My Sunday Photo – May 21st 2017

This week I picked a photo of my youngest. We were all having a family day at a local attraction, an ice cream farm. We were playing mini golf and he sat down for a rest. He has such long hair because I love long hair on boys (plus he doesn’t like getting it cut!). The wind caught it at just the moment hubby went to take his picture. His face is funny fighting against the wind, with his hair flying everywhere. I love the boys so much.


 

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Now you might be wondering why Legoland Discovery Centre is having a launch. If you live in the Northwest area you’ll probably realise that Legoland Discovery Centre has been there for many years already. Even a fantastic place like Legoland Discovery Centre needs a facelift every so often!

This week we were kindly invited down to a VIP launch night for Legoland Discovery Centre. Keen showcase it fabulous attractions including the new Lego Ninjago City adventure.

As existing Merlin Annual Pass holders, we have been regulars visitors to the Legoland Discovery Centre. We live quite close so are lucky that we can pop in frequently. The Legoland Discovery Centre can be found at Barton Square (part of the Trafford Centre).

You may think that the attraction being based at a shopping centre wouldn’t be that big but you’d be wrong. You initially enter via the ground floor but are quickly directed upstairs and through the Lego factory tour where Professor Brick explains all about how lego is made. This is possibly my eldest favourite part, he knows it word for word he’s been through that many times. He still always wants to watch though. I won’t describe the whole process as I don’t want to spoil it for your first visit!

Once through the factory the first thing you will come across is the Lego Ride. It’s a good idea to ride it at this point. Although you can go back once inside the main area the children probably won’t want to leave!

What’s New?

This is the first time we’ve been back to Legoland Discovery Centre since the fantastic refurb and the boys were impressed. A whole new soft play area. The previous one was looking tired and a change is always great. It’s now Ninjago themed with a great ballpool area.

We were also surprised to see a moving climbing wall has been installed too, this looks like great fun.

The other thing thats been updated is the cafe. Previously the cafe offered a range of sandwiches, sweet treats and drinks. With an eating area just adjacent to the cafe.

Theres a new seating area too which looks much nicer than the older picnic bench style seating.

We were very glad to see that old favourites were still there, the go kart ride and the wizard ride as well as the build and race area.

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And one of the boys favourite the 4D cinema!

New attractions alongside the new play area also include a Creative Workshop and a Circus area. We didn’t get chance to do either on the launch night as we ran out of time. The play area really did keep their attention for quite a while!

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Of course any day out wouldn’t be complete with a visit to the gift shop and as you’d expect the Legoland Discovery Centre shop is floor to ceiling lego. With something for every budget you’re sure to find so the right thing to come home with to remember your trip.

Thanks to Legoland Discovery Centre for inviting us down to see the new attractions, we’ll be back soon!

The Legoland Discovery Centre does get busy at weekends and school holidays so I’d advise you to book online to guarantee entry. Prices start from just £11 per child and £15 per adult when purchased in advance online. For more information and to buy tickets, please visit the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre website.


Geronimo – A fabulous family day out!

Geronimo has been and gone for another year, this year was our first year visiting Geronimo at Tatton Park. In case you don’t have time for the whole post I’ll summarise it for you now. We had an amazing day out that surpassed my expectation in everyday although it was very busy we still managed to enjoy everything.

And for those of you sticking around to find out what we got up to here goes! We headed the warnings on the website and made sure to arrive early. Thankfully the weather was on our side and it was set to be a sunny day at Geronimo!

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Flixster was sad in this photo because he’d just broken (again) the shark he loves a lot – we’ve spent more money repairing that shark than it cost to buy in the first place!!

The festival itself was due to open at 10am but I noted that it did open a little earlier than planned which I think was a great move by the organisers considering the crowds that had already begun to build up. We arrived around 9am and were parked up pretty easily with no queues, the whole car park seemed well organised which makes a refreshing change for a large festival. Grateful for no queues to sit in on the already hot day we headed to the entrance. We were through the main gates in no time and wristbands on our arms headed to get a map. The map listed everything going on at Geronimo that day and gave you a rough idea of where things we happening. It would have been easy enough to wander around Geronimo without a map but the times guide was very useful!

