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feather down farm

Things to remember on a Featherdown Farm holiday

These are things I’d do if we had a Featherdown Farm holiday again:

 

  • Pack the things you’ll need for the first night in a separate bag so it’s all together and you don’t have to go searching in everyone’s bags.
  • Arrive as close to your check in time as possible if holidaying in Autumn/Spring. It really isn’t easy trying to unpack and make beds in candlelight!
  • Talking of candles, take plenty. We bought church candles from Tesco which were brilliant and lasted for days. We left a big candle from Tesco burning in the toilet all the time and it lasted at least 2 full days, if not 3.
    We also bought a pack of six from Asda for £5 and they lasted really long as well.
    We bought tealights from tesco that we used in the holders above the dining table every night at dinner and they were great value for money.
    We also took the hurricane lamps that use lamp oil. They gave off a lovely glow but Ant said if you want brighter light, a gas or petrol lantern would be better.
  • Make sure you have designated places for things like hats/scarves/gloves etc and make sure everyone uses those places because it gets really annoying hearing, ‘muuuum, where’s my gloves?’ for the twentieth time.
    The amount of times we lost the warm weather gear was ridiculous in a space so small!
  • We bought small LED torches from Asda for £1.50 each and they were brilliant. Next time we’ll make sure we have one for each person so they don’t have to try and share when they want to read in the evening.
  • Take a clothes horse. You’ll need somewhere to hang wet and muddy clothes and coats. Ant also did some hand washing which we wouldn’t have been able to do if we didn’t have the clothes horse. There was a small one in the shower block but we didn’t know about that until one of the other guests put it back there when they left!
  • A flask is a must if you want coffee straight away in the morning. Ant filled ours every night so he could have coffee while getting the fire going the next morning.
  • And finally, make sure you take your own, ‘Ant’ who will get up earlier than everyone else and light the fire! It’s much nicer to wake up to a lovely warm stove than to a freezing cold tent.
If you have any tips of your own for a family going glamping or indeed, camping, please feel free to share them in the comments 🙂

The Honesty Shop at Featherdown Farm

We spent half term at Howbeck Lodge, Cumbria and while researching our holiday before we booked it, I wanted to find out what kind of things were sold at the honesty shop I kept reading about.
I also wanted to know what the prices were like but I couldn’t find any information so while we there, I took loads of photos in our honesty shop and decided to do a post in case any other families wanted to see the kind of things on offer.

Please be aware that I’ve only visited one Featherdown Farm so honesty shops on other sites could be completely different with the range of goods offered and prices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Books and magazines to borrow

 

 

 

You get a crate a day included and pay £5 for each extra crate you have

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Games to borrow

 

Our final Featherdown Farm day – Friday 2nd November

Ant had to do all the packing and cleaning because of my foot. I felt awful sitting around with my leg up on a chair while everything around me needed sorting or cleaning.
We had a quick breakfast and I slowly made my way up to the car around 9.15am.
It wasn’t as painful as I thought it was going to be, getting to the car but it sapped all my energy.

Friday was a very long day and the story isn’t that riveting to be honest so I’ll just say that due to some unforeseen circumstances, we ended up spending 10 hours in the car to get from Cumbria to Derbyshire where we were dropping the kids off at Aiden’s dad’s then another hour and a half drive back home to Lincolnshire.

Our original plan would have seen us leaving Derbyshire around 2.30pm and getting home in time to cook a proper dinner. We didn’t take a packed lunch, figuring the kids would have lunch when they got to Aiden’s dad’s.
As it was, we ended up sharing sandwiches from a garage then giving in and getting a Burger King around 4pm because we were all so hungry.
It rained, hailed and in some parts of the country we went through, there had been snow although thankfully the roads were clear.

Ant and I got home around 9.30pm I think it was and I’ve never been so happy so see our house. We grabbed what we could for dinner and fell into an exhausted sleep.

Thankfully, my mum, who had been house sitting for us, stayed for the weekend and she did a wonderful job getting all the washing done for me on Saturday while I rested my foot.

It might have been a rotten end to the holiday but for the most part, we had a great time and I’m glad we experienced it 🙂

Tales from a Featherdown Farm – Thursday 1st November

Yay….it’s Christmas next month!

Anyway, enough of that! Last night was another cold one, the dew had frozen to the grass this morning when Ant went out and although I felt it when I got out of bed to go to the toilet in the night, in bed, it was lovely and toasty.

