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Mount Stewart!

Recently I decided to become a member of the National Trust! I don’t know why I haven’t done it before with so many great properties so close to me, but I decided that I would get a lot of use from it this year with both the kids able to enjoy it now!
Our first trip out using our membership was to Mount Stewart. We had heard about the new park that had been built there and when we woke up on Sunday and it was a glorious morning I decided that once I had fed and watered the kids I would take them out to see what the new park was like!
Amellia was very excited and just couldn’t wait to get going, and was even more excited when I let her know that it was only a 15-20 minute drive. A beautiful drive to along the Strangford lough with a spectacular view of Scrabo Tower!

When you go through the gates to Mount Stewart if you are wanting to go to the park go straight on at the round about and park in the first car park on the right! Once parked and you have everyone bundled out of the car, you then head to the little hut just in front of the car park! We got greeted by a lovely man who chatted to us about the park and told Amellia & Dylan to have a wonderful time! He then pointed us in the way of the park.. walk down the path and first left is up to the park but it is a barked path so not great for prams! We choose the second left so that I could push the pram up easily.. well not really easily it is a pretty uphill path but it was ok, We stopped to admire views and then hunted out the entrance to the park!

img_5865The park is based on letters wrote by Lady Londonderry while she was away in Spain to her daughter. They are trying to get these books republished so that they can help the park come alive to all the children who visit but for now you can check out some snippets from the books here.

As we ventured in I wasn’t really sure what I was expecting to find, I thought it would be a cute little park, but I was wrong, It was an amazing, large, very open, with wonderful made play features in! Whenever we arrived nobody else was there as it was early on a Sunday morning, so it made it perfect! I parked the pram in the middle of the park, lifted Dylan out and we set out exploring!

My little girl loved spotting all the wooden animals about the park and was on full charge mode to find them all in a record-breaking time! There was lots of them all crafted into different animals! I was so impressed with them all, the detail on them was incredibly! By the time Amellia had raced around and found them all, Dylan was still busy inspecting the first on he found in great detail! My favorite was the cute little octopus & Amellia loved this rabbit the best!

Onwards to explore! There was stepping-stones.. well stepping logs in this case! Climbing frame, balance beam, seesaw and lots of other wonderful things all made out of wood! It was just simply amazing. While Amellia was happy exploring and climbing on everything possible, Dylan really enjoyed pottering about in the big open space in the sun!

At the far end of the park there is a big open space which Amellia and Dylan spent a long time in, drumming on the stepping logs, running about and digging in the dirt! Dylan really enjoyed this as he has only just accepted the feeling of dirt on his hands, so they both sat down for a while and played in the dirt.. and ended up covered! Typical!!
There was also a big wooden chair at the end.. which I tried to get a lovely photo of my pair in.. obviously it wasn’t successful, when do those pictures ever go well, right!?
img_5920We spent two hours here, running about, laughing, climbing on things, watching a honey bee on a flower, practicing our balancing and enjoying being outside without being to restrained on where we could wander! Dylan wanted to stay there for a lot longer than I expected, he normally really likes new places like this for about thirty minutes then realises that it is somewhere new and starts screaming to leave. I think what really helped here was that we had gone so early so we were the only ones there, there was lots of open space between everything so lots of room to potter about and enjoy the fresh air and it was such a large area that I only had to turn him round a few times to keep him close by so that I could see Amellia too!

When it was time go he came over to me and put his arms up, so I picked him up and walked about for a little while showing him the wooden animals again so that Amellia could have minutes before leaving!

We then were going to go to the cafe to grab a spot of lunch.. but silly mummy forgot her purse, doh, so we had to head home for some lunch! The kids cannot wait untill the next time we visit, which will be very soon and I will remember my purse next time!

You should be sure to pop by and visit Mount Stewart if you are wondering where to head for a day out with your family! I will be sure to let you know about all the other hidden gems around the Mount Stewart gardens whenever we have explored further!
-WeeOhana x

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The Ark Open Farm

We are very lucky to have a wonderful little farm just up the road from us, our flaw ithough is that we really don’t take advantage of it all too much.. and with Dylan I am always nervous of going there in-case as soon as he gets there he loses it, but our recent trip there proved to us, that we really have to go more! Especially seeing as this trip had to be cut short when he fell into a puddle and wasn’t too keen on his trousers being all wet and sticking to him! Before this happened though we were having a wonderful fun, so I thought I would share it with you =]

When we woke up it was a rather nice day, well it was cold but not windy or raining so that is always a big bonus here! My hubby was also off work, so he took little miss into school and came home and I told him of the plans for the day. We got our little monkey man all ready and headed off, I was slightly worried that as soon as we got there he wouldn’t be too happy as the smells etc are all different and I was holding my breath with my fingers crossed too that it wouldn’t be busy. It wasn’t busy and as soon as we got there we were greeted by a lovely and friendly dog. Dylan loves dogs so he was settled straight away, though he did want to just stay with the dog but with a little persuasion we got him to go off exploring everything else!

