Sunday, 21 May 2017

Ramp Rats (Dorset) - Kids Indoor Skatepark - Review

Elliot's had a scooter for the past year or so but he's lacking a bit of confidence with it and struggles with steering. Recently we discovered an indoor skatepark here in Poole and the brilliant thing is, it's exclusively for kids so it's a great place for scooter practise! 

photo credit - Rachel Warren

Ramp Rats is the UK's first (and only!) indoor skatepark dedicated solely for kids under 10. Here you'll find ramps. tunnels and even a mini bowl - everything you'd find in a regular skatepark, just on a smaller scale. Most kids have a scooter these days but if you don't then there are plenty of scooters/bikes/skateboards which you can borrow once you get there. Elliot loves the skateboards and spends ages just whizzing down the ramps on his belly!! 

For younger visitors there is a small softplay which is included in the price - ideal for parents with little ones who aren't quite up to scooting yet. It's only little but really popular with the kids, they seem to love coming down the bumpy steps on their bums! (or leaping off the slide if you're Elliot.....)

Attached to the skatepark is a small cafe and seating area. The cafe is really reasonable and I've heard the coffee is really good. We like the bags of mixed sweets, for £1 these are a nice little treat which won't break the bank. The seating area does get quite busy in peak times as it's quite small but you can reserve the large table if there is a big group of you.

We have visited a number of times since Ramp Rats opened last year and it's great to have somewhere different to visit. It can get a bit boring going to the same old soft plays but this place is brilliant as it's something active for the kids to do, not weather dependant and a bargain at £5 for two hours. It's really handy to have the cafe too - nice to have somewhere to sit whilst the kids are burning off lots of energy! 

Other Info:

- Baby changing available in the loos
- Ramp Rats is located upstairs above the main skatepark and there isn't a lift so if you're bringing a baby, leave the buggies in the car. There aren't many steps however is it quite steep and no doubt you'll be carrying scooters/bags etc so be careful on your way down! 
- You can book parties at Ramp Rats and you get exclusive hire of the entire skatepark but these slots get booked up really quick so plan ahead
- Helmets must be worn

For more info including contact details and opening times, check out the Ramp Rats Facebook page here

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Visiting Corfe Castle & Corfe Model Village - Dorset Residents' Week 2017

Once a year in May, lots of brilliant attractions in Dorset take part in Residents' Week which aims to raise the profile of all the fun things to do here and encourage locals to visit all the beautiful places right here on their doorstep.

Over 50 attractions take part and they each offer discounts such as reduced price tickets or buy one get one free. This year Residents' Week runs from 8-14th May.

On Monday, we decided to visit the Corfe Castle Model Village with a group of our friends. I'd never visited the model village before but it sounded perfect for a gaggle of crazy 4 year olds and the weather was shaping up to be a beautiful day!

We decided to make a day of it and explore a bit of Corfe Castle too. The castle wasn't included in the Residents' Week offers but we are all National Trust members so got in for free.

We parked up at the NT carpark and followed the pathway round to the entrance to the castle. There is a more direct route which runs alongside the road but the pathway is so much safer as it takes you off road and round the back of the castle, passing fields and a pretty stream.

We headed up to the Castle and found a perfect spot for our picnic - the kids had plenty of room to run around and we could even see the steam train puffing in the distance. The views at the top of Corfe Castle are just beautiful and it reminded me of how lucky I am to live here.

After lunch we decided to explore a bit more of the castle - it was a bit of a mission pushing a buggy up the hill, definitely burnt a few calories off after I huffed and puffed up!! We were a bit restricted having the buggies so two of the mums took all the big kids up to the top of the castle while another friend and I stayed with the smaller ones.

I mentioned that it was hard work pushing the buggy up...well it was just as hard going down, I was petrified of letting go and Erin ending up in the pub at the bottom!!

We headed over to the model village which is just a minutes walk from the entrance to the castle (Corfe Village isn't very big) and we showed our vouchers to the lady on the till. There were 4 adults, 4 4 year olds and 4 under 3's in our party and the total cost was £12, what a bargain!

