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Sorry, the title is connected to the product in the loosest possible way, but it reminds me of my daughter!
The Natures Nest is made by Amby and is a baby hammock suspended on a frame that mimics the movements felt by the baby in the womb, therefore soothe them to sleep. It is recommended for colicky and refluxy babies because the baby doesn't lie flat in the hammock, she is layed in a semi upright position and hugged by the fabric. Any slight movement by the baby will set the hammock gently swinging and bouncing, which should, in theory, send them back to sleep.
The Nest looks great! I got it in white, and it is so pretty and looks so comfortable that I wanted to jump in it myself. It doesn't look out of place in any room and it doesn't take up much space either. I bought mine second hand so wanted to wash all removable parts and it was surprisingly easy to take apart, bung it in the washing machine, and put back together again. It appears to be held in place by a bow of fabric on either side, but it is actually held up by 2 heavy duty springs on a hook, and is very sturdy. The material is then tied to make it look pretty, and is actually quite easy to do.
I found putting my baby into the Natures Nest very difficult. Because it is quite low, swings and bounces around and has quite close sides it is hard to lift the baby through the small gap. I found that once the baby was inside the nest, I had to reach in again and lift her further and higher so that her head was higher than her body, so I wouldn't recommend it for a baby that likes to settle to sleep in your arms first. Once the baby is inside and in the correct position, it does look very comfortable, but I was concerned that because of the incline her chin would sometimes be quite low and towards her chest which can affect their breathing. I didn't need to worry though, because my baby only did one 20 minute stint asleep in the Natures Nest before she realised i'd put her down.
The Nature's Nest is recommended from birth to 12 months or up to 29lbs. I really can't see this happening. My daughter provokes comments of 'ooh she's tiny' wherever we go and weighs only 16lbs at 12 months old, but I couldn't imagine wrestling her into the Nature's Nest at her size even a couple of months ago. Personally I would put the baby to sleep somewhere else once they can roll because if the baby has a preference for sleeping on their stomach, it won't be comfortable doing that on an incline.
If you are looking to buy the Natures Nest because you have an unputdownable, or 'velcro' baby I wouldn't recommend it. You will probably find, as I did, that if your baby won't sleep alone in the moses basket, swinging crib, cot or bouncy chair, she probably won't sleep in the Natures Nest either. In this case I would suggest a good sling and safe co-sleeping to save your sanity. If your baby has severe reflux or colic you might want to give it a try - it does seem to get good reviews for these reasons.
To buy a new Natures Nest you are looking at around £150 to £200 including the mattress and fitted sheets. I bought mine second hand for £60, so I would recommend trying to source one this way and buying a new mattress from the Amby website for £21.99.
I have given the Natures Nest 3 stars because I think it is a good idea and it looks pretty, it just didn't work for me and my baby.
I wish I'd met you sooner.
You could say that I have been promiscuous with highchairs over the last 12 months, flitting from one to another, not knowing what I was looking for. Now I've met you family mealtimes are complete.
Your hard, shapely plastic body is so smooth and easy to wipe beans and yoghurt off. You have no podgy fabric crevices in which to hide peas or squash banana (or banananana as it's known in this house) for me to find days later.
Your legs are sleek and smooth, and you fit perfectly up to the average dining table because they aren't too long.
Assembling you was a dream, 4 clicks and your legs were on, 2 pushes and the safety harness was attached.
You are so dainty, I can pick you up and throw you around with one hand.
I know some people think you are too cheap to be any good at only £12 but they don't know you like I do. The gadgets and gizmos aren't necessary, no need for 3 different height settings, 5 recline positions and integrated toys. You are simple, and simply beautiful.
I think I love you.
Love thecatsnose x x
P.s. Don't worry about Chicco Polly, she can go to grandma's and sit in the corner where her bulky weight doesn't matter.
Available at Ikea for £12, tray extra at £4, infant booster cushion £5.50.
I bought the Klippan Kiss 2 for my daughter when she grew out of her infant carrier. I had been researching the next stage car seats and was sure that I wanted to keep her rear facing for as long as possible for safety reasons.
