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Our family retreat in Yorkshire

Hoseasons Beech Lodge, Home Farm - Amazing view

Hoseasons Beech Lodge, Home Farm – Amazing view

Dear mummy, it’s that time of year when the weather is heating up and the days are getting longer. It’s time we got away from the city! Daddy’s stressed at work, you’re bored with the routine and I’m climbing the walls, so we pack our bags and head…..North!

Yes, ordinarily people would seek out the coast, but our expedition is taking us deep into the heart of England. We’re heading up to Yorkshire, home of fabulous tea, rolling countryside, lots farms and fresh air! I’m sure it’s known for a lot more than that and this is why we’re staying here, to find out more about this beautiful part of the country.

Hoseasons Beech Lodge, Home Farm - The view

Hoseasons Beech Lodge, Home Farm – The view

Our journey starts in Amazingstoke, (Basingstoke to non-locals) up the M40, M1 towards Leeds. We’re staying in between Leeds, Selby and York, like a Bermuda Triangle of cool Yorkshire locations. Our main reason for staying near Tadcaster was that we are attending a family wedding nearby. Instead of opting for an expensive hotel weekend break in Leeds/York we decided to extend our stay in a Hoseasons lodge. For an extra £100 we could stay a whole week, get a whole lodge to ourselves, a hot tub and loads of outdoors space to roam around in. It was a no brainer really.

Hoseasons Home Farm - Hot Tub

Hoseasons Home Farm – Hot Tub

The lodge we’re staying in is called Beech Lodge and it’s one of four holiday homes available on Home Farm in Stillingfleet, Yorkshire.

Hoseasons Home Farm, Beech Lodge

My mummy and daddy picked it because of its location and the fact it had a hot tub!! Yes a main selling feature! It has two bedrooms and my Grandparents are also staying with us. That means I get to bunk up in the same room as my folks! Oooer….I hope they behave! I hope they don’t snore!

Beech Lodge, Home Farm - Amazing view

Beech Lodge, Home Farm – Amazing view

The drive is long and odious. It takes over four hours to get to our destination, luckily I sleep for some of the journey. It’s hard being in a car seat for all that time, I watch some DVDs and I get to stretch my little legs when we stop at the services.

We are greeted by sunshine when we arrive! The facilities at the Beech Lodge are good. It’s clean and basic. It’s a two bedroom lodge and you get to choose whether you want twin beds or a double in the second bedroom. Perfect for families. There is no bath, only a shower…did I mention the outdoor hot tub?!? ;)

Home Farm Lodges, Yorkshire

Beech Lodge, Home Farm

Beech Lodge, Home Farm - The Kitchen.

Beech Lodge, Home Farm – The Kitchen.

Beech Lodge, Home Farm - The Front Room and Dinning Area

Beech Lodge, Home Farm – The Front Room and Dinning Area

Beech Lodge, Home Farm - One of the bedrooms

Beech Lodge, Home Farm – One of the bedrooms

Beech Lodge, Home Farm - Room for a travel cot

Beech Lodge, Home Farm – Room for a travel cot

The grounds are fantastic and the lodge is situated right next the river Ouse. It’s very picturesque, there are a lot of cows and a farm right next door!

The owners are very welcoming, however we struggle to understand their deep Yorkshire accents as they do like to get to get to know you! ;) Us ‘Southerners’ need to get out more ;) The check-in and check-out was very swift and we needed to be out by 10am on the day of departure.

I go around for lodge exploring every nook and cranny, while mum and daddy unpack. My bed is a travel cot that mummy has brought with us, however you can rent a cot for £10pw from the lodge owners. It really is beautiful here. We have a very relaxing break for a week. There is no internet browsing as we have no wifi and mobile coverage was limited on both O2 & Vodafone – which is a blessing in disguise as it forces mummy and daddy to talk, read and watch a little telly together. Just what we needed.

