Friday 29 December 2023

Winter Family Activities To Enjoy During The Christmas Holidays

 Winter Family Activities To Enjoy During The Christmas Holidays

Winter can feel like a drag, forcing everyone to snuggle indoors for what may seem like an eternity. Unfortunately, staying indoors for too long has some mental health consequences. Thankfully, the cold and snowy months also present an opportunity to bond with your family, with work and school responsibilities temporarily out of the way. There’s plenty you can do with your loved ones to make the cold holiday season fun and memorable instead of locking yourselves up. So, start retrieving those winter boots, scarves, coats, and socks to enjoy these fun winter activities with your family during the holidays.

  1. Catch a Christmas show

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The holiday period is a season for pantos and parades. From the Manchester Christmas Parade to other yuletide events, these fun activities have become a part of the holiday tradition in most places. These dazzling and spirited events are usually characterised by colourful displays, jingles, outdoor festive decor, Christmas carols, melodies from marching bands, large-size mascots, floats, balloons on bicycles, and so much more. The cherry on the top is always an appearance from the special character of the moment, Father Christmas (or Santa Claus, depending on where you are). But it’s not just about the sights and sounds, as there’s usually so much to eat and drink. This is something your little ones will truly love - an excellent break from being indoors for too long. 

  1. Go ice skating or figure skating if you prefer

Whether ice skating or figure skating, they essentially mean the same thing - skating on ice. For clarity purposes, the activity of ice skating has given rise to figure skating and speed skating as two distinctive sports. But you can enjoy any of them during winter. Depending on your location, you can find several centres open for ice skating activities with free entry. All you and your loved ones need are pairs of high-quality figure skates and some basic manoeuvering skills on the ice, and you’ll have a blast. 

  1. Take the family sledging

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If you want something a bit more inexpensive, consider sledging. All you need to have an amazing experience is a sizable hill covered in snow; no need to travel too far. A little bit of courage is also crucial, especially when going downhill at top speed. You can use a flat-bottom plastic saucer or a traditional wooden sledge with runners, but the experience will almost be the same. It’s fun and exhilarating, particularly for kids, but please make sure they stay within sight. It’s also best to avoid taking unnecessary risks to minimise the risk of injuries. 

  1. Take a winter hike

Understandably, bundling up for a winter hike in the snow is not what many will consider a fun way to spend the holidays. While winter hiking might seem like more trouble than it’s worth, nature can look breathtakingly beautiful in the snow - something worth seeing and experiencing. Plus, studies have uncovered many health benefits of going for a winter hike, including building muscles and helping burn calories and fat. Winter hike locations are also less crowded, so you’ll enjoy some serenity. Alternatively, you can go for shorter walks in the snow around your neighbourhood. This option is less physically draining if you have little kids. 

Sunday 17 December 2023

Cinderella at the Tivoli Wimborne - Pantomime Review

 Wimborne, a quaint town nestled in the heart of Dorset, has once again transported its residents and visitors to a world of enchantment and magic with its annual pantomime. The Tivoli Theatre, with its historic charm and intimate ambiance, served as the perfect stage for Cinderella's enchanting tale.

Cinderella at the Tivoli, Wimborne

We were excited to be invited along to opening night of Cinderella and knew we were in for a treat from the very beginning. Regulars to the Wimborne panto will recognise lots of faces from previous shows and I was excited to hear that Courtney Jackson was returning, this time playing the the role of Fairy Godmother. Also returning to the Tivoli are Luke Attwood and Brandon Nicholson - we saw these two as the ugly sisters back in 2018 and they were very funny.

Courtney Jackson and his pumpkins

The auditorium was full of families and large groups of beavers and cubs (including my children!) and there was a real buzz in the air as the lights dimmed and the panto began.

The show was full of high energy singing and dancing, and plenty of jokes that sailed right over the children's heads! The set design was vibrant and each scene moved flawlessly into the next. The carriage scene was absolutely magical and children will gasp in wonder! The costumes were fantastic, and a special nod must go to the Ugly Sisters who had quite the wardrobe and wig collection!

Ugly Sisters and Cinderella

Cinderella's cast were all so talented and leading lady Lucia-Jade Barker had great chemistry with Prince Charming. Buttons, played by Lee Redwood (who also writes and directs the panto) was a joy to watch. From his hilarious DVD gag, to his emotional solo (which the kids loved!), he had the audience rooting for him from the start.

I love the bits in the panto that go wrong, although you're never quite sure whether the calamity is actually meant to be happening or not! One such moment involved a sock, an ugly sister and a wig and we were in absolute stitches. My kids said this part was the highlight for them!

This is our 5th Wimborne panto that we have seen and my son Elliot said this was the best yet. We had a fantastic night and left feeling full of cheer. Thank you for having us!

You can catch Cinderella the Tivoli right up until 2nd January, so don't delay, go and book those tickets!

*Disclaimer - We were invited along to the panto in exchange for an honest review

Wednesday 13 December 2023

Sail with Santa with City Experiences - Poole Quay, Dorset

 We love to book a Santa experience every year and we've tried out various different ones in the local area and further afield. This year we booked to Sail with Santa from Poole Quay and were excited to try something different! 

Sail with Santa is run by City Experiences and the Solent Scene boat can be found moored on Poole Quay. Once aboard you will be taken on a cruise around Poole Harbour, passing by the famous Brownsea Island, Studland Bay and more. 

Children will receive a snack and a drink, and there is mulled wine and mince pies for the grown ups. 

Although it's a busy time of year, Santa takes a break from his busy schedule to stop by and all children will receive an age appropriate gift.

Our Experience

On the day of our cruise, it was crisp and cold and feeling very Christmassy. However the weather wasn't on our side and the sea mist was coming in fast. This meant that the boat wasn't allowed to leave the Quayside and even Rudolf couldn't help us, it was just too foggy!

Ready to board the Solent Scene, Poole Quay

This meant our Sail with Santa experience wasn't quite what we were expecting but what we lacked in views, the staff on board more than made up for with their enthusiasm! Led by Santa's best Elf, there were games and Christmas music and lots of laughs. Soon it was time for the children to meet Santa, and fortunately he had made his way through the fog and found us ok. 

Each child was presented with a certificate and a lovely gift. My son is 11 and at that awkward stage with gifts where he's getting too old for toys but he was thrilled to bits with his present. At the booking stage you are able to put what your child is into so the elves can find a suitable present and they did well! 

The whole experience was lovely and I liked the fact that we didn't feel rushed. Erin and her friends (who were also onboard) spent quite some time chewing Santa's ear off and he was more than happy to answer their millions of questions. 

To Book:

Sail with Santa is running daily from Saturday 16th December (different time slots available on certain days) but if you want to book, be quick as this is sure to sell out. If the weather conditions are too rough, the experience will run alongside the Quay (like ours did) but you will be offered a complimentary Harbour Cruise at a later date so you can still enjoy the stunning views. 

For more information and to book, visit here.

*Disclaimer - City Experiences kindly gifted us a family ticket in exchange for an honest review 

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