For the last few years, we have looked forward to, and very much enjoyed our day on the railway! By tradition, we go up to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway sometime between Christmas and New year with as many of Nathan’s family that are able to, and have a lovely steam train adventure in North Yorkshire!

I love to see everyone, catch up and laugh, and generally just chill out on the steam trains, and see the kids loving this ordinary and yet special moment that comes around each year.

This year we went on New years day. It was a challenge to get to Grandma’s for 9am (especially when we slept in til 8.30!), but like always, we needed to catch the mini coach that had been hired to get us there for the 11am train from Pickering up to Grosmont. And so like a scene from Home Alone, we dashed too and fro to get out the door and on the bus, with all the kids… and with a quick head count we were off!

Just so you know, having 11 kids, a handful of in laws and (at the moment) 12 grand-kids; a mini coach is the only way to travel en mass for a family day out in the Smith Family!

The Railway was quiet on the way up, and the kids not too crazy. The hills were scattered in patches of snow and the sun shone brightly. It was the perfect day to have gone, and as we trudged up the track we gazed out of the windows and chatted back and forth to one another about the lovely Christmas we had enjoyed, things we want to change and improve on and plans for the coming year.

We did our usual walk around Grosmont…exploring the quaint little station, cute shops, and walking through the long tunnel to the engine sheds. All before hopping aboard the steam train and heading back to Pickering! It was a fantastic day with everyone and each other, and a great start to our year!

Nathan’s dad was a great lover of the railway, as Ethan kept reminding us of, and so it is always sad to not have him there enjoying his favourite moments with us and his eager GrandKids! It is however always a special moment just to be together making memories, and having the opportunity to have him at the forefront of out minds and in conversation whilst we explore a place rich in his memory.

I love to see the rolling Yorkshire hills, be with family and enjoy North Yorkshire from the steam railway! Our day on the Railway is an ordinary moment we all look forward to and love… so much so, that this year we hope to take the kids again and head to Whitby on it, because it is THAT great!

 

The Ordinary Moments
Follow:

Yesterday we were invited down to Wheatley Shopping Centre in Doncaster to board a big red double decker bus, to meet Santa and participate in the festivities of writing and decorating a postcard to give to him. It was the first proper time the kids have been to see a Santa in a grotto and it was such a magical and lovely ordinary moment for our family!

Seeing Santa is an ordinary moment of most childhoods, and it is a moment in a small life that is filled with excitement and curiosity, wonderment and magic, and then for most kids – a little scary too! I remember as a child myself visiting Santa before Christmas in grotto’s and whilst feeling nervous my memories are mainly joy and fun. These are great memories and I always want to recreate similar for my own kids. But never in my day would we have had something so wonderful and as fun as seeing Santa on a big red bus!

Whilst my kids have had Santa visit them at school, they have never been to a grotto and never really believed that those Santa’s were real! Seeing Santa yesterday – aboard a Winter dressed bus, felt like a bit of pressure but also the perfect way to get them to embrace it and kick off Christmas time! Nathan and I loved the adventure as much as them and it was a wonderful memory to create together.

Everything about our visit felt magical and exciting – it was so festive and lovely! We were greeted by Santa’s elves and walked a red carpet to board the festive bus. Downstairs we sat at the tables and designed Christmassy post cards and wrote to Santa about what they would like him to bring them. With glitter and stickers everywhere it was perfect! Next we waited on the seats, before an elf helped us climb to top deck, where we entered a Winter wonderland with Santa sat at the end to greet us.

The kids LOVED it and said it was one of the best days! And we agreed that it was amazing. To them the magic was real as Santa knew so much about them … they marvelled at how he was the real thing sat there, knowing their ages and their names and being so kind and interested! They enjoyed talking with him and telling him how excited they were for Christmas and hoped he would bring them some Sylvanian families and a stunt camera. I loved how modest they were in their requests, how natural they felt speaking to him and how blumming excited they were to be there. Whilst Alice was VERY suspicious, Ethan and Megan were fascinated and embraced it all. Excited was certainly the word of the day – excited to have made a post card, be on a double decked bus, chat to the Elves and most excited to have finally met “the real Santa!”.

