0

Our day out! |Croome |West Midlands

We have been members of the National Trust for 3 years now and have enjoyed visiting our local properties of Packwood and Baddesley Clinton. We’ve also spent many days at my current favourite Hanbury Hall. This year however we decided to make a list as there are so many properties, which if we drove just a bit further we would also be able to explore.

Last week we visited our first new property: Croome Court. Now Croome is in Worcestershire and it was just a lovely quick trip on the motorway before reaching the winding lanes which eventually lead to the estate. I love that it’s usually a really picturesque drive to many of these places as they are often slap bang in the middle of the countryside.

I was keen to try Croome, firstly as I heard it had quite a good playground. With three children that is a really important factor for us as they struggle just walking round grounds and gardens all day (hence why we love Hanbury). And I have to say the playground was pretty impressive. Before we got there though we had lunch at the entrance. In fact we had been there for an hour and a half before we even got to the main area. There were plenty of big, good quality picnic tables, and all just a stones throw from the car park we were in, which is handy if you need to nip back to the car. There was also a charming little hall which housed the cafe, however it was a bit of a struggle to get the pushchair in due to the layout of the tables.

Croome was an air base at one point and its links with the RAF are clear from the beginning. Army tents are used at marquees to cover some of the picnic tables and there are war time posters adorning many of the walls around the cafe.

IMG_0734

The one thing I did like were the toilets, I know that’s an odd thing to say, but they were quite posh. Nice big stall doors, three big changing room toilets and the sink area was really well presented, even having little wooden steps for children to use.

Once we got past the entrance we made our way past the gift shop and found the play area. Next to the play area is an RAF museum, which the children went to look round with my Dad but I never had the chance to look round myself so I can’t tell you what it is like sadly.

The play area looks recently done and is also in an air force theme.

 

The kids could have played on this for hours. There were a few benches in the area however the one thing which I thought was bad was as it was on a hill there were only steps leading up to it. Now for anyone with a pram this was a bit annoying, we were left with either having to struggle to carry it up the steps or sit at the bottom and therefore only have a partial view. I thought it would have been more suitable for them to place a slope or ramp up to the play area for buggies, or just have it on a lower level to start with.

The estate at Croome is massive and sadly we didn’t get to do half of it. Our youngest thought it would be a good day to not want to lie in the pram and so I ended up carrying him down the long walk to the house and around most of it so by the end of that I was quite keen to just go back to the top as I was worn out!

Like I say the walk down is quite a long walk and so if you have very young walkers I would suggest a pushchair or waiting for the little golf buggies to take you down. When you are at the top of the hill you pass a lovely chapel,

IMG_0738    and the view to the house is stunning…

IMG_0739

Now my mum had warned me about the property being empty and she wasn’t wrong. Sadly nearly all the vast rooms are empty of all furniture, which if you are looking for a genuine recreation you may be very disappointed as I was.

IMG_0747

It is such a shame really to see such a beautiful property almost sat being wasted. I think they are hoping to restore it to its former glory one day but as you can imagine that would cost a lot!

There were a couple of interesting points in the house. Down in the basement as well as another tea room, you will find a shoe display. I found it rather odd and I wasn’t sure if it was supposed to be historical or artistic but the wine celler has several little boxes housing their own little displays. My favourite were the mosaic and Harikrishna shoes:

There was also a sculpture made out of chairs in the entrance hall which was unusual:

IMG_0743

 

Croome was owned at one time by the 6th Earle of Coventry. It is a real shame that it didn’t appear at it’s full potential as the decoration of some of the walls was just beautiful…

IMG_0745

IMG_0744

 

Sadly we didn’t have time to look around the walled gardens or explore the vast landscape further. I know we will definitely make a return trip soon though. Overall I thought the grounds and facilities at Croome were brilliant and you could definitely spend a whole day there. But if you are just going to look around the property I hate to say it, but I think you will have a wasted trip.

I would give Croome 7 out of 10 overall for what I have seen so far, but a full 10 out of 10 for the facilities and children’s playground!

