Sunday, 31 August 2014

Parklife - free event in Aylesbury

It really is surprising how many local events you can find that are actually free! Today we took advantage of another really great event - Parklife - that was taking place in Vale Park, Aylesbury.

This was organised by Aylesbury Town Council and Aylesbury Church Network. There was a Proms in the Park evening last night which would be nice to go to when Little Miss A is older and can stay up later.

Today was a Family Fun Day followed by live music. We got to the park about 3pm and just caught the tail-end of the Fun Day activities. During the afternoon, there were crafts, face painting, a "We're a Knockout" tournament and at least 5 different inflatables. Little Miss A was able to have a quick go on one of the inflatables which had a mini bouncy castle, ball pit and inflatable slide. So she was happy.

We were also able to take advantage of the free BBQ! Mr MoaB and I enjoyed a burger and there were even bottles of water for free.

The fun day was winding down with the inflatables being deflated by about 3.30pm to get ready for the live music that started at 4pm. First up on the large stage was 'The Dung Beatles', a Beatles tribute band, who played for an hour. Then there was a brief break before 'The Notations', a rock and blues band, came onto the stage. We could only stay for a bit of their set though as Little Miss A was starting to get tired. The final band to play was going to be 'Busting Loose' who were due on at 7pm.

I think the event could have been better promoted as there weren't as many people at the park for the live music as I would have imagined. Good for us though as lots of space for Little Miss A to run around and dance!

This was a really lovely way to spend a warm Sunday afternoon and evening, and all for FREE!

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Thame Play & Activity Day

Mr MoaB had a rare Saturday off and after a lazy morning we really wanted to get out for the afternoon. I remembered that I had seen a Play in the Park advertised in Thame which isn't too far from us, so we decided to go along.

This Thame Play & Activity Day was organised by the Oxfordshire Play Association.

The first thing as we came into the park was a soft play area. It was shoes off for Little Miss A so that she could start playing straight away. Down the mini slide, on the bouncy animals and into the ball pool. After a good play, we managed to persuade her that there was more to see. She loves climbing things so liked the idea of the boulder wall, but of course needed a lot of help from Daddy!

We then came across a mud kitchen set-up by one of the children's centres'. Little Miss A's nursery report always says that she's been playing in the kitchen area so this mud kitchen was great for her. Soil, dried pasta, oats etc. could all be mixed together in lots of different pots & pans before being 'cooked' into the oven!!

A highlight of the afternoon was watching Little Miss A join in a Drumming Workshop. She was having a great time banging away!

For the older kids there were go karts, body zorbing and a bouldering wall amongst other things. So a real variety. We passed a big Graffiti Wall that all the kids during the day had drawn on. It looked brilliant!

The final thing that we explored was the Community Bus. Downstairs they were offering crafts and upstairs there were loads and loads of toys. It's amazing what you can fit into a converted bus!

The event was starting to wind down and people were packing away so there was just time for another quick play in the soft play area before we headed into Thame town centre for a coffee.

I can't believe how much at this event was actually free. At most of the other play days we've been to this summer there have been free activities but then lots has still had a small charge such as the Bouncy Castles etc. The only thing I could see that you had to pay for was the food and refreshments!

Really glad that we went along to this. Will keep an eye out for other events organised by the OPA!

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Bucks County Show - Ohh ahh, ooh ahh

Little Miss A and I went to our first Agricultural Show today - the Bucks County Show.

I was volunteering again with my local NCT branch as we were providing baby changing and breastfeeding facilities for visitors to the Show. I was there a few hours and there was a constant stream of parents using the tent. The feedback was very positive.

I had Little Miss A with me today and it was a bit difficult to contain her in the NCT tent as she just wanted to explore the Show. Once another volunteer came back from her wander, then we got our chance to go and have a look around.

Having not been to a Show like this before, I didn't really know what to expect. I was surprised by just how busy the whole thing was. There were so many different things going on from the stalls to the livestock showing rings.

The NCT tent was near the horse show rings so our first stop was to watch some show-jumping. I used to go horse-riding as a child so I would have been happy to stay in this area all afternoon, but we had to move on as there was so much else to see.

We then found some tractors that the children were allowed to climb onto. So of course, Little Miss A wanted to have a 'drive'! She looks so grown-up in the picture!

It was hard to drag her away from these! We then walked round some of the stalls. Some are informational stalls and some are market stalls. Luckily I didn't have much cash on me so refrained from spending any money!

We then found the Home & Garden Marquee. Lots of handmade crafts, cakes etc. It was interesting to see the 'large' vegetables. Can't believe you can really grow them these size. Are they actually edible when they're this big??

We ran out of time but there was so much more to see and do. However, after another short stint in the NCT tent, it was time to head home. Just as we decided to go, the heavens opened so we waited it out and then headed to the car park. The worst part of the day was trying to get out of the car park. Luckily Little Miss A fell asleep as soon as we got in the car but I was getting increasingly frustrated stuck in a non-moving queue of cars. Eventually we got out and home.

Apart from my petrol to get there (it's only 10 minutes away from us), I didn't spend any money today. Car parking is free. My ticket was provided as I was volunteering with the NCT. It's worth knowing that it's much cheaper to buy tickets online in advance - £11.50 compared to £15 at the gate. Children (5-16 years) are £5 or £6 at the gate. Under 5s are free.

The Show is a really good day out. I hope that we get the opportunity to go again next year so that we can see some of the bits of the Show that we didn't have time to see today.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Fun in the Park - Black Park Country Park

Black Park Country Park was having a Fun in the Park event today so thought it would be great to take Little Miss A along as it also meant that she could visit her Daddy at work!

Wasn't sure what to expect. Thought it would be similar to the Play in the Park event we went to a couple of weeks ago, but it was very different but equally fun for Little Miss A!

We headed to the 'Open Space' area of the Park where the 'fun' was taking place. First stop was to see the Birds of Prey. There were Falconry displays throughout the day but we weren't there when one was taking place. Little Miss A was more than happy just to take a look at the birds and was particularly taken with the Owl. Twit twoo!!

Then we had a wander around and found a petting farm. For £3 per child we could get up close to lots of different animals. Ducks, chickens, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs and then in a separate pen were goats and a small pig. Little Miss A had a rabbit on her lap for a little while before it hopped off! She also "tried" to feed a few goats with a bottle of milk.

We had a quick stop as we were passing to watch a little bit of a Punch & Judy show and then we joined the queue for the Horse & Carriage rides. It's a mode of transport that Little Miss A hasn't been on yet, so of course I had to take her on this! It cost us £2 each but it was definitely worth it. Little Miss A made some clicky horsey noises as we went round and it was a really nice ride through some of the woods.

Some things at the Fun in the Park event were obviously more geared towards the older kids such as the inflatable mega-slide and crafts. Most things did seem to have an extra charge. There were also some food stalls including a Hog Roast and ice-cream van. Luckily the weather held. It threatened to rain but stayed dry and was actually quite warm.

On this occasion, we didn't have time to visit the woodland adventure play area in the Park, but this is one of the best local playgrounds I've come across. If you missed it, here's the post from our first visit to Black Park and my Segway experience.

We did just have time to pay Mr MoaB a visit at his work before heading home before the rush hour traffic kicked in.

A really enjoyable afternoon with a great variety of activities on offer for the kids!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

My Ice Bucket Challenge - #IceBucketChallenge

So tonight I was nominated by a friend to take the Ice Bucket Challenge. Cancer continues to have a big impact on several of my close family, so I chose to do this for Macmillan Cancer Support.

I took on the challenge very nervously. Brrrrrrrrrr! That's all I can say!


I can now proudly say that I survived the Ice Bucket Challenge.  

Good luck to you if you get nominated! Don't forget to donate!

Monday, 25 August 2014

Towersey Village Festival - Little Miss A's first Festival experience

Little Miss A enjoyed her first Festival experience today in the rain at Towersey Village Festival. Well it wouldn't be a proper festival without rain and mud!

Towersey is a really relaxed and family-friendly festival. Celebrating it's 50th year, this is an annual festival of folk & world music and traditional dance. It's held in a lovely setting in the village of Towersey which is just half an hour drive away from us.

I was volunteering with my local NCT branch as we were providing baby changing and breastfeeding facilities for the festival-goers. This is the first year we attended but the feedback was very positive from the parents. I definitely drew the short straw by helping today as the rest of the weekend has been dry and sunny!

Mr MoaB brought Little Miss A along. He was only going to come along for an hour but ended up staying for 3 as Little Miss A was having such a good time! We had access with our passes into the Showground and there was lots to keep her entertained. She enjoyed watching the Morris Dancers and a bit of live music. However, she spent the majority of the time outside the Craft Tent as there was a large ball run to play with (in the rain!).

So despite the rain, it's definitely safe to say that Little Miss A enjoyed her first Festival. Roll on next year!

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Hobble on the Cobbles - Free live music event in Aylesbury

Today Aylesbury town centre was filled with live music with Hobble on the Cobbles. This is an annual event that showcases local bands.

I thought it would be fun to take Little Miss A along. We can often be found dancing around the living room to music on the radio, but she's not yet been to a live music event.

When we arrived just after 2pm, we headed to Kingsbury and saw 'El Bronson' playing on the Cover-band stage. They played a set of high energey rock, drum & bass and dance. Little Miss A was soon out of the pushchair and bopping along. I probably shouldn't be that surprised by her reaction to this type of music as it's more her Daddy's style! Goodness only knows what she has to listen to in the car when he's driving her around!

Once their set finished, we then took a wander down to Market Square and saw some of the set by 'Without Reason'. Again, Little Miss A was dancing away and clapping. She particularly seemed to enjoy their cover of 'Cry Me A River'. She was on her own though - not many others were boogieing, so I joined in with her and looked a bit of a wally! Next up were 'Open Mind'. More my kind of music as a bit more poppy but we only stayed for a couple of their songs as Little Miss A decided she'd had enough so it was time to head home.

There's always 2 bands playing at any given time, one in Kingsbury and one in Market Square. So if one band isn't your thing, you can easily go and take a look at what's happening on the other stages. This year's headliner was Toploader. Would have liked to have seen them, but they were playing much later on in the day.

In Kingsbury there was a giant inflatable for the kids and there were lots of food vans in Market Square. The local pubs were doing a roaring trade. Luckily it was perfect weather! The Mix96 Mix Monster was also walking around and after some initial reticence, Little Miss A had a photo taken with him.

It's a really brilliant free event. I'll definitely be planning to go again next year.

An added bonus is that we can now tick off another one of her 'Things to do before I'm 2' - no.5 Attend an event with live music.