Family adventure: The Forest of Dean part one | #AD


Last Friday we packed up our bags, picked everyone up from school and nursery ready to hit the road and drive the short distance from Somerset/Bristol to the Forest of Dean. It couldn't have come at a better time, Rob had been away all week for work, our weekends have been all over the place and it really felt like we needed to reconnect as a family. Planning holidays usually takes quite a bit of effort for us (like most families!) but we really have to consider travel time as Rohan doesn't do very well in the car for long distances, so travelling for just over an hour to somewhere we've not really explored before was perfect.

We had the whole weekend ahead of us to unwind, explore and spend time together all in a beautiful setting. Whilst even though it's so close we've not really properly explored this area before, more skirted around the edges whilst visiting my Mum, who lives not too far away in Malvern. It's always been one of those places I'd heard of but not realised that it was quite so close as it is!

We were lucky enough to be invited to spend the weekend at the Forest Holidays Park near Coleford, which proved to be an excellent base for lots of exploring, as all of the places we visited were less than 15 minutes drive from here and there was so much to do. We were staying in a woodland cabin and realised that this meant it came with a hot tub, much to all of our excitement! I don't think we've ever quite been the family to holiday in places with hot tubs, or know anyone with one, so it was still a total novelty. The cabin itself was beautiful, with so much open space, floor to ceilings windows that perfectly framed the view of the forest behind. There was a wood burning stove, a fully equipped kitchen, and in our two bed cabin we had an en suite bathroom as well as a main with a bath. There was everything you'd need to stay a week or more! It definitely exceeded our expectations!


Once we'd settled in and unpacked we ordered some pizza from the main reception (which had it's own bar and cafe), to be delivered to our cabin so we could enjoy an evening in. We brought our own food too for the rest of the weekend, which really helps to keep costs down, but having one little treat on the first night was great. Once we'd settled Rohan into bed we enjoyed dinner, then hopped into the hot tub that had been warming up all day. It was a perfect way to unwind and really feel like we were on holiday, that and a glass or two of prosecco! 

The next morning after a lazy breakfast we headed a short drive away  (under 10 minutes) to Pedalabikeaway Cycle Centre to hire bikes for the morning and explore the forest on two wheels. The service was brilliant as they checked and fitted all of our bikes, including swapping to a trailer for Rohan as we felt he'd enjoy it a little more this way, and give Onyx a rest if he needed it! We were soon all set up and on our way, deciding to take the ten mile family trail round the forest. It was a great distance for us, taking around an hour and a half (with a few stops!) and provided us with such stunning scenery. The trail was also relatively quiet, with us being the only users on it for good portions, which was great to feel like we could spread out and go at our own pace. Onyx ended up running the whole way with us, he was definitely a tired pup at the end of the day! The views were just beautiful and it's so relaxing cycling through the woods, it really reminded me of a place we used to go to as a family for cycling over in Norfolk. 


Once we'd returned our bikes we headed back to the cabin so Theo and Rob could head off for a forest survival session located onsite. They spent a good few hours with an expert who talked them through all sorts of skills, giving tips and advice as they walked along through the woods. Theo seemed to take so much of it in and came back chatting about all that he'd learnt, especially about fire lighting and wanting to get his own steel and flint. After building a camp fire and having a go to light it, they finished off with hot chocolate. I think they'd definitely recommend having a go at this! I just think it's so important for kids to get out in the woods and immerse themselves in it, and learn some new skills along the way.


Determined to explore as much as possible, once Theo and Rob had returned we jumped back in the car to go up the road to Puzzlewood Forest. Unfortunately they don't allow pushchairs on site, and the forest isn't accessible to wheelchairs, something which isn't very clear from their website and we were only told when we turned up, so something to bear in mind to plan for if you want to visit! It's a shame it isn't more disabled accessible, but I do understand that it's an ancient natural woodland. If we'd known we would've taken our back carrier so we could all visit the wood, but Theo and I just had a wander round instead. That being said there was a lot to do for Rohan without visiting the woods themselves, so he was happy. When we arrived we headed to the cafe for a late lunch, and sat outside in the lovely picnic area surrounded by trees. The area had a mini music garden and a great hill for rolling down which is perfect for keeping kids entertained whilst you wait for food, we stayed in this area for quite a while as it really relaxing in the late afternoon and not too busy at all. 