I hope you enjoyed this review, I hope to do more as we use our membership more this year!

img_0188-1

 

0

The nursery is finished hooray!

Hello hello! (Sorry if this is a long one!)

When we moved into our house we rushed to paint the box room pink for our 18 month old daughter. It was pretty basic but it was fine for her. So when we found out we were expecting baby number 3 I was secretly hoping for a girl just to save on the DIY but fate had a think and went “nah lets give them some work to do!”.

Jax is 3 months old and not in his room yet but I wanted to get it ready for when he was. It felt like it was going on forever at the start – as you know the prep work is so laborious!

With the pink embossed flowery wallpaper on all walls we needed to strip it down and once we got on with it it wasn’t too bad. There were plenty of holes to fill in mind and once we had done that and added a couple of layers of damp seal to some areas it probably took about 10 evenings to get there (baring in mind I did most of it on my own at first as my husband decided I’d started so I would be finishing!).

 

All was going smoothly so to speak, until we came to wall on the side of the stairs. Late one evening we came to strip it and a massive chunk of plaster came away. Feeling the surface it almost bowed under pressure in some areas and we were scared to touch any more. Cut a long story short we attacked it one morning and managed to get off most of the paper and in some areas just left the lining paper from the top layer as protection. This wall was a mess and could have easily crumbled in our hands, requiring a full plastering and a lot of money. Thankfully we had a narrow escape, but this was the wallpaper underneath which was pretty cool as it was probably from the 40’s when the the house was first decorated!

IMG_0424

 

With the prep done it was time for the fun part! I chose to paint 3 of the walls and have a wallpapered feature wall behind where the cot would go; I chose a brick wall. Now a few people have given me funny looks or gone “really?” when I tell them, but I really couldn’t be happier with it. It’s given it a neutral, contemporary feel and I love it!

Going with greys and whites I felt I needed some colour. I knew the bedding had a pop of red and yellow but I knew that would change. It was only when I went to a local shop and found a mint coloured money box which I thought was so cute, that I found a colour to add and also an animal theme.

All in all I think it’s a mix of themes with colour, animals and textures featuring but I really like it and I hope you do too!

Below is the finished nursery and I’ll add where things came from and approximate prices in case you want to do something similar 🙂

IMG_0549

 

  • So this is the brick wall! The wallpaper had a lovely texture and grey tone to it- B&Q I want to say around £15 a roll (luckily we only needed 2!).
  • The bedding is Winnie the Pooh range from George at Asda and we had the quilt and bumper as a baby present and I bought the sheets and rug (see below, various prices).
  • The cot was my daughters, I want to say we bought it from Babies R Us but I can’t remember the name or the price now…
  • The paint on the other walls is B&Q colours – Grey Hints in silk and we had an offer of 2 for £20.
  • The elephant on the left at the back was from Home Sense £7.99 and the little baby one, which squeaks is Ikea around £2-3. There is a third elephant in the cot which you can’t see from this angle it is a plushy pyjama case and a gift for my older two but they don’t use it so I nabbed it for Jax’s room as it’s also grey and mint.
FullSizeRender

The rug

IMG_0551

  • I bought the book shelves originally for the older kids room but that’s yet to be started so will now need to buy some more, oops! These are cool though – Ikea Mosslander picture ledges, can’t remember how much possibly around £8 each but don’t quote me! Most of the books were my daughters.
  • The elephant money box is what started the colour scheme! Home Sense around £7.99
  • The lantern I thought was really cute and a great colour match. The plant is plastic (who has time to water plants!) and the pot is actually supposed to be a hanging candle vase but who would know  – oh yeah you now do! All from Ikea, can’t remember the prices or the unpronounceable Swedish names sorry!
  • The blind is also from Ikea and is cord free and black out! We were intending on adding curtains but somehow managed to pick up the brackets, the ends and leave the pole so they are yet to be mounted! I want to say the blind was around £15.

