed but I think that was half the fun!

Our last port of call of the day was to take a look out over the lake and to make some wishes in the fountain.

I love the serenity of this area and a row in one of the boats in on our list for our next visit.

Hever really does cater for all ages and because of this it is one of my favourite places for a day out with the whole family. There is action and adventure for the kids whist the chance for the adults to take in the beauty and the amazing history the whole place is steeped in.

There is always something new to see and experience and a whole activities that run throughout the year such as the Knights And Princesses School that is running right now.

A trip here would make the perfect treat to end the summer with.

Their Own Little Space:Evermeadow House Playhouse

[AD] Being a large family means that it is not easy to find time to yourself.  As adults my husband and I can factor this into our day, but for the children this can be hard to do and I try as much as I can to make sure they all get a little time to themselves, but with the reality of busy lives this isn’t always easy.

The youngest two really enjoy each others company…aside from the arguing! And they are both the ones the older children try to escape from for a bit of peace and quiet!

This is where having a little area in the garden that they can slope off to has been such a great addition for us and we have been able to do this with the help of the lovely people at Big Game Hunters who supply just about anything you could want for oudoor play.

They kindly sent us their Evermeadow Playhouse House to try out and it has been absolutely perfect!

Neither my husband or I own any DIY skills so the thought of errecting a playhouse sent my husband packing and me grabbing the phone to enlist the help of my poor Dad.  I actually didn’t need to panic though as one big box arrived full with our playhouse and instructions that did exaclly what it said on the tin(well box).

The panels have been made to simply slot together and with each pannel being numbered this was an easy task. The screw holes were in place and with the help of a power screwdriver the house was errect within under an hour. Even the windows were already in place so it really was a super easy build.

The house comes in its origianal state wood wise which allows you free reign on the colour you would like it. I was expecting the boys so go for something bold but they surprising they wanted to leave it natural so I just gave it a few coats of wood preserver to protect it from the weather.

The house is suitable for ages 18mths to eight years and has plenty of room for my youngest two to play inside together with their toys.

We have plans to get some cute plant pots outside, a doormat and some big cushions to make it a little cosier inside so keep an eye out over on Instagram for all our updates!

Easter Fun At Morden Hall Park

I think this has to be the first year for as long as I can remember that we haven’t taken part in a National Trust easter egg hunt and I have to say that I’m pretty sad about that! The Easter weekend just seemed so fun that we didn’t get a chance to fit it in.

That said we couldn’t get through the holidays without a trip to one of their properties and we decided on Morden Hall Park as its been a good while since we’ve had a visit there.

After a pitstop at the cafe for coffee and cake we were greeted at the main entrance by a super friendly volunteer who set about telling us how we could join in wth the Duck Trail which allowed the children to set off around the grounds in search of different species of ducks, ticking them off on their sheet as they go and showing them some food along the way.

Morden Hall Park has had a lot of work done to it since we were last there and absolutely loved the wooden pathways and lookout points that had been added to the wetland area.

The boys spent ages dipping in sticks and trying to find the crocodiles my Dad had told them were lurking beneath!

We played Pooh Sticks on the bridges, ran through all the open spaces, climbed trees and got covered in mud…exactly what a day should be full of!

Morden Hall Park is also perfectly positioned for a short walk to Deen City Farm where the children got to feed and get up close to lots of lovely farm animals from pigs, sheep and even ferrets.

The children were filthy dirty and thoroughly worn out after a wonderful day and Morden Hall Park certainly come with a big thumbs up from us.

Country Kids

Hunting For The Yeti At Riverhill Himalayan Gardens 

Wooded pathways, stacks of branches, and plenty of mud are just three of the things that make my lot happy and luckily enough they are plentiful at Riverhill Himalayan Gardensin Kent.

We had our first trip there last week and on the way I had a car full of bemused children trying to work out why we were off to the Himalayas by car!

Upon arrival whe picked up our maps at the kiosk and I grabbed a seat outside the cosy looking Riverhill Cafe that I had earmarked for later in the day.

I planned a rough idea of where the day was going to take us while the children took up residence in the ‘Toy Shed’ that made the perfect play area to keep the little ones amused while the adults have a sneaky piece of cake.

I had put a little to much faith in the wonderful British weather and arrived with a summer dress and flip flops which probably wasn’t the best attire.

Fortunately though they are fully prepared here for the unprepared such as myself and have a lovely little area they you can borrow a pair of wellies from.

We headed into the woods where the children all climbed to their hearts  content until we came across the fab adventure playground.
There were climbing walls, slides, tree houses and so much more to explore and they all spent a good hour here enjoying all it had to offer.

Ready to explore some more we entered the woods again with a pit stop for some den building before we made it to Little Everest Viewpoint.

The view from the top was stunning and the perfect place to stop for our picnic.


Refuelled we headed back down the hill towards the hedge maze.

I’m not a huge fan of mazes and tend to freak out a little if I can’t see an exit. Luckily enough the hedge maze is low and was easy for the children…and me  to navigate.

The rain decided to come and say hello so we decided to take cover in the activity tent where they all got the chance to make their own clay creations.

With an unusual calmness from my lot I took the chance to grab a coffee and some delightful carrot cake from the cafe whist they created their masterpieces.

Scattered throughout the grounds were lots of interesting sculptures with the huge scaffold tube sphere being a real pull for the kids.

Our final stop of the day was the stunning gardens full of wonderful flowers, an abundance of fruit and veg and hidden wrought iron gates that are always some thing I love.

