Local eggcellent easter egg hunts for kids

I love Easter. Daffodils are some of my favourite flowers and once they start appearing everywhere, and the nights get lighter, I can’t help but get excited that Spring is finally here. Easter is a great excuse to decorate the house, make the most of the long weekend off work and get lots of yummy food in. And it seems like it is becoming even more popular every year, with more and more decorations and Easter themed food in the shops than ever before.

Easter fluffy chickens

Like stockings at Christmas, a visit from the Easter bunny and a chocolate egg hunt was a tradition that my parents continued for us long after we had ‘grown up’. And now I can’t wait to pass on the fun of the great Easter egg hunt to the Little One. Although he is barely old enough, I’m organising a hunt in the garden for all his friends and I am stupidly  excited. (If, like me, you’re hoping to avoid a chocolate overload this Easter, have a look at my Healthy Easter party food ideas for kids post.) If you want to get out to a public family event (that way you can join in the egg hunting fun too) here are some local Easter egg hunts for children.

Woodland Trust Family Easter Egg Hunt, Hainault Forest Country Park

Hainault Country Park

When: Saturday 4th April 2015, midday – 3pm

Follow the trail, find the clues, solve the Woodland puzzle and earn your Easter egg. Booking essential. All children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Dogs on leads welcome but please mention while booking. While the activity is free, a donation towards the costs is appreciated. Book via foresthainault@btinternet.com

Hainault Forest Country Park website

Egg-cellent Easter at Valentines Mansion & Gardens

During the school holidays Valentines Mansion will have a special Easter trail to follow when you can pick up your special treat when you complete it. They will also have Easter arts and crafts activities for kids to enjoy in the house. Free entry.

When: Sunday 5th April – Wednesday 8th April 2015

Valentines Mansion & Gardens website 

Easter Bunny Trail, Chigwell Meadows

When: Thursday 9th April 2015, 10am-3pm booking essential.

Join in for a hop, skip or just a walk along the nature themed Easter Bunny Trail on Chigwell Meadows. Follow the giant bunny footprints to various stopping off points to gather items along the way. If all items are found correctly – these will be exchanged for a chocolate Easter egg. This activity is suitable for children aged 3 – 7 years. Start at the Grange Farm Centre. Please note this is a self-led activity – because there is a prize, booking is essential. A £4 donation to Essex Wildlife Trust is required. Please call Claire on 0208 500 3094 or email clairer@essexwt.org.uk.

Chigwell Meadows website

Easter Egg hunt, The Owl High Beech

The Owl High Beech

When: Easter Sunday 5th April 2015

This family-friendly pub in High Beech is hosting lots of Easter activities for children, there will be Easter bonnet making with a visit to the Easter bunny in his burrow with an Easter egg present. £6 per child.

The Owl High Beech website

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What’s on this weekend: Mother’s Day special

With Mother’s Day coming up on Sunday, I’ve reminded the boyfriend a number of times that he has to make the day special until the Little One is old enough to make me tea and burnt toast in bed. I’ve dropped lots of hints, well ok demands is probably more accurate. There must be breakfast in bed, flowers and a card. It’s only my second Mother’s Day as a mum but I think it’s important to set the ground rules early! And I want to get out-and-about with the Little One and I definitely do not want to cook. Not too much to ask really.

As the boyfriend has been lacking inspiration, I’ve been suggesting things we can do and I thought it might be useful to share some of the local places we’ve been considering. Hopefully, by next year he can just surprise me! So if you haven’t quite decided how you’ll spend the day together or if you want some inspiration to share with your other half, here are a few ideas for kid-friendly places visit.

WALK IN EPPING FOREST & LUNCH AT BUTLER’S RETREAT

boy walking in Epping Forest

If your don’t want to be tied down to a lunch booking or if you’ve left it too late, one of my favourite ways to spend any Sunday is a walk in Epping Forest followed by lunch at the lush Butler’s Retreat café. And as we don’t do it often enough, this looks like it could be a front-runner for us this weekend. Run by the same people behind The Larder in Wanstead, the food at the Butler’s Retreat is great and it’s very child-friendly with lots of space to run around outside. Perfect if, like me, you have a toddler who is against sitting still for 5 minutes. Hopefully, by next year he’ll be at an age where he can sit nicely at the table without a meltdown and we can go somewhere a bit fancy. But until then, open spaces and outdoor tables mean we don’t have to worry about noise or making too much mess.

