Join the National Trust Coast campaign launch #lovethecoast

A Message from The National Trust:

2015 is a big year for the National Trust as we’re celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Neptune Coastline Campaign, one of the longest running environmental campaigns in western Europe.

As a result we are able to care for 775 miles of coast in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, equating to over 10% of the UK’s coastline.

On Monday July 13th, our new advertising campaign will launch featuring stunning coastal landscapes and the first verses of a poem written and spoken by Punk Poet, Dr. John Cooper Clarke. This will then kick off a summer-long participatory campaign that will ask the nation to share their coastal memories with us which will help Dr. John Cooper Clarke curate the ‘Nation’s Ode to the Coast’ – a collaborative poem written by and for the people of the UK. See a sneak preview from behind the scenes here.

We’d love your help to spread the word and get people involved!

How do you get involved?

  • Please share your coastal memories – this can be in the form of a Tweet, Facebook post, Instagram upload, Pinterest board, recording of a coastal sound or penning a few lines and sharing them with us at2015 is a big year for the National Trust as we’re celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Neptune Coastline Campaign, one of the longest running environmental campaigns in western Europe.

    As a result we are able to care for 775 miles of coast in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, equating to over 10% of the UK’s coastline.

    On Monday July 13th, our new advertising campaign will launch featuring stunning coastal landscapes and the first verses of a poem written and spoken by Punk Poet, Dr. John Cooper Clarke. This will then kick off a summer-long participatory campaign that will ask the nation to share their coastal memories with us which will help Dr. John Cooper Clarke curate the ‘Nation’s Ode to the Coast’ – a collaborative poem written by and for the people of the UK. See a sneak preview from behind the scenes here.

    We’d love your help to spread the word and get people involved!

    How do you get involved?

    • Please share your coastal memories – this can be in the form of a Tweet, Facebook post, Instagram upload, Pinterest board, recording of a coastal sound or penning a few lines and sharing them with us at #lovethecoast and where possible, our tag @nationaltrust.

We look forward to seeing your #lovethecoast and making this summer beside the sea as big and exciting as possible.

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Be an ‘Eggsplorer’ with National Trust and Cadbury

Children enjoying their chocolate eggs after completing the Easter Egg Trail event at Kedleston Hall, DerbyshireCadbury teams up with the National Trust to offer families a cracking Easter weekend

It’s almost that time of the year again when Cadbury teams up with the National Trust to offer families the ultimate day out with their popular Easter Egg Trails.

This year, the Cadbury Eggsplorers Easter Egg Trail (3-6 April) will be inviting families to unleash their inner explorer with adventurous trails taking place across the country.

From spring woodlands and craggy coastlines, to historic houses and enchanting castles, there are over 250 Cadbury Easter Egg Trails to choose from across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, guaranteeing a fun-filled Easter for everyone.

What’s more, all Eggsplorers will receive a delicious Cadbury chocolaty treat at the end of each completed trail, and every single Cadbury Easter Egg Trail will help support special places looked after by the National Trust for future generations to explore.

The National Trust has over 250 Cadbury Easter Egg Trails to choose from across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. To join in with the fun and find a Cadbury Easter Egg Trail near you, visit www.eastereggtrail.com

Make a splash by the coast

Sheringham Park, Norfolk

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 10am – 4.15pm*

Wander through Sheringham Park this Easter and discover a woodland garden with miles of stunning coastal views. Follow the Cadbury Easter Egg Trail amongst the early flowering rhododendrons and camellias and look for signs of spring. Once you’ve eggsplored the park and solved all the clues you can collect your yummy Cadbury chocolate Egghead prize.

Price: £2.30

For more information, please call 01263 820550

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sheringham-park/

Children taking part in an Easter egg trail event on the Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire.

Studland Beach, Dorset

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 10.30am – 3.30pm

Celebrate Easter at Studland with a Cadbury Easter Egg Trail along the beach and through the nature reserve. Studland village was the inspiration for Toytown in Enid Blyton’s Noddy books, while the sandy beach, heathland and dunes are home to many fantastic creatures, including rare reptiles, deer and seabirds. This year the Easter bunny has also paid a visit, so why not follow the bunny footprints and solve the clues to find your Cadbury chocolate Egghead prize? Have fun with all the family this Easter on the sheltered, sandy and safe four miles of unspoilt beaches which are ideal for making sandcastles and enjoying some watersports.

