Friday 29 April 2016

Make Believe at Role Play World Bournemouth

Elliot is one of those children who absolutely loves to dress up in fancy dress. He's got a big box of outfits in his bedroom and quite often I'll find him dressed up a Bob the Builder, or Andy Day from CBeebies. He loves role play and it does make me giggle if I overhear him playing with his toys, he does all the voices too!

With this in mind, I was quite excited to hear about Role Play World who have just opened up a brand new play area in Bournemouth. I had heard great things about their Salisbury Role Play World so we couldn't wait to check it out.

Play sessions are booked in 90 minute slots and our session was booked for 3.15pm - a friend had told me that the later afternoon sessions were the quietest so we went for this one. I was hoping Elliot might have a little snooze in the car on the way over but sadly not ;)

Parking can be a little tricky. Role Play World is on a busy road with no allocated parking but there are lots of side streets - we parked just around the corner but I think some of the roads have restrictions so watch out for that!

When we arrived I couldn't believe how clean and tidy it was, everything looked spotless and I was almost worried about how much mess Elliot might make! We were asked to leave our shoes by the front entrance so to keep things nice and clean. They do provide shoe covers if you want to keep your shoes on though.

Role Play World is divided into different sections, all featuring different toys and costumes to spark little imaginations. There was a fire engine complete with helmets, space area with tent , Vets with lots of "patients" and medical equipment, a house full of things such as hoover, cooker and toaster, construction area and shop full of pretend food and even a till!

 There was even a dressing up section with plenty of costumes...although they could do with a few more boys ones! Elliot did wanted to dress up a witch ;)

We were the only people there so Elliot had free run of the place which was fun for him. He spent lots of time at the Vets and enjoyed sorting all the animals out and using the stethoscope. There was even a reindeer with a poorly bum apparently!

It was way past lunchtime when we visited Role Play World so we didn't order anything from the menu however there was lots of variety and the kids menu looked really good value too. There are lots of snack items available though plus hot and cold drinks so we did sit down and enjoy a giant cookie.

Elliot's favourite area was the construction zone and he spent ages playing on the digger and building walls. He also loved pushing the mini trolley around the shop, although every single item was £10 according to him ;)

Our 90 minute session absolutely flew by and before we knew it, it was time to go home. I was really impressed with Role Play World and it was nice to go to a play area that was spotlessly clean. Elliot had a brilliant time and we will definitely be going back!

Session Prices:
Child (includes free entry for 1 adult) - £6
Pre-walkers - Free
Additional adults - £3.50
For more information, please visit the Role Play World website

Linking up with the following:

Run Jump Scrap!A Cornish Mum

Monday 25 April 2016

Top 5 Days out for Children

Now that Easter is over, the prospect of summer is starting to rear its head. And while we all love those endless sunny days spent relaxing with our nearest and dearest, those of us with young children to entertain can also feel a touch of fear when contemplating the holidays. With weeks of time off stretched out before you, how can you put off that dreaded chant of “I’m bored”? Check out our guide to the top days out for children.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors

Love the great outdoors? Nothing beats spending a day in the beautiful countryside followed by a night under the stars.  If you’re happy to rough it there are plenty of sites around the country where you can pitch up for a few quid a night, while those who want a little more luxury can check out one of the UK’s fantastic posh camping – or ‘glamping’ – sites. For fantastic deals on luxury tents in stunning locations, check out some of the offers available with voucher codes.

Outdoor fun

A Slice of History

Living in the UK means that you’re spoiled for choice when searching for a day out activity that combines learning with fun. With so many historic castles, ancient villages, world class museums and much more located all around the country, it’s easy to find one your kids will love. Harry Potter fans can visit many of the locations associated with the famous films and books, while any young aspiring knights and princesses will be delighted with a day spent at one of Britain’s many medieval castles.