A lovely young lad came up to us when we were looking at the cows and asked us if he would like to see a baby chick.. I was a little apprehensive as we all know how rough kids can be, and just how delicate chicks are! The young lad held the chick for Dylan too see, and he loved stroking the chick and just staring at it! We were made to feel in no rush and the lad chatted away to us about the chicks while Dylan happily was stoking and staring at the chick! When he started to get a little grabby he put him back in with the other chicks and went on his way. I think Dylan would have stayed there all day just watching them walk about, he sat on my knee and was so happy just watching them all walking about, eating and having a little drink!
We then moved on to see the goats, there was some tiny little baby pygmy goats who were very young. They were so cute and kept escaping from there pen for a little walk about! They were just adorable, though my little man didn’t have much interest in them I would have happily have taken one home.. though I’m pretty sure the hubby wouldn’t have been too impressed! 😛

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We then went into the barn where they have a range of animals! Some more goats, sheep, lambs, alpacas (I think!), reindeer and some bunnies! The young lad from earlier was there and happily got out a rabbit for him to see, and he loved stroking the rabbit.. though quickly found its ears and like most, thought these looked great to pull.. so the bunny went back in, away from his grabby hands!
Dylan then proceeded to run up and down the barn (he loves big spaces to run and walk about!) until he spotted a sheep! It was love at first site! He stood by the lamb stoking it, smiling and laughing, it was simply wonderful to see him to happy and engaging with something!

After playing with the sheep he then spotted a cow in the barn! (Plastic) He swiftly took a seat on the little stool and started to try and milk the cow, it was wonderful as he was very hands on, didn’t mind the water on his hands and was having so much fun! With Dylan we have a real problem with water and bath times so it was simply wonderful for him to be having some fun with water and not having a care in the world when it got on his hands or wellies!

We then headed off outside to have a play in the park and too see the other animals outside.. completely unlike how his sister would have been Dylan walked straight through the park without even a second look and was straight down to look at the ducks and swans in the little lake they have there! It has a lovely little wooden and very safe walkway out to it and you can stand on this and watch the birds, after doing this for a while we headed back out to continue on our travels!

He found a puddle, a muddy puddle and he wanted to jump in it! There wasn’t a chance I was going to stop him from doing this because as said before water is one of his least favorite things! He splashed about in it for a while and then we carried on to see the owls, peacocks and the other birds they have outside!

 
We also headed into a wonderful little wooden Noahs Ark they have which had a giant connect four in! He played with this for a long time with his daddy, getting picked up to slot one in (working on his depth perception & engaging by going to daddy to get lifted to put the token in!). They had lots of fun doing this, everyone was all smiles and laughing! =]

We headed onward to the forest walk.. or we attempted too. Dylan found another muddy puddle and was jumping in this, but then stopped to have a look about and his welly got stuck resulting in him falling backwards and landing bum first in this lovely muddy puddle! I knew it was going to happen but just wasn’t quick enough to stop it happening! Bad mummy >.<

We then had to head home as he wasn’t a happy bunny having a wet and muddy bum, though I’m thinking he secretly planned it so we have to go back another day to see the animals again ;]

All in all it was a fantastic day out! Dylan felt lots of new textures, had fun with water, met new animals, got lots of fresh air and had a lovely time with mummy and daddy! I’m now convinced Dylan should be a farmer and I need to try and get out to lots of places with animals, as he really came out of his shell, was making vocal noises, engaging with us and the animals, accepted a person he hadn’t ever met before, smelling lots of new smells and feeling things he hadn’t felt before!

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We will be back soon and I look forward to our next trip to The Ark Open Farm!
If you are in the area I really do recommenced a visit!

WeeOhana x

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Pretty Muddy 5K, Completed!! =D

Two days ago on the 30th of May, me and my friend participated in the Pretty Muddy 5K Race For Life!
Much to my amazement I finished it, without having to sit down, crawl or be carried during any part! 5K, is three miles! A long time ago before I had any children that wouldn’t have been much of a bother for me! I used to grab any sporting event by the horns and jump right on board! I used to do a lot of gymnastics, trampolining, horse riding, athletics.. literally whatever was going! I even ended up as Games Captain in my school, not too sure how! Though recently.. after having my second I have really let myself go and its disappointing.. So, after doing this run it has made me be kicked into gear! Time to start eating a bit more healthy and doing some exercise.. even if it is jumping about my living room like a monkey for an hour a night!

