Hill Top

Regular readers will know that I love a day out! Especially a National Trust one!! On our recent holiday to the Lake District we put our membership to work and visited three places in five days!!

My favourite though has to be Hill Top, the former home of Beatrix Potter. The 17th century farmhouse is a time-capsule of her life and gives a true insight to both Beatrix and her home.

Exterior of 17th century farmhouse

Hill Top differs a little to other National Trust properties as you can't just turn up and wander round. On arrival you need to visit the ticket office, where you will be given a timed slot to enter the house. As the house is small and extremely popular the slots are given to steady the flow of visitors. 

The last time we visited (pre-child) we waited over an hour for our slot but this time we waited a short 20 minutes and by the time we had walked up to the house from the car park, visited the loos and bought a drink it was time to go in!

Mum and little boy standing at the side of Hill Top

We visited during the British heatwave and it was a really beautiful day to visit. We were met by a volunteer on the path who gave our 4 year old, Joseph, a trail to do, although I think Daddy did most of it!

Little boy walking up a garden path

The gardens at Hill Top were in full bloom and you could really see all the hard work that the National Trust put into the maintaining them. 

Flower boarder full of blooms with a stone path alongside of it

Boarder full of blooms

Boarder full of blooms

As we entered the house Joseph was given a copy of one of Beatrix's books and told to look through it as he looked round the house to see if he could spot where some of the scenes were set. There were books in each room to look at and he really took an interest in comparing them.

Mum and son in front of an old window looking at books

There is so much to look at in the rooms of Hill Top. Family portraits, copies of Beatrix's letters, her trinkets and so much more! It gives an amazing insight into her life and I'm really happy that we got to return and take Joseph with us.

Fire place surrounded by pictures and trinkets

We really made some memories whilst visiting but I think my favourite is probably of Joseph drawing at the easel in the garden. With the sun shining on us as I past him the crayons we seemed a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

A little boy outside standing at an easel and drawing on a sheet titled 'the tale of'

As with many of my days out I like to share little facts or tips to help your visit and here are my top ones for visiting the wonderful Hill Top.

  • Parking is VERY limited and you are only allowed to drive around the car park once before being sent on your way by the volunteers, so be prepared to park further away and walk. We were able to get in a even smaller car park up the road with an honest box for payment and were opposite a fantastic play park, which Joseph had to have a go on!
  • Tickets are bought from the office in the car park. Don't walk up to the house without your timed ticket! You won't get in!
  • There are toilets and a gift shop but there's no cafe or restaurant, although cold drinks can be bought from the shop.
  • Pushchairs can't go inside Hill Top so you'll need a baby carrier if your child is little or can't be trusted. The latter being the reason we haven't taken Joseph before, especially after the Belton House incident!
  • Even if you don't have a child make sure you have a look at the books scattered around the house. It's fascinating to see the scenes in person.
Hill Top is a place where so many of our childhood stories were created and if you ever get the chance make sure you stop by to see them in person.

Woman sitting in a window seat with a book in her hand

Mummy Snowy Owl
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Flower Wreath

Visit any homewares or interiors store, or even an interiors blog, and the chances are you've seen a wreath similar to this one.

Rattan wreath with pink and white flowers down one side

I've wanted a flower wreath for a while and as we've been doing work on the house I've eyed a spot for one, so I started pricing them up. Then I stopped. From the pricey Laura Ashley to the more reasonable Homesense, trying to find a combination of value for money and prettiness didn't really go together. 

So, as any craft blogger would I decided to have a try at making one myself and I'm very pleased with the results!

Rattan wreath with flowers along one side

Want to make one? Here's what you'll need!

  • Rattan wreath - £3.95 @ Baker Ross
  • Artificial flowers - 40p (white) and 80p (pink) @ Ikea
  • Scissors or wire cutters
Rattan wreath, flowers and scissors

Start by trimming down the stems with the scissors. 

Plastic stem cut shorter

Leave a little length to help you guide the stem through the wreath.

Flower threaded through

Thread each flower through and snip the ends again so they are flush to the back of the wreath. 

