Review: West Lodge Rural Centre – fantastic family day out!

** “One of Northamptonshire’s premier family days’ out” **

My first visit to West Lodge was just over a year ago, and I was so impressed with it, I  became an annual membership holder before my next trip.  I have since visited many times, and my children (aged 3 and 2) really enjoy going back time and time again.

A little background on the farm: The Dee Family have been at the farm for over 50 years, spanning a total of three generations.  Today, the farm is run by Farmers’ Tony, Ed, Mo and Ryan.  Set in 540 acres of beautiful Northamptonshire countryside, there is more than plenty to explore!

This Saturday (14th October), we arrived at the farm at 9.25am (keen beans as it opens at 9.30am!) for the opening of the NEW ADVENTURE PLAY BARN.  I have been eagerly following the progress on both Instagram and Facebook for the past few months, and boy, it did not disappoint.  My two were off straight away exploring everything, and I’m not ashamed to say I happily joined them as well!  The centre of the play barn is a beautiful tree sculpture and everything joins to this point, its the heart of the barn.  It is clear that, A LOT of time, thought and heart has gone into the building of the adventure play barn, as it absolutely beautiful; the murals all over the walls are like being outside, but inside, everything is made of wood, and beautifully crafted, and it seamlessly joins with the feel of the rest of the farm.  All the equipment has been designed with both children and adults in mind as it is all capable of sustaining a grown adult, this really does put your mind at rest knowing it is safe to guide your children through.  An extra bonus of the barn is the newly fitted cafe offering a variety of packed sandwiches, delicious cakes, and hot and cold drinks.

And if the adventure barn isn’t enough, there is PLENTY more to see and do at the farm.  I’ve visited quite a few farms with my children, and West Lodge has the best ‘petting area’ I’ve come across.  The guinea pigs and rabbits are wonderfully tame, and the staff are both knowledgeable and friendly.  Animal feed for the goats and other animals is available in the reception area for 30p a bag.  My son is a big fan of feeding the goats, my daughter is slowly coming round to the idea, but enjoys watching her big brother do it.  And if feeding goats and petting small animals isn’t enough, there is always an opportunity to feed cade goats and lambs in the Spring as well as shearing in the Summer.

Another treat is the outdoor play area, or the ‘castle’ as we like to refer to it.  There is a sand-pit, pedal tractors, a castle, climbing frame, and swings.  We can easily spend more than hour pottering around the various apparatus on the play area.  The play area is well equipped with a number of picnic tables (as well as many others elsewhere on the farm), perfect for a sunny day picnic.  Although, if al fresco dining isn’t your thing, there is a fantastic restaurant on site with hot and cold food, delicious cakes and plenty of drinks.  After your play, and lunch, you can have a ride on the ‘barrel ride’, this is a free tractor ride around the play area, it is always popular, so beware, you may have to wait your turn.

 

If all this isn’t enough to tempt you to visit West Lodge, do look at the their website as there is always a fantastic themed day in the pipeline! October is always Halloween themed with spooky tractor rides, witches houses and pumpkin carving.  November sees the big bonfire party. December is Santa’s grotto, Christmas card making and the Christmas experience.  Spring sees lambing, lamb feeding, the Easter bunny and egg hunts.  This list is just a snapshot of  the many things the farm has to offer throughout the year.

  

Still not worn out? There are plenty of tracks and trails around the farm taking in lots of animals on route, including pigs, sheep, cattle, horses (you can ride a pony for an extra charge), chickens, peacocks, ducks and more I have no doubt forgot to mention!

Overall, I would definitely recommend a visit to West lodge Rural Centre, they really have nailed a family day out come rain or shine. Make sure you book your tickets online to avoid disappointment!

http://www.westlodgeruralcentre.co.uk

Admission prices (on the day):

Adult – £7.45, Child – £7.45, under 2 – FREE.

Disclaimer: I have carried out this review independently, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thank you

AWOOE x

And just like that, you are two!


So today is the day that my darling baby girl turns two, I literally cannot believe she is actually two.  Two whole years!  All my friends seem to be popping out second siblings at the moment causing my uterus to weep for a third; although like my friend says, “I’ll have a third baby and be divorced in the same year!”. She still seems so baby like to me, I think because I treat her a bit like that (savouring the baby days) and her speech seems less developed than her brother’s was, so it makes her feel younger, although now I’ve written that her speech seems to be improving loads just this week.

You were a shock arrival at just under two weeks early and we were not prepared in any way! The car seat was still in the garage and the moses basket had been in the loft for well over a year! You were such a little dot too at just 5lb 8oz; you had these tiny little legs like a sparrow.  You were fussy to feed and struggled to gain weight in the beginning, but you wouldn’t think it to look at you now.


You are beginning to become such an independent little girl, I guess having an older brother does that.  I can sense potty training is just around the corner (although that would mean no more changing nappies in the day which would be great, but it also definitely signifies you’re a big girl!), you refuse to sit in a high chair anymore and we are constantly asking you to ‘sit down’ at the table, you won’t let me open your yoghurt anymore, you love playing with dolls as well as splashing in muddy puddles and you love watching Peppa Pig and your new favourite phrase is ‘No Mummy‘; usually said with a frown.

However, there are still some baby-ish ways you are accustomed to which I love.  You are a terrible sleeper (ok, I don’t love this trait!), a constant source of my moans and groans.  I think I could count on my hands the amount of times you’ve slept through in two years.   When I went back to work, we got into a bad habit of allowing you to come and cuddle in bed with us as we were exhausted constantly getting up.  I tried sleep training you in the summer holidays and it succeeded for about two weeks, but old habits have crept back in, and you are once again a ‘bed invader’.  Whilst it can be terribly annoying to co-sleep with a child (thankfully for me, my husband usually bares the brunt of the kicking!), I try (and I mean TRY) to take pleasure knowing she likes to be close to us and loves a cuddle, and you do love a cuddle or ‘TUDDLE” as you call it. You are still very much attached to your dummy, it’s essential for getting you to sleep so I don’t think it’ll be going anytime soon! I’m desperately trying to hold onto the baby days just that little bit longer and have recently bought you some more babygrows for bedtime, and boy do you look cute.


She is such a little dare devil: running around everywhere, jumping off anything and everything, climbing anything and everything.  I honestly need eyes in the back of head, and I thought mine were good being a teacher and all, but boy do they need honing to match little L. My Mum will laugh when she reads this, but L is most certainly a chip off the old block.  It is almost like she is ‘baby me’ reincarnated but with the tantrums multiplied ten fold.  She is such a headstrong little girl who knows what she wants, and will definitely sulk if she doesn’t get it.  Obviously, now you are two, we enter the realms of the ‘Terrible Two’s’, although we most certainly seem to have learned how to tantrum with the best of them already.  Jeepers, you can be difficult at times, and I can already see we will clash when you are older as we are so similar minded!

Sadly, she is yet to have a proper birthday party with her friends, but I have attempted to make her some Peppa Pig cupcakes for nursery. We have my parents here for the weekend so I am looking forward to enjoying some family time, more cake and lots of adventures!

I still can’t believe you are actually two, as I remember 2.42am on the 5th October 2015 like it was yesterday.  I hope you continue to be you with that cheeky grin and gorgeous smile as (and I think you know this) it melts my heart everytime.

You’re funny and frustrating, inquisitive and infuriating, caring and challenging, yet I can’t imagine a single day without seeing your infectious smile.

Happy birthday my sweet little baby girl

Love Mummy

x x x x