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Wow. It's been ages hasn't it? A good couple of months since my last post and since then we've had Halloween, Christmas and we're now in 2017.

Firstly a quick update on my grandmother, who is still with us but still in hospital. She's a bit better now and hopefully she will be released in the next month or so. She's not how she was before but I'm hoping that with the wedding coming up and going home she will be more herself in time.

Which leads on to....

Cotswold Mum and Dad are engaged!!!


Announcing our engagement
Photo from Pexels

The 'Proposal'

I'd love to tell you a romantic, sweep-you-off-your-feet-story for the proposal but I don't have one of those. The night my grandmother nearly died I was very upset, and I told Cotswold Dad that I had always imagined that she would be there when I got married and I couldn't imagine the day without her and now it didn't look like that would ever happen.

A few weeks later, with my grandmother starting to improve my attention was diverted slightly as I was looking for a fancy dress outfit for a dance thing I had tickets for. For one reason or another I ended up on ebay searching for 'petticoats' and a nice wedding dress popped up on the ebay feed.

I woke up early one morning and couldn't get back to sleep and I disturbed Cotswold Dad. We were just talking and I mentioned about the dress I saw on ebay as a subtle 'hint' (I have hinted before lol) and he turned to me and said 'Well I do want to get married'

I replied 'I want to get married too. So are you going to ask me then?"

And he did, "Will you marry me?"

Of  course I said YES.

(We'd only been together 5 years, lived together for 3 years and have a 2 year old). As my Auntie said, 'It's about bloody time!'

The Ring

My ring is an heirloom belonging to Cotswold Dad's  family which the jeweller dated to the 1850s. It's 5 small diamonds on an 18ct gold band and was so pretty. I had to have it resized but it looks amazing.

I also have my wedding band and that is a 22ct gold band and it is gorgeous - I feel really sad that I have to wait to wear it.

Wedding Plans

We're getting married in a hotel in October 2017. The hotel is just north of Stratford upon Avon and is fantastic with an amazing wedding planner. The hotel function room is a blank canvas so we can put our own stamp on the the reception room plus we are getting married in the hotel's library which is in the older part of the hotel and is really lovely.

I'm having 3 bridesmaids and 2 flower girls. Cotswold Dad has 4 groomsmen and Cotswold Kid is our pageboy.

In addition I've also now put the deposit on my dress!

With just over 9 months to go and more and more things being booked as the weeks go by it is definitely starting to feel much more real.

What is even better for me is that my grandmother has had some input into the wedding and has seen photographs of me in the dress so even if the worse were to happen in the coming year at least she has been involved in the day.

Anyway that's all for now except to wish you all a very happy new year xx


Dear Bear and Beany
*****Quick apology - Sorry its been a while since my last post, things have been very hectic as my grandmother is seriously ill and in hospital (it's not looking good) and blogging has been a low priority for me. I hope to be back on a regular blogging schedule again soon but until our family situation has stabilised, blogging is taking a bit of a back seat right now*****


A friend at work announced her second pregnancy the other week. I was pleased for her but it felt very strange to me in a way, because the last time she was pregnant, I was pregnant too. In fact we were 'pregnancy buddies' during my first pregnancy, and whilst she was 3 weeks ahead of me it felt really nice to have someone to experience pregnancy with who was going through exactly the same things as me.

Thinking about having a second baby


We shared all our experiences from around 10-13 weeks, swapped scan photos, related experiences with midwifes, doctors etc. Discussed pushchairs, cots, toys, feeding plans - everything and anything and would regularly spend lunch together talking 'baby'.We also discussed our concerns, our aches and pains, weird feelings, embarrassing symptoms and also the extra appointments, the consultant referrals (interestingly she was being checked as her baby was showing in scans as too small and then late in my pregnancy my baby appeared to be too big and had to have extra scans). Coincidently we were also both having boys and it was the first child for both of us so all of these things combined bonded us together and it was nice to feel I wasn't alone.

I had other friends who had had babies, my mum, mother in law and other family and friends to talk to of course and also read the online forums and joined online 'birth clubs' but speaking to someone in person who was actually going through the same things at almost exactly the same time was lovely and I'm really glad that I had that.

