Archive for April 2016

A Day Out with Thomas at Buckinghamshire Railway Centre

Saturday, 30 April 2016

A day out with Thomas and some of his friends with lots of themed activities and of course a ride on Thomas himself!



On the Easter Bank Holiday weekend we paid a visit to the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre for one of their special Thomas the Tank Engine days. I was fortunate enough to win tickets through a Facebook competition they ran.

On arrival Little Miss A spotted the life size Thomas the Tank Engine on the tracks so going aboard obviously had to be our first port of call! You travel up the track a short distance, go back and forth about half way and then back to the station. It's possible to go on as many times as you like during the day. The queues were longer at some times than others. We were fortunate that before our journey we got to help give Thomas some water.

In the Visitor Centre there were toy trains to play with, face painting, Thomas themed tattoos and badge making. The Cinema Coach was showing an episode of Thomas & Friends which Little Miss A enjoyed watching.



It took us two attempts before we went for a ride on the Miniature Railway. The first time Little Miss A had a complete meltdown for no real reason (just tired). We managed to go later on in the day.



We timed it perfectly to walk over the Footbridge to see Thomas pass by underneath and Little Miss A will tell you about his 'stinky steam'!!



On the other side of the train tracks we came across Percy and also the Museum. The Museum was much bigger than I thought it was going to be and we spent quite a long time exploring inside but didn't see it all.












If you've got a Thomas fan in your household then this Day Out really is a must. It's brilliant that so many of the activities are themed, not just the train ride but the face painting, badge making etc. There were things that we didn't even get to do like meet the Fat Controller in his Office or the Magic Show. I was so surprised by the size and scale of the Centre and how much there was to see and do. You can easily fill the whole day and really get your money's worth!

We've seen signs to the Centre before but I didn't realise just how close it was to us. Little Miss A was a bit up and down all day - one minute really happy and excited, the next whingy and crying. She'd fallen asleep on the way there and clearly needed more sleep, but we persevered and made the most of our day at the Centre.

Thomas the Tank Engine makes an appearance at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre a few times each year so it's worth checking their website and Facebook page for details.

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St George's Day Events in Aylesbury

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Last weekend there were a couple of events taking place in Aylesbury to celebrate England's patron saint - St George.

On Saturday I took Little Miss A to the library for their free crafts and storytime. She really enjoyed dressing up as George for the re-enactment of the story.


On Sunday Aylesbury Town Council had organised a family fun day to celebrate Saint George. As with all their events, all of the entertainment, games and activities were free.

We got there just in time to catch the scout parade led by The Amersham Marching Band. There was a St George on stilts and The Broughton Junior School dragon.

Once this had passed, we started to explore the activities. Firstly we had a go on the games - the dragon hoop-la was Little Miss A's favourite!

Little Miss A spotted lots of children with balloon swords so of course she wanted one! Then we found the craft tent where we painted a pottery butterfly. Little Miss A also sat for a little while and listened to the storyteller telling a tale.




The most intriguing thing was the mechanical, bubble blowing, breathing dragon. There were lots of handles to turn that made the dragon do different things. It was fascinating.



It's worth keeping an eye on both the Aylesbury Library and Aylesbury Town Council Facebook pages for their events as there's always lots going on and all for free!

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My Sunday Photo 24-04-2016

Sunday, 24 April 2016

This is my favourite picture of this week for #MySundayPhoto.


It was taken today on the bouncy pillow at Green Dragon Eco Farm. Little Miss A absolutely loves bouncing on this and I like that this photo captures one of her big bounces!

OneDad3Girls

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A Review of Mattel Play! in Liverpool

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Last weekend Little Miss A had the chance to go to a play centre with 3 themed zones - Thomas The Tank Engine, Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam - what's not to like when you're 3 years old!?!

Whilst we were visiting Liverpool last weekend, we came across Mattel Play! which is situated in the Albert Dock. It seemed like the ideal place to take Little Miss A as she's really familiar with all the characters from these TV programmes. And it's safe to say, she really enjoyed it.



