Archive for April 2015

Me & Mine - April 2015

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Joining up again with the Me and Mine Family Portrait Project. Here's this month's photo of our little family!


Another selfie for our picture this month. We were camping near Ivinghoe Beacon and therefore decided to talk a walk up to the Beacon, where this photo was taken.

April Highs:
  • Our first camping trip of the year! We braved the very cold nights to spend a night under canvas and had a brilliant time. Can't wait for our next trip!
  • The start of our new family Easter tradition of Egg & Spoon races. It's going to be fun doing this each year and I'm sure it will get more and more competitive every year!
  • Great family walks in Langley Park and Tring Park.
  • I was involved in helping at a really successful Easter Egg Hunt as part of my volunteering for the local NCT branch.
  • We enjoyed a really colourful time at the Colourscape installation at Waddesdon Manor.
April Lows:
  • Little Miss A has had a rash on her face for most of the month. Can't really find an explanation as she's not been poorly with it. We thought maybe a food allergy so stopped giving her some foods but then have re-introduced them and she's fine. So a bit of a mystery. 
  • Mr MoaB is decorating our spare room so everything has been moved out into the loft, our bedroom and Little Miss A's bedroom. It will be great when the room is finished but in the meantime there's just stuff everywhere!
The Me + Mine Project - Dear Beautiful

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Carry on Camping at Town Farm - Part 2

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

So this time last week we were about to go to sleep under canvas for the first time this year. And boy was it a cold night! Brrrrrrr!!

Last year we bought a new family tent and went on our first camping trip with Little Miss in June to a local campsite - Town Farm. As it turns out that was to be our first and last camping trip in 2014 so we're determined to do a lot more camping this year. Therefore, we've started early with a camping trip now already done!

We chose to go to Town Farm again as we know the campsite and it's so local that it's really easy to go for just one night.

When we arrived and saw the farmer, he was really very surprised that we were camping this early in the year particularly with a toddler and a dog. We were the only ones mad enough to be camping in April!

Given the lovely weather we've been enjoying, it was typical that Wednesday was actually a chilly day. At least it was dry!

Once we'd set up our tent, we headed off to walk up to Ivinghoe Beacon. If you're really fit you could walk all the way from the campsite but we took the option of driving and parking nearby and then walking up.

There were great views from the top and we could even see our tent!


When we got back to the campsite, we had promised Little Miss A time at the on-site playground. She had an absolute blast!



This time we had the dog with us. We had no idea how she'd get on but she absolutely loved it especially all the freedom to roam around the field!

We keep things super simple when we go camping for just a night and have really easy cook meals. That means tins of curry and boil in the bag rice. Maybe it's eating outside and that it's just nice to have something really hot when it's a bit chilly in the evening, but we always lap up these meals! Our meals have to be super easy as we just have a single gas cooker. Our next investment needs to be a double one as it is frustrating not being able to boil the kettle at the same time as cooking breakfast!

As we cooked our dinner, we were treated to a really lovely sunset!


It was a very cold night but we all had lots of layers and actually slept pretty well all around, even Little Miss A. She didn't go to sleep until well after her bedtime but she was just happy escaping from her bed and pottering around in the tent.

Getting caught in the act!


Eventually she did fall asleep and only woke once at about 1.30am at which point she came into bed with me and we kept each other warm! Mr MoaB was evicted at this point onto our other double blow-up mattress. Whilst we were playing musical beds, the dog snuck in and ended up sleeping on my bed too!

It was a bit of an early start on Thursday morning but we were expecting that and got up to have a cooked breakfast. Luckily Little Miss A was happy to sit in the car and play whilst we got on with the task of taking the tent down which meant she wasn't getting in the way.

We'd taken a few books and toys along for Little Miss A but they never even came out of the bag. She just didn't need them to keep her occupied.

Before we left we did have time for a bit of fun with bubbles!


We then headed off to Whipsnade Tree Cathedral. We've been here on two other occasions and as we were so closeby, we thought it would be a good opportunity to go again. It really is such a peaceful and serene place. This time Little Miss A wanted to find all the different benches with creatures on them.


Our favourite was the Owl bench!


It would be so easy to say that it's just too much hassle to go camping for one night, but I have to disagree. We had such a fun time that it was so worth it! It helps that we have all our camping stuff well organised in boxes in the garage so it's easy to just pack up the car and go.

I think it's quite safe to say that Little Miss A likes camping as she kept saying "More!" when we took the tent down. We're already planning our next trip. Can't wait!

Here's how we got on with our first Carry on Camping at Town Farm experience last year.



One Man and His Sprog


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Painting with Balloons - Toddler Activity

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Recently I read a post by My Bored Toddler called '10 Toddler Painting Ideas Without Using A Paintbrush'. It got me thinking...