Price: £2.50

For more information, please call 01929 450500

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/studland-beach/

Enchanting forests and wild woodlands

Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 10am – 4pm

Ancient woods, rolling hills and wiggly footpaths make Ashridge Estate the perfect place for exploring this Easter. Follow the clues on the Cadbury Easter Egg Trail and see if you can answer the questions to earn yourself a yummy Cadbury chocolate Egghead reward. Exercise your eggsplorer skills and don’t forget to look out for lots of exciting wildlife along the way.

Price: £3

For more information, please call 01442 851227

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ashridge-estate/

Opening a chocolate egg following an Easter egg hunt at Tyntesfield, North Somerset.

Gibside, Tyne & Wear

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 11am – 3pm*

Gibside is so close to Tyneside but a million miles from city life, and this Easter there’s plenty planned for all the family.  A real wildlife haven, the estate is home to some very rare animals, including red kites and red squirrels. Who knows, you might even spot these incredible creatures and their friends whilst exploring on the Cadbury Easter Egg Trail. With big open gardens and parklands to explore, you might also find some Cadbury chocolate Eggheads at the end of the trail.

Price: £2.50 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01207 541820

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/gibside

Hidden historic houses

Kingston Lacy, Dorset

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 10.30am – 4pm*

From Iron Age forts, to colourful heathland, water meadows and even a Roman road, there’s a lot to see on the Kingston Lacy estate. With acres of beautiful gardens and parkland to explore including a kitchen garden with resident pigs, you can have a great family day out. See if you can solve the riddles and clues on the Cadbury Easter Egg Trail and claim your very own Cadbury chocolate Egghead. Don’t forget to pop by the restaurant to try out the home-made cake and prize-winning scones to feed the little eggsplorers at the end of the day.

Price: £2.50 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01202 883402

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kingston-lacy/

Boy playing in a tree at Tyntesfield, North Somerset.

Attingham Park, Shropshire          

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 10am – 4pm

Set alongside the rivers Severn and Tern and surrounded by stunning views of the Shropshire Hills, Attingham’s Easter egg trail takes families on an exciting adventure through the grounds. The Deer Park, walled garden and acres of wooded parks around Attingham House are home to loads of exciting wildlife. Come and meet them all this weekend on a wild and wonderful Cadbury Easter Egg Trail with eggscellent family activities and solve the clues to win your Cadbury chocolate Egghead prize.

Price: £2.50 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01743 708162

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/attingham-park/

Glorious gardens to explore

Mount Stewart, County Down

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 12pm – 4pm

As one of the Trust’s the most inspiring and unusual gardens, there’s a surprise around every corner at Mount Stewart. This Easter, the Cadbury Easter Egg Trail takes families on a hunt through the beautiful woodland areas and Lake Walk. Find out more about Edith, Lady Londonderry who created the garden and discover more about her passion for the outdoors as you journey through the different worlds she designed. Along the way uncover the secrets of Mount Stewart Gardens before collecting your yummy Cadbury chocolate Egghead prize.

Price: £1 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 028 4278 8387

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mount-stewart/

An Easter Egg Trail day at Charlecote Park, Warwickshire.

Nymans, West Sussex

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 10.30am – 3.30pm*

There’s no better way to explore this romantic house, garden and ruins, with beautiful woodland set in High Weald than taking part in the Cadbury Easter Egg Trail. Discover hidden corners and secret paths of the beautiful spring garden; just don’t forget to claim your Cadbury chocolate Egghead at the end of the trail.

Price: £2.50 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01444 405250

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/nymans

Characterful castles

Chirk Castle, Wrexham

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 11am – 4pm*

Step back in time and discover 700 years of mystery and intrigue whilst following the Cadbury Easter Egg Trail at Chirk Castle. Crammed with surprises along the way, the trail will lead families down into the dungeons and everyone will need to have their wits about them to avoid being put in the stocks before claiming their Cadbury chocolate Egghead prize.

Price: £2.50 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01691 777701

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/chirk-castle

Children on an Easter egg trail at Sheffield Park, East Sussex, sponsored by Cadbury, Reading, Berkshire, during March

Wray Castle, Cumbria

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 10.30am – 4pm

This Easter make a splash and visit Wray Castle nestled on the shores of Lake Windermere and discover turrets and towers fit for a knight in shining armour. Have fun exploring this quirky building, solving clues along the way in order to claim your Cadbury chocolate Egghead prize. Or for the really adventurous, head out into grounds and track down the clues hidden around the estate.