IMG_0552

Love this wardrobe – Ikea £80! I nearly bought one that looked half as nice for £50 more! Can’t off the top of my head remember the name but it was in the kids rooms section of the show rooms.

 

  • On the left is the new carpet, as you can see the original matched the hall (right bottom corner) and was fine for rented property but we wanted him to be able to sit comfortably and read when hes a bit older so went for a thicker pile in a lovely contrast grey – local carpet shop 7×8 ft £120 with fitting.
  • The light, oh the light, I love this light and bought it months ago, in fact I had only just found out I was pregnant. It is so pretty! – You guessed it Ikea!
  • Now I read somewhere that pictures of family can help calm children so thought I’d have a little photo wall – trying to hang these all straight, most frustrating. thing. ever! The frames were from B&M pack of 3 for about £3 I want to say… The word art was done by moi although I nicked the tiny toes phrase off my baby album.
  • Now you know what I’m like I had to get some crafting in! So I bought an MDF letter J from Hobbycraft for £5 and then scratched my head as to what to do with it!

 

IMG_0513

As you can see I decided to paint it but used one of the darker greys from the testers we bought as a contrast to the wall it would be on. And then added some of the wallpaper, cut out and glued on with Craft PVA also from Hobbycraft.

IMG_0550

I did love this effect I really felt it stood out and pulled the wallpaper onto another wall.

My final project for this room was that I initially wanted to put some word art in the space by the wardrobe. Looking online I narrowed it down, but they were charging a fortune. So I replicated it on an app, printed it on photo paper and framed it myself. It’s not identical but I’m really happy with the result and I saved about £30! The frame was from Wilko for around £5.

FullSizeRender (1)

I love this song and I sing it to him a lot so it was perfectly fitting!

So that is it (wow it would have been so much quicker if I did YouTube)! I hope if you have survived this seriously long blog that you have enjoyed the room and maybe even been inspired.

Thank you so much for making it this far you deserve a rest haha!

You can check out a video room tour on Instagram @rabbitandroo

img_0188-1

0

A belated Easter roundup!

Hello hello!

Aren’t you just loving this weather at the moment? For those of you not living in the U.K.- this week we have had snow! A day where I left at 14°c and by the time I came home two hours later it was 2°c! And next week it’s hitting 18°c – wtf!

So the kids are back to school this week after the Easter holidays and we managed to have a really nice time. Personally I think I totally over did things as I’m now totally exhausted but I felt so guilty for not taking them anywhere last holiday when Jax was born – yes he is 2 months old! 😱 I need to figure out how to slow down time…

 

 

As you can see he is now smiling and I’m loving the little coos he has started, we have a right little chat some times.

The Easter holidays bought bowling and Power Rangers, plenty of time in soft play and seeing friends and family. We didn’t really do any crafts though this year, although Rabbit would probably have a go, I’ve completely lost Roo to the Xbox and the dreaded Minecraft. Don’t get me wrong he is strictly limited to time on it but once he’s on, the sky could turn green and he wouldn’t notice! We also bought the hilarious game where you have to wear mouth retractors to say funny phrases (there is a name but it escapes me at the side of the pool during swimming lessons!)

We have had a busy few weeks and I am a little glad for the rest now they’re back in the swing of it. I just need to get my end of year assignment written and then I can have a bit of ‘time off’ (what ever that is). I’m secretly dreading the six weeks holidays though this year, as I will be off on maternity leave with all three kids at home, I used to enjoy escaping to work a couple of days a week, but hopefully we can have more family days now I’m not sharing the week with hubby. Fun times to come!

 



0

Hanging out at Half Term

This week has been the October Half Term holiday and we didn’t have a lot planned but it seems we did lots of baking – I think we’ve had a really nice week.

Here’s a quick rundown of what we got up to…

Rabbit spent the whole weekend dressed as a witch after we put this outfit together, and it only cost me £3!

