29/07/2013

Bewilderwood-Review


 
"A huge, award winning forest of family fun and outdoor adventure. Treehouses, zip wires, jungle bridges, Crocklebogs, Twiggles and Boggles, storytelling, boat trips, marsh walks and really yummy food!"

Yesterday we were lucky enough to visit Bewilderwood in Norfolk. The curious treehouse adventure.
It's just under two hours from home for us but somewhere I have been wanting to take the monkeys for a while, and we were lucky enough to be sent complimentary tickets. The journey there was pretty straightforward and apart from a brief error following the directions, we made it safely and ready to have a blast.
We arrived soon after it opened at 10am and there were few people in the queue. As we already had tickets, we went straight to the entrance where we were greeted by two friendly female Bewilderwood staff (aka the Twiggle Team). They gave us wrist bands and a map, and wished us a pleasant visit, then we were off into the wilderness on one of the boats to take us on our adventure. During the short boat ride one of the Twiggle Team told us about the creatures who live in the woods and the bogs and took us past Mildred the Crocklebog who gave out a big wet snort as the boat went past! On dry land we were met with a snack shack before the path to our adventure. Now, at this point little monkey had an unfortunate accident! He ran forward, not noticing the wooden barrier in front of him, hitting his head on it and giving himself a nose bleed! Not a great start! Being brave, and after some of mummy's and daddy's bacon roll, he soon perked up and off we went. The bacon roll was yummy by the way and sourced from local produce. Not badly priced too.

So, which way to go? We let Big Monkey choose, and he said left, so that's the way we went! We were faced with Toddlewood Valley, the Broken Bridge and Wobbly Wires, amongst other great, fun stuff, which both monkeys and us were keen to explore. The slides (except in the designated toddler area's) were too big for little monkey but he happily climbed with us all, then one would take him down the steps and ladders back to the bottom!

Yesterday Bewilderwood was busy but not packed and it was pleasantly cooler amongst the tree's. Luckily we had no rain at all and other than the pushchair friendly paths, the play area's were all covered in wood chip anyway, so it wasn't wet or muddy underfoot from any of the thunder showers the East has recently had. There were plenty of sunny spots amongst all the shady bits too!

Further into our adventure, we hit Muddle Maze, Twiggle Village and BeWILDerview! Big monkey and I had great fun laughing at little monkey and daddy getting lost in the maze, as we found our way through it fast and daddy is always bad at directions!

The most fun but most scary part of the day (well for me anyway!), was Slippery Slope, a trio of massive, fast slides in varying gradients and heights! One of them I just screamed sliding down!! Much to the entertainment of other visitors and another mum who gave me a 'high-five'! The monkeys had a ball, and even though little monkey was really too small, he had a sneaky go next to Daddy on one of the lower slides. The main food and seating area were right by Slippery Slopes, so we sampled the ice-creams, got some drinks and had a brief sit down before making our way back to the start to go and eat our picnic by the car. The food and drinks were very reasonably priced and all locally sourced. Also right there, was Toddlewood on the Hill, where both monkeys had a run around and played in the sand pit.
Yesterday at Bewilderwood (and until 2nd Sept) there was an event, Curious Crocklebug Capers, but to be honest we had so much fun doing all the other stuff, we didn't actually partake in any of it!
After our picnic by the car, we did in fact go back in with the pushchair as little monkey needed a snooze, which gave big monkey the ideal opportunity to go back on the slides, again and again. We left tired but happy about 3.45pm.
In conclusion I have to say, we all had a fab time there and would highly recommend it to anyone, a great family day out. The Twiggle Team were all helpful and friendly and helped to make the adventure more mystical, with stories of the character's living in the bog and in the woods. The advice we were given by friends, was to leave the pushchair in the car, although it's perfectly suitable for pushchairs, use the boat when you arrive, which we did and leave the picnic in the car, save carrying it around. We found all of these tips helpful and they worked for us. My only reservation would be the admission cost. Had we not have received the wonderful complimentary tickets, it would of cost us £55 yesterday, which to me seems a lot. But maybe not? I don't know. Would we go again? Hell, yes! Thank you Bewilderwood, for such a great experience.

