Oh, how life has changed.

It’s been exactly one month since my life changed, and I’ve been trying to work out exactly what I was going to write to update you all.

My hubby was offered a full-time job to start on 10 July, and if we were both to be in work, there would be problems with childcare.  Yes, we had the option to put the kids in to a private nursery, but even with both of our wages, this would leave us out of pocket.  So there was a decision to be made, and quickly.

On 7 July, I worked my last day with the DWP.  I am now a “full-time, stay at home mummy”.  I am now one of the people who I either envied… Or slated.

I was envious because they got to stay at home with their children.  They got to watch their children take their first steps.  They got to hear their children say their first words.  As a full-time working mum, I missed those moments.  I would never have them again, and it ruined me.

I slated the other “full-time, SAHMs” because they had no interest in working.  Their kids were in full-time school, and all they did was sit on their arses all day, watching Jeremy Kyle, or spending their dole money on alcohol and tobacco.  I am positive that most of the mums that fell in to this category were “baby boomers” – only interested in popping out another sproglet because they got more money…

Yes, I am one of those people who turns my nose up at the “minions”.  Yes, I do think I am better than all of the SAHMs that fall in to the latter category.

So now I can hear the comments, “what gives her the right to say that?”

Well, allow me to explain.

Today marks one month since I last worked for anyone.

Since then, I had enrolled on to an online course, and completed a new qualification.  I received my PDF certificate just a couple of days ago, and I am waiting for the “hard copy” to come through.  The certificate confirms that I had passed the final assessment with a “Higher Distinction”.  I have purchased various equipment that I will need to take my qualification further, started a Facebook page with my new “job”, created a Twitter feed, and built a website from scratch.  I am now “up and ready to go”.  My new career will allow me to choose my own hours; and means that I can do something that I have always wanted to do.

Meanwhile, it’s the summer holidays; so Gning is off school for 6 weeks.  I’ve had my two boys with me 24/7 (almost) since I left the DWP – we have had days out, here, there and everywhere…

Gning has been off for 2 full weeks so far (we’re just in to week 3), and so far we have been to:

Acorn Venture Farm (Kirkby)

Gulliver’s World (Warrington)

Treetops (soft play centre in Golborne)

Heysham, Morecambe, Knotts End and Sunderland point (all one journey – Lancashire)

Martin Mere (Bursough)

Windmill Animal Farm (Burscough)

Speke Hall (Speke, Liverpool)

I don’t think the boys have done too badly so far, and there are still (almost) 4 weeks left!

I’ve started a scrapbook for them, so they can keep track of what they’ve been up to, in the summer of 2017.

So what else have I been doing?  I’ve kept on top of the front garden – mowing, raking and strimming.  The back garden is much to be desired, and I really need to get out there, but the weather has been so bad recently, it’d just be like walking in a swamp.  I’ve also scrubbed the kitchen; got on top of all the washing; cleaned the front room – several times; and kept on top of the bookings over at the village hall.

I’ve got lots of other plans, but I need a bit of a rest first of all.  These past 4 weeks that I’ve been off work have been a bit of a whirlwind…  The first 2 weeks, I practically did nothing.  My brain was set to “holiday” mode, lol.

Here’s me, Gning and Donut – I took the selfie yesterday…  I think being a full-time SAHM suits me…

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Croxteth Hall and Country Park – Liverpool

A beautiful park in the middle of a busy city isn’t very rare now-a-days.  In fact, it’s quite common place.  Take Central Park, for example.  In the middle of one of the worlds’ most busiest cities, lies 842 acres (1.32 miles²3.41 km²) of stunning greenland and waterways.  I’m talking about New York, of course.  