We had a warm loaf delivered to us for breakfast and we had more homemade jam on it 🙂 We had to buy another pot this morning! The kids love it as much as I do and a jar doesn’t last long.
We also had eggs again. I thought the kids would get fed up of eggs everyday but they love them.

I spent the morning packing up the unused clothes (I brought way too many for me!) and getting all the games, toys and books together.
Talking of books, I forgot to mention that Aiden saw a copy of The Hunger Games in the honesty shop and he decided to read it. He’d snuggle into the cupboard bed with his torch and stay in there for hours!
He read the book within the first 4 days. It was lovely to see him excited about a story the way Ant and I get with our books!

I left Scrabble and the colouring books and pencils easily accessible so we had something to do after lunch.
We have to leave by 10.30am tomorrow so I want to get as much packed today as possible.

For dinner we’re going to use up the sausages, bacon and tomatoes we’ve got left and of course, we’ll be getting some more bread from the village 🙂
Thankfully, the rain went away for our last day so the kids were able to play outside. Kaycee took some great pictures of the goats.

 

 

LATER IN THE DAY

I’m now sat here with my foot strapped in bandages, resting on an iced water bottle, up on a chair after I fell when getting out of the tent.
There’s a mat on the grass outside the tent flaps and quite a big step into the tent.
As I stepped down, my foot slipped, bent under me and twisted. I fell with all my weight on that side and ended up flat on my front in the mud.
I thought I’d broken my ankle at first, the pain was that intense. Ant was up at the car and the kids all came running to me, crying and panicking.
Aiden asked if he should get dad but I didn’t want him to leave in case I needed him to help me get up. I was in shock I think because I wasn’t able to think properly. While I was trying to decide what to do next, Kaycee pulled her wellies and ran to get Ant.
Ella was stood at the door crying her eyes out but I was in too much pain and a little too much going on in my mind to comfort her. I felt awful but I could only concentrate on working out how I was going to get up off the floor for a start.
I managed to turn myself back towards the tent and used the step to lean on to help me up. I leaned the knee of my bad leg on the edge of the step then pushed myself up with my good leg. This kept my bad foot off the floor and stopped any pressure being put on it. I made my way to the shower block with Aiden’s help and not long after, Ant arrived. He got everyone organised and calm then left Ella to help me shower before he came back to help get me back to the tent where he strapped my ankle with bandages and put the iced water bottle under my ankle.

I’ve only ever hurt my ankle this bad once before and I’d forgotten how agonising it was. I’m dreading trying to get back to the car tomorrow up the muddy hill.
If I’m honest, I have to say that I’m now a bit depressed and feeling very sorry for myself. I’m ready to go home and I’m so thankful this happened today and not at the start of the week.
It feels like a bit of a nightmare and I could just cry because I’ve spoilt the last day for everyone.

The bruising is going down but it keeps swelling. This was taken  Monday 5th Nov.

Next time: Our final day and another nightmare!

Tales from a Featherdown Farm – Wednesday 31st October

It’s raining again today which put paid to our trip to Hadrian’s Wall.

We did contemplate going to Beatrix Potter World as well but we figured it would be more fun to stay in the warmth (yes, the stove has warmed the tent up nicely today!) and have a long game of Monopoly.
Ella and I are going to work as a team while Kaycee, Aiden and Daddy are each playing on their own.
Kaycee’s going to be the banker (she’s really good at Monopoly and loves being the banker) and we’re going to get it set up once I’ve put a bolognese on to slow cook.
I have to say, I never thought we’d be this warm and cosy when we arrived on Friday. I had visions of us sitting wrapped in blankets, huddled round the stove, freezing and being unable to get warm.
Before the tears and tantrums

 

Daddy before he was winning! 😛
AFTER LUNCH & MONOPOLY
Kaycee cried, Aiden sulked and I got angry at them both for being so mardy about losing to Daddy at Monopoly. I’ve seriously never seen such mardiness over a game before.
When they’d calmed down, Daddy played a few games with them; they played Take the Brain, Thoughtwave and Chinese Checkers while I went for a lovely hot shower. They also played some games without Daddy and Ella I had to grab a picture of Ella, completely comfortable on the table, watching Kaycee and Aiden!
We then wrapped up nice and warm and took a walk into the village.
We bought some handmade soap for Mama and Nanny, some fudge for Aiden’s dad and some Kendal Mint cakes for Grandad. We also got a box of fudge for us to share after Kaycee asked Daddy very nicely and told him she loved him very much!
We’re going to get a jar of homemade jam for Nanny and a jar of homemade marmalade for Mama from the honesty shop.
I think I may have mentioned that the jam we got from the honesty shop was the best jam ever!
It was a lovely walk into the village, even with the drizzle 🙂