End of flower snipped so it is flush against the back of the wreath

Some of the flowers threaded through

The back of the wreath with the stems cut shorter

Flowers threaded through

That's it! A beautiful wreath for a fraction of the price!

Completed wreath

Completed wreath

Let me know in the comments if you decide to give it a try!

Mummy Snowy Owl

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The No More Worries Kit

Growing up should be worry free and full of fun but for more and more children this is simply not the case.

More and more children are suffering from anxiety and have too many worries for their little selves. 

To help children deal with their emotion and worries, and to also open up conversation between parent and child, The Irish Fairy Door Company have created The No More Worries Kit.

A colourful box containing the kit, including a mini plaque, cards and journal

Reverse of the box, also showing the contents and how to use the kit

Containing a Feelings Journal, Conversation Cards and a No More Worries Mini Plaque, it is easy to use and the bright packaging alone can spark a conversation with your child. It certainly did when ours arrived!!

The kit out of the box

The kit offers a few ways to use it, either altogether or separately. 

The journal is a place to write and share worries or happy times. My little boy is 4, so can't currently write in his journal himself but I'm thinking of using it to record his days at school when he starts in September and plan to ask him what he liked and disliked each day. I'm hoping this will help him open up to talk about what is happening at school.

The journal, illustrated with a rainbow, clouds and hot air balloon

The open journal, showing blank striped pages with illustrations along the top of sad and happy fairies and unicorns

The cards are to prompt conversation. I used a couple of cards with JJ and I was surprised how well he answered them and what his answers were. It really made me think about the memories he is building and that we are making with and for him.

The conversation cards, on a range subjects including good and bad days, memories etc

The plaque comes on a clip so is ideal to keep on or in a school bag. It's activated by holding your thumb over the print area, turning from red to green as you share your worries with the fairies. I explained this to JJ and he gave it a try and again I was surprised by how much he grasped it.

Plastic mini plaque that is made to look like wood with No More Worries written on it and a finger print that is glowing red

A close up of the child's hands using the plaque

The plaque glowing green

A child using the plaque with it now glowing green

From using the kit for just a few days I was surprised how much our 4 year old shared and understood. JJ had started to share more of his feelings with us recently and The No More Worries Kit has definitely opened up the opportunity to talk more about them. I'm definitely going to be using this more to help with the run of emotions that come with starting school. 

Mummy can use it too, right?

For more information on The No More Worries Kit take a look here

Mummy Snowy Owl

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Fabric Decoupage Letter

Ever since I first came across Pinterest I've wanted to try decoupage. I've had friends try it with some success but I was really concerned that I'd end up with a Pinterest fail! 

After spotting some wooden letters whilst out shopping and knowing I had the fabric at home, I decided to give it a try, and it was a success!! So I'm going to share with you how I did it. 

Wooden letter with a Marvel fabric front and Spider-Man and Captain America toys either side

First though I should mention that I used fabric and decoupage is usually done with special paper. As with most of my crafts though, I try and keep things cheap so anyone can try them. I also wasn't about to buy a stack of decoupage paper in case I was rubbish at it!!

To create your own decoupage letter you will need.

  • Wooden letter - £1.50 @ The Works
  • Fabric - Mine was an off cut from my mother in law
  • Scissors
  • Pen
  • Glue - I use Mod Podge but normal PVA will do - £1.50 @ Wilko
  • Paint brush
Materials listed

Start by laying out your fabric and drawing round your letter with the pen.

Wooden letter laid on fabric, being drawn around

Pen outline of letter on fabric

Next cut out the letter.

Letter J cutout of fabric

Using the paint brush cover the area you are going to decoupage with PVA.

Letter covered in PVA with fabric starting to be laid on it

Glue the fabric to the letter. Smooth out any creases or bumps and leave to dry.

Fabric glued to the front of the letter

Now you have your completed decoupage letter!!

Completed letter with Spider-Man and Captain America either side

Have you tried decoupage? Or do you want to? Let me know if the comments!

Mummy Snowy Owl

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Preparing Your Child For School

I know people say time goes quickly, even more so when you have children, but where have the last 4 years gone!

