Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Down and yurty

We've just had a few days of camping luxury style just up the road from our house!

There are two yurts run by Green Circle Hideaways on one of the best known organic farms in the country, Sheepdrove Organic Farm in the North Wessex Downs AONB.

We had one of two identical yurts and although electricity-free, we were thrilled with the luxuries inside.

We were given clear instructions on how to get there - necessary as you really are out in the wild here - I had no wifi or phone signal although I managed to get cold called while trying and trying to get hold of MrM to tell him where we were!

Upon arrival (we were much later than intended) we were greeted by friendly and helpful staff who showed us the way and took our belongings in a handcart. We were shown around the yurt and there was cake waiting!

The yurt was bigger than I'd anticipated and much brighter and lighter too thanks to two doors (mind your head!) and a large, clear opening at the top, covered but see-through, so you can see the stars from the bed.

The yurt is comfortable and has everything you need (except toilet, shower and electricity, but this is on hand just yards away in a beautiful boathouse overlooking the lake).

We were impressed that there were books, leaflets on local areas of interest and toys. Everything had been thought through - there were matches, tealights, even water.

We had a magical time enjoying the peace and quiet of the beautiful surroundings at Sheepdrove and walking in the gorgeous countryside; there are walks to nearby villages, a National Trust property and further afield, the White Horse at Uffington. It's such a tranquil spot for walking and just getting away from it all.

Can't recommend it highly enough and reckon I've been spoilt for normal camping!

Monday, 29 June 2015

Oh man!

I am exhausted! Ma mere and I looked after three little men over the weekend. One lot of naughtiness times three does not equal three times the energy, but 20x.

"Don't hit him in the face with your sword"

"Watch his toes!"

"Say sorry!"

"I'll turn the television off!"

All repeated ad infinitum.

They did play together without fighting some of the time though and it did make me laugh to see them learning from each other.

McNephew keeps saying "Oh man!" which McBaby copied. Wrongly. So he now exclaims: "old man!"

Saturday, 20 June 2015

AShdown House National Trust

When I lived in Paris, I barely gave the Eiffel Tower a second look; it’s always the way that when you live next to a well-known landmark, it loses its allure!

In the same way, I was always vaguely aware that Ashdown House wasn’t far away from us, but was never sure what it was exactly. As it has a rather famous tenant, it doesn’t tend to be open that often, but as it underwent a significant renovation two years ago and was open for tours every Saturday during the summer, I decided to take the McBaby to check it out.

I didn’t even know it was a 17th century hunting lodge built in 1662 by William, Earl of Craven (the same Craven family that lent their name to Craven Cottage, Craven A cigarettes and the Vine and Craven Hunt). There’s a short tour of the 400-year-old staircase and its paintings before a trip onto the roof which gives beautiful views of the parkland and shows off just why this is a great hunting lodge – while we were up there, we saw a herd of deer run right across the land. The tour guides were patient and informative, even if you bring a naughty three-year-old with you who just wants to run up and down the north rides rather than listen to the history behind this life-size doll house!

#ashdownhouse #nationaltrust

Tuesday, 9 June 2015


The McBaby and I are big fans of outdoor swimming pools and thanks to the amazing book Wild Swim www.amazon.co.uk/Wild-Swim-Kate-Rew/dp/0852651228/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8 discovered that despite both of our local pools being closed (it's only June, eh), there was still an outdoor swim to be had within a 45 minute radius.

We were delighted with our new find! Just £4.40 (under fours go free), the Riverside Pool in Wallingford was sparkling clean, heated but not crazy hot, with friendly staff and just two other swimmers. Unfortunately I managed to leave the armbands in the car, but we had a great swim and the McBaby took a liking to another lady swimming in the pool who was unfazed by his relentless questions!

The changing rooms are basic, but clean and there's a lovely atmosphere. Despite being next to the road, it's quiet and green, much like swimming next to an aquaduct. On hotter days, there's a splash pool next door for the children.

We'll be back - and we'll also be vising the friendly Old Post Office in Wallingford despite the McBaby's Lady Macbeth moment thanks to a pot of tomato ketchup.

Riverside Pool, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, OXON, OX10 8EB


Monday, 8 June 2015

Thank you farmer Rob

What a great idea Open Farm Sunday is - we hadn't heard of it before, but it meant some brave farmers throwing open the gates to their farms for people like us. The McBaby loved it - running around the fields, looking at animals, admiring tractors and of course, tipping grains of wheat all over his head. He had two baths yesterday, but we're still finding wheat all over the place!

We're already looking forward to next year's event!


Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Secret campsite

Saturday may not have been the best night weather-wise for camping! We still had a great time teaching the McBaby how to put up a tent, how to find kindling and how to start a fire (and also, to stay BACK from a fire!).

Sutton Hoo

As a child, I remember a history lesson where we learned about Sutton Hoo and the ancient Anglo-Saxon burial mounds unearthed just before the outbreak of the Second World War. FINALLY I got to make my pilgrimage here and had a lovely, although brief, stroll through the beautiful woodland taking in the remarkable history of this site. I can't wait to take the McBaby here - though he might not grasp the sense of history, he will love the gorgeous views and stunning landscape.


Monday, 1 June 2015

What is that?

"Mummy, what is that?"

Clearly, it needs to come out more often..