Blists Hill Victorian Town – Family Day Out

Yesterday we went on a well needed family day out with my Dad, my brothers and their families. We decided to take a step back into the Victorian times with a visit to Blists Hill. Other variations of the place may be Blitz hill, Blitzes Hill, Blitz Hills ( It’s one of those places that for some reason everyone has a problem saying!) Continue reading “Blists Hill Victorian Town – Family Day Out”

Out in the fresh air joining in with the new craze “Shropshire Rocks”

If you’re local to where I live you may well have heard all about the latest craze “Shropshire Rocks” The idea is that you paint some rocks in any way that you like then take them out and about and hide them for other people to find them. On the back of the rocks is a short message asking whoever finds it to take a picture and add it to the Facebook Group Shropshire Rocks. If you go out searching for rocks and find any you take a picture post it to the group then you can either re-hide it or you can keep it.

 

Our adventure

As it’s the school holidays and we currently have no car ( please if there’s a fairy anywhere with a supply of cars send one my way! ) We are always on the look out for fun things to do with the kids that aren’t going to cost us the earth. With 7 of us, a simple trip to a soft play can end up costing us a fortune so we are always eager to hear of new fun things we can do that don’t cost the earth. You can imagine how excited we were when we read all about Shropshire Rocks and the idea behind it. A lady called Rachel had seen it successfully done elsewhere and decided to start a group up locally.

We had decided that we would go hunting for rocks, just as we walked out of the door it started raining but I was determined that we would be going and doing something productive today so we swapped the prams over to the double that had a raincover and we set off on our little adventure. Freddie absolutely loves it if we say we are going on an adventure (a long walk) and he was even more excited because he had some nice new blue wellies so could splash in the puddles.

Where were all the rocks??!

We walked around a local wooded area, past the ducks and along the muddy path. I won’t lie after walking for around half an hour I was getting a little worried that we weren’t going to find anything. The kids searched high and low but we couldn’t see any rocks at all. I had followed the group closely so knew that plenty of people were out there joining in but it looked like we had stumbled on an area where nobody was taking part.

Phew we found some

Just as I was about to give up all hope that we were going to find any Harry shouted that he had found one. The back had writing stating that it had been left by someone called Sally and we took a picture to post on the group. This was the start of us finding quite a few each time one was found the kids had their picture taken then we re-hid them.

Fun, Free and Exciting

We honestly had a fantastic afternoon, We walked for a good 2 maybe 3 hours, I even completed my steps for the day on my Fitbit which will do me wonders on my fitness journey ( You can read my fitness journey over on MOFM Health Kick)  It didn’t cost us a penny, nobody was on technology, everyone was running and searching, We were all very excited when we found something and on our way home we picked up some rocks to decorate ourselves ready to go out and hide tomorrow. If there isn’t something like this in your area then start it! Or if there is join in. Don’t worry if you’re not the worlds biggest artist, I’ve seen today from my children that they are so excited to find the rock that if it has something fancy it adds to the excitement but they are just as excited about the fact someone has hidden it and they have found it.

Give it a go!

 

 

We went swimming as a family of 7 for the first time!

As there are so many of us simple things like swimming can be quite daunting especially when there are so many people to get changed and ready. Today however we decided to just go for it and myself and Gareth ( we’re getting closer to becoming a couple again 🙂 ) took all 5 children swimming.

You need to bear in mind that both Freddie and Bethie aren’t the world’s biggest fans of going in a bath so going swimming seemed like a massive task. Also Annabelle is petrified of the swimming pool although she reassured us she wasn’t scared anymore as she had been with the school.

Finding swimming nappies!

Oh well that was a task in itself, I decided it would benefit us all if we took a walk to the local Aldi to find some swimming nappies. The fresh air would do everyone good and it would get the kids off their phones etc for a short while. So off we trotted down the road, running down the street after Freddie and him giving us a heart attack several times running by the road … OK OK he was actually nowhere near the road but I’m overprotective!

Walking round Aldi we decide to pick up some popcorn ready for a movie or games when we get home from swimming and hunt for the swimming nappies, only they didn’t have any. They had wetsuits, pool shoes, even floats and swimming noodles but did they have swimming nappies?? NO!!!

