Oh my, just as I thought my new sandals would never see the light of day and I'd resigned myself to spending the next few months with an umbrella as my constant companion, our tease of a sun has really treated us to wonderful weather over the past few days, hasn't she? Suncream, on. Freckles, out. Ice lollies, licked. And even if it doesn't last, and let's face it, we live in the UK so it's unlikely to last, we'll always have those glorious May days where we dithered about what to do, unused to leaving the house without wellies, waterproofs and a wish for a storm-free hour, and wondered whether today would be the day for the first BBQ of the year.
On Thursday, one of us dosed up on hay fever tablets (the only downside of this time of the year), the other bewildered by his mama's lack of insistence that he wear a vest, top and coat, we picked up my dad and headed to one of our favourite National Trust properties, Erddig, a 1,200 acre estate out the outskirts of Wrexham in North Wales. It's where we take the boys every December to meet Father Christmas as, despite my fondness for flashing lights, jazz hands and all things sequined and sparkly, I love how wonderfully traditional Erddig makes the whole experience.
If you're planning a full day out, it's worth paying that little bit extra to have a look around the beautifully preserved Erddig Hall (for an adult, it costs £12.50 to access the whole property and £8 for just the gardens and outbuildings), but on Thursday, for us, it was all about the gardens and the parkland. From formal gardens to acres of woodland, we roamed them all. I adored seeing the tulips in bloom, my littlest loved the natural play area, and my dad was quite partial to the flapjacks served in the hayloft restaurant (although he was persuaded to share ... few people can resist my three year old's big, brown eyes).
Mid-week is the perfect time to visit, especially if you arrive as soon as the gardens open at 10am. On an estate so large, you're almost guaranteed to find a quiet spot just for yourself, although you might have to share it with a few sheep depending on where you roam. There are also picnic spots aplenty, so my advice would be to bring a hamper, too!
Here are a few photos ... blue skies, greener than green grass, an abundance of tulips, and three cake-filled bellies. I'd call that a good day and a sign that spring is well and truly with us.
I was absolutely delighted to be shortlisted in the photo category of the Brilliance in Blogging awards, recently. If it's not too forward, may I ask you to take a minute to vote for me to reach the finals, please? It's a long shot that I'll make it as the competition is so fierce but I'd be grateful from the bottom of my camera bag. The voting form is here. Thank you so much!