Posts filed under ‘National Trust days out’

Me and Mine [July 2018]

We’re already a quarter of the way through the summer holiday and school term craziness is a distant memory (and a bit of a blur). We managed to book a last minute 4 day break to the Isle of Wight in the first week of the school holiday and it was just what we need. We had blue skies and sunshine the whole time we were there (I couldn’t help packing wellies and coats though ”just in case” even though they’d not seen the light of day for weeks at home). #MeandMineproject July 2018 - nipitinthebud.co.uk
Our ”Me and Mine” family snapshot was taken at the National Trust beach at Brooke Chine at 8 o’clock at night. We love that time in the evening when the beach is quieter and there’s less concern about sunburn. We’re resolved to maintain the practice of being more active after dinner now we’re home as the heat and light of summer evenings produces prolonged, sticky bedtimes anyway so we might as well be outdoors. On that note it’s after 6pm and we’re going to head off to our favourite local park Hillfield Gardens with boys, bike and scooter. Enjoy a few of our beach snaps before I go and I’ll catch up with you again next month.
#MeandMineproject July 2018_myboys - nipitinthebud.co.uk
#MeandMineproject July 2018_Mum and boys - nipitinthebud.co.uk
NT Brook Chine beach -nipitinthebud.co.uk
Euan’s been enjoying the opportunity to use my camera and I think he did a terrific job of capturing the three of us outside our lovely Airbnb cabin in Brighstone.
#MeandMineproject July 2018 - nipitinthebud.co.uk
I love the #MeandMineproject for the prompt it gives to capture family time each month and the throw backs to previous years. Do you think we’ve changed all that much since last year’s Isle of Wight trip?


Click HERE to see our previous #MeandMine photos

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August 3, 2018 at 5:07 pm Leave a comment

the best part of education – bugs, berries and butterflies

“Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, water bugs, tadpoles, frogs,
mud turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, chestnuts, trees to climb.
Brooks to wade, water lilies, woodchucks, bats, bees, butterflies, various animals to pet, hayfields, pine-cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries and hornets;
and any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of
the best part of education.”

– Luther Burbank

Crickley Hill_E on top of a fallen tree wearing DUNS willow top

I’m not sure I’d recognise a wood chuck if I saw one and I certainly wouldn’t willingly expose my children to snakes in the wild or hornets but using the outdoors as a classroom is certainly something we embrace.  We are lucky to have some fabulous areas of outstanding natural beauty in Gloucestershire and one of our favourites, Crickley Hill, is just 15 minutes away by car.

Crickley Hill - E butterfly trail wearing DUNS willow top
Whenever I take the boys up Crickley Hill I know it’s for my benefit as much as theirs to amble about the escarpment and meander through the woods.  The National Trust manage the site and last year joined forces with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust to encourage more wildlife onto Crickley Hill.  All through the summer there were different nature trails on offer for young explorers and E enjoyed learning about different butterfly species as he raced around the escarpment.

Crickley Hill - the best part of education_family bimble

I spent a lot of time at Crickley Hill as a child so for someone who’s a bit inept when it comes to map reading it’s nice not having to give any mental energy to staying on the right track.  My internal sat nav at Crickley at least is finely tuned and I always know instinctively how to get back to the car park.  It’s lovely to think that this will become a special place for E and L not only for the family time we spend here but the adventures we have with friends exploring dens and climbing on fallen trees.

Crickley Hill_E and Fin copy 4B

I have a picture of 2 year old E emerging from a  den in the woods at Crickley on the picture shelf in his room.  It’s a only a simple A4 landscape size but I love it because it serves as a reminder to keep things simple when it comes to spending quality time with children.  They don’t need lots of input when taken to places that fire their imagination, just warm, attentive interaction.  The next time we visited Crickley Hill after taking this photo I felt sad to see this den had been dismantled where some other explorers had used the branches to fashion their own den elsewhere.  So this snapshot of E’s childhood adventures also serves to remind me that the joy is in the journey not the destination and the memories live on long after the creation has fallen apart.

