Showing posts with label days out. Show all posts
Showing posts with label days out. Show all posts

Monday, 13 May 2013

LolliBop Is Coming

I was very excited to receive a press release about LolliBop 2013. We have been for the last 2 years (in rain and shine) and had an absolute ball!

Check out our post after our fabulous day last year:

This year sound set to be bigger and better than ever, and is moving venue to the Olympic Park. The 'Big Bash for Little People' is taking place on August 16-18. Here's a glimpse into what you might find at this years festival (as taken from their press release):

LolliBop Live – playing host to some of the biggest names in kids entertainment, with live music and performances from stars of stage and screen.  Headliners coming soon…

Lollipalladiam - is a live theatre tent showcasing performances from pioneering and internationally renowned companies and artists.

The LolliBop Kitchen where creative little cooks will have the chance to learn new skills from live demonstrations and interactive workshops.

Tween Town will host a number of activities including street dance, hula-hoop, and beat-box workshops.

Imagination Stations - A hub of creativity with lots of mess and mayhem thrown in! From clay modeling, puppet making, customised fashion workshops, balloon modeling, graffiti painting, face painting and much more

Science Zone - Make a rocket, hold a dry ice cube, or get messy with gooey slime in the LolliBop lab - brimming with exploding experiments for pint sized guests to try!

Run wild and have fun in the LolliSports area.  With activities including retro favorites like swingball, hula-hoop and frisbee to football tournaments and sports day style races.

The pre-school 3ft & Under area is also returning, along with theEnchanted Forest and The Village Green with live music, craft stalls and street theatre, making it an ideal spot for a picnic.

Extensive covered buggy parks, baby changing and breast-feeding areas will be available.

For more tickets and more information:


Hope to see you there!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Britain's Best Days Out – Woburn Safari Park

We were very lucky to be sent a family ticket to Woburn Safari Park courtesy of Money Saving Expert and Tots 100 and their 'Britain's Best Days Out' promotion. We jumped at the chance for a family day out together during the Christmas break. I was curious to find out how a trip to a safari park in chilly December would work out but my fears of shivering monkeys hiding in their houses were unfounded – turns out winter is the time to go!!

On entering the park we decided to explore the safari element first and started the drive:

On the look out for some friends for giraffe!

We saw rhinos, emus, buffalo and elephants all strolling about and typically my 3 year old was very excited about the ducks on the pond!

We had a great view all the way around, there were hardly any cars there so we could tour at our leisure and stop for as long as we liked next to pacing tigers, lazy bears and curious monkeys. The highlight for me as a child at safari parks was always the monkeys jumping up on the cars. They didn't disappoint! One jumped onto the bonnet then climbed round to the wing mirror to get a closer look at my giggling daughter. Then he jumped on the roof for a ride causing excited squeals inside our car!

We also had a touch of extra excitement at the lion enclosure as the keepers closed the gate and a jeep told us to follow him out the side exit. Oooo we thought... what could be happening??! Luckily as it was so quiet we went round again and this time were allowed into the lions den. Here we found the beautiful (and huge) lionesses up on the hill looking down, just as curious as us, to see what was going on. It seemed as though the male had been taken inside for some reason. Probably something mundane like tea time but we made up some great alternative stories.

We followed our way out of the safari drive but our day was far from over as there is a fantastic foot safari area.

Some zoos, are really spread out but as the animals who need the space here have the safari area, this foot section is compact and the perfect size to explore with little ones. It's nicely laid out for exploring and more like a petting zoo but with exciting animals!

A big fan of the film 'Madagascar' my daughter was desperate to go through the walk through lemurs so we headed there first to avoid any nagging. On the way we saw tortoises and snakes, and were followed along the fence by free roaming marmosets.

The lemur walk through is fantastic, you have to leave buggies outside these enclosures but it's a short walk to retrieve them. You walk down a wooden walkway which in itself is an adventure for a toddler! The lemurs were all lazing about on the handrails looking like they weren't all too impressed with the English weather. It's fantastic just how close you can get to these animals. When they do perk up they make such a racket you wouldn't believe it.

On exiting we were at the base of the penguin pool where we were able to watch them swim underwater, it's not a huge pool but big enough, and at this time of year we had it all to ourselves. We sat here, just us, eating our lunch and watching the penguins play. My little girl adored it - every time she sat at the window, one came down to chat to her!

After a quick walk through the goats and a look at the river hogs we decided it was time to warm up a bit and went into the soft play indoor area. I normally avoid these bits on days out but in the winter it seemed like a good idea! Daddy and I enjoyed a hot cuppa while Squiggle had fun playing in the ball pit.

We had a couple more walk through areas to visit – the squirrel monkeys and wallabies – so once we had finally coaxed her out on we went!

The walk round 'monkey business' area here has to be one of my favourite parts, they are so playful and the staff are happy for a chat and answer questions. Last time we visited we had a slight mishap when one of the cheeky creatures went to the toilet on my daughters head – this time I was prepared and didn't linger under any trees!!

When we had first parked up we purchased tickets to the sea lion and 3d indoor show. Had it not been winter I might have skipped this as there are plenty of other things to do in the park. The sea lion show was great though and the 3D film was Christmas themed so my daughter enjoyed it. If you do go in the winter though don't expect to warm up in there... brrrrrr!!

With an exhausted but happy child it was time to head home and we still hadn't fitted in the walk round bird enclosure where you can feed them nectar, or any of the bird shows.

We had an absolutely wonderful day, completely relaxing, interesting, and full of memories.

I absolutely loved Woburn, there's no 'exit through the gift shop' attitude, it's the perfect size for little ones to explore, and the animals seem well cared for. If you do choose to visit the shop it has a nice selection of relevant toys and there are a couple of places to eat available. I wouldn't rave about these but I'm more of a picnic person and here you are never too far from the car to head back for your sandwiches!

We will visit time and time again I'm sure and I am definitely going to do another Christmas treat visit next year.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

People pedal power

Well we did it, this weekend we took part in our local Sky Ride. We cycled up to the start point and I was worried I'd be tired before I got there but I didn't do too badly! It almost looked like we wouldn't make it as there was a problem with my inner husband zoomed to the shops for a new one and replaced it but it still went flat. Luckily my mum saved the day and leant me her much nicer bike (a specialized) yey!

When we got to the start point we picked up some bright yellow bibs and set off. I meant to get a photo of us looking so fetching but completely forgot, sorry! A few of the main roads around the City Centre of Milton Keynes had been closed off and a route set out so we had lots of fun pedalling along the dual carriageways. My daughter thought it was a race track and was over the moon to be on the back of daddy's bike for a change so she could actually win for once! We stopped at the bike cafe for a drink and a snack to put all those calories back on, and relaxed on a friendly atmosphere while Squiggle tried a spot of tennis and honked the horn of a penny farthing.

It was a really lovely morning out and I would recommend looking up your nearest event and joining in. I bet there could be some really spectacular routes in some towns and cities!

Enjoying the bike cafe

Monday, 20 August 2012

Partying hard at sunny Lollibop!

At the final hour on Friday I managed to win us a family ticket to Lollibop in Regents Park. I was sooo chuffed, I was desperate to take Squiggle, she loves a good party!

We had a fantastic day, she wasn't going to let us do anything until she got her face painted, there were lovely choices of designs but I suggested a nice small butterfly on the cheek as it was so hot (mean mummy). She was happy with that though and we had a delighted and excited little girl.

She is dinosaur mad at the moment, her favourite being the stegosaurus and they had an amazing kind of human puppet one there. This was one of my highlights, S got to feed her favourite dino a fern which was amazing and something I never thought I'd be able to arrange!!

Another fantastic moment was Mr Maker, she had been really looking forward to seeing him, and when he came out her face just lit up so much I almost burst :) so lovely when you see your little ones that happy!