Price: £2 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01539 433250

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wray-castle/

A little out of the ordinary

Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 10:30am – 4.15pm*

Wimpolena, the Wimpole goose, heard that there were some Cadbury chocolate Eggheads to discover around Wimpole Home Farm. She was in such a hurry to find them that she lost some of her feathers in the gardens. Help her find her feathers to spell out the magic word, and she might let you have some of the Cadbury chocolate Eggheads she’s looking after.

Price: £2 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01223 206000

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wimpole

Children on an Easter egg trail at Basildon Park, sponsored by Cadbury, Reading, Berkshire, during March

Lacock Abbey, Fox Talbot Museum and Village, Wiltshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 5 – 6 April, 10.30am – 4pm

Lacock Abbey, with its cloisters and woodland grounds is an ideal place to explore and at this year’s Cadbury Easter Egg Trail you can explore the stars too. Famous resident Fox Talbot, who is best known as the inventor of the photographic negative, loved gazing at the planets. You will be following in his footsteps as you hunt for egg shaped planets and discover fascinating facts about other worlds before collecting your Cadbury chocolate Egghead prize.

Price: £1.50 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01249 730459

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lacock/

Biddulph Grange Garden, Staffordshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 11am – 5pm

Run around a garden full of exotic plants collected from around the world, hunting high and low, under rocks and in trees for the hidden eggs. This year’s Cadbury Easter Egg Trail will take you on a global journey from Italy to the pyramids of Egypt, a Victorian vision of China and a re-creation of a Himalayan glen. Discover them all and you can find the Easter bunny who will be waiting with your delicious Cadbury chocolate Egghead as a prize.

Price: £2 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01782 375 533

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/biddulph-grange-garden/

Visitors having fun at Tyntesfield, North Somerset.

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, North Yorkshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April, 11am – 4pm

Families will have to work together and leave no stone unturned in the search for giant eggs at this Yorkshire World Heritage Site. Hunting for giant eggs around the magnificent ruins, getting your face painted then eating a chocolatey Cadbury Egghead prize is all in a day’s work for a busy Eggsplorer on this exciting adventure.

Price: £2, with a shorter route for little legs this year (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01765 608888

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/fountains-abbey/

Easter eggs at Tyntesfield, North Somerset.

The Fableists at Ethical Stores

EthicalStores intention is to make it easier for the consumer to access products that they may not find locally, products such as dairy free chocolate or household consumables that are not tested on animals. Sometimes these products are not as accessible as they should be,and Ethical Stores is trying to change that, by bringing the customer to one place were all ethical products are available.

EthicalStores is both a free store builder alongside an online ethical market place. Anyone who wants to sell their ethical products can create an online business in minutes. Buyers can search or browse our ethical products from our collection of sellers.

The heart and soul of EthicalStores is its global community.

EthicalStores is a non-profit organisation that is funded by donations and run by our highly skilled volunteers.

The aim at EthicalStores is to promote ethical products, lifestyle and help ethical charities in anyway possible.

Ethical Stores is funded by donations from business and the general public.

www.EthicalStores.com

Muka Kids Includes The Fableists in their ‘LOVE’ List!

Mukla

What is muka kids?

muka kids is a social enterprise, whose mission is to empower those who make AND those who wear ethical clothing (and those who want to wear it!), to end the harm done to people and the environment by the clothing industry.

They have four goals:

  1. Make it really easy for everyone buy ethical and sustainable clothing.
  2. Empower women cotton farmers in India with the means to escape poverty and improve their position in their community, by providing them with small loans (microloans) to start and expand their own small businesses (learn more about the woman).
  3. Improve the sustainability (reduce the environmental footprint) created by unsustainable manufacture and limited/single use approach to clothing.
  4. Empower clothing makers to grow their ethical and sustainable products (clothing lines and business practices).

Part of their plan is to sell used ethically accredited children’s clothing.

about muka

They recently published a list of clothing companies they love, who are working in line with their goals and The Fableists made the cut! See the full article here.

Solar Eclipse March 20 2015

A solar eclipse is a momentous occasion. I distinctly remember one eclipse from my childhood. We all gathered at a friend’s house with the curtains closed and watched ‘Charlotte’s Web’ on VHS. We were told that if we looked at the sun we’d be blinded. We ate a cake in the shape of a lion’s head. I have no idea what relevance the cake and film choice had but I will never forget that day.

The next partial eclipse visible from the UK will be in 2026.

So, it’s a big deal. As is the case with all big deals, I am brushing up on what to tell the kiddos. If someone had properly explained what a solar eclipse was on that day some 35 years ago, I’d remember – just like I remember exactly what the cake looked like. If my mother had had the handy interweb at her disposal then, I would probably be able to tell my children about a solar eclipse now, without having to look it up!