The first zone you go into is Thomas & Friends. Immediately you encounter a large Thomas. Little Miss A spent a bit of time in the ticket office and the Fat Controllers office before spotting the ride-on hand-pedal trains. She really enjoyed these and got the hang of the pedals really quickly. I lost count of the number of times she went on them.

Little Miss A had a go at sorting vegetables at Farmer McColl’s farm before we found the other really popular part of this zone which was the large ball pit with a big Harold The Helicopter to climb into. The ball pit was a big hit with all the kids.



We then moved on to the Bob The Builder zone. I was quite surprised that Little Miss A wanted to wear the high vis jacket and helmet whilst we were here. I thought she would be more interested in sitting in Scoop but she liked the sand diggers the most. There was a really great drawing area and mega bloks building section, but Little Miss A just spent a few minutes in these parts before moving on.



We went back into the Thomas zone for another go on the pedal engines before heading downstairs to the third zone - Fireman Sam. There were lots of vehicles to sit on and explore - Jupiter (the fire engine), Titan (the boat) and Juno (the jet ski).

There were hooks for helmets as you enter this zone, but not sure why there weren't any available which is a bit of a shame. The highlights in this zone for Little Miss A were trying to put out the fire with the pretend water guns and also playing shopkeeper in Dilys' store.







We headed back upstairs for another circuit up there before deciding to call it a day and head out. There was certainly a lot to do and play with.

As it was the weekend, it was very busy but there was never more than a queue of 1 or 2 children before being able to ride or sit on the vehicles. This may be a lot more when the play centre is fully booked, but there are time-slots staggered at 20 minute intervals throughout the day, and there is a time limit of 2 hours (you're given coloured wristbands) so this hopefully isn't too much of a problem. It is best to pre-book your time-slot in advance.

I struggled to take good photos inside as Little Miss A kept flitting between all the different things and also I was conscious of ensuring I didn't include other people's children in my shots! However, there really are lots of photo opportunities so don't forget to charge your phone/camera!

There are several sets of stairs and lots of low ceilings, so you need to be aware of this. There's a place to leave pushchairs etc. downstairs. If you have a baby with you, then you'd ideally need them in a carrier. There's a shop and cafe on-site as well. The centre is a great option for a rainy day as it's all indoors!

I'm really glad we were able to take Little Miss A to this play centre which has only recently opened. She had a go at pretty much all the different activities, and her favourite thing was definitely the ride-on engines. I think Little Miss A (at 3 years old) is a great age to be able to fully enjoy the centre and all that is on offer. I'd definitely recommend it if you're local or visiting Liverpool with a toddler.

Disclaimer: We received free entry into Mattel Play! in return for this review but all opinions are my own.



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My Sunday Photo 17-04-2016

Sunday, 17 April 2016

This is my favourite picture of this week for #MySundayPhoto.


It was taken today at Mattel Play! in Liverpool. We have just spent a fab few days up North visiting family and then staying in a hotel in Liverpool for the weekend. On a wander around Albert Dock, we found this indoor play attraction with 3 themed zones - Thomas the Tank Engine, Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam. Here Little Miss A is emulating Bob the Builder.


OneDad3Girls

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My Sunday Photo 10-04-2016

Sunday, 10 April 2016

This is my favourite picture of this week for #MySundayPhoto.


It was taken this afternoon at Cliveden National Trust. Little Miss A had such a great time with my friend's children - my god-daughter and her brother. They don't see each other that often and there's a big age gap but within seconds of meeting up today they were running and rolling around and there was lots of laughter. I think this photo captures the fun they had together, all copying each other and being silly!


OneDad3Girls

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Things To Do Now I Am 2! - Final Update

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

So Little Miss A has just turned 3 so it's time to see how we've got on with her 'Things To Do Now I Am 2' list as we've run out of time.