Address: 12 Rangers Road, Chingford, E4 7QH

More info: Butler’s Retreat website

GUIDED TOUR OF COPPED HALL

Flowers in Copped Hall garden

Run by a charitable trust, this Georgian mansion is currently being restored and they open the doors to the public once a month. It’s set in grassy parkland and so at their open day and tour this Sunday you’ll also get a chance to see the gardens. There’s a shop that sells produce from the walled garden and refreshments available on site. You don’t need to book and the tour lasts between 2 – 3 hours. Kids under 14 are free and it is £8 for everyone else.

When: Sunday 14th March 2015, The gates only open between 10-11am on Crown Hill.

Address: Stables Courtyard, Copped Hall, Crown Hill, Epping, Essex CM16 5HS

More info: Copped Hall website

EASTER BARNS AT NORPAR BARNS

Easter barn at Norpar Barns Essex

I’m a big fan of Norpar Barns. It’s a lovely drive out into the Essex countryside and the barns are down a peaceful country lane. A visit to their Christmas barn is already a family tradition. Last year, I went along to the Easter barn and it really does get you in the mood for spring. There’s also a small tearoom where you can have tea and cake. It depends on the age of your children and how well behaved they are if you want to bring them. Babies and older children will be fine. For the moment, while the Little One is a mischievous toddler who wants to grab everything I think we’ll wait a bit longer before bringing him back. However, it would be the perfect place to take your own mother if you want a few hours away from the kids!

Address: Navestock Hall, Navestock, Romford, RM4 1HA

More info: Norpar Barns website 

FLAMINGO FAIR FOR MOTHER’S DAY

Based in Wanstead library, this local fair is holding a Mother’s day special this Sunday 14th March 2015. It’s child friendly and there’ll be stalls from local artists and craftspeople as well as jewellery, vintage furniture and haberdashery. Open 11am – 4pm and it is open to all ages

Address: Churchill Room, Wanstead Library, Spratt Hall Road, LONDON, E11 2RQ

More info: Flamingo Fair Wanstead

MUMS EAT FREE AT HARVESTER WOODFORD GREEN

I haven’t actually eaten here before but I noticed that The Castle Harvester restaurant in Woodford Green is offering a free main meal to all mums who eat with them after 6pm. There’s no voucher needed and you can read more about the offer on their website. The website claims they are kid-friendly so I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has tried it out.

Address: 393 – 395 High Road, Woodford Green, Essex, IG8 OXG

More info: The Castle Woodford Green website

Healthy Easter party food ideas for kids

I love an excuse for a party and Easter is as good as any. I’m hoping that the Little One and his friends are just about old enough to enjoy an Easter Egg hunt in the garden. And even if they don’t entirely get it , I know I’ll have fun. The only problem is that Easter seems to be entirely about chocolate but I’m still not that keen on the Little One eating too much of that. So I’ve been researching some healthy easter-themed food and snacks for children’s parties. There’s some great ideas on Pinterest, here are some of my favourites:

Easter Egg bunnies from Nature Box blog

Easter Egg bunnies from Nature Box blog

Lots of ideas feature hard-boiled eggs dressed up as bunnies, which I think is a fab idea.

Bunny fruit platter from Worthpinning.com

Bunny fruit platter from Worthpinning.com

This fruit platter is a great way to serve a crowd in a fun way.

Sweet potato bunnies from withstyleandgraceblog.com

Sweet potato bunnies from withstyleandgraceblog.com

Any excuse to eat sweet potato works for me.

Easter bunny pancake by BettyCrocker.com

Easter bunny pancake by BettyCrocker.com

We love pancakes in our house so I’m definitely going to give these a go for brunch over the long Easter weekend.

To see more healthy easter food ideas for kids visit my Pinterest board.

Right, better start sending out the party invites.