The BBC has released the short film above with a useful set of facts and information to accompany it.

A partial eclipse is a rare and special event that will only last a short time, so we need to pay attention! The Earth and the moon have to be the right distance apart and the moon has to line up in front of the sun, thus blocking the Earth’s view of the sun. It’s like the moon is casting a giant shadow over that part of the Earth. As the Earth and moon pass on, moving through their orbits, the eclipse comes to an end.

As this is a partial eclipse, the moon will not fully cover the sun. The sky will darken but the moon will not be able to block out all of the light and the sun will be peaking around the edges.

In the United Kingdom, this amazing event will take place around 9:30 Friday morning. This eclipse will be total in some parts of the world but only partial from the United Kingdom. The eclipse will be over by 10:41 in the UK.

It is important not to look directly at the eclipse – even with sunglasses as it can affect your eyes.

Now I just have to shoehorn this little lesson in between school, supper, swim club, dog walking, homework and the bedtime! And make a cake.

JoJo Maman Bebe’s #MotherToAnother Initiative Final Push

mothertoanother

On February 3rd, JoJo Maman Bebe, with the help of Hubbub, launched the ‘From a Mother to Another’ campaign in support of Barnardo’s work with vulnerable families across the UK.

The campaign aims to collect unwanted children’s clothing, package it up according to size and gender, and re-distribute it to children through Barnardo’s family centres. So far, over 2,000 beautiful packages and have been made up through this campaign.

mothertoanother 2

 

Highlights so far include a formidable troop of knitters in Cardiff delivering dozens of gorgeous hand-knits to their local JoJo store, the donation of a Stella McCartney all-in-one and Organic Zoo gifting 300 pieces of funky organic hand-me-downs.

The initiative has received widespread social media support, captured here on the online Storify Feed: http://ow.ly/JRBS2.

This campaign comes to an end on Mother’s Day, March 15th and JoJo Maman Bebe is aiming for 50,000 pieces of clothing, so Mothers: get your friends together and gather up as many of your beautiful old hand me downs as you can part with to take to your local shop. To find your nearest shop, search here. For more on the campaign, and lists of what you can and cannot donate, read here.

Two teachers win Blue Peter Book Awards voted for by children

blue peter

The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff and The Spy Who Loved School Dinners win children’s book prize

Two teachers, who have written funny and silly books, are top of their class as they win Best Book with Facts and Best Story in the Blue Peter Book Awards 2015, voted for by hundreds of schoolchildren.

Pamela Butchart, who teaches philosophy at secondary school, won Best Story with her latest title The Spy Who Loved School Dinners, which was illustrated by Thomas Flintham.

Andy Seed, a former primary teacher and deputy head for 17 years, won Best Book with Facts with The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff, illustrated by Scott Garrett.

Both were delighted to be crowned this year’s winners and viewers will be able to see them receive their awards on Blue Peter tonight from Waterstones Children’s Laureate 2013-2015 Malorie Blackman, as the show celebrates its 15th anniversary of the prize.

Pamela, who did a book-signing for The Spy Who Loved School Dinners on her wedding day, exclaimed: ‘WOW! Is this real-life?! I’m shocked and utterly over-the-moon about winning this fantastic award! It means the world to me that children voted for my book! Thank you.’

Andy, who grew up watching Blue Peter, said: ‘To win a Blue Peter Book Award is a proper thrill not just because it revives all those happy childhood memories but because the show today does a truly significant job in raising the profile of books and reading at a time when this is needed more than ever. To win any award is a delight but to win the Blue Peter Book Award sets my spine tingling like nothing else.’

The illustrators of the books also expressed their excitement about winning the prize.

Thomas Flintham said: ‘Hooray! What fantastic news! It was exciting enough just to be nominated but to have won has forced me to do a little dance!’

Scott Garrett said: ‘I was so excited to hear that we’d won the Blue Peter Book Award! Blue Peter was a big part of my early years. We’ve all grown up with it and to be part of it AND get an award is something very special to me- I can’t wait to get my badge! Illustrators don’t get inundated with awards, so I’m over the moon to have been awarded this one. Here’s to books!’

A panel of judges including Tom Gates author Liz Pichon, Rastamouse creator Michael de Souza, The Bookseller journalist Anna James, and non-voting chair of judges, Blue Peter editor Ewan Vinnicombe, selected the shortlist from publishers’ submissions.

These were then read and voted on by more than 200 children from ten schools across the UK to decide the winners in each category. The winners were announced on a special World Book Day morning bulletin of Newsround.