 

 

 

 

The good thing about being away on Halloween is that you’re not constantly up and down answering the door all night to trick or treaters.
The bad thing about being away at Halloween is that you’re not constantly up and down answering the door all night to trick or treaters!
Seriously though, it was nice not to have to worry if we had enough sweets to give out then wondering what else we could give out when we inevitably ran out! but I felt a bit sorry for the kids because they love Halloween and all we had to show for it were some Halloween biscuits.
If we go away for Halloween next year I’ll make sure we have a Halloween themed tea party and take some dress up clothes with us.
Next time: Packing ready for home and a painful accident.

Tales from a Featherdown Farm – Tuesday 30th October

Two hot water bottles helped warm me up enough to get to sleep last night and I remained toasty all night until I woke at 6.30am this morning.
It seems 6.30 is my natural wake up time here on the farm but seeing as I’m going to sleep before 10pm I don’t mind at all!
Getting up early gives us plenty of time to play games, organise meals (which takes 3 times longer on the stove!) and go shopping or take trips to the village to stock up on yummy bread!

The kids go to see the chickens every morning and usually bring back an egg each, even though we have loads from Tesco that we bought because the chickens couldn’t keep up with the enormous appetites the kids seemed to have developed since coming here!
Ella especially seems to be eating everything in sight. She has seconds at breakfast here whilst at home it’s a struggle to get her to eat fruit and yogurt.

After breakfast, the kids wrote postcards to all the grandparents and various members of the family whose addresses we could remember. Unfortunately, we didn’t have some addresses and didn’t have any mobile service so couldn’t ring to find out.
The postcards they used were in the honesty shop with a sign saying, ‘help yourself to postcards’ which we thought was lovely, especially as we ended up sending 15!
They’re going into the village later to post them 🙂

It seems I’ve got my days mixed up in my notepad blog. The kids went for a trailer ride with Farmer John on Monday 29th, not Tuesday 30th but I’ll tell you about it here because it’s easier than going back editing the other post.
They all love seeing Farmer John riding about the farm on his quad bike and were super excited when he offered to take them for a ride in the trailer.
There were two lovely children staying in one of the other tents and Farmer John took them all for a ride together. I’ve never seen the girls so excited! They came back laughing and talking about how brilliant it was, in fact, I think Ella’s exact word, when asked how it was, was, ‘EPIC!’ 😀

Another thing the girls love doing on the farm is visiting the rabbits; Ella even asked if we could buy rabbit food for them when we were in Asda! I told her the farmer bought their food but we had plenty of carrots they could feed them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another lovely day on the farm and I no longer regret booking this holiday!

Tomorrow: Not much of a Halloween and Monoply tantrums.

Tales from a Featherdown Farm – Monday 29th October

The rain held off for most of the day but now I’m wishing it was back! It’s freezing again tonight and I’m sat in bed under 3 duvets, 3 blankets, a fleece wrapped round my head and 3 layers of clothing on; I can see my breath when I breathe.

I felt the drop in temperature after we got back from Asda, where we spent another small fortune on warm clothes but this time for the girls.
Clothes don’t stay clean for very long around here, what with all the mud! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, one of the main reasons I wanted to holiday on a farm is because it meant we could bring all their play clothes and not have to worry about buying new clothes.

Anyway, we spent a lovely evening playing Go Fish while waiting for our pork and veg to warm up 🙂

Before lunch, Ant and the girls went for a walk to the village and bought the most delicious bread I’ve ever tasted (The warm crusty loaf from Christine was gorgeous but I prefer a soft crust so this one came top for me).

They all liked it and are planning on fetching more tomorrow which reminds me, we also bought a pot of homemade strawberry jam from the honesty shop and there couldn’t have been a more perfect accompaniment to the lovely bread from the village. It had whole strawberries in and tasted wonderful. The only downside is that the pot was too small!

 

Daddy showing Ella where the ash goes from the burnt wood

 

Gorgeous sunset although the photo doesn’t do it justice.
Ella and I played Ludo….

 

while Kaycee and Aiden played chess although after listening to Aiden explaining the game to Kaycee, it was clear he’d  totally made up his own rules!!

Tomorrow: Postcards home and an exciting trailer ride from Farmer John.

Tales from a Featherdown Farm – Sunday October 28th

It’s amazing how a good sleep in a nice warm (and extremely comfortable) bed can lift your spirits.