I had to take the car back on Tuesday as it was hired so it means if we want to go anywhere we have to walk. There was no way we were gonna walk anywhere else with Freddie knowing that he still had to walk to the swimming pool later on so I decided to ring the local pool and ask if they sold Little swimmers and thank god they did! We very nearly had to tell an extremely excited 3-year-old he couldn’t go.

We arrived at the pool

and bought the little swimmers and some arm bands before going through to the changing rooms only for Gareth to announce he had forgotten his swimming stuff!

Queue panic stations there was no way I could take all 5 kids in by myself and Freddie already had his arm bands on ready to go in, if we changed our minds now it would have meant a serious toddler meltdown, there was only one thing for it Gareth would have to run all the way home to get his stuff.

Whilst he was gone I carried on getting everyone ready to go in the pool, the bigger children helped me get the little ones ready and then we sat and waited for Gareth to come back, it is at this point Harry finds Gareths swimming stuff in the very front of his bag! So Gareth has gone all the way back home for nothing and we are just sat waiting for him! Freddie wasn’t impressed that he was all ready and had to wait.

Finally we got into the pool

and I can honestly say every little bit of stress was worth it to see all the kids happily playing in the pool, splashing, laughing. Even the little 2 who are normally scared stiff of going in the bath were laughing and splashing around. Ellie finally got the hang of swimming almost completing her first width and Freddie was so confident that he was jumping off the side. Everyone had a great time apart from Annabelle who decided to scream the pool down because I dared to ask her to try to learn to swim. To everyone who may have been in the pool with us I apologise for my (almost 8-year-old) daughters squealing and I promise I wasn’t hurting her I was just trying to get her to let go of the side!

Despite Annabelle’s outburst we really enjoyed it and we regret not taking them sooner, we will definitely be going more often although maybe next time we should get a baby sitter for Annabelle 😉

If you’ve enjoyed reading about our swimming trip why don’t you check out our adventure to find a Gruffalo  or our family picnic.

Thanks for reading

 

 

The Gruffalo Spotters Trail – Haughmond Hill – Day out with the kids review

We had asked on Facebook for idea’s of places to go for an after school picnic that wasn’t too far from home as we only had a couple of hours spare to go in. Loads of ideas were thrown up and one that particularly stood out was a Gruffalo Spotter Trail in Haughmond Hill which is just by Shrewsbury.

Parking

There is parking at the start of the trail but rather than 1 big car park there are a few smaller car parks going around some trees. The car park is pay and display and costs just £1 for up to 2 hours.  We parked right next to some picnic tables and a picnic area but chose to get the full picnic effect by lying a blanket on the floor.

 

The trial

The trail itself is FREE , you are able to buy activity packs for just £3, However due to us not getting there until 4pm we were unable to purchase one as the cafe shuts at 3:30pm , we found this quite disappointing especially when the trail itself is open until 8:30pm. Luckily we had taken our own picnic and drinks but had we have wanted to buy a cold drink on a hot day the option wouldn’t have been there. Most children finish school about 3pm so I would have thought with it being aimed at small children maybe something would have been open.

There is an app that goes alongside the trail but we were unable to get a good enough signal while we were there to download it. We decided that we would still do the trail and see what we could find despite not having the activity pack or app.

Searching for clues

Annabelle who is 7 really enjoyed looking for the clues

It was one of those parenting moments when I looked at her and thought she’s still just a little girl. She genuinely loved every part of it and reciting the book so that we knew which animals too look out for. Before we found each animal there were clues to find, then we tried to guess which animal was coming next by those clues.

I thought this was a fantastic idea and Freddie really learnt from it, being about to turn 3 the world is still very new to him and he learnt about a mouse, a fox, an owl and a snake before finding the Gruffalo itself.

We did find it very sad when we got to one of the clues to find that vandals had destroyed it, not only had they destroyed the actual clue but we also found the temporary one on the floor.

Our Experience

Despite not being able to fully use the trail to its full potential we really enjoyed it. It says on the website that it is aimed at very small children yet we all thoroughly enjoyed it as a family and I would say that Annabelle probably enjoyed it the most, In fact we enjoyed it so much we are going to go back again during the day so we can do the whole thing properly. I would definitely recommend it.  oh yes and I almost forgot we found the Gruffalo!!

If the kids are under your feet and you’re looking for somewhere fun, educational and very cheap ( we literally paid a pound for the car park and have a fantastic time) Then a Gruffalo Trail is for you!