I loved the magic and family fun we had yesterday boarding Santa’s big red bus and meeting him together. An ordinary moment of Christmas that was a truly wonderful and magical way to kick off our Christmas celebrations this year!

If you are around Doncaster this weekend, (or not – it is worth travelling to for some free festive fun), then pop on over and share in the fun with your kids and embrace an opportunity to meet and chat with Santa Claus!

 

The Ordinary Moments

*This post is in collaboration with Wheatley Shopping Centre.

Follow:

Purely based upon its amazing history and splendid sights, York is by far my fave city of the north to look around and explore. We frequently visit, and each time we do it is just as lovely as before. The kids love it an so do we. We therefore were understandably, super excited to dig deeper into it’s history this last weekend, when we were asked to review Fairfax house.

Fairfax House in York boasts to be the finest Georgian house in England, and bursting with history, charm and beauty, it really is a great way to learn about Georgian York. Set in the heart of the city (across from Clifford’s Tower), it easy to access and reveals so much about both the Georgian gentry and aristocracy, as well as those who lived below stairs.

I absolutely love anything that is devoted to sharing a piece of history, and very much enjoy wandering through old houses and being transported back to that particular period. I do however struggle when the kids don’t enjoy it so much and whine or mess with antiques (you know the score)! This wasn’t an issue at Fairfax House, as they were as equally fascinated and interested, and kept occupied by a wonderful learning experience through “Gregory” (the Townhouse mouse).

Using a beautifully printed booklet, they followed him through each room on a quest to discover facts, artefacts and stories about the house and those who once resided there. They had to search for him, draw things, count things, and seek out the answers, which was both interesting and fun.

Each room carried a different task, and it was lovely to see them confidently approach staff to ask questions, and in return listen intently to their wealth of knowledge about the house and it’s former residents. I loved seeing them getting excited about everything from decor and furniture, to little quirks, and of course discovering Gregory!

We especially loved the grandeur of the dining room, the funny pigeons baked in pies (kitchen) and the very tall beds in the bedrooms! The wallpapers, finishing’s, ceilings and staircases are incredibly beautiful and with both Gregory the mouse and the lovely people that work there it was a great morning.

I loved how kid/family friendly it was, from the fact under 6’s are Free, to the well planned activities with Gregory the mouse throughout the house. The staff welcomed children and had great tales to tell, and interesting little things to show them. It all added up to be a most fascinating and fun family visit!

Useful Info

Opening times –
Monday: Entrance by guided tour at 11.00am and 2.00pm. No bookings are required. Just arrive 10 minutes before the start of the scheduled tour. Tours last approximately 1 hour.
Bank Holiday Mondays: The House is open as normal 10.00am to 5.00pm and there are no guided tours.
Tuesday: 10.00am to 5.00pm.
Wednesday: 10.00am to 5.00pm.
Thursday: 10.00am to 5.00pm.
Friday: 10.00am to 5.00pm.
Saturday: 10.00am to 5.00pm.
Sunday: 11.00am to 4.00pm.

Cost –
Adult: £7.50
Concession: £6.00 (applies to over 60s and students)
Children: £3.00 (over 6 and under 16) and include the Townhouse Mouse Trail or Townhouse Mouse Quest.
Family ticket: £17.50 (2 adults and up to 3 children) – Which is VERY reasaonable. Remember under 6’s are free so if you have a tribe it’s very good!

Parking –
We arrived on Saturday, late morning and parking was easy to find in the car park next to Clifford’s Tower. I think it was about £3/hr. Check park and rides though, as these will probably be better value if you are spending a day in York.