I’d been feeling guilty and that feeling had been intensified on the two occasions when the girls had cried because they were so cold.
I apologised to Ant for picking a tent to stay in in the middle of October. I thought everyone was going to get  home and say it was the worst holiday ever and it was all my fault.

However, last night the temperature rose, just like Ant and Farmer John said it would and I actually had to take my gloves, coat, cardi and slippers off in the middle of the night because I was too hot!

My face didn’t need to be covered and I ended up giving Ella my hot water bottle to warm her hands because she kept kicking off the covers when she got hot then waking up when she went too cold.

We went to bed around 8.30pm and I read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to the kids. Ella fell asleep while I was reading and the other two went to sleep around 9pm. I read for a little while before going to sleep myself. We’re right next to a gorgeous stream and the noise can be heard all night; it’s lovely falling asleep listening to the sound of the running water in the background

It totally felt like I’d been in bed all night when I woke around 2am. I managed to get back to sleep and got up at 6.30am.

It had rained all night and carried all day but we didn’t let it get us down. We got organised this morning then we played Monopoly before lunch while Daddy relaxed in front of the stove with his crosswords.
Kaycee won the game and was really pleased with herself!

We had chicken soup for lunch (well, they all did, I had minestrone mug shots and they were delicious) with sandwiches. I’m loving all the warming soups and stews we’re having.

Great fun was had by all in the afternoon when we all played Zoo Am I? Ella found it very difficult not to give clues or just tell you what was on your card! A lot of cheating went on!

 

 

Another game later (Pictionary) and it was time for dinner. We had stew that was left over from yesterday with bread and for after we had a chocolate eclair (daddy’s favourite).

After dinner, beds were made, pots were washed and everyone settled down in the soft glow of the candlelight to read, do puzzles or in my case, blog!
It’s lovely and cosy today, sitting in front of the stove with a blanket round my shoulders listening to the rain on the canvas. Instead of wine, I have flavoured sparkling water (it all helps keep the syns down!) and I’m relaxing nicely 🙂

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Today, playing games with the kids, a pan of stew bubbling away on the stove and being warm and dry in the tent, is the vision I had for our Featherdown Farm holiday.
It might not have started out that way but luckily it turned a corner quite quickly; I’m really pleased because I’d have hated for us to have to go home early.

As it is, I’m loving our holiday now 😀

Tomorrow:A drop in the temperature, again; a walk to the village and a trip to Asda.

Tales From A Featherdown Farm – Days One & Two

We went glamping at Featherdown Farm, Howbeck Lodge in Cumbria for the October half term. We didn’t have electricity so I bought a notebook from Tesco and kept a diary for the week.
The kids thought it was really funny when they asked what I was doing and I replied, ‘I’m blogging!’.

Here’s my diary but please note, the first night was an anomaly and if the minus temperatures had happened later in the week, when we were used to the stove and had the experience we’d gained by the end of the week, we wouldn’t have suffered half as much as we did!

Saturday 27th October

Loving the views on the way to the farm 🙂

Day one of our arctic adventure saw us meet the lovely Farmer John who showed us to our fridge tent.
He’d very kindly lit our stove for us and I was extremely grateful! He showed us the tent, shower block, (where there’s also a toilet and sink with hot running water) honesty shop and also took our order for a loaf of bread to be delivered for breakfast the next morning. He explained the stove to Ant and showed him where to fetch more boxes of logs. You get a free box daily and pay £5 for any extra boxes you use.

We arrived around 5pm and if we come glamping again, I’d pay to have the beds made for us on arrival. It really isn’t easy to fit pillow cases and duvet covers on in the rapidly fading light. I’d also make sure that we had everything needed for the first night, packed in a separate bag. It was a nightmare trying to find pyjamas, slippers etc for each person and it looked liked a bomb had hit when we woke in the morning!

I have to say, I can’t actually believe we ended up with a below zero temperature on our first night.
I lay in bed last night and shivered with the cold, despite having extra blankets as well as the duvets provided. We brought 6 fleece blankets, 2 thick wool blankets, 3 hospital type blankets and a double duvet with us.
The tent came with 6 single duvets (the double bed had 2 single duvets rather than a double on it for some strange reason) and while they all helped stop my body getting too cold, my face and head was freezing.
I couldn’t feel my nose and ended up wrapping my head in a fleece blanket and covering it over my face to try and keep out the cold. I was still awake at 2am this morning and in total I got about 2 hours sleep.

