Ten Things to do in Spring

Spring is my second favourite season. I love the sense of anticipation that comes when the weather starts to brighten, blossom comes out and flowers begin to appear. Easter is wonderful and a great religious time for us as a family, but spring isn't over with the Easter holidays and here are some fun activities that we have either done or are planning to do for spring in the Kirsch household.

Enjoy the bluebells
This is a no-brainer for me. I love walking in the woods when the bluebells are out - it's just so beautiful! I'm hoping that our local Gomm Wood will be showing some bluebells soon but if not, then we'll probably head to Hughenden or Ashridge which are always a good bet.


Get gardening
There is so much to do in the garden once the weather starts brightening up. Ours needs a bit of work right now after we moved in last autumn.

At the moment we're concentrating on tidying it up and then we plan to remove the gravel section on the middle terrace and replace it with turf. In the meantime, both Lily and Ollie have been out in the garden more, checking out the flowers and helping us with clearing up. Or just playing. And eating ice cream.



Hunt mini beasts
So, I'm not a massive fan of slugs and bugs but even I am fascinated by the range of minuscule creatures that live in our gardens, parks and woodlands. You can use a checklist like this one from The Woodland Trust or just go exploring and see what you can find.


Feed the birds
Garden birds can be fed all year round, not just in the winter when their usual sources are scarce. The Wildlife Trust and RSPB have great ideas for feeding the birds all year round - they also have great advice for providing the perfect bird bath which is one of our planned activities for May!

Splash in puddles
In theory the weather should be getting warmer but I'm sure I'm not the only one who saw a flurry of snow last weekend and of course there's always 'April Showers'. Perfect welly weather.

Go on a scavenger hunt
Last week we had a great time on just a simple walk round the block with a scavenger hunt list of things to find!

Paint a spring picture
We've been inspired by all the flowers around to paint our own Spring paintings. Next we'll be going out to do some bark rubbings and chalk drawings.


Visit the farm
It's a great time of year to visit a farm - there are often loads of baby animals to see during lambing seasons and some farms even hold open weekends for you to visit. We popped along to Lockey Farm which was brilliant for the afternoon and well worth a look if you're local.

Make time for family
We were blessed at Easter to have a visit from Matt's Grandma and Uncle for the afternoon. We don't see them often but they were staying in the area and so popped in for a cup of tea. Seeing my kids with their grandparents and great-grandparents always gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.



Have a spring clean
You can't get to spring without at least considering a spring clean but the best bit is that you can get the kids to help. Even Ollie did a bit of dusting at our house and Lily helped with clearing her cupboards and toy baskets of old things she no longer plays with. I was helped along by the arrival of a new cordless vacuum cleaner (my Mum gave us her old one) and I love it. Seriously, I have more affection for that inanimate household object than I should. Having a vacuum cleaner that actually works has made cleaning our home so much better than before.

Have you been out and about enjoying everything that spring offers? Share any suggestions or activities in the comments below or tweet me @ourcherrytree.

A Cornish Mum

Shell Photo Frame

We were lucky enough to spend some time last May with friends in Devon. It's definitely one of our happy places and has been our main holiday destination for the last few years. We spent a particularly lovely day with my Mum and sister at Dawlish Warren - a day of paddling in the sea, sand castle building, shell collecting and fish and chip eating!


At only a couple of months old, Ollie didn't do much except enjoy cuddles with his Nana, but Lily got stuck in to everything the beach has to offer


This day sticks out in my mind as one of those extra special days, the memories you want to hold on to forever.


Lily wanted to keep all the little shells she found with Nana and Aunty 'Ouisey on the beach and so we ended up bringing home a little bucketful. For weeks they sat in the bucket by the back door with the other beach things, waiting to be put away properly. Until I realised that there was a much better way to treasure our mementos of the day.

Using a cheap old photo frame, some tissue paper and mod podge glue, Lily was able to create her own shell photo frame.


We first covered the frame with glued strips of blue tissue paper - this was to cover the silver frame and give us a better surface for sticking the shells on to. We used loads of glue for the shells and once dry I gave them another coat of glue to help them stay stuck! The glue dries clear like varnish so you can't see it, but it has certainly made the frame more robust - Lily often carries it around with her and I'm always finding it has moved.


Lily loves her frame and I'm already thinking that we might do another one the next time we go to the beach. In my head I see a collection of photo frames, each displaying a different photo of an amazing day. 

Have you got any tips for making beach keepsakes? Share them with me in the comments! 



  Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Quotes

Last week I co-hosted Candid Cuddles with the lovely Becky (aka Cuddle Fairy). It was great fun and I loved setting aside the time to visit everyone's posts - I was able to find some new people to follow too!

I usually try to link up a quote that has inspired me, or resonated with me that week but this week I thought I'd try something different.
My children are a huge part of what inspires me to keep going - they're also my main source of laughter and happiness. Of course, Ollie doesn't say much right now, but Lily is a proper little chatter box and comes out with some great little comments. I'm trying to save them all at the moment so I can remember them and here are a few of my favourites.

Review - Lockey Farm Park

Matt had a day off today! It was lovely. I really miss having him around during the week and it's easy to underestimate the value of an extra pair of hands when you have two kids. Originally, Matt booked the time so that we could visit Chessington World of Adventures but finances wouldn't allow it and so instead we decided to re-visit somewhere we'd taken Lily a couple of years ago - Lockey Farm.