Pushchairs – 
The only downside I found was that the house isn’t pushchair friendly. It wasn’t an issue as we carried Alice between us and then she walked in between. with this in mind, I would have preferred the carrier, so just bare it in mind if you have little one’s… They were happy to store the buggy for us!

Pictures –
No pictures are allowed in the house! Hard rule when you’re a blogger!!

Why not take a trip to York this half term or for a family weekend visit, and discover a little more about the Georgians. There are lovely tea rooms and places to eat close by, finished off with some Christmas shopping and walk on the wall will make for the perfect Autumnal day out!  I most certainly want to return to see it in its Christmas splendour!

  • Thank you to Fairfax House for inviting us to visit and review. The visit was complimentary in return for an honest review… I have permission to use their images. 
Follow:

I’ve had this post in my drafts for quite a while (since the Summer to be exact). And whilst we have entered a new season, I still very much wanted to preserve and share this moment from the Summer, and just generally remember how joyful it was for little Megsie.

Megan has loved adored animals for as long as I can remember and since understanding about careers and jobs, she has told people she wants to be a Vet (or a farmers wife with 100 babies)! When Ethan went off to preschool she would ask weekly to go to the farm, and even now her ideas for birthday treats and family outings involve zoos, Sea life or animal parks. Her life very much revolves around animals, and so of course they featured several times on our Summer bucket list,.  . And it was on the last day of the summer holidays we chose to go to the Animal Park and Bird of Prey centre at Park Rose Village, Bridlington and finally accomplished the farm goal!

Here we anticipated we’d enjoy a lovely day out together, seeing the usual farm animals, along with the added bonus of birds of prey and reptiles. What we didn’t anticipate though (and what was the real highlight), was that we would have an opportunity to get up close to the Wallaby’s and have a go at feeding them! Park Rose let visitors get hands on with feeding times and animal handling through out the day and it was such an exciting and fun thing to do with the kids.

  

We arrived about 10ish and so were right on time for feeding the wallaby’s at 11 after looking round the park! It was something Megan was absolutely keen to do and over the moon about. It was fun for us all but an especially beautiful moment to see our little animal lover sat on a log making friends with some wallaby’s! She was so patient and still… so engrossed and at ease. She didn’t squeal or flinch like some of the kids did, and she didn’t tire and just lob it at them across the pen (again like some other kids did!). Instead she looked at them longingly, and waited and waited patiently and quietly taking it all very seriously. It was then that she was able to put them at ease too and make friends with the wallaby’s (as she told us afterwards) and enjoy some extra ordinary moments feeding them.

Located just outside of Bridlington it is only 20minutes for us now, and was a very reasonable family day out at only £20 for us all to get in. It isn’t vast but it is very unique, has some great things to do, and you can come and go all day with the same ticket if you wish. They also have a Groupon on at the moment for Kids to have a hands on experience with the Birds or Meerkats … if you don’t want to pay extra then just go along as a regular visit like we did (maybe this half term?) and in the mornings you can feed the Wallaby’s, handle reptiles and watch the nutty Emu’s dance around their pen!

 Seasonal Bucket lists are a great way to involve the whole families interests in outings and activities. They are a way for kids to try new things as well as doing the things they love too. I find them an excellent way to show appreciation for that season, give us some focus, and create habits of seasonal appropriate activities for the whole family. For Autumn we hope to (and have already done) …

2017 Autumn Bucket List

Bake Ginger bread
Make an Apple Pie 

Go on a Spooky Walk 
Go to a Halloween Party (or 2)
Watch a spooky movie together
Go to a fair
Go to a Bonfire & Watch some fireworks
Write our names with Sparklers 
Make something using things from Nature 
Build a fire and snuggle round it 
Go out for Hot chocolate
See a windmill

Climb a mountain 
Go on a Bike Ride
Collect Conkers

Go to a Pumpkin Farm 
Carve Pumpkins
Go on a muddy nature walk
Eat warm Soup

What traditions do you enjoy in the Autumn?

*This is not a sponsored post! 
Follow: