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Our family Halloween antics

Dear mummy, I know what you did last summer…..*cough* I mean last Halloween.

Dear mummy blog HalloweenEveryone that knows you, knows you LOVE Halloween, it’s a big thing in our house and you’ve been attending Halloween parties since you were a little girl.

Even when you were pregnant with me you were out in fancy dress, partying, drinking ginger beer!

Our first Halloween as a family last year was spent carving pumpkins with close family friends, decorating the house and getting ready for a fabulous children’s party. Over the last eight years you and daddy have dressed up as, Dog soldiers, pumpkins, witches, vampires, Sweeney Todd, Corpse Bride, Morticia Adams, the White Queen, Star Wars characters, zombies and the list goes on! I hope you like the flash-back photos I found off your computer! There are so many photos so I picked the best ones.

Baby Isabella Carving PumpkinsWhile I was browsing through your photos I also found our first pumpkin carving attempt, we had such good fun that day and can’t wait to try it again next week.

I love the fashion that’s around too, dark autumnal colours, neon greens and oranges and creepy spider and bat tops and leggings.

My favourite is my little ghost jumper from Bonnie Baby UK and the great selection from NEXT.

We hope that everyone has a lovely a Halloween this year, we’ll be prepping by baking spooky cupcakes, lighting candles for the carved pumpkins and going to parties.

love Bella x

Dear mummy Halloween 2

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Hatchlands Park, National Trust

Dear mummy, last week we visited Just for Tiny People’s Open Day near Dorking and Guildford and decided to pop into Hatchlands Park, one of two National Trust properties on the A246.

Hatchlands Park tearoom Hatchlands is on the edge of the Surrey hills and a lot of families have been raving about the seasonal children’s activities they host. It’s only 45 mins away from London. We’ve already visited Clandon Park, down the road, on Mothers Day.

Hatchlands Park is a red-brick country house with surrounding gardens in East Clandon, Surrey, England, covering 430 acres and has been a Grade I listed property since 1967.

The Georgian Mansion was built in the 1750’s for naval hero Admiral Edward Boscawen. It is a family home and today its residents are in (we don’t know who they are), so the house is closed for visitors.

I’m sure the family don’t want people popping in to look at the great collection of musical instruments and paintings while they are watching telly. The property is famous for housing Europe’s largest collection of keyboard instruments associated with famous composers such as JC Bach, Chopin and Elgar. I’m like a magpie when it comes to musical instruments and gravitate toward anything they makes a big noise, so it is actually for the best I’m not in the house today.

Hatchlands Park CourtyardHatchlands Park also has five mapped walks and a parterre garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll. But today the weather is miserable so we head straight to the tearoom for lunch.

We enjoy some fine fare and warm up with hot jacket potatoes, fresh out of the oven…yummy.

A lovely man called Ray from the National Trust pops in to tell everyone that the cellar tours of the house are happening today free of charge, as visitors can’t gain entry to the house and the weather is so bad, it seems everyone is hiding out from the rain in the tearoom.

While we wait for the tour we venture outside and the rain is a light drizzle. I have fun jumping around in the puddles in the cobbled courtyard. Some of them are really deep and mummy tests them out to make sure I don’t get swallowed up by them!

Hatchlands Park PianosBefore long we hear the tinkering of ivories coming from one of the outhouses surrounding the courtyard. I run over making sure I stomp in every puddle on the way and find a piano, children’s books and activities in this stable barn.

Other children are playing on the piano and I wait my turn.

Finally I get to play on the keys, my small fingers gently prodding the cold keys, my mummy leans over and strikes some chords which I try to mimic. It’s great fun and the sound echoes around the empty courtyard and sounds eerie, the clouds have darkened again and everyone has gone inside for the cellar tour which is about to commence.

We queue up with the rest for the families on the tour and get a safety brief from the National Trust man Ray, he issues out safety helmets as it can get a bit dark down in the cellar and he doesn’t want us banging our heads on the low ceilings and old pipe work. I’m not allowed to be picked up or carried for that reason too, incase my mummy bangs my head, so I hold her hand and head into the darkness.

I love hearing my voice ‘echo echo echo’ and babble all the way down the stairs holding onto mummy and the side of the wall. It’s cold and damp down here and the National Trust have set up war-time scenes of when people used to live down here in war-time Britain when the bombings were happening. Cot beds and desks are set up so people could sleep and work here when’s the air strikes were happening. I couldn’t image it mummy, it seems so dismal and scary down here. The cellars have an eerie feeling…it was a humbling experience and we were glad we visited the cellars. Ray and Jenny, the tour host were very informative and friendly.

Hatchlands Wizaard WoodlandBy the time we reach the top of the stairs into the daylight the rain has cleared up and the sun is shining. We head towards the Wizard Wix’s Willow Warren in the woods….wow! that’s a bit of a mouthful!!

It’s a adventure area made using tree stumps and wood crafted into dens and an assault course for small people.

It’s great fun and we spend a whole hour playing.

My mummy sings to me in the den and holds my hand as we walk the wooden beams. Other children are running around in a fantasy land of dragons and wizards and we can hear them talking about motes and dungeons. The sun is shining and I go to take a break in one of the wooden huts, I feel so lucky to be out in the fresh air exploring and getting muddy.