Our babies were subsequently born a few weeks apart (hers naturally, mine by emergency c-section) and we both had issues feeding and so both babies were formula fed and this was something else we shared together. But only a few months later after the babies were born, our need to share and relate with each other seemed to reduce. I don't know if it was because we were sharing with new friends at post natal groups, had relatively 'easy' babies or if it was just the distance (I live an hour from her and would rarely leave my town during my maternity leave due to fuel costs) but we stopped texting and meeting up with each other and drifted apart.

I hoped things would change when we returned to work but our part time hours were the opposite to each other with only a one day overlap and we never really got that connection back and although friends we weren't so close and I found it harder to talk to her other than to make basic small talk.

When she announced her second pregnancy the other day my feelings were mixed, I was thrilled for her but I also felt a bit jealous to be honest as I would like to have another baby but we are not in a position to consider another child at the moment. I also felt a bit sad that I would not be able to share the experience with her like I had the first time around.

I guess its also brought into focus the second baby question- 'When should we have another child?' CK is almost 2, are we being selfish by waiting as I know he'd love a brother or sister, will conception of another child be as simple as it was the first time? If I did fall pregnant how would we cope financially and in terms of space (we live in a small 2 bed house)? My health hasn't been good either and I am still a stone heavier than I was pre-pregnancy.

Several of my friends are onto their second babies and I'll admit to feeling broody at the moment with this recent second round of babies. I know that this is not a reason to have a baby but sometimes I feel it adds to the pressure as I feel like maybe I should be having another baby too.



Can anyone relate to my experiences and how have you dealt with the 'second baby' question? Please let me know in the comments below

First day at nursery




To my dear son

It's been a few weeks now since you started going to nursery and I hope that you are enjoying it. Whenever I pick you up you are happy and are either running around in the garden, playing with the other children and the toys. The staff always tell me that you've been good as gold and although you are the youngest in the group it certainly doesn't prevent you from doing anything the others do.

You always finish your packed lunch, drink most of your drink and eat your snack - surely if you were unhappy at nursery you wouldn't do that, and I know you are not trading food with the other children and you are not feeding it to the dog like you would at home so you must be eating it.

But despite your apparent happiness when I pick you up, you always get so upset when either of us drop you off at nursery. When I took you in last week you were crying as soon as we pulled into the car park. You normally take your seatbelt off after I undo the buckle but I had to do it this time and when I put you down on the floor you hugged my leg and wanted to be carried.

I sign you in, hang up your coat and bags but you still clung to me sobbing quietly. You know what is coming, you know you are going to nursery for the morning, that you will be staying here without me or Daddy and you don't want me to leave you. I take you into the classroom and try to get you to join in with other children sitting at one of the tables but you don't want to and you really start to cry.

One of the teachers takes you from me against your will and you go to a quiet room with her. She sits and reads to you and I make a swift exit. I hear you crying your eyes out and as always it takes every ounce of strength in me not to run back to you and try to comfort you, but I don't give in to you as I know that will make things worse.

'He'll be ok' another of the teachers reassures me on my way out and I nod in agreement. I hear the words and repeat them to myself but some small part of me still worries about him, even though I know when I return he will be happy and running around with the other children.

I go home and try to enjoy the new freedom I have, a few hours without you where I can catch up on chores, answer my emails or go shopping without you in tow but I feel like a part of me is missing and it feels strange when you are not with me.

When I finally go back to collect you, you are happy as a lark running around, it takes you a few minutes to even notice that I have come back for you and even then you seem a bit reluctant to leave. The staff tell me you cried for only a few minutes and once I was gone you calmed down and went off to play as if nothing had ever happened.

So my question to you is this - why do you do this to me? Why do you get upset when I am there dropping you off even though you know you will have fun and you know that I will come back for you as I always do. Why do you get upset everytime? You rarely get upset when I drop you off with either of your grandmothers and you are with them for much longer and they have fewer toys for you to play with.

Is it the children? Is this some sort of nursery initiation rite of passage that you have to fulfil as set out by them? Are you just copying other children in the room? Perhaps you are testing me, testing the boundaries I've set, perhaps you are attempting to manipulate me, trying to make me feel guilty for leaving you.

