Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Messy Play - Jelly!

For a bit of fun this afternoon, I let Little Miss A loose with a load of jelly!

She wasn't sure at first but then got stuck in. I'd given her a few of her toys that she uses in her sand pit along with a whisk.

She was soon busy transferring the jelly from the box to the bucket. Even attempting to do this with the whisk!

At first she was a bit reticent to actually touch the jelly. I kept putting my hands in and offering it to her. She preferred using the tools rather than getting her hands in. I'm surprised that she didn't even try to eat any! At the end though she got her feet into the box and stomped around a bit. Great fun!

Will definitely do this activity again with Little Miss A. I used two packets of jelly for this activity and made it up the day before. Maybe next time I'll try using different flavours of jelly so there are a variety of colours.

So we've now done spaghetti, shaving foam and jelly. Anyone got any ideas for other messy play?

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Big slides and small animals!

So to top off a very busy weekend of events we also managed to fit in a Family Fun Day organised by our local Residents Association!

I took Little Miss A along last year, but as she was just 6 months, she was too young for it all really but I enjoyed the free BBQ! This year, she could get much more involved.

This event is really well organised by the Residents Association with lots of craft activities for the kids, along with animal handling and then also a big inflatable slide outside.

It was all in full swing when we got there and I got wind that they were cooking the last batch of burgers so it was straight to the BBQ as I hadn't had lunch.

Little Miss A was keen to meet the animals! I made sure that we avoided the snakes (I really don't like snakes) but she took an interest in all the other animals. She was offered the opportunity to have the mice on her lap and was surprisingly gentle when stroking and handling them!

It was then time to go outside for some goes on the inflatable slide. The trouble is that I had to take Little Miss A on this and it was exhausting getting her up to the top. The going down was fun of course!

There was then just time to pop back into the Hall for a free ice-cream and drink before coming home.

I'm so glad that I live in an area that has an active Residents Association and organises events like this (all for free!).

Heritage Open Days - Day 2

Another busy day for Little Miss A and I today as we went into Aylesbury for the Charter Day & Tudor Fayre organised by Aylesbury Town Council. This free annual event commemorates when Queen Mary I granted Aylesbury a Market Charter, enabling the town to hold a market.

This event was also part of Heritage Open Days!

The day started with the arrival of King Henry VIII into Market Square. The Jester kept the audience amused with some fun antics until a procession of children came to entertain the King with some singing and dancing. It was nice to see local school children involved in the event.

The King then invited everyone to the Buckinghamshire County Museum so we all joined the procession through the streets. We went into the walled garden and there were lots of activities on offer. Little Miss A went straight towards the birds of prey. She spent quite a long time looking at all the different birds.

Also outside you could take aim with a bow and arrow, try your hand with a sword or learn a game of the era.

We then popped into the Museum itself for a wander. There was a trail for the older children to take part in and answer questions as they went around. There were also lots of different craft activities going on. They looked like fun. Little Miss A is still a bit too young for all this yet! Next year!

I've not been into the Museum before so it was good to have a brief look round. Must go back soon when we have more time.

On our wander we did come across a room where there was live music of the period being played by the Lumina's. As has become the norm, Little Miss A joined in with a bit of dancing! I think there was additional entertainment taking place throughout the day but we had to get back for lunch.

The highlight of the event was Little Miss A getting to meet King Henry VIII himself! She sat really still with him (I just couldn't get her to look at the camera!).

We spent a really nice couple of hours at this event. I look forward to going again next year when Little Miss A can really start getting more involved in the craft activities etc!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Heritage Open Days - Day 1

Heritage Open Days is a 4 day event running from 11 - 14 September. It offers free access to places that are usually closed to the public or normally charge admission. There are loads of places across the UK that have been having Open Days.

Taking a look at the website, there was a great choice of events for us in our local area so with Mr MoaB working all weekend, I picked out some for Little Miss A and I to go to.

Our first destination this morning was St Mary's Church. This is the oldest building in Aylesbury and it's in a part of town that I've never been to before. We had a quick browse round some stalls and then headed into the Church where there's some beautiful stained glass windows.

Didn't get the chance to see too much of the church as the Brass Band started playing and that was it, Little Miss A wanted to head outside to listen to them. She hasn't seen a brass band before and she really enjoyed it. She was bopping away and it looked like she was conducting the band. When they finished the band members all commented on their new conductor!

