Archive for 2014

Snow fun in the Snowglobe - Snow Joke!

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

This morning we had a really fun, novel experience in a life-size Snowglobe!

The Snowglobe is at Bosworth's Garden Centre in Burton Latimer, Northants which is close to where my parents live. They had spotted the Snowglobe before Christmas and it's there until 4th January, so we decided to go today as we thought it would be quite quiet.

You step into the snowglobe and then you're free to just have fun! You're meant to have about 5 minutes in there, but we had a lot longer than that as we were the first customers of the day and the guy took a while to set the camera up!

The Snowglobe costs £10 but this includes one 8x6 photo. For an additional £2.50 you can have all the images from the shoot emailed to you. We were fortunate that as my Mum has a Reward Card for the Garden Centre, she had a voucher for a free additional photo print.

My Mum was able to take a few photos and a bit of video too, so we have some fun shots of us messing about in the fake snow. Of course, it started off quite tame but then got a tad more aggressive between Mr MoaB and I!

Little Miss A absolutely loved it. She was joining in the snow fight and aiming her handfuls of snow at me mostly!

We ended up absolutely covered in the stuff. It's quite hard to get off your clothes. We took a lot home with us and had to strip down when we got home as it got into our boots, in our tops etc! My poor Mum will be finding white bits around her house for days. We did try to hoover most of it up!

Apparently there are only 3 Snowglobes like this around the UK at the moment. I've certainly never seen this anywhere before.

It really was fantastic fun. We had a blast in there. I'm hoping they have it again next year as we'll definitely do it again! A great activity to do as our last thing of 2014!

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Funny Children's Christmas Songs

Sunday, 21 December 2014

So Mr MoaB and I thought it would be fun to have a festive sing-a-long with the family at Christmas - with a twist!

We wanted to sing funny versions of well known Christmas songs. I thought a quick Google search would throw up loads of alternative version but actually there are very few.

There are some that just aren't age appropriate as we want to teach these humorous tunes to Little Miss A's cousins who are 8 and 5.

The one I can remember singing is:

Jingle Bells, Batman Smells
Robin ran away,
The Batmobile lost its wheel,
On the Motorway! Hey!

Mr MoaB remembered a version of this one:

We three Kings of Orient are,
One in a taxi, one in a car,
One on a scooter, blowing his hooter,
Smoking a wet cigar

Another one we like is this:

While shepherds wash their socks by night,
All seated round the tub,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And gave them all a scrub

There are several similar variations for the 12 Days of Christmas called 'The 12 Fast Food Days of Christmas'. The one I like the most was found on the Jumble and Jelly blog.

On the first day of Christmas my takeaway gave to me a double bacon burger with cheese
On the second day of Christmas my takeaway gave to me 2 happy meals
On the third day of Christmas my takeaway gave to me 3 large fries
On the fourth day of Christmas my takeaway gave to me 4 egg McMuffins
On the fifth day of Christmas my takeaway gave to me 5 onion rings 
On the sixth day of Christmas my takeaway gave to me 6 chocolate milkshakes
On the seventh day of Christmas my takeaway gave to me 7 pints of ketchup
On the eighth day of Christmas my takeaway gave to me 8 chicken drumsticks
On the ninth day of Christmas my takeaway gave to me 9 slices of pizza
On the tenth day of Christmas my takeaway gave to me 10 baked potatoes
On the eleventh day of Christmas my takeaway gave to me 11 chicken kormas
On the twelfth day of Christmas my takeaway gave to me 12 Alka-Seltzer 

There's also a really great version of 'We Wish You A Merry Christmas' which I came across by Sandra Boynton. 

So you now know what we'll be up to on Christmas Day. These should keep us entertained and suitably amused for a little while anyway!

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Wintery Wander in the Woods - Gruffalo's Child Trail

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Little Miss A and I have been very housebound this week as she's had conjunctivitis so we haven't been able to go to places that she's directly in contact with lots of children and we've missed out on all her playgroup Christmas parties. Boo!

With Mr MoaB working this weekend, I was keen to get out for a few hours and get some fresh air. As we were up early, Little Miss A and I set off for an early morning walk in Wendover Woods.

I decided to do the Gruffalo's Child Trail again as it's just the right sort of distance for Little Miss A to be able to walk herself and she enjoys looking out for the trail signs!

Going so early in the morning meant that we had the whole trail to ourselves! It was very chilly though so I tried to make sure that we kept up a fair pace so that we didn't get too cold.

I love watching Little Miss A's reaction to what she sees along the way and it's brilliant that she can now identify the animals and say the words herself!

It's always good to spend time at the Gruffalo sculpture. He really does have a nice spot with a great view!

Here's my original post when we did the Gruffalo's Child Trail back in October. The trail is going to be in Forestry Commission woods until February. Then it's going to change to an activity trail based on the 'Superworm' story - another book by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler. So I'll have to get hold of a copy of this book to start reading this to Little Miss A to introduce her to the characters.

I'm glad we got out today and it was a fun wander with Little Miss A if a tad on the chilly side! 

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Decorating a Christmas Tree - Sticky Fun - Toddler Activity

Thursday, 18 December 2014

I haven't posted about a sensory activity for a while so thought I'd share an easy festive activity that Little Miss A has enjoyed doing.

Have Small People Big Ideas to thank for the original idea.

What I used:

  • Sticky back plastic (haven't used this stuff for a while. The last time was at school when you had to cover all your books in it!)
  • Scissors
  • Green gift wrapping tape 
  • Masking tape
  • Pom-poms, buttons, parcel bows and sequins for decorations 
All you need to do is cut a rectangle of sticky back plastic and tape it sticky side out onto the window. Then using green tape/string/card, create the outline of a Christmas tree. That's it. Time to decorate!

Later on I was about to recycle some Christmas catalogues & magazines away and then struck on the idea of cutting out the pictures of decorations. These made a great addition to the tree even if most of them ended up around the border rather than on the tree itself!

The good thing about using things like buttons, pom-poms and sequins is that you can pick them off and use them again which is exactly what Little Miss A did the first time. If you use pictures cut out from magazines etc. then these stick more firmly in place and can't be removed.

The tree has been left up on the window over the last week or so and Little Miss A keeps going back to it to add bits or remove them!

This is a really easy activity to set-up so definitely one to be repeated in the future.

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Lovely Langley Park

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Back in October we visited Langley Park for the first time and then re-visited again today. This is now my favourite park. I just wish it was a bit nearer to us as we'd be there all the time!

The first thing that strikes you is how tranquil it is. It's probably busier at weekends but given that we were there during October half term on our first visit, it was very quiet. It's definitely a lot less busy than its neighbour, Black Park

There is a huge variety of different trees so it was a nice time to visit in October with the Autumnal colours and fallen leaves. What is helpful is that many of the trees have little signs on them with what they are so you can identify them. This would be a great place to go if your kids are learning about trees or to go to collect lots of different fallen leaves for a craft project.

On both occasions, Little Miss A really enjoyed the children's playground which has lots of wooden play equipment.

In October we only had time to have a wander through the Temple Gardens which was really nice. We came across these unusual mushrooms on our walk.

Today we had more time and followed the Timberland Tree Trail which took us through the Arboretum, Kings Woods and part of Temple Gardens. It was surprisingly wet and muddy in places but all the more fun for Little Miss A!

This was taken on a bridge in the Arboretum. Peek-a-boo!!

There are some great trees to play in and hide behind so we had lots of games of hide & seek. There are some really old trees with interesting features. We can't decide what animal this looks like!?!

This is a really nice park to visit. Just be aware that car parking charges apply. There's a cafe next to the car park for refreshments.

The time to go is apparently in the Spring when the rhododendrons are in flower so we'll definitely revisit again then, if not before.

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Christmas Activities at Black Park Country Park

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

A week last Sunday we drove down to Black Park Country Park as they had a Christmas market and some festive kids activities.

Our first encounter on arrival was with a beautiful owl. Little Miss A was able to get up very close.

Then we took a stroll past lots of the market stalls before finding a Petting farm. This was the same as the farm at the Fun in the Park event we went to in the summer. It was £3 for us all to go in and we could feed the animals as well as handle some of the smaller ones such as the rabbits.

We then got the chance to meet Father Christmas in his Grotto. Little Miss A really doesn't understand who this fellow in a red suit is and at one point wandered off but came back in time to get her present!

The thing that Little Miss A was most keen on was the Carousel. She picked a little red car to sit in to go round. She didn't smile whilst she was on it but clearly enjoyed it as I had a real struggle to get her off! After we'd had a bite to eat, Mr MoaB gave in and let her go on a second time and she chose exactly the same car!

There was just time to go to the Lake to feed the ducks and then we headed back to the car - just in time as it started to rain again!

It's worth keeping an eye on the Bucks Country Parks Facebook page and @BCCCountryParks Twitter account for details of future events.

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Winter Wonderland at World's End Garden Centre

Monday, 15 December 2014

For the second year in a row we have taken Little Miss A to our local Wyevale Garden Centre - World's End in Wendover - to experience the Winter Wonderland.

I'm amazed at this each time. It must take a lot of planning and then a long time to install. There are elements that are similar each year but there are also some topical sections - so this year there was a 'Frozen' themed section.

Last year we had to carry Little Miss A around the Wonderland but this year it was great that she could walk herself. So she dictated what we stopped to look at!

We were fortunate that we went early in the day during the week as it meant there was just a few other people in the Wonderland. This meant we could take our time and we actually walked back on ourselves to see it all again. I can imagine nearer to Christmas and at weekends it gets pretty busy.

The Garden Centre have got it just right. You could spend a long time there as they have created a kids trail around the centre to find lots of Woodland animals. So this makes you wander around a bit more rather than just heading straight to the Winter Wonderland.

There's also a Christmas shop area along with some market stalls and a couple of children's rides (additional cost for these). 

When you need a rest and to warm up, you can choose from the garden centre's own Restaurant or an onsite Costa Coffee Shop. We chose the latter and Little Miss A tried her first Babyccino. Not sure she was that impressed but she got a great milk moustache!

It costs £2 each for the Winter Wonderland. You can also visit Santa for £8 per child (£2 for supervising adults).

I'm sure we'll be back next year as it's becoming a family tradition!

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Festive Fun in Friars Square

Sunday, 14 December 2014

This afternoon Little Miss A and I went into the town as Aylesbury Town Council were hosting another free family event - a Christmas Fair.

When we got there the event was in full swing. Little Miss A got very excited as soon as she saw the Christmas Bear so she was out of the pushchair and running up to him. Of course, then trying to get her to get close to him for a photo proved more difficult so had to resort to being in the picture as well!

Whilst we were having a wander around the various activities, there was lovely Christmasy music being song by The LuLaLas.

I tried to get Little Miss A to sit down at one of the craft tables to make a paper lantern but after a quick scribble on the paper she wanted to get down so we've brought it home to finish!

There was the chance to have another Mummy Daughter photo taken by a photographer that was doing free family shoots. The pictures will be emailed to us. Will be good to see how they come out as silly hats were involved!

Next, we had a go at the Reindeer Hoopla. Little Miss A needed quite a lot of help so a tiny bit of cheating was involved to get the hoop over the Reindeer's antlers so she'd win a small prize!

Our next encounter was with Rag and Bone - a one man music show. His horse and sleigh are fascinating as they're made out of recycled materials (as you'd expect from a Rag and Bone man!). Little Miss A was able to 'feed' the horse and for her efforts was given a balloon which she's very happy with. She enjoyed his trombone playing too.

There was lots more going on that we didn't take advantage of such as face painting, balloon modelling, a fairground ride (this was still outside) and more crafts. We also didn't get the chance to see the travelling magician or crystal ball manipulator as they were there earlier in the day. Just as we were leaving we passed by the stilt walkers - Little Miss A really wasn't sure about them and kept her distance!

Originally the event was meant to be held in Market Square but I'm really relieved that it was moved into the Friars Square Shopping Centre as it was really cold out and we definitely wouldn't have stayed as long as we did outside!

The Council had also organised a Carolfest which was taking place this evening but unfortunately this was at Little Miss A's bedtime. I would like to take her to a carol concert (I love a good sing-song) so this is definitely on the list of things to do next year.

I'm glad we got the chance to go along today for some festive fun. We really are lucky that these type of events take place so locally.

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Things To Do Before I'm 2! - An Update

Friday, 12 December 2014

As we approach the end of 2014, I thought it was time to check back on Little Miss A's 'Things To Do Before I'm 2' list to see what we've managed to tick off and what we've got just 3 months left to do!

As a reminder, here's her list of 'Things To Do Before I'm 2'!

  1. Play with giant bubbles 
  2. Have a garden tea party 
  3. Go for a picnic 
  4. Paddle in the sea 
  5. Attend an event with live music 
  6. Go camping 
  7. Fly a kite
  8. Puddle splashing 
  9. Play outside in fresh snow 
  10. Play in a pile of fallen leaves
  11. Ice sensory play
  12. Foam sensory play
  13. Meet a reindeer at Christmas 
  14. Go on a train journey 
  15. Watch England play in the World Cup 
  16. Go for a bike ride 
  17. Climb a mountain
  18. Go on a bus trip 
  19. Splash park / swim outdoors
We'd already managed to do numbers 4, 6, 15 and 18 when I originally posted her Toddler To Do List so we've done another 8 since then. So we're over half way there which isn't bad going!

1. Play with giant bubbles - when we went to the Halloween Family Fun Day in Aylesbury town centre there was the Bubble Wizard who combined magic and bubbles. So we saw some fun with very large bubbles! We also had fun in the back garden with some big bubbles as Mr MoaB found a big bubble wand in the garage (one of those random things that you find and never knew you had!).

3. Go for a picnic - we pretty much do this everytime we go anywhere as we always take our own packed lunch. The most memorable was when we visited Boscombe beach on our Last-minute getaway to the coast.

5. Attend an event with live music - Little Miss A loves music in all its various forms. As soon as you put the radio on she's bopping away and wants you to dance with her. We made the most of 2 free music events in Aylesbury over the summer: Hobble on the Cobbles and Parklife.

8. Puddle splashing - what is it with kids and puddles!? Since discovering puddles, Little Miss A now takes the opportunity to jump in every puddle she comes across! The muddier the better as this photo shows!

10. Play in a pile of fallen leaves - the best fun we had playing and running through Autumn leaves was on our Sunday Autumnal Stroll in Tring Park

13. Meet a reindeer at Christmas - I wasn't sure we were going to get this one ticked off but fortunately I found a local free event this week where there were 2 reindeer so Little Miss A got to meet Santa's reindeer!

14. Go on a train journey - Little Miss A's first train ride wasn't just your average train as we went Choo choo on a Steam Train! Since then we have been on a normal train ride when we went with Grandma to London to see the Poppies and Paddington Bear statues.

16. Go for a bike ride - I'm not a massive fan of cycling but Mr MoaB finallly persuaded me to get back on a bike and we had a Pedal Power themed day with a cycle ride around Black Park Country Park followed by a sighting of the Tour of Britain riders.

So that's a round-up of how we're getting on. Now to get planning to ensure we get the final ones done before the end of March!

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Meeting Santa's Reindeer (well 2 of them!)

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Today provided a chance for us to tick off something on Little Miss A's Things To Do Before I'm 2 list. Number 13 on the list is 'Meet a reindeer at Christmas'.

I was starting to worry that we would miss the opportunity to be able to do this item as it's a time specific one and Christmas is getting ever closer. Then I spotted that there were going to be 2 reindeer at an event organised by the Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust so off we trotted (ha, ha!) today to meet them.

Little Miss A seemed quite intrigued by them and was fascinated by their big antlers! Whilst we were there we were the only ones seeing the reindeer. Perfect!

I really love this photo as it looks like Little Miss A is in conversation with the reindeer!

The reindeer were from the Claydon Christmas Tree Farm which is about 20 minutes away from Aylesbury. There are actually 5 reindeer that you can see on the Farm (when they're not doing special appearances at other venues like today). The Farm is featured on my list of Local Places to Visit Father Christmas

Really pleased that I stumbled across this event and could take Little Miss A along. 

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Santa's Parade in Aylesbury

Sunday, 30 November 2014

This morning Little Miss A and I went to see Santa on his sleigh riding through town.

Little Miss A was all set in her red hat!

Having never been to this Parade before, I wasn't sure what to expect but it was actually really good. There was a drumming band, kids from various local dance groups along with lots of different and interesting characters!

And of course, then there was the man in the red suit himself Ho, ho, hoing as he passed by!

We actually saw the whole Parade twice. We originally had a viewing point near to where the Parade started from. Then when it had passed by, we wandered up to Market Square and the Parade does a full lap of the square so we saw it again as it came around.

In the Square were lots of funfair rides. Some of these you had to pay for. There were also free donkey rides and a huge inflatable Noah's Ark in Kingsbury. Plus of course, Santa has now taken up residence in his Grotto in Friar's Square! So tonnes for the kids to do.

Will definitely be making the Santa's Parade part of our annual festive activities.

Don't forget to take a look at my list of local family Christmas events, there's still lots to look forward!

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A ride on the Santa Express Train at thecentre:mk

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

A shopping spree was in order as I recently won £50 in shopping vouchers! So last week we met my Mum for some shopping and lunch at thecentre:mk and then she came to stay with us for a few days.

Our first stop on arrival was to the Santa Express Train. I feel it's a little bit too early for Little Miss A to meet Father Christmas as it's still November, but thought the train would be fun!

It was £2 per person to ride so Little Miss A just went on with my Mum and I was photographer!

As it was mid-week and still quite early in the day, the Christmas area in the Centre was really quiet. There was no queue for the train, we just paid and they boarded with a little carriage to themselves.

The train, driven by a friendly elf, goes along a short track through some snowy trees. 

Was a bit disappointed as to how quickly the ride was over. It only went around the track once. Good job I got some good pictures as they passed by, otherwise we'd have had to pay again!

I have to say that it is quite expensive for what it is. Probably better if you're also seeing Father Christmas to make it more of an experience. Take a look at thecentre:mk website for more details about the Santa's Grotto in Milton Keynes.

It is a nice thing for Little Miss A to have done with her Nana and she keeps asking to see the 'Choo choo' pictures, so for those reasons I'm glad she went on the train!

We managed to get a few things ticked off the Christmas shopping list, but I actually struggled to spend my shopping vouchers. I'm such a bad shopper now. I just buy stuff for Little Miss A and even when I have the opportunity to treat myself to something new, I find it hard to find anything I really like or can justify the spend on. Oh well, I'm thinking I'll get a lot more for my vouchers in the January Sales!

I've written a few other posts that might be of interest if you're looking for festive activities and events in and around Aylesbury:

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Photoshoot with Tammyrazzi Photography

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Last week Little Miss A went along for a photoshoot with Tammyrazzi Photography. It was really convenient as she's very local to us in Waddesdon.

As can be expected at her age, Little Miss A was initially a little bit shy so it was a case of just waiting for her to get familiar with her surroundings. It didn't take too long.

With such an active toddler, the challenge was for Tammy to get the shots before Little Miss A moved and was off to explore something else!

There were a variety of props that we tried for various shots. At times, Little Miss A was more concerned with tidying up and putting them back where they came! She's well trained!!

She did look really cute in the top hat!

Tammy really captured Little Miss A as she is now. This is definitely my favourite picture from the day as it's very natural:

We really enjoyed our time with Tammy. Some photoshoots I've been too seem very formulaic where they have a fixed set of shots they take with very specific props etc. This shoot was different and I much preferred it. We tried things with Little Miss A but as you'll know, if a toddler doesn't want to do something they won't, so really we just left Little Miss A to her own devices and Tammy got the shots.

Tammy has some great package offers including a Christmas Package which includes a half hour shoot, 5 digital images and 5 prints. Get in touch with her through Tammyrazzi Photography website to book now!

Also if you're a mummy-to-be in the Aylesbury area then how do you fancy a free bump photoshoot? Tammy has kindly given me some vouchers worth £150 for a shoot & images. Shoot will take place in Waddesdon. Let me know if you're interested!

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Ashridge Christmas Trail

Sunday, 16 November 2014

This afternoon we wanted to have a short family walk and get some fresh air. Having compiled a list of Family Christmas Events in the local area, I knew that the Christmas Trail at Ashridge Estate had started this weekend so it seemed like a great opportunity to go and try this out.

The Ashridge Estate is about a half hour drive from Aylesbury. It is managed by the National Trust, however you don't need to be a NT member and there's no charge to wander around the woodlands.

We've visited the woods in the past and actually climbed up to the top of the Bridgewater Monument. You could barely see it today, it was so misty!

We popped into the Visitor Centre and got our Christmas Trail pack which is £1. There was a quiz sheet along with a map to show the trail route around Meadleys Meadow. The aim is to find Blitzen the reindeer who has got lost in the woods!

I think Little Miss A could have walked around the whole trail without too much trouble. It's not too long. However, we purchased a new backpack carrier at the recent NCT Nearly New Sale and Mr MoaB wanted to try this out. Little Miss A loves the view up high anyway!

As you go along the trail there are boards with information about the winter wildlife at Ashridge and you answer a question or do a task from the Trail sheet. At one point you'd have found us singing 'We wish you a Merry Christmas' very loudly as we walked along! Little Miss A had no idea why we were singing but bopped her head along!

It's a really great Trail that is ideally suited to little ones as it's not too long. We enjoyed the walk even with the limited visibility!

After going back into the Visitor Centre to claim our prize for completing the Trail, we then enjoyed a hot drink at the Cafe. There was then just time for Little Miss A to have a good splash in some very big puddles and then it was a quick dash back to the car as it started to rain!

Would definitely recommend this Trail. All it costs is £1 for the Trail sheet which obviously goes towards the National Trust. There are no charges for car parking at the woods so if you take your own refreshments etc. then it's a very cheap few hours out!

A great first family festive activity of the year!

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Christmas Family Events in and around Aylesbury 2014

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Along with a list of local places to meet Father Christmas, there are also lots of other festive events going on in and around Aylesbury so I thought I'd compile a list of these as well so you can add them to your diary.

Saturday 15th November - Wednesday 31st December
Christmas Trail at Ashridge Estate
Starting at the Ashridge Visitor Centre, enjoy the special Christmas Trail around Meadleys Meadow. You can learn more about how the wildlife at Ashridge spends Christmas, answer the questions along the way and earn a Christmassy reward!
Place: Ashridge Estate
Times: 10am - 3pm
Cost: £1 per child
To find out more, take a look at my review of the Christmas Trail at Ashridge

Saturday 15th November - Sunday 4th January
Ice Skating
Experience the magic of ice skating on REAL ICE on an spectacular indoor ice rink. Skate hire is included in the cost of the ticket.
Place: Bicester Avenue Garden Centre
Times: Skating sessions last for 45 minutes and commence on the hour.
Cost: Skate prices vary depending on peak and off peak times. Check website

Wednesday 19th November - Sunday 4th January (excl. 24th, 25th & 26th December)
Letter Writing to Father Christmas
Write a letter to Father Christmas in the workshop-themed room and take some photos on the special Christmas sleigh!
Place: Waddesdon Manor
Times: 10am - 5pm
Cost: Letter Writing activity is Free. Normal admission charges apply.

Thursday 20 November
Christmas Lights Switch On
Free family entertainment from 5.30pm. The lights will be switched on at 6.50pm, followed by fireworks and music. There will also be a small funfair and the shops are open until 8pm for some Christmas shopping!
Place: Aylesbury Town Centre
Time: 5.30pm - 7.30pm
Cost: Free

Saturday 29th November
Winter Wonderland Christmas Fayre
Santa's Grotto, Face painting, Raffle, Games, Stalls, Refreshments and much more.
Place: Berryfields C of E Primary School
Time: 1pm - 4pm
Cost: Free entry with a special guest appearance

Sunday 30th November
Santa's Parade
Santa accompanied by the Snow Queen and her Ice Elves will be parading through the town, along the High Street and into Friars Square for the opening of the Santa's Grotto. There will be a small funfair and activities in the town including free donkey rides.
Place: Aylesbury Town Centre
Time: Parade starts at 10.30am, activities 11am-3pm
Cost: Free (some funfair activities incur a charge)

Monday 1st December
NCT Cheeky Monkey's Messy Play & Craft Session
Lots of messy fun and festive crafts including shaving foam, play-doh, biscuit decorating and lots more. Meet Father Christmas. Professional photographer and handprint ceramics available (additional cost).
Place: Buckingham Park Community Centre
Time: 10am - 12pm
Cost: £2 per child. Under 1s are free. In aid of the NCT Charity

Monday 1st December - Wednesday 24th December (dates vary by centre)
Breakfast or Tea with Father Christmas
Enjoy a delicious, freshly-prepared breakfast or tea and then join the elves to welcome Father Christmas as he arrives from the North Pole. Children get to meet Father Christmas and choose their very own present. Afterwards, they’re given a Christmas tree cookie to decorate.
Place: Wyevale Garden Centres - Bicester, Tring and World's End (Wendover)
Times: Check website
Cost: £9.99 per child. Adult prices from £3.99.

Thursday 4th December
Christmas Storytime & Craft Event - Looking forward to Christmas
Place: Aylesbury Library
Time: 10am - 11am
Cost: Free

Saturday 6th December
Christmas Storytime & Craft Event - story written by Michael Morpurgo
Place: Aylesbury Library
Time: 10.30am - 12.30pm
Cost: Free

Thursday 11th December
Animal Calendar
The opportunity to make a colourful 3D animal calendar.  Most suitable for under 5s.
Place: Natural History Museum at Tring
Times: 11:00 - 11:30, 14:00 - 14:30
Cost: £1.50

Thursday 11th December
Carol Singing with Turnfurlong Infant School
Place: Aylesbury Library
Time: 10.30am
Cost: Free

Friday 12th December
Teddy Bear's Christmas Picnic with Father Christmas
Place: Aylesbury Library
Time: 10.30am - 12pm
Cost: Free

Saturday 13th December
Christmas Family Storytime, Craft & Treasure Hunt
Place: Aylesbury Library
Time: 11am - 12.30pm
Cost: Free

Sunday 14th December
Christmas Fair and Carolfest
A day filled with festive fun, music and entertainment followed by an evening of your favourite carols in the picturesque Market Square.
Place: Market Square, Aylesbury Town Centre
Time: Christmas Fair 11am - 4pm. Carolfest 6pm - 7pm
Cost: Free

Monday 15th December - Friday 19th December
Christmas Craft Activities for under 5s (drop-in)
Place: Bucks County Museum
Times: 10am - 12pm or 1pm - 3pm daily
Cost: Free

Thursday 18th December
Christmas Party at Zoomania
2 hours of festive fun! Price includes Entry, Juice, Xmas buffet food, Santa Visit, Themed crafts, Party Games and Disco.
Place: Zoomania, Aylesbury
Time: 5.30pm - 7.30pm
Cost: £9.50 per child. Price includes one accompanying adult. Booking is recommended to avoid disappointment.

Saturday 20th December - Sunday 4th January
Christmas Holiday Challenge
Set off on a journey around the museum to track down the lost polar bears on this exploration trail. Suitable for all ages.
Place: Natural History Museum at Tring
Times: 11:00 - 11:30, 14:00 - 14:30
Cost: Free

Monday 22nd December - Tuesday 23rd December
Holiday Fun Session
The Bearbrooks & Elmhurst Early Years Excellence Hub is holding holiday fun sessions with lots of fun activities.
Place: Friars Square, Aylesbury
Times: 9am - 3.30pm
Cost: Free

Monday 29th December & Tuesday 30th December
Polar Bear Craft
Children will be able to make their own polar bear with moveable legs in this craft event. Suitable for all ages.
Place: Natural History Museum at Tring
Times: Half hour sessions throughout the day
Cost: £1.50

These are just events I've come across on websites, Facebook etc. There's probably lots more and I'm happy to add any additional ones - just let me know the details!

The details are as accurate as possible. Please check with the actual organisers/venue for up-to-date information.

Hope you and your family have a great time over this Christmas period, whatever you're up to!

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Local places to meet Father Christmas 2014

I'm just starting to think about things to take Little Miss A along to get into the festive spirit and of course the must-do for any child at this time of year is to meet Father Christmas.

Here's a list of places I've found in and around Aylesbury where you can meet the man himself!

I've also compiled a separate list of the Christmas kids activities and family events going on.


Winter Wonderland Christmas Fayre at Berryfields C of E Primary School
Santa's Grotto, Face painting, Raffle, Games, Stalls, Refreshments and much more.
Date: Saturday 29th November
Time: 1pm - 4pm
Cost: Free entry with a special guest appearance

Santa's Grotto at Friars Square
Visit Santa in his Alpine Lodge-style Grotto at Friars Square. This year the Grotto is in aid of Scannappeal, supporting special care babies at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
Date: Sunday 30th November - Wednesday 24th December (selected days)
Times: Check website
Cost: £3 donation to meet Father Christmas and receive a gift

NCT Cheeky Monkey's Messy Play & Craft Session at Buckingham Park Community Centre
Lots of messy fun and festive crafts, including shaving foam, play-doh, biscuit decorating and lots more. Meet Father Christmas. Professional photographer and handprint ceramics available (additional cost).
Date: Monday 1st December
Time: 10am - 12pm
Cost: £2 per child. Under 1s are free. In aid of the NCT Charity.

Christmas Party at Zoomania
2 hours of festive fun! Price includes Entry, Juice, Xmas buffet food, Santa Visit, Themed crafts, Party Games and Disco.
Date: Thursday 18th December
Time: 5.30pm - 7.30pm
Cost: £9.50 per child. Price includes one accompanying adult. Booking is recommended to avoid disappointment.
To find out more about this venue, take a look at my review of Zoomania from one of visits earlier this year.


Santa's Grotto at Haddenham Garden Centre
Santa makes his Grand Arrival at 11am on Sat 23rd Nov. That first weekend only there is a Children's Farm, Face Painting, Balloon Modelling & Food Tasting, as well as the Santa's Grotto.
Dates: Saturday 23rd November - Sunday 22nd December (weekends only)
Time: 11am-4pm
Cost: Check website

Grotto & Winter Wonderland at World's End Garden Centre
On your way to the Christmas Grotto, you'll pass animated figures and at the end of the journey Father Christmas is waiting to greet you with a gift for every child.
Dates: Saturday 15th November - Wednesday 24th December. Certain weekend dates, Father Christmas is joined by his reindeer.
Times: Mon - Sat 9am - 5.30pm. Sun 10.30am - 4pm
Cost: £8 per child for the Winter Wonderland and Grotto (includes a gift). £2 for supervising adults. A journey through Winter Wonderland costs £2 per person.

Santa's Magic Steamings at Buckinghamshire Railway Centre
Meet Santa on the rails! There's a gift for every child plus a magic show, storytelling, crafts and seasonal refreshments.
Dates: Saturday 13th December - Sunday 21st December (weekends only) and Monday 22nd December
Trains depart: 10:25, 11:05, 11:45, 12:25, 13:05, 14:00, 14:40, 15:20
Cost: £12.50 per child (2 years and older). £3 for under 2s. £12.50 per adult, Booking is essential.

Santa Specials on the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway
Enjoy a magical trip from Chinnor along the Icknield Line and meet Santa and his elves! All trains will be steam hauled and the fares include a present from Santa.
Dates: Saturday 6th December - Sunday 21st December (weekends only)
Trains depart: 10:15, 11:30, 13:00, 14:15, 15:30
Cost: £10 per child (1-15 years incl.). Under 1s are free (no present). £11 per adult. Booking is essential.
To find out more about travelling on this Railway, take a look at my review of the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway from earlier this year.

Meet the Legend at thecentre:mk (Milton Keynes)
Meet the legend, Santa, inside his magical Christmas grotto at The Land of MK Believe. Children will enjoy a magical craft session, making their own Christmas wrapping paper and magical reindeer food to take away with them, and take a mystical adventure on the Santa Express train.
Dates: Friday 14th November - Wednesday 24th December
Times: Check website
Cost: £6.50 per child for the entire grotto experience including crafts and a gift. Accompanying adults are free. Train ride is £2 per person. Booking is highly recommended.
To find out more about the train ride, take a look at my review of the Santa Express train.

FREE Santa's Grotto at Eden Shopping (High Wycombe)
Drop by and say hello to Santa in his Christmas Grotto. Children receive a tasty treat from Santa and you have the opportunity to purchase a photo afterwards.
Dates: Friday 12th December - Wednesday 24th December
Times: Check website
Cost: Free

Visit Father Christmas at Ashridge Estate
Each 45 minute session includes a visit with Father Christmas, a Christmas craft making session and a present!
Dates: Saturday 13 December - Sunday 21 December (weekends only)
Times: Check website
Costs: Child £6. Adult £2.50. Booking essential

Christmas Kingdom at Mead Open Farm
Visit the Christmas Kingdom for lots of festive fun. See an enchanting festive 3D film and then walk through the Elves' Christmas Visit where you can meet real reindeer before visiting Santa in his Grotto and choosing a toy from the elves' workshop.
Dates: Saturday 29th November - Wednesday 24th December (daily)
Times: 10am - 6.30pm (last visit to Santa is 5.30pm)
Cost: £13.50 for children, £9.75 for adults, £9 for senior citizens, which include full entry to the Farm and admission into the Christmas Kingdom. Child Members and children under 24 months will be charged a discounted rate of £6 each to visit the Kingdom.
To find out more about what's on offer, take a look at my review of Mead Open Farm from our visit earlier this year.

Christmas Magic with Santa at Odds Farm Park
Meet Santa in his Grotto and get a special gift.
Dates: Saturday 22nd November - Sunday 23rd November and then daily from Saturday 29th November - Wednesday 24th December
Times: Check website
Cost: £4 extra
To find out more about what's on offer, take a look at my review of Odds Farm Park from our recent visit.

3D Cinema Grotto at Bicester Avenue Garden Centre
Enjoy a 15 minute, 3D file about 'Rocket the Reindeer' in the cinema room before meeting Father Christmas in his Grotto.
Dates: Saturday 8th November - Wednesday 24th December
Times: Check website
Cost: £7 per child (includes a gift)

Santa Spectacular at Willows Farm
Visit Santa in his grotto and receive a golden key to his toy shop to choose a gift. Join in with the nativity story, hop on the festive wood ride and make sure you write a letter to Santa in the Elves House and receive a free reply. Additional activities include Willows Magical Ice Rink (synthetic ice), festive funfair rides, indoor play and reindeer hunt with prize all included in the entrance prices.
Dates: Wednesday 26th November - Wednesday 14th December (daily)
Times: 10am - 5.30pm (4pm on 24th December)
Cost: Check website

Santa's Grotto at Frosts (Millets Farm Centre)
You'll be guided through the Grotto by Santa’s head elf and get busy mixing Rudolph’s favourite food, ready to leave out on Christmas Eve. The adventure continues into Santa’s cabin where an enchanting story will be read by the Big Man himself.
Dates: Saturday 15th November - Wednesday 24th December (weekends only until Thursday 11th December and then daily)
Times: Check website
Cost: £9.99 per child. £4.49 per adult.
To find out more about what's on offer, take a look at my review of Millets Farm Centre from our visit earlier this year.

Santa's Grotto at Claydon Christmas Tree Farm
Visit Father Christmas in his delightful log cabin grotto. You can meet some of his reindeer and take a photo sitting on the original Scandinavian sleigh. Children will receive a present.
Dates: Saturday 6th - Sunday 7th December and Sunday 14th December
Times: Between 12pm and 3pm.
Cost: £4 per child.

I've taken the information from the venue websites but please do check directly for up-to-date information. I will try to add to this list if I come across any more. Please do comment if you have any recommendations.

This was Little Miss A's first encounter with him last year!

Hope your little ones have a great time meeting Father Christmas this year!

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Children in Need Rickshaw Challenge

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Once Little Miss A is in bed, the TV goes on and it's usually just at the start of The One Show on BBC1. Therefore we have been watching the progress of the Rickshaw Challenge 2014 and the inspirational kids who are taking part.

I saw that they were coming through Buckinghamshire but didn't think it would be as close to home as actual Aylesbury. So I was really hoping that we'd be able to catch it passing through.

Luckily we timed it perfectly. We spent the afternoon on a playdate with a friend and then headed back into Aylesbury at around 4ish. A quick check on the Pudsey Route Tracker showed us that the Rickshaw was just approaching Aylesbury so we parked up and found a viewing spot. 

We didn't have to wait too long before we saw the lights of the support vehicles. We got a few waves from the policemen on their motorbikes. Then we saw the Rickshaw with Matthew riding it. He was doing really well. A fair pace (hence the very blurred photos!). We cheered and waved him on.

We also got a wave from Jess who was travelling in a minibus behind the Rickshaw. Then it was gone and off through Aylesbury town centre.

Mr MoaB got home and his first words were 'I've seen the Rickshaw too!'. He waved out of his car at Jess who was riding the Rickshaw when he passed it just outside Wendover on his way home from work.

We've just been watching tonight's The One Show to see the footage from today. Such a great achievement by these young people. Well done to everyone in the Rickshaw Challenge team.

If you'd like to donate:
To give £5 text TEAM to 70705
To give £10 text TEAM to 70710
Full details on How to Donate

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Chilly day at the farm - Odds Farm Park

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Another day out with Grandma for Little Miss A but with the added bonus of Mr MoaB joining us! Today we headed off to Odds Farm Park in Wooburn Common (about half an hour drive from Aylesbury).

It was well signposted so easy to find with plenty of parking. When we arrived we were given a timetable of events for the day and realised that the Sheep Racing was about to start. Unfortunately it was taking place in almost the furthest point from the entrance, but we just got there in time to see the final race! Not sure Little Miss A really knew what was going on with the sheep running around but it was a bit of fun with everyone cheering on their sheep to win!

We then headed back towards the Animal Barns, stopping to look at some of the animals along the way including cows, pigs and goats. We timed it so that we got to the Barns for the next event - Bunny Time. After a quick stroke of a couple of the rabbits, Little Miss A wandered off so we took the chance to feed the goats and sheep whilst everyone else was still with the rabbits.

We were surprised with how big the farm was. There are lots of large fields with the animals as well as the Animal Barns. Then there are different play areas scattered throughout. So I can imagine even on a busy weekend day it doesn't feel too crowded.

As usual we had taken our lunch with us. There are lots of picnic benches and a large marquee where you can eat your own food. However, a school group had taken over the marquee so we had to eat our sandwiches out in the open - a bit chilly! We resorted to having hot drinks from the cafe to warm up!

Little Miss A made full use of all the outdoor play areas. She spent a long time in the large Sand & Water Play area filling up a large truck with sand! She also particularly liked the Fitness Trail, going round and round some of the sections multiple times! She did take one tumble on the grass area and we had to laugh at her little muddy face! Bless her! No harm done though, she just got back up and carried on.

We took another walk around the animal fields and then we all needed to warm up so we headed into the Indoor Playbarn. This is where all the other visitors to the Farm were. It was quite busy in here! Little Miss A headed straight into the under 5 area. Luckily she can now go up and round on her own, although she got her foot caught in the netting at one point so good old Mum had to make her way round to rescue her!

Both Mr MoaB and I were then required to take her down the big slide again and again and again! Lost count of the number of times in the end! I like the action shot that Mr MoaB got of Little Miss A and I going down - we were obviously going so fast that he missed us!

Little Miss A has a thing about tractors at the moment so this Farm was the perfect place for her. There were big tractors for her to sit on along with lots of ride-ons! They do offer Tractor & Trailer Rides but these must be on peak days only as they were running today which is a shame. Mr MoaB had needed to stop on the way to the Farm and I popped into a charity shop and managed to find her a toy tractor for 35p. She played with it all the way there. So it was a day of tractors for her!!

Entry into Odds Farm Park costs £9.95 per adult for weekdays in term time (£12.50 at peak times). Under 2s are free. Bags of food are 75p (we found one bag was plenty). We were there for about 3 hours today which was just right for Little Miss A as she was starting to get tired. We definitely felt like we'd got our money's worth but you could very easily spend a whole day here with so much on offer to keep the kids amused.

We were all really impressed with this Farm so would definitely recommend it.

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