The Hepworth Wakefield

SavedPicture-201382022431.jpgLast weekend we visited The Hepworth Wakefield for the first time. The gallery is named after sculptor Barbara Hepworth who grew up in Wakefield and displays numerous pieces of her work. I am a long time fan of Yorkshire sculpture park where a number of sculptures by Barbara Hepworth are on display. We spent many a happy day at the park when I was growing up. Now that I live in Cheshire, we do not get as much chance to visit but we had planned a trip this last weekend. However on the day the weather forecast was not good so we decided to visit The Hepworth gallery instead.

WP_20130817_002WP_20130817_009The gallery sits on the edge of the river Calder and is designed by architect David Chipperfield. It is composed of 10 interlinked trapeziod galleries on the upper floor and the exterior of the building is covered in grey concrete. The building itself is not to everyone’s taste but we quiet liked it. The gallery is accessed from the car park (£4.50 for 5 hours) by a foot bridge over the river Calder. The sculptures start on the bridge with this fun one that kids are sure to love.

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There are several other sculptures in the grounds including this one. This is a wrap covering a 19th century grade-II listed watermill creating a 3 dimensional drawing.

WP_20130817_030There is a great looking kids playground which we did not visit this year but I can imagine older children will love. See that large building in the background? that is a former mill that is currently being converted in to further gallery space and is due to open later this summer.

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Once inside the gallery (admission is free) on the ground floor there are the usual facilities including a cafe and shop. There is a learning studio where numerous workshops take place (see below for further details) and an indoor picnic area. Lockers are available to use free of charge and of course there are toilets and baby changing facilities.

We had lunch in the cafe where we enjoyed a Yorkshire rarebit followed by a slice of cake each. The food was really nice (I was pleased to discover they use local ingredients where possible) and the selection of cakes was very extensive. The chocolate cake was a bit dry to be honest but the blueberry frangipane was delicious. We visited on a busy Saturday but the service was still excellent. In fact the food arrived so quickly that I had not finished feeding my baby. The waitress very kindly offered to take my food back to the kitchen to keep it warm until my baby finished feeding.

On the upper floor are the 10 gallery spaces. They are really well thought out and the large windows bathe the spaces in natural light as well as framing the views. As well as work by Barbara Hepwtorth there is a regularly changing selection of modern and contemporary art.

SavedPicture-201382022945.jpgWP_20130817_058Although our baby was too young to appreciate it (she did seem interested in some large black and white pieces though), the gallery would make a great  day out for art loving/creative families with older children. As we walked round the gallery it was lovely to see children sat sketching the sculptures or learning about paintings from the children’s gallery pack (available from reception for a £1 donation). There was also a free workshop on that day in the learning studio (for children aged 3-12) to make metal creatures inspired by some of the sculptures on display. 

The Hepworth won a Clore learning award at this years Arts fund for museum of the year awards and it’s not hard to see why. You can find out more about their learning program here or see here for a list of up coming workshops/exhibits & events. I particularly like the sound of print making for children (free), toddler tuesdays (adults £4, children £3, including free parking if booked in advance) and 2 day photography course (£30).

Disclosure – I have not been paid to write this review. We visited the gallery, paid for our parking and food ourselves. I just thought that the gallery was a great place for families so I wanted to share it with you all. All photos were taken by me and are not to be used without my written permission. Please excuse the photo quality, I forgot my big camera so these are phone photos!

UK handmade spotlight – The Fox in the Attic

foxintheattic1 The fox in the attic sells beautiful hand embroidered soft toys and cushions, as well as a few hand printed items. All items are handmade my Michelle in her home, close to the River Thames. Michelle gets her inspiration from many places such as her travels, history and art. The main items for sale are hand stitched animals. The range is always expanding but at present it includes owls, foxes, bunnies, dogs, monkeys, chickens and cats. All items can be personalised for example with a child’s name. You can find out more about the range on Michelle’s blog and the range is available to buy from her etsy shop.foxintheattic2

Dear baby …

IMG_5706Dear baby,

You are 3 months already, where has the time gone? I wish I had started writing these letters sooner but we’ve been so busy together (and tired too!). I do make a few notes every night which I am using to write this letter though. You are growing and changing so much, right before my eyes. These notes, along with the little videos and lots of photos I take, are my way of remembering this precious time with you.