We headed home for some lunch and then it was off again, this time in the car to go to Waddesdon Manor. We've been planning to go to this National Trust property for some time as it's just a 10 minute drive from us, but just haven't had the chance. Today was the perfect opportunity as it was free entry!

We chose to get the courtesy bus from the car park to the Main House. You can walk but it's a 15 minute walk and I didn't fancy pushing the pushchair that far. When we got off the bus and started walking down North Avenue, a band started up! Little Miss A went running over and of course started to conduct!!

In front of the House, was an Emergency Services today. All the local services were represented and there were lots of vehicles for Little Miss A to get in and explore including a fire engine and police van. She particularly enjoyed taking the driving seat and it was hard to extract her each time from the vehicle! A few mini-tantrums as I tried to get her out to let other children have a go!

We spent about an hour wandering around the different stalls and vehicles. Little Miss A was starting to get a bit tired but I thought she'd like a quick play in the Woodland Playground. The playground is set down a hill with different play equipment spread over lots of levels. There is a ramp all the way down so it's doable with a pushchair but the path isn't that wide so it was a bit tight trying to pass buggies coming the other way. The climbing frame and swings suitable for Little Miss A were at the bottom. I lost count of the number of times she went around the climbing frame and down the slide. She was in her element!

Then it was time to get the bus back to the car to come home. Little Miss A was asleep before we'd even left the car park! Worn her out!

I'd definitely like to return to Waddesdon and spend more time wandering around the grounds. There was the opportunity to go into the House today as part of the Heritage Open Days but when we arrived, there were no house tickets available. Think it might be best to save visiting the house itself until Little Miss A is older anyway - too many valuable and breakable things!

It has been a really enjoyable day but definitely exhausting. However, there's more events tomorrow so we'll be heading out again!

Friday, 12 September 2014

Pedal Power!

Today was all about pedal power!

This morning we headed off to Black Park Country Park for our first family cycle ride. Mr MoaB had arranged the bike hire etc. through his work. Little Miss A had a bike trailer to sit in so she was being pulled along with Mr MoaB. She seemed to enjoy the journey!

I have to admit I'm really not a keen cyclist. I used to cycle to school everyday so at one time, many years ago, I must have been a confident cyclist but not so now. The last time Mr MoaB and I went on a bike ride was a couple of years ago in the New Forest. I struggled with the bike, the gears and the hills! To the point where towards the end of the ride I just got off and pushed the bike back!!

We were out for about an hour on the bikes. Long enough for me! The Park is really flat (no nasty hills) so I have to admit that it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. It was a really nice way to get around and see more of the Park. I'd definitely cycle there again (sshhhh - don't tell Mr MoaB or he'll have me there every week!).

After a spot of lunch at the San Remo Cafe Kiosk, it was time to set off to continue our cycling theme of the day and see the Tour of Britain riders. Stage 6 was taking them through Buckinghamshire today, so we thought we would try to see them.

We planned to watch the Race in Princes Risborough. When we set off from Black Park we had lots of time but we took a slightly convoluted route back and suddenly we we found ourselves racing against the clock to get there. It then became apparent that we were probably going to miss the riders we still needed to park the car, extract Little Miss A and find a viewing spot.

Too late. We were just approaching a junction and a police motorbike stopped the traffic. We could go no further. However, we then realised that it must mean the cyclists were going to pass through the junction. So I left Mr MoaB in the car with sleeping Little Miss A and headed down the road. I actually found myself in a pretty good viewing spot. Further up the road in the town centre I could see crowds of people lining the road, but where I was I had no-one around me.

After lots and lots of police motorbikes passed by, the first 3 riders came into sight and then had passed by in a flash! It then seemed like ages before the main pack of riders appeared. Then they were there one minute, gone the next!

Was fun to see and I'm glad I saw it! Shame that Mr MoaB and Little Miss A missed out.

So a morning of using our own pedal power and then a few minutes of watching the pedal power of elite cyclists!

We have managed to tick off another of the things on Little Miss A's Things To Do Before I'm 2 list! No. 16 - Go for a bike ride.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Awesome family day out in London

Back from a brilliant day in London. This was the first time we've taken Little Miss A up to the big city but it was a great day.

