Friday, 18 August 2017

Keeping The Boys Active This Summer

At the beginning of the Summer I spoke to the boys about keeping active over the school holidays. I know that the Summer is time to relax and enjoy yourself without the pressure of having to get up early but I wanted to make sure that we didn't just laze around for 6 weeks. Not so much little J but big J would sit online on his Xbox all day if you let him so I had to have a plan. I asked the boys to go in the shed and choose all the things they could find that could help us stay active this Summer. Typical boys just dumped everything on the grass but then they did make a nice arrangement in the end.

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Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Our Summer Days - Day 16, Walton Hall Gardens

We spent a lovely day at Walton Hall Gardens on Day 16 of Our Summer Days. The weather wasn't great but it was dry so we made the most of no rain and headed out. Walton Hall Gardens is in Warrington so about 30 minutes from home. We haven't been for quite a few years now and I am pleased to say that it was so much better than I had expected thanks to a few enhancements. 


When we arrived we realised that we had no money for the parking, luckily it had the option to pay by phone. I've seen more and more of these cropping up lately, maybe no-one carries coins around with them anymore. Anyway it was £4 to park all day on a weekend, £3 midweek. 


We were greeted by an ice cream van just at the entrance to the park luckily little J was eager to get inside he completely missed it. Usually we can't walk past an ice cream van without hearing the old favourite 'I need an ice cream'. He never wants one he always 'needs' one. 


Just at the entrance to the park is the children's play area which seems to have had a big refurb as its now huge. Little J whizzed past it and wanted to play tennis first.


Since we visited Park Lives little J absolutely loves tennis now and has taken a shine to my Wilson rackets signed by Roger Federer. They are not actually signed its a pre print but I don't care I love them anyway. 


First he played with John then he wanted to play with me. We made up lots of games including Who could hit up in the air the highest? Who could catch it? and Who could do the most 'keep ups'?

It's quite odd how much fun you can have with a ball. 


After all the playing we headed to the nearest bench to eat our lunch. I'd been up since 4am (due to very noisy neighbours - but that's another story) so by 11:30 I was hungry for lunch.

I took a packed lunch but I'm sure there are places to eat at the park if you want to. We didn't see a cafe but if I remember from last time there is one. I always find it best to make a packed lunch when heading to a local park or play area as it can be a really cheap (sometimes free) day out.




Next stop was a trip to the large pond to look for fish. There were so many and we saw a few tortoises too bobbing their heads up and down in the water.




Walton Hall Gardens has a children's zoo which is free of charge. If I am being honest it isn't the most exciting children's zoo I have been too. There were plenty of goats and chickens but not much else. Most of the cages were empty even though they should have been home to degu's, ferrets and red squirrels. It took us about 10 minutes to get round the whole zoo so I think that speaks for itself.


A trip to the park wouldn't be the same without some exploring in the woods. Little J loves exploring and he gets that from his brother. They both headed off in the woods, finding sticks and climbing trees. John joined in too.





We headed to the play area next. It's huge and has lovely spongy floor which makes a big difference when choosing a play area. I prefer soft floor and don't panic as much when little J decides to climb up really high on the climbing frames. 






Last but not least little J went on a big inflatable slide. It was huge and although he was allowed 5 minutes for £2 he only managed 3 slides as it took him so long to climb up.

To finish off the day big J took little J on a Thomas train. It took them all around the gardens and mansion and looked lots of fun. 

We all really enjoyed Walton Hall Gardens, it was lots of fun. Sometimes it's nice to go to a different park and explore new woods and play on new playgrounds. The children's zoo was a bit of a let down but it didn't cost anything so we can't really complain. 

Michelle

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Sunday, 6 August 2017

Our Summer Days - Days 10-15

This week hasn't been very good as we have had the builders back in to start on our kitchen so we haven't had the chance to go out and about. We had a few rainy days so there was plenty of time for playing inside, doing jigsaws and just lazing about.

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Friday, 4 August 2017

Our #PeppaPlayDays Summer Bundle.

To help us survive enjoy the school holiday's we have been sent a huge selection of Peppa Pig goodies to use this Summer. Little J absolutely loves Peppa and although I try to deny it I do have a soft spot for that pig. We received a huge box last week and I know we are going to enjoy playing with this bundle this August.

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Thursday, 3 August 2017

Our Summer Days, Day 8 - Thorpe Park

I have mentioned it before on our blog that we are Merlin Pass Holders, and have been for as long as I can remember. Although we don't venture down South to the attractions very often we think it is still excellent value for money just for the amount of times we go to Alton Towers each year. This year we said that we would try and make an effort to go to Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventures as we have never been before. Last weekend we finally made it down South and visited Thorpe Park and Legoland. 

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Saturday, 29 July 2017

Our Summer Days 6-7

The past few days we haven't really done much. We have just been pottering around the house and making use of the bursts of sunshine we have been getting by heading in to the garden before it starts raining again.

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Monday, 24 July 2017

Our Summer Days 1-4

School is out for Summer which means that I have to now think of ways to keep the boys entertained for 6 weeks . . . eek! I actually love the Summer holidays and being with the boys. Whether it's days out or play days in we always have lots of fun. Here is an update our Our Summer Days 1-4.

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Monday, 18 August 2014

#OurSummerDays Day 26 - The Warner Brothers Studio Tour - Harry Potter

We are huge fans of Harry Potter and were really looking forward to making our way down South to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour - The making of Harry Potter
 
I had read all about the tour but I have to say now before I carry on, this really is a must see attraction and reading about it didn't really prepare me for how amazing it was.
 
When we arrived we were greeted by a car park attendant who checked our tickets and showed us to our car parking space.
 
Tickets are timed and we had a ticket for 12:30pm. The tour allows a certain number of guests in at the time on your ticket so it doesn't get too over crowded.
 
When you enter the huge building there are large photographs on the wall of all the characters. There is a cafe to your left and a large gift shop to your right. Straight ahead is the entrance to the tour. It is advised to arrive 20 minutes before the time on your ticket.
 
We joined the queue to enter and as we waited we spotted the cupboard under the stairs where Harry lived.
 
At the beginning of tour we gathered into a room, all the posters from the movies were on the wall. There was a member of staff inside the room who talked us through the posters and the different languages they were in. We watched a short film and then the doors opened and we entered another room which was similar to a cinema. 
 
We sat down and the short film started. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson appeared on the screen and talked about how this studio had been there 2nd home while they filmed all of the movies there. 
 
When the film had finished, the screen went up and behind was the entrance to The Great Hall. When we entered the great hall I was shocked and amazed at how big it was. I wasn't expecting it to be real but it was. It was an actual room, a big hall. It was just like it is on the film except for the enchanted ceiling. The tables were laid out and there was the models stood around wearing the uniform that represents their house colours.
 
At the end of the hall the models of the teachers were stood like in the films. Dumbledore, Hagrid, Snape and a few others.
 
You can spend as much or as little time in the great hall as you want, we took lots of photos and spent time looking at all the amazing detail on the tables and walls. 
 
Once we had finished we moved into the next part of the tour which was one big room which was broken down into various sections and sets. 
 
There are lots of props and I still couldn't believe just how real all the props and sets are. We visited the sets of Dumbledores Office, The Gryffindor Common Room, The Boys Bedroom and stumbled upon tons of props,
 
The cabinets had some of the films most precious props such as the goblet of fire, the tri wizard cup and the horcruxes.

The potions classroom is a huge set and has so much details with lots of potions bottles and cauldrons. There is also a model of Snape stood in the middle.

Big J joined in with a how to use a wand lesson. There was a selection of wands to choose from, he chose a DeathEaters wand.

He did really well and would make a great wizard.

Just before we got to the Ministry of Magic Section Big J took part in the green screen experience.

Here you get to fly a broom or ride in the Weasley car. There was a queue but it moved quite quickly. Big J wanted to fly a broom. He was given a robe which he wore and mounted the broomstic. No cameras were allowed in this section but you have the option to buy a DVD/USB and/or photos.

We chose to buy all the photos and the USB. The photos show big J in various locations on a broomstick, they are brilliant. The USB has a 3 minute film and a clip of big J flying through the air and it actually looks like he is flying.

The cost of the USB and the 4 photos was £40. You can buy them separately if you don't wish to buy all 4.

The Ministry of Magic section is next before you move into an outdoor area.

Umbridges office is here, plus the large Black family tree tapestry that is featured in The Order of Phoenix.

Luckily the rain had stopped and the sun was shining down when we stepped outside.

Big J was looking forward to trying a butterbeer all day and this is where you can purchase it. Unfortunately the hype didn't last very long because after one sip he said it was disgusting. haha. I told him I had read about it and people saying it is an acquired taste but he wanted to try it anyway. It was £2.95 for a small plastic cup and there were other options available including a butterbeer glass too. Daddy had a try and he wasn't fussed either but I managed to get both of them wearing a butterbeer moustache.


There are lots of huge sets outside including the Knight bus which is the size of an actual bus and Privet drive. Big J knocked at number 4 to see if the Dursleys were at home.

You may have noticed I haven't mentioned little J up till now. He was with us but he fell asleep as we entered the tour and only woke up as we stepped outside. Just in time for his bottle. No food or drink can be consumed inside so if you fancy a drink or bite to eat you will have to wait till you are outside.


The bridge is outside and you can walk along it. The Weasley Car is outside and you can sit inside and also Hagrids Motorbike.

Once you have finished outside its time to go into the final part of the tour.

There are lots of creature props and models of the characters. Big J loves Dobby so we snapped a photo. Dobby looks so small.

I never thought we would be able to walk along Diagon Alley but we did. Its a proper cobbled street with Gringotts and Olivanders. Flourish and Blotts with a photo of Gilderoy Lockhart in the window and the Weasleys Joke shop.

The best part of the tour for me was the GIGANTIC model of Hogwarts. You can see from the photo of Daddy above just how big the model is. Its so realistic and it took my breath away. It is amazing.

They saved the best for last and I honestly couldn't believe how big it was.

Once the tour finishes you walk through the gift shop which has so many souvenirs and gifts. Big J was allowed to choose a souvenir and after about 30 minutes of looking round he chose to buy an Elder Wand and a Chocolate frog.

I chose a time turner keyring and Daddy chose a marauders map mug.

Big J was lucky to also receive a goody bag from Warner Brothers with some lovely gifts inside

We took over 4 hours to complete the tour/gift shop and we loved every second and I would return tomorrow - it really is amazing.

 
*we received complimentary tickets to the tour - all thoughts above are our own*
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Saturday, 16 August 2014

#OurSummerDays Day 24 at Butlins, Skegness - Out and About



Out and About 

Skegness is just a 10 minute drive from Butlins.

It has a lovely pier, beach and outdoor fairground. It was really sunny when we arrived but it started to rain shortly after so our trip was cut short.

Parking is well signposted and we chose an all day for £4 which was just a five minute walk away from the front.

The pier is only short but there are benches along the way, telescopes and some stands selling beach goodies.

It was a shame it rained as we were going to go on more fairground rides, but we just went on the pirate ship.

To find out what else we got up to visit

#OurSummerDays Day 23 at Butlins, Skegness - What to do?
 
 
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Friday, 15 August 2014

#OurSummerDays Day 23 at Butlins, Skegness - What to do?





What to Do?

Butlins does have something for everyone and if you wanted to do everything available you would definitely need more than 4 nights.

The Skyline Pavilion is at the centre of the resort. This has lots of things to see and do.

Big J loves arcades and grab machines and there are plenty of these to keep you bust but you will definitely need to set a limit on how much you are willing to spend because it is very easy to get carried away.

We were very lucky on the grab machines - big J won a ball and a plants v zombies teddy and Daddy won a Edith (from despicable me 2) teddy, but we did try to win other teddies without any luck.

There is a prize bingo section and I love prize bingo. Its 20p a game so if you pop in a £1 you get 5 games which usually lasts 5 minutes maybe a little bit longer.

The bingo caller was the same as last year and he is really friendly and lets you know if there is a winner and tells everyone to press their claim button. This is great for the little ones who are playing  as they may have missed a number.

We won a few times on the prize bingo and you can exchange your tokens for prizes. They are only small and resemble items you can buy in the 99p stores but still fun.

We hadn't noticed it before but there is an indoor sports hall filled with snooker tables, dart boards and table tennis tables. We played Table Tennis and it was lots of fun. You have to put your name down and there is no limit to how long you can play so you could be in for a wait. we left it once because we had already waited for 30 minutes and there was still two names in front of us. You can also book outdoor tennis courts too.

There are lots more activities to do and you are given a what's on guide on arrival which lists everything, but like I said you would need two weeks to cram everything in.

To find out what else we got up to visit the links below

#OurSummerDays Day 24 at Butlins, Skegness - Out and About
 
 
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Thursday, 14 August 2014

#OurSummerDays Day 22 at Butlins, Skegness - The Fairground




 
The Fairground
 
We visited the fair every day. Big J loves one of the rides there called the Miami Wave and we went on it lots, every day. He enjoyed going on it over and over. Daddy and I both went on it although I couldn't go on it as often as big J because it does turn your stomach.

There is a little stars playground which is perfect for little J and he loved all the rides and went on them all every day too. There is also a little train ride in the main fair which is perfect for him too.

There was very rarely a queue for any of the rides so not much waiting involved to get on the rides. The rides are typical fairground rides, there is a carousel, dodgems, waltzers, a small pirate ship, an American hat type ride and the Miami wave. All these including the little stars playground are free of charge. There is a charge for the go karts which is £5 per go.

The rides are open late Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday till 9pm which is good if you don't want to go and see the shows that are on in the evening.

Like I said the fair is very typical and I would have liked to see some modern rides, one of them actually had graffiti on dated year 2000. Although very basic it did the job and my two monkeys did enjoy themselves.

To see what else we got up to visit one of the links below

#OurSummerDays Day 23 at Butlins, Skegness - What to do?
#OurSummerDays Day 24 at Butlins, Skegness - Out and About

 
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