The Klippan Kiss 2 is one of very few rear facing car seats that is suitable from birth to 4 years as it has a newborn insert which can be removed once the child is over the correct weight limit. I bought the seat too late to use the newborn insert, but it is a moulded cushion that sits in the back of the seat and kind of hugs your baby.
I chose the Klippan Kiss 2 because it is relatively small compared to some rear facing seats, and after checking online I was happy to learn that it was suitable for our car. It's not the most stylish seat out there, but that sort of thing doesn't really concern me, it's safe and that's the only thing I'm really bothered about.
I chose the Isofix version, because our car has the fittings and it really is idiot proof. There are special markers on the Isofix base that click into place when it is installed correctly, so it is almost impossible to get wrong. There are no seatbelts to tighten using Isofix as the base is fixed into your car on metal rings down the back of the seat.
To fit the seat into the base there is a guide arrow and a handle to pull. You need to rock the seat in an upward motion through the guide, whilst pulling the handle, which is then released to fix it in one of the 3 positions, 1 for babies under 1 year old, 2 for 2 year olds and 3 for over 3's. I have only used position 1 so far and it is reclined quite far back, so the baby is almost lying down. This has been great for me because it is practically guaranteed that my daughter will relax and fall asleep within a few minutes of being in the car if she is tired. The position of number one is such that you can see your baby from head to toe from the drivers seat if you look over your shoulder. I think this is brilliant now but it unnerved me slightly on our first journey using the seat because my daughter spent the whole time with her head tilted up peeping at me!
The 5 point harness fastens with a reassuring click and is well padded on the chest area. The chest pads, and the rest of the covers can be removed for washing, which is useful for keeping the seat clean of drool and whatever else gets them so dirty!
I find that removing the seat from the base isn't as easy with the child inside (and my husband finds it impossible with or without her in it). The pull handle is difficult to get to, and you need to pull it and swing the seat down towards the back of the car. It is quite a clunky motion and sure to wake a sleeping baby, coupled with pulling out the carry handles, so best avoided unless completely necessary. If you are lucky enough to do it without waking the baby, the seat has an extending handle and wheels so you can push or pull the seat along the floor. I have never used this feature, but I can imagine it might be useful for some.
I have had a few strange looks from friends for keeping my daughter rear facing after 9 months, but it is the norm in some countries and I think that we are far far behind them in Britain in the safety stakes. Forward facing seats can be picked up for just £20 at supermarket baby events, whereas rear facing seats start from 10 times that and can be difficult to find unless you look online.
Keeping your child rear facing is 5 times safer than putting them in a forward facing seat as soon as they grow out of their infant carrier. 5 times safer sounds a lot, it *is* a lot but I wasn't sure how much safer it actually was until I looked at some crash test videos on YouTube. In the forward facing seats the child is thrown around like a rag doll and their neck takes most of the strain in a head on collision. Considering how fragile a child's neck is, this is seriously bad news. In a rear facing seat the impact is spread across the whole of the childs upper body. If you're in any doubt please have a look yourself.
The Klippan Kiss 2 (also sold as the Graco Duologic 2) can be picked up from around £300 and for that you get the Isofix base and the car seat. Separate bases can be purchased if you have 2 cars and just want to use the one seat.
I have given the Klippan Kiss 2 four stars, it hasn't got five because it is not that easy to get out of the car due to the position of the pull handle. Other than that, I love this seat and I love that it goes from birth to 18kg / around 4 years.
I was lucky enough to be given a set of Mamia toiletries to try by Aldi, I assume the opinions of the participants will be used as part of the "I like this, and I also like this" advertising campaign, which is great.
Mamia Baby Bath is strikingly similar in looks to Johnson's Baby Bath at first glance. Same colour, shape and size of bottle. The same goes for all the Mamia Baby toiletries, each item has a matching Johnson's product. This is great because it is easy to pick out what you want, and Aldi must be confident in their products because customers will naturally compare.
The Bath Test
When I squeezed the bottle under running water to get the bubbles going, I noticed that the liquid is a lurid blue colour. It doesn't look natural and I would prefer it visually if it were maybe paler and more creamy.
The texture is very thick and gelatinous compared to the Johnson's equivalent, and I needed a lot to get the bubbles going.