After lunch (which was nice and well priced!) we wandered over to the playground and farm area and said hello to all the animals which was very fun...I always have a soft spot for goats! It was actually quite nice not to have the pushchair for a few hours as I think it encourages Rohan to be out on his feet and engaging in the world a little more, he is too heavy to carry in our arms constantly and I like seeing him wander about as much as possible. After the mini farm we headed to the barns where they have a few activities such as a maze that Theo and I tackled and a toddler area with lots of ride on cars and scooters which Rohan had a lot of fun on. Whilst he was entertained here Theo and I headed into the magical forest itself where we followed small winding paths taking us through the woods and off on tangents around and under the roots of these old trees. The woods was dark and mysterious, covered in moss and smelling of damp earth. We followed steps leading through between towering rocks and held hands as we explored round scary corners. It was so quiet and still, except for the occasional rustle of the undergrowth where we managed to spot little mice travelling through their tunnels and poking their heads out occasionally. The watched squirrels dart from tree to tree and just stood and marvelled the ancient trees and the magical surroundings. You can see why it's been used as a backdrop for so many films. 

After we'd wandered around a while and managed not to get too lost we made our way out of the forest as it was nearing closing time. We definitely could have stayed a lot longer and explore more of the woods. I think we'll add that to our list of something to visit again, this time with a carrier for Rohan! 


Despite their faces they did enjoy themselves! We made our way back to the cabin ready for an evening of hot tubs, eurovision and the log burner...sounds good doesn't it?


Come back for more soon!




We worked together with Forest of Dean & Wye Valley Tourism board for this post, in exchange for a review of local attractions and accommodation. Our cabin, entry to places and travel has been covered in exchange for the review, but I've not been paid for my time or opinions. All words and images are my own. 

Strawberry picking near Bristol!


Last weekend we decided that we'd better go Strawberry picking before it got too late in the season, like last year. It was the harbourside festival on in Bristol, and neither Rob or I had any intention of dragging two children down there (I'm sure it's ace but crowds and business isn't our thing!) so getting out of the city was appealing. We drove to a place that we've been going to for the past three years, (you can see our first trip here...look how little Theo looks!) so it's nice to have some sort of tradition. It's called Chosen Hill farm near Chew Valley lake. The drive over itself is beautiful as you round the valley the get stunning views back down towards the lake and hills in the distance.

It feels sort of special to be slowly introducing our family traditions to Rohan, bringing him along and showing him all these new places. Obviously he's only a baby so isn't really aware of where we are or what we're doing, but it's nice to think he's joining in! These are the things we looked forward to most of all when thinking about having another baby, and especially once Rohan was actually here but in hospital. It felt like such an unknown future, not knowing when we'd be able to get back to our normal lives and start doing all these traditional things as a family. So it's days like these that we soak up even more and revel in the ability to actually be able to achieve those outings and experiences. It may not seem like much, but to us it means so much!

Anyway, this year we went a little wild with the amount of strawberries we collected, and like an over excited kid in a sweet shop we took them up to pay and were a little surprised at how much we'd spent! So armed with our 3kgs of strawberries we heaved them home and decided to try our hand at making jam for the first time. Theo, after helping to make it, then decided that he wanted to give some jars as a goodbye gift to his teachers which I thought was a very sweet idea!

So here's to another year of strawberry picking!




Strawberry picking near Bristol!


