Archive for February 2016

Jamie's Italian - Super Lunch Deal Review

Monday, 29 February 2016

Last week we enjoyed a family meal at Jamie's Italian in Milton Keynes. We've never been to a Jamie's before, so we jumped at the chance when we were invited to review the restaurant.

I asked my parents to join us for lunch as a treat. Milton Keynes is about half way between us both so it's a great meeting point.


On arrival, Little Miss A was given a 'Little Pack of Fun' and my Mum had also bought her some new dinosaurs, so she was happily distracted whilst we looked over the menus and waited for our food.

We ordered from the Super Lunch Deal Menu which is available Monday to Friday from 12pm to 6pm and is very good value with 2 courses from £10.95. You choose from a small selection of dishes - 4 starters, 6 main courses and 4 puddings. We were offered a kids menu for Little Miss A but she is so hit and miss with her food, that I thought she would just share some of ours and I was right.

Mr MoaB was the only one to opt for a starter - Fritto Misto. Little Miss A was offered a small bucket with a selection of bread and breadsticks. A great idea to keep the kids satisfied whilst they're waiting for the meal to arrive. We all pinched a bit of her bread and it was really nice so we ordered the Artisan Bread starter from the normal menu to munch on whilst Mr MoaB enjoyed his starter.

My Mum and Mr MoaB ordered the Italian Steak & Fries (£2 supplement), whilst my Dad and I opted for the Tagliatelle Bolognese. They were good size portions - just right for lunch, leaving room for the puddings - the Epic Brownie for me and the Italian Apple & Blackberry Pavlova for both my Mum and Dad. The puddings were a really big hit!

Here's what each of us thought of our meal at Jamie's Italian Milton Keynes:

Mum: "Good service, great company a flavour-some steak and a Pavlova to die for - what more can one ask for!"
Dad: "Pleasant dining experience. Nice food, good service and good value for money. One complaint would be the hard chairs - sore bum!"
Mr MoaB: "Really enjoyed my Fritto Misto starter, a lovely combination of fish and calamari. The steak as a main course was well seasoned and delicious. Little Miss A thought so too!"
Me: "Very nice family meal at a great price. Main course was just the right size portion to leave me room for the best brownie I've had in a long time!"

If you're looking for somewhere that is family friendly whilst you're shopping in Milton Keynes, then this is definitely a good choice.

Disclaimer: We received a voucher to review the Super Lunch Deal at Jamie's Italian but all opinions are my own. We paid the extra to cover our bill.

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My Sunday Photo 28-02-2016

Sunday, 28 February 2016

This is my favourite picture of this week.

This is Mr MoaB on the Go Ape Course at Battersea Park. We had a great family day out there. Whilst Mr MoaB did the course with some of his work colleagues, Little Miss A and I explored the park, had fun in the playground and enjoyed watching her Daddy swinging way up high!


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My Sunday Photo 21-02-2016

Sunday, 21 February 2016

This is my favourite picture of this week.

Little Miss A was very chuffed to receive a medal for completing the Orienteering Course at Waddesdon Manor this week!


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Mimi's Orienteering Challenge at Waddesdon Manor

Friday, 19 February 2016

Today Little Miss A earned a fantastic medal for Orienteering!

As the sun was shining, I decided to take Little Miss A to Waddesdon Manor to take advantage of the Orienteering Challenge that is running this half term.

We got off the courtesy bus at the North Fountain and headed to the tent to pick up our Challenge Sheet and a map. The activity costs £2 per child.

There are three routes to choose from. I had the pushchair with us but was told that all the routes were suitable for buggies. I opted for the shortest one as I thought this would be best for Little Miss A.

There were 10 markers to find along the orienteering course we were doing - 'Who Lived Here' - which had images of Waddesdon in it's heyday. The route took us past the Aviary and around the back of the house.

Little Miss A was good at spotting each of the markers and enjoyed doing the punch marks with the stamps.

When we'd nearly completed our course, we had a quick stop on a bench to enjoy our sandwiches in-front of the house. Then we got our last stamp and Little Miss A was rewarded with a fab medal which she was really chuffed with!

We spent a bit of time in the Woodland Playground before heading home after what was a great few hours at Waddesdon.

It was a brilliant outdoor adventure. Thankyou to the Thames Valley Orienteering Club for organising this fantastic activity.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Going on a Teddy Bear Hunt in Green Park

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Today we went on a Teddy Bear Hunt and spotted lots of Little Miss A's favourite bear characters including Winnie-the-Pooh and Paddington.

The trail is running this week during half term from 10am to 3pm and is organised by ALF Green Park.

You pick up a Trail sheet and map from the Your Cafe in the Park and then set off from there, accessing Green Park through a gate the other side of Aston Clinton Park. Wellies are definitely required as it's very muddy in places throughout both parks.

You follow the bear tracks and along the way spot pictures of different bear characters. There are 2 walks to choose from, one is slightly longer. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure whether we did the extended one or not!

We got off to a bit of a shaky start as Little Miss A decided to go on strike and not walk as she didn't want to do the 'bear hunt'. It took a lot of persuasion to get her going again and a few false starts but eventually we made it to the gate into Green Park and once she saw the first bear picture, she was ok.

By the last bear picture (Winnie-the-Pooh), I actually managed to get a smile out of Little Miss A!

After the trail, we headed back into the Cafe and picked up our goody bag of sweets. The soft play area was open in the Cafe so I enjoyed a nice hot chocolate and some cake whilst Little Miss A had a play. We were there quite a while in the end, so I decided to give Little Miss A her lunch in the Cafe. Then I finally persuaded her to leave but we had to go via the playground outside for 20 minutes first!

I originally thought we'd only be out for an hour or so, but we were actually out for 3 and a half hours! A packed morning which definitely tired Little Miss A as she was asleep in the car before we left the car park!

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My Sunday Photo 14-02-2016

Sunday, 14 February 2016

This is my favourite picture of this week.

A rare picture of Little Miss A and I on a family walk. I'm usually the one taking the photos but Mr MoaB took this one on his phone. It was taken at Weston Turville Reservoir and Little Miss A did so well to walk round nearly the whole way on her own without being carried. I love holding her hand and chatting to her as we walk along.


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Winter Walk Around Weston Turville Reservoir

Friday, 12 February 2016

A couple of years ago we stumbled upon Weston Turville Reservoir and enjoyed a walk around. Today we decided to re-visit as we wanted to make the most of the winter sunshine.

It's hidden away a bit, but it's really lovely. Our first stop was the bird hide where we sat for a little while and spotted a heron, lots of seagulls and some swans. When we came out we could hear a woodpecker. We couldn't spot it in the trees though. The reservoir looked lovely with the sun shining down on it.

There's a good path around the reservoir which along one side wasn't too muddy but got muddy in places along the other side. Little Miss A managed to get stuck in the mud in one spot and fell over but she just got up, asked us to wipe her hands and then carried on walking!

It was a really nice walk and Little Miss A almost made it the whole way round on her own 2 legs! It took us about an hour to walk around and was just what we needed for this afternoon to get us out in the fresh air. And it didn't cost us anything as there's no parking charges etc.

You can read more about our first visit in 2014 - Ragpits and Reservoir.

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My Sunday Photo 07-02-2016

Sunday, 7 February 2016

This is my favourite picture of this week.

It was taken today in our local playground. We haven't been for ages and I'd forgotten just how muddy and boggy it gets there. This didn't stop Little Miss A having lots of fun!


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National Libraries Day 2016

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Today was National Libraries Day and there were lots of events taking place at libraries around the country.
National Libraries Day. Use it, love it, join it!

Little Miss A and I went along to this National Libraries Day event at Aylesbury Library last year, so I knew she'd have fun again today.

Little Miss A has always enjoyed going to the library and today was no exception. As soon as we arrived, it was coat off and she ran off to the Children's section!

The activities were the same as last year with a Bounce & Rhyme session (a singing session of nursery rhymes and action songs) and crafts to make. We used to go to Bounce & Rhyme a lot when Little Miss A was younger, but haven't been for a long time. It was amazing to hear her singing along to the songs - she knew all the words and actions!

There were a few different crafts to make themed for Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year. Little Miss A is getting more interested in crafts (or "sticking and drawing" as she calls them). We re-visited the craft table several times during the course of the morning to add more to her dragon mask. 

We spent some time reading a few books and singing the 'ABC' song as she jumped around on the alphabet mat. We also took advantage of the free refreshments on offer. 

There was a 'Reading Ramble' quiz but I must admit this was difficult even for me, let alone Little Miss A. I couldn't actually find the first few books on the list, and as Little Miss A couldn't join in, we gave up on this. It's a shame this wasn't more visual with more of a trail to follow around the library or letters to collect and then unscramble to make a word.

Time flew by this morning and before we knew it, we'd been at the library for two hours, so it was then time to head home for lunch.

It's always great to see the library being used by families and really busy. It's worth keeping an eye on the Aylesbury Library Facebook page for future events.

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February Half Term Family Activities & Events in and around Aylesbury 2016

Monday, 1 February 2016

I have compiled a list of the activities and events going on in and around Aylesbury during the February Half Term holiday.

Outdoor Adventure - Half Term Fun at Waddesdon Manor
Saturday 13th to Sunday 21st February
Come rain or shine, get active this half term with the help of the Thames Valley Orienteering Club. If you're eager to explore and enjoy a challenge, visit Waddesdon for an outdoors adventure that's out of the ordinary!
Place: National Trust - Waddesdon Manor, Waddesdon HP18 0JH
Time: 11am - 3pm
Cost: £2 per child, cash on the day. Normal admission charges apply. Free admission for National Trust members.

Circus at Woburn Sands
Saturday 13th to Sunday 21st February
The award winning John Lawson’s Circus will make its return to Frosts Garden Centre in Woburn Sands this February Half Term. With an entirely human cast and featuring new acts and routines this enthralling show lasts an hour - a great family experience not to be missed!
Place: Frosts Garden Centre, Woburn Sands, Milton Keynes MK17 8UE
Times: 10.30am, 12.30pm, 2.30pm & 4.30pm)
Cost: £6.99 each

Half Term Family Fun at Odds Farm Park
Saturday 13th to 21st February
Come along to Odds Farm Park this half term, there's lots going on for the whole family, including goats to bottle feed. Join in with the madness and mayhem of Odds Farm Park’s Crazy Entertainers! With several shows daily, all the extra fun is included in entry!
Place: Odds Farm Park, Wooburn Common, High Wycombe HP10 0LX
Times: See website for opening times
Cost: £11.95 for children (2-16), under 2s are free, £12.95 for adults
To find out more about what's on offer, take a look at my review of Odds Farm Park from our visit.

Kung Fu Panda 3 fun at intu Milton Keynes
Saturday 13th to Sunday 21st February
This school half term intu Milton Keynes has teamed up with Kung Fu Panda 3 to bring you a week filled with Kung Fu workshops, fun and games! There's something on everyday, see website for details.
Place: intu Milton Keynes, Milton Keynes MK9 3GB
Times: See website for opening times
Cost: Free

Little Pieces of Heaven at Bucks County Museum
Monday 15th to Friday 19th February
Be inspired by the exhibition of medieval treasures and make your own medieval style artefacts to take home! A different activity each day. No need to book.
Place: Bucks County Museum, Church Street, Aylesbury HP20 2QP
Times: Drop in between 10am - 12pm or 1pm - 3pm
Cost: £3 per child/participant

Teddy Bear Hunt
Monday 15th to Friday 19th February
Starting at Your Cafe in the Park follow the trail to find the bears hiding in the Green Park woods. Don't forget your Teddy! Pay-on-the-day.
Place: Your Cafe in the Park, Aston Clinton HP22 5JL
Time: 10am - 3pm
Cost: £3 per family group

Wildlife Week at Wyevale Garden Centres
Monday 15th to Friday 19th February
Different wildlife themed activities each day. All events must be pre-booked.
Place: Wyevale Garden Centres: World's End - Wendover, Woburn Sands and Bicester Avenue
Times: Check website
Cost: From £2.50 per child

Light Up Your Half Term at Ashridge Estate
Monday 15th to Friday 19th February
Come to the visitor centre and make and decorate a lantern to take home or to bring along to our Candlelit Walk.
Place: National Trust - Ashridge Estate
Time: 10am - 3pm
Cost£2 per child

Animal Antics at Eden Shopping Centre
Monday 15th to Friday 19th February
There will be a whole host of ‘Animal Antics’ this February half term, with free entertainment for Explorers of every age. Animal Rangers will be on hand with an exciting array of activities running dailyat Kids Corner near BHS.
Place: Eden Shopping Centre, High Wycombe HP11 2DQ
Time: 11am to 4pm
Cost: Free

Be a Green Dragon Farmer for a Day
Monday 15th to Friday 19th February
Try your hand at being a farmer with activities including collecting eggs, feeding the animal, grooming the ponies. A filling lunch is included followed by a short playtime. Call to book. Suitable for 5 to 11 years.
Place: Green Dragon Eco Farm, Hogshaw MK18 3LA
Time: From 10am
Cost£35 per child

Half Term at Milton Keynes Museum
Monday 15th to Friday 19th February
During half term, the Museum will have a host of special attractions as well as all the usual demonstrations, displays, and dozens of fun things to do! Extraordinary science experiments with Professor Beamish, fascinating magic lantern shows, and the chance to make your own peg doll are among the attractions. Plus we’ll be joined on Friday 18th by the RSPB all day.
Place: Milton Keynes Museum, Milton Keynes MK12 5EL
Time: Museum is open 11am - 4.30pm. See website for show and display times
Cost: Children aged 5-16 years £6.00, Under 5s are free, Adults £7.50

Half Term Activities at Millets Farm
Monday 15th to Sunday 21st February
Childrens Jewellery Making Workshops (15th to 19th February; suitable for ages 6 to 12 years); Magic Shows with Magic Peter (16th to 18th February; suitable for ages 4 to 7 years); Punch & Judy (19th February; suitable for all ages); Raptor & Reptile at Millets Falconry Centre (20th & 21st February).
Place: Millets Farm Centre, Kingston Road, Frilford, Oxfordshire OX13 5HB
Times: See website for times
Cost: Varies by activity
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.

Workshops at the Natural History Museum at Tring
Tuesday 16th to Friday 19th February
Monkey Masks (16th & 18th February; suitable for all ages); Bird Boxes (17th February; most suitable for ages 5+); Tring Park Adventure and Den Building (19th February; most suitable for ages 5+).
Place: Natural History Museum at Tring, Akeman Street, Tring HP23 6AP
Time: Check website for workshop times
Cost: Museum entry is free. Monkey Masks: £2 per child. Bird Boxes: £8 per box (advance booking required). Tring Park Adventure: Free (advance booking required).
We've visited the Museum a few times and it's always been a hit with Little Miss A. Take a look at these posts: Meeting the Animals at Tring Museum and Meeting the Animals Again at Tring Museum

Half Term Fun Days with Experience the Country
Tuesday 16th to Saturday 20th February
Indoor soft play, bouncy castles, activities for the older kids and adults too. Suitable for 0 to 12 years. Book in advance: 01908 630665.
Place: Drayton Road, Newton Longville, Milton Keynes MK7 0BU
Time: 10am - 4pm
Cost: £8 per child. Parents, carers and under 2s go free.

Titan the Robot at Friars Square Shopping Centre
Tuesday 16th February
Meet Titan - the famous performing robot. Titan's unique blend of comedy, street theatre and music will have you seriously entertained.
Place: Friars Square Shopping Centre, Aylesbury HP20 2QF
Time: Titan will be appearing at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3pm
Cost: Free

Sing-Along-Frozen at the Wycombe Swan
Tuesday 16th February
Get your little ones dressed up as their favourite character to see this full screening of Disney’s Frozen with lyrics on screen. Introduced by a live host to guide you through this interactive screening showing you how to use your free prop bag, warm up your singing voices and teach you some dance moves with the help of the Sing-a-long-a Princesses. Recommended age 5 and over.
Place: Wycombe Swan, High Wycombe HP11 2XE
Time: 2pm
Cost: Children £11, Adults £16 (booking fee applies)

Den Building by the Campfire at Black Park
Tuesday 16th February
Have a go at building your own den around a campfire with our Rangers in Black Park. Drinks and marshmallows are included. Booking essential.
Place: Black Park, Wexham SL3 6DS
Time: 10am - 12pm
Cost: £16 per family (max 2 adults & 2 children), £3 per extra family member

February Messy Church
Wednesday 17th February
Art, food crafts, bouncy castles, play, quizzes, story, singing, lunch and so much more...
Place: Southcourt Baptist Church, Aylesbury HP21 8HW
Time: 10.30am - 12.30pm
Cost: £1 per person
To find out more about this session, take a look at my review of the Messy Church from April and Messy Church review from May last year.

Wild at Heart - Love is in the Air at College Lake
Wednesday 17th and Thursday 18th February
Love is in the air at College Lake. Find out about what the animals that live here are getting up to to prepare for spring. Wrap up warm for fun activities inside and out, including trails, crafts, and exploration. Booking essential.
Place: College Lake Nature Reserve, Tring HP23 5QG
Time: 10am - 1pm
Cost: £4 per child
We always enjoy visiting College Lake for a walk, you can read more about our last visit to College Lake.

#AylesburyThursdays Event - Extreme Adventure
Thursday 18th February
Organised by Aylesbury Vale District Council, #AylesburyThursdays returns in half term with free activities in Aylesbury town centre. Extreme Adventure will be bringing Spider Mountain and a High Ropes course. For the less adventurous, Kidz Pottery Painting Company will offer a range of ceramics for you to paint.
Place: Kingsbury Square, Aylesbury
Time: 11am - 3pm
Cost: Free (charge for some activities on the day)

Winter Woodland Play at Black Park
Thusday 18th February
Join the Rangers for an hour of woodland fun and games in Black Pine’s Camp. Drinks provided for all. Book in advance. Suitable for 4 to 10 years (parents must supervise).
Place: Black Park, Wexham SL3 6DS
Time: 3 time slots - 10am - 11am, 11.30am - 12.30pm and 2pm - 3pm
Cost: £5 per child

Bear Hunt with The Creation Station
Friday 19th February
Bring your favourite teddy and join us for some Bear inspired half term fun! Lunch for the little ones is included. Suitable for ages 18 months to 8 years. Book in advance.
Place: Racquets Fitness Centre, North Street, Thame OX9 3TH
Time: 10.30am - 12pm
Cost: £8 per child

Children's Activity at Buckingham Old Gaol: Owls to Behold
Friday 19th February
Tony Hewitt will be visiting with some owls! Very 'hands on' owls. There will also be an owl craft table. Tickets must be bought in advance from the museum shop.
Place: Buckingham Old Gaol Museum, Buckingham MK18 1JX
Times: 11am - 12.15pm, 12.30pm - 1.45pm, 2pm - 3.15pm
Cost: Members £1.50, Non-members £3

Everyday until Sunday 28th February
Enjoy winter magic at Ashridge. This trail will help you find out what the Ashridge wildlife does in winter. Can you see any animal footprints or are they all asleep?
Place: National Trust - Ashridge Estate
Time: 10am - 3.30pm
Cost£1 per child

Everyday (ongoing)
Join Stick Man on his forest adventure at Wendover Woods. Set off with a hop and a twirl and help get Stick Man get back to the family tree!!
Place: Wendover Woods
Time: 10am - 5pm
CostFree. Car parking charges apply. Activity packs available from the Go Ape cabin or Cafe for an additional cost of £3.
To find out more about the Trail, take a look at the review of the Stick Man Trail from our recent visits.

National Trust
Throughout half term
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 February half term, whatever you're up to!

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