Meeting Some Feathered Friends

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Every school holidays on a Thursday, Aylesbury Vale District Council organise family fun events.

Today was the chance to meet some Feathered (and some not so feathered) Friends in Market Square.

After a short wait in the queue, we entered the area and our first encounter was of the non-feathered kind - a little pony. Then we saw some of the birds including a goose, some ducks and a couple of beautiful owls.

There was also this macaw parrot that Little Miss A was very friendly with and kept waving too!

Along with the animals and birds, there was also the opportunity to make a feathered head-dress. Unfortunately no pictures of this as I couldn't get Little Miss A to model it!

Also in attendance was the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust, who were doing a spot of bird watching and also Little Miss A made an animal puppet. One of the things the Trust does is look after nature reserves including College Lake in Tring. I found out that they run toddler activities called 'Nature Tots' there so I must look into this for Little Miss A. We haven't been to College Lake for a while but it's on our list to revisit soon as it's a great place for a walk.

There were also some inflatables but you had to pay for these and I managed to steer Little Miss A away with a promise that we could go into the library. She loves going in there so thankfully there wasn't a tantrum.

Given that we're without a car again (the other one this time is in the garage), then this event was ideal for us as we could get the bus to town, I got a few bits I needed, and then Little Miss A got to have some fun.

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Messy Church at Southcourt Baptist Church - May 2015

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

As Little Miss A had such a good time at the Messy Church back at Easter, I was keen to take her again this school holidays.

The set-up was exactly the same with full use of the whole Church with the added bonus of some things being outside as the weather was nice.

As soon as we got in to the Main Hall Little Miss A headed straight for the giant inflatable slide and had about 4 goes whilst there was no queue. We then went to the crafts room. Little Miss A had a quick go at pebble decorating but was more interested in the cake decorating. The cake was consumed before she even left the table!

We then ventured outside for the Bouncy Castle. Lots of children were having their faces painted but as there was always quite a long queue, Little Miss A just had 2 temporary tattoos done on her arms instead. She seemed happy enough with her dog and her lion. Wonder how long they'll last!

Upstairs in the Younger Play area, Little Miss A spent some time playing with the trains and the play-doh, before it was time to do another circuit of all the areas downstairs. We stopped at the craft tables again to make some glasses and a sheep.

Time seemed to pass in a flash and it was then time for the song, story and lunch (which is included).

I met up with a friend, Working mummy and wife, at the Messy Church today who I haven't seen for a while. It was lovely watching her son and Little Miss A coming down the inflatable slide together and they had a really good boogie to the song towards to the end of the session.

Another really fun morning. These are really well organised sessions with so much for the little ones to do. A big thankyou to the organisers.

I'll definitely be putting the next one on Wednesday 28th October in my diary!

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Waddesdon Manor - A Path Less Travelled

Monday, 25 May 2015

We decided to brave the crowds and visit Waddesdon Manor again this morning.

On previous visits we've tended to visit the same areas of the Gardens, so our objective today was to just spend a couple of hours there and explore some different parts. We certainly did that and had a fab time!

We arrived early and the car park was still quite empty so we even got a space in the Parent & Child area! A quick hop on the bus and we were at the Manor. We walked up the North Avenue and saw the new candelabra sculptures by Joana Vasconcelos. You wouldn't know they were made entirely of glass bottles from a distance.

We then headed around the Manor to the left. We've not been this side so had no idea this is where the shop is located along with a Coffee Bar. We then spent some time on the Parterre. Last time we visited this area was in the winter when there was no planting. It was really pretty today with all the colourful planting. Mr MoaB threatened to throw Little Miss A into the fountain which she found hilarious!

We then wandered down some steps and found the perfect hill for hill rolling! I can't believe how quickly Little Miss A got the hang of this and she must have gone down at least half a dozen types with much laughter! This is no. 2 on the National Trust 50 Things To Do Before You're 11¾ - Roll down a really big hill. So we can definitely tick this one off the list!

Next we took a wander around the Daffodil Valley and headed towards the Aviary, as Little Miss A always likes seeing the 'birdies', before taking in some more of the gardens. There was even a spot of dancing on the tree stump!

Though we only spent a couple of hours at Waddesdon today we had such a fun time. Little Miss A was on top form and just had us entertained the whole time. I think this is my favourite picture of her from today with such a big happy smile.

We are so glad that we headed to Waddesdon so early today. As we were walking around there were times when it felt like we were the only ones there! Hard to believe on a Bank Holiday Monday. It was definitely a good decision to explore the less 'popular' areas and go on the path less travelled. By the time we were leaving, everywhere was really busy. People were streaming up North Avenue from the bus.

There were quite long queues at the Coffee Bar so we decided to try out a new local cafe in Waddesdon called 94 Coffee Shop. It was a good option for a quick refreshment and treat of some cake before heading home.

Another really great visit to Waddesdon - our 5th this year and there's still 7 months of our National Trust membership to go! Hill rolling was definitely the highlight of the day!

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My Sunday Photo 24-05-2015

Sunday, 24 May 2015

This is my favourite picture of this week. A photo of Little Miss A and her Daddy.

It was taken on our visit to Bletchley Park this week. I like the way Little Miss A is leaning against her Daddy, safe in his arms, watching the lovely scene in-front of them.


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Playdoh and Pasta Monsters

Friday, 22 May 2015

We are stuck at home today as we still only have one car and unfortunately Mr MoaB went to work with the pushchair in the boot of his car! Whoops!