The model village is very small (literally!!) but it was perfect for us - the children had loads of fun stomping round the little houses, knocking on miniature doors and pretending they were giants. It was really interesting to see what the castle looked like back in 1646 too.

It was really sunny so we spent ages sat in the garden area - there were giant games for the children to play with, a fairy garden and lots of nooks and crannies to play hide and seek in.

Tiredness was beginning to set in so after the children had eaten their ice creams we walked back to the carpark, with a quick stop at the wooden play area. Elliot was so tired, he was a lot slower on the way back!

It was a really fun day and nice to do something different - the children all seemed to enjoy themselves and I'm sure they all slept well that night. All of the 4 year olds will be off to school in September so it's really nice to go out as a big group and spend some time together while we can - some of the kids will be going to different schools so we want to make the most of their time together!

Dear Bear and Beany

Monday, 24 April 2017

Family Friendly Days Out in South West England

With so many of us staying in the UK for our holidays now, a family friendly day out is a top priority. Here in Dorset we are spoilt for choice with many attractions and places to visit and there is something for everyone's taste and budget. If you are watching the pennies, there are plenty of free days out to be found but you can also find lots of offers and deals on websites such as Top Dog Days. It's also worth joining the National Trust - they have beautiful properties all over the UK and have plenty of activities to keep children entertained.

Here's our pick of some of the best days out in South West England..

Longleat Safari & Adventure Park - Warminster, Wiltshire 

This has to be at the top of the list! There is so much to do at Longleat starting with the drive through safari which features zebras, giraffes, rhinos, tigers and even an elephant. If you're brave you can drive through the monkey enclosure but be prepared to leave minus bits of your car!!

You can ride the Jungle Express, get lost in the maze, stroke a tarantula, hand feed the lorikeets and even see the bats in the bat cave. Look out for special events such as the Festival of Light which brings the park to life with hundreds of chinese lanterns - it is worth a visit for this alone!

Paultons Park / Peppa Pig World - Romsey, Hampshire

You've probably heard of Peppa Pig World but Paulton's Park has so much more to offer for kids of all ages, not just Peppa fans! The park has over 70 rides, beautiful gardens, 4D cinema,  adventure golf, the Rio Grande railway and even a whole host of animals including penguins and flamingoes.

Little ones will love Peppa Pig World and there are plenty of rides suitable for even the smallest of visitors but be warned, it does get VERY busy in school holidays. You'll also be whistling the Peppa Pig theme tune for the rest of the week ;)

The Lost Kingdom is aimed at slightly older kids with rides such as the Velociraptor rollercoaster. You might even bump into a "friendly" t-rex....

Corfe Castle - Dorset

This is one of our favourite National Trust spots in Dorset and it's perfect for a fun family day out. Adults will appreciate the history but children will love exploring the castle walls, you can even send your teddy down to the bottom of the castle hill on a zipline!

Once you've finished at the castle, grab a bite to eat at The Greyhound pub which is one of the most photographed pubs in the UK. You can then hop on a steam train and ride down to Swanage, a pretty seaside town situated on the Jurassic Coastline.

West Somerset Railway - Minehead, Somerset

This is a must do if you're staying at nearby Butlins and is a great day out for little train buffs. The steam train departs from Minehead and travels through pretty countryside, passing villages such as Wachet and Dunster and ends up in Bishops Lydeard where it begins it's return journey. A rover ticket means you can hop on and off at any of these stops. Top tip - for amazing fish & chips, try the Driftwood Cafe at Blue Anchor.

Look out for children's events where you can meet your favourite characters such as Peppa Pig and The Gruffalo.

Tank Museum - Bovington, Dorset

Featuring the world's best collection of tanks, live action displays and interactive activities, The Tank Museum is a brilliant, full day out. You'll experience what it was like in the trenches, you'll learn about the horses that went to war and you'll get up close and personal with over 300 vehicles.

It's great value too - your ticket gives you an annual pass so you can return again and again!

A day out in Weymouth, Dorset

For a fun day at the seaside, Weymouth is the perfect option. Take a stroll along the promenade, paddle in the sea, spend your pennies in the arcade, have a beer in one of the many pubs along the Quay, try some amazingly fresh seafood, visit the Sealife Centre, go can even visit Sandworld which features stunningly clever sculptures of very recognisable people and places!