Riverhill Himalayan Gardens was an absolute treat to discover and we will need another visit very soon as we didn’t manage to find the illusive yeti who is said to be hiding in the woods.  
*we were given tickets for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest options.

Country Kids

Bringing The Inside Outside

As you are all well to aware the weather in the UK is extremely hit and miss and when we do get the odd spell of sunshine we all need to make to most of it.

One way to do this is to make the garden an extension of your home and get as much use out of it as you can.

We are always trying to bring the outside in by filling the house with pot plants and floral fabrics so why shouldn’t we switch things around and take the comforts of our home into the garden.

For me being in the outdoors is the perfect way to spend time as a family.

The poor wifi connection and lack of TV and computer screens allows us to enjoy quality time together whist enjoying the sunshine.

The great outdoors also offers so many benefits such as helping to improve concentration, relives stress, improves vision, boosts your immune system and many more things why would you not want to make the most of your time out there.

The added bonus now is there are so many great products on the market to make your garden an inviting and comfortable place to be.

Gone are the days of flimsy plastic tables and chairs that always have the tendency to buckle under to much weight.

These have been replaced with cosy ratan sofas and sturdy tables and chairs made from all kinds of different materials that replicate indoor furniture perfectly.

To this you can add plenty of throws and cushions to make for an even comfier experience and creating a welcoming  splash of colour.

Something that makes me want to make the most of my time outside is the addition of mood lighting in the form of candles and solar power lighting.

A few candles lit on the table can keep the bugs at bay is you find some citronella  candles and solar power bulbs placed in the tress and shrubbery allow you to stay out well after the sun goes down.

The garden really can be a feast for all your senses from the smell of fragrant flowers to the sound of the early morning bird call.

It’s a place to relax and unwind so why not make your garden a little haven to enjoy as a family.

What would your dream garden include?

*collaborated post 

Cultivating Little Ones Green Fingers

The sun has been raising its head a little over the past few weeks and after a winter of neglect it is time to get out into the garden and get it ready to enjoy over the spring and summer months.

The garden is the perfect place to teach your child so many wonderful things, so why not don your gardening gear and see what your garden has to offer.

A company that covers functional yet fun clothing for adults and children alike is Engelbert Strauss. They supply high quality pieces that will withstand being out in muck and grime of the garden whist still looking good.

Stimulates The Senses – The colours of the flowers, the scent they give off, the texture of the dirt and the taste of the fruit and veg that can grow there will engage your children’s sense of smell, taste, touch, sight and sound.

Builds Motor Skills – Digging with thier spades, filling up the watering can and picking out weeds will all help to build your child’s gross and fine motor skills.

Learning About Lifecycles – From planting that very first seed to watching a flower grow and then eventually wilt and die, will teach your child the importance of the lifecycle of plants.

The same thing can be done with fruit and veg. Simple things like strawberries and tomatoes are easy to grow and the children will love being able to watch them get bigger by the day and then enjoy the fruits of their labour once they ripen.

Our local garden centre is full of great items to get things started and allows the children to be immersed in the whole process right from the start by picking out the seeds or plants at the garden centre and taking them home to cultivate them all by themselves. 

Bug Hunting – Children love a bug hunt and what better place than just outside your backdoor is there to explore where all the creepy crawlies live.

So with the Easter holidays approaching why not keep these things and mind and set up a few activities to enjoy outside.

How about growing some juicy strawberries, planting some seeds to see who can grow the tallest sunflower or make a list of some of the most common mini beasts and see how many you can find.

*collaborated post

Father Christmas In His Crystal Grotto

Up until today I thought I had covered most options when is came to visiting Father Christmas.  We have done department stores, farms, garden centres and theme parks but I didn’t realise that today was going to surpass all of those for me.

We love being outdoors so when a friend of mine suggested a trip to Father Christmas in a crystal grotto at Painshill Park I was more than intrigued.

We arrived at Painshill after a good journey and easily found a parking space.  From there we took a short walk to the entrance and collected our ticket.

We were early so we stopped for a coffee in their coffee shop which had a huge glass front giving you views out across the pretty grounds.

As you can imagine they were all champing at the bit to meet the man himself so we started our walk towards the grotto.  They had set out cute signposts for the children to follow and the whole area had pretty fairy lights in the trees and along the paths.  The magnificent trees were lit to show off their beauty.

It was about a 15 minute walk so we saved exploring the other stunning follies until after our visit.  I stupidly listened to my Dad and didn’t take the buggy which was a big mistake as the walk was to much for number five and I had to do a lot of carrying.  The pathways are well lit and smooth and fine to take your buggy along. Just before we got there we had a quick stop to see the ducks and if we went again we would take something along to feed them with.

We got to a beautiful wooden bridge from where the grotto was in sight.  We walked through the marque doors and were hit by the smell of mulled wine as a friendly elf told us to take a seat and wait to be guided into the grotto.


We had a quick drink and were then taken to visit Father Christmas.  The moment we stepped into the grotto I was astounded by how beautiful it was.


The crystals and walkways were adorned with pretty lights which made it even more magical.

Father Christmas gave us a really warm welcome and had a lovely chat with the children, well baring number five who was a little overwhelmed by it all.



They each got a gift to take home as we set off to do a little more exploring.


  
The gardens are vast and have something different around every corner.  One off my highlights was the gothic tower that once reached is simply breathtaking.


  
The ruined Abby overlooks the pond and is a real sight to see.


  
The picture really don’t do these magastic grounds justice, you really have to see it to believe it.  Our trip has doubled my Christmas spirit and we will be back next year for sure.
  

Monkey and Mouse