Calke Abbey: The Beauty of Decay

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I've wanted to visit Calke Abbey for so long, but being near Derby and us living down South, has meant that a trip just hasn't been possible. But when I knew we were heading up to Alton Towers for a trip, I was really hoping that we could fit in a visit on our way home. Calke Abbey is a study in faded grandeur. At every turn there is peeling paint, crumbling brickwork, and overgrown courtyards, telling the story of an eccentric and introverted family who never threw anything away and who craved isolation. The National Trust have taken a 'repair not restore' approach to its work at Calke, and this has created an estate filled with beautiful textures and a ...

The Barbara Hepworth Museum: A Hidden Gem In St Ives

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On our most recent trip to St Ives, I was finally able to find some time to myself to head off to a spot I've wanted to visit for ages: The Barbara Hepworth Museum and sculpture garden. It was Barbara's studio for many years and she described it as "a sort of magic", and it really does have that feel to it. It's a tiny museum, tucked away in the back streets of St Ives, and the garden feels like an oasis, filled with her distinctive sculptures. As soon as you step up the museum's stairway and into the garden, you are met with a sense of calm. It was definitely one to make alone, without the kids in tow! Just ...

Dig For Victory with Konfidence’s Golden Bucket Competition! {AD}

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This is an advertisement feature as part of my Brand Ambassador role with Konfidence If you're anything like our family, you're just sat here waiting for a bit of sun so that you can head down to the beach this summer! We love nothing better than feeling the sand between our toes and splashing in the waves. If you have a beach trip planned, why not take part in this year's Golden Bucket Sand Art competition by Konfidence? There are a whole host of brilliant prizes on offer, including a family hotel stay in Cornwall, Mark Warner vouchers, and prizes from Trunki, Cuddledry, Milton, Snoozeshade, and more! The competition runs for 12 weeks and is for children aged up to 8 years ...

A National Trust for every month

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If you're a regular reader of Hot Pink Wellingtons, you'll know just how much I love a National Trust property. Their gardens are always absolutely beautiful, and they are guardians of some of the most famous gardens in the world, such as Sissinghurst and Stourhead. They are also wonderful places for families to explore and to teach children about nature and history. I have a huge list of favourites, but it's definitely true that each property has a particular season when the garden is looking it's best, so I've chosen a National Trust for every month of the year, so that you can visit at the perfect time. January - Devil's Punchbowl For me, January is all about a brisk walk, with ...

We Are Official Swimologists with Konfidence – Plus Giveaway! {AD}

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I'm so pleased to be able to announce that for 2019 we will be working with Konfidence as Brand Ambassadors and Swimologists, alongside a team of other fantastic bloggers! I believe really passionately in the importance of teaching children to swim so I'm thrilled to be able to work with a brand who share that. I have such fond memories of swimming as a child - I loved the beach, and swimming in the sea especially - and I've been really keen to pass that on to my own children. It's fair to say that our swimming journey hasn't been without it's struggles though, as Max absolutely hated the baby swimming lessons we signed up for, and water in general. He's ...

How to captivate your reluctant reader: Story School at Chessington World of Adventures

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Last week we were thrilled to be invited to Chessington World of Adventures to take part in a Room on the Broom themed Story School, ahead of the opening of the new Room on the Broom attraction on March 10th 2019. The storytelling workshop was hosted by Master Storyteller, Kevin Graal, along with Binky Felstead and her daughter India, and aimed to help parents bring books to life for their children and guide parents on the most effective story time tips and techniques. Chessington recently conducted a survey, which revealed that 36% of UK parents feel nervous about reading stories to their children at bedtime. I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, but I would absolutely include myself in that 36%. ...

Where To Find The Best Snowdrops In Surrey

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Snowdrops are one of my favourite signs that winter is ending and spring is on its way. After a long winter, I love when February arrives and a visit to see the snowdrops has become one of our annual traditions. Although the best snowdrops I've come across have been at Welford Park in Berkshire, Surrey also has some wonderful spots to see them if you know where to look. Gatton Park Gatton Park in Reigate has to top my list for the best snowdrops in Surrey. The Capability Brown designed parkland is open on selected days in February for visitors to see the snowdrops. Runneymede and Ankerwycke The Ankerwycke yew is said to be where Henry VIII proposed to Anne Boleyn and each spring ...

We finally got snow!

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Ever since we moved to Surrey, we've never quite been blessed with snow. In Max's nearly 5 years on the planet, the first time he saw snow was last February, and even then we only got a sprinkling - not enough to make a snowman (or even a snowball). But we had high hopes this year when we saw the weather forecast last week - the temporary move with my parents in Berkshire came at just the right time for the snow! We went to bed on Thursday night, full of anticipation as to what might greet us when we woke up. And sure enough, we opened the curtains to a blanket of snow! We had a message from Max's school to ...

Tinpo: Inspiring Curiosity for Preschoolers

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This is a paid review post When it comes to TV programmes, I always know what is likely to appeal to Max, and without fail, it's the science-based, problem solving programmes which capture his attention. Tinpo is a relatively new kids TV programme, having first aired in December 2018, but it's already proved a hit with Max. There are 5 brand new episodes airing next week on CBeebies, and we had a sneak preview of them, which Max was over the moon about, jumping around the room, shouting "TinPO!" We were also sent a few colouring activity sheets, and it says a lot that Max, who usually hates colouring, was more than happy to get stuck in and give them a ...

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 ...