THE RUBENS AT THE PALACE-A SUMPTUOUS STAY

   

Last week we had the absolute pleasure of staying at a beautifully luxurious hotel in the heart of London over looking Buckingham Palace….an opulent and gloriously elegant home away from home with comfort & decadents exuding from all directions & in all manners…
A quintessentially traditional and exuberant welcome awaited us as we arrived to an idyllic but highly polished and warm reception at The Rubens at the Palace

And boy were we in for a treat on the highest of levels. 

The pavement welcome alone gave us a strong hint as to how our stay would far exceed our expectations…. 

 So let me take you inside and give you just a whisper of the lavishness of our stay… 

 We’re not familiar with the city, we arrived from the country with an outward etiquette that would probably denote that but from the second we adorned the pavement we seemly fell into the lap of luxury and were made to feel that our presence was of the upmost importance, each face we encountered was with an eagerness to help, a genuine interest & an ease to communicate, a homely air was given from the moment we checked in along with a firm knowledge that help & information to ease our stay was only a question away & our comfort was their aim.  
 Having arrived around 8am our bags were taken to be stored until our room was ready, we were given complimentary coffee and offered breakfast to start our day, after a long journey we decided on breakfast to gather our thoughts and plan our day ahead….a fabulous choice and a luxuriously pleasing yummy start to our stay… 
 Food is most certainly the way to my heart and The Rubens most certainly had my heart in their hands before 9am with an overwhelming feast…..it really was as good as it looked…  

    
 There was something for all tastes.. 

   It really was the best possible start to the day.. 
   
After breakfast we took a little time to explore the hotel…there was a room for everyone…each caked in beauty and elegance..

 The Library room… 
    
   

We sat and watched the world go by with Buckingham Palace Mews right outside the lounge window.. 

  

After a stroll through the virtually adjoining world famous St James’ park we were phoned by The Rubens to notify us that our room was ready… 

Our room was beautiful… 

   With a complete Royal view 👑

  and the attention to detail made it all the more comfortable… Homemade biscuits! 
 a paper delivered… 

 Fabulous room service…we had afternoon tea and it was exquisite… 

 and even the delivery of a promise of sleep with a turn down service.. 

 

We explored the hotel a little more lapping up the feel of relaxation bought to us from every direction.. 

 

   
   

Even the toilets were shrouded in elegance.. 

    
 

Our visit was a child free treat but it soon became evident to us that  The Rubens really was a haven of treats for children too and a very family friendly hotel with an importance of making the smallest guests feel at home…

The children can get involved in the Little Princes and Princesses Afternoon Tea, with plenty of tasty treats to tuck into! They can even try their hands at a Masterchef Pastry Experience – including the chance to decorate cupcakes with the Rubens chef! 

  
I couldn’t resist enquiring about a visit with kids and was impressed by the most simplistic of touches..

Children’s evening turndown including a glass of milk and kid’s treat 

Bathrobes and slippers 

Sticker / colouring books  

An interactive child’s map of London where they can tick off all the places they have seen   

Kids movies as well as a Nintendo Wii console and games. But we will never put them in your room without getting your parental permission first 

Children’s books and games available upon request

Check out these cute robes & slippers! 

 and these adorable complimentaries for the smallest guests.. 

 

We couldn’t resist taking one of the children’s maps on our day out 😊 

 Our stay at The Rubens at the Palace was a fabulous time away, luxurious, sumptuous, rejuvenating and a gorgeous treat without the children in tow but also certainly proved to be somewhere that we’d return to with the children. 

As winners and finalists of a family fun award we can firmly say that The Rubens has gone above and beyond for its younger guests….and we didn’t even take the children!!
Our trip was made special by not only the hotel but ultimately the evident heart, care and thought that exuded from all the staff within it, attention to detail was beautiful, cleanliness unquestionable & comfort exceeding our expectations…

The Rubens at the Palace was truly a beautiful and memorable place to stay at. 

