A mouse took a stroll through the deep, dark wood…

thorndon park essex

Thorndon Country Park in Brentwood, Essex is a beautiful wide open area with lots of woodland and trails to follow. We visited to follow one very special route, The Gruffalo Trail.

maps for gruffalo trail thorndon park essex

Your map will cost you 50p from the local visitor centre and the children armed with a map each and pointed in the right direction soon get the hang of the first notions of orienteering.

The woods are deep and dark and the perfect setting for Julia Donaldson’s classic tale which has been a favourite of ours for years now. I was determined to take the girls there before we moved out of this fairy tale period and on to the next stage.

“A Gruffalo? What’s a gruffalo?’

mouse on gruffalo trail

The trail is numbered and of course the voices of other visitors ahead on the trail are great prompts to the children, our little group did a lot of bossing each other about, ‘Listen up.’ and ‘Hold on a minute.’ were frequently heard but they managed to run ahead and find the statues by themselves.

snake on gruffalo trail thorndon park essex

“Where are you going to, little brown mouse?
Come for a feast in my logpile house.”

The trail is quite short and even the smallest of the little people coped very well, even if he did trip over a root and land in the mud at one point. Top tip – don’t forget the wet wipes ;)

owl gruffalo trail thorndon park essex

The instantly recognisable characters, sculpted perfectly to Axel Scheffler’s original designs, are large and perfect for children to try and clamber on and have their photo taken, apart from the beautiful owl who is at the top of a tree looking down on you as you pass.

gruffalo purple prickles

“His eyes are orange, his tongue is black; He has purple prickles all over his back.”

gruffalos child thorndon park essex

You could make a day of it and after the short trail take a picnic onto the fields beyond with views as far as Canary Wharf. A perfect family day out in the midst of nature.

gruffalo Thorndon park Essex

“Well Gruffalo, ” said the mouse. “You see? Everyone is afraid of me!
But now my tummy’s beginning to rumble.
My favourite food is – gruffalo crumble!”


Park is open 9.30am  – 5pm
Pay and Display car park £2.20
Trail maps 50p
Tearoom and toilet facilities available.
Wellies a good idea as can get a bit muddy

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Julia Boggio from I carried a Watermelon who is one of my favourite blogging photographers around – (she even snapped the Queen!) is holding the Brit Mums Carnival and she has invited us to make a picture story, using photos to remember a day, any day and as I was at a wedding this weekend – I do love a wedding – and I took around 300 photos, I’m going to show you what a fabulous day we had.

Groom waiting for his bride

Here is the groom waiting for his bride, chatting with his guests and I wonder if he’s thinking ‘Come on let’s get this bit done’

The bride walks down the aisle

The bride arrives and accompanied by her father walks down the aisle. I thought she was stunning.

Confetti moment

The ceremony over it’s over to the fun bit starting with confetti. It was windy and our biodegradable confetti was being blown straight into the guests on the other side of the gate but this shot captured a bit in the air, nice shot Mark! He took the photos whilst I threw confetti.

Le Talbooth in Essex a stunning setting and look - no rain!

After weeks and weeks of rain just look how lucky the couple were! Beautiful sunny, warm afternoon for reception drinks and photos at Le Talboth in Essex. There was some live music in the background, toys for the children to play with, my only problem – heels sinking into the grass but my what a beautiful place to have your wedding breakfast. 10/10 again.

The photographer taking his photos

As the happy couple walked back and forth for the photographer and the lady capturing the event on video too, we sipped champers, Pimms and pints of lager for the men. Perfect. A few canapes were also passed around but I was too busy trying them to take photos of them ;)

My man having his photo taken for me xx

New tie, new shirt, doesn’t my fella scrub up well?

Moments captured throughout the day

Now I can’t run you through the entire 300 photos as that would take forever, but I cleverly made a collage for you to get an idea of what I captured on film.

Place setting

Superb choice of flowers, the sweet peas were so delicate and colourful and don’t you just love those place settings?

The first dance

Can’t for the life of me remember what song was chosen and I didn’t want to show their faces on my blog dancing but I love this photo as it captures the moment beautifully.

Moments of the special day

More moments of the day, dancing, laughing, playing, the groom was even thrown into the air ‘alla birthday bumps’ A truly emotional day, I cried as they shared their vows, I laughed at the speeches, I smiled All Day Long, I caught up with some very special people and I have some wonderful memories.

Playing with an iPad

Of course you can’t please everyone and this little man got out his iPad later on in the day but who can blame him preferring to play the latest app over dancing with a lot of oldies?

A very special thanks to my Mum and grandad who very kindly looked after the girls for us. This is the first time we’ve been away together since they were born and we had a fantastic time. Thanks Mum xx

I do love a wedding don’t you? So who’s next? Come on spill the beans, I won’t tell anyone ;)