Adventures In The Sun

What a beautiful month May was!  The weather throughout has been absolutely fantastic, even over both Bank Holiday weekends, which is pretty much unheard of here in the UK.  We’ve had almost constant clear blue skies, the most glorious sunshine AND it’s mostly been really warm – I can’t even begin to describe how good it’s felt to finally shed the boots and jumpers in favour of TShirts and ballet pumps, and to soak up the wonderful warmth on my sun-hungry skin.  It seemed like we skipped straight over Spring and dived headfirst into Summer and I, for one, am absolutely not complaining.  I’ve come to the conclusion that I am most definitely solar-powered.

We’ve really been trying to take advantage of this unexpected and very welcome bonus sunshine in between all the busy-ness of day to day school and working life.  We’ve made it a priority to get out and about as much as possible: long walks and exploring new places as well as old favourites; soaking up the Vitamin D; delighting in the smatterings of freckles gradually emerging on faces sticky with ice cream; noticing faint tan lines beginning to appear where TShirts and socks are worn and spending time after school playing in the garden for longer than usual.

May is always my favourite month anyway (along with September) – with two bank holidays, an abundance of gorgeous blossom, two birthdays to celebrate and half term right at the end of it giving us a taste of what true Summer promises to bring…what’s not to love?! We’ve had plenty of adventures in the sun together this month and as always I’m so glad I’ve documented them all because just looking back through all my images brings me such joy.

Biddulph Grange Gardens (National Trust)

We decided to spend Saturday of the first Bank Holiday weekend adventuring somewhere we’d not been to before.  The husband had to work in the evening so we couldn’t venture too far from home and eventually settled on a visit to Biddulph Grange Gardens.  I’ve heard wonderful things about their stunning flower displays and knew that late Spring would be the perfect time to visit.  I was slightly taken aback when we arrived and I realised just how much I’d dramatically underestimated about how busy it would be on a sunny Bank Holiday weekend – it was incredibly crowded and if I’m honest there were more people there than I’m really comfortable with.

I soon forgot my worries though as we strolled round the Gardens:  enormous rhododendron bushes in every colour; an avenue of trees which led to a serene woodland walk through pathways lined with both bluebells and daffodils; a hidden wooden adventure play area; fossils; flowerbeds stuffed full of ornamental tulips; a lake that was home to some humungous fish; precisely landscaped gardens; a café, a large selection of plants for sale; and a second-hand bookshop (we hoped to snag some more Nancy Drew books like we found during our visit to Croome, but sadly we weren’t as luck) all made for a very worthwhile visit.

I was there too! Every so often I take a shot like this in the car and I really like them – they’re fun!

Lola taking in the views of Biddulph Grange Gardens

Relaxing by the lake

I loved this avenue of trees we walked down

The girls loved the adventure playground we found

The woodland walk

Exploring the gardens

Hem Heath Woods

The bluebells were late this year thanks to the longest winter ever, but it worked out to our advantage in the end as the girls and I spent Bank Holiday Monday exploring Hem Heath Woods, which is only a five minute drive from Trentham Gardens (one of our other favourite places to visit).  It was a pretty little spot with beautiful dappled sunlight filtering down through the trees and we walked contentedly together, Mimi and Lola armed with the inevitable sticks, as we kept a lookout for bluebells.

Unfortunately about 30 seconds into our walk Mimi somehow managed to badly jab herself in the eye with said stick, leaving an impressive graze just under her eye and a deep scratch on the eyeball itself – to say she was hysterical is an understatement, bless her.  After calming her down and checking she could still see ok we carried on and were soon rewarded with a gorgeous carpet of bluebells in a clearing.  We also came across a fab den to play in too.

It didn’t quite compare to the stunning Parrot’s Drumble, which we visited last year, but it came a pretty close second.

Heading off on our hunt for bluebells

What is it with kids and sticks?!

Taking a moment to recover after hurting her eye

My beautiful girls. I love this photo of the three of them together

They played for ages in this little den we found

 

Canalside Farm Walk

A couple of years ago we discovered Canalside Farm, a café/farm shop about fifteen minutes away from where we live.  It quickly became a favourite place to go for a walk before heading back to the cafe for an ice cream.  This particular weekend it was Mimi’s suggestion to go there and it was the perfect day for it.

We took our usual route alongside the canal, crossed Essex Bridge and headed into the woods to climb trees, which the girls all love doing (and I love that they’re getting messy and building their confidence as they play).  Instead of turning back at this point, we continued through a little gate at the end and discovered a huge field full of buttercups, hugging the edge of the river.  It was so pretty and I’m delighted to have found a new location for family photoshoots!  Lola can never resist wildflowers, so she made me a little posy to bring home with us – I love how much joy she finds in the simplest of things.

Ice creams all round when we got back to the Farm Shop and I also spotted that their fruit picking season would soon be open for business.  Picking strawberries and raspberries is another tradition we’ve started since we found Canalside Farm – the girls love doing it every single year and the flavour of the fruits is incredible.  I’m already looking forward to taking the girls back on weekend in June for the first crop.

Little adventurer

Fearless

Venturing beyond the gate

A new photoshoot location!