I actually Vlogged our experience and you can find it over on YouTube , please feel free to subscribe whilst you’re over there and if you enjoy the Vlog give me a little thumbs up I would really appreciate it.


We had a fantastic time at the Gruffalo Trail why don’t you visit one too! There are over 26 different sites so there may be one near to you 🙂

 

After School Picnic – Family Fun

I was asked by the lovely people at Debenhams if I would like to have a picnic with my family whilst wearing one of their beautiful Maxi Dresses which was a chance I absolutely jumped at. You see as I am a larger sized lady ( yes I know I said lady but woman sounded far too common) I often find it difficult to find nice light clothing for the summer that is also flattering. I’ve seen many people of all shapes and sizes in maxi dresses and each time thought how lovely and summery they look and how they seemed to suit just about everybody, However I have never had to courage to actually buy one , so this was the kick I needed to actually venture out of my comfort zone and try something new.

I chose the Navy Floral Print V-Neck Maxi dress in a size 16 ( I usually wear a 16 – 18) and I can honestly say as soon as it came and I tried it on I loved it, it hides a multitude of sins and is so comfortable. I wish I had known this dress existed last summer when I was heavily pregnant in the heat. It feels just like the same thin material as you would find in a summer nighty yet looks much thicker when its on. The flowers are really bright and set it all off. Now I NEVER really wear anything like this and I am more of a PJ’s kind of girl but I have had so many compliments when wearing the dress that I am very tempted to treat myself to a few more!

 

Our Picnic

I asked the people on my Facebook page if they had any ideas of nice places we could go for a picnic. We only had a couple of hours spare between school finishing and Clubbercise starting so it needed to be somewhere local but I also wanted it to be somewhere we haven’t been before. We quite regularly take walks in The Wrekin , Picnics in Dale End Park or in the Telford Town Park so I wanted to go somewhere that would be new for all of us. The people who follow my page came up with loads of amazing suggestions and so many that I hadn’t been to before and I am really looking forward to going to them all and seeing what they are like. One of the options however really stood out to me and that was a Gruffalo Trail at Haughmond Hill The idea is that you follow the clues and see if you can find the Gruffalo.

We arrived there and set our blanket out on the floor. There were picnic tables but we had our beautiful wicker picnic basket that Debenhams had kindly sent us and I just thought that such an amazing basket should be used properly on a blanket on the grass. Beth absolutely loved being sat on the blanket like a big girl with everyone else and kept stealing everyone’s food. It was nice to just sit down with all of the children without them being glued to a tablet, the TV or a mobile.

We played for a while around the picnic area for a little while and Freddie discovered a new love for being swung round in circles. You know when you start something and then regret it as soon as you realise how much it’s loved and you’re asked to do it over and over? yeah it was one of those!

The kids had great fun running round and interacting with each other. The smaller ones enjoyed having the freedom to explore. Then it was time to pack away the picnic and go searching for the Gruffalo. Now I am not going to say too much on this post about it as I thought it was such a fantastic couple of hours that it was worthy of a full review so all I will say is for a whole £1 for the car park it was more than worth going. It was a shame that the cafe shut at 3:30pm and we got there at 4:30 so were unable to get one of the activity packs and that we couldn’t get the app to download BUT despite those tiny little things we absolutely loved it. The whole trail from start to finish was cleverly thought out and we all enjoyed it.

Thanks Debenhams for encouraging me to get out and about with the children and have a lovely family picnic and also for giving me the confidence to wear such a bright and beautiful dress.

 

  • Debenhams supplied the picnic basket and maxi dress for the post. I chose the dress myself and all thoughts and feelings about the dress are entirely my own.

You can see my post all about other fun and free days out here

Why I will ALWAYS choose UK holidays over going abroad!

We all have our favourite kind of holidays, whether you prefer lying by a pool in the sun or walking along a beach. Heading to kids clubs or camping in the middle of nowhere there really is holidays out there for everyone. I will always choose the UK.

I’m scared!!!!