Pupils at Perry Wood Nursery and Primary School in Worcester said it was an ‘honour’ and ‘exciting as only ten schools in the whole of England can choose the winners of the Blue Peter Book Awards.’

The enormously popular Blue Peter Book Awards are managed by reading charity Booktrust, which works with schools to get more children reading for pleasure. The Awards celebrate the best authors, most creative illustrators and the greatest reads for children.

Ewan Vinnicombe, Editor, Blue Peter said: ‘It’s fantastic that in our 15th year of the Blue Peter Book Awards we have given 200 children across the UK the chance to vote for their favourite books. Pamela and Thomas, Andy and Scott should be really proud and Blue Peter will continue to promote children’s books and our viewers’ love of reading.’

The shortlist:

Best Book with Facts

Animalium written by Jenny Broom and illustrated by Katie Scott (Big Picture Press)

  • Corpse Talk: Season 1 by Adam Murphy (David Fickling Books)
  • The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff written by Andy Seed and illustrated by Scott Garrett (Bloomsbury)

Best Story

  •  Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen (Doubleday Children’s)
  • Goth Girl and the Fete Worse Than Death by Chris Riddell (Macmillan Children’s Books)
  • The Spy Who Loved School Dinners written by Pamela Butchart and illustrated by Thomas Flintham (Nosy Crow)

The judges:

  • Michael de Souza – Co-creator of the Rastamouse book series and co-founder of Little Roots Ltd
  • Anna James – Editor, We Love This Book and Media Editor, The Bookseller, and former school librarian
  • Liz Pichon – author of the Tom Gates series, and winner of the Blue Peter Book Awards Best Story 2013
  • Ewan Vinnicombe (non-voting chair) – Editor, Blue Peter and Head of Presentation for CBeebies and CBBC

Keep up-to-date with the Awards at http://www.booktrust.org.uk/bluepeter and on Twitter by following @Booktrust and #BPBA

The Blue Peter Book Awards have been celebrating children’s literature since 2000. The reading charity Booktrust has managed the Blue Peter Book Awards since 2008. The 2014 winners were Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell for Best Story and Tony Robinson’s Weird World of Wonders: World War II by Tony Robinson and illustrated by Del Thorpe for Best Book with Facts www.booktrust.org.uk/bluepeter

Blue Peter is the longest running children’s magazine programme in the world. As well as the Book Awards, the show’s family of presenters, live studio home, amazing competitions, incredible challenges, live music, interviews with celebrities, access behind the scenes, pets, makes and bakes, free games online and most importantly its commitment to the audience are all long standing elements of this iconic show. www.bbc.co.uk/bluepeter

Booktrust is Britain’s largest reading charity. It has a vision of a society where nobody misses out on the life-changing benefits that reading can bring. Booktrust is responsible for a number of successful national reading promotions, sponsored book prizes and creative reading projects aimed at encouraging readers to discover and enjoy books. www.booktrust.org.uk

“Wartime Fashion” Sticker Dressing from Usborne

 

usborne 6The Fableists jumped at the chance of a sneak peek at Usborne’s latest “Sticker Dolly Dressing” book, available now. This release features all the engrossing sticking fun of previous issues – but with a historical twist.

HSDD wartime fashion

In time to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, Sticker Dressing Wartime Fashion is a detailed look at the distinctive fashions that developed out of necessity during the wartime period. The book features the same layout as previous books in this series with a page illustrated around a theme and a collection of over 170 stickers to match to the appropriate page.

usborne 9

Each page’s theme shows examples of how men and women may have dressed for certain jobs, events or conditions during WWII, such as ‘Under Occupation’, ‘Saying Goodbye’, and ‘On Duty’. There are also examples of what war brides may have worn and a ‘Make Do and Mend’ page. Informative notes, photographs and sketches explaining the clothes and adding historical context accompany each of the fashions.

air raid

Our copy arrived just in time for half term and these Fableists spent hours poring over the facts and images and carefully dressing each character in the book. They were fascinated by the given names of the era, some of which they had never heard, while others are currently enjoying a resurgence in popularity.

usborne 5

Many of the styles looked out of date to their eyes but they were able recognise some of the fashions from exhibits at the V&A and other museums. Of particular interest was the look at the unique ‘make do and mend’ fashions that developed during the war. This is the perfect companion to the Fashion on the Ration exhibition at Imperial War Museum London, which opens Thursday 5th March.

usborne 4

Wartime Fashion also highlights internet links to websites where you can find out more about life in the Second World War. This edition is aimed at the 7+ age group and is £5.99 via the Usborne site.

usborne 8

 

Get outside and discover nature this February half term with the National Trust

NAT TRUST LOGOHalf term is upon us, and there are lots of activities to get kids back in touch with nature at the National Trust. It’s the perfect opportunity for the whole family to create special memories at places springing to life after the winter months.

