Saturday 29 August 2020

Days Out in Kent - A Pokemon Trail

My friend has a woodland near her house that she often walks her dogs in and over lockdown, she found someone had made a trail through the woods for kids to follow.  In a time where our options were limited, finding something fun, free and naturally away from others was always a win and recently she made her own trail through the same woods with an A-Z of Pokemon.

I met up with her to take the kids on a hunt and she made special sheets for them to tick off all the Pokemon they found.  For the older ones just writing the first letter is perfect too as they can practice writing down what they have found.  She laminated her Pokemon and attached them securely to trees and on the back of each Pokemon you can find the name of it too.

I love how simple this is and my children had so much fun running through the trees finding the hidden creatures.  There is no reason why we can't make our own in the future (another reason to buy a laminator!).  I shared on Instagram stories the trail that we have followed and had so many responses, that I decided to pop it in a blog post so that I could share the printable and the directions for anyone local who may want to follow the trail.

Instructions to get there:

There's space to park on Candler's Way, Chartham, CT4 7TU. Go through the field with the zip line. Exit the field at the top left corner, walk past Cobbs Meadow RDA and turn left into the woods. Follow the path into the woods. There is a loop to your right which is where the trail is set out. The Pokemon A-Z poster lets you know you have found the start.

Save Me and Print Me

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Wednesday 26 August 2020

A Long Weekend at Blackdown Yurts

Press Trip

We first visited Devon as a family two years ago and it has been somewhere we have been looking to come back to ever since.  The beautiful countryside seems so much more green than at home, the beaches so much more dramatic, the people so friendly and we have spent months looking forward to visiting Blackdown Yurts this summer.  It was meant to be part of a bigger trip but due to the current climate, everything else got cancelled, so there was even more riding on our stay there.

Blackdown Yurts are in Cullompton, set properly in the countryside where you can feel like you have truly escaped from real life.  There are four yurts in total as well as some cottages but each one comes with so much outdoor space that it was easy to live in a little bubble of the six of us.  

The drive there took so much longer than expected thanks to traffic and by the time we arrived, the children were desperate to run and move and they couldn't contain their excitement to explore our yurt.  Many glamping sites seem to accomodate smaller families but it isn't often that we find one ideally set up for the six of us.  We stayed in Woodpecker which had one double bed and four singles so everyone had their space.  Outside our yurt we had our own compost toilet, our own table and benches, a campfire and our own camp kitchen with a tap.  Right in front of us was a huge field which we could go exploring in and if we walked past the sheep, we could go to see the two friendly ponies, Felix and Beau.  Everywhere we looked was fresh and green and there was so much space that they could run around to their hearts content.

We met Katie and Mark who showed us round and were happy to supply us with information and recommendations on the local area.  They made us feel immediately welcome and the children couldn't stop talking at them!  Everything was easy to find and understand and everything we needed was provided, from wood for the log burner inside the yurt and campfire outside, to a starter kit for our bbq.  There is also a main barn which would be lovely and cosy to spend an evening in.  At the moment it is used for necessities rather than socialising and there is a full kitchen in there as well as an individual fridge for each yurt.  There are also four flushable toilets and hot shower cubicles, one marked clearly for each yurt and hand sanitising stations all around.  As everything we used was reserved solely for our yurt it was easy to avoid any contamination or closeness with anyone else.  

Often with camping and glamping, I love the experience but look forward to getting home for a hot shower and a proper meal after but Blackdown Yurts is ideal for a longer stay as the equipment means you can sleep close to nature, step out each morning to see the rolling green hills of Devon, but also still have those home comforts like a warm wool duvet and a hot private shower.

I don't know if it was the beautiful surroundings or the knowledge that this long weekend was our whole summer holiday away, but there was something really special about our time there.  The children slept in every morning, we loved exploring the nature all around us and in the evenings after we had toasted marshmallows around the campfire, we lay on blankets and watched the stars in the night sky, amazed at how many were clear when you move away from all the street lights.  The children thrived with the freedom to run around and be wild, they needed the screen time detox which is so much harder to do at home and they all want to come back to Blackdown Yurts again.  It was ideal for us as a young family but during the same weekend there was also a group of six friends in their early twenties and a family with older children and a dog (The site is dog friendly but they must be in leads) so it caters to so many different groups.

If you are looking to experience glamping, or are a seasoned camper looking for some luxury then we can't recommend Blackdown Yurts enough.  If you want to book for the end of this season (Some of the yurts are open until the October Half Term and there are lots of midweek breaks before then too) then use the code MUMMY10 for a discount!

