This is our second year of being National Trust members and I am no where close to being bored of it. We will often visit the same spots several times a year, but each visit is unique and just as fun depending on the season or time of year. Last Saturday we decided to start off the school hols by going back to Beningbrough Hall (not far from York) to enjoy some family time there. It was Megan and I’s second visit, Nathan and Ethan’s 1st.

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I really like the location, the views and lots of other things about it, and it was lovely to not only spend time together there for a chilled start to bank holiday weekend, but also have our 1st picnic of the year and really take in and appreciate the wonderful things it has to offer. For some reason it is a place I think a lot about and one I am always excited to return to – Here are my top 5 reasons why: 

  1. An Amazing play area – National trust is renowned for its outdoor play facilities and it never ceases to amaze me the lengths they go to to build them. Each one is fabulous and a place that stretches the kids physically and imaginatively. I love this one because it is deep in the woods, large and has a cool fort with wooden horses outside of it, as well as swings, a wooden house, boat and “pirate look out”. We had our picnic here on the tables provided and it was brilliant to see the kids go from one spot to another, changing character, making plans and munching carrot sticks!WP_20160528_11_41_57_Pro InstagramCapture_8f2e94a5-6e7d-44bd-9d86-85e987307b38 WP_20160528_11_27_31_Pro
  2. Pockets of History all around – This stood out to me and stayed with me from the 1st time I visited last Autumn with my sister in law. I love that around every corner there are little buildings to wander into boasting an array of articles from way back when…the potting shed and Victorian laundry are especially interesting, and really captured the kids attention. They had lots of questions and especially enjoyed seeing how clothes were laundered in “the olden days”!

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  3. Children’s facilities in the house – I love to visit old houses, I love to see how the other half lived and read little unique tales about the people who daily walked the halls and rooms. Kids however do not, and whilst mine are becoming more and more intrigued by “the olden days”, they still haven’t grasped the etiquette of viewing stately homes. Cooperation is guaranteed though when there is something for the kids, and not only did they have a little “find the dogs” around the house, but they also had dress up areas, an interactive gallery and play room – all of which was very appealing to the kids and made it a pleasant and rowdy free visit around the house!

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  4. Beautiful gardens and woodland walks – I am really getting into and appreciating the gardens of stately homes and I find it most peaceful to just stroll through them. I like the old metal gates, the little ponds and ever changing plants. The kids too, since helping Grandma in her garden, have taken more interest and will ask about plants and vegetables, comment on the lovely colours and smells and look for bees and insects. The near by woods and little paths make for more fun and adventures and opportunities to find dens and logs to climb on.

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  5. Free Scooters and Bikes for the Kids – Saving the best til last, this is an absolutely brilliant idea that the kids just love. They have various bikes and scooters lying around the grounds for visitors to use and enjoy. The kids ride them for a bit and then leave them somewhere for the next kids to come along and pick up. Its a lot of fun and a great way to learn to share and take turns.

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I can’t wait to go back again during the summer hols, check out the latest plants and things they have going on for the kids, and spend a warm day picnicking and wandering in lovely Yorkshire scenery!

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My sister in law passed some clothes on to me yesterday, most of which came from Megs at 12-18 months old and my goodness me, I was not prepared for the emotions of looking through those and remembering her so small; in Spain, toddling on the beach, at the park…summer at 1 yrs old. It all seems a life time a go now she is approaching 4, but these little tops, leggings, dungarees and play suits just brought it all back and I realised just how much has changed in such a short window of time. I thought about how much this little baby girl has grown up into a big girl filled with passion and awareness, humour and an energy and love for life. I felt a real weight in my heart that another little girl had missed out on wearing them and that we had missed many adventures with her and that latter thought prevented me taking back too many of them. But the ones I did pop in my bag are lovely and useful and reminded me of a great summer and more to be had, made me excited to connect a big sister to her new baby, and create new memories with them.
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I feel like these 2 are growing up and changing so quickly, even the seasons and years are passing us by at what seems like such a rapid rate, so I especially love moments where we can just be, where we can explore the world and enjoy it together. Walk and talk, laugh and embrace all each season has to offer us. That hasn’t always been an easy task, but our endurance has enabled it more naturally again now, and I feel I can see a little clearer and appreciate more things.. How glorious was the weather on Friday? Didn’t it just feel like “ahhhh Spring is here at last”? I absolutely loved it and being out and about with my little chicks, sun glasses on and no coat – it was blissful and lovely that something I had written in my diary for the last few weeks, panned out how I hoped and brought about a lovely time for us and a real opportunity to embrace the season and appreciate everything about it.
InstagramCapture_179841d7-c16d-415e-a192-a9c7ade4d800I took them to our local National Trust spot for an Easter egg hunt, walk and play, and of course a cheeky ice cream. Whilst we always do an egg hunt on the Sunday morning at Grandmas house, this year I just felt like I wanted to build the excitement a little more – I wanted to make the most of a day off school and I wanted to get out and about with them both in nature and soak up Spring after the dreadful weather of winter. Those clothes reminded me of something huge and that is that chapters quickly pass and in few months life will not look this way, these 2 will both be in school full time, we will have a new baby to find a new routine with and days like this will become more of a weekend/school holiday thing as oppose to our every day ordinary.