Whatever the reason I hope this all ends very soon. I want to see you go running in with a big smile on your face, I want to see you playing with the other children the minute you step inside the room, I want you to run off without giving me a second look and not look so happy to see me when I come back, but most of all I want you to be happy. That's all I care about.

With love

Mum x


Here's a quick parody I wrote today based on the famous 'Twas the night before christmas poem.

Starting nursery


‘Twas the night before nursery
And all through my house
All the people were sleeping
Including my spouse
My son was a-sleeping all snug in his bed
No worries at all in his sweet little head
But I was awake, unable to sleep.
I had tried everything even counting some sheep.
What have I forgotten, what haven’t I done?
Will he be alright and will he have fun?
His clothes are all laid out, they are right there
I expect they'll get messy but I don't really care
His lunch bag and back pack are there by the door
Packed with all he needs and also much more.
There’s nappies and wipes, a hat and some clothes
Some wellies, a bottle, Kleenex for his nose.
I must add his lunchbox from out of the fridge
I made his cheese sandwiches in the shape of a bridge.
I’m a little bit worried about leaving him you see
What if when he’s dropped off he won’t let me leave?
I guess I could just drop him off and run
But then he’s quite quick, my little son.
I’m sure he’ll be fine there’s no need to worry
I’m sure we’ll get there and in the classroom he’ll scurry
So to all mums with nursery first timers I say
Good luck to us all, on our children’s first day.


Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Last week, I had a routine hospital appointment on Thursday morning. A few days before I checked with Cotswold Dad that he would be home to look after Cotswold Kid and he confirmed that he would be as he was on a night shift on wednesday night so would be home and would be ok despite lack of sleep to watch him for the 2 hours or so that I would be gone.



"Are you sure? I asked him. "I could ask your mum to watch him"

"No its fine" he told me.

Thursday morning

I woke up, nudged CD awake and told him I was getting up, then got dressed, got CK up, dressed him, gave him a drink and set him up in front of Postman Pat episodes and yelled to CD "I'm off" to which I heard a loud groan.

I'd also let the dog into the bedroom which is always a sure fire way of waking CD up and if for any reason he did fall asleep then CK could easily get into the bedroom too and would quickly wake him. I also shut the backdoor and kitchen door so CK couldn't get into any mischief whilst his Daddy was getting up.

So off I went, thinking that CD was getting up and went ahead to my appointment happy that all should be well.

After the appointment

I got home 2.5 hours later and CD was up and on the computer in the living room.

"What time did you leave?" He asked me
"10.10" I replied, "Why do you ask?"

Apparently CD had fallen back to sleep and didn't wake up until 12 so CK had had full run of the house unsupervised for 2 hours! Apparently he was still watching Postman Pat too, and the only sign of any mischief was that we found a toilet roll fully unrolled in the bathtub.

I shudder at what could have happened to him, and I really wish that I'd made sure CD was properly up or that I'd made some proper arrangements. I certainly shan't leave him with sleepy daddy again.

We can laugh about it now, but we have a german shepherd dog and whilst she is very nice and overprotective of him and we've had her longer, you never really know with dogs and I would never leave him alone with her. He can also get through our stair gate so if he'd had an accident on the stairs...  it doesn't bear thinking about.

I've certainly learned a few lessons.
It started yesterday afternoon. CK was at my Mum's and became grisly and upset and just wouldn't settle. She thought he was tired so put him down for a nap but less than an hour after he went down he was screaming the place down and not a happy bunny. She gave up on trying to get him down to sleep and let him play instead. He was eating and drinking fine so there was no reason to suggest there was anything wrong and he calmed down.



I picked him up as usual and 15 minutes into our 50 minute car journey home he started crying and screaming the place down. I did everything I could to soothe him but my options were limited as I was driving and whilst I considered pulling him over and taking him out I had a feeling I might not be able to settle him and if he went into full tantrum mode getting him back into the car seat would have been even harder so I just tried to get back as soon as possible whilst singing, talking and massaging his leg (easier said than done when you are driving).

I finally got home and as CD was working a night shift, I spent the next 1.5hrs trying to soothe and settle CK and it was 8.30 before he finally seemed to settle and went to sleep.

I watched bake off (thanks to sky plus), some of the paralympic opening ceremony coverage and then at 10.20ish decided to call it a night.

