Archive for July 2015

Pottering about in Penn Wood and Hunting For Elves & Fairies

Friday, 31 July 2015

It's been a while since we went on a family walk. Recently we've tended to visit National Trust properties etc. to get the most out of our membership. However, this week we thought we'd just like a walk.

We chose Penn Wood. It's just somewhere we'd heard of. We had no map and no real plan, just thought we'd wander.

Our first challenge was to find the woods. There's no designated car park, so we weren't really sure where we were going to park. By chance we stopped at the side of the road to try to establish where we were and found ourselves right by a gate into the Woods!

At first we let Little Miss A determine which path to take and at one point she led us through a load of ferns which got thicker & thicker! Thankfully we got through and came out into a really nice clearing. The perfect spot for our little picnic lunch.

Whilst Little Miss A was distracted with Daddy, I headed off to find a small area to hide some character magnets I'd brought with us from 'Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom'. Little Miss A had watched a few episodes in the morning so we'd said we were going on an Elves & Fairies Hunt! Once set-up, we gave Little Miss A her wand and told her if she said a magic spell, the fairies and elves might appear! She loved the little hunt and quickly charged off to find each one. It was a really fun little activity for her!

We then set-off again with a bit of log-balancing along the way. We pointed out the wildlife to Little Miss A and encouraged her to touch different things to feel the texture such as bark and moss. We even encountered a herd of cows which was quite a surprise to find in the middle of the Woods.

We did the little fairy and elves hunt for her again towards the end of the walk when she started to flag a little bit. This re-energised her and she was even pretending to blow her horn like Ben does - "I’m an elf" TOOT!

On every walk there seems to be a stick that has to be carried the whole way around and there was no exception on this walk. I loved finding the 'A' out of branches - it's amazing what you can find in nature!

I can't believe how far Little Miss A actually walked herself. She might have little legs but she can walk miles! It was only towards the very end that she wanted a bit of a carry and enjoyed the view from on Daddy's shoulders.

After a good few hours pottering about in the Woods, we decided to call it a day and eventually found our way back to where we had parked the car. We definitely need a map with us next time!

Penn Wood is managed by the Woodland Trust. There's also another wood on the opposite side of the road called 'Common Wood' so we may have to visit that one at some point too.

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Bekonscot Model Village

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

My Mum was visiting earlier this week and I thought it would be nice for us to have a girly day out with Little Miss A.

Back in December I won tickets to Bekonscot Model Village in our local Community Association Christmas raffle. I realised that the tickets expired in September, so only had a few weeks to use them. So my Mum's visit seemed like the perfect opportunity.

As you arrive, you enter through a gateway and approach the ticket booth. I love that this is in a converted train carriage - what a fab idea! The prize I won was for one adult and one child, so we only had to pay for my Mum who got the over 60s rate. We saw the little model railway that you can ride on. Luckily we managed to get Little Miss A passed this and promised her a ride on it later.

As you turn the corner into the Model Village, you immediately see some miniature scenes. Little Miss A was immediately drawn towards the zoo. It was great to spot so many of the animals that she can now name herself.

Little Miss A was thrilled when we saw the first model train going round on the track. There are several trains to spot which stop at the various stations scattered around the Village. Each time Little Miss A saw a train she got really excited!

There are so many different scenes, it really is fascinating. Lots of the buildings seem to be models of local buildings which is really nice. Every youth organisation seems to be represented from Boys Brigade to Girl Guides. Lots of different sports such as football, rugby, cricket, hockey and horse racing. There are churches and castles, houses and shops, a lighthouse, a windmill, an airport and train stations. Barges, boats, trains, cars, aeroplanes, cable cars and horses & carts. You name it, it's there somewhere!

One of my favourite areas was the funfair. It was so colourful! Each time we passed, different rides in the fair were moving.

The whole Village is beautifully maintained. The landscaping with plants, grass areas, water features etc. is lovely. I can't get over the detail. Each time you go around you notice something different and new and it's worth taking the time to really stop and look, there is always something to spot - whether it's a woman cleaning the windows or a man hammering a wall.

After our first walk around the whole village we stopped at the cafe for some refreshments. We timed it just right as there was a short, sharp shower of rain whilst we were inside. We then spent a bit of time in the playground before having another wander.

It was then time for a trip on the Bekonscot Light Railway which runs behind the Model Village and around a pond. It only costs £1 per person to ride so all three of us took a ride on this miniature railway. Little Miss A didn't want to get off so a little bit later she got another go with her Nana so I could get some pictures of them together, before we decided to head home.

We arrived for when the Model Village opened at 10am and found the free car parking opposite. It's worth getting there early for parking as when we returned to our car at lunchtime, the car park was full. Also, it got progressively busier as the morning progressed so getting there early meant we had a really good look at the whole Village with only a few other people around.