I think that’s why I noticed how it really felt like old times when E was home full time and we weren’t bound by school runs, and that part was wonderful. It was lovely to see the changes in conversation and the excitement that came with age and therefore more awareness of the season from them both and I certainly enjoyed his presence on our adventures again and hearing his insights and seeing he and Megan loving being together with racing imaginations and energy.
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I loved how eager they were to enjoy with me Spring and its message of new life, sunshine, beauty, and just soak it all up. How great to have a window of opportunity to enable us to be back out wandering and embrace this season before it passes into a memory.
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Linking up with mummydaddyme for #OrdinaryMoments

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I cannot wait for long hot sunny days with no agenda and hours to bask and play and enjoy summer. Lets hope that this year, here in the UK we are blessed with many of these gorgeous days, because Brimham rocks is at the top of our to do list to return to with a mega picnic and a day of scrambling and fun.

We visited on Saturday for a muddy walk and explore, and whilst wet and freezing the kids were more than prepared with there all in one waterproofs and wellies, with warm spares in the car just in case. If you have never been before then it is located a few miles from Harrogate in North Yorkshire and has absolutely beautiful views and scenery and is a place of imagination and mind blowing adventures for kids. It is home to balancing rock formations of all heights and widths and there is something for everyone. It is a place to walk and admire the beauty, or climb and explore, or play hide and seek and make believe games in the caves and crevices.
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We were fortunate enough again to get National Trust membership for Christmas, which makes family days out and adventures all the more easier to plan. It means we can jump in the car with a picnic and have a spot to visit with minimal cost and that there is a tonne of stuff for the kids to do and be entertained by, and I think after Saturday they would say that Brimham Rocks is their new fave place to do just that! They had an absolute blast climbing, exploring and demonstrating fearless independence.
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I loved their joyful spirits despite the miserable weather, and I loved climbing with them in places despite being 17 weeks pregnant, though I did get stuck climbing down into a cave and Mr Smith had to carry me!!!!
Little Megs especially blew me away with her confidence. Ethan ambitiously wanted to get as high as he could, which led to us planning a safer, less slippery trip in the summer when they could climb and explore to their hearts content, whilst I in my heavily pregnant state can chill on a blanket with a book and guard the picnic! It sounds blissful.
WP_20160220_13_20_55_ProWP_20160220_12_55_52_ProWP_20160220_12_49_31_ProWP_20160220_12_58_28_ProIf you love the outdoors or have kids that do and want them to burn off some energy then this makes for the perfect day out.

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It seems absolutely ages ago since we last had a Saturday where we weren’t busy with stuff or too ill to embrace the day together; whilst life has just been happening, and has been good with various events, parties, family stuff and tired kids in a new school routine, I have really missed our Saturday adventures out and about just the 4 of us. So this weekend when we spotted an open day we grabbed it and decided to head out to a fairly local National trust spot (East Riddlesden Hall) and then on to an Ice cream parlour with the mother of all play barns, and it was lovely to just go back to the Ordinary Moments of life wandering, talking and exploring together.
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I did this exact same day out back in the summer with my sister in law and it was such a joyful day which was enjoyed so much by us all, that I have been waiting for the right opportunity to share it with Nathan too. Since getting our National Trust membership for Christmas last year it has opened up a whole host of cheap days out filled with learning, beauty and adventure. We have spent more time outdoors than ever before and I just love it, the kids thrive and it makes us feel we are “living the dream”!

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I absolutely love to see them intrigued by history (one of our shared passions) and to see them dressed up in olden day attire (thats just cute) and I love the play areas they have and find joy there both as an observer and participant in their adventures and games. I find it wonderful that no matter how often you return to these places, they always feel different depending on the Season and it creates so many new  scenarios for these games and play. This time we made witches brew in the mud kitchen with a few frogs and spiders for good measure!

East riddlesden

My favourite things to see this time round (other than my kids looking like little olden day children) was this cute little kids shed in the garden where Megs sat a while reading books on tadpoles, bees and plants…it has been such an ordinary scene since she was almost 2, to just be sat captivated by books, and this moment made me happy to see that her little passions go all over with her. It was a lovely little spot, decorated beautifully and very enticing for the kiddos!

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I loved to see Ethan’s Joy of doing his usual boyish things of pushing the boundaries, taking risks and generally being a fast mover, whilst Nath and I stroll along chatting, hand holding, legging it to assist and play, and just enjoying being parents to them both.  I realised how all of these moments; the chats, the education, the laughs and the antics make up our ordinary, and why I have missed so much these days out all together. It was such a pleasant day of the appreciation of, and embracing of the season as we walked in scenery filled with yellows, browns, reds and oranges, and then a lovely bonus to be greeted at the Ice cream parlour with an array of pumpkin displays, witchey things and general excitement and treats made us all very happy to celebrate in Autumn and be together for some fun.

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I love these days, when we have time to make memories and do our ordinary family adventures, filled with the same little quirks from us all that come together to make something beautiful. Being out together exploring in these ways really makes me realise how much I love to be outside and see the gorgeous scenery of England, it makes me feel blessed for just an ordinary little life that at times feels so full, and to share it all with my beautiful little family is wonderful!

Isn’t it lovely to embrace together the things each season brings us?

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