He woke me up at 11.45 screaming and I tried everything to settle him, I suspected he was constipated as his poo at about 8ish was hard as a rock (sorry!) so I massaged his tummy, bicycled his legs, rubbed his back - anything I could think of really but nothing worked. I'd given him some raisins before he went to bed but now he didn't want to eat or drink anything, I even tried to give him calpol incase he was in pain but he wouldn't take it.

At about 2ish I changed tactics, I'd suggested a bath to him a few times but he kept saying 'no' but I was out of options so into the bath tub he went. He didn't want to stay put and kept trying to get out. I dried him and brought him into my bed, he just wanted to curl up next to me but could get comfortable (and neither could I). I kept massaging his back in circles and he would fall asleep briefly then wake up again.

By 4am I was shattered and wanted to sleep. He'd let out some wind (nothing significant) so I massaged his back til he fell asleep and then somehow carried him to his cot (he was stirring) and returned to my own room. He seemed to go straight back to sleep but then I kept imagining I was hearing him crying every time I was about to drop off.

I fell asleep at 4.30ish and fortunately I don't work thursdays so I slept in til about 8.30am. CK had nursery (his 2nd settling in session) and whilst he woke up ok this morning he was super clingy, wanted to be carried or held or just sit on my lap and refused to eat or drink again.

At nursery he really was not himself and it took a while before he started to settle (he settled quite quickly on monday). He had some raisins and toast at the nursery and then eventually started to explore the outdoor area and seemed a bit happier.

After that things have kind of improved, he's eaten (plenty of baked beans) and drunk (not as much as I'd like), not been quite so clingy and touch wood as of 9pm tonight he's in bed (where I will also be going soon). I'm really hoping we have a better night tonight. I also got some Prune & Apple juice from waitrose and also some stuff from boots just in case but I don't really want to use either. Hopefully I won't need to but at least I feel I have more options tonight whereas last night I was at the end of my tether.

Fingers crossed.

A QUICK UPDATE - 10/9/16 - I am pleased to report that all is now well. CK had a normal night's sleep on Thursday night and Friday morning had a dirty nappy. It seems the purchase of lactulose and prune & apple juice (still both unopened) was completely unnecessary but I have them in the cupboard in case they are needed next time.


Dear Bear and Beany
CK is our first child and so the whole 'Looking for a nursery' experience was a first for both of us. I wasn't quite sure what I should look for or what I should be asking when I looked around so I read blog posts by other mums including this post by the Frenchie Mummy, I looked on mumsnet and netmums and other 'mum forums' and I also asked some of my mum friends.

Nursery questions


I came up with quite a few questions - some to directly ask the nursery and others that I asked myself when I went to have a look around. I've decided to collect them altogether and have created one comprehensive list of all the questions I think you should ask or need to know. It might be a bit over the top, but I hope it's useful. Here is my full list:


Nursery questions

Are there any questions you think I've missed? If so please add them in the comments below.

Linking up with:

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com


Dear Bear and Beany

Mummascribbles
This is it. We're on the final countdown. We have received CK's nursery start date of Monday 5th September. In a little over 2 weeks CK will be taking this huge step and I have to say that I am starting to feel a bit nervous. We made the decision for him to go a few weeks ago (you can read more about this here) and I can't believe we're only a few weeks from him starting.

Nursery worries


My main concerns are

  • How will he react to his first settling in sessions?
  • Will he love nursery or is he going to hate it?
  • What if he doesn't want me to leave and won't settle without me?
This is a huge change for CK as he will be going two mornings a week (Monday and Thursday) and he is used to being at home or at the home of one of his two grannies who each have him for a day every week with CD covering the third day when I'm at work. 


Our current preparations:


I've been trying to prepare CK the best I can ready for nursery. We've been sent a list of things he needs - water bottle, lunchbox, bag etc. and so I made a really big fuss of taking him to Smyths Toys and let him choose a back pack (he chose Paw Patrol) and a matching water bottle (also Paw Patrol) which I've been training him to use (he 's fine when it's full but tips it up when it's empty so the straw isn't in the water any more and he cant get any out, bless him). I also went to the local library by us and the much bigger library in Stratford upon Avon and borrowed a few books about starting nursery/playgroup to read to him, along with some ABC books on the subject to try and teach him words he can use to communicate with the leader. He has enjoyed reading the books with me but I don't think he really understands.