The arts and crafts were great too, the lady helping S was fab and really let her work things out for herself while she was making her bird puppet. She named him 'flappy' and was VERY pleased with herself. She also enjoyed the B&Q tent painting her piece of wood and getting covered in glitter. Daddy took it off to dry before she was quite finished... he had to fetch it back as she was so particular that it needed one more splodge of yellow, so funny!

The festival was full if things to do, for quite a mix of ages... she rode a bike round a track, did yogo with the Waybaloo, read a story with them too, stroked a very realistic polar bear, danced with a cat, had a go at swing ball and tug of war, and watched some cooking.

My only shock of the day is that I'd given her £2 to get an ice cream. I said she could use it to buy a balloon if she preferred... Oh what planet am I living on? It was £6!! And then the lovely ballerina balloon spent the rest of the day bashing daddy and passers by on the head. He almost took out a whole queue of ice cream buyers.

Just as we were completely pooped Squiggle announced that she'd forgotten to see the Zingzillas. We only had to wait 10 minutes and they were on the main stage. The perfect end to it all for her!

Thanks for giving my little girl a great day Lollibop! X

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Salcey Forest - fun above the tree tops

Last weekend we spent the morning at Salcey Forest in Northamptonshire, I had never been before but had it recommended to me as a nice place to take kiddies for a walk.

It really was lovely, Squiggle got her wellies on and went on a puddle hunt. It didn't disappoint - there were muddy puddles galore and lots of trails to explore. She had lots of fun following the pink signs on elephant walk until we found the treetop walkway. This is something we don't get at our local woods! S loves any kind of bridge/ pathway she can run along so this was a huge hit! It gently slopes up and up until you are above the treetops with a fantastic view. We were hoping to spot a squirrel down below and we did! We also discovered tadpoles, pond skaters and water boatmen in one of the ponds. We really had such an enjoyable family walk!

We then headed back to the parking area for our picnic as there is a lovely wooden playground full of things to climb. There is also a cafe there in case you don't pack anything or it rains!

Entry is free but it's £3 to park for the day which was great value we felt.

All in all a great time for a budget morning out in the fresh air!

Monday, 28 May 2012

The London Aquarium

We recently had a day out at the London Aquarium, and had such a brilliant day! We took advantage of a great offer – you can get 2 for 1 entry with your train ticket. You just have to print off the relevant vouchers by visiting the Days Out website – all you need then is a valid rail ticket for that day. I hadn't realised you could do this, and my monthly season ticket was valid for the offer which was fantastic. It really is worth checking out, there are lots of attractions available on the deal, including London Zoo. I will be using it again now I've found it, so I wanted to share it with everyone!

I've also spotted 2 for 1 Merlin entry on kids Tesco cereal packets and it's part of the Merlin group so that could be another option if you weren't travelling by train.

I went with my sister, her daughter and my little girl. The two girls were both free as they are under the age of 3, which meant between us we only paid about £9 each to get in. I had heard tales of huge queues but we went on a Friday morning and walked straight in.

I had visited the aquarium before but it was years ago when it had first opened and to be honest I hadn't been too impressed! It seemed quite small and dark and before I knew it I was out in the gift shop and Macdonalds cafe. I'd been hearing a lot of positive reports recently so I decided to give it another go! It has changed a lot and really has improved, this time I thought it was fantastic and the girls had a great time. There is so much to see including an impressive central tank full of beautiful fish, sharks and rays. My little one was desperate to see a turtle and luckily (or there may of been tears) she wasn't disappointed! First she fell in love the little turtles and then almost burst at the end when a huge Green Sea Turtle swam right towards her!

They both stroked a starfish and a crab, practised dancing like seahorses and found every fish they knew from Finding Nemo! Squiggle needed a lot of coaching to go through the glass tunnel with sharks swimming above but she did it in the end. There is a glass floor right at the entrance which we thought they would love but they were absolutely terrified, a strange sensation I suppose!

