I can’t tell you how relieved I am to make it to the Christmas holidays! It’s been an unbelievably busy few months at work, and when coupled with choir commitments and all the craziness of the build up to Christmas with two children, Matt and I are frazzled! So we were delighted when an invitation to the New Forest arrived from our friend Katharine, giving us the perfect opportunity to head off on our holidays early and a chance to break the long drive to Cornwall.
We’re here to celebrate Emilia’s 2nd birthday, we started our day early in order to get to her lunchtime party. We made it just in time, and the children had a fabulous time in a softplay and we all enjoyed a delicious homemade lunch. I think Emilia loved her Frozen cake!
With the children loaded with sugar and the weather mild and clear, we decided to head to Exbury Gardens for their Christmas Postal Express event. We’ve driven past the sign for the Gardens countless times before, but never visited. I’m so glad we finally made the effort, as it was just wonderful. We were all delighted to ride on the beautifully decorated Postal Express train around the glorious gardens. The children were so excited to spot all the decorations dotted around the trees, including reindeer, elves, snowmen, penguins, Santa and even a nativity!
Emilia grinned the whole way round, waving at people she spotted along the route!
With the train ride lasting a good 20 minutes, the children didn’t get bored at all seeing things everywhere they looked. They especially enjoyed the tunnel which was beautifully lit with hundreds of fairy lights!
Eventually, we returned to the station – but we weren’t too glum because Santa and his elf were there waiting for us! Sophie was much braver than her first encounter with Santa a couple of weeks ago, and gave him a high five! Alex reminded him that we were in Coombe Mill for Christmas and not at home. Emilia was happy to sit on his lap and have a conversation! And they all enjoyed a sweetie gift!
We followed the trail around the gardens, doing a lovely scavenger hunt looking for pine cones, spiky leaves and acorns, until we found the little playground where we whiled away the remainder of the sunlight. Here’s Emilia having a tea party with her mummy and enjoying the slide (her beautiful hood was a birthday gift from one of her aunties and is supposed to go with pyjamas – but she loved it so much it stayed on all day!)
Sophie and Emilia particularly liked the big swing, squealing with delight as Matt and Katharine swung them high. It’s funny how the age gap between this pair seems to be closing with every visit – they were so sweet together today. I reckon in a year, you’ll never know there is a 15 month age gap between them!
Meanwhile, Alex was exploring the brilliant climbing frame, which challenged him for ages. He is looking so grown up!
Not to be outdone by her brother, Sophie did a great job following him around the rope course! Love her party tutu – interesting choice of attire for an outdoor afternoon!
Once it was dark, we piled into the car and headed to Lyndhurst where we had a little walk to enjoy the pretty decorations before heading for an early dinner together. The children were so well behaved, we were able to enjoy a three-course meal complete with some bubbly to get the holiday off in style! Alex managed to complete his first sodoku (his granddad will be proud – although it was food sodoku, not numbers!) while us grown ups had a good catch up!
Alex even took a snap of Matt, Kat and I – wish he’d managed to get more of Katharine’s stunning Christmas jumper in there, complete with its flashing lights!
It was a thoroughly lovely day – such a pleasure to get outside in the beautiful New Forest to blow the city cobwebs away. Onwards to Cornwall and Coombe Mill tomorrow morning – but first, a night in a lovely B&B in Ringwood. Night all xx