We had a whole load of balloons around the house left over from Little Miss A's birthday and the recent parties we've attended. So my idea was could you Paint with Balloons!?!

The answer: Yes you can!

I set-up an invitation to play for Little Miss A in the garden this week.



Materials:

  • Paper
  • Paint
  • Balloons

I wasn't sure how messy this activity would get so I took the precaution of putting Little Miss A in her waterproofs and wellies which are easily washable!

We had some normal sized balloons along with some smaller ones. Also, a balloon filled with water and a balloon on a stick.


The best ones were actually the balloon on the stick as Little Miss A could bat this down onto the paper and also the water-filled balloon as this bounced!


It was really great fun watching Little Miss A with each balloon and they all created a different effect on the paper. 


So all in all, a great success and I know what we're going to do with any balloons we get in future - Balloon Painting!


#ToddlerApprovedTuesday
My Bored Toddler

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St George's Celebrations

Sunday, 26 April 2015

The Market Square in Aylesbury was bustling with activity today to celebrate St George, the Patron Saint of England.


St George's Day was actually on Thursday but this free family event took place today. The entertainment and activities were themed around the 3C's that are associated with St George - Courage, Chivalry and Charity.

The event was running from 11am - 4pm. There had been various entertainment throughout the day but when we arrived about 3ish we were just in time to see St George (on stilts) encounter the dragon (created by pupils of Broughton Infant School) as per the myth of Saint George and the Dragon.


Next up were some battling knights demonstrating their sword skills. The swords hitting the shields were very loud so Little Miss A had to cover up her ears! 


There was just time for a quick go on the bouncy castle before watching the Annual Scout Parade. 

As soon as Little Miss A heard the Amersham Marching Band start-up she was out of her pushchair and clapping away!


Once the parade had passed by, we watched Kester the Jester for a short while. We could have stayed a bit longer as there were lots of other activities going on including a tight-rope and crafts but I had a couple of bits to get in town before the shops closed. T

Another really great free event organised by Aylesbury Town Council

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My Sunday Photo 26-04-2015

This is my favourite picture of this week. Gone for a very different type of photo this week!


This was taken on our camping trip this week. Whenever we've gone to this campsite, we've always seen amazing sunsets. I was watching the sun disappear through the hedge behind our tent. The other pictures I took in the same spot just had one annoying red light spot from the camera in them but I obviously took this one at just the right angle and I love the way it has come out with all the red light spots.

OneDad3Girls

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Things To Do Now I Am 2!

Monday, 20 April 2015

So now that Little Miss A's Things To Do Before I Am 2 list has expired as she turned two at the end of last month, it's time to compile a new list of 'Things To Do Now I Am 2!'.

Here's her list of 'Things To Do Now I Am 2':
  1. Fly a kite
  2. Ice sensory play
  3. Climb a mountain
  4. Splash park / swim outdoors
  5. Feed the ducks
  6. Bake a cake
  7. Go to the cinema or theatre
  8. Do a picture scavenger hunt
  9. Family bike ride
  10. Go camping
  11. Go on a fairground ride
  12. Attend a Christmas carol concert
  13. Day trip to London
  14. Grow some flowers from seeds
  15. Plant some vegetables
  16. Play Pooh sticks on a bridge
  17. Build a sandcastle
  18. Create some wild art
  19. Find a geocache
The first 4 on the list are the things that we didn't manage to tick off her list last time so I have carried these over.

Most of the items on this new list are first experiences - things Little Miss A hasn't done before. However, a few we did do last time but I'm really keen to do again like no. 10 'Go camping'.

Let me know if you have anything you'd add to this list!

If you like this list, then please do take a look at the original list of Things To Do Before I Am 2 and also see how we got on with the list in the Final Update on Things To Do Before I'm 2.

The List

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My Sunday Photo 19-04-2015

Sunday, 19 April 2015

This is my favourite picture of this week.


All of this week Little Miss A has surprised me with her 'have a go' attitude. Without me noticing she's become really strong and this photo proves that as she was swinging from this bar for ages. She continually amazes me with her strength, dexterity and balance - she's only 2!


OneDad3Girls

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Sunday Spring Stroll in Tring Park

Monday, 13 April 2015

Back in October we took a Sunday Autumnal Stroll in Tring Park and yesterday morning we went there again.

It's a great walk and the dog we're looking after definitely thought so - she absolutely loved it!

We took the back carrier for Little Miss A as it's too far for her to walk all of it. It's good that there are different features along the way such as the Obelisk and the Summer House Folly so we can tell her what we're looking out for and these make the perfect places to stop for a snack and rest her little legs!


The views really are lovely and there are several benches to sit down for a moment to enjoy the scenery.


Definitely a walk we'll be doing again. Maybe for a Summer Stroll as we've done an Autumn and a Spring one now!

You can find out more about this park on the Woodland Trust website. Also, you can pick up a children's activity book for the Park if you visit the Museum.