The smell of the Baby Bath is lovely and reminds me of parma violets. The scent starts off quite strong, but sadly fades off throughout the bath, as do the bubbles. The scent doesn't linger on the skin, which I don't mind, as I use a lavender based moisturiser on my baby to help her sleep (hollow laugh).
At 79p for 500ml Mamia Baby Bath is an absolute steal, and I would buy it if they made an equivalent of Johnson's Bedtime Bath.
I gave it 4 stars because the bubbles don't last very long.
I finished my freebie test bottle last week and bought a new one from Aldi. The formula appears to have changed and the Baby Bath is not gelatinous and thick anymore and the bubbles last over 10 minutes. This is a massive improvement on the original test product and I have upgraded my review to 5 stars.
I've tried out several types of baby wipes. One of my friends swears by Huggies Pure and wouldn't use anything else. I've tried them a few times now and have mixed feelings.
Huggies pure wipes come in a soft plastic pack, with a cute baby on the front, fitting with the usual Huggies branding.
There's a large sticky piece covering the hole where the wipes are pulled from. It pulls from left to right, I *always* want to pull it the other way and have a tricky moment trying to open it and get a wipe out. This problem doesn't last long though because the sticky cover doesn't last as long as the pack and ends up falling off leaving the top wipes to dry out. I much prefer wipes with a plastic clip lid, they keep the wipes moist, are easy to open for adults, but not so easy to open for wipe loving babies.
The wipes themselves are the thickest, most luxurious feeling wipes I've felt. They feel around 4 times as thick as any other wipe I've used, eliminating the fear of 'poo finger' completely :)
The problem is getting them out of the packet. Whilst they are the thickest wipes I've seen, they are also the most papery. Where other wipes have some stretch to them and feel almost like a thin cloth, Huggies Pure are like a wad of wet toilet tissue. This makes getting them out of the pack difficult. I've lost count of the amount of times I've been holding a pooey baby's ankles with one hand, while pulling fingertip size pieces of Huggies Pure out of the pack instead of a full wipe!
I would use them again for hands and faces, but not for nappies. I find them too papery and get frustrated trying to get them out of the packet.
You can get a pack of 64 wipes for between £1 and £2 depending on offers.
Hailed by new mums as a miracle cream that saves your nipples from falling off, Lansinoh is a lanolin based goo that claims to soothe and protects sore and cracked nipples in breastfeeding mothers.
Now I'm really on the fence with this one and I've realised I'm going to find it difficult to review but I've started, so I'll finish.
It's grease. Grease. That's all, no different from using Vaseline, except it costs a fortune
- around £10 a tube. But when you're desperate, when that tiny little delicate newborn mouth has made your nipples feel like they've been snapped in a mousetrap, you buy it - hell you'd buy anything at that point, and it works, it is soothing! But remember before you part with your hard earned, it's just grease!
Lansinoh is a very thick, yellow waxy substance in a purple tube. Because it is so thick it can be tough to get out of the tube, so it is easier if you warm the tube in your hand first. You need to apply a pea sized amount just to the nipple area, preferably warmed again between your fingers for ease of spreading. It can be applied before and after a feed, it doesn't need washing off as it isn't harmful to baby and it creates a barrier between you and little razor lips.
I believe there must be a placebo effect with this cream. So many breastfeeding mothers swear by it, myself included at the time, but there's nothing in it that cures cracked nipples, like so many users claim (not that Lansinoh themselves say this mind), it is in effect a rather expensive barrier cream.
Cracked, sore nipples are usually caused by a bad latch. Baby needs to take a big mouthful of breast tissue from underneath the nipple in order to 'milk' the breast effectively. If baby hasn't latched properly and is hanging onto your nipple, you will get sore. Lansinoh can make the latch worse, if applied before a feed, because it stops baby from getting good attachment.
I agree that Lansinoh is soothing, but I would advise getting your latch checked out by the BfN or LLL before you spend your money on this cream.
Do I win a prize for writing the word "nipple" so many times?
Hello puppy calling do you want to play with me? Lets have fun together while you learn your ABC! Every minute of every hour until she finally drops, my word it can get annoying!
I got this walker for my daughter because she took a shine to the one belonging to her little playmate. Getting this walker seems to be a bit of a right of passage for every baby, I believe it is v-tech's best selling toy of all time, and I can understand why.
It's called a walker, but initially at least, that bit is secondary to the front activity panel. There are buttons to press, flaps to flip and wheels to whirl which are all very exciting when you can't stand on your own two feet yet. The buttons are easy to press, so baby will get something interesting happen every time, unlike some toys that seem to need a hard touch to get a response. There's a telephone (always a winner with babies), which has a little button behind that says "well done" in a cheery voice, shame my baby tries to get the same response from my nipple ... anyway... The flashing lights are eye-catching and the songs are catchy ... too catchy, you'll be singing them long after the baby has gone to bed, trust me!
The activity panel can be easily detached from the walker unit, so it is portable in theory, but it is quite large and cumbersome to carry around - so it isn't my 'go to' toy for taking out with us.
Then, when baby gets bigger it gets even more interesting! We had hours of fun watching our daughter practically running along hanging onto the handle for dear life, trying to keep up with herself (bad parent emoticon), but she soon learnt how to control herself and the walker, and quickly got steady.
This is a really fun toy that I would say suits from about 3 months old, but unlike most toys aimed at that age, its dual purpose makes it a long lasting buy so it is well worth the money. You can pick them up for around £15 to £20 new or between £5 and £10 second hand - just make sure the telephone is there if you buy a second hand one as it is the only removable part.
I don't know where people get these babies who lie peacefully in their moses baskets, cooing delightfully, before falling into a deep sleep. "Forget the housework, nap when they do" they say. But what if they don't nap? What if you get an unputdownable baby who thinks that at best, naps should be taken firmly attached to the boob, or worse, that sleep is for wimps?
If this sounds like your baby, you need to invest in an Ergo. It's a soft, structured carrier that hugs your baby close in the correct ergonomic position (do you see what they did there with the name).
I wasted time and money on other slings because I thought at around £100 the ergo was too expensive, but it really was a lifesaver, and here's why:-
I found easy and fast to get on, adjust and get baby into if I wanted to front carry.
The wide belt distributes the weight across the hips, not the back, which makes carrying pain free.
The shoulder straps are wide and padded, so there is no digging in.
There is a useful little zipper pocket which is handy for keys and a cash card, if I wanted to nip to the shops.
I could make food and drinks for myself without feeling awful leaving my little clingon screaming.
The little hood was great for going outside when it was bright.
Walking with my baby in the ergo got her to sleep in minutes.
I could then sit down myself with her still attached and have a break.
The ergo can be changed around into a side carrier and a back carrier. The side carry is a little more tricky to get baby into but with a little practice it is great from about 6 months when baby wants to have a nosy when you're out and about. The back carry is more difficult. I need an extra set of hands for that and to be honest I've only tried it once so can't really comment.
The longest stint I did was 4 hours, I was comfortable, and so was baby. She slept on and off and there was no screaming like there would have been in the pram.
The ergo can be used from birth (if you buy the newborn insert, which is an optional extra) to around 4 years - making it great value for money overall. It is available in a range of colours and fabrics, from plain to patterned - organic to sporty, so there is something for everyone. The only reason I have given 4 stars instead of 5 is because the back carry is so difficult to get into.
I would highly recommend the ergo if you have a high maintenance baby, who doesn't like being put down. It will save your back, and your sanity, even if you do sometimes feel like you are 18 months pregnant when carrying your 9 month old!
I recently lost my face powder during a recent night out and popped along to the Clinique counter at Debenhams to get another one, where I discovered they were doing 'Bonus Time' with the bonus being a Betty Jackson wash bag with lots of goodies inside including a good size bottle of Take the Day off Makeup Remover.
Being the ad man's dream that I am, I eagerly bought the required 2 items so that I could get the goodies.
I was keen to try the Makeup remover as I wear black mascara and black eyeliner every day and struggle to take it all off, to the point where I sometimes need a good cry to remove every last bit ;)
To use the makeup remover you put enough on a cotton pad to wet it and sweep it across your eye, give it a wipe around and TA DAAA! the eye make up is removed. And blimey, it actually works! I find that a couple of sploshes on a cotton pad is enough to do one eye completely and leave it totally makeup free, even with the toughest waterproof mascara, and ingrained eyeliner.
The makeup remover has quite a satiny feel when you sweep it on and doesn't leave you with that greasy feeling that some cleansers give you. The instructions do advise you to rinse the area with clean water if you are going to re-apply your makeup. I expect this is because if there is any residue left over your makeup wont stick so well.
The downside of the Take the Day Off Makeup remover, as with most Clinique items, is that it is a bit pricey - for a 125ml bottle you are looking at around £14.00. On balance I think it is worth it because it works in seconds, doesn't sting your eyes, only takes a little bit and is easy to use.
I'm giving it 4 stars, I've knocked one off because it is a bit expensive compared to other makeup removers, but it fab at taking your mascara off. If you like Clinique or fancy treating yourself give it a go.
Haigh Hall is a large country house set in 250 acres of gardens and woodland close to Wigan. Back in the day the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres used to live there, but the grade 2 listed building and the grounds are now owned by the council and the house is hired out for functions and weddings - in fact I got married here, but more about that in a bit...
What can you do?
Visiting the grounds of Haigh Hall is free, so you are able to visit and walk around the gardens and the woods whenever you like. The grounds are popular with dog walkers, bike riders, and families just using the large grassy areas or the playground on sunny days. If you are feeling adventurous, there are 3 nature trails to follow, from 1.5km to a lengthy 9km if you are up for a challenge.
If you want to spend your money, there are plenty of ways to do so: -
You can play 18 holes of crazy golf, collect a picnic or eat locally sourced produce in the Stables Tea Rooms, travel around the park on the minature railway, make something special at the craft gallery, or buy something at the gift shop. Haigh Hall also boasts a real 18 hole golf course, if you fancy yourself as a bit of a Tiger Woods. Once a year the fair comes to Haigh Hall, usually around the August Bank Holiday, and it gets packed full of people having a great time.
There are special evening events organised quite regularly, usually tea dances, psychic evenings, murder mysteries etc, which I haven't been to yet, but they always look interesting. There are sometimes outdoor music events for up and coming bands, although The Verve once did a concert after they were famous.
Weddings at Haigh
Haigh Hall is a lovely place to get married, the house is beautiful with its magnificant rooms and the Grand Staircase certainly lives up to its name. Outside you have the backdrop of the Douglas Valley for your photos. I can't praise the staff highly enough, they were true professionals and glided around as if by magic.
I find it scary that there have been whispers about this magnificant hall being sold off to the highest bidder. If the rumours are true who knows what might happen to it? In years to come I could take my grandchildren to show them where I got married, and could find myself in the middle of a housing estate. I hope they are only rumours.
You can find out more about what you can do at Haigh at www.wlct.org/leisure/Haigh/haighhome.htm
I'm not very good in the kitchen department, so it's just as well that Mr. Thecatsnose is an excellent cook and manages to rustle up something for us to eat every day, otherwise we would be eating cereal and toast if it was left to me. Occasionally though, I have notions that I am a domestic goddess and will venture into the kitchen, with dreams of turning into Nigella, and creating something wonderful.
The reality is that if I use the grill, I burn the inside of my wrists and end up looking like I have failed a suicide attempt for the next 3 weeks while waiting for the ugly red marks to fade. If I have something bubbling away in a pan I get distracted by the mountain of washing that needs folding, and it ends up boiling dry. If I am peeling vegetables, it is practically a guarantee that I will emerge with more slices out of my fingers or the heel of my hand than out of the potato.
It was with the peeling in mind that I went out on the hunt for a vegetable peeler, and came home with the Jamie Oliver Speed Peeler (bought from T J Hughes for £2.99 at the time).
This vegetable peeler is fab. It is so sharp that you can peel pretty much anything with it, it glides through potato peel easily, shaving off a waver thin slice so there is no waste. Because it is so sharp, you don't have to dig in like you would do with a knife, because the peel offers no resistance at all to the blade. I am pretty sure you could shave your legs with this if you needed to!