Nursery visit

CK came with CD and I when we went to look around the nursery for the first time on their open day. He was really nervous initially and wouldn't walk in, he had to be carried around during out tour. But after a while he started to relax and wanted to get down, he played with the toys, particularly in the outdoor area, did some wet play, ran in and out of the garden 'den' and even started interacting and playing with the staff. This was great to see, but the minute we were out of his sight whilst speaking to the office admin (the staff member he was playing with stayed with him) he started getting nervous and came after us and this is still what worries me. He's fine whilst mummy or daddy are in the room but if we're not, that is when things start going a bit wrong.

I have another visit to the nursery lined up on Thursday this week to see the nursery 'in action' so to speak. I appreciate on the open day the nursery was on show but I want to see it when it's not on show. I want to see how the staff interact with the children and how they are treated, I felt really comfortable with the staff on the first visit so I'm not expecting any bad surprises but all the same I still feel this is necessary. The nursery is also on holiday club mode during the summer so things will not be exactly as they will be in September, but as CK is likely to go to holiday club next year I still think this will be interesting. This second visit is another opportunity for CK to visit the nursery before he starts and give him the experience of it with children in. It means that by the time he starts full sessions he will have had 2 visits and 2 settling in sessions and I'm hoping this will help with the transition.

Settling in sessions

One thing that does put my mind at ease is that CK has 2 settling in sessions before he starts attending his full morning sessions. These are an hour long each and the first is on Monday 5th September. The staff have stated that in the first session I stay with him for the whole hour and it gives him the opportunity to settle in with children who will be in his room (2 year olds) whilst I am there the whole time so he can have fun and enjoy himself without any concerns about mummy leaving him. In the second session which will be the Thursday that week, I stay with him to settle him but then am encouraged to leave by staff once he seems settled before picking him up at the end of the session and hopefully he will have had so much fun he will be ok without me - at least that's what I'm hoping.

First full session


He will then have his first full session the following week and I'm really hoping that as he will have been 4 times to the nursery he will be ok with being left. CD will be dropping him off that Monday morning and then as a one off (I'm trying to book the afternoon off work) I will pick him up afterwards but in future CD will be dropping him off and picking him up on a Monday whilst I do the same on a Thursday.


I'm really hoping it all works out and we don't have any problems but our experience at Center Parcs in June is adding to my fears as CK did not take to the creche at all and whilst he stuck it out the first day he refused point blank to go back the second day. I really am hoping I won't have a repeat of that at the nursery.

Can you give me any further tips, advice for getting him ready and settling him in? I'd love to hear about your own experiences too about settling your little ones into nursery. Please comment in the notes below.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday


I know how much you all loved my post the other day on fairy gardens so I thought I'd do another post on my latest addition to my fairy garden - a mini clothes line. Read on full the full tutorial or if you want to create your own fairy garden first click here to read the original tutorial

Fairy Garden Accessories


It was actually a very easy and straightforward activity to do and is a lovely activity you could do with older children.

Here's how I did it...

You will need:

2 sticks (or 1 stick cut in half :-P) 3-4" long for each is best
Wool or string
mini pegs - mine were £1 from the works for a large bottle
Felt - I bought a pack for £2 from the works but only used half a sheet

How to make a mini clothes line for your fairies:

1. Take your sticks and push them into the soil on your fairy garden with a gap of about 6" between each one.

2. Tie your string or wool around one of the sticks a few times and knot it firmly and then do the same on the other side and then cut leaving a small tail.

3. Now for the fun - make your fairy clothes by cutting small outlines out of the felt ensuring they will fit on your fairy line. You could also embellish them with buttons, sequins and other pieces of felt - go with your creative juices and see what you and your children can come up with. Alternatively you can just cut out some simple outlines as I did above - I think they still look good.

4. Peg your 'felt fairies clothes' to your washing line

5. Admire your work!!!

I hope you enjoyed my tutorial. My fairy garden plants are looking a little worse for wear right now due to lack of watering and warm weather (and my lack of greenfingers) but I still think this looks cute.

I do have some more ideas for things I can add to my garden - why not like me on Facebook, or follow me on bloglovin' and twitter (@cotswold_mum) so that you are the first to know when I upload my next tutorial.