Hoseasons Beech Lodge, Home Farm - Our neighbours

Hoseasons Beech Lodge, Home Farm – Our neighbours

I sleep during the night, allowing mummy and daddy to explore York on their date nights while my grandparents babysit….from the hot tub! The lodge isn’t overlooked (unless you count the cows!) as it has a high hedge both sides, which gives you the added privacy. There is parking for 2 cars behind the lodge and out-of-the-way and the flower beds are immaculate and very pretty! The lodge also includes:

  • TV/DVD (Great for watching Frozen on repeat!)
  • CD/radio
  • Kitchen including microwave
  • Shower
  • Bed linen, duvets and towels (some of the softest bedsheets we’ve felt)
  • Beds made up for your arrival
  • Verandah with garden furniture
  • Barbecue
  • Triple glazed and centrally heated (it’s very toasty – great for when you leave the hot tub cold and wet!)
  • Gas and electricity included
  • The hot tub gets cleaned everyday by a very nice man!

During the day we explore York (6 miles away), Scarborough (41 miles away) and attend a family wedding. Every morning I wake at the crack of dawn to see the cows out the window and play hide and seek on the timber balcony. Much to my folks disapproval as they have hangovers from drinking too much in the evenings!

Hoseasons, Beech Lodge, Home Farm - Our neighbours

Hoseasons, Beech Lodge, Home Farm – Our neighbours

We were sad to leave at the end of the week. We waved goodbye to the cows and tractors and head home…back down south. We’d recommend staying at Hoseasons, Beech Lodge, Home Farm any day! We were so impressed that we might book next year! Keep posted for our other Yorkshire posts….coming soon! *well, as soon as my little fingers can type them up!*

Love Bella x

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Toddler-Wedding-Guest-Tips

Dear mummy, we’re heading to a wedding this summer and want to make sure we’re ready. After speaking to a lot of friends and family here’s our list of how to survive a wedding with a toddler!

1) Get yourself organised and leave plenty of time to get to the church. It’s awkward being late and frazzled, never mind rushing a toddler out of the door.

2) Try and sit yourself at the end of a pew, so you have a quick getaway in case of a toddler meltdown. Have an exit strategy and suss out where the toilets and breakout areas are.

3) Make sure you’re prepared for all eventualities. Have a change of clothes and nappies/wipes in case of ‘toilet’ accidents.

4) Little snacks are a good way to keep toddlers happy during a service, keeping their little fingers happy and their minds occupied. Opt for light, non messy snacks like popcorn or pom-bears, steer clear of yoghurts, things that melt and cheesy Wotsits – I’m sure you don’t want orange handprints over your dress or others!! eeek

5) If the snack option is a no go, try offering a toddler a sicker book – I love my Frozen sticker book and it will keep me occupied for ages, just make sure you check your clothes after the service for unwanted accessories. Last time my mummy had stickers on her shoulders and bum. Not a good look.

6) Let the toddler revel in the attention from family members, its inevitable that toddlers will be cheeky during a wedding service, whether it is standing on pews, pulling faces and waving at other guests, just let them get on with it. If they make too much noise – extract!

7) Share. Share your toddler around, if other family members or close friends would like to help entertain, carry or calm a toddler – let them. Weddings are a family affair and you always have support. If not, try to take turns to keep a child amused, so the other can enjoy a quick nibble or drinkie-poo at the reception.

8) Take loads of photos and involve your toddler, pointing out the princess in the white dress. Make-believe a fairytale land and get them to observe the guests.

9) Relax and have fun. If your toddler sees you happy it will radiate through to them (well that’s the idea) a toddler knows when an adult is stressed and angry and can feed off that negative energy.

10) If you have to go home, because your toddler isn’t playing ball – then don’t fret. People will understand…they don’t call it the terrible twos for nothing!

Lots of Love Bella and her mummy x

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My magic ‘Frozen’ play date!