We spent a really lovely morning at the Village. I'm so glad we got the chance to visit it as it's been on my wish-list for a while. Little Miss A enjoyed being able to wander around at her own pace and it was interesting to see which parts grabbed her attention. I highly recommend Bekonscot Model Village for a family day out.

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My Sunday Photo 26-07-2015

Sunday, 26 July 2015

This is my favourite picture of this week.

It was taken today at the shopping centre in Milton Keynes where they have a installed a large indoor beach and a few funfair rides. This was Little Miss A's first ride on a Carousel which she really enjoyed and after a few goes round, she was waving and smiling!


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Happy Memories from our Scotland Holiday in July 2014

Thursday, 23 July 2015

This time last year we were coming to the end of a fantastic family holiday in Scotland. I didn't get the chance to post about it at the time, mainly because we had very limited internet access whilst we were away (which was quite nice at the time!). Then when we got back home, time just flew by.

Now seemed like a good chance to write about our memories from this trip as the reason I started this blog was so that Little Miss A has something to read in years to come that records what we got up.

I definitely took a lot of photos on our trip! Hence why this post is very image heavy and I'm going to keep the text to a minimum with just the highlights. The pictures really sum up our holiday - we did and saw some amazing things and it was finished off with a really special wedding!

Gretna Green
I never really thought I'd ever find myself in Gretna Green but Mr MoaB and I were just thinking we needed to make a bit of rest stop on our car journey up to Scotland when we saw signs for 'Gretna Green' so we thought it would be fun to stop! The highlight was listening to the bagpipist. We saw a couple of bride & grooms in all their wedding finery whereas we were in our scruffy travelling clothes!

Falkirk Wheel
I used to work with someone who came from Falkirk and he told me that it was famous for the Falkirk Wheel. I'd never heard of it before then but was intrigued about it. When I saw that the Wheel was only about half an hour from where we were staying, I knew we had to go there.

If like me you've never heard of it, then it is a rotating boat lift connecting the Union Canal with the Forth and Clyde Canal. You get on a boat at the bottom and then travel up in the lift to the top. You then take a little trip down the Canal before heading back down on the lift again. It was a strange experience on the lift but I'm pleased we got to do it. And as the world's first and only rotating boat lift, it would have been rude not to experience it whilst we were so closeby.

On-site was also a playground and a water play area with lots of moving parts including an Archimedes Screw. Little Miss A had a great splash about. We weren't that prepared and didn't have a change of clothes, but that didn't seem to bother her!

The Kelpies
The Kelpies are the largest equine sculptures in the world. I remember seeing these amazing sculptures on the TV when they were first installed. Pictures just don't do them justice. They are stunning - from afar and up close. Definitely my favourite thing we saw on our holiday. I've always loved horses and used to ride a lot as a child. They are beautiful animals and these sculptures represent them perfectly.

I love the way the light caught them and came through the metal-work. Truly beautiful. So glad we got to see these.

The Helix
Just near to the Kelpies is The Helix which has an Adventure Zone play park and Splash Play area. We took a wander to these areas so Little Miss A could have a bit of a play. This time we were a bit more prepared and had Little Miss A's swimming stuff with us!

New Lanark World Heritage Site
I was so surprised to find a UNESCO World Heritage Site close to where we were staying and it was ideal for a drizzly afternoon. New Lanark was a cotton mill village which was founded in the 18th century. There is a walk down into the village which gives you a good view of the scale of the village. We mostly stuck to the outside areas and woodlands for a walk rather than visiting the buildings themselves. We all needed the fresh air as Little Miss A and Mr MoaB had both been pretty ill over the previous few days. Let's just say it hadn't been a brilliant first few days of our holiday!

Palacerigg Country Park
This was a really nice find. There was a great playground along with a rare breeds & farm animal collection. We spent a long time in both areas before heading off for a wander in the woodland and finding the treetop walkway. The main photo is one of my favourite pictures of Little Miss A and me!

Go Ape Aberfoyle
Whenever possible we try to do a Go Ape wherever we go (a busman's holiday for Mr MoaB as he works for them!). I'm now into double-figures of how many I've done. So on this trip we just had to go to the course at Aberfoyle as it boasts Go Ape's longest zip wire! It's situated in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park which is a lovely setting. Mr MoaB and I took it in turns to have a go on the Go Ape course whilst the other entertained Little Miss A. During Mr MoaB's turn Little Miss A tried to take off  with the charity box from the Go Ape cabin!! It was of course returned to its rightful place!

This was the reason we were in Scotland in the first place! Mr MoaB's god-daughter (the daughter of his childhood friend) was getting married in Bathgate. After a lovely church service, the reception was held at The Vu - a beautiful setting. Little Miss A was a star as it was a really long day for her. I left in the evening to take Little Miss A back to our accommodation, leaving Mr MoaB to enjoy the party into the night (he got a taxi back!). Thankyou to the lovely couple for inviting us to share in their special day.