For more details please visit their website http://www.rubenshotel.com/

WELCOME TO THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF SCOOTERS…

  
We were recently introduced to the wonderful & fun world of scooting!!

Scooters are something we’ve never really considered so when the lovely people over at Micro Scooters wanted to send us some to celebrate becoming finalist in the family fun category for the MAD blog awards….we accepted with excitement! 

Tailored to suit individual needs the scooters were ideal for the different age catergories in the house…everyone big and small had something just right for them…from a stunt scooter for the teenager right down to a dinosaurtastic scootersaraus set for Noah, 3. These scooters were certainly a far cry from the scooters that our elder children had played on 10 years ago, we were surprisingly impressed at how scooters have evolved! 

After ordering our scooters they arrived with us with 24 hours!! It was like Christmas… 

 Everyone was over the moon and eager to try them out… 

   

 So with all the scooters easily put together with zero stress we took a vote and decided to head out and trial our scooters with a trip to the skate park!
Here’s how we got on on our very first adventure with our Micro Scooters

With our scooter bags packed with duck food and pennies we found a great stretch along the seaside to test our scooters.. 

 the girls accessoried… 

 our first test was a speed test….Noah was the starter….

 and finisher….😊 

 but it wasn’t long before they raced off to do their own thing… 

 Elis, a usual skater boarder, took some time to familiarise himself with his new stunt scooter before we headed to the skate park.. 

 And obviously with his new scooter in tow, Noah 3, wanted to follow his big brother… 

 so we watched for a while from afar… 

 before heading down for a closer look.. 

 
He watched his brother whizzing past with the bigger boys so we decided to walk around the adjoining lake to feed the ducks in the hope that the skate park would be a little quieter later on…

So back on the scooters, we headed off… 

   Noah was sure the swans had come to check out his fantastic dinosaur helmet 😊 
 With a bit more practice under our belts…including a little practice in dusting ourselves off… 

 we headed back to the skatepark…

It was a lot quieter…we watched for a while… 

 AND THEN IN WE WENT!! 

 big brother and little brother scooted alongside each other… 

 until their knees could take no more… 

 and their hearts were content with a day full of scooting memories to take home… 

 We would like to thank Micro Scooters for sending us our new scooters, we can’t rave about them enough! They are fantastic and a superb addition to the family, our schools runs just got a whole load easier and fun…

You have the one 110% approval from us for a family fun product! 

The scooters we were sent were *Micro MX BenJ stunt scooter

*Micro Trixx scooter

*Maxi Micro scooter 

*Mini Micro Scooter

You can find more info on their website Website here.

Or you could follow their Facebook page here for info, competitions and loads of fun…

We are now scooting converts… 

 Especially a three year old, dinosaur loving little boys that now has some fab memories and a new favourite item to take to bed 😉❤️ 

 
You can follow more of our daily family fun on Facebook here.

TINTERN OLD STATION 

 We went on an after school adventure took us to The Old Station in Tintern, a favourite local spot of ours to take a picnic to and walk through the woods, along the riverbank, through the meadows and generally absorb the beauty of the Wye Valley in which it’s nestled in.

It costs just £1 to park for 3 hours and is always open. 

There’s a stationery train which double as a museum & gift shop during the day and a cafe that sells all sorts of yummies….but you’re free to take a picnic too. 

The play park has recently been added to and you can check their websites for organised events if you’d prefer…we just like to visit to enjoy all the natural beauty it has to offer….

http://www.tinternvillage.co.uk/seedo/tintern-old-station

Here’s how our visit looked  

                                   

A fab place!!  

SKIRRID FAWR MOUNTAIN SUNSET WALK.

