February Half Term 2018

 

This half term we have been busy bees. I love having all of the children at home and not having to do nursery, preschool and school runs.  We started the week with a lovely road trip to the coast which you can read about here.

On the Tuesday we were going to have a lazy day at home but by 10 I was going a bit crazy. I don’t know about anyone else but I can’t just sit in with the kids I get bored and so do they. Plus we needed to go out to get a few toppings for our pancakes so we headed to Tesco and then made our way to Beningborough Hall.

We are lucky enough to have National Trust passes and try to use them as much as we can. Lots of their properties have lovely parks and walks to do.  When we arrived we wrapped up warm and collected some owl masks as they had an owl sculpture trail. The weather was pants, but like they say there is no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing!! I wasn’t sure that Charlie and Mila would be too enthused by the trail, but I was wrong they loved it, Mila wouldn’t take off her mask and kept count of how many we had found and Charlie wanted to decipher what each sculpture was made from.

We then walked to the park and Bell woke up in time to play. Charlie and Mila had talked all the way in the car about what games they were going to play at the fort. Charlie was Pokemon and Mila was Mummies and Daddies.  The park is great it has a huge wooden fort, various different types of swing, a little house and small boat. There is also an area to build dens. Usually we would spend more time den making but it was a little wet and slippery today.

After a good couple of hours play we headed home cold and tired. But not before our mammoth walk back to the car. It’s not far to be honest but took ages as Bella insisted on jumping in every single puddle “screw you Peppa Pig”. I didn’t have the heart to stop her to be honest as she was having so much fun, and we weren’t in any rush.

Once home we had hot chocolates and cream to warm up. They are becoming a bit of a cold weather tradition on our house.

On Wednesday we headed into York on the bus with some of Charlie’s school friends to visit the National Railway Museum. The bus is a big excitement in our house because in all honesty I just find it much easier to drive. The kids loved it though and Mila even said it was one of her favourite parts of the day at bedtime so I think I need to do it more.

 

 

We actually visit the NRM quite a lot as it is pretty easy and near for us but today was different because they had loads of amazing space themed activities. The museum is currently home to Tim Peakes space shuttle which according to Charlie will be in York a little while longer before moving to Manchester (I missed that part of the talk, I was too busy chatting oops!). We visited the planetarium which mesmerised all three of my children, even Bella who really doesn’t do sitting still. After this we had our picnic lunch and moved onto a fantastic stall by Technology in Play, specialise in providing activities to engage curious minds. The crazy dough activity was a big hit for us.

Next stop we headed to see the space shuttle and meet some more friends. There were lots of other space themed activities to take part in. We had a lovely day but the journey back to catch the bus home reminded me why we don’t really do buses too much. the kids were all tired and grumpy, and so was I.

On Thursday we headed to Temple Newsam which is near Leeds. I have written more about our day here.

After such a busy week we had a quiet lazy day on Friday and stayed home. I think once in a while its nice for us to have a pj day, although I did get dressed as we had lots of workmen outside our house sorting out the fibre optic broadband. I planned to get a few jobs around the house but I ended up playing Playmobil, Pokémon and Barbie along with baking cakes and biscuits.

 

These quiet  days are often some of my favourite, just being together.  I am going to miss the holidays roll on Easter.

 

Advertisements

A day at the coast

Its half term here and our week is pretty busy. We were lucky enough to start the week with Daddy though as he had booked a day off work. We didn’t want to waste the day so headed out to the coast. We are quite lucky where we live in that we can reach a few different coastal towns in around 1 hour.  We plumped for Filey this time though as it is one of the ones we don’t visit as much.

We arrived just before midday and headed straight to the beach. Charlie was super excited to collect some smooth pebbles as part of his half term homework, Mila and Bella were keen to join in too. We soon had a bag full of stones and shells. We walked along the beach and tentatively towards the sea. Bella wasn’t sure on this so insisted on being carried. Charlie was nearly caught out by the sea whilst drawing pictures (mostly of pokemon I think) in the sand. Gig (my husband and their Daddy) managed to get a couple of action shots of this. we chased our way up the beach following Bella who kept wondering after each dog she saw, and the beach was full of them. Mila was just happy to keep writing her name in the sand and find the nice shiny pearly looking shells.

If you have ever been to Filey before you will know it only has a small front with a few shops, and an arcade. This was our next stop. We went straight for the arcade. It turns out we have three different amusement junkies, Charlie was very much focused on one 2p machine and stuck at it to try to win a pokemon key ring, Mila was the flirtatious gambler and flitted from machine to machine whilst Bella like the actual arcade machines and rides.

After the arcades we sat outside and had fish and chips followed by an ice-cream for the children. We walked back towards the car. Mila gave up part way so need a shoulder ride from Gig which left me to push the pram up the hill, great fun when it was full of pebbles.

A caravan by the sea

We recently spent a long weekend away in a caravan. We booked our cheap and cheerful break with Haven and chose to stay at their Mablethorpe site. Our drive to the park took us over the Humber bridge which was nice as the area holds lots of memories for me.

                                     
We had anticipated we would need to make a stop during our journey but luckily both Little Mr and Little Miss slept most of the way – bonus! We were given an upgrade when we arrived and were pleasantly surprised with our caravan. We unpacked and then headed out for something to eat.
Unfortunately Little Miss had come down with chicken pox just before our break but only had a couple of spots until our second day when she was covered from head to toe. This meant we had to plan what we could do a little more carefully. On the Saturday we woke super early thanks to Little Mr, had a breakfast and were all out of the door by 9am. We walked to the beach and spent a lovely morning building sandcastles, flying a kite and combing the beach for shells. We found lots of star fish which Little Mr was extremely wary of for some reason. Little Miss slept most of the time and once out it took her ages to want to touch the sand with her feet. We the went back to the caravan for egg sandwiches at Little Mr’s request. In the afternoon the hubby took Little Mr swimming whilst I stayed with Little Miss. The joys of chicken pox hey, I am just glad it was quiet so we could go for walks and to the beach.
            
                          
                          
                                                      
We had a terrible night with Little Miss on the Saturday, she couldn’t settle and was feeling so sorry for herself. As we had had very little sleep we had a much lazier morning and woke for 7am (yep, that’s a lie in in our house, or caravan in this case). We had breakfast and then headed out for a drive to take in the scenery and also find a pharmacy that was open on a Sunday! I had planned to take some pictures on my ‘proper’ camera of the children and us as a family making the most of the scenery however my efforts were mainly focused on Little Miss.
We ended up finding ourselves in Skeggness. Once there we parked up and walked along the seafront. We stumbled across a deserted crazy golf that Little Mr was desperate to have a go of, who didn’t love crazy golf as a kid??
                     
                     
By lunchtime Little Miss was flagging so we grabbed a quick bite from MacDonalds and headed back to the caravan. Back at the park Mr H took Little Mr to the amusements and the park whilst I stayed with Little Miss and tempted her with bi-carb baths in a washing up bowl.
                                             
On our last morning we packed up ready to head home but not before a quick play in the sand pit park. We had a lovely time even though Little Miss was not 100%. 
                                             

Our Easter

On Easter Sunday we headed to one of our favourite places for a family day out, Piglets Farm. It has recently just opened up for the season which is music to our ears. We love it there!


We started our Sunday with a lazy breakfast. By lazy I mean later than usual. Whilst I was busy getting Little Miss and Mr ready for the day we had a very special visitor. The Easter bunny came and decorated our garden with lots of little eggs and left two Easter buckets to collect them all up in. Little Mr was eager to find the eggs and made sure he left some for his sister to find too which was really sweet. 



                                 
                                 
                                 
                                   
                                               


                                   
                                  


They were both very lucky and reviewed lots and lots of chocolate from family and friends.



After our egg hunt and of course some chocolate testing we got ready to head to Piglets. Both Little Mr and Little Miss were excited to see some animals. Little Mr had requested to see the donkeys of all things. Little miss was rather infatuated with the smaller animals especially the chicks and the rabbits.
Our first stop on the farm was the event gazebo for the Easter Eggstravaganza. This was a hive of activity where children were decorating eggs and excitidely receiving their egg hunt prizes. We had recently decorated our own eggs at home so they were both keen to do the egg hunt and quickly sat down to listen to the instructions.
They each received a basket and had to find six different coloured eggs hidden around the park behind some large chickens. This was a great egg hunt and kept both of the children engaged and excited to find more. Plus they looked really cute with their baskets.  


              





One of our favourite parts of the farm is the petting shed. A particular favourite as always been the cow that can be milked. Little Miss loved the rabbits and stood watching them for ages. We are currently thinking about getting some rabbits I just need to convince the hubby a little more.



