Dear mummy, on a beautiful sunny Autumn day we headed to Netley, Southampton in Hampshire, to pick some pumpkins for Halloween – but came away with a lot more than that! Pickwells had been recommended by a family friend and … Continue reading
Dear Mummy, we visited Miller’s Ark recently on one of their Autumn open days and had a fantastic time. Miller’s Ark is a working farm based at Manor Farm off Blackstocks Lane, in Hook, Hampshire RG27 9PH. It’s really easy to get to and … Continue reading
Dear Mummy, you know how much I love playing with little figurines, so when a package came through the post addressed for me I was pleasantly surprised and eager to open it. The delivery was from Schleich and contained two … Continue reading
Dear Mummy, we visited Jimmy’s Farm over the weekend (25th & 26th July) for his Sausage and Beer Festival 2015. Jimmy Doherty is a TV personality and is best known for Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped and a BBC2 series called ‘Jimmy’s … Continue reading
Our family retreat in Yorkshire
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.
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.
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.
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!
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?!? 😉
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.
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!)
- Kitchen including microwave
- Bed linen, duvets and towels (some of the softest bedsheets we’ve felt)
- Beds made up for your arrival
- Verandah with garden furniture
- 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!
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
Farmer Palmers winter experience.
Who says you can’t go to the farm in winter? Usually we wait until the Spring but on this occasion we brave the cold weather.
Dear mummy, frost is on the car when we head off to Dorset to Farmer Palmers adventure farm. It’s over an hour’s journey from our house and it’s bright and freezing!
We wrap up warm and head off on our epic adventure into the unknown.
Luckily for my mummy she has her side-kick Grandma with her for support as I’m up to my usual tricks and mischievous ways today.
It’s just before Christmas and part of the #LemurLinkup (a regular bloggers meet in Dorset) we met some of the Farmer Palmers staff who handed us a leaflet and a discounted entrance voucher to the farm to see Father Christmas.
This is why we’re heading there today to see what the farm is like.
The car journey is a bit of a slog. I sleep the majority of it, much to my mummy’s delight. We head straight down the M3, M27, A31 and onto the A388 which takes us past Poole. The farm is situated about 10 minutes away from Poole with good road and a large car park.
It’s easy to find. We seem to be the only ones here as it’s still early and very cold. It’s a Monday and when we unpack the boot, we see other families start to arrive which is reassuring.
The Staff are VERY friendly which is lovely. A lot of them are teenagers and they are all dressed up as elves and in red and green (because it’s Christmas time) The entrance is clearly signposted and has large walkways, perfect for buggies.
We enter the farm’s courtyard which is surrounded by loads of barns and outbuildings which house cows, sheep, goats, guinea pigs, chickens and large hay bales.
The main barn is where you can see the demonstrations and feed the animals. It’s a perfect space with viewing platforms. There are lots of things happening at the farm during the day and an up-to-date timetable can be found on their website. We fed the goats and the sheep today and it was a great experience!
The first open barn area has a mini track area for toy tractors, picnic tables and a large bouncy castle (which is protected from the elements) a great idea, as one thing we hate is wet bouncy castles. We have loads of room to play and walk around.
We love the custom murals and artwork on the walls and everything is branded up in the Farmer Palmers logo which looks professional and organised.
There is also a small milking shed which does milking demonstrations. It’s nice finding out how the staff care for the animals too and you can find out
The main outbuilding is the large restaurant called the Hen House and soft play centre. However today the soft play area is busy and noisy with older kids using the toddler areas which is a shame.
The indoor soft play area is a bit cramped too and clearly geared up for parties, with separate areas with long tables and chairs in. The restaurant’s food was good and hot, with a wide range of picnic boxes, hot kids meals and lots of cake! My mummy enjoyed eating the Christmas themed cakes and biscuits.
The newest addition to Farmer Palmers is a wooden barn which has been fitted with a Santa’s grotto, a sensory tunnel, hiding below a wooden play structure. Inside is another small soft play area with soft play bricks, a large fake Cow (which creeped me out) musical instruments and loads of toys. There is a large wendy house with fully fitted kitchen inside as well which I spend a lot of time in.