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Skirrid Fawr is a beautiful mountain based in Abergavenny, Mid Wales, it has with stunning 360 views, it’s a real treat for little effort and manageable for the smallest of legs. It’s an ideal walk to watch he sun rise or descend. The woodlands surrounding it are carpeted with flowers.
From the car park we followed the gravel track that took a sharp right bend, we continued along this path and entered the woodland by the stile at the top of track. Follow the obvious path uphill until you reach a wooden gate at the top of the woodland, here you’ll find a bench beneath a huge oak tree, we followed the path to the right and climbed the path, sometimes quite steep, through the woods and all the way to the top.
There are a few different approaches on the way up, we took the most direct and marked route. Can get very muddy in poor weather and a little windy and cold on the top especially as the sun goes down.
Walking boots should ideally be worn as the walk can be a little rocky underfoot but we were fine in wellingtons. Always wear clothing that reflects the weather and even if the sun is shine remember to take some warm clothing in your rucksack as the weather can quickly change on the top. Be sensible, simple common sense is an ideal thing to take with you when walking. Always let someone know where you are going even if it’s through a simple Facebook post. Love the outdoors and always take your litter home.
The route was approx 4 miles from start to finish.
By car: A465 Hereford road bypassing Abergavenny Lef turn onto the B4521 old Monmouth road, car park is 1.5 miles (2.4km) on left (looks like a layby) grid ref: SO328164

We headed up to watch the sun set with cake in tow….

Here’s how we got on.

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If you would like to follow more of our daily frugal fun and magical adventures & activities during a childhood that’s fleeting you can find us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Family-days-Tried-tested/287237957955725?fref=photo&ref=tn_tnmn

DUCK RACING

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We decided we were going to do our own duck race! We bought a big box of 50 rubber ducks in ‘Home Bargains’ and set about numbering them up and decorating them. We made a ‘duck race’ sign and a finish line using an old sheet. We then headed out to the stream not forgetting our nets to catch our racing ducks at the end…

Here’s how we got on..

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Once we had finished our prep we were off!!

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We took a hat full of chocolate gold coins for the winners..

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We set up our finish line on a footbridge..

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Then we headed to the other end of the stream to start our race..

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AND THEY WERE OFF!!!

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We w

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We waited for them to cross the finish line before setting about fishing them out…

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And we counted them up yo make sure we hadn’t lost any..

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Some of us got some serious booties retrieving them 🙂

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For the £5 it cost for our ducks we had a fab afternoon, we finished we a picnic on the river bank.

MAD BLOG AWARDS 2014

20140329-135143.jpgHow did we get here…

2 years ago I’d never even heard of blogging, my only form of social networking was a personal Facebook page, twitter evaded me (& still does) and anything else with more that a few channels or Apps on would completely drift over my head, I knew how to log into Facebook on my iPhone but was lost if I needed to navigate my way to finding my own phone number, and nothing has really changed or moved on much, I daren’t try changing the radio station in the car as I struggle to return from the white noise back to a decipherable tune. I have a love for photography but do little else than push a singular button and hope for the best…. To be fair I’m pretty crap with technology all around, a cashpoint machine is probably my most adventurous, eligible & successful technological achievement even though not losing my card or remembering the pin are a whole different struggle. I try over & over again to make myself learn this new era, the way forward, but simplicity swamps my head & I often give up before I’ve even started, then my failings in not seeing things through after promising to force myself to learn make my head hurt. I want to learn, more than anything I want to learn but the whole process of being able to do what the rest of the online world seemingly seems to be doing with ease makes me feel defeated. I want to be a confident, able & successful blogger…
So I continue to try, blindly, without knowledge or understanding of what I’m doing, pretty much like clicking the button on my camera & hoping for the best…. This is how I blog, I’m not gonna lie, I haven’t got a blumming clue, I struggle to organise myself or dust up my memory enough to remember what my passwords & user names are, I don’t know the basics, the jargon is like a foreign language, simple things like replying to comments muddle me & I’ve more chance of picking winning lottery numbers than explaining to you what a widget is, the water seems deep & as long as I tread it then I’m hoping that that’s enough…. But I want to learn, I want to swim in an ocean of bloggers, ideally I would like to sail in tranquil waters in a sea of crystal clad blue… I’m just learning, & thankful for being afloat.

My taste for blogging really started on Facebook, my comfort zone & security blanket. Almost two years ago just after our 6th child, baby Noah, arrived in the world, we set off on an adventure to inspire others to make magical childhood memories regardless of amenities, abilities, location or finances by posting what we do as a family, and it’s been a truly beautiful journey so far & continues to be so. I’ve shared stupid amounts of good stuff, bad stuff, highs, lows, up & downs, I’ve laid bare our everyday lives & never been ashamed of the lack of money in our pockets or unfortunate situations life has thrown us, I’ve shared smiles, laughter, milestones & life changing events in sickness and in health, happiness & sadness, I’ve shared our dysfunction as a family… But our real aim has been in sharing the little things that tick over a fleeting childhood & make it enchanting, the magical ability that we firmly believe we have as parents to install memories, I’ve shared the effort and the enthusiasm of our actions as parents & the joys in reaping what we sow, I’ve shared my belief that parenting has no wrong or right way, no mapped out suggested direction,nobody is perfect, we make mistakes, i’ve shared those mistakes….we’ve shared adventure & explorations, blue skies & mountains, waterfalls & the oceans, we’ve shared our love for the outdoors & eating cake on mountain tops, we’ve shared slight of hand, illusion & many discoveries of fairies & natural beauty…I’ve shared with you almost everything that parenting throws at me, Family Days has shared the love that exudes from our hearts..
…..and it appears to have been gratefully accepted and returned to us in the form of inspiration to make more memories, keep dancing through the rain & the confirmation that our page & blog confirms that dysfunctional is indeed an accepted normality, we all journey in the same direction…

Rest assured we still continue to adventure & are just embarking on a truly beautiful, scary & magical exploration, shortly to be revealed & shared….very soon.

My reasoning for this post.

Ultimately it’s a thank you…
I don’t often write much on my blog, trying to gain advice within the bloggers community It was once suggested to keep things short & sweet should I ever want to become a successful blogger, so that’s what I started to do, I steered away from long winded and became… Short. Sweet. Basic. No blabbering on…I reserve that addiction for Family Days on Facebook…
Unlike the essays & rambling I first started out with on my blog, it seemed a strange direction to move from because I enjoy writing, I love to babble, so for today it’s your choice if you’d like to read on & my hope that you’ll continue.
I can’t really tell you what a tough couple of weeks we’ve had in the Family Days household, it’s been a bumpy ride that our followers may be a little familiar with, a 5 year old with a dodgy heart has certainly tested us recently (but not grounded us!), the loss of a dear friend, a health scare & circle of life situations have all come rapping on our door at once…but we’ve smiled, faced reality, never hidden the children from the everydayness of life that will ultimately round them as people & we’ve cracked on appreciating the good & eating cake….but from out of our darkness came an unexpected & incredibly bright light! A pat on the back for the last (almost) 2 years, a high five, for me…a huge achievement…

I AM A FINALIST IN THE MAD BLOG AWARDS 2014 FOR BEST FAMILY FUN!!!

Dysfunction is what we do best with family fun coming in at a close second 😉

Obviously I would like to win but that’s enough for me, I felt a sense of specialness to learn a few weeks ago that Family Days Tried & Tested had been nominated and to since add to that glorious cake and find out we’ve become finalists….I have to admit it’s made my head dizzy. Which doesn’t take a lot. It’s made all the times I’ve sat at the computer wondering if I could cut it as a blogger & if blogging was a place for me seem an answerable question. I think I’m swimming.