Take a walk on the wild side and track a woodland creature, build a bird box or go on a nature walk at night. If that’s not enough, there are spring trails and den building to keep the kids entertained in the great outdoors.

Along the way you will be able to tick off a few of the ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ by discovering geocaches in glorious gardens and testing out your bush-craft skills in wild woodlands.

Here are the top activities for a fun day out this half term:

Nature detectives

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, North Yorkshire

February half term fun: bird detectives, 14 – 22 February, 10am – 4pm

There’s lots to explore at this breath-taking place, from the massive ruins of the medieval abbey to the elegant beauty of the Georgian water garden and the grand old trees of the deer park. Know your goldfinches from your chaffinches? Tackle a trail to become a bird detective as you search for the clues to discover some of the birds that call Fountains home, then call into Swanley Grange to make a fluttery, feathery bird mobile from paper and card. See what you can spot from the bird hide and like a true wildlife spotter be sure to note down your sightings. Tuesday to Thursday in half term week you can help feathered friends by making a bird box home for your garden (17-19 February, 10am, 11am, 1pm & 2pm).

Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies).

Booking required for Bird Box making, price £5 per child.

For more information, please call 01765 608888

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/fountains-abbey/

Brownsea Island, Dorset

Get adventurous with nature, 14, 15, 21 & 22 February, 10am – 4pm

Brownsea Island is dramatically located in Poole Harbour, with spectacular views across to the Purbeck Hills and is famous for its red squirrels, wildlife and scouting. Visit during February half term and make the most of the natural play area with new pine cone shy, obstacles and more. Created by expert rangers and a team of volunteers, children will be able to explore and have fun in this exciting island environment.

Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01202 707744

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/brownsea-island/

Quarry Bank, Cheshire

Wild animals, 16 – 20 February, 12pm – 4pm

Deep in a Cheshire valley by the River Bollin, Samuel Greg built Quarry Bank – one of Britain’s greatest industrial heritage sites. Join in the fun and make a ‘wild animal teller’ you can take outside to identify animals from their footprints and poo! To enjoy more ‘50 things’ activities borrow a tracker pack and explore the gardens to see what you can find.
Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01625 527468

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/quarry-bank/

Sheringham Park, Norfolk

Wild animal tracking, 17 – 18 February, 10.30am – 12.30pm

Foxes, badgers and deer live in the Sheringham Park but are seldom seen. Learn how to follow the trails these animals make and spot the tell-tale signs they leave behind. Tracking wild animals is one of the ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 and ¾’ and this half term you can make a plaster cast print of the footprints animals leave behind. Then take a walk around the grounds to look for animal tracks, feeding signs and their poo. At the end of the day you can take a look at the camera trap to see if there’s been any animal activity from the night before.

Price: Adult £2.25, Child £4.25 (normal admission fee applies, booking essential)

For more information, please call 0844 249 1895

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sheringham-park/

Gibside, Tyne & Wear

Red kite ramble with a ranger, 19 & 22 February, 2.30pm – 3.30pm

Discover fine Derwent Valley views, winding paths and refreshing open spaces while exploring elegant buildings and ruins at Gibside this half term. Join a local Red Kite expert to discover the secrets of Gateshead’s favourite bird of prey, how they were reintroduced to the Derwent Valley, and how the National Trust helps them thrive today.

Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01207 541820

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/gibside/

 

Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire

Evening owl experience, 18 February, 5pm – 6pm

Visit this beautiful expanse of parkland and get hands on or up close and personal to some beautiful birds of prey. Please note the birds you will be handling are not wild birds, but captive birds brought to Clumber Park by Hawks of Steele. Why not make a day of it and explore Clumber – it’s a great place to explore on foot and by bike and there are plenty of fantastic places to play and have adventures.

Price: £12.50 (normal admission fee applies, booking essential)

For more information, please call 01909 544917

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/clumber-park/

 

Sissinghurst Castle, Kent

National nest box week, 18 – 19 February, 1pm – 2.30pm

Visit this Elizabethan, pink bricked manor house in the Weald of Kent and find out how to build your own nest boxes and bird feeders for your garden. Afterwards explore the bird hide and grab a young explorer pack from reception for your very own adventure.

