Thursday photo #291

It’s that time of year again when time speeds up. We’re galloping towards Christmas at an alarming rate. There are presents to buy, performances to attend, festive press trips to go on and write up. Rehearsals, carol services, nativities, ballet shows, school Christmas fair… the list goes on. So of course, I’ve made my own life more difficult by starting some DIY.

Winter days out with the National Trust

We’ve had an annual National Trust membership since the children were tiny. We might even have had one before they were born. I frequently mention on here that I’m sure it’s our wisest investment every year. I’ve never been great at being in the house with the children. Our garden isn’t huge, so we love to go for days out to make sure the girls spend time outdoors. It’s particularly appealing in the winter when the cold days could easily have us hibernating.

At the weekend, we headed to National Trust Croft Castle, which is about an hour away from us. Croft Castle is a beautiful property with a huge woodland play area. It’s also a lovely place to walk the dog and their cafe is dog friendly too. It’s always nice to be able to have lunch and a hot drink in the warm when we’ve been outside for a few hours.

At the moment, Croft Castle is decked out for a 1940s Christmas. There’s a festive trail around the gardens for children and Santa is there as well. We didn’t manage to see Santa because we hadn’t booked in advance and he was full. This didn’t seem to matter too much to the girls though, they were delighted to listen to Christmas carols, play on rope swings and earn a little reward for completing the trail. If you’re looking for a festive day out, we can highly recommend Croft Castle. I also have a blog post full of ideas for Christmas days out in the West Midlands.


I find DIY and decorating rather frustrating. Mainly because nothing ever seems to go to plan. I’ve spent the best part of a week clearing out what was my office so that it can become Lia’s bedroom. With the new layout, there are a few pieces of furniture that have effectively become surplus to requirements. So, I phoned a local charity shop to come and collect them.

The charity shop gave me a time slot on Tuesday. I spent a couple of hours emptying, dusting and cleaning the furniture and lugging several heavy items downstairs. I finished about ten minutes before they were due to arrive and sat down to have a cup of tea. That’s when the charity phoned to say they weren’t coming. Apparently their van had broken down. I couldn’t leave the furniture where it was, so I lugged it all back upstairs again. Then it was time to collect the children and my day was gone.

Except for the evening. One of the things I’d decided to get rid of was a bookcase that our television has been standing on for years. The bookcase was full of DVDs and I decided the room would open up a lot if we got rid of it and replaced it with a TV stand. So that evening, my husband picked up a TV stand and fitted it to the wall. In the process, he broke our television. So, what was supposed to be a productive day ended up being both entirely unproductive and ridiculously expensive. I decided to keep the furniture for now, we might manage to spruce some of it up and make use of it elsewhere in the house.

Thursday photo #291

This was another quick snap grabbed just before the girls went to bed yesterday. I completely failed to take any photos of them at Croft Castle. They were both tired and getting annoyed with each other but they do manage to hide it quite well when the camera comes out.

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  1. That sounds like an utter nightmare with your DIY and the TV! Your list of Christmassy stuff reminded me of how full-on Christmas is with primary school kids. If my daughter wasn’t doing panto, all I would have to think about is buying and wrapping presents and writing cards (all of three things are of course a work in progress!).