Regular followers of my blog will know how happy I am and how much I love living where I do. It is genuinely one of my favourite places to be. I grew up in the city until mum and dad decided to move us all to the country (right by the beach!) here in beautiful Wales, UK. I now have a husband and two wonderful kids and still live very close to my parents (just five minutes drive away). I cannot imagine anywhere better to bring up our family. The beach is on our doorstep, woodland is everywhere and nature is all around us. Wales has some amazing scenery and people come from all over the world to visit and see it for themselves! I wrote on the blog a little while ago about a place called Blue Lake where we love going for regular walks. It is one of our favourite ways to spend family time!
I thought it would be nice to share with you a photo which I took whilst sitting in our back garden the other evening. You can see the beach wall from our home and on this particular night as I looked up I could see people walking along the wall enjoying the evening sunset. It made a beautiful picture so I quickly grabbed the camera! I hope this photo shows one of the reasons I feel so lucky to live in this beautiful country.
It was finally warm and sunny enough to head to the beach last weekend and spend an afternoon there (rather than a quick ten minutes blowing out the cobwebs in the sea breeze gales). We were so excited at the prospect of a sunny beach afternoon!
When we arrived I set up my place with the beach bag, toys, towels etc and my much longed for book! The kids straight away shook off their shoes and socks and literally ran……….. they ran and ran and did not pause until they reached the sea. I took a quick snap of them racing to the water and as I did it got me thinking…. When did I lose that sheer excitement of just splashing in the water? As a kid all I wanted was for mum to say we could go in the sea on our holiday beach days, as a mum now, all I wanted was a few minutes of peace and quiet on the sand. (Don’t get me wrong I love playing with my kids on the beach but getting into the water doesn’t hold as much appeal any-more)! The sea is kind of Daddy territory! I watched them for a little while then took off my shoes and headed over to them. What followed was a water splash battle which ended up with us all pretty drenched but incredibly happy! The joy on their faces was so cool to see. It reminded me that kids get such pleasure from the things that we probably don’t see as being huge or important, but are probably the things that form the best type of memories for them……
The voice of the sea speaks to the soul – Kate Chopin.
My daughter was off school sick the other day with a pretty nasty head cold. We decided to go out in the garden in the afternoon to get a little fresh air as she was starting to feel a little better. Whilst sitting there she decided she wanted to make a ‘nature face’.
Nature faces are a lovely simple activity to do outdoors. They are adapted from our nature pictures, and are a firm family favourite. They always produce individual unique results and you can make them as serious or silly as you like! All you need is a piece of paper and a pen…..everything else is found from Mother Nature!
Start by drawing a head and neck onto a piece of paper. Next go exploring to see what you can use for hair and facial features. Adult guidance will be needed to make sure everything is safe to pick up (and to stop anything being eaten)!
My daughter used grass and daisies for her nature girl’s hair, dandelion flowers for the eyes and mouth, and a leaf for the nose!
We had great fun making different faces and it certainly cheered up a poorly little girl for a while! You can use glue to stick the face down if you want to, or simply wipe everything off and make a new face!
Last weekend the beautiful sun had finally started to shine (hooray!) and me and the hubby wanted to take the kids out for a cheap afternoon somewhere. I had seen a free local Woodland open day advertised in my facebook feed so we decided to head over there and spend the afternoon exploring the woods!
When we arrived we were greeted by a very enthusiastic man from the Woodland trust who immediately dragged lined us up for the guided wood walk. (To say he was quick is an understatement – our wellies had barely touched the ground)! This did feel a little strange as we regularly go for woodland walks, so to be guided around felt odd! We did learn quite a bit though and the kids loved listening to the different birdsong. There was a man from the RSPB who helped the kids identify between the different songs. The children were also given guides for them to keep which helped them identify different creatures and different woodland trees.
After the walk we browsed the stalls, which included home – made jam and honey for sale, bat boxes, cakes and cookies (we spent a few pennies here!), kids lucky dip, pick a stick and face painting! Everything was really reasonably priced. The admission was free so you could spend as much or as little as you liked. My daughter wanted her face painted (my son is never too keen on this so decided against it this time). She chose to have a fox painted (keeping in with the woodland theme!) much to the lovely face painting lady’s horror. She said she had never done a fox before – we think she did an amazing job! My daughter loved it and got lots of comments afterwards!
There was also a stall giving away free wooden bird boxes. I was so impressed! It’s not often in this day that you get something so lovely for free! You could choose to have a ready made one or one that needed building. We chose a bird box that needed building – Daddy was very eager to help the kids build it at home!
The kids loved helping Daddy make the bird box and it was a lovely activity to encourage them to work together. They are going to paint it together soon too, when we have the right type of paint so that it will last and look pretty longer!
We had a fantastic Sunday afternoon and I will certainly be looking out for the next one!
We love making things from paper plates as they are so versatile and hold endless craft opportunities! One of my favourite things to make with the little ones are paper plate crabs. They look so cute and the paper plate works really well with this craft. My kids love making these simple little crabs and I think they are a lovely craft to make now the sun is starting to shine a little more!
To make your crab you will need – paper plate, paint, felt pens and coloured paper.
Start by painting your paper plate. My daughter chose orange for her paper plate crab.
Leave the paper plate to dry. Cut out two circles from coloured paper and draw on the eyes with a felt pen.
Next fold a strip of paper (to make a concertina effect), then glue it to the back of one of the eyes. This will make the eyes pop out, giving a 3d effect! Repeat with the other eye.
Once the paper plate is dry stick the eyes on with glue and draw the crab’s mouth on with a pen. Next cut out some legs and pincers from coloured paper then glue onto your crab!
My little ones love their paper plate crabs and they are a wonderful simple activity to do. The kids even took theirs outside and played in the sunshine with them! For more animal craft ideas please take a peek here!
I decided to take the kids on a day out yesterday as an Easter holiday treat. I decided to take them to one of their favourite places – Gypsy Wood, near Caernarfon in Wales. Gypsy Wood is a children’s activity park which isn’t too far from our home and since we visited just over a year ago, the kids have constantly wanted to go back! I went with my little ones, both of my sisters, my niece and nephew and my mum, so it was a real family day out!
As soon as you enter Gypsy Wood you feel like you have stepped into a magical wonderland! The park is always immaculate and is obviously well looked after. The staff are friendly and are fantastic with the kids, which is such a bonus in places like this!
There is a lovely model railway which the kids can control by pressing the different buttons. It is brilliantly interactive and hands on!
The play equipment is excellent. There are ride on vehicles, slides, a zip wire, climbing frames, trampolines, see saws – you name it they have probably got it! There are so many opportunities for the kids to use their bodies to navigate the equipment – it is brilliant! My son especially loves the ride on vehicles and the huge amount of space he could ride them!
There is also a little train that you can ride which takes you on a journey around the park whilst you try and spot the owls and fairies along the way. This was a big hit with the kids! (and was my favourite thing there too – Hey, it means you have a chance to sit down for five minutes! As a mum this is a huge plus)!
The displays of fairies, elves and other magical creatures are brilliant. They really make you feel like you are in some magical woodland. So much for the kids to spot and see!
There are also plenty of animals which you can buy bags of feed for an extra charge. My two year old nephew loved feeding the goats especially!
My daughters highlight of her day was riding a donkey. As a huge animal lover this made her so happy. Her face whilst riding was a picture! One of those moments which will stay with me forever I think! (She used to be incredibly shy, so much so that some people believed she was selectively mute. Out of our family home she literally would not speak). Since moving to her present school just over a year ago, she has completely changed. Her confidence has grown so much and she converses to people she meets now – just like the lady in charge of the donkeys. She has always wanted to ride but has never had the confidence to do it, so this was quite a big moment for her. I felt quite tearful watching her. Sounds silly as it is something most kids do at a much younger age, but for me as her mum it was wonderful to see!
There was also a place to practice long jumping which was good fun. The kids enjoyed a bit of healthy competition with their jumping skills!
I thought another lovely touch was the ‘giants’ footsteps. We followed the trail of footsteps which led you to a huge giants chair which you could clamber up and sit on. Really great fun for the little ones!
We had such a lovely day and enjoyed some hot chocolates from the little cafe to warm us up. If you are ever in the area I would highly recommend Gypsy Wood for a brilliant day out! I hope you are all having a fun Easter holidays whatever you are up to!
Today the weather has been awful (again)! Why is it that every time the little ones break up for school the rain begins to pour?! My hopes for doing an outdoor Easter egg hunt are diminishing by the minute! These little printed chicks really brighten up your rainy days and add a little bit of Spring sunshine to your home!
To make your printed chicks you will need – yellow paint, orange paint, glue, paper, googly eyes and a potato.
1-Begin by dipping your potato into the yellow paint and printing onto a piece of plain paper. Then dip your finger into the orange paint and print down next to the potato print to make your chicks wings.
2- Make your chicks legs with fingerprints and then leave to dry.
3 – Once the paint is dry, add googly eyes and a painted beak to finish your chick.
A super simple Easter craft which the kids will love! They have certainly brightened up our home today!
I love Spring! It makes me feel all warm inside and super excited for the warm, sunny weather! It feels like this last Winter has been a really long one so I am incredibly glad that the days are already getting a little longer.
One of the things that you can’t escape living here in Wales are sheep – which invariably bring gorgeous lambs each Spring! The cutest, sweetest little animals. I cannot help but think of Spring time when you see them bouncing around the fields here! I thought to mark the first day of Spring it would be a nice idea to do a lamb themed craft with the kids. (This craft is also a brilliant activity for Easter time).
To make your fingerprint lambs you will need – paint (your colour choice – we used silver), coloured paper, plain paper, glue and felt tip pens.
Begin by finger printing onto plain paper the shape of your lambs body.
Once you have filled your body shape with prints leave to dry. Cut out shapes from coloured paper (we used pink) to be the four legs, head and tail. Glue them onto your lambs body and add eyes. We used eye stickers but you could use googly eyes or draw them on.
Finally add a mouth and make a bow from coloured paper to stick onto the lambs neck.
My son and daughter made quite a few of these cute lambs! They really enjoyed this simple activity and are already planning on turning some into Easter cards for family and friends. A very simple but effective idea for Spring time and Easter!