Last weekend we decided that we'd better go Strawberry picking before it got too late in the season, like last year. It was the harbourside festival on in Bristol, and neither Rob or I had any intention of dragging two children down there (I'm sure it's ace but crowds and business isn't our thing!) so getting out of the city was appealing. We drove to a place that we've been going to for the past three years, (you can see our first trip here...look how little Theo looks!) so it's nice to have some sort of tradition. It's called Chosen Hill farm near Chew Valley lake. The drive over itself is beautiful as you round the valley the get stunning views back down towards the lake and hills in the distance.

It feels sort of special to be slowly introducing our family traditions to Rohan, bringing him along and showing him all these new places. Obviously he's only a baby so isn't really aware of where we are or what we're doing, but it's nice to think he's joining in! These are the things we looked forward to most of all when thinking about having another baby, and especially once Rohan was actually here but in hospital. It felt like such an unknown future, not knowing when we'd be able to get back to our normal lives and start doing all these traditional things as a family. So it's days like these that we soak up even more and revel in the ability to actually be able to achieve those outings and experiences. It may not seem like much, but to us it means so much!

Anyway, this year we went a little wild with the amount of strawberries we collected, and like an over excited kid in a sweet shop we took them up to pay and were a little surprised at how much we'd spent! So armed with our 3kgs of strawberries we heaved them home and decided to try our hand at making jam for the first time. Theo, after helping to make it, then decided that he wanted to give some jars as a goodbye gift to his teachers which I thought was a very sweet idea!

So here's to another year of strawberry picking!




So that was Christmas

So it's over, yesterday we took down the tree and cleared out the house ready for the new year that is so suddenly upon us. For some reason this year I just didn't feel all that Christmassy. It may have been the weather has been unusually warm and there were none of those crisp bustley days with hands wrapped round steaming cups of hot chocolate. Perhaps because Theo was in school and the weeks and weekends whizzed by until Christmas week was suddenly upon us, or perhaps it was because we had too many other things to actually think about, post Christmas. 

I tried to make an effort to make this year extra magical for Theo though, as it will be his last as just him and I wanted to make it one he would hopefully remember. For the first time ever I made him an advent calendar, which as well as little treats had Christmas activities in too. We went ice skating, visited Father Christmas, went to the local pantomime for the first time and did a few other festive activities. I hope that he enjoyed them all! 

All in all we stayed pretty close to home over the holidays, missing out on our usual trip across the country to see family and friends as I was a little scared about going into labour and being so far away from home and hospital. But it was actually good to have a break, it forever feels like I'm the one travelling all over the place to see friends, but sometimes you just need to realise your limitations and say no. If it means missing out on seeing people just because I didn't travel then that will have to be. Anyway, so it was different this year, we spent our weekends with little outings and tried to go on a few walks without the weather being totally rubbish, but it did mean that once again I rarely took any photographs. Sometimes though, it all passes in such a blur that you just need to be present to soak it all up. But here are the ones that I did manage - enjoy!


So that was Christmas

So it's over, yesterday we took down the tree and cleared out the house ready for the new year that is so suddenly upon us. For some reason this year I just didn't feel all that Christmassy. It may have been the weather has been unusually warm and there were none of those crisp bustley days with hands wrapped round steaming cups of hot chocolate. Perhaps because Theo was in school and the weeks and weekends whizzed by until Christmas week was suddenly upon us, or perhaps it was because we had too many other things to actually think about, post Christmas. 

I tried to make an effort to make this year extra magical for Theo though, as it will be his last as just him and I wanted to make it one he would hopefully remember. For the first time ever I made him an advent calendar, which as well as little treats had Christmas activities in too. We went ice skating, visited Father Christmas, went to the local pantomime for the first time and did a few other festive activities. I hope that he enjoyed them all! 

All in all we stayed pretty close to home over the holidays, missing out on our usual trip across the country to see family and friends as I was a little scared about going into labour and being so far away from home and hospital. But it was actually good to have a break, it forever feels like I'm the one travelling all over the place to see friends, but sometimes you just need to realise your limitations and say no. If it means missing out on seeing people just because I didn't travel then that will have to be. Anyway, so it was different this year, we spent our weekends with little outings and tried to go on a few walks without the weather being totally rubbish, but it did mean that once again I rarely took any photographs. Sometimes though, it all passes in such a blur that you just need to be present to soak it all up. But here are the ones that I did manage - enjoy!


Postcards from Devon part three

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So before we go on holiday next week and I have another thousand photographs to go through and share I thought I'd put up the last of our trip from Devon, from what seems like months ago! I actually think that these might be my favourite set from that trip. Rob joined us for the end of our mini holiday in the Easter holidays and we took a trip over to Dawlish Warren for a play on the seafront and perhaps a little go on the 2p machines...

After our last beach trip got cut a little short by the sea mist rolling in we were more than happy to have another paddle and play on the beach. It was great to see Theo's confidence with the waves and the sea grow over the few days, and I hope that this means over the summer when (fingers crossed!) it's warmer we can go a little further in! 

At the weekend we're heading over to Norfolk for some of our dear friends wedding and we couldn't be more excited! Following that we're taking our bell tent and camping with it for the first time along the beautiful Norfolk coast. I can't wait to show Rob and indeed Theo the places and beaches I used to visit when I was little and share my seaside experience with them. 

I have a few more posts lined up this week (hopefully!) but as of next week we're going pretty off grid with no electricity and probably not a lot of internet! I feel like I need a little holiday, and I just can't wait! 

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Postcards from Devon part three

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So before we go on holiday next week and I have another thousand photographs to go through and share I thought I'd put up the last of our trip from Devon, from what seems like months ago! I actually think that these might be my favourite set from that trip. Rob joined us for the end of our mini holiday in the Easter holidays and we took a trip over to Dawlish Warren for a play on the seafront and perhaps a little go on the 2p machines...

After our last beach trip got cut a little short by the sea mist rolling in we were more than happy to have another paddle and play on the beach. It was great to see Theo's confidence with the waves and the sea grow over the few days, and I hope that this means over the summer when (fingers crossed!) it's warmer we can go a little further in! 

At the weekend we're heading over to Norfolk for some of our dear friends wedding and we couldn't be more excited! Following that we're taking our bell tent and camping with it for the first time along the beautiful Norfolk coast. I can't wait to show Rob and indeed Theo the places and beaches I used to visit when I was little and share my seaside experience with them. 

I have a few more posts lined up this week (hopefully!) but as of next week we're going pretty off grid with no electricity and probably not a lot of internet! I feel like I need a little holiday, and I just can't wait! 

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Our annual adventure to St.Fagans, Wales (part one!)

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I've spoken many a times about my love for St.Fagans, and it holds many a dear memory for me. We visited last year with my friend on Mother's day, and although we were a week early, we decided to repeat our annual trip over the bridge.

We couldn't have planned the timing of our trip better. The sun broke through the clouds in the late morning just as we crossed the river into Wales, and the clear blue skies emerged and the warm sun shone down on us. I've been craving that warmth and clarity that comes with the change of the season, where new life appears and everything just feels a little lighter. I don't think anything could have spoiled my mood that day...not even whinging children! It was the most perfect spring day as we discarded our coats and left our winter gloom behind.

We managed to discover a whole new area that we'd not stumbled upon before, complete with very pregnant sheep and some freshly delivered lambs. Chickens ran about our feet and we discovered an old farmhouse. We stopped for our very first picnic of the year, walked under the shadows of winter branches taking deep lungfuls or the crisp Spring air. 

It was perfect! (And we left once more promising to come back in the summer, lets hope we keep it!) 

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Our annual adventure to St.Fagans, Wales (part one!)

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I've spoken many a times about my love for St.Fagans, and it holds many a dear memory for me. We visited last year with my friend on Mother's day, and although we were a week early, we decided to repeat our annual trip over the bridge.

