A festive family day out at Doddington Hall | Featuring Joules*

Well, the first of December has been and gone, can you actually believe it?! It's such a lovely month filled with exciting things to look forward to and I don't know about you, but we're already very much anticipating with great eagerness what's to come in the next few weeks!

I always think it's lovely watching the children's excitement for Christmas build, especially this early on in the month! Yet I'm SO aware that Decemeber will fly by (it always does, right?!) and as our weekends are already beginning to fill up,  I  want to make the most of what time we have to 'see' and 'do' lots of Christmassy activities together; to really make a celebration of Advent and the build-up to the big day itself!  

This weekend we took the kids off to Doddington Hall, a local stately home that just does Christmas SO beautifully. With its crackling open fires and the most elaborately decorated great hall, visiting felt just like stepping back in time. It was breathtaking getting to explore a historic home that had been left largely as it would have been used during the Elizabethan era. 

Unsurprisingly, the gardens were just as stunning, filled with lots of festive displays including a real Santa's sleigh and complete with not just reindeer, but unicorns! (Can you even imagine the boys' excitement?!) And after a good and thorough exploration of all the various corners and pathways, we meandered our way back around to the locally renowned 'bauble barn'. Here we saw SO many excited families purchasing their Christmas trees and sipping on hot chocolates in the cool, crisp air. With our little brood in tow, we fitted right into the cheery atmosphere around us and I'm not gonna lie, I kinda wanted to stop and pick up our tree there and then! It was literally like a scene from a movie, I just wish we could have stayed longer...

As with any wintery day out with kids, the fun only lasts if everybody manages to keep cosy and warm. And considering the temperature was well into the minuses last week, I was pretty relieved to find our boys kept so snug in their new winter coats, hats and mittons. Jonah always seems to feel the cold so much more than Noah, yet even after the sun set on Saturday, we were still exploring outside and he didn't make a peep. I'll credit his lovely  Kirk Puffa Coat for keeping him toasty and well covered!

Of course, when it comes to adventuring about in a wintry garden, the only footwear I would trust my boys to wear (while endlessly kicking up the leaves and jumping in every.single.puddle) would have to be wellies. We've always loved Joules wellies for the boys, partly because they're so stinkin' cute but also because they really do stand the test of time and can be passed down the family as the boys grow. Noah & Jonah each chose a new pair for this winter and I'm more than confident that they will see A LOT of wear over the coming weeks and months! Afterall, welly boots are pretty much a standard uniform when you're under 5 and it's winter, right? :p

I have to say at this point, I do have a little confession to make. Considering I have NEVER been a hat wearer ( I always felt I looked a little bit odd in them) And I don't know if it's my age or the fact I am a mum, but these days the idea of sheer warmth has completely changed my approach to wearing them and it seems I have started making up for years of not wearing them...by wearing them constantly and perhaps even going slightly overboard in recruiting the whole family to join me! ;p 

But seriously guys, when it's pink AND has a fluffy pom- pom, you know you're onto something good!  I'm kinda glad because whilst it might sound a bit strange, I've never really experienced how bloomin' efficient hats are at maintaining body heat. Let me tell you, Saturday gave me a realllly good oppertunity to do just that and I might just have to hold my hands up and admit defeat, or at least that I am now officially a convert! Ha!

I guess if you've read my blog in the past, or have simply made it this far, you'll appreciate that it's no secret we're avid fans of Joules- as if you haven't heard me rave about them enough over here! Their contemporary take on timeless classics such as the humble Chelsea boot is something I can never get enough of. Year after year, I always look forward to the release of their new winter collections and just when I think they've done all they can to rethink a shoe, they go and release the design in metallic shades! Ohh Joules, you don't half make decision making hard!

I've teamed these boots with a cosy knit, Joules skinny jeans AND one of their gorgeous oversized scarfs. Of all the pieces, I have to say I was pretty impressed with how well this jumper stood up to the weather though! It's really soft and warm- ideal for winter and, crucially, being able to layer up with more! I really love this effortless look which proved to be so practical, comfy and toasty for our day out together.

Looking back over our photos, they're filled with the loveliest memories of such a fun day out. I definitely think Doddington Hall was the perfect way for us to ease into the Christmas season and to be perfectly honest, I'm kinda hoping we make it back to see more of their Christmas decorations and trees in the run-up. Well, you can never own too many baubles after all, am I right? :)

Do you have any exciting plans lined up for the Christmas countdown?

*This post was written in collaboration with Joules who have sponsored this post and also kindly gifted us the clothes we wore for our day out.

*As if right on cue, Joshua decided to take a nap just as we began our shoot- apologies for his absence in these photos...what's that phrase they say about working with children and animals? :p

If you would like a closer peek at anything you've seen, I have linked to all the items we're wearing below:







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