Now, if I was to say to you, that just on the outskirts of Liverpool city centre, there is 500 acres of greenery, with an historic hall dated around 1575 AD, a well-kept walled garden (bursting with rare roses and other flowers), and a home farm (full of rare breeds of horses, ponies, cows, pigs, sheep and goats (and more)), I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t really stare at me in amazement.  However, to see the beauty of this area is literally breath-taking.  Especially, as aforesaid, knowing that Liverpool city centre is a mere 5 miles away.

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This, ladies and gentlemen, is the ‘main entrance’ to Croxteth Hall.  To tour the house, you must enter through the shop, which is actually part of the servants quarters, around the left hand side of the house.

The Hall was owned, and lived in, by the Molyneux family from the 16th century until 1972, when the last Earl passed away.  His widow, Josephine – Countess of Sefton (1903-1980) continued to reside in the property until she died.  She was the last member of the Molyneux family to live in the hall.

When the last Earl died in 1972, a worldwide search was made for a legal heir to the title without success.  The property and estate is now owned and managed by Liverpool City Council.

You can learn more about the Earls of Sefton by visiting this Wiki page.

The farmstead shows you how a Victorian animal farm was run, and hosts so many animals, many of which are rare breeds.

My little man walked through a picket gate, and he got such a fright when the giant mother sow snorted right behind him…  We counted 8 piglets with this particular mother pig, and there was a big sign showing that throughout February and March, there were 34 piglets born!  We saw a lot of them, from little tiny pinky babies to quite large ‘Irn Bru’ (burnt orange) coloured piglets 🙂

Sheep and lambs, goats and kids…  Two beautiful shire horses (Clydesdale)…  Even an aviary full of cockerels, hens, peacocks, zebra finches (obviously, I was thrilled to see them), budgies, parrots…  It was such fun to see Gning run around looking at all of the animals.  Definitely a place for children 🙂

The country park hosts fields that seem to lead to the clouds, flowers of all different colours (from vibrant reds to subtle blues), trees of all different shapes and sizes (some good enough to climb), and ponds full of various waterfowl.  There is certainly so much more to do than to visit one of the main ‘attractions’ in the estate (the hall, farm or walled garden).  You could take a picnic blanket and a few outdoor games, and you’d be occupied all day.  Go for a walk in one of the surrounding woodlands…

You’d certainly not think that you were only a stones-throw away from the East Lancs Roas, and a bustling city.

The whole estate is actually free to visit, and parking is free too.  However, to actually go inside the hall, walled garden and farm, there are admission fees.

Hall:

Adults £3.50; children and OAP’s £2.70

Walled garden:

Adults £2.50; children and OAP’s £1.90

Farm:

Adults £3.50; children and OAP’s £2.70

Combined ticket for all three of the above:

Adult £7.00; children and OAP’s £5.40

For further info about the hall, click here to visit the official website.

To give you a basic run down, I would say that this is a family day out for all ages.  There’s plenty to see and do for the very young, to the older in life.  If you pay a visit to the hall for instance, and you are pushing a pram or a wheelchair, everywhere inside of the hall is accessible, as there are lifts and ramps 🙂  The farm, although cobbled, is also easy accessible…  And the majority of the pathways around the estate are suitable for all walks of life.

My final scoring for the whole of the property would be 9/10.  I’m sorry to say that they lost a point in all due to no fault of their own, but the smell of stagnant water is empowering, and the farm didn’t seem to help either 😉  Ha ha.

I’ll leave the post with a few photo’s of our little trip 🙂

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Here’s my little man taking a ride on ‘Toby’ the donkey 😀

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Inside the wine cellar

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This actually is a door from the original building, dated from 1575!!

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I would LOVE a kitchen this size!  Although, I don’t envy having to clean it…

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This was the Countess’ dressing room

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The stunning interior of the stairwell

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The Titanic stairwell was actually modeled from this stairwell in Croxteth hall

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My little man looking at a Shetland pony, and a rare shot of my arm!

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Mmmm…  Bacon…  Oops!  I mean, awww…  Look at the baby piggies ❤

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And finally, a beautiful shire horse