We couldn't have planned the timing of our trip better. The sun broke through the clouds in the late morning just as we crossed the river into Wales, and the clear blue skies emerged and the warm sun shone down on us. I've been craving that warmth and clarity that comes with the change of the season, where new life appears and everything just feels a little lighter. I don't think anything could have spoiled my mood that day...not even whinging children! It was the most perfect spring day as we discarded our coats and left our winter gloom behind.

We managed to discover a whole new area that we'd not stumbled upon before, complete with very pregnant sheep and some freshly delivered lambs. Chickens ran about our feet and we discovered an old farmhouse. We stopped for our very first picnic of the year, walked under the shadows of winter branches taking deep lungfuls or the crisp Spring air. 

It was perfect! (And we left once more promising to come back in the summer, lets hope we keep it!) 

st.fagans wales
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Postcards from Scotland 6


So I thought it was time for another instalment of photographs from our Scottish adventure back in July. After we spent a long day out at the beach and climbing hills we decided to take it easy for the next few days, spending time in the cottage baking and hiding from the downpours. We played boardgames in the evenings and planned our activities. 

We decided that, even though the scenery is certainly entertaining enough, that we wanted to do a little bit of exploring of the towns and some attractions. We drove around the peninsula towards a little town of Inveraray to visit the jailhouse. The town is a little more geared towards tourists than previous places we'd visited, but after all we were on holiday and we can't say no to a bit of historical reenactment. It was fun, Theo got locked up and whipped on a table, the usual. After our trip to jail we walked around the town, dodging the rain and stopping to look in the shops lining the small high street. It was fun for a rainy day in Scotland. 

The next day we visited a local arboretum, which as can be expected was beautiful. We wandered around the trails taking in the scenery and climbing trees. Just what you'd expect. The days went quickly, and suddenly we were nearing the end of our time in Scotland. I don't think anyone wanted to leave, and we were going to make the most out of our last day in this beautiful part of the world. 

Postcards from Scotland 6


So I thought it was time for another instalment of photographs from our Scottish adventure back in July. After we spent a long day out at the beach and climbing hills we decided to take it easy for the next few days, spending time in the cottage baking and hiding from the downpours. We played boardgames in the evenings and planned our activities. 

We decided that, even though the scenery is certainly entertaining enough, that we wanted to do a little bit of exploring of the towns and some attractions. We drove around the peninsula towards a little town of Inveraray to visit the jailhouse. The town is a little more geared towards tourists than previous places we'd visited, but after all we were on holiday and we can't say no to a bit of historical reenactment. It was fun, Theo got locked up and whipped on a table, the usual. After our trip to jail we walked around the town, dodging the rain and stopping to look in the shops lining the small high street. It was fun for a rainy day in Scotland. 

The next day we visited a local arboretum, which as can be expected was beautiful. We wandered around the trails taking in the scenery and climbing trees. Just what you'd expect. The days went quickly, and suddenly we were nearing the end of our time in Scotland. I don't think anyone wanted to leave, and we were going to make the most out of our last day in this beautiful part of the world. 

so long September


As the dark evenings draw in and a sudden chill to the air catches us off guard, I suddenly realise that the long awaited Autumn is definitely here and we have to say so long to the long summer days for another year. 

I know I have been one to complain about the hot muggy weather we had of late, but I am going to miss the Summer. It's been a good one and we've been treated to many a long, cloudless day, where we can leave the house in just single layers. There's no fuss with coats and hats and we will miss those days picnicking under the shade of great leafy trees. But all things must end, and I know that we have packed our Summer full of good memories, and knowledge that next year will be just as good. 

So here are a few photographs from the last of our Summer days, spent on days out with trains and gallivanting around the centre of Bristol. 

So long Summer, see you next year! 

so long September


As the dark evenings draw in and a sudden chill to the air catches us off guard, I suddenly realise that the long awaited Autumn is definitely here and we have to say so long to the long summer days for another year. 