By the end of the day I’m pooped and feel my eyes getting heavy, my mummy is a bit tired too having had to navigate the buggy over the hills. I must fall asleep in the car, as when I wake up I’m home. A really nice day. Thanks National Trust.

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hatchlands-park/

Love Bella x

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Just for Tiny People’s 2nd Birthday Party

Just for Tiny People CakeDear Mummy, we love birthday parties! Especially when they are hosted by talented and creative Just For Tiny People Teepeesindividuals such as Effie Moss from Just for Tiny People.Just for Tiny People Teepees

The open day/second birthday party was listed on their facebook page and people traveled from far and wide to visit their business premises and celebrate their success since the notorious Dragons Den appearance on TV. (Series 12 Episode 5)

Just for Tiny People have done well! Capitalizing on their fame and talent and Deborah Meadens 25% stake in the business, they are also hot shots on social media too with over 154k likes on Facebook alone!

It helps that they make beautiful products too!

They are renowned for creating beautiful teepees and secret hiding places (Hidey Holes) for children and babies, we got to see the products first hand over the weekend..and let me tell you they were stunning!!

A bit out of my pocket-money budget, but if I pester my mummy enough *cough* I mean Santa, I might get one. Sadly we didn’t buy anything, the open day proved very popular, with queues of people out the door and through the starlit marquee.

Just for Tiny People ChristmasThe marquee was placed just outside their business premises on a farm and it had a lovely rural location which was nice.

Flattened teepees, colourful cushions, mats, postboxes and pillows were stacked high in the marquee in a rainbow of colours and patterns.

We loved their Christmas display with the magical owls, Santa postboxes and Just For Tiny People booksChristmas pillows, it was all professionally laid out and looked so cute, the children seemed to love it x

My mummy was busy taking photos while I was scouting the goods. The staff were very friendly and buzzing around like busy bees, So we didn’t get much time speaking to them. My visit wasn’t actually planned either, so they accommodated me very well.

We were in the Guildford area visiting Hatchlands Park owned by the National Trust which was a couple of miles down the road and briefly popped in.

Anyway, we left without trying the fabulous cake, shaped into one of their beloved teepees! A best seller for Just for Tiny people! So cute.

I wore my Frugi Owl dress and it matched my #JFTP Magical Adventurer sticker. I’m a great lover of owls so love Just for Tiny Peoples owl branding. We watched the youngest member of staff Alice, kindly hand out tons of sweets to customers waiting in the busy queues and all children were very well behaved!

Big People at Just For Little PeopleNext time they run an open day it would be nice to have an area were the children can hang-out and test the teepees and play with toys, while the adults queue up and purchase, as I got figity at how busy it was in the marquee. They must have done a roaring trade over the weekend as it was soooo busy- well done! We love to see an independent UK small business do well. We are avid followers on Facebook and they usually run some fabulous competition to win their tepees. We can’t wait to see more of Just for Tiny People’s ingenious ideas come to life, such as the cardboard, foldaway teepee and the tablecloth sheetfort/playarea.

I promise next time we’ll stop to have a proper cup of tea, cake and a chat.

Well done on a fabulous 2nd Birthday and open weekend.

Remember tonight at 8pm (13th October 2014) they have an online market sale on their facebook page, so pop over and have a look!

Love Bella xx

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National Ploughing Championships 2014

Sunday, 12 October, 2014.

The National Ploughing ChampionshipDear Mummy, The British National Ploughing Championships came to Hampshire this weekend and as it was only up the road from us we decided to give it a visit.

A bit of a strange thing to go to you may think for a baby, but the event moves around the country every year, so we might never see it again.

It’s in it’s 64th year and took place at Wootton St Lawrence near The National Ploughing Championship 2014Basingstoke. We watch top ploughman from all over the country ploughing the fields. Lots of young farmers in tweed and old farmers smoking pipes with grease on their overalls, it’s like something I’ve never seen before.

It reminds my mummy of the popular Harvest Hymn sung at this time of year ‘ We Plough the Fields and Scatter’ (the good seed on the land) by German Poet Matthias Claudius. We walk around the muddy site with our wellies on and luckily for us it’s dry but very cold.

It actually feels like autumn and there is a chill in the air, it snaps at my cold ruddy cheeks and as I’m teething the drool running down my chin is making my face blotchy. The site is massive, over 200 acres of tractors and heavy horses ploughing fields and machinery on display. Not as good as The Dorset Steam Fair and a bit expensive for spectators (£10 per adults and under 11yrs free) though we find there’s not much for children to do, as we couldn’t see the craft tent and there were only a handful of appropriate non-machinery stands for visitors.

We did spot the sweet stand which was doing a roaring trade with all the sweet-toothed farmers! We saw some tractors up close, their wheels were as big as my mummy! My favourite part was seeing the workhorses with beautiful ornate brass and leather harnesses using the traditional technique of ‘high-cut’ ploughing. They got up very close to us which was a wonderful experience.

Great to run around the crop fields and enjoy the wide open spaces, it was a good afternoon, better than being cramped in the house watching telly ;)

Love Bella x

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall