I decided that we should make the most of the beautiful weather over the weekend and have our very first Teddy bear’s picnic in the garden, I was so excited thinking of what I could make to eat and drink for our little party, I was obviously more excited than my son! 😉 After breakfast we headed into the garden to set out our picnic area we didn’t have any specialised equipment or anything like that! just an old cot sheet for the floor, a set of James favourite teddy’s, and couple of plastic plates, cups and straws, we were ready to go!
After giving all the teddy’s a drink, which James loved every minute going round every individual teddy saying “dink water,” really cute! I made a plate of fruit for snacks and James was so funny trying to put most of the fruit down cookie monsters mouth, he was concentrating so hard saying ” want one”It’s amazing how much they learn just doing simple things and priceless to watch. We were talking to the teddy’s asking what they would like and going through all the different fruits which made James smile, he ate a piece of fruit every time he gave the teddy one, which was a bonus! It was a great success and to say I wasn’t really equipped for the little picnic it couldn’t have gone any better.
The teddy bear’s picnic was over and now it was time to get all the teddy’s loaded into the car and take them for a spin, like you do! James was running round the garden making all the brum brum noises then he pulled up and shouted,” out,out, mine” then jumped in, classic!
There’s never a dull moment in my day and feel truly blessed to be experiencing all these special little moments with my son, and although my little one is going through some huge emotional milestones, with the terrible two’s definitely in place, which I’ll save for another day! 😉 This was definitely a magical moment day for me!
There’s nothing nicer than catching up with friends you’ve not seen for in ages and today was one of those days :)Earlier in the week my pal Jill texted me to say there was a garden and scarecrow festival in Trawden over the weekend, and the theme was Disney,our favourite,we’d be there no matter what!making memories with the kids playing together are my favourite kind of days, couldn’t wait to catch up and enjoy spending the day together.
I don’t know Trawden at all so it was great that Jill knows the area like the back of her hand. We parked up and headed through the main street, passing lots of quaint little gardens which James and Lily found fascinating, with all the different flowers, garden ornaments, scarecrows and lots of nooks and crannies to explore. The local resident’s welcomed you into the village and into their gardens. We couldn’t have asked for a nicer day to be walking round enjoying all the effort everybody had put into this local event.
As we walked round the village we saw everything from Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Up, Monsters Inc, Snow White and the seven dwarfs, it was absolutely brilliant! and the kids loved it! Jill and I were just saying “Awwww” constantly as James, Lily, and Polly faces were in ore of it all, it made the day that bit more magical for them and us!
After we’d had afternoon tea in the village hall there were lots of little stalls selling homemade cakes and crafty things the kids had fun on the bouncy castle and we couldn’t help buy these amazing fruit flavoured lollies to set us all up for the walk round the rest of the village, as you can see from the kids faces they loved them!
What a lovely way to spend a sunny afternoon walking round the picturesque village of Trawden exploring peoples gardens and watching the kids have fun looking at all the scarecrows. Thanks for a lovely afternoon Jill, Lily and Polly. Hope you’ve had a fab Sunday 🙂
I don’t know about you but I’ve never been to a Duck Race before so when I saw the Waddington Duck Race advertised I thought lets go and see what it’s all about 🙂 I’m so glad we did as it was an absolute brilliant day out with live music, Maypole dancing, great food, lots of little stalls with fun crafty things to take part in as well as buying a few homemade cakes, which who can resist eh! The whole village was on board with making this day one to remember.
Luckily the weather was on our side making it easier for most people to walk into the village and they closed the main road off which was great so little man could run round and enjoy all the entertainment. As soon as we entered the village there were loads of people supporting the whole event a fantastic atmosphere and there was a fire engine in the middle of the road as we approached the village hall, which James loves, so he went running up for a closer look. The fireman was so helpful and let James go inside and sit on the chair as he looked at all the apparatus he looked round in amazement whilst he was sitting there and never said a word bless him.
James spotted this old tractor and wouldn’t walk passed until he could have a ride on it, luckily it was there courtesy of the Clitheroe young farmers club, they were all so friendly and helpful plus we had a chance to win a brand new tractor toy, way hey! 😉
Couldn’t resist the BBQ situated outside the Waddington Arms, the food is always amazing! Two huge homemade cheeseburgers with onions and tomato sauce just hit the spot then ice-creams all round then we bought our tickets and were ready for the big Waddington Duck Race!
With a fun running commentary from the local radio station Ribble FM , which made me laugh as it was like watching a scene from Peter Kays Phoenix Nights with Chorely FM “coming in your ears” sorry I couldn’t resist that! 😉 they were really good then the ducks were released and we were all cheering to see if our ducks won, so funny and James loved it even though I had to pull him back a few times from him trying to jump in. All great fun but unfortunately we didn’t win. First prize was £100 so it was definitely worth a go!
A really lovely family day out and I’ll definitely be putting it in my dairy for next year:) Even though the Waddington Duck Race is over for another year it’s still a lovely village to go and visit, look at all the scarecrows in people gardens and eat great food at any of the local pubs, beautiful walks and lots of real ducks that just make you smile on summer days like today 🙂
It’s great to have a weekend packed full of celebrations catching up with friends as we don’t always get the chance with my hubby working most weekends. It was Mary’s 70th birthday BBQ, then our friends son Joshua’s christening and Fathers Day all on the same weekend I was sooo excited!!
As long as little man has a balloon in his hand he’s happy as! , couldn’t have asked for a better day to celebrate Mary’s 70th the drinks were flowing and food was amazing as always, although Chris had a problem with BBQ …it didn’t work! the gas value had broke Cindy saved the day and got everything into the oven, which gave us more time to play in the garden and enjoy a few more cheeky one’s 😉 Cindy and Cathy did their mum proud it was a great party and lovely to be apart of. Happy 70th Birthday Mary. xxxx
Such a brilliant day little man was shattered after eating a huge piece of chocolate cake and wearing most of it! we headed off home. An early night for us all ready for Joshua’s christening and Father’s day.
I Loved this card as soon as I saw it, my Macca bears together, I’m such a soppy sod, cant help it! 😉 After we gave daddy his Fathers Day present, which I spent ages thinking what would he really like?! it’s the simple things that my hubby loves as he is a very practical no frills mans man, so after lots of thought and knowing he’s back at the gym I bought him a new water bottle from the big bottle company https://www.thebigbottleco.co.uk/product/big-bottle-elite-jet-black/ and he absolutely loved it, I think its a great idea knowing that if you drink all the contents of the bottle you’ve reached your recommended daily water intake simple and effective perfect for my hubby. After all the Fathers Day fun and running round like a headless chicken trying to get everything done before the christening, which I was so glad it was at 2pm, we were all ready to go for Joshua’s big day 🙂
Here they are waiting outside the church ready to go in, my whole world 🙂
The only picture we have in church it was such a lovely service and Joshua enjoyed every minute bless him.
James enjoying snakes and ladders,well his version running off with the snakes! A beautiful day and a great venue for the kids to run round and play after the service. Want to say a huge thank you to Danielle and Laurie for letting us share their Joshua’s special day. Another fab weekend making memories and celebrating them with the people we love 🙂
I was soooo looking forward to our weekend break away, I’d been planning to have a night away with my hubby for his birthday for quite some time and I really love The Lakes, but I’ve never explored Newby Bridge before so I’m searching for all the best deals , like you do! when I came across a great deal for The Knoll, it’s location was perfect! and as we were only staying for one night I wanted to fit as much in as I could, keeping everything crossed the weather would be kind to us. I soon scribbled down a quick list of things to do from The Knolls website and I came up with 4 top things to do as a family in Newby Bridge now we were ready to go! 🙂
As we arrived at Newby Bridge we were far too early to check in, as I was up at the crack of dawn sooo excited for our road trip you’d think it was my birthday! anyway we didn’t wait round we headed straight for our 1st port of call The Lakeland Motor Museum, probably one of the largest collections of motor memorabilia in the UK. As my hubby loves anything to do with cars and motorbikes I knew he’d love it here my only concern was that I could keep our little man from touching everything in sight and stop him climbing into all of the beautifully displayed cars!
This place was so much more than a museum with over 30,000 exhibits to feast your eyes on from classic cars, motorbikes, pedal cars & cycles to period shop displays with historic female fashion it was stepping back in time looking through the shop windows there was something for everyone to enjoy. As you walk passed all the classic cars and motorbikes it gives you a real sense of how motoring has changed over the years and there really are some weird and wonderful contraptions that you can’t believed people actually travelled round in that way, just wish you could actually have a go in them, how much fun would that be!
James was fascinated with all the displays, as he loves cars as much as his daddy, and luckily he couldn’t break into these display cabinet’s! I have to say James did really well walking round I think there was so much to look at that we could keep him easily distracted just before he was about to try and climb in a classic car we quickly escorted him to the next display, Yay! Not only were there plenty to see on the floor when you looked up there was an old plane and hot air balloon with mannequins in to which James was mesmerised, loads of fun things to see and keep little ones amused.
Luckily this model was only a replica! at the Campbell Bluebird Exhibition, which is in a different building to the museum, and is a great tribute to Sir Malcolm and Donald Campbell racing career. Walking to the exhibition James could run round to his hearts content and look at some early models of caravans and play in a giant tyre on the way!
After we had checked in and quickly dropped our bags off we headed straight down to Lakeside pier, where you can park the car 10 hours for £4, and take a lovely cruise on Lake Windermere to Bowness. The fare is £11.30 return for each adult and under 5’s travel free but you can make it cheaper if you book 1 or 2 attractions there’s more information on their website with cruises and timetable in this link, https://www.windermere-lakecruises.co.uk/cruises-fares
The Windermere cruise is a must when getting from one place to another in the Lake District. It’s a great way to travel and take in all the beautiful scenery up and down the lake, watching the wildlife and the boats is so relaxing. There’s both indoor and outdoor seating and refreshments are served on board. The lakeside to Bowness cruise is a 90 minute round cruise but it’s great to jump off the other end and explore beautiful Bowness then return later, each cruise gives commentary on the local history and points of interest surrounding Windermere. James loved it!
There’s always lots of wildlife to capture your little ones attention James absolutely loved watching the geese, ducks and swan’s all along the water front. There’s lots to see and do in Bowness-on-Windermere, from boat tours to visiting Beatrix Potter World, your never stuck for places to eat or drink or seeing lovely gift and speciality shops all near the water front and the town is only a few minutes walk. There’s always something going on, James spotted the fun fair and quickly headed straight towards it.
This was James first visit to a fun fair and hook a duck with his daddy to win a prize, aww his little face was priceless think daddy enjoyed it to!
Daniel, a therapeutic foster care case manager, is constantly surprised by the resiliency and empathy demonstrated by resource families, which includes foster, adoptive, and kinship caregivers. Daniel described a foster parent support meeting he facilitates: “Every meeting, tears turn to laughter and sorrow gives way to hope as the foster parents hold each other up in a way that only another foster parent can.”
Compassionate and well-trained foster parents are essential to providing children and youth in the child welfare system with safe and stable homes. In 2015, there were 428,000 children in foster care.
To honor the resource families that care for these children, the Children’s Bureau chose “Empowering Caregivers, Strengthening Families” as the theme of National Foster Care Month 2017. Foster parents, when they have solid support and access to resources, can positively impact the lives of the children they care for in powerful and far-reaching ways.
When describing foster parenting, Daniel said, “It is nothing less than the act of a hero.”
Lucy and Melvin are two of those heroic foster parents. Lucy’s foster son wanted to play the piano, so Lucy worked with a community-based organization in Georgia that supports children in foster care with specialized needs to arrange lessons. “He is doing very well, learning how to read music. He is thrilled. He likes to dress up in a bow tie and dress shirt for every class” Lucy said. “My hope is for his wish to come true: one day to become a pianist.” Lucy’s knowledge of the services available enabled her to connect her foster child to the resources he needs to thrive.
Melvin is a therapeutic foster parent. “Therapeutic foster children have experienced more trauma. They have been hospitalized and [have] extreme mental health issues,” Melvin said. Though therapeutic foster placements are challenging, Melvin says that he believes it is his duty to provide support and guidance to help children thrive. “Once the child becomes adjusted and comfortable in their surroundings, you begin to see a different child.”
Foster parents like Lucy and Melvin are heroes, but even heroes need help. National Foster Care Month is devoted to enabling foster parents like Lucy and Melvin to serve and support children in the child welfare system. We’re committed to offering resources to child welfare professionals, foster parents, and kinship caregivers so they can help the children in their care
Our schedule has been pretty full lately, but the girls squeezed in this event. They planned an incredible breakfast: homemade cinnamon rolls (fresh, folks, as in Mary was up at 5:30am Saturday!), breakfast casserole, fruit, orange juice, and coffee. They decorated the table for Christmas, and to be honest, it DID feel like Christmas as we had cooler temperatures plus rain that morning.
I loved the thought and care put into everything. The girls served their guests, they sang a special, Bethany shared about what the shoeboxes are used for, Abby recited a passage from Luke 2, and Christina showed items from a box and how they are beneficial to children.
The family gave generously, and today, the girls are going shopping with the littles for items for the boxes! You might think November and shoebox collection week is a long way off, but now is the time to be collecting items (especially on sale!), so that you can be prepared!
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Heading back to full-time work earlier this month meant getting my shiz together and putting systems in place to keep us organized to remove unnecessary stressors (well the ones we have control over, anyway). Truth bomb – we kinda fly by the seat of our pants over here and organization does not come naturally to us, but seeing how it helps our flow makes a small investment of time to get practical systems in place so worth it in the long run. These 3 services are kind of fabulous, and anything that helps our family simplify and stay afloat is worth sharing.
Smart home delivery services have been a huge time-saver for us. I don’t know what cave I’ve been living in to have only stumbled upon Amazon’s Subscribe & Save (affiliate link) service last month, but it’s fantastic. We’re already Prime Members (affiliate link) because of pre-order & quick ship perks, and with the Subscribe & Save service you’re able to create a list of items you want delivered on a regular basis – our shipment comes by mid-month. Our list includes everyday essentials that we don’t want to run out of like toilet paper, paper towel, breakfast cereals, cleaning products, diapers (which you get 20% off using the Amazon Family service) and coffee (This one especially needs to be well-stocked 😉 Hello parent fuel! ).
What we love most about it:
– You can cancel anytime
– You can choose the frequency of deliver (ie. 1 month, 2 months, etc.) and change the frequency at any time
– After 5 items have been added to your list, you get 15% off your order (on top of anyCOUPONS (affiliate link) you can add to your account!)
– FREE shipping!
– Email reminders before your delivery goes out in case you need to modify/cancel items
Life is fleeting and this “Things We Loved” monthly series highlights some of our favourite things over the previous month and is a place to reflect amongst the hustle and bustle of busy family life. This series includes products, family memories and even some sources of inspiration and lessons learned that swirl around this Mama’s over-thinking mind that need off-loading. A place to get a little more personal, and be grateful for what’s come our way. This edition features our favourites for the months of June and July. Thanks for stopping by. Your support means the world to us.
1) FAMILY FUN
June was jam-packed, but so memorable. Aside from the excitement of end of school and some beautiful family celebrations, Allegra had her very first dance recital (insert tear-jerker, massive pride & joy!). Being a former dancer myself, this was a bit of a dream come true seeing our one and only little lady twirl her stuff (equivalent to Andrew seeing his boys on the ice for the first time). Not sure whether she’ll carry on her dance journey, and it really doesn’t matter. Our only hope is she does everything with the same joyful spirit and fearlessness as she did on-stage for her first performance.
Copyright: House of Kerrs
The big boys started Multi-Sport camp the beginning of July and are having an incredible time. Having some routine in the Summer is kind of good for all of us. They get pretty tuckered out by day’s end, and after dinner, we usually jump in the pool (which totally substitutes for bath time many nights – bonus!). We opted to keep evenings and weekends schedule free this Summer for the first time in years. It’s been so enjoyable. The hockey season will be upon us before we know it, when hectic returns and the juggle gets real again, so some time to just go at our own pace has been so nice and necessary.
One perk of blogging has been the opportunity to attend events that are fun for the whole family. The beginning of June we were invited to the Springfree Celebrate Summer event, and the kids had a blast bouncing around, hanging with Superheroes and tasting some new treats – the cookie dough dessert bar from Sweet Flour was yum-azing!
The VIP experience at Odysseo by Cavalia was another unforgettable time. I’ve been wanting to see this production for a few years now, and the opportunity to attend with Tyler during Social Media week as a true treat. Odysseo is unlike anything we’ve ever seen, or may see again. Breathtaking and phenomenal. You’re not going to want to miss this one when it comes to your city!
Being a patriotic bunch, the build up and celebration of Canada’s 150th Birthday offered some incredible memories. We had a very Canuck-style celebration at home with close loved ones – BBQ, pool party and Maple Leaf everything (including the burgers), capped off by a tribute to Tragically Hip concert and fireworks at our local park.
There’s still so much to do beyond July 1st to commemorate this milestone year for Canada, and you can find some good ole’ canuck family fun in my “20 Ways to Celebrate Canada 150” article on MomResource.ca. #8 on the list is attending one of Canada’s top amusement parks, which we did in July to our favourite Canada’s Wonderland. Andrew and I have enjoyed Wonderland since we were kids, had plenty of dates as high school sweethearts, and have loved bringing our young family to since 2009. The Canada 150 décor around the park is fabulous and makes for great photo ops.
2) CONNECTING WITH FELLOW DIGITAL CONTENT CREATORS
One of the things that keeps me pulled into blogging is the continuous learning piece. Finding time to commit to furthering my skills in the digital content creator realm isn’t easy as a busy Mom, but I’ve fallen in love with this industry, see limitless potential, want to learn more, and have given myself permission to invest in myself and my desire to build my skillset in this realm.
The beginning of June I was invited to attend Strut – a 2 day conference in Niagara on the Lake for female digital influencers to come together, share knowledge, and give ourselves permission to strut our stuff. I met so many brilliant women in the industry I had previously only engaged with online, and left feeling so inspired to implement some of the learnings from the event. Letting loose in beautiful surroundings, sampling wines from Chateau des Charmes, and soaking in the energy of women who believe in genuine support over competition was such a treat. Brands are demonstrating they value the voice of women to stand behind their products, and increasingly see the power and potential of the female voice. It’s so empowering. Sneaking away for a few days isn’t easy, but having the unwavering support of a man who values my growth and desire to learn as much as I do, and extended family who provides back up when we need it, makes investing in myself possible and I’m beyond grateful for it.
Horrible photo, beautiful subjects – Strut Events 2017, Chateaux des Charme Shown (left to right): Tina (Mom Boss of 3), Josie & Laura Cannone (The GG Sisters), Carolina (Finding Momjo), Kelly Bourne (The Parenthood), Jamie Scrimgoer (Kick-Ass Step Mom Project), Joanna Venditti (Nesting Story), Amanda (Amanda Muse), Liat (Finding Momjo)
I also got out to a super fun night to celebrate with The GG Sisters at a scavenger hunt media night at Buy Buy Baby in Vaughan. GG Sister Josie was expecting her now born baby Alessandro and it was a great night connecting with other female creatives in real life. The GG Sisters have gorgeous hearts, and radiate positive, loving vibes. I’m honoured to have gotten to know them better, appreciate their good vibes energy and desire to help other Mamapreneurs. Check out my feature on them in our Mama Thriver series. They are true gems and deserve all the love they get.
Buy Buy Baby Vaughan Blogger Event – Hosted by The GG Sisters
Mid-July I attended a blogger dinner at Lil Baci in uptown Toronto to meet up with a fabulous group of ladies I’ve loved connecting with virtually. It was a wonderful night connecting, laughing and toasting to this crazy journey we’ve all taken in blogging, and sharing our knowledge and learnings with one another. Community over competition at it’s finest. If you don’t already, you should totally check out these fantastic women on their platforms: Kate of Emmetts ABCs, Andrea of Harlow & Thistle, Renee of MSCMommyLife and Erica of AnnaGeorgiana.
3) THINGS THAT HELP US SIMPLIFY
Endless responsibility is inevitable with family life. While the to-do lists and domestic demands will always be there, finding ways to simplify those things, and adding time back to enjoy family time has been a major focus around here. The less time we have, the more I seek ways to preserve or expand it.
When I was a little girl, we didn’t go on fancy holidays. I didn’t have a sunny holiday abroad until I was 21. When I was young we tended to do camping holidays and I always remember camping at Flamingo Land fondly. My sister isn’t keen on holidays abroad and always books British resorts for her and her family to go on. After our awful Spanish holiday last May, we decided to just do British holidays with the kids this year. So when my sister booked to go to Flamingo land for a long weekend I thought we would book a weekend trip alongside them for nostalgia’s sake.
We booked a caravan for 2 nights (Friday/Saturday) which gave us access to the theme park/zoo for 3 days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). This cost £427 which we thought was a hefty amount to pay. But considering access to the theme park itself costs £45 for anyone in your party above three years old, if you have a lot of people staying in your van it starts to work out to be great value for money.
Two days before we were due to go, my nephew came down with chicken pox so my sister/mam cancelled their bookings. We had a bit of a dilemma that you will know all about if you follow my Instagram stories as I was asking my followers what they thought we should do – cancel or still go. In the end, it was too late for a cancellation so we just decided to go. I’m so pleased that we did. We all had a blast, but especially the kids. Arlo has been crying a lot since we returned saying he wants to go back so whilst that’s hard to watch, it is a sign of a much enjoyed trip.
Our caravan was a 3 bedroom ‘gold’ caravan which sleeps up to 6. It was situated on Hawthorn Way on the resort. It costs a standard £427 off season (you can pre-book with a £50 deposit) for a 2 night break (starting on either a Friday or Saturday night). As mentioned, when you stay at the holiday resort you get unlimited access for each day of your stay. This is from opening on the day of check in, until close of day of check out. Hawthorn Way is excellently located. It’s under a 5 minute walk (with slow kids) to the Theme Park entrance, or the supermarket/reception or the evening entertainment. It might be about 2-3 minutes realistically.
Check in to the caravan is not until 4pm but they do often have check in earlier than that too. It just depends if your van is ready so definitely ask them. When we arrived at our caravan, we were pleasantly surprised that despite not having booked the best caravan on offer, it was modern and spacious. We were more than happy with it. It was all safe for Lena. There was a separate toilet to the shower room which meant that no one was hogging the toilet when one of us needed a shower like on our last caravan holiday to Haggerston Castle.
When we arrived, the children were running excitedly round and round the coffee table. Papa Ginge and I had a cuddle and watched them, remarking how wonderful it was to be able to give them an experience that they were so excited about. We reminisced on times in our own childhoods where we had felt the same on holidays. For me, it was like coming full circle as I remembered my own childhood in the same place and reflected on how it must have been for my parents stood in my shoes back in the 90s. I also thought that the two week camping holiday we had there must have been hell for my parents and it’s a testament to their love for me and my sister.
Issues with the caravan
The only criticism I had of the caravan was that it was wobbly so every time someone walked you could really feel the van wobble which was annoying (especially when our toddler was sleeping). Our caravan (number 48) was right next to the bushes and there were a lot of birds out there. They were noisy, squawking a lot and banging around on the roof. My two year old sleeps like crap anyway so I could have done without them giving her the extra encouragement to wake.
On the last morning, when we were washing up getting ready to check out, the sink started flooding. When we looked we could see the waste pipe wasn’t connected at all, this caused a bit of inconvenience with Papa Ginge having to fix the pipe and us having to use our towels to mop up the water. We had to pull all the pans etc from under the sink out. I reported it to the resort and someone came out very quickly to fix it. When he saw it was fixed well he joked with Papa Ginge that he could have a job if he wanted. So just one of those things, not a big deal, just a little inconvenient.
Holiday Village amenities
All Holiday Village guests have exclusive use of the Splash Zone leisure centre. This includes a large swimming pool, two flume slides and water jets, two kids’ slides, plus a gym, sauna, Jacuzzi, steam room and the Poolside Cafe. There is a nine-hole golf course too which we didn’t have time to check out on our visit.
We did go to the swimming pool on our first morning there to make use of it before the theme park opened at 10am. It was easy to go and use – reception just gave us a band. Lockers are a refundable £1. There were larger family lockers and large family changing rooms with good baby changing stations. The changing rooms were clean and tidy. The pool itself was nice and warm. The kids really enjoyed it.
The splash park outside looked like it would be great fun on a hot summers day but unfortunately it was a bit too cold for it when we were there. We spent about an hour at the pool and then popped back to the caravan to get showered and dressed, eat and put Lena down for her nap. Lena slept atrociously the first night in the caravan so she and I were both feeling it on the Saturday so we both had a nap together. While we napped, the boys hit the theme park. Then once Lena woke up we re-grouped again.
The supermarket was right next to the reception area – just a few minutes’ walk from our caravan. I was hesitant to buy stuff from the onsite supermarket. I know from past experience how resorts usually heftily inflate the prices as they know customers usually don’t have any other choice. We popped to the supermarket and packed a cool box prior to the trip but I’m happy to report we didn’t need to.
The supermarket was both well stocked and reasonably priced. Most of the products were sold at the RRP – usually displayed on the product packaging. They had pretty much everything you could need. I remembered how big the supermarket and village seemed to me as a girl and how now, it didn’t seem that big at all. Its worth noting, that I also noticed a Tesco van making a delivery to a caravan as well so it seems that there is also the option to have your groceries delivered straight to your accommodation which is handy.
There is also an onsite laundrette but we were only there for a short time so didn’t need to use it.
I was really impressed by all the Holiday Village amenities – it was all so handy and conveniently placed.
The theme park
The theme park was where we spent most of our time. Prior to visiting, I had feared that my 5 year old would be going on something with either me or his dad, whilst one of us would be left holding our wailing two year old who would be upset because she was too little to go on it. But there were only two rides that she couldn’t go on. Most of the kids rides were appropriate for adults to go on with their children too. This was ideal as it meant we got to experience it as a whole family and I wasn’t expecting that. We had a great time on some of the rollercoasters (with Arlo shouting ‘THIS IS SO MUCH FUN’ with a huge grin on his face).
We loved the ‘hot air balloons’ right next to the Holiday Village entrance where all four of us got to sit in a balloon together. That was the first ride we went on after arrival and the last one we went on when we left, making it a lovely hello and goodbye to the park for us. We also loved the wagon wheel which all four of us got to sit on together and afforded us great views of the zebras and giraffes. We enjoyed the cable cars across the park towards the end of our stay. I wish we had gone on them earlier as they help you get a sense of the park’s layout. I think I would have found navigating the park easier if I had made that one of the first things I had experienced.
Least favourite rides
The only rides we didn’t really enjoy was the mischief mansion haunted house which we spent a long time queuing for and it was very dated. I think it was all the same as when I went on it in the 90s – if not it certainly felt like that. We also found the car ride opposite the haunted house a bit boring. We found the clown ride next to dino-land dull too. Everything else we had a blast on and I think we tried pretty much every kids ride.
There was no queuing at all on the Friday, a bit of queuing on the Saturday and the Sunday had some queues but less than the Saturday. If I was visiting again, I would plan more of my zoo time in for the sunday when the queues are longer.
One of the areas we loved was the children’s planet area. There was a little farm there and there was a fantastic tractor ride where all four of us fit in the tractor. The kids had a steering wheel each at the front so they thought they were driving. Papa Ginge and I sat in the back, thankful to sit down for five minutes as the tractor meandered through the farm past the rabbits, ducts, goats and cows. We went on it twice as we enjoyed it so much. There was also a great adventure park there with sand pits and climbing frames all around a meerkat enclosure.
There was a smaller playground outside the Mansion House Tea Rooms too which would have been relaxing to get a cuppa or pint at and watch the kids if Lena hadn’t been intent on starting a fight with one of the legendary Flamingo Land peacocks. I’ve never ran so fast as I did when she went to grab one of their tails.
We also enjoyed the dino area. It took us a wee while to convince a poor distraught Arlo (5) that the (weathered) mechanical life size T-Rex wasn’t real. Bless him, he was terrified. Meanwhile Lena (2) just shouted, growled and pointed at it and told it that it was naughty. The kids really loved the sand pit in the dino area. There were fake dino skeletons under the sand and the kids got to pretend to be palaeontologists with dusters and spades. They played there until Papa Ginge and I got so bored that we had to drag them off for a new activity.
It wasn’t a ride but Papa Ginge and the kids also had the time of their lives at the grabbers. They won 4 Troll toys (including a Poppy that’s been out of stock in the shops since we tried to get it for Lena’s birthday back in February). It’s fair to say they were all thrilled. I don’t even want to know how much he spent on them. I just hope it was less than we would have bought them for. As an aside, they were £16.95 in the souvenir shop and go for £10 online so that shows you how much of a mark-up they’ve got going on in that shop – FYI before you take your kids in and come out bankrupt.
I loved the zoo but the rest of the family didn’t seem too fussed. A lot of the animals seemed to be hiding away on our visit. We couldn’t spot any tigers. We briefly saw the lions but they were in a place we couldn’t see much. My favourite animals were the baboons. There were a lot of babies and I enjoyed watching them breastfeed and carrying around their young. Papa Ginge commented that we didn’t have as much control over our kids as the baboons did over theirs! He wished our young were as well behaved as the baby baboons. I think this says something more about my children than it does about the baboons. We all enjoyed riding on the mono-rail around the baboons. The kids thought a ‘choo-choo’ in the sky was super cool.
I’m always hesitant about visiting animals in enclosure but they do seem well cared for and like they have lots of space at Flamingo land. I like the work they do with York University and their conservation work. They seem to do a fair amount of work in trying to get species that are extinct in the wild re-introduced to the wild too.
Fabrizio’s Pizzeria and Ristorante
We tried to keep costs down by making our food in the caravan but we did eat in the park a couple of times for a treat. On our first night we went to Fabrizio’s Pizzeria and Ristorante. Unfortunately, Lena was being an excited handful so instead of eating in the restaurant where she would just want to run around, we ordered pizzas to take back to the caravan with us. We got a margherita and a pepperoni costing around £17. The pizza was really nice, thin stonebase and tasty toppings. We really enjoyed it.
Upper Deck Fish Restaurant
On our second day we ate at the Upper Deck Fish Restaurant. We were tempted there because it has an offer on where kids eat for £1 if you buy a main. It also has a soft play area right next to the restaurant. This meant the kids could let off some steam while we waited for our food. Unfortunately though the food really let this restaurant down. The chips were luke warm and dry and it was all just a bit unappetising. We ordered the Upper Deck sharing platter £16.50 for us all to share and got one kids’ meal of sausage, chips, peas and baked beans for £7. We got a couple of alcoholic drinks (my wine wasn’t very nice either) which bumped the cost up but otherwise it would have come out at roughly the same price as the pizzas.
Personally, we thought the pizzas were much nicer. We wouldn’t go back to the Upper Deck which is a shame as the soft play makes it the perfect place to go. Other days we noticed people getting fish and chips from the outside counter and theirs looked much nicer so maybe we were unlucky, or its nicer from the outdoor counter. I’m not sure. My sister and her family have since visited and ate from the takeaway counter and said it was lovely so I’ve got a feeling our food had been standing around a while and that’s why it wasn’t very nice.