Because of the shape it is comfortable to hold as you hold it more like a razor than a knife, and it is made of stainless steel so it shouldn't go grotty over time. I have tested it out on potatoes, carrots, aubergines and courgettes so far, and it has worked perfectly every time, and according to the information on the packaging Jamie says "Apart from just peeling veg and potatoes quickly and easily, they're great for shaving parmesan or even chocolate!" although I haven't tried this myself yet.
If you are a novice in the kitchen, or just want to speed up your preparation time, I would recommend this speed peeler.
My cats were strictly Gourmet Pearle moggies, but at around £4.80 for a box of 12 pouches, and not a deal in sight, it was getting a bit much for the pocket. 2 cats at 2 pouches a day each & free feeding dry food was mounting up considerably.
As we were trying to reduce our monthly outgoings, and had already brought down our own grocery spending, we decided that if it was possible we would try to find a less expensive option for the cats.
We tried the usual alternatives, like Whiskas and Felix, but as expected furry noses were turned up and they refused to do anything else apart from lick the jelly or gravy off the chunks.
Whilst in Aldi, we spotted their Vitacat Chunks in Jelly Selection. At £2.99 for a box of 12 pouches we thought it was worth a go, and bought a box of their Adult Jelly version. There is a choice of Kitten, Adult and Senior food, in both jelly and gravy.
In their Adult Jelly Selection you get 12 x 100g pouches comprising of 3 x Duck and Liver, 3 x Chicken, 3 x Turkey and 3 x Tuna. The average meat content is 4%, which is comparable with your standard cat food pouches like the regular Whiskas. The rest is made up of around 82% moisture, 5% oil, 2.5% ash and various minerals.
From a human point of view it doesn't look as good as Gourmet Pearle does :) the chunks are slightly bigger and the jelly is a little thicker but the consistency of the jelly is still quite runny, which my cats seem to prefer. The chunks seem to be softer than some alternatives, which my cats also prefer.
I think the moglets would probably prefer Gourmet Pearle, but they are eating the Vitacat, and have been doing for a few months now. The food isn't being refused, and they are leaving the same amount as they used to when they had the branded cat food.
If you are looking for a less expensive alternative for your cats, Vitacat is worth a go.
I received The Body Shop's Lemongrass Deodorising Foot Spray as part of a goodie bag put together by my sister for my 30th birthday. My first thought was 'cheeky cow' but I must admit that when I wear pumps or trainers without socks, the shoes - and in turn my feet - STINK!
With the hot weather we have been having this week, my feet are all hot and bothered, and the little ballet pumps I have been wearing for work are taking the brunt of it. I remembered the Foot Spray that I had relegated to the back of the bathroom cabinet and thought I would give it a whirl.
The bottle is quite small, at about 5 or 6 inches, with a pale yellow liquid inside. The foot spray is dispensed via an easy pump action nozzle.
There is an instant cooling sensation when it is sprayed onto the feet, which is very welcome at the moment due to the intense heat we are having, and it dries within around 10 seconds but still leaves your feet feeling cool for a few minutes afterwards.
I find the smell of the spray a little off putting, because I think it smells like a lemon kitchen cleaner, but it isn't worse than cheesy feet!
I can't tell you the price of the spray because as I said, I didn't buy it for myself. It isn't something I would buy for myself, because the cooling effect isn't very long lasting and I would rather just wash my stinking trotters instead of masking the pong in future.
Edited to add....
Ingredients are..... Alchol Denat., Aqua, Propylene Glycol, Citral, Panthenol, Parfum, Limonene, Geraniol, Cymbopogon schoenanthus, Linalool, Tocopherol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Citronellol, Hydroxycitronellal, Eugenol, Denatonium Benzoate, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Farnesol, Isoeugenol, Benzyl Alchol, Coumarin, CI 19140.........phew, suppose the good thing is that The Body Shop don't test their products on animals.
Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway are set in the grounds of the Rothschild's Estate in Exbury - the New Forest. The main house is private, but there are 200 acres to explore which include the woods, and a daffodil meadow and the grounds go right to the bank of Beaulieu River.