Mum and dad gave her the dress which they picked up from a charity shop – cost to me £0 😀

We had the hat from last year – cost this year £0 😀

The tights were a bargain from Aldi, they came in a two pack with a plain purple pair as well for £1.99, she wore holes in the feet within 2 days but she hates wearing shoes – they’ll be easy to sew up. (I actually could have got away without paying for these too as I later found some from last year under the stairs – doh!

The broom was really cool and looked pretty authentic – this was just £1 from Wilko – love it!

img_8486

First off this week we had loads of cornflakes to use up so what better way than chocolate cornflake cakes! We used Swiss chocolate (only because it was on offer!), and I decided to add some marshmallow Fluff, but this in hindsight may have been a mistake as it made it go a bit claggy. They were yummy though and I love the Halloween themed cases we got from Asda- they were orange with bats all over.

fullsizerenderb

We went to see Finding Dory this week – I love using the cheap junior showings it’s worth waiting a few months rather than spending a fortune, all 4 of us got in for £7.20!

We made some Halloween butter cookies – which seem to becoming an annual tradition, the recipe is so simple, just butter, flour, icing sugar and 2 minutes in the mixer. The cutters we used were a Wilton set I think and we did a gingerbread man to use as a skeleton. We used the Tate&Lyle Royal Icing in a box to ice them and my Wilton colour right set – this year however I think I made it too runny – as you can see with the skeleton’s face he melted off the cookie – oops! But it was fun to do with the kids and we had a laugh 🙂

We had a surprise visit from the tooth fairy (so Roo is now rather gummy) – at least I actually remembered to pay up this time!

fullsizerenderc1

I ended the week with an unexpected mummy daughter day as Roo went off to a football day school with a friend. So I took Rabbit to the park in the morning and then in the afternoon we did our favourite thing and baked some more, she loves it especially when she wears her chefs hat- so cute! The cakes were so moist (yummy!) not sure if that’s because all I had was Olive spread when I needed margarine? And we tried a recipe for chocolate buttercream it was amazing so we will definitely use it again – you can find it here!

So it’s fair to say we’ve had a good share of yummy treats to eat up this holiday! I think a week is just a nice amount of time to pack with activities without running out of money or getting bored, any longer and I always struggle to keep them occupied.

Certainly making the most of these more relaxed holidays though before our lives get very baby-busy again next year!

img_8068-1

0

Exotic Birthday Bubbles!

This week is our dear friend’s 30th birthday – Happy Birthday again Lou!

Me and my bestie decided to band together to make her a hamper. When we had a chat about things to get, my friend came across a cute idea on Pinterest.com, similar to the one below…

not-on-the-high-street

This one however, from notonthehighstreet, was £75! Now we love her but not quite that much. Instead we decided to go mini and make our own.

We bought a mini bottle of prosecco at about £2.50 from Asda, and it took just short of two small boxes of Ferrero Rocher, at £3.50 each from Superdrug. We used green tissue paper for the pines as that’s all I had but paper could have worked as well, I think card would have been too thick.

And so it began, we put on the tissue first taping it as we went around and finished with a layer of brown parcel tape to secure it. Then disaster slowly followed, after getting all the chocolates on in two sessions (as we had originally bought one box and it wasn’t enough) I sat proudly admiring our work. We chose double sided tape to stick them all on as it seemed strong enough at the time, then ‘plop’ one falls off, ‘plop, plop’, two more…’Arrggghhhh’ what can we do! At this stage we were 4 days off seeing her, so I pushed them back into place and decided to wrap it in cling film to hold it until we gave it to her.

The night before I removed the cling film and got the basket finished so we could give it to her, albeit a little early. The next morning arrived and we had lost half of the chocolates *hands grabbed face in horror*, by the evening a few more. My friend came round early luckily and we panicked about what to do. The only thing left to try was my old glue gun. I hadn’t used it for ages, didn’t even know if it still worked and only one glue stick was left. There was no time and no choice we had to go for it. We managed to just have enough glue to stick them all back on, but after a stressful half an hour some nearly scorched finger tips and some choice words, it was all secure and in place. Why oh why did we not just go with the glue gun in the first place?!