If you've made your own I'd love to see them and you can either post on my Facebook page or tweet me the link.


What else do you think a fairy garden needs? - Comment in the posts below and you never know you might inspire a future tutorial ;-)

Hot Pink Wellingtons


I had an accident Friday night.

Mummy injuries
Stock image (my nails aren't this nice)


I tripped over the stair-gate near the bottom of the stairs (stupid I know), landed awkwardly on my left foot rolling my ankle completely outwards (ouch!) and severely spraining it.

Cotswold Dad and I had just put the kid to bed at 7.45pm. He'd bathed and dressed him and I brought up his bottle. We were walking downstairs to spend a rare evening together and maybe watch some netflix when I had my stumble.

I landed in a heap in the bottom of the stairs but had 'flicked' out my legs as I fell so that my legs weren't tangled (I'm tall so I have time to think as I fall). I swore loudly when it happened and then somehow got onto the sofa but it hurt like hell.

I thought it was a sprain - chucked on some ice, reclined the sofa foot rest and hoped it would be ok. It was really uncomfortable and after a bit we turned in and I stupidly put on a compression sock (which also hurt to put on).

By 1.30am I was still wide awake and the pain was awful. I tried to go to the bathroom and couldn't put weight on my foot without screaming. I somehow made it to the bathroom and removed the sock and also took paracetamol before crawling back to bed (no joke).

Half an hour later the pain was still awful and I was close to tears. Cotswold Dad and I talked about what to do and we decided to ring the NHS helpline who told me to go to hospital within the next hour.

We got dressed and I crawled down stairs, hopped through the conservatory and CD helped me into the garden and to the car. He then got CK and put him in the car (in his vest) who was not happy about the late night wake up call.

We got to the hospital at 2.50am and CD got me a wheelchair and wheeled me in with the kid on my lap. It was quiet and we were seen quickly by triage and a doctor who sent me for an x-ray.

I just want to add here that I am a serial ankle-sprainer (if such a thing exists), but this pain was the worst I'd ever encountered I was literally screaming in pain everytime I put any weight on my foot which made me think I had broken something.

The x ray showed no broken bones. The doctor thinks it is just a severe sprain for which I am very relieved and I have been given co-codomol. She also told me the "R.I.C.E" (Rest, Ice, Compress & Elevate) advice for treating a sprain has now changed. No compressing and heat is more effective. Also that I should be as active as possible (so no crutches then?). Home we went and I've been doing my best to follow the advice ever since.

Almost 2 days later I can now walk on my left foot although the pain is still not great (thank you co-codomol) and my foot is really swollen. Really hoping I'll be ok to drive tomorrow (for work) and I'm probably going to do a quick test tonight although the real test will be the 1 hour (min) commute to work tomorrow morning.

The worst effect of all this is that CK is really confused bless him. He doesn't understand why Mummy can't chase him around the house and garden, can't carry him up the stairs, is crawling up the stairs and takes ages to get anywhere. He doesn't understand why I'm limping everywhere and why I cried out in pain yesterday when he grabbed my ankle and had to be extracted by his godmother because it was too painful to shake him off myself. Service has also gone downhill in his eyes as it takes ages to get food and drink (when Dada's not here) and mummy doesn't have the patience when he tries to play the 'I'm not letting you have my nappy game'.

I'm really hoping that I can be fully 'operational' in the next day or so. The timing is awful, I'm going on a dancing weekend in under a fortnight, I'm running errands (shopping, prescriptions etc.) for my Nan whilst my Mum (her carer) is on holiday for 2 weeks and I was supposed to be seeing my friend with the new baby (from my FB post the other day) today for a playdate with CK and her oldest now postponed :-(

Oh well... these things are sent to try us.



Who needs Pokemon Go when you have the option of a free scarecrow trail in a local village and Olympic Scarecrows at that?

Olympic Activities


The nation has gone Olympic's crazy in support of our competitors in Rio. I don't know about you but I've managed to catch a few of the sports on the television and news coverage and whilst I'm not particularly sportive and neither is CK we wanted to get in on the Olympics action.

