Today’s Country Kids post is more of a photo gallery than a wordy post, for a couple of reasons – it was Granny and Grandad who actually had the fun with the boys (so I can only recount what Andrew enthusiastically reported on the way home, and the photos are all Grandad’s), and the end of this week has been tiring with a congested toddler and a teething baby waking at night (so I’ve been napping in the day myself instead of writing).
Last Saturday, Tom and I were invited to the wedding of an old friend of ours from university. Although they said that Joel could come with us as he’s still breastfeeding, they were hoping that those with less dependent little ones like Andrew could find alternative childcare. Joel is now feeding a lot less during the day, and not at all when we’re out, so we decided that a few hours away from me would be fine for him too. That would be enough for us to celebrate with our friends at the church and the drinks reception but not stay into the evening. The venue for the wedding was equidistant from us and my parents, so Granny and Grandad jumped at the chance to come and meet us there and spend the afternoon with the boys. We all had lunch together in a friendly pub, and then Tom and I headed off to the church, which turned out to be tiny, and we wouldn’t have been able to easily contain two very fidgety mobile children for an hour within the old pews anyway!
The boys and their grandparents headed off down the road to the National Trust property of Belton House near Grantham. I can see from the guide leaflet that they left in our change bag that it has huge grounds with lots to do for families. The most popular things with our boys were the little train ride and the extensive adventure playground. Andrew got to wear the train driver’s hat, and he keeps going on about the big slide that was very fast. They also enjoyed an ice cream from the cafe. Fortunately it was lovely weather so they could spend the afternoon outdoors, but there is an indoor soft play area too for wet weather days out.
When we met back at the pub again, the three of them who can talk were all raving about how amazing Belton House is for children, and we’ve said that we’ll have to go back again one day – we have friends who live not far and go there often, so we’ve talked about meeting them there. Then I can write more about exactly what it’s like. Both boys were so exhausted from all the excitement that they fell asleep almost straight away on the journey back.
I did this bit of craft a while ago (I think around Easter time?), but haven’t got round to blogging it until now given everything else that’s been going on. We’ve been to a couple of weddings recently, and I thought it would be really cute to make a little tie with elastic around the neck for Andrew to wear to them, with a white shirt and smart pair of black trousers. A while ago I bought a metre of a lovely deep green-blue silky material to mend a dress of mine that needed a bit of patching up. That was far more than I needed, and I thought the leftovers would come in useful for something – indeed it’s the perfect fabric for making a little tie. I’ve never made one before, but I figured it couldn’t be that hard. I looked at one of Tom’s ties to figure out how they are made, and came up with a pattern for a smaller ‘fake’ tie – i.e. you don’t need to tie it each time, it looks real but it’s actually a fake knot at the top and held around the neck with elastic. I remember my brother and I both had one like this for school when we were little (ah the days when even primary school uniforms included ties!)
Here are a few pictures of Andrew proudly wearing his little man’s tie for my cousin’s wedding last week. I realise that I made the elastic a bit too long, but I thought it was better to err on the cautious side and not make it too small, and this means there is some growing room. Of course it was incredibly difficult to accurately measure a wriggly toddler around the neck in the first place! He did very well at keeping it on, and despite an initial few minutes of trying to pull it off, he soon got distracted by something else and forgot about it. By the evening of the wedding celebrations, we took it off, but he wasn’t the only one without a tie then – there were some grown men who were also going for the more relaxed, evening look.
Here’s a tutorial for how I made it, in case you’d like to have a go too. It was relatively easy and only took a couple of hours, but was quite fiddly at times due to its small size. First you’ll need to download the pattern here. Note that this is a not to scale pattern, so to make your own you’ll have to draw it out following the measurements given, on an A3 sheet of paper (or two A4 sheets stuck together will work just as well!) Then follow the steps shown by the pictures below. I hope it makes sense – let me know if anything isn’t clear or needs explaining better.