Archive for August 2014

Parklife - free event in Aylesbury

Sunday, 31 August 2014

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!



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Thame Play & Activity Day

Saturday, 30 August 2014

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!


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Bucks County Show - Ohh ahh, ooh ahh

Thursday, 28 August 2014

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.


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Fun in the Park - Black Park Country Park

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

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!


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My Ice Bucket Challenge - #IceBucketChallenge

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

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!


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

Monday, 25 August 2014

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!


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Hobble on the Cobbles - Free live music event in Aylesbury

Sunday, 24 August 2014

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.


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Taster class - Sounds tastic

This morning Little Miss A and I took advantage of a free taster session run by Sounds tastic. I like the concept of the classes as they're run by professional musicians and it's all about live music and real instruments.


When we arrived, we introduced ourselves to our teacher, Rebecca, and sat in a circle on soft mats where there were a selection of percussion instruments for the children to pick up and try - small drums, bells, clackers, shakers etc.

We've been to other music classes but these all use pre-recorded music and a set format, so this was Little Miss A's first real experience of live music being played. Some songs were played on the keyboard, some on the violin and others were just our voices with 'interesting' accompaniment of percussion instruments by the children!

There were a lot of traditional nursery rhymes as well as some songs that I don't know such as 'Sleeping Bunnies'. I'm going to have to learn the words to that one!

It was really nice to hear some of the songs played live particularly on the violin. Little Miss A has not seen these instruments before. At one point she stopped still and just watched the violin being played - she was fascinated!

The children were given a large, soft dice to throw and depending on which side it landed on, that was the song we sang. Little Miss A actually threw it to land with the bus picture so we sang 'The Wheels on the Bus' which is her favourite!

Some songs we sat round in a circle and sang, whilst others were action songs which got us up on our feet and moving around. A bit of a work out for the Mums as we lifted our children up and down for 'The Grand Old Duke of York'!

At other classes, the percussion instruments just come out for a song or two, but during this session, they were there all the time so the children could pick them up and try them at any point.

For 'Old McDonald had a Farm' some soft animals were introduced during the song. Then towards the end, a big parachute came out and the children had fun running around underneath or trying to clamber on top in Little Miss A's case!


The session was held at 50 Albert Street in Tring. This is a new venue that will host various projects, classes and community activities. It was the perfect space to do this type of class. Lots of space for the little ones to run around!

Little Miss A seemed to really enjoy the session. There was lots to keep her interested with the change in pace and style of music throughout. She bopped along and clapped to lots of the songs, a sure sign she was having fun, so this taster was a real success!


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Last-minute getaway to the coast

Saturday, 23 August 2014

This week we managed to go away for a night. My partner had arranged a meeting in Moors Valley Country Park so we took the opportunity to go down to the coast.

I found a last-minute deal on Laterooms.com for the Carrington House Hotel in Bournemouth. It offered a soft play area and indoor swimming pool. I thought it was a good price until I went online to get the phone number on the morning of our booking and saw that it was £10 cheaper. Luckily it was free cancellation until midday, so I ended up re-booking the hotel at the lower price! So lesson learnt is to always check the website prices right up until the day of the booking.

We set off on Thursday morning and luckily had a good drive down with no stops. We parked our car at the hotel (free parking) and then took a stroll down to Boscombe Beach with our picnic stuff and of course our bucket & spade. The walk took us through the Boscombe Chine Gardens which are really lovely.

Little Miss A was so excited when she saw the beach. One big sand pit to her! Shoes were off and she was running around! It wasn't long before she was brave enough to have a paddle in the sea with Daddy. It was so lovely to see her taking his hand and them having so much fun. I love watching them together.


Boscombe Beach is really nice. Very clean and safe. It wasn't as busy as I thought it was going to be given that it's the school holidays. I think further down towards Bournemouth Pier it was probably busier.

We enjoyed our picnic lunch with added crunch from the sand! Have no idea how much sand Little Miss A ate as it was impossible to stop her putting her hands back down in the sand! Oh well! Never done us any harm!

It was a really fantastic couple of hours on the beach. She even persuaded me to get my feet wet with her! Brrrrrrrr! It was cold!

On the way back from the beach we enjoyed an obligatory ice-cream before heading back up through the Gardens. There was a little children's playground with a water play feature so of course we had to stop off to let Little Miss A get wet again!

We headed back to the hotel and thought by this stage that Little Miss A would have a nap. We felt like we needed one, but she had other ideas. We were going to go for a swim but the heating wasn't working in the pool so we just let Little Miss A loose in the soft play area for a while instead.

Back to our room for her tea and then we headed out to the local shops to find ourselves something to eat. Little Miss A chose this time to have a little sleep waking up just as our delicious Thai food arrived! Typical! Luckily a glass of water and a straw kept her distracted long enough for us to eat. Then it was early nights all round back at the hotel. Always difficult now to sleep with her in the same room.

Up early and after breakfast we checked out of the hotel and headed to Moors Valley Country Park. When we got there at just before 10am, it was already getting busy. I can see why. It's a fantastic Park and has so much to do for families. There was definitely plenty to keep Little Miss A and I entertained whilst Mr MoaB had his meeting.

First stop was the Castle and Sandworks play area. More sand to play in. We've definitely had our money's worth out of the bucket & spade set from Poundland! I'm a sucker for things like little trains so we then took a return journey on the Moors Valley Railway. Great fun chugging along on this steam railway and Little Miss A was waving away at everyone we passed.


The Park has a Gruffalo sculpture so of course we had to pay him a visit. Little Miss A is really into the book now that she's met him (here's the blog about Little Miss A's meeting with the Gruffalo).

Mr MoaB joined us for lunch in the cafe and whilst he went back to his meeting, we walked round some of the Play Trail. The trail is made up of lots of different wooden play equipment. Little Miss A is too young for these at the moment but they look amazing and the kids looked like they were having loads of fun. We made it as far round as the Tree Top Trail which is a 200m wooden walkway that's 5m high so it feels like you're walking amongst the trees. As soon as Little Miss A was out of the pushchair, she was confidently walking up the pathway. No fear. She's definitely not scared of heights!

She fell asleep as we walked back to meet up with Mr MoaB but it was time to set off back home anyway.

Would highly recommend Moors Valley Country Park if you're ever in the area. I'd love to take Little Miss A back when she's bigger and can do the Play Trail. Probably, when she's old enough to do the Go Ape Tree Top Junior Course too!

So there was sand, sea, playground, more water, soft play, playground, more sand, a little train, Gruffalo encounter and a treetop trail! What a brilliant couple of days.

Done very much on a budget. Mr MoaB's work will pay for our petrol. The biggest expense was obviously the hotel but this was just £59 though we did add breakfast on top of that. The other expense was for food. We'd taken our picnic lunch to have on the beach, but we splashed out a bit on the Thai dinner we had (it was worth it, a very very good curry and we so rarely eat out or have a takeaway). We also had lunch at the cafe at the Country Park but got a discount here due to Mr MoaB's work and our car parking charges were covered too. So all-in, it cost us less than £100 for our mini-break away. And given how much fun we had, it was well worth it!

Having only decided we were going to go away at the beginning of the week, we packed a lot in and had a brilliant time!


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Get Good Summer Goals - Week Seven

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Whoosh and another week has flown by! Here's how I've been getting on with my #GetGoodSummer goals this week.

1) Create a family photo book
Last week I set myself the task of doing the research to find the best deal on photo books. I've managed to do some research and think I've found a good deal. The offer expires on 31 August so that gives me a deadline - will keep an eye out between now and then in case another company has a better offer. I then have a month to create the photo book itself so that will force me to get it done!


2) Redesign my blog website
Still no progress. Anyone gone through this process and have any tips?

3) Read a book
This one is done now. Haven't picked up a book all week so no further in to my second book.

4) Do a craft project
More of an update on this one. Been trying to work out exactly what I want to put into the Memory frame. I wanted something to indicate the time she was born and had a bit of a brainwave - to use an actual watch! After rifling through some drawers, I found 2 old watches. I also found a lovely little teddy bear clock but I think he's too deep and will push the backing of the frame out. Gutted as he would have been ideal. I might be able to come up with a way to use him.


I also went through some of the gifts and cards that Little Miss A was given when she was born and for her Naming Ceremony. So a few more items to try and incorporate into the frame.

Need another brainwave for something to indicate her weight at birth. Any suggestions?

5) Try out more recipes
No new recipes this week. We've got a house-guest at the moment so I'm playing safe and only cooking meals I know. Don't want to run the risk of serving a dodgy meal to them if the recipe doesn't go too well.

If you missed it, here's my original list of Get Good Summer Goals

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Things To Do Before I'm 2! - Toddler Must Do List!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

I've seen so many children's must do and bucket lists which are really great and usually involve lots of outdoor activities which I'm really keen on. However, all the ones I have come across are aimed at older kids. So I thought I'd write a list for Little Miss A with things she can enjoy and experience at her age (she's currently 16 months old).


So 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
Most of these are 'first' experiences for Little Miss A as she's only one. Some of them are season or weather dependent so 'Play in fresh snow' depends on whether we get some snow this year (high probability, but you never know!).

Some of them have actually been ticked off already (the list was written a couple of months ago but I just haven't got round to posting it). 

4. Paddle in the sea - this was done on a visit to Brighton in June. Little Miss A needed some persuasion from Daddy at first but it was fun watching her reaction to the waves coming in and out.

6. Go camping - Little Miss A's first experience of camping was actually when we tested our new family tent out by sleeping overnight in the back garden! Since then we've spent a night away at a local campsite. Find out how we got on: Carry on Camping at Town Farm

15. Watch England play in the World Cup - she wasn't a very lucky mascot, but she did watch a little bit of the last group stage game against Costa Rica. The other games were on too late for her to watch. Not much to cheer about as England were already out of the tournament by then, but never mind!

18. Go on a bus trip - we got some free bus tickets with an Arriva promotion so we decided to go to Oxford for the day. Here's some more about our day trip to Oxford on the bus


So that's it. Little Miss A's must do list before her next birthday!

There's currently an odd number of things to do on the list and would really like to round-up to 20 things, so so if anyone has got any suggestions to add to this list of toddler activities then please let me know!


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A soggy Sunday saved! - Pitstone Green Museum

Sunday, 10 August 2014

So ex-hurricane Bertha put a dampener on our plans to go to London today. Little Miss A has never been so didn't want her first visit to be spent stuck in the pushchair behind the raincover!

By lunchtime, we decided we really wanted to get out of the house - despite the weather. Little Miss A kept dropping the biggest hints that she wanted to go out by pointing out the window at regular intervals. So we needed to come up with a Plan B.

A quick trawl of a few local websites and twitter feeds, I came across the Pitstone Green Museum. At first glance, I definitely thought it would be too old for Little Miss A. However, the positives were:
1) It's only half an hour away from Aylesbury
2) It looked like there was lots undercover so we would be out of the rain
3) They serve refreshments so if nothing else we could shelter there with a cup of tea

So off we went with our wet weather gear and we're so glad we did! A great little find!

The term 'Museum' makes you think that it's going to be one building with a load of exhibits in glass cases, but it's so much more than that.

The museum has numerous exhibits relating to farming, country life and trades local to the area. There are lots of different buildings that contain the displays and you can wander around them at your own pace. In some of the rooms there are volunteers who will do demonstrations so we stopped in the model railway room for a while and the print room.


There's a vast array of rural life artefacts along with farming machinery. There's also a room containing a collection of vintage wireless sets and photographic items. It really is amazing how far technology has come! Quite a surprise was coming across an accurate replica of the front section of a Lancaster Bomber which you can actually go inside. There's also a big Crossley Gas Engine and a huge Rack Saw. Unfortunately, they didn't have the engine running today as it takes 4 people to get it going, but we did see the Saw in action.


When we arrived, a troop of Morris Dancers had just started. They were in the barn so we could watch in the dry. At first Little Miss A wasn't too sure as they had their faces painted and made lots of noise with their wooden sticks and whoops! She sat very still, mesmerised by them but when they gave out percussion instruments (tambourines, maracas etc.) she was soon joining in.


This was Little Miss A dancing away at the second Morris Dancing session!


As if that wasn't enough, there were a few craft stalls and local craft demonstrations such as basket weaving and lace-making. They also do tractor rides but due to the weather, these were not running today. Next time!

The museum is run by volunteers and we were amazed by the quantity of exhibits. The volunteers were really friendly and passionate about the Museum.

We easily filled a good few hours and will definitely visit again. There was enough to keep Little Miss A entertained even though she's so young. It's a great option for a rainy day as so much of it is undercover.

It costs £6 per adult and £2 per child. Little Miss A was free. For Sundays in 2014, one child is free with each paying adult.

The Pitstone Green Museum is only open on selected dates throughout the summer. The next date is the August Bank Holiday Monday (25th August). So pick a date and put it in your diary, it's well worth a visit!



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Get Good Summer Goals - Week Six

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Had such good intentions for my #getgoodsummer goals this week, but suddenly the week has gone and now I'm sat here with very little to update on. On no!

1) Create a family photo book
So to help me progress this one, I'm going to break it down a bit and set myself the aim of doing the research this week to find the best deal on photo books. Anyone know of any good offers about from the photo companies?


2) Redesign my blog website
Bit overwhelmed by this one so that's my excuse for lack of progress.

3) Read a book
This one is done now. Phew, at least one is complete! Slow progress on my second book, only managed to read a few pages.

4) Do a craft project
A little bit of an update here. Got out the box frame that I'm going to use to remind myself of its proportions etc. I actually took the cellophane wrapping off the frame as thought that would spur me on as I now don't want it to get damaged! I had a look at the backing paper I had bought with the frame. Bit frustrated as the frame suggests using a certain size of paper which is what I've got, but it's actually a bit small. Going to have to come up with a solution. Thought the backing paper was going to be the easy bit. Typical!! Oh well, must persevere!

5) Try out more recipes
We've stuck to our favourite faithful meals this week, so no update.

Think the way forward is to break the bigger goals down into sub-goals so they're slightly less daunting. Hopefully I can make a bit more head-way this week!

If you missed it, here's my original list of Get Good Summer Goals

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Meeting the Gruffalo in the deep dark wood

Another visit to the deep dark wood for us today. This time to actually meet the Gruffalo himself!

As part of the Gruffalo's 15th birthday celebrations, he has been making appearances at forests around the UK. Today he was visiting Wendover Woods so of course we had to go along!

The Woods were really busy. The Gruffalo certainly knows how to draw a crowd!

I decided to join the queue quite early and I'm glad we did as it soon got really long. We were about 5th or 6th in the queue. Whilst we were waiting, we took the opportunity to read a bit of the book!

The Gruffalo appeared right on time and was very happy - waving and high-fiving the kids. Some had a hug from him!

When it came to our turn, I wasn't sure how Little Miss A was going to react but she was really excited and was happy to get up close. So lots of photo opportunities!


Really love her reaction in this photo!


When we got home, Little Miss A kept picking up the book and when I showed her the photos on my phone, she was pointing at the Gruffalo, so I think she's understanding the association. Really pleased I took her to meet him!

We've done the Gruffalo Trail a few times now. If you missed it, here's my Review of the Gruffalo Trail from June. It's definitely a great thing to do with the kids. I'm sure we'll do it again!

There are a few dates left of the Gruffalo Tour in other Forests but the Gruffalo Trails are in place until 30 September. Full details can be found on the Forestry Commission website.




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Play in the Park on National Play Day

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Today is 'National Play Day' and there was a special event running in Vale Park, Aylesbury - Play in the Park.

The event was organised by Aylesbury Vale District Council and Mix96 (the local radio station). When we got there, our first stop was to meet the Mix96 Monster and then it was on to the "play" and straight to the giant sand pit.

Here's a picture of Little Miss A from last year and this year. What a difference a year makes! I was having to prop her up in a sitting position last year! Today it was actually a challenge to get a shot of her sitting down as she was busy wandering around and really getting involved with digging in the sand, filling buckets etc.


There definitely seemed to be a lot more activities this year compared to last, particularly for the little ones. Amongst the free activities there was soft play, a ball pit and plastic climbing frames. I almost lost Little Miss A in the ball pit as it was very deep!

We joined in a taster session of a Jo Jingles class (here's my previous blog post about Jo Jingles) which Little Miss A really enjoyed. She was clapping and jumping along.

Then we treated our little ones to a go on the bouncy castle. This you had to pay for with tokens. Little Miss A was clambering on with great excitement. Her new favourite thing me thinks!

It was nice to find some shade in the Boomerang Toy Library tent which had some toys for the little ones to play with. This tent was quite quiet so brought a welcome relief.



Activities for older kids included various bigger bouncy castles and slides, lots of arts & crafts activities, pedal go-karts, a circus skills area, Umbanda drumming (a great sound was coming from this area!), and more. However, we found more than enough to fill a great few hours.

After all that play, there was just time for an ice-cream before heading home.

Really enjoyed this afternoon with lots to keep Little Miss A occupied. Will definitely be back next year!


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