National Libraries Day 2016

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Today was National Libraries Day and there were lots of events taking place at libraries around the country.
National Libraries Day. Use it, love it, join it!

Little Miss A and I went along to this National Libraries Day event at Aylesbury Library last year, so I knew she'd have fun again today.

Little Miss A has always enjoyed going to the library and today was no exception. As soon as we arrived, it was coat off and she ran off to the Children's section!

The activities were the same as last year with a Bounce & Rhyme session (a singing session of nursery rhymes and action songs) and crafts to make. We used to go to Bounce & Rhyme a lot when Little Miss A was younger, but haven't been for a long time. It was amazing to hear her singing along to the songs - she knew all the words and actions!

There were a few different crafts to make themed for Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year. Little Miss A is getting more interested in crafts (or "sticking and drawing" as she calls them). We re-visited the craft table several times during the course of the morning to add more to her dragon mask. 

We spent some time reading a few books and singing the 'ABC' song as she jumped around on the alphabet mat. We also took advantage of the free refreshments on offer. 

There was a 'Reading Ramble' quiz but I must admit this was difficult even for me, let alone Little Miss A. I couldn't actually find the first few books on the list, and as Little Miss A couldn't join in, we gave up on this. It's a shame this wasn't more visual with more of a trail to follow around the library.

Time flew by this morning and before we knew it, we'd been at the library for two hours, so it was then time to head home for lunch.

It's always great to see the library being used by families and really busy. It's worth keeping an eye on the Aylesbury Library Facebook page for future events.

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February Half Term Family Activities & Events in and around Aylesbury 2016

Monday, 1 February 2016

I have compiled a list of the activities and events going on in and around Aylesbury during the February Half Term holiday.

Outdoor Adventure - Half Term Fun at Waddesdon Manor
Saturday 13th to Sunday 21st February
Come rain or shine, get active this half term with the help of the Thames Valley Orienteering Club. If you're eager to explore and enjoy a challenge, visit Waddesdon for an outdoors adventure that's out of the ordinary!
Place: National Trust - Waddesdon Manor, Waddesdon HP18 0JH
Time: 11am - 3pm
Cost: £2 per child, cash on the day. Normal admission charges apply. Free admission for National Trust members.

Circus at Woburn Sands
Saturday 13th to Sunday 21st February
The award winning John Lawson’s Circus will make its return to Frosts Garden Centre in Woburn Sands this February Half Term. With an entirely human cast and featuring new acts and routines this enthralling show lasts an hour - a great family experience not to be missed!
Place: Frosts Garden Centre, Woburn Sands, Milton Keynes MK17 8UE
Times: 10.30am, 12.30pm, 2.30pm & 4.30pm)
Cost: £6.99 each

Half Term Family Fun at Odds Farm Park
Saturday 13th to 21st February 2016
Come along to Odds Farm Park this half term, there's lots going on for the whole family, including goats to bottle feed. Join in with the madness and mayhem of Odds Farm Park’s Crazy Entertainers! With several shows daily, all the extra fun is included in entry!
Place: Odds Farm Park, Wooburn Common, High Wycombe HP10 0LX
Times: See website for opening times
Cost: £11.95 for children (2-16), under 2s are free, £12.95 for adults
To find out more about what's on offer, take a look at my review of Odds Farm Park from our visit.

Kung Fu Panda 3 fun at intu Milton Keynes
Saturday 13th to Sunday 21st February
This school half term intu Milton Keynes has teamed up with Kung Fu Panda 3 to bring you a week filled with Kung Fu workshops, fun and games! There's something on everyday, see website for details.
Place: intu Milton Keynes, Milton Keynes MK9 3GB
Times: See website for opening times
Cost: Free

Little Pieces of Heaven at Bucks County Museum
Monday 15th to Friday 19th February
Be inspired by the exhibition of medieval treasures and make your own medieval style artefacts to take home! A different activity each day. No need to book.
Place: Bucks County Museum, Church Street, Aylesbury HP20 2QP
Times: Drop in between 10am - 12pm or 1pm - 3pm
Cost: £3 per child/participant

Wildlife Week at Wyevale Garden Centres
Monday 15th to Friday 19th February
Different wildlife themed activities each day. All events must be pre-booked.
Place: Wyevale Garden Centres: World's End - Wendover, Woburn Sands and Bicester Avenue
Times: Check website
Cost: From £2.50 per child

Light Up Your Half Term at Ashridge Estate
Monday 15th to Friday 19th February
Come to the visitor centre and make and decorate a lantern to take home or to bring along to our Candlelit Walk.
Place: National Trust - Ashridge Estate
Time: 10am - 3pm
Cost£2 per child