Outside there are a wealth of activities and things to do. We explore the wooden play area and venture further out into the fields to see the donkeys and wooden sculptures. There is even a woodland walk which we sadly didn’t try as it was too cold.
In the fields my favourite wooden character is the caterpillar and we spend a lot of time climbing and running around.
We had a fab adventure to Farmers Palmer and burnt off a lot of energy in the fresh air! Well worth the entrance fee of £8 and you get a lot of fun for the whole day. One of the best farms we’ve been to 🙂 It’s an added bonus that the farm has an indoor soft play area too and decent restaurant. Shame it’s so far away from us and not our local farm. We can’t wait to return in the warmer months with a picnic blanket and friends for the whole day.
Love Bella x
Dear mummy, it’s nearly Halloween! Our favourite *cough* ….Mummy’s favourite time of year! Our local farm, Manydown Farm just outside Basingstoke, Hampshire have a great range of children’s activities this Halloween Half Term. It’s £8.50 per adult and luckily we … Continue reading
Finkley Down Farm in the rain
This is the second time we’ve visited Finkley Down Farm. The first time we spent the whole day exploring it in the hot sunshine. So today made a change….it’s raining.
There are 5 separated areas and we spend most of our time in the baby and toddler areas, building bricks and running around on slides and playing with the sensory toys.
The perfect thing about it is that mummy and daddy could enjoy a cuppa while I played.
The soft play centre was immaculate, so clean and very well looked after compared to some of the centres I’ve been too. The cafe was reasonably priced and had a great selection of food.
There was more than enough seating available. The toilets were cleaned regularly and staff were mopping up muddy footprints.
I got taken into the larger kids play area with my God Daddy and his son and we played on the slides and climbed. This was all before we’d even seen any animals!
The entrance fee is £8.95 for an adult (free for me), so pretty steep, but on a good day there is a wealth of outdoor activities taking place like sheep racing, an animal petting area, pony rides and a huge adventure playground (this justifies the cost). On a rainy day though we explored the indoors and spend over an hour playing in the soft play areas then visited some animals for a couple of hours.
We saw the tortoises, snakes and spiders (much to my God Daddy’s dismay) the ducks and the rabbits and even saw giant pigs. It was a great opportunity to get out of the house and I loved playing in all the puddles and holding the umbrella. On a rainy day you wouldn’t automatically think about taking a child to the farm, but it was nice and quiet which meant no queues and we could get up close to the animals and I practically had the whole soft play center to myself!
We are now seriously considering a yearly membership to Finkley Down Farm in Andover. This place is great in all weather! For more information visit www.finkleydownfarm.co.uk
Dear mummy, I’ve linked up with makedoandpush for her weekly #TWTWC linky. It’s been a busy one this week and we’ve been out enjoying the sunshine. Great weather for Easter 🙂 we’ve TRIED to make paper mâché easter egg, taken … Continue reading
Down on the (Manydown) farm.
Saturday, April 12, 2014.
Dear mummy, it’s been murky all week and we’ve had more April showers to fill a whole year in just a week! It’s a big risk going to the farm today. We peer out of the window and the sun is shining and the clouds are thin and wispy.
Our bags are packed and we are on another adventure into the unknown. It’s the first time I’ve been to a real working farm!
We head just around the corner to Manydown Farm for their Easter Family Fun day. As it’s lambing season the farm is open with lots of activities for children to do. From crafts to sandcastle building, petting the animals to go cart racing, the whole family is excited to visit today. We even bring Grandma along to see the lambs and chicks, as she grew up on a farm, we knew she would like to see all the animals.
Manydown Farm is based just outside Basingstoke in Hampshire. It has a lovely farm shop which sells yummy fresh food, locally sourced and is also is home to a great little gift shop. The staff are friendly and welcoming. It feels like a family run business! There is ample parking and a big white marquee directs us to the entrance of the farm. It’s a bit windy today and we feel it, being on top of a hill which overlooks Basingstoke.