The farm is just outside of Reading - just 30 minutes or so from where we live in High Wycombe, it's a working farm with a decent farm shop, cafe and a play area and it's all free. Yep. Free. How rare is it to find a lovely activity for an afternoon out without paying a fortune?


There is an opportunity to contribute to the upkeep and addition of new attractions by popping some cash in the brightly coloured pig by the front gate but it isn't compulsory. Once through the gates you may encounter the odd animal (like a chicken, or last time we went Lily tried to befriend a cockerel).

Candid Cuddles

Today I'm co-hosting the Candid Cuddles linky with Becky over at the Cuddle Fairy and I'm so excited to be included that I have chosen to share two lovely quotes!


I'm a big fan of the Candid Cuddles linky and try to link up whenever I can - I love reading other people's quotes and enjoy creating my own images to display a quote that has resonated with me that week.

Addicted to... scarves

Yep. Not the most exciting addiction in the world. If I'm honest, probably not even an 'addiction'. But I do love a nice scarf. In fact, I have more scarves than I have pairs of shoes. I love that a scarf can easily be used to dress up an outfit that might normally be boring, and for someone who likes to wear black, it can be a really good way of introducing colours and patterns.

So I was very excited when I came across the Lylia Rose website - it's not only a fab blog (definitely worth a read) but they also have a lovely boutique section with some gorgeous accessories.

Given my love of scarves, it is unsurprising that of all the beautiful things on the site, these are my favourites:

I really like this Chevron Print Scarf - I'm late to the chevron trend but I love the simple and striking palette on this scarf.

Spring Walk Scavenger Hunt

I don't know what on earth is going on with the weather at the moment but I've given up on trying to predict what it's going to be like and I'm not letting an overcast sky put me off from heading out. I'd normally head into town early in the day and perhaps spend an hour or so at Lilymae's Play Cafe but, the problem is, they've now closed.


Damn.

I miss them already. It was always lovely to pop in there and know that even if you're on your own, you'd still see a friendly face. The team there were great and over time I've begun to see them as my friends.

The good news is, they will (hopefully) be back again soon. In the meantime, I'm running on my own steam for a bit whilst also trying to avoid unnecessary (and pricey) bus trips to town for no reason.


So today, despite an unpromising start we headed out. Not for anything exciting. Nor even for a very long time. We took a sheet of paper and a pencil and went to see what we could find.

I'd written Lily a list of things to look out for, anything ranging from a litter bin to a bumblebee and it was actually more fun than I'd ever have imagined.

We literally walked around the block in a circle. For an adult it'd take hardly any time at all but for little legs and stops for tea and then swings it was an easy way to spend an hour and a bit.


We actually found everything on the list. I knew the route I was going to take and so I did include some sights I knew we'd see on the way, like the postbox and library, but others were a pleasant surprise - like all three cats we spotted and a butterfly just as we got home.

It helps that our area, despite it's reputation, is really quite pleasant. The latest addition to the neighbourhood is a community run cafe, Hills Cafe which is the perfect stop for a quick cup of tea for me and a little hot chocolate for Lily (complete with cream and marshmallows).

After our pit stop (and wee stop for the little madam) we walked the rest of the loop round the block and stopped off at the small-but-perfectly-formed play park on our road.


Today has proven that, despite being terribly cliched, simple things really are sometimes the best. Yep. Cheesy but true.

Jungle Days

After all our fun and games at Eden High Wycombe the other week, we headed back there last Thursday for their puppet show with Jungle Jim.


It was a fun packed 20-25 minute show performed by a ventriloquist with a range of puppet characters that went down well with Lily and a little friend from nursery. Ollie also enjoyed the show, although he was a bit bemused by it all and wasn't keen by big bangs at the end!


When we got home we found that we still had jungle fever (ahem, poor joke there, sorry) and so, inspired by Mister Maker (of all people) we made our very own jungle scene pictures. Unlike most of the time, when I see something on TV that looks easy and attempt it myself, this was actually really easy to do. I just cut out some leaf shapes for Lily, handed her a glue stick and let her do her own thing. I did the same with some simple shapes for the monkey.


Since then, we've also added to our puppet repertoire with some animal faces stuck to lollipop sticks, have been singing a whole range of jungle-themed songs and nursery rhymes and have been reading some old animal favourites including Giraffes Can't Dance and Dear Zoo.


It's a shame, because we had planned a visit to Chessington World of Adventures this month, but with our finances delicately balanced we decided against it. It would have been wonderful to follow up on all our jungle activities with seeing some of the animals in real life but I'm sure we'll have the opportunity at some point soon! I have my eye on a short break stay in their Safari hotel or would really like to try out their new glamping experience which Lily would love. Time to start planning my next car boot sale or nearly new sale and raise some pennies!

In the meantime, we're grateful to Eden for all the holiday activities they put on for free over the Easter break. I can't wait to see what they come up with next.

Happy Birthday Dad

This is my Dad. Mark Jolly. Father of four and mini cab driver from Sydenham in south east London.


Today is his birthday. We should be celebrating.

How (not) to write the perfect blog post

So today, I am alone! It's the Easter hols so I'm not at work like I usually am on a Friday but the kids are at nursery because I wanted a lie in didn't want to disrupt their routine. The house is quiet, or would be if I wasn't playing music, but it's peaceful. The washing is on, it's reasonably tidy. Now, time for blogging...

Or so you would think. Here is my tale of writing the elusive 'perfect' blog post.


Step one - have an idea.

Chuckle, think to yourself what a funny blog post that would make.