Mom’s Hot Dogs
Arlo also got a hot dog one day which cost £4, it supposedly came in a brioche bun. I’m not sure if the French language has changed and brioche now means stale or dry but it there wasn’t anything gourmet about it. He didn’t get any toppings on his (nor did he eat the bun, he gave it to Lena) so it might have been nicer with the toppings on offer. The sausage itself was a perfectly nice frankfurter.
I’m pleased we took/bought some stuff to make our own meals a lot of the time as there wasn’t really any healthy food at the outlets on the site. I don’t mind having a few greasy meals but I don’t feel good when it’s three meals a day like that.
There were a couple of staff members who were nice and chatty but I have to say, the vast majority we encountered were a bit miserable. No one upset us or treated us badly but they could certainly do with a bit of a charisma injection. If I were their manager I’d be scheduling some team training stat.
I was impressed with how clean and tidy all the toilets were kept. It’s a busy park and the toilets didn’t gross me out at all. Good work.
The Club is the night time entertainment venue featuring a programme of entertainment just for Holiday Village guests. I actually saw them turn away some day visitors as I was walking in which made me feel like a goddamn VIP. Until I realised that I was at Flamingo Land club on a Saturday night and I couldn’t be less A list. It has an arcade and bar area attached.
Now usually, I hate evening entertainment at these places. My kids LOVE it so much. The shows with the characters are EVERYTHING to Arlo. He makes me film them and he watches them back for YEARS afterwards. I feel like part of me dies a little each time I have to endure one of these ‘shows’ but that’s being a mam. His little face lighting up means I’d sit through them forever.
Papa Ginge is a OAP in disguise and gets a boner for bingo so he bought us some bingo books and a dabber. He then realised the error of his ways when we kept having to try and catch Lena who was running away whilst simultaneously monitor 5 grids (I don’t know what you call them) at a time.
I’ve not played bingo for years since I did it with my nana back in the day. I didn’t know what the hell was going on but I got more interested when they told me I could win £190. They were reading them out super fast and we only had one dabber. Papa Ginge kept hogging it too (selfish prick). Anyway, it came down to me needing just one more number for the full house for the £190. I was rabid with hope but alas someone pipped me to the post. All I’ve got to show for it are these ramblings and a shitty dabber that I’ll likely never use again.
Then it was time for the kids entertainment. First up was some tiny tots show at 7pm with a character in a big suit and nursery type rhymes. The kids both loved it. They both also loved dancing in between shows. Lena made a world record (I assume) for being the tiniest human to ever independently join a conga.
After this they had a super hero vs princesses show at 7.45pm which I was pretty impressed with. They had people dressed up as the characters singing the songs and doing the dances from films. There was Frozen, the Little Mermaid, Tangled, Mary Poppins, Spiderman, Batman, Power Rangers, Beauty and the Beast and more. The singing and dancing was good, as were the costumes. A lot of the time they were playing the film scene on the screen behind the actors.
All the kids (and us fools) were sat on the floor. The staff were good at making sure the kids sat down so everyone could see. Lena was stoked for Rapunzel when she came out and Arlo couldn’t believe his luck that the ‘real Spiderman’ gave him a high five. I think this was on until 8.20pm so resulted in a late bedtime for the kids but they had a blast so it was worth it (this is not what I was saying at 10.30pm when I was still trying to wrestle Lena to sleep in a caravan mind).
What could be better
One of my only real criticisms of the park is there isn’t anywhere near enough signage. I would really like to see some boards with maps on and more signs with directions. The park do give you a map but the day we were there was very windy making it hard to consult frequently. Additionally, Lena seemed to take real exception to the map being whole. Each time we got it out she would grab it and try to tear it. By the end we went through two maps and were trying to consult one in three pieces.
All in all
We are already looking back on this mini break fondly and talking about when (not if) we will return. The kids absolutely loved it and we had a great time too. It felt like a really good fit for both my 2 and 5 year old. The park felt like just a good size to feel big but not be too overwhelming. One day Arlo said when consulting the map ‘is that back on the other side of the world’. I remember it seeming so big to me when I was his age but it felt like nice exercise to me, with us hitting our 10,000 steps a day.
I’m so pleased I didn’t cancel the trip, it turned out so much better than I expected it to be. I just wish it was a little bit cheaper, at £427 it’s not something we could do often. I do plan to look into the camping rates too though as that might be an option next time if we feel brave!
If you want to get a true feel of the holiday, you can watch our family vlog of the trip below:
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Disclaimer: These reviews are in no way affiliated with Flamingo Land.