Confetti Petals, House Decorating & Apple Cake

I’m just catching up on a few things we did at the weekend now. I’ve been submitting books and editing and it has taken up most of my time. I always like writing on here because it feels lighter and like a holiday from everything else πŸ™‚ Last weekend, we went for a very long National Trust walk. We hadn’t been to Mount Stewart in a couple of months and all the summery flowers had come out in the meantime πŸ™‚ I don’t know why kids always want to poke at ponds, getting dangerously close but somehow never falling in (maybe I shouldn’t speak too soon.) They were very interested in some pond skaters they spotted πŸ™‚ I paused to take pictures of all the bright flowers. These might be my favourite shade of pink πŸ™‚ The girls stopped to smell all the flowers and see which ones had the strongest scent.

Then, I had to get a photo of my daughter running off into another garden. The gate makes me think of the book The Secret Garden and the place has that feel to it when no one else is there. We went in the morning and it was really quiet. We went to the cafe to get some ice-cream/coffee and my daughter did a dance performance for us while she ate her lolly (she can never only do one thing at a time :))

We were lucky to get such beautiful weather because it’s been very unpredictable lately (even for Northern Ireland.) We took a long walk around the lake and stopped at the little island. The girls said hello to the ducks and swans. We saw one swan fly across the surface of the lake from one end to the other in a couple of seconds – I never noticed before how powerful they are when they have a reason to get somewhere πŸ™‚ There were carpets of petals everywhere and it looked like confetti. We had to get some photos of their matching/contrasting coats with them.

The girls climbed every tree and walked on all the stepping stones, taking me to explore under the trees. They insisted on collecting flower heads that were still intact on the ground to make bouquets. We had a picnic while we sat at the lake. Some ducklings joined us and ate the crumbs. Then, we left and went to the woodland playground on the other side. The girls love climbing and going on the see-saws. We spent a long time there, and attempted some den building, but we couldn’t find any thinner branches to layer on top of it πŸ™‚

When we got home, I decided to make some comfort food. We had beef casserole and I made an apple cake. There’s something about warm fruit cake with custard that just makes you feel better after a long day of activity πŸ™‚

On Sunday, the girls decorated their houses they made the previous week. They just used PVA glue to add multi-coloured matchsticks and straws. It was hard work getting them to stay on and took a lot of glue, but it kept the girls focused on something for a while πŸ™‚ Their art box came with suggestions on a card to add ladders, slides, etc to their houses πŸ™‚ I like the way it encourages them to be creative without dictating what they have to do. Then, the girls played with Play Doh and worked on their magazines πŸ™‚ I never find kids’ magazines a waste of money (even though the amount of plastic that comes with them sometimes bothers me) because it keeps them engaged in something quiet and educational instead of tearing the house apart or begging for TV πŸ™‚ I found some Refuge hot chocolate in the cupboard and made some before we set off to see family πŸ™‚ I love finding treats in the cupboard you forgot were there πŸ™‚

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