Corfe Castle, Dorset

Be Beside the Seaside

Want to make sure your kids are tired out by the end of the day? There’s nothing like a spot of bracing sea air to but them straight to sleep. In the South West, the beautiful beaches of Dorset, Devon and Cornwall provide family friendly facilities and lots of opportunities for swimming and sandcastle building, while the coastline of the North East offers plenty of bargain breaks by the sea. Pack up a picnic (don’t forget the windbreak!) and enjoy an old-fashioned day out!

A warm Summer's evening in Dorset

Get Some Thrills

Particularly good if you have older children, Britain’s amazing theme parks are an easy way to enjoy a great day out with the family – and it doesn’t need to cost the earth either. While tickets to top parks like Alton Towers and Thorpe Park can be expensive on the gate, it’s always worth keeping an eye on the internet to find out what special offers are around. Don’t fancy the crowds? There are hundreds of smaller theme parks dotted around the country, all with their own special charms. Ask at your local tourist information centre for more information about what’s available in your area.

Paulton's Park (Peppa Pig World), Hampshire

Explore Foreign Shores

For the ultimate holiday activity, taking the kids to another country is an experience that’s hard to beat. Whether it’s a quick hop across the channel to France or Spain or something a little more exotic, sites like Couporando are dedicated to helping you find the very best deals around. For families with young children, hotels with kids’ clubs represent fantastic value for money – you’ll have professional entertainers on hand to keep the little ones entertained while you relax and enjoy your holiday.

Holiday Fun
What are your favourite days out?

*Sponsored post

Saturday 23 April 2016

Weekend Walks at Arne RSPB Reserve, Dorset

Here in Dorset we have some incredible scenery - sandy beaches, lush countryside, wonderful woodland and much much more. Last weekend we decided to visit somewhere that combined all of these...

Arne RSPB Reserve is located near Wareham in Dorset and is a place I've been visiting since I was a child. It's a beautiful nature reserve covering over 1,300 acres of land and if you're lucky you might even spot the large herd of Sika deer.

We had an early start with a football class for Elliot first thing so we arrived just after 10am which is unusually early for us to be out and about! The sun was shining and the carpark already busy but we managed to get a spot. Our first stop was the information hut where Elliot was very interested in all the animal bones that had been found on the reserve. There was also a viewing window in the hut which had floor to ceiling glass and overlooked the bird feeders. We spotted lots of birds, a couple of squirrels and even a rat who kept popping his head out of a hole in the ground!!

A brand new cafe has recently opened so we made a quick pitstop for breakfast and enjoyed the morning sunshine. Elliot was itching to get on the new play equipment though!

There are lots of different routes to take around the nature reserve but we decided to head down to the beach, this walk goes via the woodland. Elliot enjoyed stomping across bridges, jumping off logs and squelching in mud!

We didn't see any of the deer herd on our way down to the beach but the trees were alive with the sound of birds singing and chirping. It was very peaceful!

We soon arrived at the beach and it felt like Summer! The sun was shining, there were children paddling and sea was sparkling. It's only a small beach but the views are amazing, you can see all across Poole Harbour with Brownsea Island and Poole in the distance. I have fond memories of coming here with my family when I was a child, we used to go swimming and I remember it was so muddy!

We followed the path along the beach and back onto the Heath. There is a bird hide along the route, we popped our head in but there were some serious birdwatchers in there and they probably wouldn't appreciate a noisy 3 year old scaring away the wildlife ;)

Elliot was flagging abit by the point but we carried on with the promise of a lolly back at the cafe. He eventually ended up on my husband's shoulders!

The walk took us through the heath and back onto the fields and then eventually back to the beginning of the route. It was around 4 miles in total and very pleasant, not too hilly or uneven!

I say it all the time but I feel very fortunate to live in Dorset, we have some beautiful places to visit such as Arne and it's great to get out into the countryside to enjoy the scenery.

Where have you been this weekend?

