BeWILDerwood – a magical adventure

We’ve had another glorious day at BeWILDerwood, nestled in the Norfolk countryside.

I’m always harping on about it but I just can’t recommend it enough! It’s a glorious,magical playground of adventure all set against the back drop of the BeWILDerwood books by Tom Blofeld.

We arrived and hopped straight on the boat where one of the fantastic staff takes you on a little journey and you first hear about Swampy, the Boggles, Twiggles and get to meet Mildred the friendly Crocclebog.

Then it’s off into the world of tiny tree houses and boggle villages. I love the attention to detail with miniature brooms outside the tiny homes, washing lines hanging between the trees and a sense that the magical moments of childhood are really here to discover.

Arthur just loves the climbing and exploring through the Tricky Tunnels and the wonderful Sky Maze. So brilliantly made amoung the trees.

We also love the stories where staff tell the stories of all the BeWILDerwood characters and the children can join in mixing marsh mallows and dressing up in costumes. It holds their attention and I love the fact it is innocent and doesn’t rely on fast rides, computers or anything other than play, trees, and an ample sprinkling of magic!

Magical Twiggle houses

Magical Twiggle houses

There’s a great toddler area too for the real little ones and I know a fair few adults enjoy the huge slides – me included until a rather nasty bottom injury called time on that! My fault, not BeWILDerwood’s I might add.

It was quiet when we went this time as it was out of the holidays and we got to meander around and really take it all in. I was impressed they were offering free face paints – something many other places charge extra for.

It always has been one of my favourite days out because the children just love it! Oh and there are always loads of places to take a rest too! Lovely clean loos and even a nursing room for breast feeding mums. I would recommend a picnic and there’s plenty of space and you are quite limited with what to buy once you get there.

BeWILDerwood we love you and long may this rather magical love affair last!

Father’s Day dilemmas

It’s that time of year again. Comedy socks, mugs with ‘Best Dad’ and a whole host of novelty ‘stuff’ to buy the dads in your life. It’s a minefield of wrong moves and potentially rubbish presents. Of course Arthur will create something cute and meaningful at nursery but I still have to pull it out of the bag with something he’ll actually be able to use.

But as Father’s Day draws ever closer I’ve been struggling to find something. Apart from drills, wood and anything you can build something with, I’m not sure what my own dad will appreciate. And apart from tents, sleeping bags and all things climbing, I’m not sure what Jonathan would like either!

I’m always happy to spend a little but I’m not in going to be shelling out hundreds. Although I am aware this would set a rather handy precedent for Mother’s Day. But that’s not in the spirit of the day. Is it?

Then I had a bit of an epiphany! I realised that both of the lovely men in my life enjoy a drink! My dad’s a bit of a wine lover and Jonathan enjoys a real ale. So for dad I’ve gone for a lovely rich Malbec and for Jonathan I’ve tracked down a beer we had when on holiday in the Lake District – he harped on about it for weeks so at least it will keep him quiet for a while.

So I’m sorted with a few days to spare and it was all online alcohol so I didn’t even leave the house! What with Arthur’s magnificent cress head creation – Jonathan’s in for a real treat. It’s a first for me not to be running around frantically on Saturday afternoon…that said I still have to get a card. Hope there are some left!

Making the most of summer

With the summer months fast approaching, everyone wants to get out and enjoy the sunshine while it lasts. Get creative this summer by doing some fun outdoor crafts in the garden. It’s a great opportunity to add a splash of colour to your days, save some cash on expensive days out and even get the children involved.

1. Fairy Homes
A magical trend has been looming around gardens and homes across the country lately and it looks as though the fairy home creation trend is here to stay. Get your fairy craft supplies from Craft Superstore and have fun transforming an area of your garden into the perfect fairy-tale home. Make washing lines for the fairies to hang their washing with sticks and a long piece of cord. You can use a tiny bird house as the main home for these little creatures and let your kids decorate the front door with outside acrylic paint. This is a great way to bring some magic to your garden this summer.

2. Bird Shelter Decoration
Wildlife and nature seems to blossom into life during the summer months and there is no reason why you can’t bring the wonders of nature into your back garden. Consider decorating a bird house and hanging it up so that little winged friends will begin visiting your garden more often. You could even put up a few signs about the garden that say things like ‘Hedgehogs and Rabbits Welcome’ and leave food out to make the kids excited about the prospect of meeting new fluffy friends.

3. Seed Starters
If you love planting then making your own seed starters will definitely be of interest to you. Kids enjoy this craft as well because it is simple and they can get their hands messy, which all children seem to love. According to the best way to make a seed starter is to use shredded paper and tissue paper mixed with a small amount of water until the solution is soft to the touch. Place this mix into a decorative cookie cutter and add seeds to the wet paper once the shape has taken. After it has dried you can go ahead and plant your gorgeous summer flowers.

4. Paint Rocks
Every garden has rocks but they are usually pretty boring and uneventful which is why it could be a great idea to add a touch of colour and life to them. Grab some paints, pipe cleaners, sequins and googly eyes to decorate your rock. Kids will enjoy turning them into little creatures to display in their room or on the windowsill as a little summer ornament.

5. Flower Pot Fun
Another great idea for the planting fans out there is to paint and decorate the flowerpot. You could add a splash of colour to a once ordinary flowerpot or make it even more original by following this simple idea from Martha Stewart. She advises that painting the collars of clay pots with ‘stripes of chalkboard paint’ is a great way to add a touch of personalization to your plants. It also gives you the opportunity to identify your home-grown kitchen herbs as you can write their names on the chalkboard collar of the pots.

Keeping an eye on your health

Since the age of 17 I’ve worn glasses for long distance. Well, that should be I’ve ‘had’ glasses for long distance. The truth is I rarely wore them.

But for the last few weeks  people have been asking me why I look so miserable. My mum said:” you look like the bottom of the world has just fallen out”. How rude I thought as I squinted at my laptop screen and reread the last paragraph of the article I was writing – again.

It slowly dawned on me, my miserable, squinty face was all due to a well overdue eye test! My latest set of glasses were well over ten years old and years of computer work was creeping up on me. I used to rub my eyes all the time and Arthur would say: “Why do you keep squashing your eyes mummy.”

Basically Arthur, because I couldnt see properly and it was about time I looked after my eyes. If we have a bad tooth we go to the dentist. But the slow creeping of my changing eye sight meant I didn’t bother to give them the same time or concern. God, I can live easily without a tooth, even have it replaced. Let my eyes down and the world becomes a very different place and there’s very often, no going back.


So I went and got them tested at Optical Express,it was quick, simple and painless. I also found a little more about laser eye surgery, once I’ve finished paying for small people, I’m definitely going to think about it.

But for now, peering into new lenses was like wiping the sludge of several years of neglect away. I’ve also booked Arthur one as you can never start too soon. The eyes may well be the window to the soul, but, more importantly, they are the window into my little boy’s eyes. I can see sadness, wipe tears, see the crinkle of a giggle and enjoy life in all its technicolor glory. I can also proof my articles a lot more quickly and spend hours trawling paint charts for the right hint of grey in my white ( that might be just me but it’s important!).

I also got a clean bill of health for my eyes and no more squinty headaches. From now own my eyes are going to get the attention they deserve…now for that niggling tooth at the back.

Shopping for tat – my pound shop addiction

I am overwhelmed by life sometimes. Like it’s a separate entity happening around me, not of my doing but there, untouchable by any plans I have.

Enough of my jaunty small talk, I guess what I’m trying to say is sometimes things hurtle along faster than you can manage and there’s little you can do about it. One such thing seems to be my unending ability to buy stuff I don’t need. I’m usually quite disciplined with money – I don’t spend loads, I’m careful. But, oh and it’s a beautiful but, if I turn the corner, and walk into the arms of a Poundland, or if I’m running round the supermarket and something bright catches my eye. That’s it, that’s when I know life is happening and I’m just a passenger in this long ole race to the finish.

It’s the thought of missing out on something which brings me back again and again into the pound shops. Granted, there are only so many 25 packs of coloured dishclothes and foreign bleach that I need (I’m sure foreign bleach is every inch as good as British bleach but you catch my drift). What if there’s an amazing snack food in there Arthur will love and I’ve walked past it. How can I not need another packet of coloured paper to shove in his desk.

I have so much Easter shizzle from there I could possibly become a seasonal competitor in my own right. Sometimes I go in and challenge myself not to buy anything but, like any addict, even though it’s not right, I’ll still walk out having purchased at least a packet of European biscuits and some toothpaste – it’s £1 for Christ’s sake, a bloody pound!

But it’s those pounds which become a mountain of guilt. Pound apon pound of endless ‘stuff’ shoe-horned into cupboards that can barely take the strain. Packets of slightly acceptable’snacks’ spilling over in the kitchen. The logic of buying one decent thing for a tenner rather than ten pieces of crap, is not lost on me. It’s just tucked away in the queue behind my insatiable need to buy something for a pound.

I’m going to spend tomorrow lunch time in John Lewis – I love John Lewis and it’s middle-class loveliness doesn’t induce the same intensive ‘urges’ as the more abrupt and outrageously flirty pound shops. Maybe I just love a bit of rough, maybe my tat collection is just a little comfort blanket. Or, more worryingly, maybe I’ll be that mad lady in 30 year’s time with smeared red lips, and a well used shopping trolley, roaming the city looking for my next fix.

I’ve heard Poundland has gone online now – I hope they still have those dishclothes, I’ve only got a few left.