I know I have been one to complain about the hot muggy weather we had of late, but I am going to miss the Summer. It's been a good one and we've been treated to many a long, cloudless day, where we can leave the house in just single layers. There's no fuss with coats and hats and we will miss those days picnicking under the shade of great leafy trees. But all things must end, and I know that we have packed our Summer full of good memories, and knowledge that next year will be just as good. 

So here are a few photographs from the last of our Summer days, spent on days out with trains and gallivanting around the centre of Bristol. 

So long Summer, see you next year! 

Postcards from Barcelona (3)



So a month has flown by since we visited the fair city of Barcelona, and even though there's still a few fair bits to share, it's been lovely to look back and revive the memory of certain days as they all start to blur into one. Every day since we returned Theo has without fail asked me "remember when we went on the airplane?", often asking friends and family too. I think it will probably remain the highlight of his year! 

So after a busy weekend seeing the delights the streets of Barcelona had to offer us we had a lazy morning spent visiting the local park before setting off back out into the city. We took the tram, or as it was to be known as the "trampa" for the remainder of the trip, into the city. We didn't have too much of a plan, just to visit a park that we've visited many times before and walk and take it all in. We alighted the tram by the zoo and wandered around the Parc de la Ciutadella, a beautiful 19th Century park. After a foggy morning the sun broke through the clouds, and we spontaneously decided to take a little boat out on the small lake for half an hour. It may have been a little of a touristy thing to do, but we couldn't hide away from being a tourist the entire trip, and 6€ was a small price for a lot of excitement. My sister was on strict instructions to go no where near the paddles, as her and vehicles/mobile things and water do not bode well! We spotted birds and turtles and travelled round a few times before returning the boat.

We spotted a play park where we sheltered from the hot afternoon sun whilst Theo provided us with imaginary ice creams to keep us cool. We strolled around the rest of the park, taking the magnificent buildings of the museum and government buildings. 

We left the park in search of real ice cream and wondered over to an old favourite district of El Born...more of which I shall share later! 

Postcards from Barcelona (3)



So a month has flown by since we visited the fair city of Barcelona, and even though there's still a few fair bits to share, it's been lovely to look back and revive the memory of certain days as they all start to blur into one. Every day since we returned Theo has without fail asked me "remember when we went on the airplane?", often asking friends and family too. I think it will probably remain the highlight of his year! 

So after a busy weekend seeing the delights the streets of Barcelona had to offer us we had a lazy morning spent visiting the local park before setting off back out into the city. We took the tram, or as it was to be known as the "trampa" for the remainder of the trip, into the city. We didn't have too much of a plan, just to visit a park that we've visited many times before and walk and take it all in. We alighted the tram by the zoo and wandered around the Parc de la Ciutadella, a beautiful 19th Century park. After a foggy morning the sun broke through the clouds, and we spontaneously decided to take a little boat out on the small lake for half an hour. It may have been a little of a touristy thing to do, but we couldn't hide away from being a tourist the entire trip, and 6€ was a small price for a lot of excitement. My sister was on strict instructions to go no where near the paddles, as her and vehicles/mobile things and water do not bode well! We spotted birds and turtles and travelled round a few times before returning the boat.

We spotted a play park where we sheltered from the hot afternoon sun whilst Theo provided us with imaginary ice creams to keep us cool. We strolled around the rest of the park, taking the magnificent buildings of the museum and government buildings. 

We left the park in search of real ice cream and wondered over to an old favourite district of El Born...more of which I shall share later! 

A family walk

Over the Easter weekend we decided to jump in the car and head down to Devon for a few days. The weather wasn't great, we were all tired and nothing beats a breath of fresh air down by the coast.

On Easter Monday the rain had stopped pouring and we decided to take a trip to the South Devon Railway, for a little ride on the trains once more. Two in the space of a few weeks for a certain little boy!

We drove to the outskirts of Totnes and walked along the river and over the bridge to the old station and line. The platform itself is decked out in old tourism posters, signs and lamps as well as offering a little book stall and a shed full of train memorabilia.

Once again more photos after the jump!





We walked through the carriages, chatted to the ticket collector and gazed out at the passing countryside.

We arrived at Buckfastleigh station, alighted the train and set about exploring. There were lots of different engines to see, a big red double decker bus and lots of vintage cars. We stopped for lunch with all the old people, before taking a look around the shop and the model railway.

After lunch we headed back onto the train, but not before Theo got to have a little sit inside the cab!
Theo was treated to a band new train by his dear Granny, got very excited about meeting an owl on the platform before dropping off to sleep the moment we got in the car! We made a quick visit to the seafront once back in Teignmouth as the clouds broke and the sun shone down. We had a lovely relaxing weekend! 



gingerlillytea

A family walk

Over the Easter weekend we decided to jump in the car and head down to Devon for a few days. The weather wasn't great, we were all tired and nothing beats a breath of fresh air down by the coast.

On Easter Monday the rain had stopped pouring and we decided to take a trip to the South Devon Railway, for a little ride on the trains once more. Two in the space of a few weeks for a certain little boy!

We drove to the outskirts of Totnes and walked along the river and over the bridge to the old station and line. The platform itself is decked out in old tourism posters, signs and lamps as well as offering a little book stall and a shed full of train memorabilia.

Once again more photos after the jump!





We walked through the carriages, chatted to the ticket collector and gazed out at the passing countryside.

We arrived at Buckfastleigh station, alighted the train and set about exploring. There were lots of different engines to see, a big red double decker bus and lots of vintage cars. We stopped for lunch with all the old people, before taking a look around the shop and the model railway.

After lunch we headed back onto the train, but not before Theo got to have a little sit inside the cab!
Theo was treated to a band new train by his dear Granny, got very excited about meeting an owl on the platform before dropping off to sleep the moment we got in the car! We made a quick visit to the seafront once back in Teignmouth as the clouds broke and the sun shone down. We had a lovely relaxing weekend! 



gingerlillytea

a family walk

Not so much a family walk, but an outing, but all the same we went on a little adventure on Sunday to visit the steam train at Bitton on the Avon Valley Railway.

We've visited Bitton a few times, once on a stop off on a cycle ride to Bath, and another just the boys to ride the diesel train. But this was our first time riding the big steam engine. In fact I think, if you can believe it, it was the first proper time Theo has ridden on a steam train. Gasp! For a massively train obsessed child you would have thought he'd have been on thousands in his three short years, but asdie from mini steam engines and the one at the Mshed, this is (it can't be though?!) the first time we've travelled in proper carriages pulled by a large steamy. So obviously very exciting for us all.

We had a lazy morning and eventually left the house to meet my Mum and Andy for our little adventure, and purchased our tickets in the traditional waiting room, we had a quick packed lunch on the platform whilst Theo entertained us by running around waving his new flag and pointing out all the very exciting things around the station!

Once again I got a little snap happy, so click below to see the rest!





After a short while the train pulled in and filled the platform with that enticing smell and billowing clouds of steam. We went to take a look at the engine, and Theo discovered that in fact the steam close up isn't that great!

Theo spent most of the journey with his head out the window watching the countryside rush by, feeling the wind and hearing the noises of the train gathering speed. He stepped back inside to excitedly get his ticket stamped by the conductor, and ran down the corridors of the carriage.
We stopped at a station down the line and watched the engine change direction before taking us back on our way. Our tickets meant that we could stay on the train for as long as we like, taking how ever many journeys we wished, and we noted that next time, in perhaps warmer weather it would be a nice idea to get off the train and walk a mile or so to a nearby pub for lunch before returning and alighting the train back again.

We finished our journey with one very tired out boy, and headed home to cook a roast dinner to finish off our lovely Sunday adventure!

a family walk

Not so much a family walk, but an outing, but all the same we went on a little adventure on Sunday to visit the steam train at Bitton on the Avon Valley Railway.

