time flies when you're being a mum

Time to Play

Time to play is a category filled with fun things to do with your baby and family – it may be closely linked to Time to learn because learning should be fun


2015 - the year we saw all the castles in Northumberland and here they are!

11 Jan, 2016

A year ago today I started a challenge; The castle challenge, where I aimed to see all the castles in Northumberland with Reuben and anyone else who cared to join us.

The Castle Challenge - the year we saw all 40 of the Northumberland Castles

Over the year, Reuben and I, and our motley crew of friends, family and people we didn’t know, visited over 40 castles. We saw all 20 of the “true” castles, which, according to my book/castle bible, Castle of Northumberland, “are the great medieval fortresses of the Norman Barons and their descendants.” We also saw another 20 of the castles, such as Aydon, which were fortified houses, manor houses, and follies.

Oh my, the fun we have had! (more…)

Morpeth Castle

Dec
22nd
2015

Northumberland Castles Challenge

22 Dec, 2015

Well. That’s it. It’s all over! Morpeth Castle was the last of 40 Northumberland Castles that Reuben and I will visit this year.

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

I feel quite emotional about it. 40 castles?!

Before I go on a massive gush about all the castles we’ve visited, what it’s taught me, my favourite bits, my least favourite bits and my wonderful family and friends who have come on the journey with us…I want to share our final castle in a bit more detail because it was quite frankly a real bonza!

Morpeth Castle

The biggest difference between Morpeth Castle and all the other ones we’ve visited is that it is, for all intents and purposes, a holiday cottage! It has been excellently renovated and is now leased from the Council and run by the Landmark Trust.

So, on Friday afternoon, we set off at 3pm to get there at 4pm (which is the earliest  you can check in). Unfortunately this meant that we were finding a castle, hidden in a housing estate, with a postcode that sends you to the wrong place, in the dark…but once we did find it up a secret winding cobbled path, it was really exciting! This huge castle appearing like magic, looming dark and large over us.

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

This was actually at sunrise…imagine this appearing but in the dark!

After a bit more fumbling in the dark to find the key, we explored our home for the weekend.

With 3 stories, the first floor has a kitchen and living space, with a large dining room table and seating area for lots of guests. Then there is a double room and twin on the middle floor and another twin and a single room on the top floor.

Gabby decided she would share with Reuben on the middle floor in the room next to us. I didn’t blame her…it was kind of creepy arriving in the dark like that. I don’t think Morpeth Castle is meant to be haunted…but let’s say you could certainly feel the history!

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

The next morning in eerily warm temperatures, we explored the grounds in the daylight and did lots of playing hide and seek!

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

Gabby working on her photography skills!

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

Mike calling out of the window to see who wants what for breakfast. From a castle. Like you do.

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

The castle is right in the middle of Morpeth but I had never noticed it as it’s pretty much hidden in a forrest.

It’s a short walk down the hill to Carlisle Park, which has some lovely facilities for kids, the Railway Station and the town centre for shopping. So we nipped to the shops to stock up for our many guests who would be coming for a mini-celebration for the end of our Castle Challenge.

First up were Emily and Beau, and Cath with Isabella and Baby Sam. They arrived just in time for lunch, more hide and seek and a trip to the roof (which is a bit terrifying with little ones)!

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

You wouldn’t think it was December – look at those t-shirts!!

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

After all that excitement, the mums needed a rest with a cuppa. However, there was something about the castle that made all three our of toddlers go a bit bonkers, so after some running around and screaming, we decided it was time to bring out the iPad for 5 minutes rest before they had to back off home.

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

After dinner, my parents and Brother arrived with their 2 big dogs for the night. As there was no TV (much to Gabby’s surprise!) I had instructed my parents to bring games. So for the rest of the evening we played mini pool, indoor boules and the dreaded Monopoly! Gabriella now LOVES monopoly.

The next morning we did another swap over – my parents left and my older brother, who had just arrived  from Japan to spent Christmas in the UK, arrived with his family!

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

My Brother with my Newphew, Rowan – an expert photo taken by Reuben!

We spent another lovely afternoon exploring the grounds with them and cooking up a feast in the kitchen. And yet more Monopoly!

The next morning we had the most wonderful sunrise, so I got myself out to get a few more photos (the two photos at the top of this post were taken then). The sky went from the deepest pink to the brightest orange in a matter of minutes. Really spectacular.

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

Then after a few more cuddles with these two, we had to set about tidying up for our 10am kick out time!

Morpeth Castle, Northumberland Castles Challenge. Castle number 40 of a year of castle hunting!

Such a fabulous weekend and an amazing way to finish off a year of castle hunting with my darling boy, family and friends!

I’m planning on doing a bit of an epic round up of all our visits between now and the New Year, it may take some time but it’ll be worth it. What a year!

I’m linking up with Em and Aby for Point and Shoot.

A rare father/daughter day out to the idyllic Lakes Distillery

16 Nov, 2015

I have just got back from such a lovely treat! My Dad and I were invited to visit the Lakes Distillery in Cumbria and since it’s a good 2 hours away (and involved drinking whisky!), we decided we’d stay the night. So I’ve had a full 24 hours away with my dad!

Father-Daughter Day at The Lakes Distillery - Tour and day out with my dad!

An early Christmas present (he sure loves his whisky), it was a rare opportunity to go away, just the two of us, getting chance to talk about everything that is important to us in this moment of our lives and reconnect. (more…)

Our misty half term trip to Holy Island, Lindisfarne Castle and Bamburgh Castle - Plus Regatta competition for the whole family!

04 Nov, 2015

Halfterm meant only one thing in the Mums’ Days household – castle hunting! Cue eye rolling from Gabriella who really does think she’s had enough (despite loving them while we’re there!). And our destination this time was up the Northumberland Coast to Bamburgh Castle and, on Holy Island, the National Trust’s Lindisfarne Castle. The weather was terrible, but because we had our wonderful Regatta jackets it really didn’t matter.

There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes, right?! If you would like to win jackets for your family, please scroll down to the bottom of this (rather epic) post!

Coast and Castles

This is what Bamburgh Castle and Lindisfarne Castle look like on a good day…

Lindisfarne and Bamburgh Castles (more…)

31 Oct, 2015

We were recently invited to review the Oxelo B1 Scooter and as Reuben has never had a scooter I jumped at the chance.

Oxelo B1 Scooter Review (more…)

« Previous PageNext Page »