My Sunday Photo 26th July 2015

Sunday photo

This is the first time I have linked up with onedad3girls for the Sunday Photo. My iPhone is filled with memories of last week when we were away. This particular photo is where we all spent a great deal of our time.

This is the place where we chatted away as a family

This is the place where we played charades with the kids late into the night

This is the place where I relaxed for an hour all by myself

This is the place where I drank coffee in the morning and wine in the evening

This is the place where the birds and butterflies would fly past

This is the place where we giggled as a family

This is the place my husband and I talked into the early hours

This is the place where I felt the most relaxed and happy

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10 things to do at Sherwood Pines Forest

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Whilst staying at Forest Holidays in Nottinghamshire, we were lucky to have had Sherwood Pines on our doorstep. Sherwood Pines is a huge forest park run by the Forestry Commission, and it has something for everyone. We spent many hours exploring the forest, as it was only a 5 minute walk away from our lodge. If you travel by car there is a large car park charged at £1.00 for an hour or £4.00 for the day. Here are 10 things you can do at Sherwood Pines.

1 – Hire bikes

Husband and the 2 children hired bikes from the excellent cycle centre located on site. The price for 3 bikes for an hour was £25.00 which included helmets for the children. You can hire them for longer, but with daughter in tow an hour was more than enough. There are plenty of bike trails around the forest ranging from easy to hard.

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2 – Do the Superworm Trail

This a lovely 1 mile walk through the forest ideal for young children. There are signs along the way which have various Superworm activities on. You can purchase an activity pack from the café which includes a book and a trail leaflet. Not sure of the cost as we just wandered around the trail.

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3 – Go Ape

For the more adventurous there is Go Ape located on site. As we live 15 minutes away from our local Go Ape site, the children decided they wanted to hire bikes instead. The course looked great and maybe one day I will conquer my fear and have a go.

4 – Hire a Segway

What better way to explore the forest than on a Segway. Son is desperate to try this activity but you need to be at least 7 stone.

5 – Visit the café

I was really impressed with the café, and we decided to have lunch there one day. There is a good choice of food at reasonable prices. I opted for a sausage cob which was £2.95 and was delicious. Or you can grab a takeaway coffee and sit outside and watch the world go by. If you are staying at Forest Holidays you get a 10% discount in the café.

6 – Build a den

Is there a better place to build a den than in the forest.

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7 – Enjoy an evening stroll

Our plan yesterday was to follow the pink trail which is a 3 mile walk through the forest. However we did get a little lost (tip of the day, bring the walking trail map with you) but thankfully we didn’t end up sleeping in a den. The forest was lovely and quiet, with the occasional cyclist passing us. And the highlight of the evening was seeing this little fella.

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8 – Visit the play areas

I was really impressed with the play areas at Sherwood Pines. I even managed to get the tween on one of the areas which was for older kids. It was nice to see lots of benches near to the play areas so us parents can have a well deserved sit down.

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9 – Grab a picnic

As well as lots of benches dotted around the forest, there is also a large grassy area perfect for those summer picnics.

10 – Enjoy the outdoors

We are probably guilty as a family for not getting out more and enjoying the great outdoors. All of our visits to Sherwood Pines were filled with fun and laughter, and it was great to see the kids having fun together.

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Sherwood Pines is a wonderful place to visit, and if you are lucky enough to be staying at Forest Holidays you will literally have the forest on your doorstep.

Monday escapes

Coombe Mill

Buying and selling items with Wanna

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Thirteen years ago I was about to have my first baby. A first baby that required an incredible amount of clothes, nappies, toys, sleeping products etc. I would spend my evenings reading baby magazines for the latest ‘must have’ product your baby just had to have. Having a baby is not cheap, and I dread to think how much we spent on brand new items for our first born. The nursery furniture alone cost nearly £1000, but I must admit we are still using the wardrobe for our daughter 13 years on.

There are definitely products I wish I had looked at purchasing second hand. When my daughter was born 9 years ago, I didn’t think twice about purchasing products from the likes of EBay and local selling sites. I used to buy bundles of beautiful Next clothing for her, for a fraction of the price. As they were baby clothes some had not even been worn. Toys were purchased from local selling sites, sometimes a quarter of the original selling price. When I was recently set a challenge to think of 3 things I wish I had not bought brand new for my first born, I found this an easy task.

Number 1 – Push along walker

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We purchased a similar walker for my son for £24.99. Whilst my son did use his walker, it was only used for about 2 months, and then sat gathering dust in the corner of the living room. I have seen pre loved walkers being sold for as little as £2.00. What a bargain.

Number 2 – Baby Clothes

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I know that’s its lovely to dress our little bundles of joy in brand new clothes, but how many times do they actually wear each outfit ? Babies grow so quickly, and I remember our son had literally outgrown some of his outfits before he got the chance to wear them. As with our daughter, I wish I had looked online for bundles of good quality baby clothes. I could have saved a small fortune.

Number 3 – Activity Centre

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When we purchased our activity centre I think it was around £80.00. Again I have seen these sell for as low as £15.00. I really wish I had bought ours second hand as again, whilst it was a great product, it really wasn’t used for long.

With just these 3 items I could have saved around £200.00. That is such a great saving, and I only wish I had looked at pre loved items more for my first born. There are many selling sites on the internet. Wanna is an exciting new app that is due to launch shortly. It uses an unique algorithm which will match you to your needs. Whether that is something you wish to buy, sell, or just searching for a local toddler group to attend. Wanna is all about connecting people together in your local community.

