Family time, Life of a Mum

West Lodge Farm Park- post lockdown family day out

For our ‘first’ day out we decided to head to West Lodge- I’d been ‘watching from afar’ and concluded they had the whole ‘social distsncing’ thing well managed. I wanted our day to feel safe but fun.

It turns out I wasn’t far wrong. Although our ‘normal’ day out at west lodge would include indoor play, coffee and chats with friends- we all admit life is much different now. A degree of isolation and fresh air feels so safe- and that’s what west lodge offers.

We booked an afternoon session; it was expectedly busy on our arrival- no one in the busy queue seemed to be wearing masks or caring much about distancing; so (having been shielding for 16 weeks) I felt a little wary. But the staff managed the queue quickly, effectively and safely; with hand gel and advice leaflets given- and once inside the farm park felt incredible spacious and distancing from others was easy.

As we arrived at lunchtime we headed straight to the picnic/den building area- and enjoyed the space- no one was around (in fact 8 picnic benches around us) Dot enjoyed the pre built dens and cute toad stool seats.

We then headed over to the animals when Dot (and Nanna, to be fair) enjoyed feeding and petting the incredibly tame, cute and often bouncy goats. We also took our dog Woody; despite being a total plonker, he was incredibly well behaved and enjoyed watching the goats and pigs!

Dogs are surprisingly welcome at West Lodge Farm Park- a blessing to doggy families- of course they cannot cuddle the bunnies or try the swings (that would just be weird) but there’s a multitude of walks to wear them (and their chatty sidekicks) out.

Talking of walks- we then snuck off to an old memory of Mummy’s- the witches house (I remember bring my nephews here 18-20yrs ago- and not much has changed). Dot and Nanna loved spotting the super cute fairy doors, toadstools and the badgers crossing- making a 4km walk a breeze.

There’s a fairy trail and a dinosaur trail for those with older kids; you get a worksheet and a reward if you find them all.

Dot found the witches house, but she was out. A little girl we saw shortly before told us the witch had gone to mend a poorly deer with her magic potions! Dot liked this idea, and although her legs were tired, her imagination carried her up the many steps and back to the farm for an ice cream.

Visiting, what you think is going to a busy family attraction post lockdown was very anxiety inducing for me, but after a hour I felt incredible safe. West lodge have obviously got this all in hand; staff regularly spraying down areas of high use, very clear signage, great leaflets, hand washing facilities, one way paths marked out, and enough space to very safely distance.

Seeing your child’s face enter a play park for the first time in 16 ish weeks was pretty epic, Dot was so happy, so full of energy and she literally loved every minute. She’s keen to go back- so hopefully we can make it a weekly trip.

Dots favourite bits:

– the incredibly tame and friendly goats

– a beautiful walk to the witches house and spying all the fairy doors

– the maze; so impressed with herself that she found the way out

– her first whippy ice cream with flake

– being ‘king of the castle’ in the outdoor play area

Mums top tips:

– take a picnic; there’s so many great picnicking spots

– you have to book your visit online(don’t disappoint the the kids)

– pre book your tractor your online (we didn’t know this and missed out)

– buy some animal food on arrival so the little ones get a hands on experience

– a few quid for the shop is a good idea; they’re beautifully stocked including Lanka kade and cute wellies

– grandparents will also love the on-site garden centre (we left with a huge olive tree!)

– if you live local-ish then membership is a must have (costs 14p a day!)

West Lodge Farm Park is just outside Desborough in Northamptonshire

West Lodge Insta drop them a follow

Life of a Mum

My advice for coping with ‘lockdown’

As you’ll already know I’m ‘shielding’ at home for at least 12 weeks due to the COVID pandemic. This is because of my immunodeficiency due to treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

Government shielding info

It’s challenging being at home with a toddler and limited outside access- so here’s my advice to cope with this. Sending love to all.

  1. Try and maintain a routine. Getting up showered and dressed each morning really helps. Don’t stay up late watching movies as you’ll just sleep through the next morning. I like to get up by 8- have a coffee- shower and dress and get on with some work or housework.
  2. Eat well – we try to eat healthy balanced meals as a family. Dorothea loves our ‘feasts’ and often comments it feels like holiday. Good is the main topic of communication with us; we are enjoying baking, online shopping for home cooked meals, and we are even making our own sour dough bread.
  3. Plan and list some days I struggled to be productive; so I try and give myself a few daily and weekly goals. What work needs to be done (I’m doing some of my usual role from home), what needs cleaning, writing some blogs, creating some content and sorting play activities for Dorothea.
  4. Self care I’m trying to spend sometime looking after myself; the first few weeks of shielding I was a mess, rarely put make up on or did my hair. So now trying to do weekly face masks- apply some makeup and wash and style my hair (fringe needs a trim though). I’m loving my young living essential oils more than ever- and diffuse them when working and relaxing. I’m loving Albany Aesthetics facial treatments in a bag. Albany Aesthetics insta
  5. Support others checking on friends, sending cards or small gifts gives me a boost (and a nice walk to the post box). It’s good to let others know you’re thinking of them; and as always tough times really show you who your friends are. I’d also include shopping local in this- as supporting your small local businesses is really important at this time; I’m finding so many wonderful doorstep delivery options too. Viva vino wines delivered (Leicestershire) Enchanted Pantry- cakes/bakes delivered (Leicestershire)
  6. Zoom!!! I’m loving so many zoom options- they seem to be my only outside communication. From online workshops and fitness classes, to online chats with friends and family- and even work meetings! Seeing and hearing people really helps to maintain a little bit of ‘normal’. Apples and apps online fitness
  7. Keep active so obvious- but staying in means you’re naturally much more of a couch potato! I’m really making an effort to get out for a little walk (not strictly allowed when shielding- so we ensure zero contact with others) I’m also starting to enjoy some online fitness classes and plan to do more in the coming weeks. Online Barre classes
  8. Find beauty sounds a bit wishy washy- but I’m loving finding beauty in everything-doing some gardening, having fresh flowers every week and taking pretty pictures.
  9. A tipple I wouldn’t be me without mentioning my love of a gin or red wine. Obviously in moderation- I limit myself to 3 drinks and try to have 2 booze free days a week. I’m loving making pretty cocktails, or a fresh a fruity jug of sangria, my fave gins are from Warner’s – use ‘ivfninja15’ for discount (valid in May) Shop at Warner’s  
  10. Having fun thank goodness for Dorothea- having a toddler in the house means plenty of opportunities for silliness and fun. We love planning and playing with play trays, water beads, play doh and doing science experiments. We love the future image shop for play resources- use ‘ivfninja’ for discount- Future image shop

Drop me comments on how you’re coping and any tips.