Archive for January 2017

My Sunday Photo 29-01-2017

Sunday, 29 January 2017

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


Stuck in the mud!

Little Miss A found the muddiest bit of Helsby Quarry this week and promptly got herself stuck! Thankfully she didn't fall over in it!

OneDad3Girls

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High up on Helsby Hill

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Our move up North has brought us to Helsby in Cheshire, so of course we had to do the walk up Helsby Hill.

We're fortunate that we can walk there from our house and it's a manageable walk for Little Miss A. It's definitely not a pushchair walk so I had Baby R in a sling. 

It's well worth going up there for the brilliant panoramic view which takes in the Mersey Estuary and into Wales. There's also the industrial areas of Stanlow and Runcorn, but you can't avoid that living here! We had chosen a great day to go up the Hill with a clear blue sky. 









On the way back down there was time for a bit of tree climbing and lots of leaf throwing!






If you're interested in going up Helsby Hill, then there is car parking available at the Quarry and then it's just a short walk from there. 

This was our first walk up here but definitely won't be our last. With a view like that I'd go up everyday if I had the time!

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Toddler Ice Skating - Silver Blades Ice Rink, Altrincham

Sunday, 22 January 2017

A first experience for Little Miss A this week - ice skating!


Occasionally Little Miss A has mentioned that she'd like to go ice-skating but then she saw an episode of Charlie & Lola recently called 'I Really, Really Need Actual Ice Skates' and she's mentioned wanting to go a lot since then.

After a bit of research, I was delighted to find that the Silver Blades Ice Rink in Altrincham (just half an hour from us) offer Parent & Toddler Sessions. Called the Penguin Club, they have lots of toys on the ice including sledges, ride on toys and trikes. I think Little Miss A and her Daddy tried every single one of them out!



For the price, it is a great session. It's just £5 for an adult and a child with skate hire included. The session lasted an hour and a half. There were just 2 other toddlers there so no arguments over the toys!

The added bonus was that the bar area was available to parents with refreshments (free) and some toys, so when Little Miss A needed a bit of a rest from being on the ice we took her into this area for a drink and biscuit. Then she was ready to hit the ice again.

Mr MoaB did well to stay on his feet with just one spectacular tumble! When asked what her favourite part of the day was, Little Miss A says "Daddy falling over"! He's just glad I didn't get it on camera!

The only real negative was that we were subjected to Celine Dion on the sound system for the whole session. I'm guessing this was for the experienced skaters to listen to but a bit more variety of tunes would have been nice!

It's well worth checking out if your local ice rink offers similar Toddler Sessions. The Penguin Club at Silver Blades runs during term term only. I think these sessions are really good value and we'll definitely be returning. I'm worried Little Miss A may have the skating bug now!


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My Sunday Photo 22-01-2017

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


This was taken this week and was Little Miss A's first time on the ice. It's safe to say that she loved it! She had such fun. It was a Parent & Toddler session so there were lots of different toys on the ice to try out and Little Miss A and her Daddy did try them all!

OneDad3Girls

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Alice's Wonderland Trail at Erddig

Saturday, 21 January 2017

"Curiouser and curiouser!"

Last weekend, the kids and I spent a curious afternoon of adventure on the Alice's Wonderland Trail at Erddig.

To mark the anniversary of Lewis Carroll's death and to coincide with their Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Garden Trail, Erddig (a National Trust property) was open to all for free last weekend.

Therefore I decided to take the kids along for a few hours as I discovered that even though Erddig is in Wales, it is just half an hour away from our new home. I was a bit worried how I'd manage on my own as Mr MoaB was working, but I'm so glad we went as I was so impressed by the Trail. There was so much to see and do that it kept Little Miss A thoroughly entertained the whole way around.


On arrival we picked up the Guide book and then Little Miss A was immediately off exploring the various Alice themed elements.

Along with sculptures, there were so many different interactive elements along the route including a shadow puppet show area, a dressing up area, giant card ball games and flamingo croquet. Little Miss A was in great form and wanted to have a go at everything which was such fun!









There were also lots and lots of fun photo opportunities!






Part way round the Trail we found the Natural Play Area and Little Miss A was straight up and over everything! She doesn't really need me to hold her hand anymore but there are occasions where I prefer to stay very close by! If you are visiting soon, then be warned that this area is particularly muddy and it is quite hard to manoeuvre with a pushchair, but if you've got an adventurous youngster, then this is a great space to let them run around.



“Yes, that's it! said the Hatter with a sigh, it's always tea time.” Of course, there had to be a Mad Hatter's Tea Party and this didn't disappoint. There was a table laid out which all the kids enjoyed taking a seat at. There were lots of teacups and some pretend cakes so Little Miss A loved having tea.




I'm so glad that I spotted this activity and we went along. It was a great few hours and one of the best Trails we've ever done with so much to do and see. It was just the right sort of distance for Little Miss A to walk around and I didn't have too much trouble with the pushchair on the Trail as most of it was on good paths.

The Alice in Wonderland Trail is on until 29th January and it's definitely worth a visit if you can.

We took advantage of the free entry on the day we went, but entrance fees do apply if you aren't a National Trust member. See the National Trust website for full details and for more information about Alice's Adventures of Wonderland at Erddig.



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Blakemere Village in Northwich

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

I'm not quite sure what I was expecting at Blakemere Village but as it's only a 20 minute drive away from our new home and we needed to get out for a few hours, I thought it was worth a visit.

We arrived about 10.30am and it felt like we were the only ones there! It opens at 10am but considering it was a Saturday when we visitied, I would have thought they'd be a few more people about.

We had a wander around the whole village first, seeing what there was.

We found the 'Adventure Play Area' but I think this is a bit of an oversell as it's just a few climbing frames. As it was so damp we unfortunately couldn't use it. This area is free at least, if the weather permits use!


Then we walked around the rest. We didn't go in to any of the shops on our first walk around and accessibility looked a bit hard into most of them with a pushchair. We spotted a small outdoor ice rink so I enquired about this but it didn't open until 12 o'clock. There's also a Miniature Railway behind this but I couldn't see any clear signage about this (it probably opened at 12 too!).

Then we found the soft play - Barnaby's Play Barn - but they had a private party in and weren't open until 12. We weren't doing very well!

I decided to treat us to a hot chocolate whilst I decided what we should do next. I was sorely tempted to abandon and go home but could tell that this wouldn't go down too well with Little Miss A. We went to Heirs & Graces to warm up and have our hot drink. It's a sweet little tea room but not ideal if you've got small toddlers who like to run around as it also sells home interiors and giftware so there are lots of nice 'breakable' items! Luckily for me, Baby R was in his pushchair and Little Miss A acted very grown up and sat beautifully at the table whilst she had her hot choc.


I killed as much time as possible in the cafe and then we popped into a couple of the toy shops. Then I saw that the Cheshire Falconry Aviary was open (success) so we had a walk around this. It was just £3 entry (as kids under 5 are free) - a result!


There was lots of different species to see including a lot of owls. It's not a very big Aviary but was enough to keep Little Miss A interested as she tried to spot the birds in each enclosure. At various times they do flying displays and you can also book falconry experiences, but the basic entry for the walk through was enough for us.

We were getting close to the time for the Soft Play to open so we popped back to the car for a snack and then went in. It cost us £4.25 for entry plus I ended up buying Little Miss A a drink as she was really thirsty running around. This is the weekend price for over 2s. It's £3.50 for under 2s, £2 for 9-11 months and free for under 9 months, so luckily for us Baby R was free this time. This was his first experience of soft play and he liked the ball pit the best! It gave Little Miss A the chance to burn off a lot of steam anyway and cheered her up no end.


There are a  whole host of other activities available at Blakemere aimed at older children including archery, a low ropes course, crazy golf and segways. So you could easily fill a day here but costs would mount up. The good thing is that car parking is free so you can be there as long as you need.

Maybe there is a lot more atmosphere when everything is open and the weather is better, so we may revisit again in the future, in particular to use the soft play barn.

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No Snow Snowman

Monday, 16 January 2017

Here's an idea for what to do when your little one wants to build a snowman and there's no snow!

So as usual there was a big build-up to a snowstorm last week which resulted in a small flurry which had all but gone by morning. Definitely not enough to build a snowman so a real disappointment for Little Miss A.

Therefore I thought we'd get creative and find an alternative way to build a snowman. Here's what we came up with!


I used an old duvet and some sheets to form the head and body. Then we tried to come up with ideas of what to use for his other parts. The hat and scarf were easy. Little Miss A went running off to raid the fridge for a carrot for the nose. I remembered that we had some wooden sticks in the car which we could use for arms (is it just me that always has at least one stick in the car that's been collected on a walk and won't be parted with?).

We were struggling with what to use for the eyes, mouth and buttons but then I thought I'd raid our recycling box for lids and these worked well and made our snowman quite colourful!



After the success of making our Snowman, Little Miss A asked for me to make her into the snowman! It was very amusing trying to keep the carrot in place!



Then of course it was my turn to become a snowman! I not only had the original items adorning me but Little Miss A decided to accessorise Mummy Snowman with a balloon and belt amongst other things. No photographic evidence of me I'm afraid!

It was such a fun activity to do with Little Miss A and she really got stuck in with adding all his different parts. I thought it would only take a few minutes, but we were playing around for ages together. The only real downside is that I had 'Do You Want To Build A Snowman' from Frozen stuck in my head all day!

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My Sunday Photo 15-01-2017

Sunday, 15 January 2017

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


It was taken yesterday when I took the kids to the National Trust property - Erdigg. They have an Alice in Wonderland themed trail running at the moment and this is Little Miss A taking part in the Mad Hatters Tea Party! The whole trail was done brilliantly with so many different elements. Little Miss A was on great form and took part in all the activities.

OneDad3Girls

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Siblings - January 2017

Joining up with The Siblings Project with these photos of Little Miss A and Baby R. 

These first ones were taken in the build up to Christmas. It was Baby R's first Christmas and he had no real idea what was going on. Whereas this year Little Miss A was really excited about it all as she started to understand that Father Christmas would visit and bring presents. It was such fun building up the magic of Christmas for her.


This next photo is special as it has the pair wearing items knitted by their Nana. Little Miss A wore the same cardi and hat for her first Christmas and it was lovely to see Baby R in them!


This picture was taken on Christmas morning. Little Miss A was thrilled with her stocking full of presents. So much so that when anyone asks about what she got for Christmas, she says 'A Hungry Caterpillar toothbrush' which was a small item in her stocking! Know what to buy her next year! Baby R just liked all the wrapping paper!


Lastly, there's this picture which just makes me smile when I look at it. Little Miss A is so good and patient around Baby R. Long may it continue! Little Miss A has always been talkative but she has become a major chatterbox recently. I wonder if Baby R will ever get a word in edge ways! Baby R is really losing his baby looks and now sits up so confidently. It's not going to be long until he's crawling as he rolls everywhere and gets up on his knees. He's really loving his Christmas present - a jumperoo!




The Siblings Project - Dear Beautiful

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3 Year Blogiversary

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Happy 3rd Blogiversary to this blog!


Can't believe I've now been writing this blog for 3 years. From it's humble beginnings, it's provided me with such a great way to record what we get up to as a family and it's so nice to be part of the blogging community.

There are still so many things I'd like to do with the blog and I'm currently struggling a little bit to get on top of all the posts that I have in drafts. I want it to include all our family adventures so both the kids have them documented for the future. This is so important to me to record our memories together. So that's my main goal for the next month or so, to get all my draft posts published and to start creating new content for our new local area.

Similar to the previous year, some of my most popular posts this year have been the regular round-ups I write with local activities and events in the school holidays in and around Aylesbury. I will now have to change these round-ups and do them for my new local area this year! Also, these posts:
Meeting Father Christmas at World's End Garden Centre
Leighton-Linslade Children's Trail

Where I've let other content slip over the last year as other life events have taken precedence, I have managed to take part in 3 linkys consistently throughout the year: My Sunday Photo; the Me and Mine Project and now that we have two kids, I've loved joining in with the Siblings Project.

The blog has brought with it a few great opportunities. The best of which was a Bowling Party at Hollywood Bowl for Little Miss A and meeting Father Christmas at World's End Garden Centre.

I thought it would be good to have a record of my Social Media followers. They might not be big numbers compared to many fab blogs out there, but I'm surprised by how much the numbers have grown:
Mummy on a Budget on Facebook - 1,065 likes (637 in 2015)
@mummyonabudget on Twitter -  2,202 followers (1823 in 2015)
mummyonabudget on Instagram - 1,827 followers (887 in 2015)
Mummy on a Budget on Google+ - 69 followers (29 in 2015)

I was pretty amazed when I reached the milestone of 1000 likes on Facebook at the end of August. However, Instagram is still my favourite social medium platform. Just because it's so quick and easy to post a quick snap of anything and everything on Instagram. There really is a lovely community on there and it's a great place to get ideas for things to do and places to go.

I would love to take a much more active part of the blogging community but the interactions I have are always really nice. I do look on very enviously at those who have taken the leap to make blogging their full time occupation.

A huge thank you to everyone who reads and supports this blog. Mr MoaB continues to despair at me at how much time I spend on social media, but he knows the reasons I do the blog and does support me. Also, I have to thank the kids for putting up with me constantly getting the camera out. Sometimes Little Miss A isn't as co-operative as I'd like but other times she fully embraces it and poses away or asks to have her picture taken in a certain way! I really hope Baby R and her enjoy reading this blog in the future as much as I enjoy writing it.

As a family we had an incredibly tough year in 2017 with lots of major life events. So much has changed in our lives including where we live! So it's now time to start our new family adventure in Cheshire and see what this part of the world has to offer us!


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My Sunday Photo 08-01-2017

Sunday, 8 January 2017

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


It was taken on a family walk up Helsby Hill, which is right on our new doorstep! It shows Little Miss A with her Daddy at the top. It's a fantastic view!

I usually just put one photo but thought I'd include the version that shows Baby R, the dog and I in the same spot!





OneDad3Girls

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Me & Mine - December 2016

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Joining up with the Me and Mine Family Portrait Project with these photos of our little family for December.



These were taken at the Santa's Grotto at World's End Garden Centre when we were given the opportunity to visit to do a review.


We made the big move from Buckinghamshire to Cheshire this month. This photo was taken outside our old house as we left. I wanted to have a record of this house as the kids won't remember it, but it was their first home.

The month has been all about the move. There were times when I wasn't sure it was going to happen, or at least not on the dates we originally planned, but suddenly it all came together and we did it. It's taking us a while to get things sorted and unpacked. The task is so much harder with two small children around. We'll get there. The kids seem to have settled in to the new house really well which is a huge relief. I know we're going to be happy up here.

I am now undergoing treatment for my health condition. Therefore there have been lots more hospital appointments as my treatment has been transferred to a new health centre up here. Thankfully so far I am not having too many side effects but it's all very stressful.

It has meant that we didn't get to do as many festive things as I would have liked in the build up to Christmas but I tried to do as much as possible to get Little Miss A excited and it worked!

December Highs:
  • - Our visit to the Christmas Grotto and Winter Wonderland where Little Miss A and Baby R got to meet Father Christmas. Little Miss A had a lovely chat with Santa.
  • -  I enjoyed a rare evening out at our local NCT branch Christmas party. It was also my chance to say goodbye to these lovely ladies who I've volunteered alongside. I've been involved in some great activities and events with them and have some great memories.
  • - More goodbyes as I officially left my job, so had a lovely coffee and catch-up with my team. I wasn't there very long before I went off on maternity leave, but the whole team were so brilliant. I will miss them. 
  • - Our first venture out into the local area was to the Frodsham Christmas Tree Festival. A collection of 18 trees decorated by different community groups. We were there quite a while in the end as Little Miss A spent ages doing the free craft activities. 
  • - I'm starting to try out different playgroups to take the kids to. We've been to two so far, timing was great as we got to take advantage of the Christmas parties they had!
  • - I took Little Miss A long to a local church to their Nativity service. All the children came dressed up and were involved in the story telling. Little Miss A was a lovely angel. 
  • - This year Little Miss A really began to understand what Christmas is about. It was lovely to be able to start some new family traditions with her. We spent Christmas morning at home and then travelled to Mr MoaB's sister's for lunch. We were up there in under an hour - great to be so close to his family now - one of the reasons for moving up North. Lunch was lovely and Little Miss A had the best time playing with her older cousins - I didn't really see her the whole afternoon!
  • - Boxing Day was spent at Mr MoaB's other sister's house. More family, more food and more presents!
  • - Little Miss A went to her first pantomime - Jack and The Beanstalk in Lytham St Annes. She got really involved in the interactive parts which was great. 

Overall 2016 has been a terribly tough year filled with a lot of great sadness for our family. Baby R has been the greatest blessing of the year. It is him and his sister that keep us going and keep us smiling, as this round-up of photos for the year show. I'm so glad I have a monthly record of our family. They are my world and my everything. 



The Me + Mine Project - Dear Beautiful

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My Sunday Photo 01-01-2017

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


This is Little Miss A with her cousin after seeing her first pantomime. We saw Jack and The Beanstalk at the Lowther Pavilion Theatre in Lytham St Annes. Little Miss A really enjoyed the performance and got really involved in the interactive bits - shouting, singing and dancing along.



OneDad3Girls

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My Sunday Photo 25-12-2016

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


It was taken on Christmas morning when Little Miss A was opening her stocking presents. Christmas was extra fun this year as Little Miss A was old enough to start understanding what it was all about. It was so lovely to see how excited she was by her stocking and all the little presents she got. I think she liked these more than her main presents! Baby R had no idea what was really going on and just enjoyed all the packaging and paper!



OneDad3Girls

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