Photo credit - Fotolia

Where are you planning to visit this Summer?

*Sponsored post

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Chuggington Toys - Brand New for Easter! Review

Elliot is a typical 4 year old, he loves trains. Playing with trains, watching trains, waving at trains, going on get the idea! His Grandad is a real train buff so that's definitely where he gets it from :)

We were lucky enough to be one of the first families in the country to receive some of the very latest Chuggington toys. Elliot was over the moon and couldn't wait to rip into the box to see what he'd got!

The new range features 24 collectable Little Chuggers and various ConnecTrax track packs. The track is really handy as it is compatible with lots of other pre-school train sets - and I'm sure we've all got at least one of them in the toy box!

We received the Track Pack which contained sturdy blue track and Chug Patrol Wilson who is one of the exclusive chuggers. We also had Hanzo and Hoot & Toot which were 2-car chuggers and then Koko and Wilson who came in little plastic sheds which also fit onto the track. All the chuggers fit together too so they can be played with separately or as one long train.

The set is aimed at 2+ and the little chuggers are perfect for toddlers who are just getting into trains - they are very sturdy and well made and can be used really easily on the track. At 4 and a half, Elliot is probably a little old for these toys as he is used to playing with his Thomas Trackmaster sets but that said he did have lots of fun with the chuggers still.

I like that the Track Pack comes in a zip up bag, we managed to squeeze all the chuggers in there so it makes it really handy to take out . There are other chuggers in the set so we might have to look out for the others to add to the collection!

These toys are brand new and will be hitting the shops this Easter so keep your eyes peeled for Chugginton coming to a toy shop near you!

*Disclaimer: We received these products in exchange for an honest review. All views are my (Elliot's!) own

When you try and take a picture....!

Friday, 14 April 2017

My Week in Pictures - 14th April 2017

It's been ages since I've done one of these weekly round ups but this year is flying by, and I want to be able to look back and remember what we've got up to!

Top Row:
- Poor little Erin caught chicken pox last week which was no surprise seeing as Elliot had it previously and it seems to be doing the rounds at his pre-school. Despite the spots, she was still so happy!
- Whilst Erin and I were at home in pox quarantine, Elliot was at a birthday party at his new favourite place Ramp Rats. It's an indoor skate park specifically for kids and he loves it! He's now nagging us for a skateboard....yikes!
- I had a good old clear out of Elliot's winter clothes this week and intended to put them all away in this big bag...Elliot had other ideas!!

Middle Row:
- On the Sunday my parents did an egg hunt in the garden for Elliot which he loved. It wasn't Easter weekend but it was the only day that everyone in the family was free to have lunch together so it was great spending some time together. The weather was gorgeous too and their lovely garden was the perfect place for an egg hunt!
- We have been loving the warm Spring weather and Elliot has been outside lots. His Nanny bought him this Imaginext toy at a baby sale (£2, what a bargain) and he asked me to bring it outside for him to play with.

Bottom Row:
- Elliot loves driving past this amazing dinosaur sculpture in Poole and we actually stopped to take a closer look this week. The dinosaur now has eggs underneath her and Elliot was so excited!
- Erin has changed so much since she was born but it amazes me how much she looks like Elliot. There's no doubting that they are siblings!
- We had a Mummy and Elliot day today and went to see Justin Fletcher in Southampton. It was lovely to spend some one on one time with him and he loved the show!

Hope you've all had a good week x

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Turtles Half-Shell Heroes Mutant Loader Vehicle with Mikey - Review

I'm not quite sure how Elliot got into  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles but it's one of those things that has crept up on us. He enjoys watching them on his iPad and TMNT stuff was at the top of his list last birthday and Christmas! ( I remember going a bit mad when Sainsbury's had their toy sale - so much TMNT stuff!!)

With that in mind, when I got offered a Turtles Half-Shell Heroes Mutant Loader Vehicle to review I could hardly say no could I! In fact, just like the Imaginext Arkham Asylum, he bugged me everyday waiting for the postman! 
So what does the loader vehicle do? In simple's for catching the baddies! They can be scooped up on to the forklift and with a turn of the wheel, they are lifted and flipped into the capture cage. 