I fell in love with you the minute you were put in to my arms. As far as your daddy and I are concerned you are the most perfect baby we could have wished for. Most of the time you are very happy and content. You make some very cute noises when you are happy. You smiled your first smile around 6 weeks and since then there has been no stopping you. When you are really happy you smile and make happy noises as well as kicking and waving your arms around madly. Last Monday night, at 13 weeks old, you made your first proper giggle sound for your daddy. He shouted me from the other room to come and listen. It took a bit of persuasion (lots of silly noises and faces from daddy) but you did do it again for me to hear. It was so cute and brought a tear to my eye. You’ve yet to do it again and believe me we have tried! I know it’s only a matter of time though and I feel you will be a very giggly baby, if your smiles are anything to go by.

IMG_5798Many people have commented on the way you stare at me when you are in my arms, sometimes smiling your gorgeous big smile, other times drifting off to sleep but always watching me. Even when you are being cuddled by one of your grandparents or aunties you will spend a lot of time looking at me if I’m close by. You know and love your daddy too though and you are happy when you are in his arms watching and smiling at him. You especially love it when your daddy baths you and you seem so relaxed when we wash your hair. You tried to fall asleep whilst we washed you hair the other night it was so relaxing for you. You’ve always loved having your hair washed but you cried when you had your first bath however you soon came to love them.

You’ve always been a good sleeper (although you do have your bad nights but that is to be expected). Up until 5 weeks old you slept most of the day except when you needed a feed but after that you started to fight naps in the day (only napping in my arms and waking the minute I tried to put you down) leaving you cranky and over tired in the evenings. You continued to sleep well at night though which we are grateful for. Most of the time you will sleep from around 10:30pm until anywhere between 7:30 and 9am waking only once or twice.  This past month though you have got better at having naps in the day in your mosses basket or pram if we are out & consequently are a lot happier in the evening. This week we have started trying to get you in to a bed time routine and have managed to get you to sleep in your basket, upstairs, in our bedroom between 8 & 9pm. You’re not too keen on this idea and have spent most evenings after your bath screaming and refusing to feed or sleep. We’ll keep trying different times though and I’m sure we will work out what you are trying to tell us and get it right in the end. Sometimes you really fight sleep and it is a real struggle to get you to sleep (my hair dryer works a treat though so this is often how I get you down for your first nap in the morning after I’ve showered). Most of the time though you settle yourself off to sleep within 5-10 minutes with no crying which amazes me.

IMG_5468So far you have been exclusively breastfed & are gaining weight well. You were 7lbs 6oz at birth and last time I had you weighed at 11 weeks you were 11lbs 14oz. Your first feed was several hours after you were born, as I had to go to theatre to have some stitches. You were well looked after by your daddy though and believe me I missed you so much. However your first feed went really well. It was like you knew exactly what to do. I’ve really enjoyed this special time just for you and me and hopefully we will continue this sucessfully for some time yet.

We brought you home from hospital when you were two days old. You didn’t like your car seat when we first put you in it but you soon calmed down. It took daddy a while to be happy that your seat was safely fitted and then we made that first nervous drive home. Daddy had 2 weeks off work when you were born. We spent them quietly at home, mostly feeding and sleeping but spending your brief awake periods getting to know you. We had some quiet days just the 3 of us but also lots of visits from your grandparents, aunties, Uncle and big cousin. They all love you so much and even now 14 weeks on they visit you as often as they can.

IMG_5621On your daddy’s first day back at work I remember wondering how we would cope but we did just fine. You are a fairly easy baby for which I am grateful. We spent most of our first week just the two of us, at home but after that we started getting out at least 3 days a week to various baby groups. We are lucky to have met a nice group of mums and babies through our postnatal class who we meet up with at least once a week. You enjoy our baby yoga classes & when we do bits of yoga/massage at home. We’ve also spent many an afternoon walking in the park, as this summer we have had a lot of nice weather. Sometimes it’s been too hot for you really but you take it all in your stride. Your well travelled too. We’ve taken you to meet family all over Cheshire, to Yorkshire and we’ve been to Anglesey a couple of times too.

As much as you love being cuddled you also love spending time having a kick about on the floor. You love your playmat and also the toys over your bouncy chair. In the last few weeks you have really started taking an interest in these toys dangling above your head. You will stare intensly at them for ages, talking away to them. You also like to reach for them and hit them so the move and make sounds. You seem to enjoy tummy time too and are getting quiet strong. Sometimes when you are on your back under your playmat you wriggle so much, I have sat an watched in awe as you rotate 360 degrees from where I placed you. Although you are not reaching out to grab things yet, if you catch my necklace or top in your hand, or I place one of your toy rings in your hands, you won’t let go.

I’ll finish off by saying how much I am enjoying spending my days with you, getting to know your sweet personality. Right now I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Love Mummy x