I had an event to photograph this morning so that was a busy morning. I was so lucky though. As I had picked up the job last minute the client had bought me some chocolates and flowers as a thank you. It was really sweet and completely unexpected. As soon as I got home I popped the flowers in a vase and then popped them on my window sill.
The rest of our day was pretty chilled. We lazed around the house watching Christmas films. Bella opened the next door on her advent calendar and we found rudolph. Bella was very excited she’d found a reindeer. She is very excited for Christmas this year it’s so cute.
Once Daly was up I managed to find the Christmas classics on the TV – We’re going on a Bear Hunt, The Snowman, The Gruffalo, The Santa Claus. I remember watching all those films as a kid on Christmas Eve. They had obviously decided to put them on early this year. We all settled down in the living room to watch and enjoy. Bella was completely absorbed which was great.
Once we’d finished with the Christmas TV it was time to head out. Bella and I were off to meet Leanne for our annual Christmas treat. Last year we had gone to the Christmas lights and London Zoo and nearly died of frost bite. It was so cold and wet. Bella didn’t enjoy it at all, she got too cold so this year we were hoping for a bit less rain and a far more enjoyable time.
I went and picked Leanne up in town and then we set of to Walmer Castle to see the pretty lights. On the drive down it was a little bit wet but nothing like in London last year. We were directed into the car park and we got out and bundled up. It was pretty cold being right on the sea front. I’d popped Bella in her old onesie snow suit that mum had bought her for Christmas last year. It doesn’t fit her great but it would give her a bit of protection from the elements. We loaded up the pram and set off.
I haven’t been to Walmer for years so I was a little confused of where to go, especially in the dark but luckily there were stewards to point us in the right direction. Which was handy because the signs weren’t always pointing in the right directions.
We eventually walked up to the castle. It was so pretty lit up. As you walked round to the main part of the walk the castle is all lit up with colour changing lights and along the fence there were little twinkly fairy lights.
It was so pretty how they’d set up all the walk ways. The bushes were covered in lights and all the trees lit up with different coloured lights. It truly did look enchanted and we haven’t even started the route yet.
By the entrance there was a tunnel of lights and a steward stood in front of it. I believe this was because to exit the gardens you had to come through the tunnel of lights and rejoin the start to exit through the castle. The route goes round in a big loop. The steward told us the tunnel was a lovely place to get photos especially now that it had only just opened. No one was going to be exiting for a while.
We stepped into the tunnel and took a few photos. Leanne took a couple of Bella and I and then a nice lady took a group photo for us. I didn’t like the idea of Leanne missing out on some photo fun.
We carried on walking around the route and came across a photo frame with the hashtag EnchantedWalmerCastle. Leanne told me and Bella to go stand in the frame and she took our photo. Sadly it suddenly became very popular and I was never able to tell Leanne to get behind the frame.
We carried on walking around. We came across the water garden with the fountains. As we walked along side them Bella walked with Leanne. There were colouring changing lights in the water.
At the end of the fountains and the pond they were in there was a raised up bit. There were lights in the little archways that overlooked the pond. We managed to drag the buggy up these steps so we could have a look. There wasn’t much to see up there. But it did look quite pretty looking over the garden.
I felt so bad for all the other people that had climbed up there and waited for me to get the buggy up ad down the steps. If there hadn’t been so many people around I wouldn’t have minded leaving the pram at the bottom of steps and I don’t like doing that when there are crowds of people.
It was very bright in all those lights on the raised section. I actually felt like I’d been blinded. It was actually to see all the pretty lights.
We made our way back along the trail to see what we could find. We came across a talking tree with a face projected onto eat. It was a little bit creepy so we actually moved on pretty fast.
In the next section there was a fairy grove full of little fairy houses. It was so cute. Bella really liked all the fairy houses and little toadstools.
As well as the little houses there were also little cages sitting in the trees with some captured fairies. Leanne and Bella had a good look at the fairy in the cage.
The path soon opened up in to a lot of trees all lit up various lights and glitter balls in the trees.
We came across some little funfair rides. There were tea cups – which make Bella feel sick. There were some swing seats – which I have yet to try Bella with. And they had some flying planes – which I knew Bella would enjoy. Leanne took her round to go found her plane while I waited off to the side with the pram. It did seem it was becoming very much a Leanne and Bella day but we were all having a good time.
Bella chose her plane and Leanne got her settled. We then stood off to the side and watched Bella fly around in her little red plane. She loves these little rides. My little adventurer. Hopefully I’ll be able to take her to CBeebies land at some point and there will be tons of rides for her to try out.
When the ride finished I paid for Bella’s turn and we proceeded on our way round the castle gardens. We came across a walk way down to the main castle which had been blocked off so you could look down at the castle all lit up. We decided this was another perfect spot to take a photo. Again I felt bad though because Leanne didn’t have her photo taken. It took a lot of effort to get Bella to have her photo taken though. You can definitely tell the child of a photographer. She only will have her photo taken if she asks for it.
Following the path it appeared we were coming to the end of the route around the castle. At the end was a little cafe – and when I say little I mean tiny. There were like four tables and when it’s freezing people don’t want to sit on the benches outside. However just outside the little cafe were some LED chairs.
We tried for ages to get a photo of Bella sitting on the lit up bench but she was having none of it. We did eventually manage to get some semi nice photos of her sitting in one of the little LED chairs.
We were hungry so I tried the cafe to see if there was any space but like I said there were only about 4 tables and they were all full. We didn’t fancy the idea of sitting outside in the cold so we thought we’d head back to the car and regroup.
I eventually managed to get a photo of Leanne and I together as we headed through the light tunnel we had taken photos in at the beginning of our walk around the grounds.
We headed back to the car to regroup, warm up and look for somewhere to eat. It was nice going to Walmer castle for this years Christmas day out. And thankfully it wasn’t as cold and wet as last years trip to London zoo.
Back at the car we got warm and settled down to the important stuff – presents. Bella and I were given our presents first from Leanne. I opened mine and it turns out I’d been given a beautiful Pandora bracelet with a flower clasp and a little ladybird charm hanging off it. I was blown away. Leanne always spoils me. She is the best.
Bella was in the back of the car trying to work out what her present was. She gave the present a shake and tried to see if she could hear anything. Nope, no luck so she had to go back to good old fashioned opening the present.
Inside her gift was a Ariel doll from the Disney store. Bella loves the Little Mermaid so she was over the moon. Sadly I didn’t have anything to get her out of the box so she had to just hug the box the whole well home.
I gave Leanne her present. She had two from us but one was a present from a long time ago and I just kept miss placing. Leanne ripped into the paper and unwrapped a mini gnome ornament – it’s a running thing between us two.
The second present was a Disney light up bottle that I had made for her. She loves Disney so I thought it was a cute gift to get her.
Now I had a look at places to eat nearby. Sadly there wasn’t anywhere sort of fast foody nearby. And alot of places were closed with it being Sunday night so Leanne decided that she would head home and I would take Bella home probably getting something to eat on the way.
I dropped Leanne at the train station so she could catch the train home and then I started the long drive home. Oh man was I happy when that drive was over. I was driving down the main road out of Dover from the docks and as it went from two lanes to one I could suddenly see a random person just walking along a 70mph road. I luckily spotted him so I could move over and avoid hitting him but just as I did that someone decided that instead of filtering in as it was going from two to one lane they were going to speed up and nearly take me out from the driver side as they overtook me. This person just appeared from no where behind me. I’m not the most confident of drivers and man did that shake me for the rest of the drive home.
We survived though. I decided to stop at Canterbury McDonalds so I could get Bella something to eat as it was getting late. We had a nice dinner in McDonalds enjoying the food.
But it was soon time to hit the road again and get Bella home to bed.
We had a wonderful time at Walmer Castle enjoying all the lights and spending time with Leanne. I wonder what we’ll get up to next Christmas.
Love CiCi x