It seems like yesterday that I waddled across the hospital car park, as Daddy carried out new born in his car seat, yet here we are preparing our little one for school!

A folded school uniform with crayons, pencil case, pencil and ruler laid on it and around it

Over the last few weeks we've had information meetings with school and nursery, where each have given great advice on getting your child ready for school. Their practical tips have been super helpful so I thought I'd share them with you!

Here's the 5 most important.

1. Toilet habits

This is quite an obvious one but you'd be surprised how many teaching friends have told me that lots of children can't or aren't confident enough to sort themselves out at toilet time when they start school.

A photo of a toilet roll, wet wipes and handwash

So, make sure they can take their clothes up and down, practicing with buttons, zips and tights. Make sure they can wipe themselves and are confident enough to deal with a poop. Also, do they know what to do if they've had a toilet accident and not got there in time? Talk them through what to do, how to change and who to ask for help. Oh, and remind them to wash their hands!!

2. Dressing and undressing

Some schools still do pants and vests PE but many, even from Reception age, have a full PE kit.

A photo of school uniform with some spiderman socks

Make sure they can dress and undress with ease, including turning clothes back from inside out and getting their shoes on the right feet!

3. Unpack and unwrap food

Can your little one unwrap a sandwich? Peel back a yogurt lid? Peel a banana?

A photo of food laid out, banana, apple, muffin, fruit pot, yogurt

Each of these can be a struggle and the chances are you usually give them their food open and prepared. Let their little fingers practice ahead of school time so they aren't nervous or worried at lunchtime or come home hungry!

4. Using cutlery! A fork AND a knife!

This one caused a bit of a gasp among our parent friends! A knife!

Child's knife, fork and spoon laid out on a napkin

JJ is a big eater and loves his food and has halfheartedly used a knife for a while but for many of his friends even plastic knives have been kept away. If you're child is going to be having school dinners though, they need to be confident in cutting up their dinners!

5. Write and identify their name

A child that can identify their name can sign themselves in on a registration board, name their work and spot their jumper in a pile of identical school uniforms. They can find their coat peg and hopefully their coat too! 

Notepad with names written on it with a pencil, pencil case, crayons and a ruler along side it

If they can write their name they can label their work, paintings and crafts.

It's not long now until school starts so I hope these tips and tricks help!

Do you have any tips to help kids prepare for school? Let me know in the comments!

Mummy Snowy Owl

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com
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Photos. We taken them at any and every opportunity, but how often do you print them off? Frame them?

So many of our memories are stuck on our phones. How many do you flick through and feel a rush of emotion when you see a favourite. I know I do!

We still have pictures from our 2016 trip to Disneyland Paris that we haven't printed off! After our most recent trip I wanted to make sure to print off some of our favourites.

Regular readers will know we've had work done to our house and redecorating our bedroom is the next job. I planning a photo shelf and Disney photo is a must for us! In preparation for our newly decorated room, and as a reminder to the husband to get the paint brushes out, I decided to start picking which photos I wanted.

One of my favourite photos of our latest Disneyland Paris trip is this one.

Donald Duck with a little boy

A smartly dressed Donald and smiley boy! This picture holds so many memories for us and we were so lucky to have an amazing interaction with Donald!

I decided I wanted the photo to be on canvas and headed over to the CanvasChamp website. I sometimes find photograph websites a bit awkward to navigate, with sizes, centering and finishes to take into consideration but CanvasChamp is very user friendly!

Its simple to upload your photos, select the size and position them. What I also love is that there's lots of offers, so you can regularly grab a bargain! 

When the canvas arrived I was even more impressed! Again you can sometimes be disappointed when prints or canvas' arrive, the image can be blurred or discoloured but this canvas was perfect. 

Donald Duck and little boy

The image was perfect! The colour was perfect!

Donald Duck and little boy

With an easy to use website, prompt delivery and perfect prints I'll definitely be using CanvasChamp again!

Canvas print featuring Donald Duck and a little boy, along with Mickey ears headband and two Disney maps

It's time for the memories to be released from our phones and be looked at and remembered fondly in our homes.

Mummy Snowy Owl
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