Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Exbury ghost train

We don't live far from Exbury gardens but we haven't really been before because the price always put be off. The boys aren't interested in pretty flowers but they are interested in trains. Exbury has a mini steam train which can only be accessed via the gardens. This was the planning pre-requiste when the railway opened in 2001.This is unfortunate as it makes the 20 minute trip expensive! We paid £43 for a family of four to ride the ghost train. Luckily we went with a friend and shared a family ticket to keep the cost down. 

A little tip when you're at the tills the price automatically comes up to include a 10% charity donation. The charity is Exbury gardens so we felt the price we paid was enough without the donation on this occasion. You don't have to pay the donation so it might be worth mentioning before you ask for your ticket if you want it with or without the donation as we had a moment of awkward silence as the new team member tried to work out why the till was showing more than the price on the poster.

While we waited for our train the boys had a quick game of hide & seek. We had spotted signs that looked like there was a special Halloween trail so we went back to the tills to pick up a trail sheet. 

With our train being 12.15 on the Sunday the clocks went back we headed to the cafe for lunch at 11.40 thinking we would have plenty of time to catch our train. The cafe was reasonably priced for an attraction costing about £25 for two jacket potatoes and two children's boxes. It was also busy meaning we missed our train. 

We didn't think this would be a problem and assumed it would be easy to transfer to a different train. This wasn't the case and after initially being told that we couldn't and tickets were non refundable we were offered the chance to pay £5 to switch trains. When we explained the cafe had delayed us the manager checked with the cafe then transferred us to the next train without charge. 

We headed to the station and the boys had a great time watching the man fill it with coal and checking out the spooky characters. I thought the attention to detail was great as they had changed the posters at the station for spooky ones too. 

We chose a disabled carriage as they have doors which stay closed so it felt a bit safer for the young one. We checked whether it would be OK and there were no passengers that needed it was perfect for us. The friendly witch dished out chocolates and mini goody bags containing a little bat ring, sweets, balloon and seeds which the boys loved.

We were encouraged to scream through as we went through the tunnel and listened to the Halloween themed jokes as we set off for our adventure. The track goes through some of the gardens and there was always something to look at. Some local charities had made scarecrows too with some looking very realistic as we approached.

As we approached the North station there was the happiest grave digger I have ever seen with a zombie skeleton popping out of the coffin as we rode past. When we stopped there was a little panto and we learnt the story of Jack o lantern whilst the werewolf tried to get Dracula. The characters made the way along the carriages to scare us with Jack stopping for a moment to shake the boys hands.

After the train we went to complete the Halloween trail. Don't be put off by the no wheelchair access sign at the start of the trail. I had my pushchair and we could still access the whole trail. It was a great way for the boy to practice his letters and he was pleased he found all 12 letters. 

We did enjoy the ghost train but do feel that more flexibility and possibly a cheaper ticket for accessing the railway only would encourage more all year round visits from families.

Disclosure: I have not been compensated in anyway for this review, we paid for our tickets in full, all opinions are honest and my own. 

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Lemur linkup

At the start of the month I attended my first blogging network event hosted by Kara, JoEmma & Jackie Richmond of Splashdown & Lemur Landings. It was a chance for bloggers and brands to meet up and I was excited at the prospect of meeting some local bloggers and finding local businesses.

It felt weird being met by Kara as I felt like I already knew her from reading her blog. There were lots of great brands at the event. I could really feel the passion from the team at el RHEY with the colour me wellies. You can tell these are a well made quality product and perfect for gifts. I'm excited to see them launch soon.

The ware street market stall caught my eye and I loved the little handmade pegs. These will look great in the boys new playroom and I love that the crafts sold through ware street market are from independent crafters.

RockReef is somewhere I would love to try and I'm sure the boy will be visiting them lots as he grows up. The enthusiasm from Farmer Palmers was clear to see and the farm looks awesome so we are hoping to visit in the half term for some Halloween fun. 

The thought of the tower at the Weymouth Sealife Center sent chills down my spine but the center looks great with lots to do and is somewhere we can spend the whole day! We only lasted 15 minutes at a rival aquarium.

I was able to get stuck in on the create it all stand and made my own hanging heart whilst talking to Lauren and hearing about how the business started as a legacy to her mother. This is also where I meet the lovely Dawn (Bella's mum) from dear mummy blog.

I really enjoyed chatting to Dawn and we share a passion for getting out and about with our little ones and despite visiting the same places we have never meet. You never know we might meet up at Farmer Palmers or one of the crafting classes at create it all during the half term as we loved the idea of both of them.

Another new brand to me was postsnap which seems perfect for me. It's an app which allows you to send cards with photo's directly from your apple device or taken from facebook. Watch out family this years Christmas cards might arrive on time!

Another local blogger I was keen to meet was Amy from everything mummy and luckily Amy recognised me from my Mummy to boyz heart I made earlier in the evening. Amy has just started a new linky Sunday Star's which is about linking up your favorite post of the week.

It was lovely chatting to the hosts at the end of the night as they had been busy ensuring the event ran smoothly and we all posed for a #Lemurlinkup selfie (credit Emma, @theprmummy.) Thank you for a great event ladies.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Pumpkin patch kids

I recently saw a picture of a pumpkin patch on the muddy puddles twitter feed and thought how awesome it would be to find our local field.

A quick Google search and I found Pickwell Farm was fairly local and they had a PYO pumpkin patch. My excitement was building and so was the boys!

He has seen the Curious George pumpkin special enough to replay it word for word and wanted to take all the pumpkins just like George.

We headed into the field in search of the perfect pumpkin which had to be as big as our head and perfect for carving.

There was plenty to choose from and the pictures looked great - I just wish I took my DSLR instead of relying on my phone.

As we went with friends we managed to get a picture together whilst the husband was at work.

My favorite picture was taken by my friend with the boy and her son with their chosen pumpkins.

We paid £2 per picked pumpkin regardless of the size and we all had a great time picking our pumpkins.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Having fun with squeezy cheese

We were recently sent a surprise package of squeezy cheese from Primula and encouraged to create some recipes with the kids. I must admit at first I wasn't keen on the idea of cheese coming from a tube but as all profits go to the Kavli trust charity I thought we would give it a go. 

The boys were keen to get started straight away with the boy wanted to make a dinosaur - it didn't look much like a dinosaur so we opted for faces instead.

A healthy after school snack which they helped to prepare and had lots of fun doing. 

The faces were a success so we moved onto homemade pizza's. With no bases in the house we improvised with some bread rolls cut in half. Covered them with a tomato pesto and squeezed away. 

The young one was so keen to get eating we made some eye balls whilst the pizza's cooked.

The boys and I had lots of fun with the cheese and will defiantly be buying more. Thank you Primula for our surprise gift.

Disclosure: We were gifted the cheese and encouraged to have fun with it but were not obliged to write about it. All opinions are honest and my own.