If you would like to know more why not visit the Bewilderwood Facebook page and follow them on Twitter.

**This review has been written by myself, all opinions are my own. The tickets were complimentary from Bewilderwood**



Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

27/07/2013

Summer Afternoon At Paper Mill Lock

Paper Mill Lock is on the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation close to where we live. It is an idyllic spot for a summer's afternoon stroll, a nice cup of tea and a slice of cake! (Wait, then I woke up!) I forgot then, that I was there with two monkeys who have other idea's!
We live close to the A12, A130 and M25, all major roads in Essex and you would not think that Paper Mill Lock is only about 7 miles away!
So today, whilst Daddy was at work I took the monkeys there for a wander, with a plan to get them a drink from the Tea Room and maybe feed the ducks, but I forgot the bread, the monkeys were being monkey's and wanted to run about (not a good idea next to the River) and they didn't want anything from the Tea Room! Instead, I chased after them both, managed a few pictures on my phone and then we were off again. A quick pit stop, but none the less a great place for families to visit!

Boat trips are run from there, but we've never taken one considering we have family with their own boat, lots of boaters visit their boats, so there are generally plenty of people about and the Tea Rooms are very popular. Sometimes, you can't even get into the car park. 


Perhaps I shall take Daddy to give a helping hand next time we go? Or him and I could even go there on a rare afternoon out whilst the boys are busy with the Grandparents! If you are ever in this neck of the woods I would highly recommend a stop there. The carpark is free, and there is lots of wildlife to see. Plus there is cake!!!





Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

26/07/2013

A Right Royal Limited Edition Diamante Apron Towel – The Crown Jewels Of The Cuddledry Collection.

With all the excitement of the birth of His Royal Highness Prince George Of Cambridge, Cuddledry are bringing a bit of glitz and glamour to babies across the country. Their Limited Addition Diamante Apron Towel is rather lush and for for any Prince or Princess.
The original Cuddledry apron towel, invented by mums Helen Wooldridge and Polly Marsh, is already firmly established as a must-have for new parents and this new, one-off design is sure to be a big hit with parents and gift buyers alike. Who wouldn’t love the silky soft and elegant natural white towelling, offset with a splash of sparkle? I know I love it!!
Why not treat your Prince or Princess with this great new addition to the Cuddledry Collection this summer. For the rest of their range take a look here!

*Written as part of the Cuddledry Superbloggers Team*

23/07/2013

Birthday Cruise to Windsor!

This last weekend has been such a good one! Saturday included a trip to the shops for the monkeys with Daddy to buy some flowers for Mummy, as part of my Birthday gift. Big monkey chose the dyed Chrysanthemums and the others were from Hubby. Later that evening our lovely friend Jan babysat so that hubby and I could go for a meal. We went to the Axe and Compasses, in a lovely village about 25 minutes from home. The two of us had a superb meal, with great service and the surroundings were beautiful!

Sunday, we were awoken bright and very early at 4.30am by an excited big monkey, who came to wish me Happy Birthday and to give me his and little monkeys present and my cards. Luckily we managed to hold off opening everything until 6am, a more sociable start time to the day. As with each previous year since meeting hubby, I have been thoroughly spoiled and was given a Cambridge Satchel Co Satchel in my favourite colour and a new pair of Birkenstocks, amongst other things. The satchel is especially lush!! 
So after an early start, we headed off out for the day to see my parents on their narrow boat on the Thames. We met them at Runnymead, near Egham, Surrey and after a quick cuppa, we set to cruise the Thames towards Windsor.
Both the monkeys love being on the boat and hubby had never been on that part of the Thames so there was much excitement all round, with it being mummy's birthday too! The trip to Windsor took just short of two hours with two huge locks to go through and lots of lovely scenery also. The weather started off overcast but by late morning it was very hot and sunny. Big monkey steered the boat and did a good job too and little monkey was a superstar staying water safe.