One Man and His Sprog


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My Sunday Photo 12-04-2015

Sunday, 12 April 2015

This is my favourite picture of this week. It's a rare picture of Little Miss A and me (I'm usually behind the camera taking the shots!).


It was taken on Easter Bank Holiday Monday in Langley Country Park. We went for a walk and then when we stopped for our picnic lunch, we had some fun with some Egg & Spoon Races. We've decided that this is the start of a new Easter Tradition for us!


OneDad3Girls

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The Superworm Trail in Wendover Woods

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Having followed the Gruffalo Trail and Gruffalo's Child Trail in Wendover Woods several times over the last year, it was time to go on the Superworm Trail when we visited the Woods last week.


The Trail changed in March and is now based on another book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. We were fortunate to win a copy of this book recently thanks to a competition on Twitter run by Mini Travellers.

Hip, hip, hooray for SUPERWORM!

As with the previous trails, there are a series of boards along the way with various activities. I think this story is aimed at slightly older children anyway and Little Miss A is still a bit too young to do most of the activities, but we all still enjoyed the walk and she just likes finding each board.


And of course there's lots of fun to be had when it has recently rained as it means lots of muddy puddles to splash in!


We were at the Woods quite early the morning we went so we had the Trail to ourselves! At the end of the Trail we had to say 'Hi' to the Gruffalo statue that is still in place. It's going to be there for a while yet which is great news.

After a quick hot chocolate in the Cafe in the Woods to warm up a bit, we then went over to the playground. Little Miss A headed straight for her favourite area with the instruments. We had several great renditions of 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star!'

There are Superworm Trails in woods throughout the UK. The trail is in place until October 2015. Full details can be found on the Forestry Commission website.

As we're frequent visitors to the Woods, I know there will be several more walks around the Trail over the next few months.

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Easter Bank Holiday Fun in the Sun

Monday, 6 April 2015

Today we went for a walk in my favourite park - Langley Park. We couldn't have picked a better day for it with the sun shining gloriously.

We had to pop to Black Park firstly as Mr MoaB had to drop something off at his work. The car park was packed so we were fortunate to find a space. Whilst there we went to the Cafe for the obligatory ice-cream as the sun was out!



We then headed over to Langley Park. Again the car park was heaving so we had to park in the lay-by along the main road. A hop under the fence and we were in the Park.

Initially we tried to stay in the wooded part of the Park which provided some shade. Despite the Park being busy, it didn't feel this way at all.

Little Miss A was in her element exploring and wandering around. There were a lot of games of Peep-Bo behind the trees and a 'Sit Down and Think' on the tree stumps (Sarah & Duck fans will get this reference!).


Just as were thinking we should stop for our picnic lunch, we were fortunate to find an empty bench. It was then time for some Easter games! Mr MoaB had told me about his family tradition for Easter Monday - they'd roll hard boiled eggs until they cracked, then they would eat them.

So we thought we'd start this tradition with Little Miss A. We quickly boiled some eggs before we set off this morning (they probably needed a bit longer really!). We took some pens along to decorate the eggs and also some plastic spoons so we could do an Egg & Spoon Race as well. It was great fun! There was just a little bit of cheating going on by Little Miss A, but we'll let her off (this year anyway!). There wasn't much of a slope for rolling the eggs but we bashed them into each other until they cracked a bit and then ate them. These Egg games are definitely a tradition we'll keep up.


I really do like Langley Park and wish it was a bit closer so we could visit more often. You can read about one of our previous visits in this Lovely Langley Park post.


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Party Eggstravaganza

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Parties are a bit like buses, there isn't one for ages and then 3 come together! I can't remember the last party we went to but we've been to 3 parties in the last 4 days!

The first was on Thursday when we were invited along to an 'Easter Springtime Fancy Dress Party Fun Session' at Fairford Leys Community Centre which was organised by Jacqu'in the Box. She'd invited us along as I'd picked out this party in my list of Easter Holiday Family Events in and around Aylesbury.

This was a very musical session with lots of singing, dancing and musical games. It followed the story of Elsa the Snow Queen taking a journey through the Springtime Wood and after meeting lots of little animal friends along the way, the children found the Easter Bunny!

Little Miss A got really involved in all the songs. I was really impressed by how confident she was with all the older children (all girls but I guess that was due to the Frozen theme of the party!). She wasn't too sure of the Easter Bunny at first but I managed to get a quick selfie!


Our second party was yesterday for one of Little Miss A's friends who turned 2. It was a really lovely afternoon spent with many of the friends we met when we did our NCT Antenatal Classes. We all had bumps when we met and now have 2 year olds - how has that happened!?!

This morning we attended our last party which was an 'Easter Egg Hunt & Kids Party' held at the Aeglesburgh Watermead Inn and organised by Em's Looney Tune Discos. This was a free kids party with a disco, party games and of course an Easter Egg Hunt!