There is a lot to see: sharks, rays, jelly fish, a crocodile and even penguins! We were a bit worried about the ethics of keeping penguins in an enclosure with no natural light but I told myself they must rotate them with a lovely outdoor pool somewhere? They seemed very happy and the girls could watch them dive into the water really close up which they loved. If you can take advantage of one the deals it really is a great outing, we were there all morning followed by a picnic on the Southbank which is a really nice area to stroll along.

A big under the sea thumbs up from us!

Monday, 30 April 2012

The Gruffalo LIVE

On Friday we went to see the Gruffalo live at our local theater. I had ummed and aaahed about wether to get tickets after looking at the website but then my mum brought us some as a treat so it was decided! My reservations had been that I had an idea from seeing photos it wasn't going to be what you may expect, with no cute cuddly costumes, I thought it was probably going to be a bit of a dramatic representation, and perhaps not what a 2 year old might expect from her beloved book.

I was pleasantly surprised though, it was a really entertaining and good fun production. There was audience interaction, plenty of singing and a bit if good old slapstick. Squiggle took her Gruffalo toy with her and he was happily dancing along to his song at the end. She was glued to the show until about the last 15 minutes when she started to get restless but she said she really enjoyed it. 

Of the character she was most taken in by the mouse (perhaps the most realistic animal) and her liked songs the best. Some of the jokes we felt were aimed more at adults, which, while entertaining, seemed a bit wasted... the best result for the adult is always seeing a smile on your child's face!

A good portion of the audience was school trips, including my 6 year old neice who loved it. Her review was: 

It was really funny... there were only three people on it... the Gruffalo looked like he was made of leaves... and the snake had a funny moustache.

Six year olds should review everything!

The school children behind us were finding it really funny too and I think it is really aimed at their age group. The book is loved by children of such a range of ages though I think it would have been nice to have made the animal costumes a little more recognisable, I don't think it would have detracted from what they were trying to do, and would have draw in all the toddlers in the audience too.

Whilst watching fox, owl and snake sing their songs I was honestly imagining it was Noel Fielding up there, and they were the Mighty Boosch's latest characters... Was that just me?

We had a great morning out and it was A lovely chance to take Squiggle to the theater which was an adventure and great experience in itself!

Has anyone else been to see it? I'd love to hear what you thought!

Monday, 2 April 2012

Cbeebies Live!

On Saturday Squiggle and I were wembley bound with a friend and her little girl to watch Cbeebies live! The girls (2 and a half and 3 and a half) were so excited on the train journey there... squealing with delight when we said they might see Justin and Mike the Knight.

After the train and tube we emerged from the tube to find the walk to the arena full of buzz and probably more people than they had ever seen before! When we got inside they had a little picnic and chose a sparkly fluffy wand each. They were £5 a pop which I didn't think was too bad for merchandise (in comparison to other events we've been to).

There was a buggy park but we'd been taking our time and left checking our pushchairs in a bit last minute, there was quite a queue and in the end we were just in in the nick if time for the start of the show!

It opened with their favourite presenters and lots of singing and dancing. The first characters out were from Lazy Town which included Robbie Rotten announcing he was going to steal all the stars of cbeebies so he could be the biggest star of all. My little one wasn't too sure about this! She kept cuddling into me whenever he came out throughout the performance and I think she was quite worried about the fact Postman Pat had been put in a box. I wouldn't be put off by that though, I think she was in the minority on that one! 

There were loads of songs to join in with (10 fat sausages, old macdonald..) and my friend's three year old was up dancing the whole time doing all the moves. My little girl sat, concentrated intently, and soaked it all up as she always does – I think she'll be a good pupil when she hits school age! When I asked her afterwards her favourite bit, she excitedly told me, without hesitation, "Mr Tumble and his farm!!" Her face did really light up when he came out and he got a few giggles. The other highlight for her was Mr Maker and the under the sea creatures. The costumes were really pretty and she loved the sea horse.