We've visited Bitton a few times, once on a stop off on a cycle ride to Bath, and another just the boys to ride the diesel train. But this was our first time riding the big steam engine. In fact I think, if you can believe it, it was the first proper time Theo has ridden on a steam train. Gasp! For a massively train obsessed child you would have thought he'd have been on thousands in his three short years, but asdie from mini steam engines and the one at the Mshed, this is (it can't be though?!) the first time we've travelled in proper carriages pulled by a large steamy. So obviously very exciting for us all.

We had a lazy morning and eventually left the house to meet my Mum and Andy for our little adventure, and purchased our tickets in the traditional waiting room, we had a quick packed lunch on the platform whilst Theo entertained us by running around waving his new flag and pointing out all the very exciting things around the station!

Once again I got a little snap happy, so click below to see the rest!





After a short while the train pulled in and filled the platform with that enticing smell and billowing clouds of steam. We went to take a look at the engine, and Theo discovered that in fact the steam close up isn't that great!

Theo spent most of the journey with his head out the window watching the countryside rush by, feeling the wind and hearing the noises of the train gathering speed. He stepped back inside to excitedly get his ticket stamped by the conductor, and ran down the corridors of the carriage.
We stopped at a station down the line and watched the engine change direction before taking us back on our way. Our tickets meant that we could stay on the train for as long as we like, taking how ever many journeys we wished, and we noted that next time, in perhaps warmer weather it would be a nice idea to get off the train and walk a mile or so to a nearby pub for lunch before returning and alighting the train back again.

We finished our journey with one very tired out boy, and headed home to cook a roast dinner to finish off our lovely Sunday adventure!

sandcastles on the moon

Last weekend, all three of us filled up to the eyeballs with cold, drove to visit my sister in Kent for a little extended birthday treat. You may remember last year we made the same journey to see the wonderful Oily Cart. We were all blown away by it last year that we decided to make it a little annual trip (well until Theo is five as he will sadly be too old to go!)

 This years performance was equally as amazing. It was called Mr and Mrs Moon, and was about the lady who lives in the moon, who comes down to earth (via long stretches of fabric from the ceiling none the less) to visit all the children and see them make sandcastles. The whole set was featured around a giant circular sandpit, where the children sat for the performance with their bucket and spades, free to start building whenever they want. The story features travelling up to the moon by a ladder drawn in the sand, a giant balloon containing all the wind from the moon, aliens and a real wind machine. It was amazing. There tour is coming to a close now, but if you want to take little ones to some spectacular theatre that is made for them, around them and to engage them properly then don't bother going to an over priced cbeebies sort of thing, go see Oily Cart, you seriously won't be disappointed!

So enough of my gushing (but seriously, just GO!) we spent the rest of the weekend having more adventures.

After a horrendous night of rain and wind Saturday turned out to be gloriously sunny, and bitterly cold. Even so we took a little trip to the lovely seaside town of Whitstable. We took our time whilst Theo napped wondering the small streets peering in lovely looking shops and browsing in charity shops. We weaved our way to the seafront where the wind picked up and the rain threatened to come in. Even so we enjoyed finding pebbles and rocks and hurling them back into the sea, trying to skim them over the surface. Soon our tummies began to rumble to we headed to the harbour for some fish and chips, obviously.

 Theo took the photograph of me standing next to the fisherman. He took the camera and instructed me to stand next to him and say cheese. So of course I obliged, and the boys got skillz...

The next day after our little walk to the woods  we took a trip to the wonderful Badgers Hill to meet up with my dear cousins who were visiting for the day. We of course ate one of the amazing ploughmans that they offer, had a good catch up, snooped around the shop with all its delights and fed the animals roaming around the grounds. We then said our goodbyes and hit the road for the long journey home. Once again we had such a wonderful time in beautiful Kent, but as usual the weekend went way too fast.