Animal Antics at Eden Shopping Centre
Monday 15th to Friday 19th February
There will be a whole host of ‘Animal Antics’ this February half term, with free entertainment for Explorers of every age. Animal Rangers will be on hand with an exciting array of activities running dailyat Kids Corner near BHS.
Place: Eden Shopping Centre, High Wycombe HP11 2DQ
Time: 11am to 4pm
Cost: Free

Be a Green Dragon Farmer for a Day
Monday 15th to Friday 19th February
Try your hand at being a farmer with activities including collecting eggs, feeding the animal, grooming the ponies. A filling lunch is included followed by a short playtime. Call to book. Suitable for 5 to 11 years.
Place: Green Dragon Eco Farm, Hogshaw MK18 3LA
Time: From 10am
Cost£35 per child

Half Term at Milton Keynes Museum
Monday 15th to Friday 19th February
During half term, the Museum will have a host of special attractions as well as all the usual demonstrations, displays, and dozens of fun things to do! Extraordinary science experiments with Professor Beamish, fascinating magic lantern shows, and the chance to make your own peg doll are among the attractions. Plus we’ll be joined on Friday 18th by the RSPB all day.
Place: Milton Keynes Museum, Milton Keynes MK12 5EL
Time: Museum is open 11am - 4.30pm. See website for show and display times
Cost: Children aged 5-16 years £6.00, Under 5s are free, Adults £7.50

Half Term Activities at Millets Farm
Monday 15th to Sunday 21st February
Childrens Jewellery Making Workshops (15th to 19th February; suitable for ages 6 to 12 years); Magic Shows with Magic Peter (16th to 18th February; suitable for ages 4 to 7 years); Punch & Judy (19th February; suitable for all ages); Raptor & Reptile at Millets Falconry Centre (20th & 21st February).
Place: Millets Farm Centre, Kingston Road, Frilford, Oxfordshire OX13 5HB
Times: See website for times
Cost: Varies by activity
Millets Farm is definitely worth a visit as there's lots to do including a Farm Zoo. Take a look at the review of Millets Farm Centre from our visit.

Workshops at the Natural History Museum at Tring
Tuesday 16th to Friday 19th February
Monkey Masks (16th & 18th February; suitable for all ages); Bird Boxes (17th February; most suitable for ages 5+); Tring Park Adventure and Den Building (19th February; most suitable for ages 5+).
Place: Natural History Museum at Tring, Akeman Street, Tring HP23 6AP
Time: Check website for workshop times
Cost: Museum entry is free. Monkey Masks: £2 per child. Bird Boxes: £8 per box (advance booking required). Tring Park Adventure: Free (advance booking required).
We've visited the Museum a few times and it's always been a hit with Little Miss A. Take a look at these posts: Meeting the Animals at Tring Museum and Meeting the Animals Again at Tring Museum

Half Term Fun Days with Experience the Country
Tuesday 16th to Saturday 20th February
Indoor soft play, bouncy castles, activities for the older kids and adults too. Suitable for 0 to 12 years. Book in advance: 01908 630665.
Place: Drayton Road, Newton Longville, Milton Keynes MK7 0BU
Time: 10am - 4pm
Cost: £8 per child. Parents, carers and under 2s go free.

Titan the Robot at Friars Square Shopping Centre
Tuesday 16 February 2016
Meet Titan - the famous performing robot. Titan's unique blend of comedy, street theatre and music will have you seriously entertained.
Place: Friars Square Shopping Centre, Aylesbury HP20 2QF
Time: Titan will be appearing at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3pm
Cost: Free

Den Building by the Campfire at Black Park
Tuesday 16th February
Have a go at building your own den around a campfire with our Rangers in Black Park. Drinks and marshmallows are included. Booking essential.
Place: Black Park, Wexham SL3 6DS
Time: 10am - 12pm
Cost: £16 per family (max 2 adults & 2 children), £3 per extra family member

February Messy Church
Wednesday 17th February
Art, food crafts, bouncy castles, play, quizzes, story, singing, lunch and so much more...
Place: Southcourt Baptist Church, Aylesbury HP21 8HW
Time: 10.30am - 12.30pm
Cost: £1 per person
To find out more about this session, take a look at my review of the Messy Church from April and Messy Church review from May last year.

Wild at Heart - Love is in the Air at College Lake
Wednesday 17th and Thursday 18th February
Love is in the air at College Lake. Find out about what the animals that live here are getting up to to prepare for spring. Wrap up warm for fun activities inside and out, including trails, crafts, and exploration. Booking essential.
Place: College Lake Nature Reserve, Tring HP23 5QG
Time: 10am - 1pm
Cost: £4 per child
We always enjoy visiting College Lake for a walk, you can read more about our last visit to College Lake.