So we packed a lot in to our week but then we wanted to make the most of being in Scotland as we may not have the opportunity to visit again for a while. Lots of happy memories!

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The Rather Special Rushmere Country Park

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Today we visited Rushmere Country Park for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed exploring this lovely park.

When we arrived we popped into The Herons View Visitor Centre to pick up a map and the Guide was really helpful with explaining the different areas we could explore.

So off we set and along the first part of our walk we found lots of fairy doors. They're really sweet and I kept encouraging Little Miss A to knock on the doors to see if there were any fairies indoors. Unfortunately they were all out today - they must have gone on their summer holidays!

Our next find was Giant's Chair. Little Miss A looked so small sat on it. I even managed to get a picture of the two of us together - normally she doesn't pose for photos with me!

As we carried on our walk we came across lots of other sculptures. It made the walk great fun with Little Miss A as you never knew what you were going to find next. She had to climb or sit on each one!

After managing to reunite a lost dog with its owner, we headed back to the Visitor Centre and the restaurant for a spot of lunch with a great view overlooking the Heronry (we didn't spot any herons today but the Guide informed us they'd had over 20 pairs nesting this year).

We covered such a small area of the Park today so we're already planning a return visit soon to explore more. Definitely a really great find. Highly recommended.

The Park is managed by the Greensand Trust. It is near Leighton Buzzard and it took us just half an hour to drive there. It's really easy to find and car parking is just £2 for the whole day (you pay when you exit).

One Man and His Sprog
Life Unexpected

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My Sunday Photo 19-07-2015

This is my favourite picture of this week.

Today we explored Rushmere Country Park. A fantastic find with so many great wooden sculptures. It's always so lovely watching these Little Miss A and her Daddy together. It's like they're deep in conversation here!


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Puzzle Treasure Hunt

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Little Miss A has got too good at doing her lift out puzzles and I was thinking of putting them away. However, this afternoon I thought we'd try something different with them.

Whilst Little Miss A was having her nap, I hid the puzzle pieces around the garden. When she was up we headed out into the garden and started the hunt!

She actually got the idea really quickly and she found most of them without much help. There was a point where even I forgot where I had hidden one of the pieces! We found it eventually!

Little Miss A knows this jigsaw so well so she was specifically looking for certain pieces like the 'cat' and the 'teddy bear'.

When she found each piece she ran back to the middle of the garden and put the pieces into the board.

When Little Miss A had finished the whole puzzle I was really surprised when she disappeared back into the house and then came back out with more puzzles. She clearly wanted to do another hunt!

She then told me it was my turn so I sat and counted to about '50' to give her the chance to hide some pieces for me to find. She was extremely helpful with my hunt and pretty much showed me where she'd hidden them, but I like that she tried to do the hunt for me!

It was a fun activity and great to Little Miss A a new challenge for doing her puzzles. It's definitely something I'll do again for her. I'll hide the pieces a bit more next time to make it a bit harder. We also have some number puzzles so I think there's some ways I can adapt this to encourage her to practice her numbers.


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Family Activities & Events in and around Aylesbury in the Summer School Holidays

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

My previous posts with events over the Easter and May half term school holidays seemed to be popular, so I have compiled a list of the activities and events going on in and around Aylesbury during the Summer School Holidays.

Workshops at the Natural History Museum at Tring
Tuesdays & Thursdays throughout the summer from 21st July - 27th August
30 minute workshops throughout the day. Each week there is a different theme: Coral craft, Snapping Sharks, Butterfly Feeders, Monstrous Models and Fossil Folklore. Some activities are suitable for all ages, others for ages 5 and over.
Place: Natural History Museum at Tring, Akeman Street, Tring HP23 6AP
Time: Check website for workshop times
Cost: Museum entry is free. Workshops are £2 per child.
We've visited the Museum a few times and it's always been a hit with Little Miss A. Take a look at this post: Meeting the Animals at Tring Museum 

Cha Char Chimps 
Every Tuesday throughout the holidays except 4th August
Fun entertainment show with lots of singing and dancing! Drinks and cakes are served in the interval (included in the price). No need to book, just pay as you go.
Place: Stoke Mandeville Community Centre, Eskdale Road, Aylesbury HP22 5UJ
Time: 10.30am - 11.30am
CostPrices start from £3, cake and coffee included.