Thank you to Katie and Mark for hosting us, we will definitely be back!

The Yurt

Each bed came with a wool pillow and duvet and the beds were properly protected so everything could be washed well between visitors.  There was space to store things in the chest of drawers and a torch and tea lights provided.  We loved the fairy lights around the inside of the yurt too.

The Barn

I think this would be an amazing area to utilise if you visit as a bigger group as there is plenty of space for everyone to eat together.  At the moment the barn is just used for access to the fridges but one morning we entered to find some freshly grown vegetables available to be taken and they tasted delicious!

The Facilities

We had our own table and benches, fire pit with chairs, bbqq, kitchen and toilet so there was no need to share facilities. Everything was incredibly clean and we loved having a kitchen to make coffee and breakfast in each morning.

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Monday 24 August 2020

What the Kids Wore // Treads School Shoes

We were sent two pairs of Treads Shoes for the purpose of this review

Back to school is looming and we are preparing the final pieces of school uniform ready for September 1st.  Everything looks a bit big still as I seem to inevitably buy with some growing space, and all the polo shirts are so bright they seem to reflect the sun.  We all know that will last approximately one wear before they are stained by dinners, pens or something completely unidentifiable!  This year we are trying out Treads shoes for the older two and the plan is that they make it through a whole school year.

Treads come with a 12 month indestructible guarantee which means they are build to withstand typical playground behaviour and the way children sit and act in school as well as on the football fields.  Obviously most children wait until just after you have bought them new shoes to have a growth spurt, and Treads come in dual sizing with a removable insole so they last that little bit longer too! For both boys I chose their current size and the shoes can not only grow with them into the next, but the sizing is generous too so I really do hope they will last all year!

Dylan chose laces this year, something we haven't tackled yet but at 9 years old he is definitely ready to learn!  He went for the Tokyo which have plenty of rubber to protect his toes and I think they look a little more grown up whilst still being playful.  Archie went for London which is a classic, comfy, velcro style.  The shoes are available for both girls and boys from sizes  junior 11 to adult 11.

The real test of these shoes will be in a few months time though, so I plan to do a little update at 3,6,9 and 12 months to show how the shoes are faring! For now they look shiny and clean and I was keen to pop them back in the box to preserve that as long as I can! Both of these boys start back on the 1st of September ready for the new term though so it is time to get labelling!

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Wednesday 19 August 2020

Red Letter Days // Glamping with Finn

Red Letter Days provided me with a voucher to cover our glamping experience

After so long under one roof, I have been keen to find ways to spend quality time with each child individually before school restarts and thanks to Red Letter Days, Finn and I escaped for an overnight glamping experience close to home.

I have been trying to spend special time with each child but it isn't always easy.  I managed to get away camping for a couple of nights with the bigger two, but Finn missed out and I wanted to do something special with him.  Red Letter Days offered me a voucher for a glamping pod experience and I found a site less than half an hour from home which gave us the ideal balance of being somewhere new and feeling like we had gotten away, but being close enough that it was easy to get there and back for just an overnight stay.

We picked Hawk Place Camping which is set alongside a stables, surrounded by countryside in three directions and the coast in the fourth.  We stayed in one of two pods and it was ideal for the two of us.  With electricity, a kettle and a proper bed, the pod felt comfortable and a home from home but being in such beautiful surroundings kept us feeling close to nature.  We were surrounded by horses in fields and there was plenty of places to explore.

In the other direction was a footpath that led straight down to the sea.  From there we could walk about 10 minutes to Minnis Bay which is a sandy beach with safe swimming, fish and chips and a restaurant and there were cycle trails/walking paths going in both directions as it is a lovely stretch of coastline to explore.  We walked down along the sand to Minnis Bay and got chips to eat by the sea before exploring the area further.  The sun sets over the sea on this corner of the county and it is the best place to watch the sunsets.  The sky was beautiful as we walked back to our pod.

The campsite was clean and easy to navigate with Covid measures in place like contactless check in.  Our pod was clean as were all communal areas and it was easy to stay away from others at all times.  Camping and glamping feels like one of the safest ways to get away at the moment and it was lovely to explore more of Kent and the UK.  It has been one of my favourite things about this summer as we are usually away for most of the six weeks.  I have discovered so many local gems and I think Hawk Place will be somewhere we come glamping again, especially with Red Letter Days as it was easy to book with my voucher.

Finn loved getting some quality time with me, setting the pace and it really helped me feel closer to my special boy.  This is definitely something we will both remember for a long time. 

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