One can sometimes be the magic number….When all my little friends are busy with their folks and can’t come round to play I have to settle playing with my ‘other’ friends. These ‘other friends’ are always around, night and day. They live at my house, in my drawers and under my cot. They come to life when I hold them and babble to them. Like real magic, my imagination brings these toys to life.

My favourite friend today is Queen Elsa. Yes, she’s from Frozen. Yes, I’m obsessed.

Frozen Queen Elsa

I’m a big fan of magic. I love how Queen Elsa from Frozen brings Olaf the Snowman to life. She uses her magic and weaves her power over him.

My play dates with my toys (imaginary friends) usually consist of:

1) Adventure. We climb the sofa and scourer the land (the living room) for treasure and activities. No building block is left unturned. No playhouse is left unscathed. The house is turned upside down and looks like a bomb’s hit it. It’s such fun and I love talking to my toys and playing with them. Today I took Queen Elsa down the slide with me!

Frozen-Bella-Adventure

2) Tea Parties. Everyone loves a good tea party. I enjoy eating imaginary cake and pouring tea from my tea-pot. I share with my toys *cough* I mean ‘friends’ and dance around the living room. Sharing is very important and as you can see I share with Queen Elsa very well!

Petits Filous Magic Squares sharing

3) Dress up. No play date would be complete without dressing up and playing make-believe! I love pretending to be a princess. I sit at my little dressing table and put on my foam crown. I dress in my tutu and dance around to ‘Let it go’ from Frozen. Occasionally my mummy joins in and we run around the living room like two loonies.

Frozen-Bella-Dress-up

 

Frozen-Bella Dress-up

3) Music. We’re big fans of music in this household. I’ve got my own music drawer, which contains drums, shakers, a xylophone, a toy trumpet and a guitar. I sing nursery rhythms with my mummy and sit on my bongo drums. Toothless & Broom (the dragons) help with my music class.

4) Creative. We love messy play. My mummy gets involved too, mainly to save the furniture! Adult supervision is required when a toddler plays with paint ;) I always have a great time making artistic masterpieces. No play date would be complete without a crayon or a sticker either.

Frozen-Bella-Messy Play

 

Creative Masterpiece

5) Sleep. Putting my dolls to sleep and pretending to sleep. Hop little bunny is one of my favourite games. It’s always good to wind down at the end of a manic play date, even if the toys don’t get tired – I do! My mummy usually falls asleep before I do *tut* she just can’t keep up with me!

My mummy surprised me with a new treat today! A lovely new yogurt by Petits Filous. When my mummy and I peeled back the lid we were amazed at the unique pattern inside – four little squares. Elsa helped ‘Mix Up the Magic’  to my play date today by using her power to freeze my Petits Filous Magic Squares. All we did was stick spoons in the yogurt pots and helped Elsa open the freezer door and voilà!

Petits Filous

Petits Filous Magic Squares

Petits Filous Magic Squares Frozen

 

Petits Filous Magic Squares Frozen lick

I’ve got a real love for these little pots of goodness! Everything from the quirky packaging design which reminds me of the squares in Alice in Wonderland and the bright colours which stand out of the supermarket shelf. Petits Filous is a well know brand among families and are renowned for producing yummy favours. Petits Filous Magic Squares provide calcium and vitamin D for strong bones. However that’s not the best bit….the thing that’s magic about these fromage frais is that they have combined two favours! They are available in two delicious varieties, Strawberry & Vanilla Flavour and Raspberry & Vanilla Flavour and they sound yummy! You can eat them separately or together!! How cool is that? Our favourite is the Raspberry & Vanilla flavour. I enjoyed mixing them up, while my mummy liked to eat them separately, trying not to combine the colours to see how far the pattern went down in the pot. They were great value for money too and we picked up 8 pots (on offer) for £2 from Tesco.

Petits Filous Magic Squares eating

My mummy is wondering how on earth they got the flavours separated in the pot like that?!? I’m too busy eating! One of life’s little mysteries….. Maybe its magic?