I love these little posies of wildflowers she brings me

 

Fun in the back garden

Last but not least, what would an unexpected English heatwave be without getting out the paddling pool in the back garden?!  We spent a happy afternoon playing with water pistols, splashing around, shrieking and generally causing complete mayhem.  The kitchen ended up soaking wet, my poor plants may never recover and I can probably say the same of my long-suffering neighbours eardrums, but the girls were happy and making memories, which to me is what adventures in the sunshine are all about.

In case you’re wondering, I managed to dodge at the last second!

I love this photo so much, though I can’t quite explain why

Lola chilling in the paddling pool

We did have one final adventure in the sun in May as well: a mini road trip during half term that took us through Somerset, Dorset and Hampshire.  I couldn’t possibly sum it all up in a couple of paragraphs and a few photos though, so there will be a full blog post on it to follow in the next couple of weeks.

May really has been an absolutely brilliant month of adventures and I’m excited for what the rest of summer holds.  Fingers crossed the beautiful weather is here to stay.  The last couple of months at school are always jam-packed with events and trips and sports, even more so as it’s my eldest daughters last few weeks at primary school before she starts her next big adventure in September – high school.  I’m determined to really make this a summer to remember and it’s definitely already off to a fantastic start.

Joining in with #MyFamilyAdventures with the lovely Kerri-Ann at Life As Our Little Family and Laura from Little Ladies Big World.

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14 Comments

  • Looks like a lovely month. love all your photos. Biddulph grange is on my list to visit. Your photos just moved it up the list! #myfamilyadventures

    • Reply June 14, 2018

      Chloe Ridgway

      It’s a gorgeous place Claire – I hope you enjoy it when you do visit!

  • May sounds, and looks, like a truly beautiful month for you & your family – sunshine, smiles and quality time outdoors. Speaking of the outdoors, you have some lush locations nearby! I’ve never really thought of May as my favourite month of the year (being that spring/summer aren’t usually great seasons for me with severe hayfever), however May has definitely been my favourite so far this year… And it seems to be that way with many. Amazing what a bit of sun, warmth and vitamin D can do! Happy June to you & your family.

    Side note: your comment of ‘I was there too!’ did give me a smile, as I can relate to that so much being the picture taker myself! #MyFamilyAdventures
    Jade @ Captured By Jade recently posted…Three Days in TenbyMy Profile

    • Reply June 14, 2018

      Chloe Ridgway

      Yes there seems to be positivity oozing out of everyone at the moment doesn’t there? It’s so lovely to see. I’m sorry you struggle with hayfever. I lucky that don’t get it at all but my middle daughter and husband are really struggling at the moment bless them. Despite the itchy eyes and sniffy nose I’m glad to hear you enjoyed May too 🙂

  • Reply June 11, 2018

    Kerri-Ann

    What a gorgeous month May has been. Haven’t we been so blooming lucky Chloe. These photos are so much fun and I love doing a camera selfie as well. I must be due a new one soon. Thanks so much for sharing your month with #MyFamilyAdventures x
    Kerri-Ann recently posted…Our little family weekend in the Cotswolds {Part 2}…My Profile

    • Reply June 14, 2018

      Chloe Ridgway

      We have indeed! Your adventures in Cornwall looked so wonderful – I bet you’ve already booked to go back?

  • Reply June 12, 2018

    Jenny

    Wow this place looks absolutely gorgeous I wish we had more places like this near me. We have no garden areas and our national trust areas are just grass or woodlands to walk around no paths and landscaping and beautiful back drops like this or trentham. I am jealous. Girls look so grown up too. What a wonderful exploring time together. #wrc

    • Reply June 14, 2018

      Chloe Ridgway

      That’s such a shame Jenny. To be honest though, even the grass and woodland areas are fun to explore – we have a couple like that near us too and the girls still enjoy going (once we’ve managed to get them out of the house that is!)

  • This looks a lovely place and isn’t too far from us either. I’ve just joined the National Trust so will have to add this to our places to visit list for the summer.

    • Reply June 14, 2018

      Chloe Ridgway

      Oh really? I didn’t know you were up this way! We’ll have to meet up! We’ve just renewed our membership – it’s saved us so much money on days out. Where are you going to visit first?!

  • Wow… Haven’t you got some amazing places near you! The weather has been spectacular and its been great to explore more. Beautiful photos as always!

    • Reply June 14, 2018

      Chloe Ridgway

      Thanks Pamela! I think everywhere has amazing places if you know where to look 😉 Glad to hear you’ve had good weather up in Scotland too!

  • Reply June 13, 2018

    Suzanne

    We’ve had the most amazing weather haven’t we? And by all accounts, it’s set to continue. Your girls are always so full of life in your photographs! I continually feel guilty for not using our NT passes more when I pop by your blog! xx

    • Reply June 14, 2018

      Chloe Ridgway

      Oh gosh don’t feel guilty! We didn’t use ours that much during the first year but decided to renew it anyway and I’m glad we did – there really are so many fun places to explore. I really hope this gorgeous weather continues – someone told me that it’s supposed to carry on until September (*keeps everything crossed that it’s true*)

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