Taken a while to get this post done but at last, here is how we spent Easter this year.
Good Friday, was my birthday and in the afternoon my parents, Aunty, Grandma & step-Grandad (aka Nonna, Papa, Boppa, GG and Chips) all set off for a long weekend away leaving us home alone. Don’t feel too sorry for me though, my lovely brother, Frazer and Abbie, his girlfriend, took Luca and me out for some lunch and then we had a girly evening in. After lots of chatter, a few cheeky drinks, gorgeous food and a generally lovely day I was just drifting off to sleep when my phone rang. It was my mum ringing to tell me the B&B they were staying in had a cancellation if we wanted to join them.
So on Saturday we packed up our bag, showed my brother how to medicate my bunny and set off for North Yorkshire.
We were staying in Snape, near Bedale. It is only an hours drive from us but feels like a million miles away. Snape is a picturesque village with a small stream running through the middle lined with daffodils. Little bridges cut over the stream all the way along and big beautiful trees stand regally along the roadsides. There are also old water pumps dotted along the stream just to add to the charm of this place.
As you enter the village you are greeted by a very grand tree lined avenue and Snape Castle. This was once home to Catherine Parr, of Henry VIII fame, but is now a private home. It is truly a beautiful place and I’m only slightly jealous of the people who get to call it home.
Our home for the weekend was the Castle Arms Inn. A cosy, historic pub, full of charm. The en-suite rooms are located separately from the actual pub in a converted barn. Five of the rooms are set around a cute little courtyard and the others are set off a corridor inside the barn. The courtyard was perfect for enjoying a cheeky rum or two and letting Luca play on his bike or collect stones.
My parents, Boppa and my grandparents all had superior rooms and they were so chic yet still felt really cosy.
When we arrived on the Saturday evening we got settled into our room, had a quick change of clothes and headed into the pub for some tea. The food was absolutely delicious, the chef is an real credit to the place and nothing was too much to ask. The chicken bites on the kids menu were so tender and nothing like “kids food” which made me a very happy mummy and Luca demolished the lot. After our tea Luca went exploring with his Daddy and Papa and came back exhausted, they had found a rope swing and a tree to climb.
In fact we were all pretty tired, so with full bellies we all headed off to bed for a great nights sleep.
Breakfast the next morning was equally as yummy and after filling our boots with cereal, fruit, toast and anything you wanted from a full English, we headed outside into the sunshine for a little Easter egg hunt. Whilst Nonna took Luca for a walk I hid colourful eggs all around the courtyard. When they eventually made their way back from their very muddy walk Luca was delighted to discover the Easter bunny had been. He loved hunting for the eggs and seeing what was hidden inside each one. It was lovely to see Chips, who has severe Alzheimer’s, enjoying watching Luca on his egg hunt too as not much makes him smile anymore.
Once all the eggs had been hunted and Luca had a quick outfit change, we headed for Thorp Perrow Arboretum. This place is a hidden gem. We had a small queue to get in but the price was fair and the lady on the ticket window kindly didn’t charge us for one person as Papa was pushing Chips in his wheelchair so they counted him as a carer. We were then given maps to help us get around, three in total, one for the wheelchair friendly routes, one for the Easter hunt route and a general one.
As we went through the entrance gate we were greeted by such a beautiful scene. A small hill drops down to a little stream, over the stream are plenty of picnic benches on luscious green grass all with the backdrop of the trees.
Luca ran straight for the bridge over the stream to play pooh sticks.
After multiple stops along the stream for multiple pooh stick races we eventually made it to the kids play area. It has such an unusual play frame, I totally want one for our garden. Once you navigate your way from one end to the other, with help from Mummy in Luca’s case, there is a big rustic wooden slide at the end. It was so charming and felt really whimsical and magical. Very fitting for the surroundings.
There was also this little hidey hole for the kids too and I thought the saying carved into it was very fitting for these two hiding in it. Luca genuinely thinks his Nonna is just a massive kid.
