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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 toย 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 herย 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!ย 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,ย 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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Garden Center & Play Park!

The other day we took the kids to the garden center to investigate the new play area, but we weren’t too sure what we would find! We were really shocked when we walked around the corner and saw the most wonderful little play area!
The first day we went was a weekend so we really didn’t stay that long as there was quite a few older kids and after Dylan being pushed twice I knew he was going to lose his rag soon and didn’t want to push him too far after having already had a good 30 mins playing and everyone else being happy! We let the kids choose one thing each on the way out as they had both been fantastic and who doesn’t like treating there little ones every now and then!

My little girl chose the unicorn and has named it..”Pink Fluffy unicorn, dancing on rainbow.” Not quite sure where she got the name from seeing as it isn’t even pink.. but as long as she is happy! She chose this unicorn as it is just like her little brothers rabbits that he takes everywhere! If we ever lost those rabbits there would be trouble! I am going to have to buy a few spare and swap them about so that he gets used to them.. I had intended for the second bunny to just be used at bedtimes.. but as time has progressed he has now taken a shine to them both. and he would take them everywhere if I let him!
Dylan chose the peter rabbit push along toy! As soon as he picked it up he wouldn’t put it down! I love the selection of toys and clothes they have at Donaghadee Garden Center, lovely little bits! =]

We headed back the next day as we knew there would be fewer people, or at least fewer big people with school being back! Dylan had so much fun!
We had a fantastic time! My hubby and I got a lovely little lunch, he had the stew and said it was phenomenal and I had a lovely painni! What was even better was that Dylan got to happily play while we got some food! He was so happy pottering about and exploring by himself!

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He loved this big wooden tractor a lot! You could pretend to drive it, climb all over it and move the gear stick! He had so much fun driving it, especially with our table where we were grabbing a bite to eat right beside it! He is very much a mummys boy at the moment and doesn’t like me being out of his sight! He even follows me from the living room to the kitchen!

It also has a lovely little wooden barn which has steps up one side with a little bit to explore up the top and then a slide to get down! You can also go under the barn too which Dylan enjoyed! He must have ran up the stairs then down the slide about 50 times in a row before he even started to tier!

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Another amazing thing that they have is a little ball shoot thing! You put the ball at the top and it rolls all the way down,he really loved this! So much so that I’m thinking of making one in my back-garden for him! Its a fantastic thing and so very simple to make as it is made using guttering!

I will be going back here many times, in-fact I think I am going to be a regular! A fantastic little place and undercover for Dylan to play in and quiet! It is also great because even though you get your lunch etc from inside the cafe it is closed off away from here so you aren’t worried about the noise etc annoying others who are eating!

Well worth a visit if you are ever near! =]
WeeOhana xx