Thank goodness the weather is okay as we've spent most of the morning out in the garden. However, at one point Little Miss A asked to do playdoh. We haven't had it out for a while but I wanted to add a new element for her and came up with the idea of pasta.

I raided the kitchen cupboard to find some bits of spaghetti, penne pasta, macaroni pasta and chickpeas. Then put these out with the playdoh. 

    • Playdoh
    • Dried pasta and chickpeas
    • Imagination
Little Miss A really seemed to enjoy having something new to do with the playdoh. She particularly liked sticking the spaghetti in. 

This is the longest she has ever sat and played with the playdoh so definitely a success!

Here are our creations. I had fun making a little monster too!

My Bored Toddler

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Code Breaking at Bletchley Park

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Today we paid our second visit to Bletchley Park. We first visited last December when a friend was visiting who was keen to go.

Last night we finally got around to watching The Imitation Game with Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, a film we've had on our wish-list for a long time (highly recommended - well worth a watch). Therefore as we wanted a day out today, we thought it would be great to revisit Bletchley Park whilst the subject was fresh in our mind.

Both times we've had a really brilliant day out. Before our visit in December, I think I expected just a few huts that you can walk around but there's so much more!

On arrival it is suggested that you watch a brief film that gives you sense of what it was like at Bletchley Park. The introduction continues with a section that has some informational boards along with a few interactive elements. Little Miss A enjoyed being a radio controller and trying to break the radio signal.

Before you head out of the main building you can pick up the headphones for the audio tour (included in the price). We got these in December but I must admit I didn't get the chance to listen to much on that occasion. This time around we didn't get them.

In December as we were there with our friend, we decided that we'd like to go on a live guided tour so set off to find the Chauffeurs Hut for the start of a tour. The tour guide was brilliant. Really informative. It is much better being able to ask questions and he was certainly very knowledgeable about Bletchley. You need a dry day for this tour as it's all outdoors. Luckily we had a dry day but it was very very cold! We definitely needed a hot chocolate in the Cafe afterwards to warm up! Little Miss A was really good on the tour. It obviously wasn't that interesting for her but she sat in her pushchair and ate snacks, then walked some of it herself.

On both visits we have made sure that we visited Block B which is where there are Enigma machines and a reconstructed Turing-Welchman Bombe that is demonstrated regularly. In December, Mr MoaB watched the demonstration whilst I occupied Little Miss A. Today, it was my turn to see the demonstration of the Bombe in operation - it's a really incredible machine.

Here's Little Miss A trying to work out some controls!

Having just seen the film, we had to pay a visit to The Imitation Game exhibit in the Mansion. Those who've seen the film might recognise this bar!

Back in Decmber, there was actually a Toy Museum on site. It did seem a bit random to find this museum at Bletchley Park but it was a great place to take Little Miss A when she was starting to get a bit bored and wanted to run around a bit too much. There was an amazing collection of toys and items from the past. Most of the items were in glass cases for obvious reasons but there were 2 areas with toys that children could play with including a lovely old ride-on horse. Unfortunately, this museum has now closed.

Instead today we spent time in the outdoor playground next to the Cafe and also took our time wandering around the Lake as it was such a warm day. Little Miss A was happy as there were ducks! You can definitely tell the difference from these photos between our cold December visit and our sunny visit today!

Initially we baulked a bit at the entrance price which is currently £16.75 per adult (we paid £15 back in December). Kids under 12 are free! However, then we were informed that the ticket is valid for unlimited visits for a year. Not so good if you're not local but pretty good for us as Bletchley is only half an hour away from Aylesbury and we've now been twice with at least one more visit planned.

Each time we've only managed to see a fraction of what there is so it's definitely somewhere you can visit again and again.

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Toddler Gardening - Growing Plants with Toddlers

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Last year we undertook our first project in the garden to create a rockery in one very sorry looking corner. We can't believe how good this corner looks now the plants are established! We managed to achieve this without spending a penny! Read about our Gardening on zero budget.

Over the last few weeks we've been working on our next gardening project. Raised flower beds to grow flowers and vegetables with Little Miss A. She loves being outdoors so gardening is an ideal activity to introduce her to.

For Little Miss A's Birthday in March we asked her grandparents to buy us the raised flowerbeds. They also purchased some compost to fill them and gave her a few bulbs & seeds and gardening tools to get us underway. She really didn't need any more toys for her birthday so this is such a great present!

The first task was for Mr MoaB to put the flowerbeds together. We'd got 2 but we didn't realise quite how big they'd be so decided to combine them into one that fitted neatly into the space underneath our kitchen window.

The flowerbeds are on the gravel area of our garden so we needed to move all the stones out. Little Miss A loved helping with this bit!

We also added lining to the flowerbed frame before filling with compost. It took quite a few bags!

That just left the planting! I'm not sure Little Miss A really understood what we were doing but she did like digging lots of holes!

She also really enjoyed the watering. She's always a good helper when it comes to watering the plants so I think she'll like watering these flowerbeds as things start to grow!

I have to admit I'm not that green-fingered and don't know that much about gardening. I'm a 'put it in the ground and hope for the best' kind of gardener so this is going to be a learning curve for me. I'm looking forward to seeing Little Miss A's reaction as things start to (hopefully!) appear.

On Little Miss A's 'Things To Do Now I Am 2' are two things that we have now started with this project - Grow some flowers from seeds and Plant some vegetables.

Here's hoping that the next picture I post of the flower beds has signs of lots of nice flowers and veggies growing!

Useful resource:
Gardening with Children on the BBC website

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