Well....Elliot loved this! He immediately went and got his other TMNT figures and each and every one got scooped up into the cage, good guys or bad guys...he wasn't picky! 

The vehicle comes with a Mikey figure who is coming out of his shell for the first time this possible?! Where did he leave his shell?! Also, in my day he was called Michelangelo - how long has he been known as Mikey!? 

What I loved about this toy is that it's really chunky and well made, perfect for younger TMNT fans.(2+). Some toys can be quite flimsy but Mikey and his vehicle have already been bashed around and fallen from a great height several times with no breakages. 

The Half Shell Heroes Mutant Loader Vehicle costs £19.99 and can be purchased from most leading retailers. You can find out more about TNMT at the TNMT Toys Collectors Club or Flair PLC

*Disclaimer: We received this product in exchange for an honest review. All views are my own

Monday, 3 April 2017

Newborn Essentials - Things We Actually Used!

When you're pregnant you're bombarded with recommendations of things you MUST buy. I fell for this on my first pregnancy and ended up with a ton of stuff I never really used but felt like I had to have just because I'd been told to.

This time round I was abit more savvy and didn't make any unnecessary purchases, instead sticking with the things I'd tried and tested for myself the first time round.

So here's my list of essentials - stuff we actually used!

Asda Little Angels Newborn Nappies - At half the price of Pampers, I really don't think you can beat the Little Angels range of nappies. They are soft on bums and sizes 0-2 even come with a freedom section at the navel to protect the umbilical area which can be extra sensitive in the first few months.
Hayley Westenra - Hushabye CD - This is a bit of a random one but Erin really reacts to music and I found that this CD, which is a collection of gorgeous lullabies, really soothes her if she's tired. Our favourite is Hayley's rendition of Brahms Lullaby!
Kinder Valley Nursing Pillow - This was on offer for £9.99 in Asda so I picked one up thinking I'd use it for feeding Erin. I haven't actually used it for that purpose but we do use it to prop her up in if she's on the bed or playmat. She likes to be able to see everything and it's a bit better for her than being flat on her back! It's also good for practising tummy time.
Silver Cross Isofix - We bought ours when Elliot was a baby and couldn't be without it now. Initially we thought we could just make do without one and save ourselves some money. But after getting drenched one too many times as we faffed about strapping the carseat in we decided to invest...and I'm glad we did! It's so quick and easy, it literally takes a second to pop the seat into the mount and it makes things so much easier when trying to get the carseat in in the dark!
Sudocrem - Love this product! I'd never used it before having kids, now I've always got a pot stashed away for emergencies. It's great that it's multipurpose, for instance it works really well on nappy rash but also, I used it after my c-section which really helped. Also good for sunburn!
Professional Photos - These days most of us have decent cameras on our phones but I think it's lovely to have some professional pics done of baby, especially in the early days when they are so small and squishy. A very talented lady called Samantha Prewett did ours and I'm so pleased, I would never have been able to achieve this using my camera and (lack of) skills! She even wrote about the shoot on her blog.
Babymoov Changing Bag - I initially bought a cheap changing bag on Amazon to use with Erin but you really do get what you pay for as it broke within a few weeks. My husband took pity on me and treated me to a lovely Babymoov bag for Mother's Day and I love it! It's got loads of pockets which I love and I can fit so much in there..which is very important when you have kids. (one pocket is just for snacks alone!)
Neutral 0% Baby Products - We were sent some of these to review for the blog but I really like them and will definitely continue to use on Erin. I like that they are specifically for sensitive skin so I know that her soft delicate newborn skin is having anything too harsh on it.
Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine -  The prep machines have had a lot of bad press recently after some customers found mould in their machine's pipes. We checked ours for mould and it was fine...phew! I love the prep machine, it's so handy for making bottles and a god send in the middle of the night when you have a screaming hungry baby! I only wish we'd had one when Elliot was a baby! I'm a big fan of the Tommee Tippee products and other essentials we use are the bottles and electric steriliser.

What was your number one essential item for a newborn?!
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