Once we moored up at Windsor, we had a stroll up to the town to find somewhere to have lunch and afterwards a gander around the shops and an ice cream. Windsor is a great place and I always love going there. Now, of course we had to go back to Runnymead the way we had come, so after a while, we left Windsor and cruised back on the Thames in the gorgeous sunshine.
There were loads of other boaters out on Sunday and plenty of people making the most of the weather. The monkeys enjoyed a kick about and played frisbe on the common at Runnymead before we set home after a long but very nice July Sunday. I had a fabulous Birthday, thanks to my beloved family.

Have you ever cruised on the Thames? What did you think of it?

22/07/2013

It's A Boy!

We have great news.......William and Kate have a boy :-) He is 3rd in line to the throne and was born today at 4.24pm, weighing 8oz 6lb. What fantastic news. Congratulations to them both.

18/07/2013

Will She or Won't She?

If you haven't heard (where have you been?!). A Royal Baby is due to be born anytime now and for a while I have been saying it will be a Boy and will be born on Sunday 21st July. Why? This is my birthday and wouldn't it be nice to share it with the new Royal Baby!
The world awaits in anticipation of the new arrival and I for one am excited to see if my prediction is right or way off the mark! 
Will Katherine Middleton give birth this coming Sunday or won't she? Only time will tell. 
What are your predictions for the baby's birth date and gender? All we can do is sit back and wait. In the meantime I shall have a lovely day Sunday, despite whether or not He or She arrives that day.

Jo

12/07/2013

Keep the Faith, & Raise your hands!!!!! BON JOVI - Because We Can Tour 2013



A day out whilst the Monkeys were being looked after by Nanny & Grandad. This is what we got up to!
A beautiful day at Hyde Park on Friday July 5th 2013 with my lovely wife Jo, waiting for Bon Jovi to take centre stage.

I’ve been a Bon Jovi fan since 1986 when I first bought “Living on a Prayer” on vinyl......I’m that old!!!

Having turned 40 this year, as a present to me, my darling Jo bought two tickets to see Bon Jovi.

Having seen these chaps from New Jersey quite a few times in the past, I was certainly looking forward to another day of good old American Rock.

Sadly, at the moment lead guitarist Richie Sambora isn’t touring with the band (for reasons only known to the band). Session guitarist Phil X has been standing in for Richie for the past few months. Although an amazing and extremely talented guitarist he is not Richie Sambora and therefore the complete Bon Jovi sound, I’m afraid to say isn’t there (in my opinion). However, this did not deter from the enjoyment of the concert from start to finish.

Bon Jovi took to the stage at around 7:20pm, opening with a Quo classic “Rocking all over the world” and then blasting into 3 hours of solid, enthusiastic and energetic entertainment, with all the Bon Jovi classics and new material you’d expect from the biggest touring band in the world.

As front man, Jon Bon Jovi never slows down. His enthusiasm, energy and voice got stronger and stronger as the bands performance went on. Still very humble, taking time to thank the audience for continually buying their records to keep them at the top of their game for 30 years. Something he has done every time I’ve seen Bon Jovi live. Making the point of considering himself the opening act for The Rolling Stones the next day!

So, a long and very hot day at Hyde Park. Thoroughly enjoyed, so much so that the ole voice was a bit rough the next day from all of the singing......not necessarily in tune!!!! ;o)

Very much looking forward to the next Bon Jovi tour in the UK. - Have a Nice Day!!!