You can download the app from Wanna here, and see how Wanna can help you buy and sell things in your local community.  I only wish this app was available when I was pregnant 13 years ago.

Disclosure – I received payment to write this post for Wanna. All thoughts and words are my own

 

 

Forest Holidays Sherwood Pines – Part 1

I thought I would do a little ‘live blogging’ following on from my last post of our Impromptu Getaway. Its Monday afternoon, and this is my current view from our decking at Sherwood Pines in Nottinghamshire. Not a bad view to blog from.

View from our decking at Sherwood Pines

View from our decking at Sherwood Pines

Sherwood Pines is part of Forest Holidays, and altogether they have 9 locations around the UK. Forest Holidays combine 2 of my favourite things. Staying in the forest and hot tubs. We chose to visit Sherwood Pines as its a part of the UK we have never visited before. The journey took us around 3 hours from the North West, and we checked in at the Forest Retreat. This is where you will find the reception, shop, place to book your activities and also the café. As I am writing this, husband and daughter are currently doing the pottery painting activity in there.

2 bedroom Golden Oak Lodge at Sherwood Pines

2 bedroom Golden Oak Lodge at Sherwood Pines

We booked a 2 bedroom Golden Oak lodge with the entertainment package. The entertainment package cost us an additional £65 for the week, which gives us access to films and WIFI. Believe me coming away with a tween and NO WIFI is no holiday. I have to say the lodge is stunning. We are totally in the forest, and our lodge is surrounded by trees. I am sat here on the decking and all I can hear are the birds tweeting. We wanted a relaxing holiday, and we have definitely found this at Forest Holidays.

We have no concept of time, and we are all enjoying being together as a family. We are loving the moments such as toasting marshmallows, playing charades in the hot tub and going for long walks through the forest. When I return home I will write more posts of our time here, but for now that hot tub is calling me.

Our hot tub at Sherwood Pines

Our hot tub at Sherwood Pines

I am linking up with the lovely ladies from @my_travelmonkey and @packingsuitcase for Monday Escapes #9

Monday escapes

Impromptu getaway

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I am a planner when it comes to holidays, days out and pretty much everything else. I am one of those annoying mums who fills in school letters and sends them back in the next day. I love an organised life, and like to know that my holidays for the year are all planned out. I sometimes spend more time on Trip Advisor than I do on the actual holiday.  But a few days ago I stepped out of my comfort zone.  I booked a holiday, AND WE GO ON FRIDAY.  That’s barely enough time for my pre holiday stress to arrive.

That’s only 5 days to wash, iron, stress what to pack as you never know what the UK weather will do, buy food, organise days out whilst on holiday, buy the obligatory new toothbrushes, purchase holiday alcohol (most important job of all), delegate boring but important car jobs to husband, and probably another 100 things which will wake me up at 2am. PHEW. As well as getting through the final few days of school and not forgetting work. So instead of packing I thought the sensible thing would be to blog about it instead.

I am just counting down the hours till Friday at 4pm when I can check in. And from 4.01pm you will find me in the hot tub with a very large gin. Happy holidays.

Do you like to plan your holidays or do you prefer spur of the moment breaks ?

 

The Summer Holidays – Bring it on

In Corfu during the summer holidays last year

In Corfu during the summer holidays last year

The summer holidays are so close now we can almost touch them. Sports days have been ticked off, drama plays done and reports sent home. The kids shoes are just about hanging on in, and the tween is sporting a new cropped trouser look for school. The pristine white school shirts now resemble a dirty grey colour, with some added pen marks thrown in. I can’t wait to bin it all come Friday at 3.15pm.

Its funny how I used to dread the summer holidays when they were younger. But as with everything associated with parenting, its a learning curve. I now seize the holidays with both hands, and look forward to no school runs for a start. As my 2 are older, I can get away with lying in bed till 9am 10am, and even sneaking off for an afternoon nap. Naughty but oh so nice.

We have lots planned for the summer.  From a week long trip to Scotland, to a night away Glamping 10 minutes from home. I always try and spread out our breaks away, so we always have something to look forward to.

I will be working and thankfully my mum is on hand to keep an eye on the kids. At 9 and 12 they don’t really need as much ‘babysitting’ now. Just as long as they are fed throughout the day they should be fine ! Also these holidays will see me become a mum of a teenager. A BLOODY TEENAGER. Though to be fair he has been practising for this role for the past few years.

I just need to print out my spreadsheet showing where we are on which days (YES I really am this sad…. I am an admin girl), do a HUGE online food shop (makes note to hide half of it so it doesn’t get eaten in the first week) and most importantly order the sun. Oh and gin……. no school holiday will be complete without copious amounts of gin.

Good luck everybody…… we can do this xx

Cheers

Cheers

I am linking up with the lovely ladies over at www.mummyofboygirltwins.com and www.stoppingattwo.co.uk for the Sunday Stars Linky

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Making the right decision – Time to say goodbye

I have no idea whether I have made the right decision.

The decision for my children to attend their first funeral.

A few days after my nan died, people started asking whether I was going to take the children to her funeral.

And at that point I really did not know.

But then the children started talking to me about the funeral.

And as they are 9 and 12, I let them make their own decision.

And they both decided they wanted to be present, to say goodbye to ‘older nanny’

They will be involved in the funeral, by carrying flowers from her favourite shop Marks and Spencer.

I can’t protect them for ever. Death is a part of life.

And tomorrow we will go and say goodbye to ‘older nanny’

A most wonderful woman who lived to the fantastic age of 90.

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