So many sights, sounds, smells (!) and experiences for Little Miss A. To start with she had her first ride on the London Underground. She took a great interest in working out which tube we had to get!

We had 2 things we wanted to do in town today:
1) See some of the Books about Town book benches
2) To see the Poppies at the Tower of London

After a quick pit-stop for a picnic lunch by St Paul's, we started our Book Bench hunt. The benches are scattered all around London and depict lots of different literary works. I was most keen to see the benches themed on children's books (a big kid at heart!).

The benches are only there until next week. I've been wanting to visit them for a while but last time we planned to go it poured with rain all day and I didn't much fancy traipsing round London with Little Miss A stuck behind the rain-cover in her pushchair all day. I wanted her to really experience London and have fun exploring the benches!

There are 50 benches in total. I think we did pretty well in just a few hours as we managed to see 10!

Possibly unsurprisingly the books that Little Miss A is most familiar with seemed to be the benches that she enjoyed the most! This included the 'That's Not My...' bench:

And the Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler bench which had her favourite character - The Gruffalo!

I was brought up reading Dr Seuss and can still recite quite a lot of 'Green Eggs & Ham'! So this bench was a must for me and we had great fun at this bench!

We passed lots of landmarks on our wander around including seeing the Shard and HMS Belfast along with walking over the Millennium Bridge and Tower Bridge.

Our last stop was the Tower of London to see the 'Tower of London Remembers' Poppy installation. Oh my goodness. It's phenomenal. Everyone should go and see this if they can. There are already so many poppies yet they will still be planting more for another 2 months. It really is very thought provoking to think each poppy represents a life lost.

We will remember them.

I have to thank Mr MoaB as I know he's really not a fan of London. He wanted to see the Poppies but was just humouring me whilst we found all the benches! I'm so glad he was with us though. Getting around London with a lively one year old who doesn't want to stay in their pushchair is definitely easier with two and we just carried the pushchair folded up at the tube stations - so many stairs and escalators!

Originally we were going to get the train from Aylesbury to London. For two travelcards this would have cost us £48. Instead we decided to drive to Westfield Shopping Centre and parked there all day which costs £6.50 (weekdays). We then were directly on the tube line, so we could just pay for a tube travelcard. This cost us £8.90 each. So in total our travel was around the same price as just one train ticket (excluding the petrol but still a big saving!).

We've had a great summer of days out but I would have to put today as my favourite day out this year (so far!).

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Choo choo on the Steam Train! - Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway

First train ride for Little Miss A today and it was on a steam train! Not bad for a first experience!

Recently I entered a competition with Look Local Magazine and won a family ticket for the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway. The tickets arrived in the post yesterday and needed to be used before the end of the year. Looking at the timetable the trains mostly run at the weekends and as Mr MoaB is going to still be working most weekends for the next couple of months, we decided to take the opportunity to go on the train today.

I was really pleased to find out I'd won as going on a train journey is no. 14 on Little Miss A's Things To Do Before I'm 2 list. I imagined that we would be going on a mainline train journey somewhere to tick this one off the list, but instead we got the chance to go on a steam train!

The trains depart from Chinnor Station which is a half hour drive away. We got to the station about 2.45pm and went straight to the ticket office. All the staff we spoke to were really friendly. They're all volunteers who run the railway.

We took a few photos on the platform before boarding the train. We showed Little Miss A the engine and she was intrigued by the steam!

The train wasn't too busy which is just as well as Little Miss A kept moving about between different seats during the journey! The train departed at 3pm and headed out of the station towards Princes Risborough. It passes through some really lovely countryside with nice views.

It's a round trip of nearly seven miles and takes about 45 minutes. There's a short stop at Thame Junction for the engine to be moved to the other end for the return journey. Here's Little Miss A watching out for the engine to pass by:

Little Miss A loved it, particularly when the train hooted! We had great fun onboard the train!

Tickets are £11 per adult, £6 per child (3-15 years). Under 3s are free. Or you can buy family tickets which are £20 for 1 adult & 2 children or £28 for 2 adults & 2 children. As we hadn't paid for our tickets to travel, we left a donation towards the Restoration Fund.

A really fun family afternoon! A nice way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Here's my favourite picture of the day: