‘Breastfeeding Made Easy’ by Carlos Gonzalez

Judging by the vast array of parenting books which are available these days, I’m guessing I might be in the minority having only read two books of this genre.  Both of these books relate specifically to breastfeeding and I’d like to recommend one of those books to you in particular…


‘Breastfeeding made Easy’ by Carlos Gonzalez.



Gonzalez is a rather elusive fellow on the internet.  I suspect the websites with the most information are spanish which is why I was only able to find the same few lines about him on a number of english speaking websites.

A father of three and paediatrician, he also founded and is President of the Catalan Breastfeeding Association (ACPAM), he currently gives courses on breastfeeding for medical professionals.

This quote from Annalisa Barbieri’s article in The Guardian perfectly sums up his way of thinking with regards to breastfeeding and parenting in general…

“I think the problem is that things like how to feed your baby, and child rearing and co-sleeping are not part of the science of medicine. We don’t learn that at [medical] school. Mothers in Spain go to doctors to ask how to raise their child. But we we study diseases and treatments. What doctors know about baby raising is what they’ve learned as people, from their mothers, or their own professors – sometimes the advice can be 40 years old!”

It was after becoming a father that he realised that there is more to parenting than what he had previously learned at Medical School and wrote “My Child Won’t Eat!’ and later, ‘Kiss Me!’.

So, what did I think of his book on breastfeeding?

It was really interesting reading the book from the point of view of a breastfeeding peer supporter and even though my knowledge of the breastfeeding basics is pretty good, I learnt much more about how everything works in a way I am now able to explain clearly to the Mums I support without blinding them with science at a time when they have complete information overload.

Throughout the book, Gonzalez dispels all the myths surrounding breastfeeding and I am so enthusiastic about this book and breastfeeding in general, I could happily go through them all for you here but that would mean you wouldn’t be tempted to buy the book and it would be a rather long blog post too!

Gonzalez explains the complexities of how the breast works in ways which are easy to understand and once you understand these few principles, it really helps in getting breastfeeding established.  It is also a good gauge of how much the health professionals you meet know about breastfeeding too.  If they are suggesting a path which interrupts the way breastfeeding works, you can assume that they don’t know enough about breastfeeding to treat you and you should find support elsewhere.  If they are suggesting a path which compliments breastfeeding, then you can trust in their judgement and the support they offer.

Anyway, I digress a little but here is how Gonzalez explains the age old worry women have about not producing enough milk…

“A system that adapts constantly to the baby’s needs, producing more milk when the baby wants more, and less when the baby wants less.  A system that goes on producing milk for as long as baby needs it and then stops producing it when baby stops nursing, that produces enough milk for one if there is only one baby, and for three if the mother has triplets”


“The amount of milk a woman produces doesn’t depend on her race, or how much time has elapsed since she gave birth, but rather on how much her baby feeds”

On breast size…

“the varying amount of fatty tissue that produces different-sized breasts; the glands are always more or less the same size, and size has nothing to do with the breast’s ability to produce milk”

On the worry your milk will run out after frequent feeds…

“The breast doesn’t work like a toilet cistern that has to fill up again before it can be flushed.  It is more like a tap: when you want more water you open the tap more.”

On Breastfeeding in Public…

“Few things are more boring than a breast seen from the outside.  If you have seen one you have seen them all”  Wouldn’t it be fabulous if this attitude were taken by those who see breastfeeding in public as offensive.”

I found his section on ‘Prolactin’ really enlightening as I knew the levels of prolactin were higher at night and they affect milk supply but didn’t really know why exactly.  He explains why trying to increase the length of feeds won’t up your supply but that more frequent feeds will.

He clears up why making a baby wait for feeds and restricting night feeds, especially during growth spurts, is so detrimental to milk supply.  So many women are told by health professionals and well meaning friends and family to make baby go longer between feeds then wonder why their milk supply drops forcing them to supplement when they wouldn’t otherwise need to.

Using little scenarios, Gonzalez simply explains complex biological functions which makes for an enjoyable but educational read.

The way he describes the mythical ‘foremilk’ and ‘hindmilk’ is excellent…

“there is no moment at which the skimmed milk is finished and the whole milk begins.  The amount of fat (and therefore calories) increases gradually”

“To start with, the baby takes fewer calories from more milk; at the end, more calories from less milk…The time depends on the speed at which the baby feeds: he may take two or three minutes to get as much milk as he needs, or more than twenty minutes.”

His thoughts on feeding schedules (which I think is particularly genius!)…

“ An expert sitting at home and writing a book a year ago or a hundred years ago, or the doctor who saw your baby last Thursday and recommended you stick to a schedule, can’t possibly know whether your baby will be hungry today at 2.25pm.”

There are far too many points I could discuss with you from the first two chapters never mind the whole book which discusses an extensive range of breastfeeding topics.  I found it a really easy and enjoyable read too and found myself loving Gonzalez by the end of it.

I (and Gonzalez) recommend checking the up-to-date recommendations on which drugs are considered safe to take whilst breastfeeding.  Gonzalez mentions LactMed and The Breastfeeding Network  (my first choice for UK based info) which are great online resources for information on what you can take for a range of illnesses and they are constantly updating their websites in line with the latest research.  It is also worth checking your rights with regards to returning to work in the UK with Maternity Action as Gonzalez writes from a Spanish point of view.

As a ‘parenting’ book, I absolutely love it and can honestly say I would definitely buy it myself having now read it.  It is based on scientific fact by a professional who really knows the field they are discussing.  I think it is a brilliant buy for anyone interested in breastfeeding from a professional or peer supporter point of view to a new mum or mum to be.  It would also be a brilliant resource for anyone wanting to support a mum and I definitely think that Dad’s would benefit from reading this book too.  I would be really interested to know what I would have thought about it if I had read it five years ago when I was pregnant with Spud and knew nothing about breastfeeding so I asked my sister to read a few chapters to see what she thought.

“ It is really easy to understand and once I’ve read it, I can now explain to others how things work.  I would find this book really helpful if and when I have children”

So all in all, a brilliant and informative read and you could win yourself a copy if you hop over to my facebook page and like this photo.

Breastfeeding made Easy Poster (2)


You also need to like the Pinter and Martin facebook page and in the event that you don’t win, Pinter and Martin have offered my readers 30% off the purchase of ‘Breastfeeding Made Easy’ with the checkout code bmeblog30 and you will also get free P&P!

The giveaway will end at midnight on Thursday 8th May 2014.  Please refer to my Giveaway T&Cs  and the facebook post before entering.


I should mention a bit about Pinter and Martin Publishers.  They are exactly the kind of publishers I would be if I were a a Publishing house.  Only publishing around 12 books each year, they specialise in books which are based on sound evidence and which are thoroughly researched, enabling the reader to have the freedom to think.  You can find titles from Ina May Gaskin, La Leche League and Gabrielle Palmer to name a few.  You might like to sign up to their newsletter from the main home page here to hear about new books first.


****Disclosure: I was sent a copy of the book ‘Breastfeeding Made Easy’ by Carlos Gonzalez in order to write this review and another will be sent out to the winner of the giveaway from Pinter and Martin.  As usual, opinions and thoughts are honest and fair***


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Filed under Books, Breastfeeding, GIVEAWAYS, Reviews

An Easter Tea Party with Waitrose

With Easter weekend just around the corner, I was thrilled to be asked to host a Tea Party by Waitrose…   Hot Cross Buns are an absolute must at Easter and we opted for two varieties, Cinnamon & Raisin and Richly Fruited.


Hot cross buns


They tasted as delicious as they looked and I think they make a lovely change as breakfast too. Ever since I can remember, we’ve enjoyed a recipe from a family friend we call ‘Chocolate Crunch’.  It’s a bit like a chocolate shortbread and is not particularly healthy but makes a tasty treat which is really quick and easy to make.




Chocolate Crunch

  • 10 oz    Unsalted Butter
  • 2 oz      Cocoa
  • 10 oz    Sugar
  • 10 oz    Plain Flour

Preheat oven to 170 C then melt butter in a pan before adding to a mixture of the dry ingredients. Spread into a baking tray then bake for 25-30 minutes. Mark out your pieces whilst still warm then leave to cool before cutting fully. If you’re feeling fancy, sprinkle with icing sugar.   Waitrose have some lovely Easter products online and in store so I thought it would be nice to buy their Belgian Chocolate Cake and spruce it up a little with raspberries and their Easter Praline Eggs…




I have to admit, I was expecting the cake to look a little larger and the eggs to be a little smaller but that is the trap I always fall in to when shopping online.  I once ordered six bunches of SIX bananas :D  I need to pay more attention but I think the cake looks scrummy enough anyway with some chocolate buttercream as glue.


PicsArt_1397589613816     PicsArt_1397590083846


Now, as a child, I always remember my grandparents having dates and I was never brave enough to eat one.




I’m not keen on raisins, although I will eat them, and dates just look like massive raisins so they’ve never appealed to me.  As it is Easter though, I decided to bite the bullet and try some dates.  I chickened out eating a date as is and decided to use them in a cake instead…




Date and Hazelnut Cake (recipe adapted from allrecipes.co.uk)

  • 6 oz    pitted dates, chopped
  • 3 oz    hazelnuts, chopped
  • 10 oz  plain flour
  • 5 oz    light brown soft sugar
  • 2 tsp  baking powder
  • 1 tsp   ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp   bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 oz    butter
  • 8 fl oz boiling water
  • 2 eggs

Cake Topping

  • 4 oz    Sifted Icing Sugar
  • Warm Water
  • Lemon Juice to taste

Buttercream Icing

  • 4 oz    Sifted Icing Sugar
  • 2 oz    Butter
  • Lemon Juice to Taste

Mix the dates, boiling water, butter and bicarbonate of soda together until the butter has melted then leave to cool. Preheat the oven to 180C and line the bottom of a 7 inch cake tin with baking paper. Beat the sugar and eggs together and add the cooled mixture (must be cooled to avoid scrambled eggs!).  Sift in the flour, cinnamon and baking powder then add the hazelnuts. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 50 minutes to an hour until nicely brown and risen and a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool for ten minutes then pop onto a wire rack to cool fully before cutting your cake horizontally and adding the icings to the middle and top. For the topping, add water until slightly thicker consistency than you want it then add lemon juice to taste.   The cake reminds me of carrot cake but not as moist and the dates are actually much nicer than raisins.  I was pleased how much this cake rose and will definitely be baking it again.




I didn’t realise until the day of our tea party that we don’t have a teapot!  We use the bag in the cup method of tea making which isn’t very proper for a Tea Party but it couldn’t be helped.  We did have some lovely cups of Waitrose Tea and I pushed the boat out and scoured local charity shops for some fancy plates.  My sister provided the pretty cake stand and cups and saucers so I’ll have to make sure she gets a piece of cake as a thank you. Anyway, Pooh Bear has been asking for flapjacks this week and I’ve not made any for a bit so I thought I’d put the Organic apples from Waitrose to good use and make apple and almond flapjacks which went really nicely with a cup of tea.





Apple and Almond Flapjacks

  • 4oz    Butter
  • 4oz    Honey
  • 8oz    Porridge Oats
  • 2oz    Self-Raising Flour
  • 2 Grated Apples
  • 1 generous handful of Raisins
  • 1 generous handful of Whole Almonds
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Melt the butter and honey in a pan. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and grate the apples into the bowl before adding the melted butter and honey mixture. Stir thoroughly, spoon into a baking tray then bake for approx 20 minutes.




Strangely, not everyone is a fan of tea and I’ve always wanted to make lemonade  so this was the perfect opportunity to make a refreshing drink with the Waitrose Organic Lemons I ordered.







Homemade Lemonade (recipe adapted from SimplyRecipes.com)

  • 1 cup sugar (can reduce to 3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup water (for the simple syrup)
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 3 to 4 cups cold water (to dilute)

Put the sugar and 1 cup of water in a pan and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the sugar syrup to the lemon juice then the 3 to 4 cups of cold water to dilute to your taste. Chill then serve with posh ice cubes and perhaps a cocktail brolly or two ;) I was feeling fruity so added raspberries to ice cubes are jazzed up the Waitrose Tumbler with some Organic Kiwi Fruit too.  Having also bought some Taylors Rhubarb tea, I added some cooled tea to the lemonade and made an even more delicious drink which the boys couldn’t get enough of.



Perfect for a sunny afternoon in the garden.

There is only one last thing we needed for a successful Easter Tea Party…

Chocolate Nests!


And how pretty is the packaging for the Waitrose chocolate!


If you pop over to Easter for Children on the Waitrose website, you can download an Easter game which we’re going to use as an egg hunt game around our garden.  The boys can find the numbers 1 to 10 and have to answer the question correctly before they can collect the egg and move on to the next :)

Having never bought from Waitrose before either online or in-store, before I agreed to work with Waitrose, I was keen to find out a bit more about their community standards and company ethics.  Every time I am approached by a company nowadays, I do a bit of digging to find out how they affect the world we live in.  I was really pleased to find out about The Waitrose Way which seeks to support British Producers, encourage Healthy Eating, offer a good range of Fairtrade products, reduce packaging and waste, CO2 emissions and source food responsibly.  The Organic range I searched through online was really good.  I’ve been disappointed with other supermarkets limited Organic products especially fresh fruit and veg.   The Waitrose Foundation supports community projects in South Africa, Kenya and Ghana and although separate to Fairtrade, it is all about sustainability through improving the lives of producers and workers and the foundation is funded from profits not through a price premium. You really need to pop over to this page to find out more about animal welfare, responsible fishing, GMOs, The Woodland Trust and you can read here how they are now 100% RSPO certified Palm Oil which is important to me, the environment and the world’s Orangutans. The website is very informative and to me, it is less in your face than other supermarket websites.  The colours on the site feel more like you are shopping at your local grocers and you can find out more about where Waitrose produce comes from here.  Ideally, I would only shop on my local high street but since it only contains one butchers (which we use) and an expensive convenience store it’s not an option.  There is an organic shop a car journey away and a small Organic Market once a week another car journey away but you can’t get a whole shop from either of these so we have to use supoermarkets for convenience. I can honestly say that after ordering with Waitrose for this first time, I will definitely be ordering from them again.  It was easy to find what I wanted online, the delivery driver was very friendly and informative (Paul, Northwich Store) and I like the products we received.



***Disclaimer***  We received a £50 voucher to spend at Waitrose in order to take part in the Waitrose Easter Tea Party but as usual, all thoughts and opinions are honest and fair.


Filed under Baking, Reviews

The loveliest Mother’s Day yet

The Easter Holidays are upon us and I thought I’d best link up with  Country Kids from Coombe Mill and not just because Fiona is really lovely but because I think these posts will be the most fun ones to look back on when the boys are older.

On Mothering Sunday, we had a really lovely day at the National Trust property, Erddig.  I know I’ve written about our adventures at National Trust properties a few times now but as we’re members we are making the most of our membership and we have always had enjoyable days out.  Sunday was warm and sunny, very warm and sunny for March.  We usually pack the weekends with visiting family but unusually (especially for Mothering Sunday) we only had plans to enjoy Erddig which meant we didn’t have to rush and let the boys dictate how long we stayed.

If you’ve not been to a  National Trust  property before or for a while, they cater brilliantly for all ages and the staff and volunteers are always extremely friendly and great with little ones.



Of course, the first port of call for the boys is The Wolf’s Den, an adventure playground made largely from logs and trees.


Pooh Bear was getting really good at the balance beams and they both loved the rope swing.

After a good play, we went to the Tea Garden for my complimentary pot of tea (or coffee) since it was Mother’s Day.  Spud enjoyed a tub of ice cream and Pooh Bear had what can only be described as a ‘chocolatey brick of tastiness’ I think there were digestive biscuits in there somewhere.  Scatty Dad had his obligatory slab of cake which he was reluctant to share but I managed to negotiate a couple of spoonfuls for myself ;)

Refuelling done and off to the garden to do some bird spotting using the guide we were given at the entrance.  We saw Mallards, Starlings, Sparrows, a pair of Moorhen one of which was sitting on the nest, three squirrels (not birds I  know) and a few huge fish.  The thing I really love about the National Trust is that obviously you can’t go rampaging through the stately homes and at times have to be careful about touching things but I’ve never felt like I have to reign the boys in in the gardens.  They are free to explore (whilst respecting the garden and nature obviously) and it never feels stuffy and inhibiting.



When we were ready to go home, Spud and I handed our bird spotting guide back in and he was able to pick himself and Pooh Bear a 50 things sticker.  Pooh Bear being Pooh Bear decided to stick it on his forehead :D


On the way in and out of Erddig we enjoyed smelling the plants along the path which is very relevant for Spud at the moment as he is doing all about growing and plants.  Both boys were really excited running from one plant to the next and I actually remember doing exactly the same thing at National Trust properties when I was a nipper.

You might have noticed Pooh Bear’s cool tights in the above photos.  These are his newest Slugs and Snails tights which he picked out himself thanks to the extremely lovely Kat.  Here are a few pics of the boys enjoying their tights which they wear at least a few times a week still…


Pooh Bear and I have been making the most of him not yet being at preschool and going for scoots on his ebay scooter and helmet and his preloved trainers :D  The only new clothes in these photos are his Slugs!

Spud is a bit of an individual when it comes to fashion and is sporting his slugs under his football kit and wearing his wellies on the wrong feet :D

I will really miss these precious times when they’re older but at the same time I look forward to each stage of their growing up and can look back at the blog fondly.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

***Please Note: We have paid for our annual National Trust Membership this year and have NOT received any payment in order to write this post  but we have been given credit to spend on Slugs and Snails tights although it was not on the understanding that we write a review***


Filed under Blogging, Outdoors, Reviews, Spud & Pooh Bear

Forget about the breasts, babies need to eat!

Since I wrote ‘If breastfeeding isn’t your bag, stop and think before you tweet‘, there have been far too many incidents where Mums have endured abuse online with regards to feeding their children.

Today, women and men are gathering at a number of locations in support of Emily Slough who was minding her own business, eating her lunch whilst her baby girl had hers.  Emily’s photograph was taken without her knowledge then posted on a Facebook page which then branded her a ‘tramp’!

Within the last week or so, Ashley Nicole (the model girlfriend of Miami Dolphins’ Philip Wheeler) faced a Twitter backlash after posting a photo of her looking amazing whilst feeding her tiny baby and Heather Vaughan was told she would have to move and feed her baby in the toilet of a Museum in Portsmouth.

Each time these incidents come to light, social media, tv, newspapers etc are awash with polls asking ‘Should a Mum be allowed to breastfeed her baby in public’.

This question drives me insane and is quite possibly the most ridiculous question ever to be asked.

This question assumes that breastfeeding is all about the mother.  That she chooses to breastfeed in public when she clearly has better options she should turn to…

Perhaps Mums should express milk and give it in a bottle in public?

No.  Not all Mums respond well to expressing milk.  Not all babies respond well to bottles.

Having to express and give bottles puts extra pressure on Mums and if everything is going well isn’t advised in the early days, so unless absolutely necessary there’s really no need to bother.  Expressing breast milk gives most of the benefits but none of the convenience.  I tried expressing for public outings but it always ended up being easier to just feed Spud normally and the milk was wasted.  Second time around, I didn’t express once for outings with Pooh Bear because I didn’t have the time and I was more confident.

Why don’t mums wear nursing covers?

Would you eat with your head under a blanket?

