Much as I love the Surrey countryside, it’s nice to escape to the beach too. We’re kind of spoilt where we live as we can be by the seaside within an hour. West Wittering is one of our favourite spots and I adore all the colourful beach huts down there. There’s a great mix between the freshly painted ones and those in need of some love. This was such an impromptu trip, we left without our wellies but that wasn’t going to stop us having a good time.
We’ve reviewed the Horse Club Riding Centre and the Giant Volcano with T-Rex from Schleich in the past. The quality and attention to detail of both sets is absolutely superb and we’ve come to expect this from Schleich. We were excited to see what their Wild Life collectables would be like. POD is fascinated by nature and she’s currently reading about the animal kingdom in her encyclopedia.
The My Fairy Garden range from Interplay offers children the opportunity to experience unlimited imaginative play and learn how to grow real plants. From creating a living fairy garden to planting magic beans in a pot or uncovering the secrets of nature through a secret fairy door.
It was one of those days where it was drizzly outdoors but we were craving fresh air. By the time we reached Claremont, the rain was slightly heavier but we were itching to blow away those cobwebs. It always makes me laugh as parents we’ll head out whatever the weather whereas in years gone by we’d probably be more inclined to stay in the warm. Claremont is a wonderful spot though, the estate was once a dukes’ retreat and a playground for princesses and Queen Victoria.
Fairies have arrived in the Dove household in the form of Glimmies. Sent from the moon to protect the “Glimmieswood” forest animals, Glimmies are 23 little star fairies who love to have adventures. They have a charming resemblance to forest animals and always respect nature. Created by Flair, Glimmies magically shine when darkness falls bringing with them a whole new level of imaginative play.
If you missed the news that POD secured a place at the local school, after a very long wait, do read this post. We’re still in shock if I’m honest although absolutely delighted for her. We received confirmation on Thursday 12th January that she’d secured a place and she started at her new school on Monday 16th January so its been a swift turnaround. It worked out well though and caused minimal upset.
We’ve had many great trips to Brighton in the past. Fatboy Slim playing an open gig on the seafront was certainly one of the most memorable. Some 250,000 people rocked up to see him play one hot summer’s day – over 4 times what the organisers expected. Those pre-parenting days seem a lifetime ago although of course we wouldn’t have it any other way. While POD always enjoys the likes of West Wittering, we made an impromptu trip to Brighton recently as we’d not visited for a while and she’d never been.
Those of you that read this blog regularly may remember POD wasn’t offered a reception place at the local school. We felt the right decision at the time was to appeal even though deep down we knew it was unlikely we’d get the outcome we wanted. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and if we had our time again, we wouldn’t put ourselves through that. Not without a good reason anyway. POD joined the school she was offered a place at in September 2015. She didn’t have the best start but by January 2016, she’d finally started to settle. She ended her reception year with such a glowing report, I think I cried in the second sentence! POD had not moved from fourth position on the waiting list the whole time she’d been in reception but she was happy and that’s what mattered.
Just before POD went back to school, we escaped to Hatchlands Park in the Surrey Hills. Managed by the National Trust, there are a whopping 400 acres of parkland to discover so it’s an ideal spot for blowing away the cobwebs. There’s plenty to keep POD occupied from climbing trees to exploring the natural play area which has its own tree house. This last visit coincided with a trail which involved following the story of Morris and Callum – the Hatchlands Park donkeys.
We’ve been fans of the Alice Holt Forest in Hampshire since we moved from London to Guildford. I seem to remember my first visit was in 2011 when I was on maternity leave and we’ve gone ever since. Managed by the Forestry Commission, these woods are located just a few miles south of Farnham in Surrey. They provide the perfect stomping ground for POD what with the adventure trails and natural play areas which have always suited our little climber. There was something a little bit special about our last visit though in that the light was just superb.