*Word content written by Mark Laybourn. Photo's added by myself*

11/07/2013

A Well Deserved Reward

I can't quite believe that this time last year big monkey hadn't even started school and now here we are only a week away from him having completed his 1st year at school in Foundation Stage! Where does the time go? We have been very impressed with the school so far and amazed at how much he has learned in the time he has been at school. He has done really well and having attended his class Parents Evening last week, we were extremely proud to see his work and hear how he has been doing. He is exceeding in all 17 area's of the Early Learning Goals set within the EYFS and we can not be more proud of him. I was bursting with pride throughout our meeting with his teacher last week. What a great feeling to have. I was quite choked to be honest. 
So, Daddy Monkey and I decided that we would get a treat for little monkey for all his hard work, to show him how pleased and how proud of him we are. He is signed up onto a soccer course during the school holidays, local to us and therefore daddy said he would get him a football kit! Little monkey is delighted by this and said he would like Barcelona Kit, so today we went and got him one!
It's safe to say, he loves it (even the socks that are too long). He even wanted to wear the kit to bed!
Well done Monkey, we are very proud of you xx

Paddling Pool Capers (Sun-Thurs)

It's amazing how quickly things change. Last Sunday we got the paddling pool out but little monkey would not entertain going in there at all! He was happy to play with the water from the outside and play in the muddy puddles he created with the water, but refused point blank to actually get in the pool! We didn't push it as I didn't want him to be scared and I figured he would come round eventually....How right was I?! 
Come Thursday little monkey was not only standing in the paddling pool fully clothed, he was sliding into it down their slide (fully clothed). He loved it and here are the then and now pics of his paddling pool capers over 4 days...............
He ended up looking very wet indeed and still wearing his nappy too, but Oh what fun him and big monkey had. Way to go little monkey, knew you could do it!!


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

09/07/2013

Super Hero Monkey!

Batman Superhero Monkey! 


*This is our entry into the Appliances Online Competition to win a Samsung Combi Fridge Freezer*

08/07/2013

Our Day At The 3Foot People Festival

Last week marked the 8th year of the 3foot people festival, held exclusively for children aged 5 and under in Chelmsford, Essex. The biggest outdoor festival of it's kind in the UK, this year was even bigger and better, over four days instead of the previous 3. It's always held in the 1st week of July.
This year 12,800 Preschool children and their parents/carers attended, and similar to the last four years (excluding last, as it wasn't on), we attended. Just little monkey and I this time as Mr Monkey was working and big monkey was at school!
The festival holds taster sessions for children and parents on numerous and various classes run throughout the county, like Jo Jingles, Talking Tots, Gymboree and so on and there are also local farm stalls, story telling, face painters, food stalls, a large sand pit, soft play tents and lots more! The tickets fly like hot cakes and the park where it is held is always buzzing during the festival.
Little Monkey and I went on the Wednesday (day 3 out of 4). We got there about half and hour after it started and to be honest little monkey was a little rotter to begin with! He wouldn't wear the wrist band they give you at the gate (which has a password on which you choose in case you get separated). Try as I might, I could not get him to wear it anywhere on his person! So the mood was set for a few tears, a reluctance to join in any of the activity's that we spied on closer investigation, and he then had a snooze in his pushchair!
We met some friends and fellow bloggers from The Hart of the Munchkin Patch and Emmy's Mummy and Harry's Too, and luckily by the time we all met up little monkey had finished his snooze and was in a much better and more sociable mood! After a picnic with the others we had a wander and the children played at the bits of the festival they took a fancy too! 
The weather could have been better but at least it did not rain and it certainly did not spoil the children's fun. Little monkey took a liking to the environment stall where lots of 'junk' activities had been set up for the kids to enjoy. He took a real liking to playing with rubber ducks on a blank of wood and rolling balls along some drain pipe!
We chose two ducks with numbers on and there was a special name that matched the number. In return for numbered duck, you took a plain one home with the special 'Adopt a Name' on and parents and carers where encouraged to say the name as many times a day to their little one as possible. Little monkeys is 'Squiggle' and we chose one for big monkey. His is 'Gorgeous'. What a lovely idea.
There were lots of families and children at the festival and this year they even put on canoe trips around the lake and had a big stage where artists played. Unfortunately we did not get around even half the festival now that it is bigger, but it was great to attend again and to catch up with Liz and Clare and the children. Maybe we can all go again next year?
Sadly as were we leaving at the end there was a nasty act of violence at the gate, luckily little monkey did not see this, but as adults, we noticed and so too did Clare's daughter. Not a great end at all to a great day.


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