#AylesburyThursdays Event - Extreme Adventure
Thursday 18th February
Organised by Aylesbury Vale District Council, #AylesburyThursdays returns in half term with free activities in Aylesbury town centre. Extreme Adventure will be bringing Spider Mountain and a High Ropes course. For the less adventurous, Kidz Pottery Painting Company will offer a range of ceramics for you to paint.
Place: Kingsbury Square, Aylesbury
Time: 11am - 3pm
Cost: Free (charge for some activities on the day)

Winter Woodland Play at Black Park
Thusday 18th February
Join the Rangers for an hour of woodland fun and games in Black Pine’s Camp. Drinks provided for all. Book in advance. Suitable for 4 to 10 years (parents must supervise).
Place: Black Park, Wexham SL3 6DS
Time: 3 time slots - 10am - 11am, 11.30am - 12.30pm and 2pm - 3pm
Cost: £5 per child

Bear Hunt with The Creation Station
Friday 19th February
Bring your favourite teddy and join us for some Bear inspired half term fun! Lunch for the little ones is included. Suitable for ages 18 months to 8 years. Book in advance.
Place: Racquets Fitness Centre, North Street, Thame OX9 3TH
Time: 10.30am - 12pm
Cost: £8 per child

Children's Activity at Buckingham Old Gaol: Owls to Behold
Friday 19th February
Tony Hewitt will be visiting with some owls! Very 'hands on' owls. There will also be an owl craft table. Tickets much be bought in advance from the museum shop.
Place: Buckingham Old Gaol Museum, Buckingham MK18 1JX
Times: 11am - 12.15pm, 12.30pm - 1.45pm, 2pm - 3.15pm
Cost: Members £1.50, Non-members £3

Everyday until Sunday 28th February
Enjoy winter magic at Ashridge. This trail will help you find out what the Ashridge wildlife does in winter. Can you see any animal footprints or are they all asleep?
Place: National Trust - Ashridge Estate
Time: 10am - 3.30pm
Cost£1 per child

Everyday (ongoing)
Join Stick Man on his forest adventure at Wendover Woods. Set off with a hop and a twirl and help get Stick Man get back to the family tree!!
Place: Wendover Woods
Time: 10am - 5pm
CostFree. Car parking charges apply. Activity packs available from the Go Ape cabin or Cafe for an additional cost of £3.
To find out more about the Trail, take a look at the review of the Stick Man Trail from our recent visits.

National Trust
Throughout half term
It's worth checking the National Trust website for details of the school holiday activities going on at each of their properties.

I've compiled these events from various websites, Facebook etc. Please check with the actual organisers/venue for up-to-date information.

I'd love to know if there's any events not on this list. I'll try to add to this list with any additional ones I find out about over the next couple of weeks.

For more ideas, you might also be interested in the Family Days Out and Family Walks that we've been on.

Hope you and your family have a great October half term, whatever you're up to!

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Me & Mine - January 2016

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Joining up for the first month of 2016 with the Me and Mine Family Portrait Project. Here's January's photo of our little family!

It was taken on our family walk in Milton Keynes. We tried a few times to get Little Miss A to pose with us and she refused so we had to take matters in to our own hands and grab her which she found hilarious!

January Highs:
  • It's becoming a bit of a tradition to visit Waddesdon Manor to see their Winter Lights on New Year's Day (well, we've been the last 2 years anyway!).
  • We had a really fun day in Milton Keynes. Little Miss A had a fab time at the soft play centre - 360 Play and then we went to lunch at one of my favourite restaurants - Las Iguanas.
  • On a cold, dismal day we re-visited Tring Museum. There's so much to see here that you always see something different. It's great for Little Miss A as she gets to practice her animal recognition. 
  • We had a chilly and muddy walk along the Stick Man Trail at Wendover Woods. The Stick Man is a firm favourite of ours since the TV version at Christmas. 
  • We explored a part of Milton Keynes that took us to a fab playground (Rhino Park), to a community cafe for a delicious lunch, to a peace pagoda and a stone circle. Not bad for a morning out! 
  • Little Miss A has seen her Nana & Pops twice this month. I love seeing her interaction with them. We also spent a lovely day in Black Park Country Park with my Aunt & Uncle who we don't get to see very often. 
  • This blog turned 2 this month! I'm so pleased that I started writing it and have kept going. It's such a great record of our family adventures and I love having this space to share photos and stories. 

January Lows:
  • I'm still struggling with pregnancy tiredness but Little Miss A's naps are getting more hit and miss which means I don't always get a rest when I really need one. 
  • Now I'm working, it does mean that our family time is reduced to just a day and a half, and the half day I'm usually desperate for an afternoon nap, so it's only really a day of quality time together. I know it's only a short term thing that our family time is reduced but I do miss it. I also know that the morning Mr MoaB and Little Miss A have together is really great for both of them. We must make sure that each of us spends individual time with Little Miss A when the new baby arrives. 

dear beautiful

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My Sunday Photo 31-01-2016

This is my favourite picture of this week.