I haven't actually done any update posts on our progress during the year, but I'm pretty chuffed that we've managed to do 16 out of 19. A pretty good achievement I think!

1. Fly a kite - we took our kite to our local park and had great fun flying it. After a while, Little Miss A wandered off to play in the playground but Mr MoaB continued flying the kite for ages! We only managed to do this once, so we must have another go again soon when the weather conditions are right!


2. Ice sensory play - this activity was pretty well received by Little Miss A. I did coloured ice cubes and also froze some plastic animals into ice blocks. You can read more about our Water Play with Ice activities.


4. Splash park / swim outdoors - one of my favourite days out from last year was taking Little Miss A to the Splash Park in Leighton Buzzard. She had such fun running around and getting very very wet! This Splash Park is definitely on our list to re-visit again this summer. She also had fun playing in water features at Stanwick Lakes in Northamptonshire and in Millennium Square in Bristol.


5. Feed the ducks - we've done this on a few occasions now at various places. It does now mean that if Little Miss A sees some ducks she wants to feed them and I'm not always prepared with food so she's often disappointed!


6. Bake a cake - we've made a few batches of fairy cakes together. Our efforts don't always look the best but Little Miss A loves the mixing and eating, and of course she enjoys the licking of the mixing bowl!


7. Go to the cinema or theatre - Little Miss A's first cinema experience was to see the Minions Movie. I was shocked by how much it cost us to go as a family. I've since taken her to the cinema a couple of other times but always to their cheap Kids Club showings! She doesn't mind that the film is not a new release!


10. Go camping - we actually managed to go camping twice last year. We went Camping at Town Farm in April last year and then in late September we went Camping at Swiss Farm Cottage, near Henley. Going so early and late in the year, meant that the nights were very very cold but we survived!


11. Go on a fairground ride - Little Miss A has now been on a few different fairground rides including carousels, teacups and swings. She seems to love them all!


12. Attend a Christmas carol concert - a couple of weeks before Christmas I took Little Miss A to a family service at a local Church where she got to hear lots of Christmas Carols.

13. Day trip to London - I think when I put this on the list, I was imagining a train ride into central London but instead we found ourselves driving into London and had a Family Day Out in Battersea Park.


14. Grow some flowers from seeds and 15. Plant some vegetables - last year we got some raised flower beds and set about planting vegetables in one side and flower seeds in the other. It was a learning curve for all of us - I usually just pop a few plants or bulbs in planters, not really grow anything from scratch. It was very hit and miss what grew and what didn't but it was fun.


16. Play Pooh sticks on a bridge - we actually managed to do this in a perfect location, on a bridge in the 100 Aker Wook at Aldenham Country Park.


17. Build a sandcastle - Little Miss A is becoming pretty good at constructing sandcastles now. She's had lots of practice in our little sandpit in the garden and then on beaches that we've visited throughout the year.



18. Create some wild art - on a walk last year we collected lots of twigs and leaves and then used them like paintbrushes and stamps to create some art. We also collected a load of leaves during Autumn and made a picture with these. This is something that I'd definitely like to do more of.


19. Find a geocache - we just managed to complete this one before time ran out! After a bit of research, I found that there was a geocache just round the corner from us. It took us two attempts to find it but now every time we pass the fence, Little Miss A comments about finding the object. I still need to understand a bit more about this but hope that we'll find lots more geocaches in the future.



We will have to carry the following three items over to our new 'Things To Do and See Now I Am 3' list:
3. Climb a mountain
8. Do a picture scavenger hunt
9. Family bike ride

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



You Baby Me Mummy


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My Sunday Photo 03-04-2016

Sunday, 3 April 2016

This is my favourite picture of this week for #MySundayPhoto.


It was taken on Wednesday on Brighton beach. The sun was shining and we spent a fab afternoon doing lots of touristy things like the the Brighton Wheel and going on the pier. Shortly after this picture was taken, Little Miss A and her Daddy were actually brave enough to take their shoes & socks off and paddle in the sea! Brighton is very special to Mr MoaB and I as we met there and we love taking Little Miss A down to visit.