Teddy Bears Picnic
Thursday 23rd July
Organised by Bearbrook & Elmhurst Children's Centres.
Place: Bearbrook Children's Centre, Fowler Road, Aylesbury HP19 7QP
Time: 9.30am - 11am
Cost: Free

Super Hero Day
Thursday 23rd July
Crafts, Messy Play, Face Painting, Bouncy Castle and more. Fancy dress optional. Organised by Berryfields Children's Centre.
Place: Berryfields Children's Centre, John Fitzjohn Avenue, Berryfields HP18 0FG
Time: 2pm - 4.30pm
Cost: Free

Baking & Activity Morning
Thursday 23rd July
Come along for a fun morning of baking and other activities for children aged 2-5 years. There will be some activities for siblings.
Place: Walton Street, Aylesbury HP21 7QX
Time: 10am - 12pm
Cost: Voluntary contribution on the day

Waddesdon Musical Madness
Friday 24th July
Organised by Waddesdon & Whitchurch Children's Centre. Music, dance and drame from Noizee Productions. Inflatable fun from Bucks Play Association. Craft activities from Wider Family Learning. Ice cream from The Works. Plus a Teddy Bears Picnic - bring your teddy and packed lunch.
Place: Waddesdon & Whitchurch Children's Centre, The Football Pavilion, Frederick Street, Waddesdon HP18 0LX
Time: 10am - 2pm
Cost: Free but event is ticketed. Ring 01296 655218 for ticket information.

Thame Play Day
Saturday 25th July
Red Kite Children's Centre are hosting a Play day with lots of different activites on offer to try including drumming workshops, bouncy castle, mud kitchen, rugby, football and lots more.
Place: Southern Road Recreation Ground, Thame
Time: 10am - 3pm
Cost: Free

Dunstable Kite Festival
Saturday 25th July - Sunday 26th July
Be enthralled by the amazing aerial acrobatics as the professional kite display teams put on a show stopping spectacular. Lots of additional activities including stalls, funfair rides and more.
Place: Dunstable Downs, Dunstable LU6 2GY
Time: See website for details.
Cost: Free to spectate. Other activities incur a charge.

#AylesburyThursdays Events
Every Thursday from 23rd July - 27th August
Organised by Aylesbury Vale District Council, there are kids event with free activities in Aylesbury town centre every Thursday. 23rd July - Madcap Thursday. 30th July - Magical Thursday. 6th August - Zoomungous Thursday. 13th August - Thrill-Seeker Thursday. 20th August - Speedway Thursday. 27th August - Bouncetastic Thursday.
Place: Aylesbury town centre
Time: 11am - 3pm
Cost: Free (charge for some activities on the day).

Pop-up & Play Sessions
Every Monday from 27th July - 17th August
Drop-in session with activities for the little ones organised by Bearbrook & Elmhurst Children's Centres.
Place: Fairford Leys Community Centre, Hampden Square, Aylesbury HP19 7HT
Time: 1.30pm - 3pm
Cost: Free

Family Fun Activities
Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 28th July - 27th August
Five weeks of fantastic fun to keep the whole family entertained. Discover Dahl’s wondercrump stories, brilliant Bucks wildlife and making musical instruments. No need to book.
Place: Bucks County Museum, Church Street, Aylesbury HP20 2QP
Time: Drop in between 10am and 12 noon or 1pm and 3pm.
Cost: £3 per child

Fun in the Park
Wednesday 29th July
A fun-packed afternoon with activities including falconry displays, magic shows, Punch & Judy and crazy golf. There will also be fun games to play, face paining and giant inflatables.
Place: Langley Park, Iver SL0 0LS
Time: 12pm - 4pm
Cost: Free shows with optional payable activities
Langley Park is one of my favourite parks so even if you don't go along to this event, it's definitely worth a visit. Read more about Lovely Langley Park

Animal Edutainment
Tuesday 4th and Thursday 20th August
There will be a selection of animals for the children to learn about and some can even be touched.
Place: Southcourt Children's Centre, Aylesbury College Campus, Oxford Road, Aylesbury HP21 8PD
Times: 10am - 11am or 11.15am - 12.15pm
Cost: £2.00 per family. Must be booked and paid for in advance.

Mix96 Play in the Park
Wednesday 5th August
A fun packed family day of activities and entertainment, to celebrate National Play Day, brought to you by Mix96 and Aylesbury Vale District Council. Activities include arts & crafts, bouncy castles, giant sand pit, inflatables, a climbing wall, face painting and lots more!
Place: Vale Park, Aylesbury
Time: 11am - 4pm
Cost: Entry is free along with some activities. A token system will operate on the day for other activities which cost between £1 and £3.

Eden's Summer Camp
Each Wednesday from 5th August - 26th August
Each week there will be a great activity for the kids to do; street art, recycled robots, funky fashion and percussion instruments.
Place: Eden Shopping Centre, High Wycombe
Time: 11am - 4pm
Cost: Free

Summer Fun Days
Thursday 6th August and Thursday 13th August
Come along for a fun morning of activities including a bouncy castle, face painting and crafts.
Place: Walton Street, Aylesbury HP21 7QX
Time: 10am - 1pm
Cost: Free

Sunday 9th August and Monday 31st August
A really interesting museum that 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. This Museum is only open on select days throughout the year and the Bank Holiday Monday is one of them.
Place: Pitstone Green Museum, Pitstone LU7 9EY
Time: 11am - 5pm
Cost: Adults £6.00, Children £2.00
To find out more about this Museum, take a look at the review of the Pitstone Green Museum from our visit last year.

Interactive Musical Fun Session
Wednesday 12th August and Wednesday 19th August
Musical fun for boys and girls aged 0 to 4 years by Jacqu'in the Box. Action songs and rhymes with props, puppets and percussion instruments, dancing and musical movement. No need to book in advance.
Place: Our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall, Bedgrove, Aylesbury
Time: 2pm - 2.45pm
Cost: £5 per child. Pay on the day.

Pirates & Princesses Fancy Dress Party Fun Session
Thursday 13th August
Musical fun for boys and girls aged 0 to 6 years. Go on an adventure with lots of singing, dancing and gentle musical games and activities. Places must be pre-booked with Jacqu'in the Box - Tel: 07948 371615.
Place: Fairford Leys Community Centre, Hampden Square, Aylesbury HP19 7HT
Time: 2.15pm - 3.30pm
Cost: £7 per child or £10 for two siblings including a little goody bag.

SDSD Summer Theatre Workshops
Thursday 13th & Friday 14th August, Thursday 27th & Friday 28th August
Do you love to Act, Sing and Dance? Then go along to the Susan Diane School of Dance Summer workshops. With action packed days full of drama games, learning popular theatre/film songs and exciting dance routines, and lots more. Suitable for age 6 years and over. Places must be booked in advance. Call 07812 078401 or 07912 093019.
Place: Queens Park Centre, Aylesbury HP21 7RT
Time: 9am - 4pm
Cost: £45.00 (2 days)

Pop-up & Play Session
Thursday 20th August
Drop-in session with activities for the little ones organised by Bearbrook & Elmhurst Children's Centres.
Place: Watermead Village Hall, Aylesbury HP19 0FX
Time: 1.30pm - 3pm
Cost: Free

Basil & Crew Farm
Saturday 22nd August
Organised by Waddesdon & Whitchurch Children's Centre.
Place: Waddesdon & Whitchurch Children's Centre, The Football Pavilion, Frederick Street, Waddesdon HP18 0LX
Time: 10am - 12.30pm
Cost: £2.00 voluntary contribution per family

Children's Cupcake and Biscuit Decorating Workshop
Tuesday 25th August
Kids can enjoy cupcake and biscuit decorating fun in the Gardener's Retreat Coffee Shop. Includes 1 cupcake and 1 biscuit to decorate, squash/water and a colouring activity sheet. Book at the Gardener's Retreat Coffee Shop.
Place: Haddenham Garden Centre, Stanbridge Road, Haddenham HP17 8HN
Time: 3pm
Cost: £4.99 per child

Fun in the Park
Wednesday 26th August
A fun-packed afternoon with activities including falconry displays, magic shows, Punch & Judy, horse & carriage rides and crazy golf. There will also be fun games to play, face paining and giant inflatables.
Place: Black Park, Wexham SL3 6DS
Time: 12pm - 4pm
Cost: Free shows with optional payable activities
Find out more about what we got up to at Fun in the Park in Black Park last year.

Bucks County Show
Thursday 27th August
A one day agricultural show with animal showing classes and rural demonstrations plus a whole range of family entertainment including the Royal Artillery Band, Bolddog Lings Stunt Team, Cookery Theatre, Home & Garden Marquee and Shopping Marquees.
Place: Weedon Park, Weedon, near Aylesbury, HP22 4NN 
Time: 8am - 6pm
Cost: Adult: £12 online/£15 at the gate. Children (aged 5-16) £5 online/£6 at the gate. Under 5s are free. Family (2 adults & 2 children): £29 online/£36 at the gate. 
To find out a bit more about this Show, take a look at the post I wrote last year after our first visit to the Bucks County Show.

Towersey Festival
Friday 28th - Monday 31st August
4 days and nights of the best Acoustic, Folk, Blues, World and Americana music. As well as the music stages, there are arts & crafts, theatre, and lots more plus children's activities including face painting, comedy and puppet shows.
Place: Thame Showground, Oxon, OX9 3JL
Cost: See website for details.
To find out a bit more about this Festival, take a look at Little Miss A's First Festival Experience from last year.

Parklife - Live in the Park
Saturday 29th August
A day of continuous live music performed on a large outdoor stage along with traditional funfair rides. Organised by Aylesbury Town Council.
Place: Vale Park, Aylesbury HP20 1DX
Time: 12pm - 9.30pm
Cost: Free

Outdoor Cinema Experience - Shrek
Saturday 29th August
Take along a picnic and enjoy watching this fun family film in the outdoors! Tickets must be purchased in advance, see website for details.
Place: The Home of Rest for Horses, Speen HP27 0PP
Time: 6.30pm - 9.30pm
Cost: £10 adult. £5 child. £25 family.

Parklife - Fun in the Park
Sunday 30th August
Organised by the Aylesbury Church Network, Fun in the Park is a great afternoon out for the kids with inflatables, games, arts, crafts and the very popular BBQ.
Place: Vale Park, Aylesbury HP20 1DX
Time: 12pm - 4pm
Cost: Free
We went along last year and you can read more about what we got up to at Parklife.

Parklife - Proms in the Park
Sunday 30th August
A spectacular musical evening with a fantastic firework display finale! Organised by Aylesbury Town Council.
Place: Vale Park, Aylesbury HP20 1DX
Time: 7.15pm - 9.30pm
Cost: Free

Play Around the Parishes
Various dates
Lots of free play sessions in parks and Children's Centres around the County. Take a look at the timetable for more details and see if there's an event near you.

The Big Beano Takeover
Monday 27th July - Friday 28th August
This summer, Dennis the Menace and his friends will be up to mischief in the Shopping Centre! Lots of fun over the summer holidays including the Beano Treasure Hunt. On Friday 7th August, Dennis will be in the centre playing pranks and tricks.
Place: intu Shopping Centre, Milton Keynes
Time: Check website for opening times
Cost: Free

The Beach
Daily until Monday 31st August
Whatever the weather does this summer, you can still go to the beach! Like any good beach, it comes complete with its own carousel, funfair rides, candy floss, ice creams and deckchairs.
Place: Middleton Hall, thecentre:mk, Milton Keynes
Time: Mon - Fri 9.30am - 6pm, Sat 9am - 6pm, Sun 10am - 5pm.
Cost: Free entry to the Beach. Prices apply for the rides and refreshments.

Millets Maize Maze
Daily until Sunday 13th September
Have fun and get lost in Maize Maze at Millets Farm. This year's theme is celebrating 70 years since the end of WWII.
Place: Millets Farm Centre, Kingston Road, Frilford, Oxfordshire OX13 5HB
Time: 9.30am - 6pm
Cost: £6.40 per person. Under 2s are free. Group prices available.
Millets Farm is definitely worth a visit as there's lots to do including a Farm Zoo. Take a look at the review of Millets Farm Centre from our visit last summer.

Everyday (ongoing)
Watch him wiggle! See him squirm! Hip, hip, hooray for Superworm! Take a walk through the woods on the Superworm activity trail.
Join Superworm on his forest adventure! 
Place: Wendover Woods
CostFree. Car parking charges apply. Activity packs available from the Go Ape cabin or Cafe for an additional cost.
To find out more about the Trail, take a look at the review of the Superworm Trail from one of our recent visits.

College Lake
Various dates
Lots of Children's Workshops during the summer holidays. Take a look at the website for more details. The Lake is a favourite of ours, read about our family walk at College Lake.

National Trust
Throughout the summer
It's worth checking the National Trust website for details of the school holiday activities going on at each of their properties.

I've compiled these events from various websites, Facebook etc. Please check with the actual organisers/venue for up-to-date information.

I'd love to know if there's any events not on this list. I'll try to add to this list with any additional ones I find out about over the next couple of weeks.

For more ideas, you might also be interested in the Family Days Out and Family Walks that we've been on.

Hope you and your family have a great Summer, whatever you're up to!

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40 Things Beginning With B - Final Update

Monday, 13 July 2015

It's time for a final update on the Novel 40th Birthday present that we did for Mr MoaB's sister for her 40th Birthday. The challenge was to get her 40 things beginning with 'B' (her initial) and I set a budget of £40.

I am so very chuffed that we actually did it! Yeay!

Total spend £39.83 so I managed to do it within the budget including the wrapping paper! The present actually included a £12 Boots voucher as we were well within our budget. I thought it would be nice for her to be able to go and treat herself to some goodies.

Here's the new 'B' items we have got since my original 40 Things Beginning with B post and the update:

Bournville Biscuits - bought these when they were on special offer.

Botany Toiletry set - my Mum won these in a raffle. She deliberately chose this prize so that she could pass on to me for this present.

Brit perfume samples - spotted this on a freebie website so filled in a form and got sent two samples (his and hers).

Blistex Lip Balms - after contacting Blistex, they kindly sent me some of their new range of lip balms. Really gratefully received. You can read a bit more about Blistex's new summer range below*.

Bramwells Baby Beetroot - chuffed with this one as I like that it has 3 Bs! And a big jar cost just 55p in Aldi.

Bilash Basmati microwave rice - bought from Aldi for just 49p.

Butterfly notepad - my Mum found this tucked away in a drawer so again kindly donated to me.

Baylis & Harding Bubble Bath - 3 Bs again. All the other 'B' branded bubble baths were a bit too expensive for the budget.

Bits & Bobs Box - didn't have this down on my original list but a nice little find in QD Stores as it actually says it's for 'Bits & Bobs' on the label.

Bubble swords - a bit of fun that she can give to her 2 kids.

Butterfinger Bites - chocolate sweets from Poundland.

Batteries - she's got 2 kids so I'm sure she'll get through these quickly with all their toys!

Battenberg cake - apparently there's a funny 'family' story about Battenburg cake with Mr MoaB and his sisters. Think it's one of those you had to be there, but seemed appropriate to get her some.

Batter mix - hopefully she can have fun with the kids making some pancakes for breakfast with this mix.

Boots voucher - with so much of the budget left over I managed to get her a £12 voucher so she can go and treat herself.

So the final list of all 40 things was as follows:
    1. Brandy snaps
    2. Butterscotch sweets
    3. Brazil nuts 
    4. Stick of Brighton Rock 
    5. "Things to do now that you're 40" Book
    6. Wooden decorated 'B' 
    7. Bic Biros - kindly sent by BIC.
    8. Banana Bread and Berry Burst Nakd bars 
    9. Bracelet 
    10. Bizzybee Cleaning Products - kindly sent by Bizzybee
    11. Bouquet garni, Basil and Bay leaves - kindly sent by Schwartz
    12. Bloo cistern block
    13. Branston Baked Beans
    14. Glass with a 'B'
    15. Brush
    16. Bear
    17. Boost chocolate bars
    18. Bounty chocolate bars
    19. Broccoli seeds
    20. Beef Bourgignon sauce
    21. Blu-tack
    22. Bazooka Bubble gum
    23. Banknote tissues
    24. Backgammon travel set
    25. Birds Blackboard pegs
    26. Bournville Biscuits 
    27. Botany Toiletry set 
    28. Brit perfume samples 
    29. Blistex Lip Balms - kindly sent by Blistex
    30. Bramwells Baby Beetroot 
    31. Bilash Basmati microwave rice 
    32. Butterfly notepad 
    33. Baylis & Harding Bubble Bath
    34. Bits & Bobs Box 
    35. Bubble swords
    36. Butterfinger Bites
    37. Batteries 
    38. Battenberg cake 
    39. Batter mix 
    40. Boots voucher 

All wrapped up, this is what 40 things looks like!

A couple of weekends ago we spent a fantastic weekend with Mr MoaB's family celebrating his sister's birthday. We gave her the presents on the Friday evening. She was definitely surprised and it became a real family event with everyone helping to open them!

I'm so pleased that she loved the presents and had a whole box of goodies to take home with her. I'm sure this present will be a talking point for some time to come!

I highly recommend doing this present for a special birthday but be warned it does take some effort and you need to have enough time. It's quite a relief to no longer have to scour the shelves for 'B' things every time I go into a shop! It was thanks to some great companies who sent me items to include and a few donations from my Mum that I was able to do it well within budget. I think we were lucky having 'B' as the letter as there are actually a lot of 'B' things around. There are definitely some letters of the alphabet that are easier than others! There are still about 40 things on my list of possible ideas that I didn't include, but no I'm not going to do it again for her 50th Birthday!

*Blistex were kind enough to send me some of their lip balms from their new summer range to include. With the hot weather, it's easy to forget to take care of your lips in the sun. The Blistex range is ideal for prepping your lips for days in the sun and making sure dryness, peeling and flakiness are nowhere to be seen. For healthy-looking lips, there's the Daily Lip Conditioner with SPF 15, olive oil, grapeseed oil and collagen. Or there is Lip Brilliance, also with SPF 15 and hyaluronic filling spheres which provide a natural fuller lip effect along with a subtle pink tint. Alternatively, there's my favourite which is the brand new Blistex Happy Lips in Mouth Watering Mango and Simply Sensational Strawberry which add a fresh, fruity twist for extra protection on sunny days.

You Baby Me Mummy

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My Sunday Photo 12-07-2015

Sunday, 12 July 2015

This is my favourite picture of this week.

It was taken yesterday on our sixth visit of the year to Waddesdon Manor and this time we spent most of our time in the Woodland Playground. They've introduced a lot of new equipment and Little Miss A put it all to the test. Some of it is designed for older kids but there was no stopping this 2 year old from having a go! She made crossing this metal tightrope bridge look easy with no help from us and she didn't fall off once. A very proud Mummy!


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Woodland Playground at Waddesdon Manor

Saturday, 11 July 2015

I've been quite housebound this week and still need to take it a bit easy but Mr MoaB has the weekend off and I really wanted to get out for just a couple of hours in the sunshine as a family.

Therefore we thought we'd pop along to Waddesdon Manor as we always have a nice time there. It's our sixth visit this year!

We didn't have a specific agenda for our visit today, we thought we'd just let Little Miss A choose. She did a good job of planning on the map whilst we travelled on the courtesy bus from the car park and she chose to see the birds so we headed to the Aviary first.

After our bird spotting, we stopped briefly for a quick snack and then walked down to the Woodland Playground. We haven't been to the playground on our last few visits as we've always been busy exploring other areas. I didn't realise that they'd made a lot of changes to the playground and introduced a lot of new equipment.

I shouldn't really be surprised by how confident Little Miss A is on all the equipment, even that designed for the older kids, but I always am!

She can climb the cargo nets with ease now and there are just a few pieces of equipment where she still needs a little helping hand from Daddy!

She even managed to do a metal tightrope bridge on her own and made it look easy!

However the big hit of the day was definitely one of the new slides. I lost count of the number of times she went on it! She came whizzing down so fast each time it was difficult to get a good photo!

We spent quite a lot of time exploring the new parts of the playground then popped down to The Stables for an ice-cream. We thought we'd go home at this point, but Little Miss A had other ideas and headed straight back in the direction of the playground so she had another 20 minutes before we finally persuaded her it was home time!

The Woodland Playground at Waddesdon was great before but now it's even better! Little Miss A had so much fun and really didn't want to leave. I'm sure she won't let us get away with not visiting the playground on all our future visits!

One Man and His Sprog

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National Trust - Ham House & Gardens

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

This weekend we were meeting up with a friend and as we all have National Trust membership, we chose to visit Ham House and Gardens, which is about equal distance between where we live.

It was absolutely ideal as it's not one of the really large properties with extensive grounds so it was perfect for just a few hours.

We parked up in the free car park nearby and then took a little wander along the River before going to the House. Little Miss A was fascinated by all the boats and rowers going by. We must take her out on a river boat soon, I think she'll love it.

We then headed to the House and started off by going into the Below Stairs Rooms. We were fortunate as when we entered the kitchen, there was a delicious smell of baking and we were just in time to taste the first batch of biscuits made that day. Flavoured with Rosewater and Nutmeg - they were delicious! Mr MoaB got to enjoy a sample of the Ale in the Beer Cellar as well!

These rooms were really fab as there were lots of elements that you could touch. Little Miss A enjoyed rolling out some dough in the kitchen. There was a room with colouring sheets and clothes to dress up in. Little Miss A did a bit of colouring but wasn't keen on dressing up. She also kept going back to the brush and sweeping up! I love the picture of her sweeping which mirrors the wall painting behind her!

We then headed out into the gardens which were really lovely. There was a large area of hedged gardens which Little Miss A enjoyed running around in and we played quite a lot of hide & seek! We found a nice bench here to enjoy our picnic lunch.

We passed through the amazing kitchen gardens which had some fantastic veggies and flowers growing before enjoying a drink in the Cafe.

It was then time to head back to the car so we walked along the River again with the inevitable ice-cream along the way!

A really fab Sunday spent exploring this lovely property and catching up with a great friend. We're definitely making the most of our National Trust membership!

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Me & Mine - June 2015

Monday, 6 July 2015

Joining up again with the Me and Mine Family Portrait Project. Here's June's photo of our little family! Just a little bit late!

This was taken in our back garden. No idea why Little Miss A is covering her ears!

I'm also sharing a photo of my parents taken that day too as they have been a massive help and support to us this month. Thankyou Mum & Dad!

June Highs:
  • Through my volunteering with the local NCT branch, I was involved in organising a really lovely Teddy Bear's Picnic. The highlight for me was definitely the Teddy Bear Zip Wire that Mr MoaB constructed. The kids loved seeing their favourite teddy bears whizzing down!
  • We don't get that many visitors to our little home but we had some friends come to stay for the night. It was so lovely seeing their daughter interact with Little Miss A. She adored having someone new to play with!
  • We had a fantastic weekend away in June with lots of Mr MoaB's family to belatedly celebrate his sister's 40th Birthday. We've never all been away together but we had a fab time together. Some of the adults got to do the Go Ape course and Segways at Cannock. Mr MoaB's niece and nephew also did brilliantly on the Go Ape Junior Course. Really proud of them.
  • Whilst on the weekend away we took the opportunity to use our National Trust membership again to visit Shugborough Estate and enjoyed a lovely picnic and walk around the grounds before meeting up with the family at the hotel.
June Lows:
  • The car troubles continued well into June. We eventually had to make the hard decision to not repair one of the cars as it would cost far more to repair than the car is worth. That left us with the difficult task of car shopping - not the type of shopping I enjoy at all. Luckily my parents found the ideal 2nd hand car at a local garage in their village and really helped with the whole process of buying it.
  • I was unfortunately rushed into hospital and had an operation. Thankfully I only had to stay in for one night. It was the first time I'd spent a night away from Little Miss A and I found it hard. A horrible experience for all of us but I'm so thankful for all the love and support I received from lots of people but especially Mr MoaB and my parents. They were amazing as my Dad took the dog we've been dog-sitting back home with him to look after for a week and my Mum stayed with us to help us out. I'm recovering well, just need to not do too much, too soon (which is very hard when you've got an active toddler to amuse and entertain!).

The Me + Mine Project - Dear Beautiful

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