Price: £6 (booking essential)

For more information, please call 01580 710700

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sissinghurst-castle/

 

Springhill, County Londonderry

Bird box day, 15 February, 12pm – 5pm

Visit this half term and help the team rejuvenate Springhill’s bird boxes. Learn how to build your own nest and make some bird feeders to take home. Watch while staff and volunteers demonstrate how to make a bird box from scratch. Boxes will be available to buy at the event.

Price: Adult £3.50, Child £1.50, Family £8.50

For more information, please call 028 8674 8210

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/springhill/

 

Bateman’s, East Sussex

Family winter garden trail, 14 – 22 February, 11am – 3pm

Follow the winter spotter trail and learn more about what’s happening over winter in the Bateman’s garden. Some animals love winter, others hibernate, some plants flower in the winter, some rest. Behind the scenes, lots of animals and insects are busy preparing for the spring. Discover who is out and about and who is yet to make an appearance. Pick up a trail sheet at visitor reception and find out more about nature.

Price: Free event, (normal admission fee applies)

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/batemans/

 

Dinefwr Park and Castle, Carmarthenshire

Dinefwr deer feed, 13 & 20 February, from 12pm

Dinefwr Park and Castle is an iconic place in the history of Wales and it even has its very own medieval deer park. This half term get up close and see the Rangers feeding the beautiful herd of fallow deer that roam the parkland.

Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01558 824512/823902

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dinefwr/

 

Trails and adventures

 

Mottisfont, Hampshire
Picture trail and snowdrop sightings, 14 – 22 February, 10am – 5pm
Visit Mottisfont this February for a special half-term experience for all the family. There’s crafty fun for kids on the ‘Get the Picture’ trail, inspired by Mottisfont’s new photography exhibition. Take a picture frame around the gardens to ‘capture’ some ideas, and then recreate them using the craft materials available in the learning and community space. One of the prettiest things to search for in the garden at this time of year is the hundreds of tiny snowdrops that litter the river banks of this ancient former priory.
Price: £1 (normal admission fee applies)
For more information, please call 01794 340757
www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mottisfont

Calke Abbey, Derbyshire

Kids with cameras walk, 19 February, 1.30pm – 2.30pm

This half term explore the tranquil park that plays host to some of the oldest trees in Europe and let the kids discover some local wildlife. Take part in the special photography walk for children where they will learn some handy tips and discover the best places in the park to take pictures. Children, please bring a camera and an adult along with you.

Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01332 863822

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/calke-abbey/

Tyntesfield, Bristol

Future Camp: woodland survival, 16 & 18 February, 10am – 12.30pm & 1pm – 3.30pm

Head to Tyntesfield for some half term fun at this Victorian Gothic Revival house just outside of Bristol. It’s the distant future, boys and girls, adults and grownups have retreated out of the city and back to the woods. Enjoy a day out in Tyntesfield’s beautiful woodlands for this survival adventure. You’ll learn how to perfect your den building skills, follow clues left by other woodland survivors and create your very own survival suit.

Price: Adult £1.50, Child £5 (booking essential)

For more information, please call 01275 461 964

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/tyntesfield/

 

Cotehele, Cornwall

Bushcraft for kids, 17 – 19 February, 10am – 12pm & 1.30pm – 3.30pm

The Tudor house of Cotehele is perched high above the River Tamar in the Cornish countryside. This half term come and build a shelter, learn how to safely light a fire and practice some handy survival skills. This activity has been specially designed by the Serious Outdoor Skills company to be fun, informative and hands-on where you will learn some survival, bushcraft and wilderness skills. There will be lots of outdoor activities to keep you engaged, active and entertained.

Price: £6 (booking essential)

For more information, please call 01579 351346

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cotehele/

 

Petworth House and Park, West Sussex
All at Sea craft workshops,
16 – 20 February, 11am – 2.30pm
Come along to Petworth House this half-term to join a craft workshop and create your very own 3D ‘seascape’ choppy masterpiece to display at home. Be inspired by one of Britain’s most treasured artists, Joseph Mallord William Turner, who stayed at Petworth in 1827 and was famous for his paintings of ships and the sea. You can see some of his original seascapes when you visit, and an exhibition of his painting runs from January to March.
Price: £3 (normal admission fee applies)

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/petworth-house/

 

Allen Banks and Staward Gorge, Northumberland

Stargazing, 18 February, 7pm – 9pm

Take a walk on the wild side at Allen Banks and Staward Gorge this half term, one of the largest areas of ancient woodland in Northumberland. Enjoy an evening of astronomy and look up to the skies in search for stars at a new Dark Sky Discovery Site with the help from the professionals. Members from the Northumberland Astronomical Society (NASTRO) will deliver a talk on various aspects of astronomy and provide demonstrations with different types of telescopes. A stargazing session will commence weather permitting and will include a laser guided tour of the night sky plus a number of supervised viewing telescopes. Location: At Ridley Hall, next to Allen Banks.