Linking up with the following:
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
A Cornish Mum

Wednesday 20 April 2016

Meeting the Swans at The Abbotsbury Swannery, Dorset

Following on from my last post about the lovely Children's Farm in Abbotsbury, here's part 2 and it's all about the Swannery. Which as the name suggests, has lots of swans!

Abbotsbury Swannery is home to 600 swans and is the only managed colony of nesting mute swans in the world.

I had never visited before so I was looking forward to exploring but I wondered what Elliot would make of the swans! When he was smaller he had a bit of a traumatic experience when we got chased by some very aggressive swans in Christchurch as we tried to feed them...needless to say he's always been a bit wary around large birds!

When we arrived at the Swannery we parked in the free carpark and headed straight for the play area which Elliot immediately spotted. He also spotted the ice-cream sign!! The Swannery cafe serves locally produced hot and cold food and has a amazing selection of Marshfields ice-cream. I'm afraid to say the diet got momentarily forgotten as I tucked into some salted caramel ice-cream....mmm :)

Guess who had chocolate ice cream ;)
One important thing to remember about the Swannery is that the only toilets are located next to the cafe and there aren't any down by the swans. So it's worth taking the kids before you go in!

Entrance is via the gift shop and when I'd finally dragged Elliot away from the toys we began our walk down to the swans. It's not far, just quarter of a mile and it was a lovely walk through fields. There were lots of sheep grazing and lots of very cute lambs hopping around! We also saw a few pheasants..or peasants as Elliot kept calling them! "Look there's another peasant Mummy!"....could have been awkward ;)

We passed the Giant Swan Maze on our way down but I'd been told this was a little muddy so we skipped this and had a go on the go-karts instead. The go-karts are quite large and not really suitable for little ones but Elliot insisted I push him round!!

There were lots of displays featuring the history of the swannery and information about the swans. I had no idea that the Swannery had been there so long - since the 1040's! Elliot was very interested in the swan bones and he spent ages looking at that display.

Walking along the pathway towards the Swannery was so peaceful and it wasn't long before we saw nesting swans and Elliot loved spotting the large eggs. There were nests everywhere, even on the path but the swans didn't seem bothered by the people walking past.

The swans are fed at 12pm and 4pm and it's well worth timing your visit with the feeds. It was the highlight of our afternoon and Elliot loved it! All the swans are kind of herded into the water and the children are invited up to grab a bucket of swan food and they can stand on the edge and feed the swans. When we visited it was really quiet so Elliot was able to have several turns feeding the swans. It was an amazing sight, I've never seen so many swans in one space!

After the mass feeding we followed the path way and headed onto the nature trail. Elliot was flagging at this point and walking at a snails pace - he was pretty tired after a busy day of exploring! There is a fair amount of walking involved at the Swannery so it's worth bringing a buggy if your little ones tire easily.

Believe it or not, he was tired at this point! 
We finally made it back to the gift shop and Elliot spent absolutely ages looking at all the toys! One cuddly swan purchase later and we were making our way back to Poole...Elliot fell asleep the minute the engine started :)

We had a really nice day out exploring Abbotsbury and it would be great to return in May when the cygnets start hatching.


Individual Tickets:
- Adult: £12
- Child (5-15 yrs): £9
- Super Saver Family Ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children): £43, includes entry into the Swannery, Children's Farm and Subtropical Gardens.

Passport Tickets (one visit to each of the three attractions)
- Adult: £17
- Child (5-15 yrs): £14
- Family (2 adults and up to 3 children): £43, includes entry into the Swannery, Children's Farm and Subtropical Gardens.

Open every day from 19th March to 30th October, 10am to 5pm. 

Linking up with..
ANIMALTALESMudpie FridaysLet's Talk Mommy
Run Jump Scrap!

Sunday 17 April 2016


Despite living in Dorset my whole life, I've never visited Abbotsbury! Most people have heard of the Swannery but Abbotsbury has so much more to offer. 