Over 200.000 nominations were received in the Mad Blog awards! That’s insane. 75 blogs reached the finals. That’s ludicrous. 5 blogs became finalists in each category. Just 5. We are one of those 5 & I really can’t explain how ridiculously humbling that is. Does that make me a successful blogger? In my heart, that’s more than enough & I am excruciatingly proud of myself…

Apologies for babbling, but Eeeeeeekkkkk 😀

If you fancy voting for us to win then that would be lovely, you can do so by following the link below, look for ‘Family Days Tried & Tested’ in the ‘Best Family Fun’ category.
http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.the-mads.com%2Fawards%2F&h=bAQETnRbhAQGNeplmxztBdzYUXFnzus-qpdGmnX3IR90Kig&enc=AZNRw8TekSq0hzFCN4tay0sybzSFamWNXGSLTkB9HdMMiyEp0BfOiT9Aaxs1xKVhgM19jdUrbOEOFoZeq9Hne-JW&s=1

Good luck to everyone in the running and if ever there was an excuse to eat cake then now we have one 😀

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If you would like to follow more our daily, fun, frugal & magical memory making activities & adventures during a childhood that’s fleeting you can also find us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Family-days-Tried-tested/287237957955725?ref=tn_tnmn

MAN V FOOD THEMED DINNER

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We decided we wanted to do our own Man V Food challenge…. So we set about turning the kitchen table into our Family Days Diner…
Here’s how we got on…

We started with an empty table space..

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I hung some wallpaper on the wall with drawing pins..

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I then used black paint to make our diner tiles..

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We then painted and hung our banner and some mega burgers..

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I went to the supermarket & bought, onion rings, fries, cheese, a tin of chilli, coke & mince to make our burgers….
We mixed the mince with breadcrumbs, egg, onion & some salt and pepper to season…
The kids mixed the mixture together..

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And then formed the patties..

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We made labels for our vase of coke..

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and our burger tower..

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We painted a piece of card black to use as our menu board and stood it up by pushing it into a potato..

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We made certificates for the winners and losers..

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And we set about cooking our food..

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We had stacked onion rings and burgers, I pushed skewers into potatoes to use as our stackers..

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and a vase of coke..

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We also had cheesy chips..

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We battled through our dinner and ate till our bellies could take no more…in the end the food won…

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If you would like to follow more of our daily, fun & magical memory making activities and adventures during a childhood that’s fleeting you can find us on Facebook for more https://www.facebook.com/pages/Family-days-Tried-tested/287237957955725?ref=hl

BAGUETTE BATTLE PICNIC COMPETITION

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With a love of Subway in tow we decided to head to the forest for a springtime picnic with a difference… We were going to have a baguette battle & compete in making our own deliciously filled baguettes.
We had a few other activities on the agenda including duck feeding, fairy door building & searching for signs of spring, but first and foremost was a visit to the supermarket for yummy supplies… Our budget was £10 to share between 4 children & 2 adults.

Our adventure took place at Cannops ponds in the Forest of Dean…
Here’s how we did…

We made a simple sign with our white board..

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And we set up our table with everything we needed to fill our baguettes..

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And the kids cracked on with making their delightful creations..

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We made simple chef hats by putting together two pieces of paper and folding like a concertina fan, we then put sticky tape along each end and opened up to fit on our heads…
Even Noah had a go at a chocolate spread & banana baguette…

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Ever one was very proud!

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After we had finished we cleared away our picnic table ready to make some fairy doors..

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We placed our doors in the tree bases..

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We then headed for a walk around the duck ponds… Noah got weigh laid with puddles & his sisters welly…

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We found mythical water tree dragons that we climbed on and tamed….

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And headed deeper into the forest to explore…the girls searched for secret places….

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But most often ended up at the waters edge..