Price: £7 (booking essential)

For more information, please call 0844 249 1895

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/allen-banks-and-staward-gorge/

 

Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire

Launch of the new family discovery trail, 14 – 15 February, 10am – 5pm

Come and try the new family trail through the park and discover far-reaching views of the Severn Valley. Use the trail sheet to find your way, with fun activities along the route and a new natural play zone in the wood pasture. Finish the day up at Old Lodge which has been expanded for more family fun and chances to play.

Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 0117 9371333

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dyrham-park/

 

Belton House, Lincolnshire

Friday 50 things challenge, 20 February, 12pm – 3pm

With delightful gardens, a luxuriantly planted orangery and lakeside walks, Belton is a pleasure to explore all year round. Visit this half term and challenge yourself to complete one of the ‘50 things’ activities. Meet the Play Team who will be inspiring families to take part in different activities each day of the school holidays and then get a sticker for your scrapbook.

Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01476 566116

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/belton-house

 

Knightshayes Court, Devon

February half-term fun, 14 – 22 February, 10am – 5pm

Run off some of that excess energy by visiting Knightshayes this half-term. Grab a trail from reception and discover a country estate on a grand, gothic scale. Go on a hunt for one of the geocaches hidden around the gardens, explore the house and meet the resident chickens in the kitchen garden – there’s plenty to keep the kids busy this February.

Price: 50p (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01884 254665

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/knightshayes/

 

Ickworth, Suffolk

Half term hobbies and adventures, 14 – 22 February, 11am – 4pm

Enjoy a variety of children’s craft activities in the cosy comfort of the West Wing gallery of this Georgian mansion in the heart of the Suffolk countryside. Enjoy a week of half term activities where you can make and take home some fun spring time items. And of course you can always head outside and enjoy the play and den building area and become a nature detective with a nature pack.

Price: Free event (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01284 735270

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ickworth

 

Bodiam Castle, East Sussex

Shrovetide fun: half term trail, 14 – 22 February, 11am – 4pm

Set in the heart of an historic landscape, with spiral staircases and battlements, sits Bodiam Castle. Come and celebrate Shrovetide this half term where the castle is coming back to life after the long winter period. They’d love you to come and help, whether it’s helping the cooks to prepare a feast or having a game of mob football with the servants. Take part in the castle trail where you will find lots of things to see and do.

Price: £2 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01580 831324

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bodiam-castle

 

Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire

Ashridge spring trail, 16 – 20 February, 10am – 4pm

Come and walk the springtime trail through the beautiful ancient woodlands at Ashridge in the Chiltern Hills. Visit this half term and create your own hand-crafted and decorated lantern which will enable you to go on a nature walk at night – one of the National Trust’s ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4.’ Visit on Friday 20th February for a candle lit walk through the woods. (£1 per person). Bring your home made lantern along to help light your way.

Price: £1

For more information, please call 01442 851227

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ashridge-estate/

Patch it Up!

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It’s unlikely that The Fableists jeans will wear through at the knees too quickly. They are pretty thick and rugged and definitely meant to last a kid or three!

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But what can be done with them if they do start to wear in the knees? Before you grab the scissors and start cutting them down in to shorts (seriously – what childhood is complete without a pair of cut downs?) patch them up.

Old pieces of denim, or other fabrics make great patches but a lot of designers are making beautiful and original patches that can make your child’s jeans in to wearable art. Etsy is a great place to find all sorts of new and vintage patches that can be sewn on or (bonus points) ironed on.

A friend recently shared the gorgeous patches displayed below on The Fableists’ Facebook page and I couldn’t resist sharing them with you.

 

They are from Bellemine, a Montreal based operation set up by two women; illustrator Isabelle Arsenault, known for her children’s books and her childhood friend Jasmine Evangeliste.

Each design is a limited edition, with only 100 of each produced. Bellemine aims to reduce the amount of textiles that end up in landfills by offering a beautiful and original way to keep your clothes in action.

Their patches can be ironed on and used on a variety of materials, including denim, jersey, cotton and fine knits and they are machine washable in a cold cycle. What’s not to love?