Aiden and Kaycee slept in the cupboard bed with a couple of fleeces and 3 single duvets and both of them slept right through. We did have a time earlier in the evening when the two girls were crying because they were so cold. We had to hurry dinner so we could get them in bed so they could warm up.
Ella didn’t want to sleep in the cupboard bed because she said all the duvets made it hard for her to move so she slept on the bottom bunk on her own, wrapped up in a single duvet.
They did cheer up a bit and I grabbed the camera to capture some smiles before they disappeared!

 

 

Ella ended up getting in our bed around midnight because she was too cold on her own.
At half two, Ant went to sleep in the bottom bunk to give us more room and to try and get some sleep without wrigglebum Ella!

Suffice to say, we were both shattered this morning and we had to go to Tesco to stock up for the week.

Now I do have to say that we’re not blaming anyone for the weather but I am a bit disappointed that the website says, ‘Made of thick, protective canvas, our tents keep the warmth in without shutting the sounds of nature out, so you can wake up with everything around you. After a comfortable, curative sleep, you greet the day feeling refreshed and relaxed.’

Click to enlarge

and I’m sure when I was booking it, it said something along the lines of, ‘it’s warmer than you think at this time of year and the wood burning stove creates a warm cosy atmosphere’.
It was reading that, that helped us decide to go on a Featherdown Farm Days holiday in October and I know that if we’d have known it was going to be as cold inside as it was outside, and having to sit nearly on top of the stove to get any warmth, we certainly wouldn’t have booked.
I didn’t expect to see our breath all day while we were inside the tent and it started to get me down after a while.

We have to wear hats, scarves, gloves, coats and 2-3 layers of clothing all day and night. Last night I went to bed wearing trousers, pyjama bottoms, a vest top, pyjama top, jumper, long wool cardigan, fleece jacket, gloves and a fleece blanket as a hat!
I hugged a hot water bottle to me until it went cold around 3am.

We were up early this morning, about 7.30am and even though it was cold, everyone was in good spirits. The kids fetched eggs from the chickens and some bacon from the honesty shop (because despite taking bacon with us for breakfast on the first morning, I couldn’t find it anywhere!) and we had the most delicious warm loaf delivered by Farmer John.
Bacon, scrambled eggs, warm bread and butter and hot black coffee was the best breakfast I’ve had for a long time (well, I didn’t have butter because of my diet and the kids had cup a soup instead of coffee but you get the idea!).

After breakfast we headed off to Tesco and couldn’t help falling in love with the stunning views on the way there. The villages we went through were gorgeous; I loved the little cottages.

After spending a small fortune at Tesco, (we usually do a big shop when we go on holiday but it’s never been as big as this one was. We had to buy extra clothes for Aiden, more leggings for Kaycee, gloves for me and a thermal top for Ant. We spent about £70 on extra clothes because of the freezing temperatures) we headed back to the tent and I have to say, I wasn’t looking forward to it. We joked that we should spend the day in Tesco’s cafe where it was warm and there was free wifi!

When we got back, I put a big pan of beef stew on the stove. It smelt lovely and everyone looked forward to tucking into it with fresh bread to dip in.

Here endeth days one and two!

Tomorrow: Rain, board games and a feeling of contentment.

Featherdown Farm Holiday

We’re all getting pretty excited here and no it’s not another Christmas post, (‘cos let’s face it, I’m a bit of a Christmas nut and the excitement for that time of year is slowly creeping up on me!) it’s a Featherdown Farm post because our holiday starts tomorrow :o)

I really can’t wait to get away for the week with Ant and the kids and the thought of cooking all our food on a wood burner in the tent or on a fire outside fills me with happiness!

I normally plan a full menu for the week when we go on holiday which usually includes a complete shopping list to accompany it, although we’re not that good at sticking to lists when it comes to holiday food shopping.
It seems to have become a tradition with us that whenever we go on holiday we spend half of the first day in Tesco, stocking up for the week and we usually spend more than double our weekly shop because we buy treats for everyone; things we’d normally say no to on a regular shopping trip get put into the trolley because, ‘hey, we’re on holiday, we might as well enjoy it’, syndrome steps in!

This year however, I aim to stick to my slimming world diet, so I won’t be buying too many goodies! I’m pleased we’ve chosen this holiday and not one where I’ll be tempted by fish and chips and hot doughnuts!
I haven’t planned the food though and I’m running out of time so I’d best get some ideas down for cooking on a wood burning stove!

This will be my last post for the week. I was going to schedule some for next week but again I’m running out of time so you all get a break from me for one whole week!

See you in November :o)

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