I think the girls would have really liked to have seen Mr Maker actually make something, they really wanted him to do a minute make. And perhaps Squiggle would have enjoyed it even more without the worry that her favourite characters might be stuck in boxes forever by Robbie Rotten! 

All in all it was a great show – seamless, fun and just the right length. I don't think there was a bored child in the house! We had wonderful, exciting day out and the little ones were full of beans and stories about it all when they got home!

I also have to say a big thank you to Tremendously Two as it was thanks to her twitter competition we were able to go!! x

Monday, 5 March 2012

Small science

A day out at the Science Museum

This weekend we took a day trip to London and headed to the Science Museum. You might not think it would be suitable for a 2 year old but honestly I would really recommend it. First of all we wondered round the space section and looked at the planes and trains until we came to the pattern pod. It is a small area aimed at younger children and is packed full of hands-on fun things to do. Squiggle enjoyed making a pattern on a computer screen and seeing it projected on the wall, trying to catch projected fish on a piece of paper and practising walking like different animals. She also now knows all about a new shape, spirals! She really loved it, it's nice to visit a museum that's so up to date and focused on getting the children involved. 

From there we headed straight down a level to the basement where you can buy food or eat your own packed lunch. After lunch we went into the bubble show (also in the basement) which they were running every hour and was fab!

The 'bubble king' was very entertaining and managed to keep a room full of toddlers sitting on their bottoms which is always impressive! That was enough for us as we decided best not to overload her but I'm sure there's plenty more to explore. 

We chose instead to head to St James's Park to get some sun and try and spot some pelicans. A fantastic day out, and once you get to London all full of free activities!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Toddler Towers

Roller coasters at Alton Towers, 2 year old style!

I was so excited the other week to find I'd won a family ticket to Alton Towers complete with hotel stay in Derby from the Jurys Inn facebook page. The more I thought about our trip there, the more I started to worry, was there enough to entertain a two year old... in February?! Back from our fantastic trip I thought it might be helpful for others thinking about going to write up a little review of our experience.

The answer, in short, was yes – there was plenty to do!

We have had such a fantastic family day out, there was oodles to keep squiggle very happy and because it was so quiet at this time of year daddy and I were able to take turns and quickly run straight on some of the big rides too. We went with a family day in mind and didn't expect to get a ride on Oblivion and Nemesis so what a bonus.

For the adventurous 2 year old we found...

Nutty Squirrel Ride – a slow little ride up in the tree tops but so good apparently, she had to go on it twice.

The Frog Hopper – mini magic carpet style ride that goes up and down... little ones can ride this with an adult (daddy squeezed on!)

Shark Bait Sealife Centre – we loved this! It's not huge but is really nicely done. Squiggle is 'under the sea' mad at the moment (perhaps thanks to her Tiddler book and The Octonauts) so we ended up spending quite a long time in here. We saw sharks, sting rays, jelly fish, and spent a very long time watching the sea horses. It was really raining when we arrived so this was the perfect place to hide.

The Carousel – Squiggle always bursts with excitement when she sees the carousel.

Wobble World – An inflatable indoor play area which I'm sure most children would love (and it was full of happy little ones) but squiggle has a weird fear of inflatables so not a hit for us.

Tractor Ride – Little tractors on a track that little ones pretend to drive, you go past some hens and ducks so is very lovely.

Animals – They have a donkey, some guinea pigs and rabbits, no petting area though, maybe they do this in the summer.

The River Boat – She really liked this, a little toddler sized boat floats down a river passing models of farm animals as you float. There are animal noise buttons to push too, hurray we just love pushing buttons!!

The Runaway Train – This was always my favourite as a child and at just over 0.9m Squiggle is just was able to ride it which made it a fun ride we could all enjoy.

And that was our day, we were there 10 till 4 and it was all go. We are going back in the summer and taking a picnic as that's the only thing our February trip was missing and we want to try out Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! Also I think there is an Ice Age 4D experience opening which sounds amazing. Glad we can still enjoy Alton Towers now we have a young family and the great thing is children are free up to the age of 4, scream if you want to go faster!