This was how I looked before doing the run;
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So, before we did the run, they got us all into a little group and made us do some warming up! Which was a great idea.. because I would have forgot otherwise! It was like a Zumba style warm-up and it was great fun! Infact.. I think I am going to treat myself to a Zumba DVD or something, as it really was a good laugh while we were doing it, I could even get my little girl in on the action!
After that there was a few little talky bits.. then the run began! The first obstacle, blow up hurdles.. well sort of.. This was when I realized that I was infact.. short. After all these years convincing myself that I’m not actually that short, I am! Most people were just jumping over these things, or swinging there leg over and I, well I had to take a running leap of faith to hope that I could get my leg anywhere near them! I seriously thought I was going to end up on my face.. thankfully these ones had no mud involved! Though the next lot of these did, but after having getting used to them on the ones before they weren’t to bad.. even the added mud wasn’t too much of a distraction.. untill me and my friend got a bucket of ice cold water thrown over us.. horrid. The next obstacle then was where you had to crawl under a net, army style in the mud; Though I must admit I wasn’t to impressed with the lack of mud on this one… crazy I know! Then the next one was where you had to climb up over one side and down another .. sort of like something you see in a play park.. though no mud at all this time! ='[ After we had completed this.. we had already done 1K we were amazed at how quick that had went! We then carried on… and found no more obstacles! We sort of slowly jogged a good bit of this, hoping to find more obstacles but ended up in a forest.. so we stopped jogging, our legs were getting tired, but we pushed on.. and made sure we kept up a power walk rather than slowing down too much! The next obstacle was then like they do in the army again.. the tyre thing, where you have to just .. alternatively step I suppose is the best way to explain it I think? Yet again.. no mud!! & this was at 4K! Only 1 more left to go.. where was all the mud and obstacles! Then after our power walking & chatting we decided when we saw the 4K to jog again, so on the home straight.. that was really where the mud came into play, and the obstacles.. kinda! Two obstacles.. one where you had to crawl on your hands and knees with mud up to your tummy & a guy shoveling mud all over you and then the final one.. you climbed up a giant inflatable slide .. slid down the slide, into a giant puddle of mud… and a guy squirting you with a hose! Here was my attempt at going down the slide.. while avoiding the man with the hose..

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This was me & my friend after we had just finished;
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So all in all we had a fantastic time, doing this for an amazing cause and together we raised approx £200, so I am proud of us! =] It also only took us 40 minutes to complete the course.. now I Know to some of you that probably sounds like a really long time.. but to us, especially me it felt like a great achievement and really gave me the encouragement to start training, or even just doing Zumba in my living room every other night! The only thing I was a little disappointed in was the lack of obstacles and the lack of mud!

Though I shouldn’t really complain we had a blast.. and are now looking at doing The Colour Run in August for the NSPCC! For those of you who don’t know the NSPCC is a charity set up to fight against child abuse in Northern Ireland & The Channel Island.

I hope this has encouraged any of you have been thinking of doing something like this to give it a shot! If you think you can’t do it.. you can!! You just have to keep positive and moving! =]

To hopefully leave you with a smile on your face.. here is our selfie of us covered in mud & still smiling! =]

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WeeOhana xx

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Valentine’s Day, NI silver

Me and the hubby generally aren’t ones to do Valentines day, but whenever my sister (http://daydreamingfoodie.com) sent me a link to the most beautiful necklace I had to have it!
It was of Scrabo tower, which is a landmark in Newtownards which is a town in Northern Ireland. Scrabo tower means a lot to me and my hubby as it is where we first got together again and went for a walk and fell in love (at least on my side :P) It is also where he purposed to me and now we go on walks there with the little ones too! So as you can tell from all that has happened there it does mean a great deal to us and holds a special place in our hearts. Once I had seen the necklace, I knew that I must acquire it and wear it everywhere because of the great deal that Scrabo means to us! It was also made more beautiful to me because it was handmade here in Northern Ireland too. I love handmade things and buying from local people!

Whenever my hubby met the lady he said that she was also super lovely, she let my little one choose earrings for me too and then her child and mine played for a while! it makes something even more special whenever it is made by an equally lovely person, I contacted her on twitter to tell her how much I loved the necklace and was trying to bribe the hubby to get me them! Upon having a little chat with her I discovered just how lovely she was! I was chatting with her about how my little girl really wants one now too and that I would prefer if possible if the earrings could be made into a stud style … and she replied with how she loved new challenges and would work on doing a copper little Scrabo for her and on seeing how the earrings worked as studs.. what a lovely lady! Not only was she just lovely, she was excited about trying new challenges just for me… it made me feel a little special! 😛 So now I am eagerly awaiting to see how these little challenges she has set especially for me turn out!
I really advise a little visit to her page on etsy
She has some gorgeous little things! A little sheep who is also very adorable ;] I know she would also appreciate a little follow on twitter (@NISilver_COM)

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How beautiful and perfect is that! So much detail for a thing so small and handmade!

Back to our valentines day.. We Just chilled out in the house with the littlers & then I made us steak for dinner and ended the day with cuddles watching Lee Evans… he is a simply fantastic comedian! One of my fave!
Anyway.. I must go.. currently doing my Project life, I’ll let you guys see it soon! ;]
Remember now, have a little visit too https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/NISilver?ref=l2-shopheader-name .. Let me know you favourite thing on her website in the comments & also what you guys got spoilt with by your valentine & what you did ;]