For us that meant going to see the Scarecrow's of Brailes. The Scarecrow trail is part of the village's 'Brailes Show' which is taking place this Saturday 13th August and in addition to the typical summer fete activities and competitions (best flowers, cake etc), there is also a best scarecrow competition. In support of this the local community has really 'gone to town' with 37 entrants in all and what is even better is that the theme for this years Scarecrow trail is 'The Olympics'.

So today CK headed off to the village on our hunt for Olympic Scarecrows. There is a full map of the trail showing all the locations throughout the village and you can download this here but CK and I decided that the ones on the main road through Brailes were enough for us today (although we will probably go back with CD and find some more another time). The voting for the best scarecrow takes place at the show on Saturday and I shall be very interested to find out which one will win (although I think they are all fantastic).

I was also thinking this would be a great activity for kids to make (as a smaller version) - a couple of bunches of straw would be all you'd need to make a doll sized scarecrow. I might have a go at this with CK when he's a bit older.

Here are some pictures of our favourites - which one do you like best? Let me know in the comments below.

Olympic Scarecrow
1. Archer

Olympic Scarecrow
2. Gymnast (rings)

Olympic Scarecrow
3. Fencing
Olympic Scarecrow
4. Pole Vaulting
Olympic Scarecrow
5. Equestrian

Olympic Scarecrow
6. Diver (Tom Daley) - located above a brook in the village

Olympic Scarecrow
7. Gymnast

Olympic Scarecrow
8. Trap Shooting (clay out of sight in image)
Olympic Scarecrow
8. Cyclist

Olympic Scarecrow
10. Gymnast
Olympic Scarecrow
11. Olympic hurdler
Olympic Scarecrow
12. "Walter Vaulter"

Olympic Scarecrow
13. Archer
So you've seen our favourites - which is yours? let me know below in the comments.

Hot Pink Wellingtons

Mummascribbles

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com
CK and I went to Countryfile Live at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock yesterday. I'd been seeing the signs for weeks as our town and the area around it is on one of the main routes to the festival but I was initially put off as it was a bit pricey for a ticket. At the last minute on Wednesday I decided to go as there were quite a few activities for kids and I thought CK would enjoy it.


Countryfile live


JOURNEY

It's normally 35 minutes to Blenheim from my house and I wanted to get there for 11am so we'd have a good couple of hours to look around everything before heading back for naptime at 2-3ish. That plan went completely out the window as I spent over an hour queuing on the A44 to get into the Blenheim Estate and then queued for another hour slow crawling all the way into. It was 1pm before we got in - not a good start.

TRACTORS

The first thing we went to see was the 'Farming in Action' display - It featured lots of vintage tractors and hay baling (I think that's what they call it) demonstrations which included various agricultural machines of all ages, each of which had its own task. I found it really interesting - I pass hundreds of fields a week and in the summer regularly getting stuck behind various tractors on the country roads in the Cotswolds and lorries full of hay but never fully understanding the process behind it. Watching the process in action gives me a new found appreciation of how it all works - take a look at some of my pictures.

Haybayling

You are probably wondering what CK's reaction to all this was. Was he interested? Bored? Did he care? See for yourself.

Toddler outside


He absolutely loved it - we must have stood watching for 20 minutes and from at least 2 different positions. He really enjoyed it and his eyes lit up watching it.

More Tractor Fun


The fun didn't end there for CK as in the 'Farming in Action' display also included a huge number of the latest (I think) in tractor technologies and even better still. Children were encouraged to climb all over the tractors and they were. CK also had a go and loved it. Here he is on one of the tractors (I love this photo).


Toddler on Tractor


Toddler and Tractor


Animals


This being a 'Country' themed event there were a lot of animals around and even Adam Henson (Cotswold Farm Park) was there with his farm (although we did not see the man himself) - his petting farm was fairly busy and CK didn't seem to interested in joining in. It didn't help that the moment we entered the tent the heavens opened for one of the brief showers of the day and everyone flooded in to the nearest dry spot (our tent) filling out the petting area we were in. But he did enjoy watching the baby rabbits racing around. I'm actually thinking of going to Cotswold Farm Park in a few weeks so he will get another chance.

He did get to see some of the animals very close up.

The goats...

Toddler at farm


The Ducks

Toddler at farm


The Sheep

Toddler at farm

And even a donkey

Toddler at farm


I think he enjoyed it. 

