It’s been a while since I’ve written anything and we are well and truly into September – the kids are back to school, students are getting ready for Fresher’s week (Ohhhh I miss those days) and the weather has certainly got nippier! I’ve been so lucky to have friends and family visiting the past few weeks that it meant I wasn’t able to write any sooner but here I am and I thought what better way to bring the summer to an end with a wrap of everything we’ve done. I started this blog not long ago but before I did it, the family and I have done some pretty amazing (and not so amazing) things throughout the summer so here are the top highlights:
Our local museum is a haven on ‘boring days’ because it’s recently been refurbished and we went on a day where they had some animals on display…reptiles to be exact. Yara and her friends enjoyed the sensory experience of touching the snakes and lizards and when they were done, had a good run around the gardens and then for ice cream in the beautifully furnished cafe where there were plenty of board games to keep them entertained.
Keep an eye out on the Wycombe Museum website as they have great family days on weekends (we recently went to a medieval day which was more hilarious for the adults than the children). Now don’t say I don’t keep you mums and dads entertained…and it’s FREE!
Best soft play in High Wycombe. I know what you’re thinking, how dare I feature soft play on here but it really is such a fantastic place to come. Imagine this…it’s raining outside, kids are nagging, you need coffee and lots of it. Then head over to Playtrain. Kiddos will run wild in the fantastically built soft play warehouse, you sit down and have a decent latte. Don’t have lunch? No problemo, this place serves up some decent food for the kids and adults. So, it’s a win-win situation. The great thing about it is there are lots of seats for the adults, and lots of toys for the kids. You can easily spend a minimum of 2 hours here so bring a book. My only advice is avoid this place like the plague on weekends.
Entry prices start from £1.50 for under 1’s.
In The Night Garden LIVE
We bought tickets to see Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy back in January (when we were still in Dubai…sad!) so in June, we took little Yara to Richmond Old Deer Park on a Saturday and entered the “Dome”. It was beautifully set up and Yara was in awe of the set. The characters were so cute, singing and dancing was perfect and it was the right length of time (1 hour) so the attention span lasted throughout. My only gripe is the cost of things after the show, so for example an Upsy Daisy balloon was selling for £8!!! I told Yara to walk on. Other than that, great show but Yara is not into the show anymore, she has well and truly moved on. So my advice is only go if your kid is really into the show and the characters.
Donkey Derby in Beaconsfield
Who doesn’t love a traditional school fete? Chuck a few donkeys in the mix and you’ve got yourselves a pretty funny day. That’s exactly what my partner in crime Catherine and I did one Saturday back in June. I had seen the Donkey Derby advertised in Beaconsfield and Catherine somehow agreed to join with her 2 girls. We turned up at St. Mary & All Saints School and the show was in full swing. Donkeys racing each other and being as stubborn as donkeys can be (i.e. stopping mid-race to chew on some grass). the girls got to have a donkey ride each and then we hit the stalls, playing traditional games like hook-a-duck and tin can alley. The kids were loving it, while Catherine and I nattered away over some tea. There were plenty of prizes and activities so we ended up staying there till late afternoon, which is good going for a school fete. Look out for flyers next years and make sure you don’t miss it, it’s really something!
I wasn’t sure whether to include this outing in my review but I thought, why the heck not as I can’t always be happy clappy and positive, right?! It wasn’t exactly the most entertaining day but I think it was down to us; we were tired and it took ages to get there. But if you arrive early and have a bbq ready, you can have an awesome day.
Anyway, it’s massive woods with a big play area which Yara wasn’t really getting into because she kept seeing other kids with ice creams and she wanted one rather than playing on the swings and slides. They did a ‘Stick Man Trail’ and we bought the pack but we just didn’t get into it. So, we ended up walking to the Gruffalo statue, staying there for a bit and then going home. Sad I know but sometimes you just have one of those days. Sorry Wendover Woods 😦
We managed to smile for the photo…don’t ask me how!
Mapledean Children’s Centre
There’s a little gem up on the Cressex Road which I can’t praise highly enough. Run by the council, this place offers so many activities for dirt cheap or free. We went there with my buddy Janine and her girl Pixie (remember them from the fruit and veg picking article?!) back in August for a picnic day at the centre and it was gorgeous. Kids had their faces painted, lots of bouncy castles and toys outside, activities indoors….the kids didn’t know which way to go. Plus, we laid out a nice picnic in the garden (thanks Tesco for the sarnies) and chilled. Then, a couple of coppers showed up in their police van and let all the little ones sit in the front and turn the sirens on and then sit in the back in the criminal hold. I think Janine and I loved it more than the children. I highly recommend you keep an eye out on the council website and search for Mapledean Children’s Centre for activity days.
Teddy Bear Picnic with The Wildlife Trust
This next activity took quite a bit of research but I managed to book us a slot in August to go for a Teddy Bear Picnic and it’s run by the Wildlife Trust that look after the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire region. It only cost us £4 and when we finally found the place (details on website), we were really in the woods. It started with the kids dressing up as teddys and making bears from plates. Then we went on a walk looking for teddy bears on trees and learning about different plants and trees. Finally we ended up in an open area where there was a pond and the children got a close up look at some bugs and insects. The volunteer woman read some teddy bear stories while everyone had a snack/lunch and it ended with everyone enjoying soaking up the sun. It was a very educational day that Yara really enjoyed and we hope to do more activities like that to support the Wildlife Trust.
No summer would be complete without a trip to Legoland, and husband coming home one day and telling me he gets a corporate discount, I was booking tickets quicker before you can say Legoland.
So off we trotted one sunny Saturday morning in August (I know what you’re thinking, Legoland on a weekend during the summer holidays????) but all was well because although it took us an hour to get through the turnstiles, we bought the Q-bot…that thing that lets you beat the queues. And it was the best thing we did because we got to go on so many rides without waiting in the crazy queues. I won’t ruin it for you by going into too much detail but the log ride is the best for pure fun and when it is so hot, the splash pad is fantastic, you can’t miss it! Just pack towels and a change of clothes. It was Yara’s first theme park experience and it couldn’t have been a better place – she had such a good time that she kept talking about it over the next few days, saying her best ride was in the submarine. You’ll know what she’s talking about when you get there.
So my dearest friends – we are looking upon autumn as an opportunity for plenty more activities. I’ve already sorted out Halloween and Bonfire Night, let’s see what we do in between. Get in touch if you have any ideas.