Some babies hate having anything on their heads whilst eating and they can get all hot and bothered.  I started off covering Spud when he was tiny but again, it was easier not to.  If Mums want to wear covers then whatever makes you feel comfortable is more than acceptable but I would hate for Mums to feel like they have to cover up because of outside pressure.

If you look at past posts which show me breastfeeding, you will see how little breast you actually see when baby feeds.  If it weren’t for the words telling you Emily Slough was breastfeeding her daughter, you would have no clue that’s what she was doing.

Even if you do accidentally catch a glimpse of a nipple, I think you’d survive.  You wouldn’t instantly be rendered blind thankfully else we’d all be since you can walk into any newsagent right now and pick up a number of publications showing nipples aplenty.

OK, so you can’t express, baby won’t entertain a bottle or feed under a cover…

I know, why not feed before you go out.

Yep, I can guarantee, that most Mums DO feed before leaving the house but unless they are close enough to run home half an hour later then it’s just not practical.  All babies should be fed on cue and should be aiming for about eight feeds in twenty-four hours.  They can go three hours between one feed, one hour before the next then wait another two before needing another.  They feed when they’re hungry and thirsty as we do and although they get into their own little routine eventually, teething, growth and developmental spurts and a whole host of other reasons mean that you can’t always work around their feeds (and why should you).

Ok so you’re out and baby wants feeding so why not feed in the changing room or loo…

Have you ever been into a public toilet or baby change?  If the smell doesn’t put you off your lunch, then the thought of the number of people who have passed through and not washed their hands will.  When was the last time you dined in a loo?

Also, I always wonder what anyone who needs to use disabled loos thinks of this suggestion since a lot of baby changes are located there.  Babies can take anything between ten minutes and an hour to finish a feed.  Ten minutes is long enough for the toilet to be engaged never mind an hour!

Right, so I think I’ve covered most of the usual counterarguments to breastfeeding in public but you can quite frankly forget about every single one.  They mean diddly squat.

At the end of the day, babies have the right to be fed.  Whether that be by breast or bottle, they have a basic human right to food.

Should a Mum be ‘allowed’ to breastfeed in public?

Of course she should and the law in the UK protects that right.  Breasts weren’t invented to adorn Lads’ Mags, their primary function is to nourish and nurture.  Breasts and nipples are socially acceptable until you latch a baby on and I for one am eternally sad that this is the level society has dragged itself down to.

If we ask ‘Should a baby be allowed to eat in public?’ how many people would stand up and say ‘No’?  (I would hope no-one but I imagine the odd troll would pipe up)

The really heartbreaking thing about all this is that although it is really rare to have a negative experience when feeding in public, the thought of having a negative experience actually DOES put Mums off even considering breastfeeding and breast milk as an option for them and their baby.

I have met Mums who express exclusively in order to avoid feeding in public and this is no mean feat.  It takes a lot of determination to sustain this method of feeding and I take my hat off to every Mum who has embarked on this journey but it is really sad that Mums are being forced into taking a more difficult route simply because they are terrified of abuse from strangers.

Social Media and the Media in general amplifies the issue and although there are far too many  (one is too many) negative incidents of late, the vast majority of Mums and babies have positive experiences.  You won’t see the Daily Mail reporting on a Mum who has a run of the mill, normal experience or even a really positive experience because that doesn’t sell papers.

This is where I would love your help.  I would love you to comment here, email me, post on my facebook page, and tweet me with your run of the mill and positive feeding in public stories so that I can compile a positive blog post to go some way to counteract the doom and gloom reported every day.  I bet there will be many positive experiences from the gatherings in support of Emily Slough today.  If there are any Dads who have a positive story to share then that would be lovely too.

I’ll start us off…

If I add up my  time breastfeeding so far, I have three and a half years experience of feeding in public and have NOT received ANY negative comments.  That time includes feeding a toddler on occasion too.



Filed under Breastfeeding

The National Trust – Fun Family Days Out

Soooo, this week has been half term and we had a little list of things planned to do with the boys but this week has been bleurgh.  Scatty Dad and I have both been ill and we’ve not taken the boys out as promised which I feel really sad about.  Now Spud is at school, he doesn’t see his Dad as much as he did because of the shifts he has to work so I was really looking forward to us all going out for the day.  We only have tomorrow left so I’m hoping we are able to drag ourselves out together for a couple of hours and we’ll have to make up for it the next time Scatty Dad has a weekend off.

Somewhere we had hoped to go is to a National Trust property.  There are a number close to us and I’ve been really impressed with the quality of the activities and facilities they provide for children.  Most have a fab play area and if you keep an eye out on the National Trust website you can find out about the special events for each property.  The vast majority of the activities you can enjoy at these special events are free of charge after your admission fee.

I thought I’d do a little round-up of the National Trust properties we visited last year and I’ve not already featured on the blog…

Erddig has always been a firm family favourite and one, very hot, beautifully sunny day, we dressed up as elves and went to their Magical Event.

Spud won a prize for coming along in fancy dress which he was really chuffed about.  Even if you hadn’t dressed up beforehand, there were lots of lovely activities to help make your day magical…


We followed the Fairie Parade to the Wolf’s Den play area where we were greeted by a beautiful fairy and were entertained by the Wizard and his helpers.  The Wolf’s Den is a brilliant, natural play area with den building, a rope swing and other obstacles and because it is on the edge of a wood, you are mostly in the shade which was great as it was REALLY hot on this particular day.


The boys planted magic beans, decorated fairy wings, elf ears and looked at bird’s nests under the microscope.  Granny and I had a bit of fun too and had a magic wand made each…


You’re never to old for a bit of magic ;)

The next place I wanted to share with you is Lyme Park (Where the infamous Mr Darcy emerged dripping wet from the lake in Pride and Prejudice) which is a further drive away from us but was well worth the car journey.

We went in the October half term to have a go at the Halloween activity…


That’s Spud looking a bit too spooky since I’m now keeping his beautiful face off the blog now.  It has been more difficult taking photos without showing his face as he’s more keen than Pooh Bear to stop for a photo lately.

The Crow Wood Playscape is really fab.  The main equipment was a little bit old for Pooh Bear who was two and a half when we went but he was happy to give everything a go with our help and even if we’d not done the Halloween Hunt in Crow’s Wood, we’d still have had a brilliant day in the woods and stream.


The surrounding woods were full of gorgeous Autumn colours and I can’t wait to go back at different times of the year.


The last property we visited last year was Chirk Castle.  It was a miserable windy and wet day but the boys loved roaming around the castle and taking part in the Christmas activities.  They both made a glittery red beeswax candle and Pooh Bear would have stayed to do all the other crafts but it was a bit busy to stay all day and we had a date with the big man in the red suit.


The Christmas trees were absolutely lovely and I felt really festive walking around.  The only down side was the long wait for Father Christmas in the drizzly weather with a tired Pooh Bear.  It was a real shame about the cold weather which meant I didn’t really get my phone out as often as I normally would.  The boys have been to Chirk Castle with my parents a number of times with their knight’s armour and they love it so we will definitely be returning in fairer weather this year.

These are just three visits we made over the last year but we’ve also enjoyed Speke Hall and Penrhyn Castle and will see if we can find some new places in 2014 too.  If you’ve not already seen 50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4 then I suggest you pop along and find out what it’s all about.  We need to fill in what the boys have done more recently.  They’ve done den building and eating an apple form the tree in Erddig, bug hunting and hill rolling at Speke and I think we could do with wrtiting a little list of what we’d like to achieve this year too.

This post is being linked up with the fabulous Country Kids from Coombe Mill which will be full of half term fun in the UK and beyond so please pop over and see what all the other bloggers have been getting up to.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

***Please Note: We have paid for our annual National Trust Membership this year and have NOT received any payment in order to write this post ***


Filed under Blogging, Christmas, Outdoors, Spud & Pooh Bear