Love Bella x

This post is an entry for BritMums #MagicSquaresPlaydates Linky Challenge, sponsored by Petits Filous.

 

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The quirky side of Basingstoke.

Our weekend in photos. Vintage clothes, Vintage Cafe and Vintage cars…..

Dear mummy, what a chilled out weekend we had! We stayed local and explored our home town of Basingstoke. It’s a town in North Hampshire, England. Just like any town and city it can be a bit of a concrete jungle…however there is a pretty side to Basingstoke, we are blessed with rolling countryside and quaint villages surrounding the borough. The city centre has been regenerated with the help of Festival Place Shopping Centre and the Top of Town project. New stores are opening and lots of independent stores and boutiques are popping up in the town centre. One of our favourites is All Our Own Crafts.

This weekend we went to explore the top of town and visit some new shops.
First we visited VJ – Vintage Treasures, a vintage shop on Church Street in partnership with Basingstoke College of Technology (BCOT). It’s not just a clothes store, the owners help college students learn about running a business as well as helping them to source and make stock to sell as ‘student enterprise’ in the shop.

Vintage Tresures Basingstoke

It’s a really quirky, fun store stocked full to the brim with vintage clothes, hats and handbags and other knick-knacks. We stopped to buy a dress for my mummy for a family wedding we are going to next week. What we love about this shop is that a lot of the items are one-offs. So no dress faux-pas at the wedding for my mummy and her unique dress.

Vintage Tresures Basingstoke

Vintage Treasures Shop Basingstoke

VJ Vintage

The shop has been open 6 weeks now and there has been a great enthusiasm for it on Facebook. It makes a change from the high street clothes stores like Primark and Debenhams. Dresses range from £30-£60 and my mummy picked up a yellow spotty dress for a bargain £40…you wouldn’t find the same dress in Vivien of Holloway or Warehouse for that price! My mummy leaves the store very happy with herself. The staff are friendly and knowledgable and advise my mummy on the best fitting dress for her body shape. A real personal shopper experience. We’re so lucky to have an independent store like this in Basingstoke.

Vintage Tresures Basingstoke

Another new enterprise is the The Kitschen Cafe just off an adjacent street called Wote Street, down Feathers Lane. What makes this cafe different from the rest of the cafes in the town is that it has a secret den downstairs in the basement for children to play in…it sounds a bit sinister.. ;) But rest assured the space they have created is colourful and bright with lots of cool toys to play with and has a real ‘at home feel’ with large sofas and a ball pit! What a great space and such a novel idea!

Kitschen Cafe Basingstoke

The food isn’t bad either :) they hand-make and locally source the majority of their food. The meat comes from Manydown Farm and the cakes are all home-made and look yummy. The interior design in the cafe area upstairs is eclectic with quirky mix-matched furniture, hanging tea cups from the ceiling and large mirrors.

Kitschen Cafe Basingstoke

It’s a really lovely environment. Perfect for mummies and families looking for a bit of time-out from all the hectic shopping. It’s off the beaten track and a real gem, there were no queues, plenty of seating and the price of food was reasonable compared to the over crowed Costa and Starbucks. They welcome breastfeeding mums and noisy toddlers too!

If you are ever in Basingstoke shopping and fancy checking out these two quirky independent businesses then we would highly recommend them.

The rest of the weekend was spent at Basingstoke’s Festival of Transport in the War Memorial Park. We went last year too! With hundreds of classic cars and emergency service vehicles in the large grassy field to look at we had great time milling around. My favourite vehicles were the large red double-decker buses and the police cars. We spent hours looking around and the event was FREE! We only paid for parking in the town centre.

Kev's Kampers, Reading

Classic Cars

Basingstoke's Festival of Transport

Basingstoke's Festival of Transport

Such a great weekend in our home town and it just goes to show that Basingstoke continues to thrive and surprise us.

Red Bus

We hope you like our weekend snapshot :)

Love Bella x

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