Riding The Rails on The Watercress Line

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There's nothing I love better than revisiting the places that hold such fond memories for me of my own childhood. I very clearly remember our trip on the steam train on The Watercress Line, and we first took our boys last year (we'd been meant to go the previous Christmas too, but sadly Max got chickenpox, so we had to abandon that plan). When I tasked my husband with choosing an activity for us to do over the post-Christmas break, I thought his suggestion of a trip on The Watercress Line was a brilliant one. At 4, Max is very into trains, and I knew that Ben (18 months now) would love it too. We arrived at Alton, ready to catch ...

Nature Play with Willow and Wild Box

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When I was pregnant, I imagined myself as the perfect Pinterest mum, doing all kinds of crafts with my children. As it turns out, Max isn't really into crafting at all, and is far more excited to get outside and explore, or learn about how things work. When I first heard about Willow and Wild's Subscription boxes, I knew they'd tick the right boxes for both me and Max, with their focus on teaching children about nature and the world around them, with a little bit of craft thrown in too. Willow and Wild is a monthly box which fits through your letterbox, and is filled with a huge range of activities to help children learn about and engage with nature. ...

How I’ve Changed As A Parent {with Johnson’s Baby}

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This is paid collaboration as part of my Ambassador role with Johnson’s Baby Perfectionism is an impossible thing when it comes to parenting. I’ve always been a perfectionist. I was the child in school who always got 10/10, and I’ve gone through life always aiming to do my absolute best. But more than anything else, being a mum is the thing that I’ve wanted to be perfect at. I’m sure it’s something that all new parents feel - that overwhelming sense of responsibility as you realise that you are the person that needs to look after this tiny, helpless little being, and everything in you wants to be the very best parent you can for them. In that first year with Max, ...

Me and Mine: November 2018

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After a long old October, November seems to have gone by in a flash. We've started our Christmas celebrations early this year, so it feels appropriate that our November Me and Mine photos are from our trip to Lapland UK. It's not the best family photo of us I've ever seen, but it's reality - there's always one member of the family not looking at the camera! I can't work out whether Ben is looking at Santa, or at John. Lapland UK was definitely the highlight of our month. It was wonderful to make a return visit when Max really was the perfect age for it all. I hope that one day we'll be able to go back when Ben is ...

Discovering the Magic of Christmas at Lapland UK

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Two years ago we were invited to visit LaplandUK, and it was hands down one of the most magical days of my life. I've always been a huge Christmas fan - my whole family are - and it just brought the whole thing to life for me, and seeing my son utterly entranced by it all was just amazing. I've been asked by a lot of people since that trip, "Is Lapland UK worth the money?". With prices starting at around £70, it's definitely an expensive day out for a family. But I think it speaks for itself that less than two years later, I booked and paid for our return visit. I sorted the tickets when the booking window for ...

A Visit to Waddesdon Manor’s Christmas Carnival

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If you're a regular reader of Hot Pink Wellingtons, you'll know I love a good National Trust property. Waddesdon Manor has been on my wishlist for a visit for ages, but is a fair drive for us, so apart from one Tuesday a few years ago where we turned up to find it closed (top tip - visit Wed-Sun!), it's not made it to the top of our list. But when Waddesdon got in touch to tell me all about their Christmas Carnival, I knew it would be a wonderful time of year to finally make that visit. Waddesdon's Christmas Carnival is open until 2nd January, and it's absolutely crammed with festive activities. The house is all decorated for Christmas, there ...

It Might Not Be That Bad After All…

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It's fair to say that I've had my doubts and misgivings about how ready Max was for school. He's always seemed young for his age, and I was concerned that the emphasis on reading and writing would turn him off of learning full stop. If it was up to me, I think I'd have kept him home with me forever! But something changed my mind last week. It was a tiny moment in the grand scheme of things. I've been making a big effort to give Max some short one-to-one time where he gets to choose the activity. He chose a Lego set, which we'd built together once before, and I noticed back then just how much direction Max needed to keep ...

I’m not cut out for life as a school mum!

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It's fair to say that I spent the last year burying my head in the sand about Max starting school. I've made no secret of the fact that I would happily have kept him home with me for much longer, and that I didn't really feel he was ready. My little boy just wasn't grown up enough to be heading off to school 5 days a week! Over the summer, I put so much effort into making sure that Max was ready. I read all those lists of things that your child should be able to do before starting school, and we worked on each thing slowly. Can use cutlery? Check. Can recognise their own name? Check. Can wipe their bottom? ...

Make Space For Play {With The Great Little Trading Company}

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When Max was little, I remember saying that we wouldn't let toys overtake our living room. Sadly we don't have a spare room in our house to turn into a playroom, and I was determined that our living room would stay an adult space, with toys tidied away in the evening. But, as I'm sure happens to us all, slowly the toys started to invade our house. First there was the jumperoo, then the toy cars, then the collection of Toy Story toys. And then Ben, our second child, came along and somewhere along the line we lost all sight of our adult space, just sweeping all the toys to one side once bedtime came along. The Great Little Trading Company ...

A Visit To Wrest Park

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Wrest Park has been on my wish list for a visit for ages, but it's that little bit too far from us to make it an easy trip. Plus it's English Heritage and we don't have membership, which makes it a somewhat pricey day out. But we've recently got a new car and we're no longer limited by mileage like we were in our previous lease car, so last weekend we headed off to Wrest Park to see what it had to offer.     Wrest Park is a Grade I listed House located in Silsoe, Bedfordshire, surrounded by acres of beautiful grounds. Most of the house was closed to the public during our visit, as there was a wedding fair on, but ...