Children's entertainment

In fact there was a lot of entertainment there for children and quite a bit of it was free. We didn't get to see a lot of things due to the time we had, so we missed the opportunity to take part in maypole dancing and the Punch and Judy Showing ended just before we got to it. But there was free face painting, the village green had free vintage village green style games (shove h'penny) (and a few others I didn't recognise) there was a small children's playground, mini diggers and a digger den full of plastic soft play balls.

Toddler Playground


There were also a few options if you were happy to pay - a vintage fun fair which you might have seen in the background of my farm display pictures. Here is CK on the kiddie carousel (£2.50).

Toddler at Fairgrond
My very own 'Sterling Moss'

There was also tractor ted ( a bouncy castle with slide) which was a £1 a ride but CK hasn't been too interested in bouncy castles so we gave it a miss.

Bouncy Castle


For the Adults

They also had some craft stalls and food stalls in marquees scattered across the site and we came across some great artisan products which would have made great Christmas presents (with a bit more forethought and planning). There were also plenty of stalls scattered around outside which were interesting. Here was one of my favourites:

Rocking Horse


Also for those of you who loved my fairy garden feature last week and who are looking to buy the perfect fairy house centrepiece for their garden - you have to take a look at this website - Dingley Dwellings. They do the most gorgeous items for your garden - my eyes lit up at the sight at them although I didn't have the budget to make a purchase on the day.

Countryfile live crowd


Food and Drink

I had a great carvery pork bap and pork scratchings (shared with the little man) for £10 total which is about normal for these kinds of events and it was really lovely - I think the bread was proper bakery bread which made it taste even better. CK and I were still nibbling the scratchings in the queue out (a good half hour to the gate). 

There were plenty of ice cream stalls and also plenty of bar type stalls but after CK finished his drink of squash I really struggled to find child friendly drinks on the site. I could get soft drinks, champagne, prosecco, coffee but a fruit shoot? No luck. In the end I spied a Cotteswold Dairies stall (we regularly have their milk) and saw they were selling milkshakes - that'll have to do I thought.

I think CK enjoyed it.


Toddler drinking milkshake

After a few initial hesitant sips - he guzzled his banana milkshake down fairly quickly only struggling when he was down to about 1/4 (he wasn't very good at tipping the cup up without spilling it all over himself) - he absolutely loved it and for £1.50 I would have happily bought another if needed.

The ladies on the stall were also kind enough to refill his squash cup with water (no charge) which was really good of them and was very much appreciated.

Day Over

That was pretty much everything (I think) that we saw and did. After 3 hours CK was not doing to good, he was tired and getting very grouchy and to be fair I was shattered as well with a headache (not helped by sitting in a car for 2 hours with a bored toddler). We missed quite a few activities and all the shows - I had wanted to see the Essex dog display team but it wasn't to be this time so we headed back to the gate and after a 20 minute search found the car (I knew it was by a tree somewhere - and it was) before queuing out through the estate for another 20 minutes until we got to the main road.

Verdict 

I have two questions I've been asking myself, 1. Was it worth the £30 it basically cost me to get in (including fees & car parking charge) & 2. Was it worth the 2 hour wait to get in.

In answer to these 2 questions, I think it was worth the £30 - we had a really lovely time, saw some really nice things, got to see and do a lot for the money and had a generally nice afternoon but it was not worth the 2 hour queue to get in.

If I went again or if anyone else is thinking of going this time, I would suggest going for 9.30 when it opens (or earlier if you want to), take plenty of drinks with you and be aware the loos here are portaloos with very limited baby changing facilities. I took our travel system and I'm glad we did as I think the buggy would have been harder to navigate on the long grass surface. Cover is limited so bring a mac and sun cream, also be prepared that all of the vintage rides are £2 - £2.50 each if you have little ones that will want to go on. I'd also try to pre-plan a route around the place - I found it very confusing and I don't think we saw a lot of things and missed the shows - I had looked before we left but I was looking at timings from 11-1 and hadn't factored in the late entry.


Smiling baby
One very happy baby (waving his free colouring in flag with free crayons)


If you are going I hope you have a good time and have more luck with the traffic then we did. If you have any questions please post below and feel free to comment.

Hot Pink Wellingtons

A Cornish Mum


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