The three main tourist attractions are the Children's Farm, the Swannery and the Subtropical Gardens. You can buy separate tickets for these attractions but you can get a passport ticket which covers all three and saves you lots of £££ (I'll go over prices at the end of the review). I've decided to do separate blog posts for each, our first visit was the Children's Farm. 

The Children's Farm

The children's farm is located in Abbotsbury village and is well signposted. Parking can be a little confusing as there is no parking at the farm however there is a large free carpark at the swannery which is just over half a mile away or there is a carpark in the village which is £3.50 for all day parking. We parked in the village carpark and it was a 2 minute walk down a big steep hill to get to the farm - the views are beautiful as you walk down! Watch the kids though, Elliot started running and almost couldn't stop...had visions of him ending up in the pond! ;)

Entrance is via the gift shop and we were given a leaflet of activities for the day. Elliot was itching to explore and he dragged me straight to the barn. The Ancient Tithe Barn is a kids paradise and full of activities to keep them occupied. There's a large soft play area, under 5's soft play, a big bouncy castle/slide, giant foam building bricks and even table football and table tennis. 

It was really quiet when we visited so we had the barn to ourselves and Elliot just couldn't decide what he wanted to play on - he was running from the soft play to the bouncy castle and back to the soft play! We even had a go at the table tennis but that was a bit of a challenge ;) 

Once I'd managed to drag Elliot away from the barn we decided to explore and see what animals we could find. Mr Impatient was on a mission, he'd look at the animal and say "Come onnnnn Mummy!" - so we whizzed round and then went round a second time, actually taking a bit more time to look!

There were lots of animals to see and we were able to get up close to them all. We loved the baby lambs and Elliot was able to help with the bottle feeding....those lambs were hungry!!

Another favourite were the guinea pigs, there were so many of them! We went into their enclosure and there were around 50 guinea pigs running around, Elliot was able to hold one of them and feed him some carrot - he loved that!

Other animals we saw included piglets, rabbits, birds, ponies, kune kune pigs, donkeys, pygmy goats and some very inquisitive alpacas!

The farm has it's own cafe serving hot and cold food but we had a packed lunch - it was actually really warm so we sat outside to eat it, felt like Summer! There are plenty of picnic benches scattered around plus lots of seating in the playbarn which would be useful on a cold/wet day.

After lunch Elliot had a play on the pedal tractors and outside play area and we noticed they were doing pony rides so he had to have a go! It was £2.50 a go (I might have been £3.50, can't quite remember!) and Elliot was so excited to choose himself a hat and meet the pony. One thing I noticed about the farm is that the staff were so friendly and helpful - the man who took Elliot on his pony ride was very chatty and I could see him and Elliot chatting the whole way round the field!

When we first arrived at the farm I wondered whether there would be enough to keep us busy but there is lots of do here aside from the animals and soft play. There is a waterplay zone, radio controlled pirate boats, bouncy cows, walk in aviary, swing seats, a cow to practice milking on (don't's not real!), sandplay, outside play barn, giant quoits and even a hay bale mountain and slide which is open from May onwards.

Before we left, Elliot had to have one last go in the soft play and the only way I could lure him out was the promise of a look in the gift shop! One packet of tractors later and we were on our way. 

We had a lovely morning exploring the farm in the sunshine and it was an unexpected surprise finding all the play equipment in the barn. Elliot really enjoyed meeting all the animals and he says he wants to go back so he can play in the soft play again! 


  • Adult: £10.50
  • Child (5-15 years): £9.00
  • Super Saver Family Ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children) £43 – Includes entry to the Swannery, Children’s Farm and Subtropical Gardens
  • Passport Tickets (one visit to each of the three attractions – a real holiday treat!)
  • Adult –  £17
  • Child (5-15 years) – £14
  • Family (group up to 5 with a maximum of 2 adults) – £43

We went on to visit the Swannery so look out for that write up coming very soon :) 

Linking up with:

Everything Mummy  Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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