Lesson of the week – find a method to go with a project don’t just go off a picture you find on the internet (haha!)

After all that it was a happy end to the story! Ok it wasn’t as grand as the Pinterest pineapple but, it cost about £13 (not £75!), we were really happy with the end result, and so was Lou – she loved it!

I think I would definitely attempt this again but next time I know how to do it without pulling my hair out!

pineapple

img_8068

3

Birthday Card in a stitch!

I recently had a special little person to send a birthday card to but I just didn’t have the chance to get to the shops, so I knew I had to improvise. I had some lovely quality card given as a past present, and I crochet like crazy so my wool supply was a plenty. This got the cogs working, I wondered if I could stitch a design?

As I knew what I wanted to do but unsure about a method to approach it I turned to my trusty You Tube gurus, and found a good little video which I didn’t watch all of but that gave me a good tip to make the holes before I started stitching, and so I followed this.

I first folded the A4 card and chose to do it landscape. I drew my design on in pencil and then when I was happy I took a sharp yarn needle and pressed holes along the lines every centimetre or so from the front of the card to the back.

img_8334

I began stitching when all the holes were in place – be careful near the edges, too close and the holes can open up. I chose a shimmery blue and a navy blue as an accent on the balloon. I began from the reverse side continuing with back stitch all along. When I finished a section I fastened off at the back.

img_8337

When I was happy I added a second piece of card as an insert to cover the stitches. I found it difficult to stick it down with double sided tape so if you have something stronger and more time it might be worth experimenting. The insert was blue and I wrote a message on the other side.

img_8336

Despite the difficulty I had with the inside I was really happy with the end result. I think it was a fairly quick and stylish result for a bit of wool and a piece of card. The receiver was really happy with it too, or so I like to think 🙂

img_8068

2

3 is the magic number!

Hi guys sorry I’ve been absent for what seems like forever, but life has been a little hectic lately. You know what it’s like, school ends, hundreds of hours of washing uniform followed by the school holiday maybem, and buying new uniform, oh and then this happened…


Oh and just because I can’t read these things I had to double check…


…so yep our little family is getting bigger! Along with my appetite and belly.

This news although exciting has taken so much getting used to. Saying that makes it sound like we hadn’t planned it, but we had we had planned it about 18 months earlier, but unfortunately plans don’t always turn out the way you think they will. With my first two children we fell pregnant within a month or two of trying, but this time just didn’t work out. It has certainly taken a lot longer this time round, and I certainly feel for everyone who has had to wait this long and longer to conceive. It’s so disheartening when you go month to month thinking you are pregnant to then take a negative test. I’m sure your mind tricks you, you want it so bad it makes you think you are recognising symptoms then nothing, nadda, just a pile of wasted pee sticks and a lot of money down the toilet too!

So taking this test was a surprise, I hadn’t felt all the imaginary symptoms I thought I’d had in the past but although I had irregular cycles and had gone as long as 8 weeks between monthlys before, I’d never gone 11 weeks, so that’s why we thought we had better see what the stick of truth said, and ta-dah! Out of no where it was finally positive. 

It took a good week for it to sink in, then you have an unbearable period of waiting. Waiting to see the doctor to announce your news to a health professional, waiting to to get the sacred green notes, waiting to be able to tell all your friends and family, waiting to see your baby on the screen for the first time. Agonising, impatient, waiting. 

I didn’t sleep for the two days before our scan, the doctors didn’t know how pregnant I was because my dates were out, all my sickness had gone and I was convinced they would scan me and there would be nothing there. The last few weeks had felt like such a dream I thought I was actually imagining it this time too. 

I am now 13 weeks, the doctors were wrong about my dates, I was closer. The scan turned out to be fine after all and I am relieved to be at the end of the first trimester. 

Seeing the kids reaction to the news was the best day of my year so far, my 5 year old daughter has already chosen a baby grow and she melts my heart.