Friday, 31 May 2013

#CountryKids Wray Castle National Trust #50things

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Yesterday we headed for the far side of Windermere via the chain ferry to go to Wray Castle. This is one of National Trust properties offering plenty of the 50 things activities. 

The castle itself is a Victorian take on what a medieval castle should look like:

My son had been there before with my parents so he knew exactly where to go once inside the castle to find the rooms dedicated to entertaining children. First of all a chance to play sword fight and dress up:

Next to this was a room with books and bean bags followed by a room they could make paper crowns in. I think my son and his friend stayed sword fighting for most of the visit! Meanwhile I left the grandparents taking turns to supervise and went to explore.. Turns out that dotted throughout the castle there were all sorts of other kiddy distractions that mine completely missed:

The castle is in the process of major renovations having been used as a training centre for Merchant Seaman, a Youth Hostel and as an office. This is going to be long term project and will need lots of money to complete. Its good to be able to see how they are doing so far:

The final bit of fun for the children was the room with the foam blocks for building a castle:

Of course a collapsed castle was a big temptation to leap on to:

After a recuperating hot drink and cake in the little cafe we headed outside into the sunshine to the 50 things activities area:

There was a dead tree to balance on (#18):

A rope swing to swing on (#19):

And den building (#4):

There are 22 more activities you can do on the site but I had to take my friend home whilst my children went down to the lake with my parents to do stone skimming (#5). We will have to go back and see which of the others we can tick off. My daughter seems to have done a large percentage of them with 2 years left to complete them. How are your children doing on their list?

More photos of our day on Flickr

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Reasons to be Cheerful Week 22 - Half term fun #R2BC

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart
Whilst Michelle has been enjoying Butlins (not jealous much!) we have been having a really fun time staying at home! So many reasons to smile:

1) A taste of summer

It seems to have gone again but Saturday and Sunday were hot and sunny and we made the most of it. I've already written about what we got up to earlier on the blog but this photo sums it up:

2) Fun with friends

Family friends that are more like family than friends have been staying up here this week. The children are similar ages to mine so we have been out and about showing them so of the places we love. I have already blogged about Keswick which was fun despite the drizzle! Yesterday we went to Brockhole:

We had fun in the adventure playground, playing crazy golf and enjoying the indoor soft play. 

Today we went to Wray Castle which is being renovated by the National Trust after decades of use by government and commercial organisations. This was my first proper visit so I will have to dedicate a whole post to it! Just as a taster:

Victorian Mock Gothic

Indoor fun

Outdoor Fun

3) Winners!

My mum entered a competition in the local paper and won herself 2 free goes on the brand new 10 m high climbing wall at Tree Top Trek at Brockhole. It officially opens on June 2nd and the climbs will be on that day. She has kindly decided that it would be better for my daughter and I to partake *gulp* so I will have to over come my fear of heights and inability to scale a climbing wall! Watch this space as my mum will be recording the event on camera. I am looking forward to whizzing down the giant zip wire at the end!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Weigh in Wednesday Week 5

I didn't want to go to my weigh in tonight! I was feeling fat and I knew that I had indulged in a few too many ciders over the weekend. Not had a chance to run this week with children at home which is the way I normally undo the bad work! I was persuaded by a friend and my daughter to run to class and then run home afterwards... So here I am in my running kit just before I left my parents' house:

I have to say that my running trousers are a size smaller than the workout trousers I normally have on! As you can see the abs need plenty of work still whilst the rest is slimming down nicely.

After a good attempt at the just over 3 km trip to the venue I arrived all hot and sweaty and I was very pleasantly surprised to discover my weight had stayed the same. Therefore I must have been much better with my food choices than I thought to compensate for overindugling in bank holiday booze! The slimpods are supposed to help us realise when we are full and unconsciously make better decisions. 

Holidays are always a harder time to eat sensibly as there are plenty of temptations and things are more relaxed. We even indulged in an Indian takeaway as a pay day treat but I didn't over order and left much of the sauce of my biryani in the dish. Let's hope I can keep it up!

Despite not having formal exercise we have been out and about a lot walking or scooting around. Guess that it just helps to keep on moving!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Family Fun: A Damp Day in Keswick

WIth torrential rain forecast and four under 10s to entertain we arranged to drive up to Keswick this morning. It's about an hour from Kendal (subject to traffic!) but it has a lot of indoor venues for families.

First up was a return visit to the Puzzling Place after our last successful visit in 2011. It had all 3 generations really intrigued and there was something for all of us to test out and puzzle over. These included a room where nothing was vertical:

She is standing straight!

An interactive rock pool:

A gallery of holograms:

And the room where your size perception completely fails:

We eventually dragged everyone back out to eat a picnic - luckily it was barely drizzling.  Then it was off to the new museum that had enticed us to visit Keswick. This is the Keswick Dinosaur and Raptor Experience which had only been open since Saturday! Its on the site of the old mining museum and combines both dinosaurs and their living descendants raptors. We were greeted at the top of the steps by one of these live birds:

And then in the reception area you meet a model of a genuine T rex skull, its amazing how big it is:

We managed to go the wrong way round the museum (somehow none of us noticed the dinosaur footprints showing us the right way round...). So the first room we went into was a chance for the children to get hands on as paleontologists:

Further on was a room with dinosaur related colouring and puzzles:

Then there were displays of fossils and replica dinosaurs with plenty of information to digest. Only 1 child was persuaded to do the simple quiz which encouraged them to take notice of the exhibition properly. The others were more interested in getting up close to the models:

We were very lucky as Colin the owner had time to talk to us and let a couple of the children handle Oscar the Screech owl:

If you have a couple of hours to spare the museum is a good place to spend time as family and at £14 for a family of 4 its not going to break the bank. We will be back!

Afterwards we braved the slightly heavier drizzle and headed for the shores of Derwentwater. There is always an attraction to water for children and the views weren't too covered in cloud to spoil it for the adults:

The children found a canine friend to throw sticks into the lake for:

Once they knew you could buy bird food they were happy to move on and look out for goslings etc:

Eventually the children got too cold and damp so we headed back to the cars via Hope Park:

All in all a great day despite the weather and I thoroughly recommend Keswick as a rainy day family destination!

Monday, 27 May 2013

#CountryKids: Kendal Kite Festival

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

It's hard not to miss when we have a kite festival at Kendal Castle as you can see the kites flying from quite a distance away! We saw the first day from the town so were determined to get up to the top to get closer yesterday. It's a fairly steep climb from the town side of the castle but it was worth it to get to the top:

There was an amazing array of kites of all sizes some tethered to the ground and others being hand flown:

What was good as well was the organisers changed the kites over for variety so you weren't looking at the same ones twice. It was a beautiful sunny day to be up looking over Kendal in the valley. There weren't just things happening on top of the hill either. We went down the other side to give the children's teddies a chance to parachute:

It was a nice simple bit of fun for a £1 per soft toy! Then the children had a go each on the bouncy castle/slide:

After refreshing ourselves with cold drinks and ice lollies we climbed back up to the kites:

Our favourite was the giant gecko:

There was also time to play hide and seek in the ruins of the castle:

The children then got a chance to help steer the Elvis kite that was flying over the castle:

It was hard to get the children down from the castle they were having so much fun! We can't wait for the next kite festival.