After we had managed to coax Luca away from the play area we found the Bog Garden. Doesn’t sound the most delightful of places to visit does it? Think again. It was enchanting. Some of the plants growing there were really unusual and we saw loads of bug life and even a few fairies.
The Bog Garden was also the start of the Egg Hunt, which was cleverly based around finding all the creatures that lay eggs. Luca delighted in shouting out the next creature we stumbled upon for me to write down on the sheet.
The Easter hunt then took us for a quick stroll through the trees and to the lake. Full of rainbow trout, ducks and frogs we spent ages standing on the bridge watching them.
Further along the route we found another bridge that took you to a little island in the middle of the lake and the end of the Egg Hunt.
By this point Chips was getting fed up, cold and grumpy so we decided to head back to the cafe for a cup of tea, cake (Who doesn’t cheer up after a slice of cake eh?) and to claim Luca’s prize for completing the hunt. On the way we came across a frog in the middle of the path, Luca, ok, ok, I insisted Papa picked him up so we could have a stroke. Luca exclaimed “Oh, he’s squishy.” as he touched his bumpy back.
Once we finished our afternoon snack we realised we had just 5 minutes to make it back through the woods to the Bird of Prey and Mammal centre for the Falconry display. We made it just in time and saw some wonderful birds being flown. My only disappointment was they don’t have a sound system so unless you are sat directly in front of the person speaking you can’t really hear what they are saying. Not that Luca cared he was just happy to watch them swooping around.
After a few birds though Luca was getting restless so we headed towards the mammal section. Armed with bags of feed (which again were really reasonably priced) we made our way around the animals. We fed geese, chickens, goats and meerkats. We made a team effort to give some food to the shy goat that was being bullied by the others, Papa distracted the big bullies at one end of the fence whilst Luca and me coaxed the shy one away to munch on carrots.
My absolute favourites though had to be the wallabies. I mean come on, how are they so incredibly cute? They made me wallaby broody if that’s even a thing? I was completely in my element.
There was also a Rhea, an ostrich like bird, that scared me to death. This then meant Luca was terrified of it too. Bad mummy passing on my phobias. Papa aka Dr Dolittle, came to the rescue though, feeding it from his hand and stroking it. Luca became less wary and I even had a go at feeding it myself to try to undo the damage I had caused whilst also facing my fear.
Animal feeding over it was time to head back to the pub for our Sunday lunch. Another delicious meal which left us all stuffed. With the sun making a glorious appearance, we made the most of our courtyard and spent the rest of the afternoon sipping drinks and generally enjoying each others company whilst Luca napped for a good few hours. In fact it was so glorious we could quite easily have been somewhere in the Mediterranean.
In the evening the owners of the pub were holding a charity event to raise money for a local hospice. To show our support we all went for a few hours. Luca had me up dancing to the live band and I may have even done a bit of jiving to some rock n roll tunes.
The next morning saw us all sit down for our last breakfast together. The landlady got chatting to us and asked if we all lived far away from each other. After all exchanging glances GG explained that actually we all live relatively close to each other and see each other every weekend when we all gather at my parents house. It was at this point that I realised how lucky we are to have such a close knit family. A family that all love spending time with each other and don’t think twice about long weekends away together. We laugh a lot as a family, and I mean a lot. We quite often get the odd look from people as we all sit together howling over something completely ridiculous. The comedy award went to Luca this weekend for making us all fall about in utter hysterics when he came back from the toilet and announced to the whole pub that his Daddy has a furry todger, Ant was obviously mortified (sorry Ant). I was the closest I have ever been to wetting myself I think.
We all checked out of The Castle Arms Inn wishing we could of had a few more days enjoying the beautiful countryside and weather. We headed for a little walk along the stream and Luca took me to see the tree swing they had found on the first night. We played on that for a long time before walking further down the road to the Castle and Chapel. The chapel is only really tiny but the walk to get to it was stunning. Views over the fields and some of the castle ruins made for some fab photo opportunities.
It was the perfect way to end a perfect weekend with my nearest and dearest.