                                            




                                       

When we finished the egg hunt we explored the rest of the parks activities. First stop was the barrel rid before heading into the sandpit. We spent an age here digging, tipping and burying objects. There is also a digger come slide which Little Miss loves as did her brother when he was her age. We then headed to the bouncy pillows. I stayed with Little Miss on the smaller one whilst Mr H took Little Mron the bigger one. We even had a go too, well it would be rude not to.

In the middle of the park is a crazy golf course. So we had a round of golf here, of course Little Mr won. Little Miss completed the golf shoeless and wellie less as she had decided that she didn’t want to wear anything. Luckily it was a lovely dry day, however if it was wet I am sure she would have changed her mind. My favourite part of the day had to be the large chicken sumo suits which I just had to make Mr H try on. We ended the day by going on the tractor ride before heading home 
                                  
 

Staying at Alton Towers Hotel

We recently had an amazing stay at the Alton Towers Hotel and Resort. We have been talking about going since we received our Annual Merlin Passes last year, so we’re pleased to have finally got around to it. We booked two nights bed and breakfast at the Alton Towers hotel. We headed down once Mr H had finished work, we had only told the children we were going just before setting off. I arranged a little egg hunt to reveal where we were going so it was all very exciting.

When we arrived we were greeted and thrown straight away into the hustle and bustle of the hotel. We could here and see from above a magic show. Little Mr was thrilled to be able to stand alongside Daddy at reception on the special suitcase steps. We were given a scroll and both children received a compass and had to navigate our way to our room. Little Mr was in his element as he has always loved using a map on our trips out. We located our room and were not let down, it did however take us a few minutes to locate the lights as there were so many switches for lots of things, but hey that is what being an explorer is all about. Little Mr was once again overjoyed with himself. He loved the beds, wasamazed by  the gadgets, the huge teddy and the fact he woul be able to see a television from where he was sleeping.

We had already stopped for dinner during our journey down to the hotel so decided to head out to explore and have a drink to start our  break in style. The main focal point of our hotel was a large pirate ship that had crash landed there. This was a magnet for children and they loved to explore it. It was also where the entertainment was held. Whilst we were there we were entertained by a trio of singers who in the words of Little Mr were “beautiful”. 
The Alton Towers Hotel is joined to is sister hotel Splash Landings by a walkway which can be freely accessed until 11pm. We decide to have a wander along the walkway and once we entered the realms of the Splash Landings Hotel we were immediately hit with the heat from the poolside area. It was lovely and really made it feel like you were abroad. From the walkway you get a great view of the water park and we were very excited to try out the facilities.
The bar area in Splash Landings seemed more child friendly than that of the Alton Towers Hotel. There were some great areas for the children to explore such as a duplo mountain, colouring station and a sea life viewing tank. This made trying to enjoy a drink more achievable. There was also a disco along with a stage which was great for my shy and retiring children (not) to enjoy busting their moves. We didn’t stay too long as the children were tired and we wanted to get a good nights sleep so we were ready to have an action packed day in the morning. We headed back to the room and all ended up in our bed. I have to say though the duvet was one of the snuggliest ever, it was amazing.
We rose early and headed to breakfast in the Secret Garden restaurant for 8am. We filled up on a mix of full English and continental. Little Miss loved her endless supply of watermelon, a current favourite and Little Mr devoured far too many mini sausages along with a chocolate muffin. After breakfast we took the short 5 minute walk to the monorail. It was so strange not having to queue. We got to the park just after 9am so we could make the most of our early entry. Our first stop was of course Cbeebies land.
We decided to head to the new Octonauts roller coaster first as we anticipated there would be queues later. Unfortunately it had to close just as Mr H and Little Mr were about to climb on, however the staff kindly told them they could queue jump when they returned later. So we headed to postman Pat and then onto the In the Night a Garden boat Ride.

                       
I must admit that getting into the park early really seemed to make a difference since when we visited Cbeebies land previously we had to queue quite a while for each ride where as today we could walk more or less straight onto each ride. After In the Night Garden, we headed to the Numtums Number Round. This was Little Misses favourite by far. She really didn’t want to get off and made that fact very known to anyone in earshot when the ride finished.
                                                      

Next stop, we called back at the Octonauts new roller coaster. Mr H took Little Mr straight to the front and they got there pick of the cars. Of course Little Mr chose Gup A, which won’t mean anything to you unless you know you Octonauts. This was Little Mr’s first proper roller coaster and he was very brave although he really didn’t look like he enjoyed it that much he was initially pleased to have gone on but has since said he doesn’t EVER want to do it again. We have probably scarred him for life. Mr H couldn’t resist purchasing the on ride photo to remember the occasion.  We purchased a photo multipack which included 4 ride photos for £25 which saved us money when each photo costs £10 individually.