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I hope they were contemplating the day & appreciating being sisters…

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As we headed home we stopped of at the arboretum to search for signs of spring and found some beautiful blossom…

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We had a really good day and with full bellies we headed home to decide who was to be awarded the coveted & prestigious golden baguette award 🙂

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If you would like to follow more of our daily, frugal & fun memory making activities and adventures during a childhood that’s fleeting you can find us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Family-days-Tried-tested/287237957955725?ref=hl

FAMILY DAYS 50 THINGS TO DO BEFORE OR AFTER YOU’RE 11 & 3/4’s ….A TRIED & TESTED GUIDE TO MAKING CHILDHOOD MAGICAL

Remember your childhood? Dodgy dangerous homemade go carts, bruised knees & war wounds, climbing trees & building dens, wheelbarrow racing & playing out from dawn til dusk. The holidays seemed to last forever & be filled with adventures that we made without any money in our pockets but with bucket loads of imagination and hearts full of enthusiasm to pedal through puddles, ignore the rain & live for each minute of each day in a world of natural make believe with no concept of time & only how long we could play out being our focus & when we could next call for our mates. It seems that at the time we hade no knowledge of the importance of the era, how times would change & how we would sit back as we grew & realise the importance of the freedom we had in our youth in all that we did, the ability to be able to scrape ourselves up by living dangerously, the acceptance in taking risks and the fun we had in living in an era that did not have health & safety holding us back.

We still try to live by these rules, as parents we can still provide our children with a chance to take risks, to get muddy, to learn lessons by consequence and to ultimately enjoy a childhood of freedom, exploration & adventure just like we did.

So I decided to compile a list of some of the things that we’ve squeezed into a childhood that’s fleeting and becoming more and more defined by ‘cans & cants’ ‘rules & regulation’ ‘a claims culture’ & ‘health & safety’…

We do not live within a ball of cotton wool, we have plasters for disasters & kisses to make things better.

If you enjoy our list please share it for others to enjoy.

This is our childhood list of 50 things to do before & after you are 11 3/4’s because although childhood is fleeting we believe it can still last forever…

No 1….Paddling pool star gazing.

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No 2…Homemade ice rink.

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No 3…Finding sharks teeth

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No 4…Aeroplane spotting

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No 5…Collecting treasures to keep.

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No 6…Nightime Swingball

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No 7…Wheel barrow racing

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No 8…Carrier bag kites

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No 9…Park in the dark.

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No 10…Discovering shooting stars.

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No 11…Discovering pearls.

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No 12…Waterbutt rolling

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No 13…Tin can marshmallow toasting.

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No 14…Finding evidence of fairies.

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No 15…Pop up tent flying

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No 16…Reaching for the moon.

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No 17…Embracing the rain

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No 18…Bug hunting in flowers as tall as you.

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No 19…Build your own campfire

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No 20…Tame a prehistoric tree rhino or similar.

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No 21…Skim stones in your pants.

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No 22…Get lost in tall grass.

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No 23…Set up camp inside.

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No 24…Sit on hay bales.

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No 25…Build your own Tipi

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No 26…Watch the sun set from a hill.

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No 27…Explore a crop circle

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No 28…Run through a meadow full of flowers.

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No 29…Find buried treasure at the beach.

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No 30…walk behind a waterfall.

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No 31…hunt for crystal gemstones

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No 32…Search for dragon eggs.

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No 33…Toast marshmallows in your PJ’s

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No 34…Make a fabric swing in the woods.

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No 35…Explore something frozen outdoors.

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No 36…Dance under blossom trees

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No 37…Make an outdoor pop up tent cinema

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No 38…Lilo surf in the rain

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No 39…Blow bubbles & watch them freeze on frosty mornings.

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No 40…Make ice lanterns.

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No 41…Make an under table hammock

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No 42…Go for a nocturnal walk.

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No 43…Find a message in a bottle.

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No 44…Pan for gold.

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No 45…set up a garden shower.

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No 46…have an outdoor egg cooking competition.

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No 47…Leave fairy messages whilst the kids sleep.

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No 48…bath in the kitchen sink.

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No 49…Get your toes muddy.

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And finally, reach for the sun & squeeze every last drop from every day…..

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I hope you’ve enjoyed our 50 things list, if you would like to follow us & discover more daily, fun & frugal magical memory making activities & adventures during a childhood that’s fleeting you can find us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Family-days-Tried-tested/287237957955725?ref=hl