It was taken this week at a playground in Milton Keynes. Such a fun piece of play equipment. Can't believe it's just in a local play park and not in a major park. It's fab! A Rhino version of Elmer!


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Mixture in Milton Keynes - Rhino Playground, Peace Pagoda and Tree Cathedral

Thursday, 28 January 2016

With the sun shining today, we wanted to head out and fancy trying somewhere new.

I recently spotted a post on the Parks in and around Milton Keynes Facebook page about a park with some really fun looking play equipment, including a Rhino, so that's where we headed.

The Rhino Playground in Downhead Play Park is tucked away in a housing estate in Milton Keynes so you wouldn't know it's there. However, it was really easy to find. We parked along Colesbourne Drive right next to the park and could immediately spot the Rhino!

Little Miss A wasn't too sure about climbing the Rhino at first and explored the other play equipment first. Then I managed to persuade her to have a go!

Along with the usual swings, roundabout, see-saw and slide, there was also a really great jeep car. This was a real hit with Little Miss A as it was on springs so you could bounce it around. We went on a bumpy safari ride on the jeep, spotting all kinds of (imaginary) animals! Each of us took a turn at driving.

Along with the play area for younger children, there was also a section with some equipment for older kids including a climbing frame, basket swing and wobbly bridge. We tried it all out!

After a long play, we decided to take a wander over the canal. As we went over the bridge we stumbled upon the Camphill Cafe. This community cafe is operated by members of the Camphill Community who are adults with a wide range of learning difficulties. It was a really lovely cafe with a great choice for lunch. The bread and tea cake we had were baked on-site and were delicious. It was such a lovely find and just what we needed for a lunch stop. It is open Monday to Friday, from 10am to 4pm. Highly recommended.

A short walk further along the path, crossing a bridge over the road, and we came across the Peace Pagoda. It looked amazing against the clear blue sky.

We had a good wander around the Pagoda and then along by Willen Lake North. There was an interesting stone circle - there was nothing to tell us any information about this but we had a play amongst the stones.

You can also walk to Willen Lake South but we decided that we'd turn back at this point. So this walk could be a lot longer if you wanted to explore the other lake a bit more which also has a playground.

We headed back to the car with another play in the Rhino Playground along the way. It was such a fun walk.

When I'd been researching the location of the park, I'd also spotted on the map that we weren't far from a Tree Cathedral. We enjoy visiting the Whipsnade Tree Cathedral so thought we'd take a look at this one which is planted in an outline based on Norwich Cathedral.

It was very peaceful and nice to walk around. There was a mound that we climbed up and Little Miss A was 'king of the castle' at the top!

By this point, the sun had disappeared and we were all a bit chilly and starting to tire so time to head home. What a great day we had though with lots of brilliant finds along the way. A real variety but it was nice to explore somewhere new and we had lots of fun along the way with Little Miss A.

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My Sunday Photo 24-01-2016

Sunday, 24 January 2016

This is my favourite picture of this week.

It was taken on Thursday in Wendover Woods. Little Miss A looks so grown up in this picture.


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The Stick Man Trail in Wendover Woods

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Having followed the Gruffalo TrailGruffalo's Child Trail and Superworm Trail in Wendover Woods several times over the last couple of years, it was time to go on the Stick Man Trail when we visited the Woods today.

The Trail changed last month and is now based on another book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. I wasn't familiar with this story at all until Little Miss A got a copy of the book in her Christmas Book Advent Calendar (a gift from her Nana). We've read it a lot since then and also love watching the TV adaptation. Little Miss A is picking up parts of it and talks about the 'family tree'!

As with the previous Trails, Little Miss A enjoys running around spotting the various activity boards and characters. She doesn't allow us much time at each board to actually read them before she's off to find the next one. So we didn't get the chance to actually do any of the activities suggested!

Along the Trail is the Den Building Area and Little Miss A had to go into each pre-built den. As we do on all visits to the woods, we had to visit the Gruffalo statue and count the owls on the bench. We also had a quick visit to the playground but by this point we (or me in particular) were getting very cold and needed to warm up!

Whilst we were there we only encountered one other family also braving the cold and doing the Trail. It is the perfect distance for Little Miss A to walk around and it's nice that she recognises the characters so well. I'm sure we'll be on this Trail again.

You can buy an accompanying activity pack for the Trail costing £3 which we may do next time. There are Stick Man Trails in woods throughout the UK. The trail is in place until June 2016. Full details can be found on the Forestry Commission website.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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