OneDad3Girls

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Me & Mine - March 2016

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Joining up for with the Me and Mine Family Portrait Project with these photos of our little family for March. A mixed bag of pictures this month!


This first picture was taken this week on our visit to Brighton. Mr MoaB and I both lived in Brighton for many years, but on this visit with Little Miss A we did lots of the touristy things and this family photo was taken on the Brighton Wheel.


This second picture was taken on Easter Monday when we visited the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre for their 'A Day Out with Thomas' Day. We were about to take a ride on the miniature railway.


Finally, this last photo was taken after we'd met the Gruffalo at The Gruffalo Experience in Milton Keynes.

March Highs:
  • - Little Miss A is such a water-baby and her swimming is amazing. She can swim underwater for ages and is starting to use her arms really well in front-crawl! It's fantastic to watch. She has made some lovely friends in her swimming class which means she has lots of fun playing in the pool after the lesson. It's so sweet watching their interaction.
  • - We did our bit for our local community this month with a litter pick-up around our housing estate which was part of a national campaign - Clean for the Queen.
  • - Little Miss A and I visited my Mum & Dad for lunch on Mothering Sunday. My brother and his wife were visiting too so it was a lovely family meal. 
  • - I'm really enjoying doing pregnancy yoga classes. I firmly believe that the breathing I practiced during yoga whilst I was pregnant with Little Miss A got me through my labour with her. So I'm hoping the same will be said this time around!
  • - We went for a very muddy family walk in Milton Keynes. We kept having to backtrack on ourselves as the paths were flooded, so not one of our most successful walks but still nice to be outdoors.
  • - One Saturday I decided to take Little Miss A on a train journey. Just for something to do really. She hasn't been on a train for a long time so I thought it would be fun. We just went a few stops to Amersham, had a wander around the shops and then headed back home again!
  • - I became conscious that time was ticking for doing all the things on Little Miss A's Things To Do Now I Am 2 list, and one of the things was to 'Find a geocache' so I did some research and we found our first geocache, just round the corner - very convenient! 
  • - I took Little Miss A for a day out at Green Dragon Eco Farm. It was a great time to visit as there were so many baby animals to see.
  • - We met my parents in Milton Keynes as they had kindly paid for all of us to do the The Gruffalo Experience where we got the chance to actually meet the Gruffalo!
  • - We enjoyed some Easter family fun in Tring Park doing some silly games with eggs which has now become a tradition for the Easter weekend.
  • - Our local residents association organised an event on Easter Sunday which included an Easter Egg Hunt. Little Miss A wasn't phased by the Gruffalo a few days before, but when it came to the Easter Bunny - she wasn't sure at all and wouldn't pose for a photo!
  • - I was fortunate enough to win tickets for the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre and we went along on Easter Monday for their 'Day Out with Thomas' where we got to ride on a Thomas train and take part in lots of themed activities. 
  • - We took a well overdue trip down to Brighton for a night right at the end of March (and for Little Miss A's birthday). We were so lucky with the weather and really made the most of our short visit, packing a lot in! The Volks Electric Railway, the Brighton Wheel, the Beach, a carousel ride and of course the Pier. We also managed to catch up with lots of our old friends. 
  • - Little Miss A turned 3! We can't believe how much she's changed and grown but she never fails to amaze us. She is becoming quite the chatterbox and it's fascinating to see her unique character developing.  

March Lows:
  • - Baby is measuring on the small side. We're not overly worried but it does mean there's lots of question marks over whether I'll have to have consultant-led care or not. On the plus side, we're getting the chance to see baby more with the extra scans!
  • - Little Miss A decided to end her time as a 2 year old with some almighty meltdowns. We really are fortunate that she doesn't have them very often but it seems like in the last week of March there have been quite a few. I really do hope she's got the 'Terrible Twos' out of her system now that she is 3!
The Me + Mine Project - Dear Beautiful

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