                                                   
Between rides we headed to the showtime ring. Here we found the Zingzillas had just taken centre stage. We became that horrendous ‘participation’ family joining in with all the moves but still the children seemed to like it. We also got to meet Iggle Piggle. Can you believe that this is the third time!!  How times have changed. We did joke that we will end up all wearing matching ponchos soon, but that is a step too far for us just yet.
                                          
                           
By 11 we had been on all of Cbeebies Lands attractions. In comparison to our wait times on our first visit this made our early entry times invaluable. It really made a difference especially with young children. We are lucky to get early entry with our Merlin passes but all hotel guests are also entitled to it too. It is well worth it.
We explored the rest of the park including Cloud Cuckoo Land, where we enjoyed the carousel and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We also took the sky ride across the park which was a lovely rest for tired legs. Plus we got to take in the the beautiful grounds. On the other side of the park Little Mr was very brave and went on the River Rapids. He loved them and didn’t get too wet either. I can’t wait until Little Miss is old enough too so we can all go on them together. I remember going on them with my family and have some fond memories.
                        
                            
We then headed back to the hotel about 1pm and got ready to explore the Splash Landings Water Park. We purchased passes when we booked our room which gave us a full day in the water park. I am usually a little worried about my youngest getting cold after 30 minutes or so but here the air temperature was lovely and warm. There were two pools we could access one which was perfect for under 5s. There were two slides which Little Mr and Little Miss loved, I wish I could have taken some pictures of them going down them. There was also a huge climbing frame full of tipping buckets, pipes, squirters plus much more that was perfect to explore. The pool area was lovely and clean and the life guards were hot on moving away towel that were saving seats which meant genre was always somewhere to sit when you needed to which was great. We got a couple of ice creams which melted really really quickly all over the children, they loved them. Though they were quite expensive which is to be expected I suppose.
                                       
After swimming we headed back to our room to get ready for the evening entertainment. The kids loved using their own bubble bath too which was a great touch. We had booked our evening meal at Flambos in the Splash Landings hotel which was a buffet style restaurant. We weren’t expecting much to be honest but we were pleasantly surprised with the quality of food. There was enough choice, it was all hot and great for the children.
Just before bed we called into the shop to get Little Mr a special sweet filled pirate sword when I spotted a Zoltar. If any one has seen Big, is there anyone who hasn’t, then you will know what one is. I couldn’t resist and got a fortune card. Mr H seems to think it’s spot on. 

A rainy afternoon

After a busy morning at football club and then a visit to the shops we headed home as the weather was miserable. Now any one who knows Little Mr knows that he is obsessed with planes at the moment. He was a little adamant following the shops the he ‘needed’ an airport for his planes. But  with Christmas on the Horizon and Little Miss’ first Birthday around the corner there was no way I was going to buy him more toys so I suggested we make our own. 


Little Mr loves to get creative so we started by turning a cereal box inside out (much easier than painting the glossier side)and painting it black. I had seen a post on Pinterest many weeks ago where they had used fairy lights along a runway strip. I bought a few packs of battery lights last Christmas for a pound a pack and they were just perfect for the job.

I added the runway albeit very quickly as I had a grumpy baby and a toddler eager to play planes. I quickly pierced 8 holes and inserted the lights. I added a little tape to the back of each one to keep them in place. And voila our cereal box was ready to play with. 

This was such a quick activity and Little Mr thought it was great.  I am planning on using our cereal boxes in some more creative ways over the coming weeks.

Have you made anything with a cereal box?

Autumn Days

Little Mr loves being outdoors and a current favourite activity of his is to venture out on a nature walk. It is rare that we all get the opportunity to  go together though and this weekend Little Mr requested a nature walk so we made the extra effort to go. We are lucky where we live as there are lots of different woodland areas within a short (unless accompanied by a toddler) walking distance.
We had great fun collecting sticks, conkers, leaves amongst other things. Little Mr is a typical little boy and loves sticks, wherever we go he has to find a ‘new’ one to add to the ever growing collection in our back garden.
Today we were our Autumn walk was inspired by Julia Donaldson books with lots of Gruffalo hunting, and broom stick riding. Never would I have thought I would be flying on my broomstick through the woods but its amazing what you do to inspire weary little legs to keep going.
Here are some of my favourite photographs from the afternoon. A perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.