When you get into the grounds there are buggies that hold around 6 people that you can use if you are unable to walk very far, and you will be given a guided tour of the gardens by the driver. The buggies come around every 15 minutes and are a good way of getting around the park if you are less mobile or just fancy a ride.
We wanted to walk around the grounds, partly as a nod to being healthy, but mostly because it was a glorious June day and we wanted to be able to take in all the sights and smells of the gardens. There are several main paths that you can take through the grounds, which are all very well signposted, but we quickly wandered off the main path to use some of the smaller trails that took you right into the heart of the gardens where you could see some hidden gems like: -
The History Tree - which is a huge old tree that had come down exposing the rings inside the trunk. Part of the trunk has been sliced and put in a frame, and they have marked each ring with the year it represents and noted the major events from that year from when it was planted in 1728.
The Dogs Graves - what it says really, 7 tiny grave stones all in a row for the dogs that the Rothschild's have lost over the years. It is quite touching to read the headstones of Jip, Bessie and the others.
The Wiggley Tree - This is a massive tree, which has grown more like a bush, with around 5 different trunks coming out of the ground at all angles. It is so big and twisted that it has to be supported by wooden structures - a magnificent sight.
There are three Woods - Witchers Wood, Yard Wood and Home Wood which have some magnificent old tree specimens and younger trees planted by well known people - I saw trees that had been planted by the Queen, Princess Diana and other members of the Royal Family, and I'm pretty sure I saw one that had been planted by Pope John Paul, although how much double digging and watering in they actually did I don't know!
There are several other gardens, including Camellia Walk, The Winter Garden, The American Garden, and the Bog Garden to name but a few, and you can stop off for refreshments at one of the Tea Rooms, or take your own and sit on one of the many benches, just watching the world go by.
Unfortunately we didn't get enough time to go on the Steam Railway, which was a shame because there are some gardens that you can only see on the train. I believe it costs an extra £7 per adult to go on the train, which I found a little disappointing after paying the entrance fee already.
If you enjoy a good walk this is a good place to visit. I went in June, and the gardens were a riot of colour, with squirrels running around the place, ducks on the pond, and bumble bee's enjoying the flowers. There is a good sized car park, and even though there were a lot of visitors on the day we went, the gardens are so big, with hidden nooks and cranny's that it feels like you are the only ones there.
It costs £8.00 for an adult, and £1.50 for a child, and children under 3 go in for free. There are various concessions for groups, OAP's and families. If you are lucky you might find leaflets in some of the tourist information offices in the area which have vouchers entitling you to a Buy One, Get One Free offer.
I have 2 cats, Oscar in my profile picture, big, stupid, aged 8 in body, aged 6 months in mind - and Emms who is fluffy, moody, fangless and aged 11.
I came across these treats a few months ago whilst looking for something to hide an antibiotic inside. If you have cats you will know that giving a cat a tablet is a 3 man job, and you will always come off worse - even if the cat you are trying to medicate has no teeth! I didn't want to be covered in scratches again so I needed something soft and pliable that I could push a tablet inside. Emms is so greedy, she gobbles treats without thinking, so I knew if I could put it inside something I would win the battle of the tablets.
These treats fitted the bill perfectly, they are soft and squishy and you can mould them with ease. They come in a foil wrapper, presumably to keep them 'fresh'. A pack of 6 treats costs around £1.00, and each stick breaks into 6 pieces, so in my opinion they are a pretty good buy. The antibiotic pushed inside a piece of the stick easily and was wolfed down twice a day with no problems.
The sticks are sold as a complimentary cat food, which means they are for treats only and shouldn't be given as a replacement for normal food, the ingredients give a clue as to the reason for this: - Meat and animal derivatives (min. 4%), minerals, various sugars. Contains EEC permitted antioxidants and preservatives. Protein: 31%, Oil: 22%, Ash: 9%, Fibre: 2%, Moisture: 27%.
The treats aren't particularly nutritious, but my word they must taste good - think of them as the feline equivalent of a drunken Saturday night kebab with extra chilli sauce. My old girl is faster than a speeding bullet when she hears the packet being opened, and these get her in from the garden faster than prawns ever used to.
Anything that makes administering tablets easy is a winner for me!