Little Miss A loves music and dancing so was in her element with the disco! It's great watching her trying so hard to copy others with the actions to the songs! I can't believe this party was free - each child got some small treats in the Egg Hunt and then they brought out cake & biscuits for the kids to enjoy!


I think we're definitely partied out now for a little while now!

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My Sunday Photo 05-04-2015

Instead of my favourite picture from the past week, I've actually chosen an old photo of me!


As Little Miss A turned 2 this week I thought it would be fun to share a photo of me on my 2nd Birthday (35 years ago!). 



My Mum tells me it was taken at my Great Auntie's house and I'm pictured with my adopted brother. She's no longer with us but I have very fond memories of her. Little Miss A's second name was partly chosen as it was my Auntie's name.

Little Miss A is fortunate to live in this age where photography is so easy with cameras, phones etc. She's going to have a million photos of her childhood! Whereas this photo is one of just a few as taking pictures just wasn't as easy and you only took a few to get developed. 

So I love that there is this picture of me on my 2nd birthday to show alongside a picture of Little Miss A on her 2nd birthday!




OneDad3Girls


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Colourscape at Waddesdon Manor

Friday, 3 April 2015

On the lawns at Waddesdon Manor until 12 April there is the Colourscape Experience - a festival of colour, light and music.


As the weather wasn't great today we thought we'd go to find out what this was as the pictures I'd seen advertised it looked intriguing.

We arrived in the Gardens at just before 11am and this is when the Colourscape was meant to open. However, due to the rain overnight they had to dry out some of the installation so unfortunately we had to wait in the queue until about 11.45am. Luckily Little Miss A seemed happy to run around with some of the older kids who were also waiting to go in, otherwise I think it would have been hard to make her wait that long.

Once open, we quickly moved up the queue to pay. You need to pay cash on the door. They ask you to take your shoes off. My advice is to wear very warm socks as it's cold underfoot as you wander around. 

You're also asked to put on a coloured T-shirt. Little Miss A was excused from wearing this as she was colourful enough in her bright pink snowsuit!

Once you enter the installation, you're then free to wander around the 71 interlinked chambers which are all different colours. In a main chamber there were some musicians playing and Little Miss A took a seat for a little while to listen.

They do ask that you limit your time inside to 30 minutes, and I think we spent pretty much that amount of time going around the different chambers. 

Even with lots of people inside, you could still find spaces and chambers that were empty. Some colours seemed to appeal to Little Miss A more than others. The red was very intense!

I am glad we managed to get along to Waddesdon whilst the Colourscape installation is in place. It's definitely a unusual and unique experience. 

Plus, it gave us another opportunity to use our National Trust membership! 

You have to pay extra to go inside the Colourscape structure - £4 per adult and £2 per child. I'd keep an eye on the Waddesdon Facebook page for updates as opening does seem very weather dependent.

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

Thursday, 2 April 2015

So Little Miss A has just turned 2 so it's time to see how we've got on with her 'Things To Do Before I'm 2' list as we've run out of time.


As a reminder, here's the list:
  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
In my original post with her Toddler To Do List in August, we'd managed to do numbers 4, 6, 15 and 18.

I posted an update in December with our progress on the To Do List and we'd managed to do another 8. So we were over halfway there!

Which left us with 7 to do and we have managed to tick another 3 off the list.

2. Have a garden tea party - we actually managed to do this very recently as the sun was shining and we were out in the garden. I chose this photo for as a My Sunday Photo as it captures a lovely moment with Little Miss A holding her dolly's hand!


9. Play outside in fresh snow - luckily we took advantage of the one morning of snow we had in February. We went out in the garden early before Little Miss A went to nursery. Luckily we did as the snow had all melted by the afternoon! This is another of the pictures I've previously chosen for My Sunday Photo.


12. Foam sensory play - Little Miss A wasn't too sure about this sensory play but she had a bit of a play in some shaving foam. I was glad to be able to do it outdoors as it got a bit messy!


An update on no.16. Go on a bike ride - although we had ticked this one off back in September, on that occasion Little Miss A travelled in a bike trailer. Since then we've purchased a bike seat for her and she absolutely loves going on rides with her Daddy. So far they've only done laps of our local park but it won't be long until they venture further afield. Who wants to take a guess at how long it is before I'm persuaded I have to get a bike to join them!?


So that's it! I think we have done pretty well all things considered. We've done so much more besides this list over the last year so we have some fantastic memories to look back of Little Miss A before she as 2!

We will just have to carry the following 4 over to our new 'Things To Do Now I Am 2' list!
7. Fly a kite
11. Ice sensory play
17. Climb a mountain
19. Splash park / swim outdoors

Here's some of the highlights of Little Miss A's 'Things To Do Before I'm 2!'



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