One of the main reasons that I will always holiday in the UK is because I am absolutely petrified of getting on a plane! I don’t even know what it is that I am scared of. I don’t have a fear of heights or claustrophobia so I really don’t know what it is. Once I spoke to someone who specialises in fears and they had quite a good theory that maybe it’s a fear of not being in control. Because I am not scared of helicopters or any other form of transport and I am literally just scared of planes. The theory is that in a bus, car, train and even a helicopter you have the person in charge of it in full view. The option is there if you want them to stop, you are able to ask. In a plane however you can’t see the pilot, there is no way of asking them to just stop in the middle of nowhere and for you to just get off it. So the person I spoke to thinks rather than it being the actual plane that I am scared of it is more the fact that I have no control over what happens as I am in it.

The heat!

I am not a fan of the sun, yes I know I’m weird who doesn’t like sun eh? But I don’t like to be too hot. If you’re hot there are only so many layers you can take off before it becomes uncomfortable in more ways than one, trust me nobody wants to see me naked! And even if I did strip down to nothing there isn’t an option to take anything else off so you still just sit there and boil. Alongside the actual heat itself people stink! , I don’t know what it is about the sun that makes people stop using soap but it really is disgusting. I walked into a shop when it was hot here last week and the overwhelming smell of body odour was vile. There really is no need. As well as being too hot & people forgetting what soap is for people tend to be really grumpy in the heat. I find everybody is really snappy because they are so hot and bothered.  At least when you are cold you can wrap up warmer and add layers , turn on a fire or the heating. You can’t turn off the sun.

Everything I need is right here in the uk

This is another big reason I prefer to holiday in the UK. I was bought up going to holiday parks, taking part in party dances, joining in kids clubs and going on fairground rides. Even if the weather was terrible outside there was always something to do and that is the kind of amazing memories I want my children to have. I want them to wake up and go to kids clubs with their favourite entertainers, eat weird dinner combinations in the caravan or chalet before heading off for more fun. Go to the evening entertainment where they learn dances and generally have great fun. Swim in the pools. I am a holiday park girl through and through after growing up going to them and then becoming an entertainer in one myself. I love them and I rarely go in the summer too! We love to go at the beginning or the end of the year where the weather isn’t too hot. 

The only problem is that now there are 7 of us it is becoming more and more difficult to find affordable places to go. I looked at taking all of my kids to Butlins  for a weekend but the price for all of us was way beyond our budget at over £700 just for Fri-Mon , We also find that a lot of places can’t accommodate for all of us meaning that if we wanted to stay in a hotel for example at the Premier Inn then we would have to book 2 rooms meaning double the cost.  I understand we had this many children and we chose to have a large family but with places designed for families you would think there would be more affordable options available. Due to the cost we don’t get to go every year or even sometimes every 2 years but when we can afford to go we always have a fantastic time. 

We love places such as Haven, Butlins , Premier Inn and Travelodge and I would choose any of them over going abroad I know what to expect and I know that my children will enjoy it as much as we will. 

When it comes to a break just for me and Gareth without the kids ( which has NEVER happened yet) we would love to stay in a lodge somewhere, peaceful, a nice log fire, cosy and beautiful ( we can dream right? )

Thanks for reading

 

Fun and Free Days out in Telford and Shropshire

I am one of those people who wake up one day and decide to take the kids out with no pre-planning and often end up frantically searching google for places to go. School holidays and weekends can become very expensive when trying to take the kids out and do things with them. It seems like everyone is out and about doing things and if you don’t have much money it can make you feel like you’re letting your kids down Continue reading “Fun and Free Days out in Telford and Shropshire”

Fun, Free, Sunday family afternoon out in the Sun

We are trying to save money and get healthier too. So we have been looking at free ways to get out of the house. I noticed a friend put some photographs on Facebook last week of somewhere that looked lovely.

After asking her where the place was, she offered to take us and show us this weekend. I’m currently on a bit of a health fix ( I am desperate to look healthier for our upcoming wedding), so this seemed like the perfect solution. A day / afternoon out with the kids and getting fresh air and exercise all in one. Continue reading “Fun, Free, Sunday family afternoon out in the Sun”

Mummy & Daughters date night – Beauty and the Beast

As I am sure all mummies of a lot of children are aware sometimes it is difficult to get that special quality time together . I decided it would be good if I spent some one on one time with Annabelle , as the middle child she tends to get less attention than the others . I thought it would be great if we did something together that Annabelle would enjoy.She chose to go to the cinema and watch the new Beauty and the Beast. However she wanted to bring her big sister Ellie along too! It was mummy and daughters date night! Continue reading “Mummy & Daughters date night – Beauty and the Beast”