Our first stop is the food tent where mummy and daddy pick up a burger and chips and I sit on mummy’s lap and enjoy some ham and a jacket potato. There are no high chairs which is a shame and I can see a lot of other babies in their push chairs eating. I’m happy to be sat like a big girl at one of the picnic tables. It’s too breezy to be sat outside even though the weather is nice.
After lunch we head to the massive haystack, it’s built like a pyramid and I can’t resist the challenge to climb it. However, I am too small for this task, so mummy and daddy have to help lift me up onto it. I walk precariously on the edge while mummy holds me. Eventually I flop down to sit on the warm hay.
The hay has soaked up all the suns heat and it feels toasty warm on my little bottom. I could sit here for ages and chill out.
Daddy wants to have a go on the go-carting so we trundle over to the far field, passing the racing sheep on the way! I know, strange, eh!? These sheep are VERY friendly…I think it’s because they want some of my grub.
Mummy makes a fool of herself on the go-carts (I thought they were only intended for children!?) however we see other adults on them. It’s hard work pedalling them around the go-carting track. My mummy is out of breath!
Next we visit the lambs in the working farm yard. There are so many of them and they are very small. Some of them have numbers on the side of them. Bright markers in their woolly fleeces. We meet a very friendly orphan lamb and his handler. The orphan lamb is only 9 days old! He’s so cute! I can get up and personal with the little lamb and stroke his fleece. We have a staring competition and he wins when I look away. Other children take turns stroking him and we watch him have his bottle.
In the next pen the larger sheep are very rude! Bumping into each other to get to the food pellets we received at the entrance. Carefully mummy, we don’t want to give them too much! Greedy sheep.
We go to the petting area of the farm, where farm handlers are surrounded by rabbit hutches and chirping chicks. We see children holding guinea pigs and bunnies. A farm worker hands me a small pot, inside it is a tiny yellow chick. It’s so soft and cute, I stroke it gently. Grandma and Daddy watch me like hawks to make sure I am gentle with this little bird. I’m fascinated by his small beak and fluffy wings. I can hear his friends and family chirping in their coop.
Our next stop is the woodland walk where I go for a little nap in my buggy and have quiet time. Mummy and Daddy admire the views and see more sheep and the Kune Kune Pigs. They read up about hedgerow life which surrounds the farm, by looking at the information signs that Manydown Farm have up around the walk.
Manydown Farm also has an Easter Egg Trail that you can follow when you go on the big tractor ride around the fields. This was great fun and Mummy had to spot and write down all the names of the eggs and hand her form into staff to be entered for the competition to win a free day out.
Her favourite named egg was Egbert. The man on the tractor was very friendly and funny.
As we are heading for the exit Mummy spots the crafting area in the white marquee. Picnic tables are set up and we see children getting their face painted and others colouring in white Easter Egg templates as part of a competition that Manydown Farm are running.
We decide to join in and mummy helps me with my design.
I’m sure we’ll win!! I manage to get colouring pen over my face, hands and even on my tongue, everywhere apart from the Easter Egg card which my Mummy keeps pointing to encourage me to colour in. Typical eh?!
A great day was had by all (including daddy in his digger!). All the other children we met had big smiles on their faces as well. The weather helped as it was dry and I bet this place is beautiful when it heats up a little, as it is a bit cold and windy up on the hill. This farm is so local to us I’m sure we’ll be back in the summer.
Meanwhile……down on the farm…..
Friday, March 14, 2014.
Dear mummy, I have my farmyard animal Boden dress on and I am raring to go!
It’s late Friday afternoon and we head to our local National Trust haunt The Vyne. We’ve only got a couple of hours to spare before I go to grandma’s house, so mummy and I spend it running around like mad animals in the walled garden.
We meet a lovely National Trust man who is hosing down all the children’s toys ready for the weekend. I grab a tractor and mummy drives me around the vegetable patch and flower beds. I stop to look at the daffodils, beep my imagery horn and mummy pushes me back up the path. I’m a bit small for this tractor and my feet don’t really touch the pedals so I disembark and help with the gardening.
I clear up sticks from the grass and put them in my wheelbarrow. I would make a great National Trust volunteer!! Only a quick diary entry today…as I’m staying at Grandmas house, and she says no phones in my cot.
Byeeeeee Bella xxx