10-4-14 - Crickley Hill_E outside den 4B

In case you’re wondering about baby L, he had a lovely time too.  I only carried him for the last 20 minutes of a 3 hour bimble when he ran out of steam.  He was a back-of-the-head blurr in the photos I snapped on my phone so here’s one of him receiving the best part of education from one of our cats.  Billy has been teaching him that gentle downward strokes on the head are rewarded with purrs and hammer-like bops with scratches!
IMG_20170911_222412

September 20, 2017 at 12:26 pm 2 comments

Me and Mine project [June 2017]

The Isle of Wight holds such a special place in my heart.  Not least because we get to stay with dear friends in Ryde but because visiting tickles all sorts of nostalgic memories of childhood holidays by the sea in Weymouth. Our June trip to Ryde was our third with Euan and our first with Luca and I loved overwriting memories of previous trips with one boy with two boy versions. This beachside picnic at Bembridge was a lunchtime stop off after visiting the National Trust windmill nearby. The tide was out and Euan and I took a walk together to explore the tide pools while Luca pored over pebbles and shells with George.

When I took this photo of the boys popping seaweed together I was gathering ideas for a picture I’d commissioned my friend Lucy to make.  She uses applique fabrics to recreate landscape pictures and is particularly talented at incorporating monuments or buildings.  I’d sent Lucy some pictures of Appley Tower and described the sketch forming in my head of the boys playing on the sand in the foreground. As it was we decided to forego the complication of stitching little boy silhouettes in to the picture! Instead I have this beautiful picture from Lucy to hang alongside a print of my seaweed searchers.

After visiting Bembridge Windmill we sat in the field alongside it soaking up the gentle hum of insects in the grass as clouds rolled by in the blue sky and Euan asked wonderfully curious ”Why do …?” questions.



I’m already looking forward to next year when we’ll return to this beautiful island. And I’m glad that taking part in the Me and Mine project again coincided with our trip so that I’m not absent from our family snapshots!

What family time memories did you make this month?
Perhaps you’ll come and share yours on the Me and Mine project wall here?

June 30, 2017 at 9:16 pm 4 comments

a picture perfect day out (at Hanbury Hall National Trust)

Anyone with kids will know that asking someone to ”just take a quick picture of us” is rarely as simple as it sounds.  Sometimes the outtakes are exactly what sum up the hilarity of expecting kids to ‘smile‘ because we request it rather than because it captures their natural delight in something. E is largely a willing participant in front of the camera and loves nothing better than pulling silly faces.  On this occasion L was not so willing and just desperate to escape (that photo where it looks like I’m about to drop him… rest assured I didn’t!).  For me at least, the snaps G took on our lovely family day out at Hanbury Hall are picture perfect and sparkle with love and silliness which is how we roll.

We renewed our National Trust Membership at Hanbury Hall and are looking forward to exploring some local favourites as a family of 4 like Newark Park and Westbury Court Gardens as well as exploring a bit further a field (we’re feeling emboldened about travelling with a baby after the success of our epic Scotland trip at Easter!).

May 2, 2017 at 8:35 pm 1 comment

making the most of our National Trust membership

We became National Trust members for the first time last year and renewed our membership this year by default when I didn’t notice the annual subscription was taken 3 weeks before it expired.  I’m too used to doing things at the eleventh hour it seems.  Don’t get me wrong, membership is well worth the cost, I waivered only because of the timing of the payment and probably would have let it lapse for a few months before rejoining presuming April showers might prevent us from getting out and about.  As it happens we’ve used our membership 5 times* already so I’m glad of the National Trusts’ presumptuous efficiency with membership renewals.
image
The first of this year’s visits was to Westbury Court Garden, the only restored Dutch style water garden in the country and the nearest NT property to home.  I’ve driven past it hundreds of times over the years yet only been there once, a decade or more ago, with my Mum and Nan.  I recall my lovely, straight talking Nan being somewhat underwhelmed by the experience –  a reflection of her simple view on life [‘It’s just a garden‘] rather than a lack of appreciation for the hard work by staff and volunteers that goes into maintaining this beautiful, historic site.  E on the other hand was very effusive [”I love it here’‘] and especially liked feeding the fish in the canals, watching the water fountain and pointing to the plants growing in the 17th Century vegetable beds and asking what they were called.
image
The array of tulips reminded me of my allotment neighbours Pat and Robin who always have smatterings of tulip flair dotted among their edible plants. I felt a little wistful for my lost allotment love and found myself thinking of my Nan momentarily. Just as quickly I was pulled back into the present by E calling ”Mum, come and find me, I’m going to hide in that little house’‘. Life moves on but a little bit of time stands still in beautiful tranquil places like Westbury Court Garden.  Hooray for The National Trust and the wonderful work they do to look after the sites we’ve grown to love visiting.  Places like these that offer grown ups an opportunity for quiet reflection while the kids run off to explore.
Mosaic _ NT visits April 2015
* return visits made to Woodchester Park, Croome Park, Newark Park and a first time visit to Snowshill Manor for the Easter Egg hunt.

June 7, 2015 at 9:46 pm 4 comments

ambling about May Hill

9-6-13 - May Hill_6b trees and E on bike 4BWith Christmas just around the corner it’s nice to be reminded of balmy summer days spent outside this year.  Hard to believe it’s already 6 months ago that we spent a lovely Sunday afternoon ambling about May Hill after reading that the iconic trees there were all under threat of being cut down due to disease.Collage May Hill 4B
The Corsican pine trees atop May Hill were planted in 1887 to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.  Further Scots pine trees were added in 1977 to mark Queen Elizabeth’s silver jubilee. Pine trees, an unusual site in such a landscape, are said to have been planted to mark a overnight grazing ground and one of the charms of a visit to May Hill is the sight of cows snoozing and wild ponies grazing in the shade of the trees without a care in the world.Collage May Hill animals 4B
May Hill has everything you could want from a family walk.
Trees, animals, wide open space and fabulous views.9-6-13 - May Hill_12 G and E9-6-13 - May Hill_17 E lying on G 4B
It’s a bit of a gradual climb with a bike and a toddler but nothing snacks can’t forgive. The walk-run-tumble back down is rather fun too – thirsty work though!9-6-13 - May Hill_8 thirsty E 4B
Thankfully the disease effecting the trees, Red Needle Band blight, is containable so only 30 trees already killed by the disease need to be removed.
See the National Trust website here for walks/maps on May Hill if interested in visiting

December 8, 2013 at 5:11 am 1 comment


About Nip it in the bud


Welcome to my blog about growing and cooking allotment veg since 2009 and growing sweet boys since 2012. Take a walk with us through our life in Gloucester with a boy, a baby and 3 cats.

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When your hungry toddlers go too food request is "me want cake Mum" it's good to have a savoury muffin recipe to hand. 2 minutes to whip up and 15 mins to bake. Remains to be seen whether he'll be fooled! Recipe on the blog by searching feta muffin #nipitinthebudblog #sugarfreemuffins #babyfriendly
Grief is rough at the best of times but seeing your child struggle through the pain of loss is a real knife to the heart. A friend has lent us some books to read with E and "The Sad Book" by @michaelrosenyes is going to be the key to papering over some of the cracks in our hearts I think and easing his anxiety about dying.
Beautiful wood block print from our dear friend @elluminations of our boys on a beach in the Isle of Wight at the start of the school holidays. We returned to find my Mum's health deteriorating and she died 3 weeks later. Our world has been turned upside down but when I look at this picture I can feel the peace, hear the lap of the waves and smile at the tenderness of the moment - two #bestfriendbrothers absorbed in their own present moment. Thank you El, this means so much to me (for commission's of your own photos or El's artwork as wood blocks visit her Etsy shop)
E's had a hard time the last few weeks following an incident that triggered a really big stress response for his 6 year old bereaved mind. Today we've made a worry box to help him with his anxiety symptoms and have found the advice on the @youngmindsuk website invaluable. We all need to talk about mental health more especially as it's too easy for grown ups to dismiss a child's misbehaviour without looking for the feelings underlying it. #breakingthestigma #worldmentalhealthday2018
We've had a hard few weeks and this really sums up how asking for help is the light in the dark but not always easy to do. It's #worldmentalhealthday2018 and never has it been more important to make sure our kids know asking for help is a sign of strength and courage not weakness or failure
How to get your kids to eat your home made casserole? Cover it with their favourite #cullyandsullyuk chicken soup. Winner!
I learnt a new word today and if there was an emoji for it then it would be this! PIZZLED, when your pissed off and puzzled all at the same time. Thank you #rubywaxfrazzled for the language education and Euan for the always hilarious faces (he was 4 years old and eating lunch out with his new 2 month old baby brother so his face could be saying all sorts of things!) #gloucesterlife #nipitinthebudblog
I don't suppose many people recall the exact date they found out they were pregnant or have a photo to mark their total delight. 15/8/15 we found out our second miracle Luca was on his way. We'd become second time parents in our 40s and 22 years after we started dating. Our boys were so worth the painful years of waiting. (And our picture to mark the occasion is thanks to Mum and Dad babysitting Euan so we could go to a friend's wedding evening do.)
After school chills @gloucestercathedral @gloscathedral
Best friend brothers. Our #siblingsproject post for this month (link in bio) #nipitinthebudblog #gloucesterlife
It's so hard to grieve the loss of your Mum when just looking in the mirror each morning reminds you of what you're missing. Dad always said "thankfully you get your looks from your Mum" with a cheeky twinkle in his eye.

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