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Our first stop was the 3ft and under area, there was a mixture of things in here, some soft play for the little ones, some story telling, some mini shows etc. We quickly came across Mini Professors who explained that we could book the boys on to a science class about bubbles. Now the boys are mad about bubbles and the eldest loves a good learning session so it was a no brainier. With them booked on we had 45 minutes to do something else at Geronimo before it began. So off we headed the big inflatable area, bound to be a winner!

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The queues for rides and attractions weren’t too bad early on and so whilst the boy had some bouncy fun I took Flixster to the mini roundabout, he loved it!

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I really love it when things like this are included because with little ones you never know which way it’s going to go, will you pay your money and have to endure a ride full of tears? On days like this it doesn’t matter if they love it and want to go on 10 times or are not so sure and don’t enjoy it, because at Geronimo its all included! No need to spend extra on all the rides!

The time quickly passed and we were heading back to Mini Professors to do some bubble experiments!

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The boys loved it, I promise, despite Flixsters face on the photo! They learnt all about how bubbles are formed, what they are made of and how to hold one. The boy was enthralled, and I’m still hearing all about it now, he even had to pass on his knowledge to the grandparents recently when he saw them. So I know he learnt quite a lot at the one short session.

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After our session we went on a general explore of the site, there was so much to see and do, we saw live music acts and lots of general street entertainment. The boys were fascinated by the Hippo, where else would you see a huge hippopotamus just trotting along?!

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The sun shone beautifully and it was soon time for lunch. We did bring some snacks to keep us going throughout the day, and lots of water to drink too, but we had a mooch round the various food stall and picked the wood fired pizza. We were not disappointed, it was very very nice! It didn’t last long with the boys around!

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After a lunch sat in the shade and a rest for the boys, it was time for more fun to be found and we didn’t have to look far!

The heater skelter had a long queue but with a few rounds of I-spy we didn’t seem to be waiting too long, plus with the added distraction of the never ending entertainment the boys weren’t bored thats for sure. the giraffe spotting also helped pass the time!

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I didn’t get a photo of them coming down the heater skelter, I wasn’t sure when to expect them but from the smiles of happiness as the boy got up off his mat he certainly had a good time!

The sun was really beating down by mid afternoon and even with water, hats and lots of cream on the weather was really making the boys flag so I suggested we get a spot to watch the main stage, it just so happened that we caught the end of Mr.Blooms show followed by Swashbuckle which the boy adores. He’s always asking to go on that show, he loves the idea of the games and the challenges. It was Cook & Line from Swashbuckle on stage (and if you don’t have preschoolers or young children who watch CBeebies then you won’t know who I mean!)

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As you can see from the pictures we were miles away from the stage but could see and hear everything perfectly well which was great for the boys, especially Flixster who enjoyed the dancing most of all!

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The shows on the Geronimo stage were great and the boys loved watching, it was a nice relaxed atmosphere where it felt ok to just let the boys dance if they wanted to, no one was packed in and there was plenty of room for everyone which was really great.

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Even after a full day of shows and experiments and having fun the boys still wanted to go on the rides again a few times before we had to say goodbye to Geronimo for this year and as it was their day I wasn’t going to stop them, so off we went. The boat was Flixster favourite by a mile!

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The time did sadly come to have to say goodbye, and of course any trip out wouldn’t be complete without a child saying as you get back to the car “I need the toilet”……… so back to the entrance we went……then back to the car again….and finally we were setting off home. Both of them were spark out snoozing within minutes of leaving the Tatton Park site. Happy boys and happy parents. What a fab day we had enjoyed together as a family and another day for the memory banks. Thank you Geronimo team for inviting us to enjoy the day together.

 

 

 

Printworks

When hubby and I first started dating around 11 years ago, our first date was spent in the Printworks Manchester, back then if I remember correctly the Printworks to me seemed to be full of bars and clubs, with a couple of restaurants thrown in as well as the Odeon cinema. I wouldn’t have thought of it then as a family destination. Todays trip has changed my perspective. Having spent most of our day there today has defiantly changed my mind and I’m grateful we got the chance to go and have a family day together.

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Family Time at the Printworks

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We started the morning with a trip to the Odeon cinema to watch the new Angry Birds Movie which was just released the day before we visited. It was Flixsters first time at the cinema so it was exciting for him to be having a ‘first’ too. Although he had been before when he as only a few weeks old, he was fast asleep in a sling on my chest so that doesn’t count! This time he had his very own seat and his very own childrens snack box. I wasn’t sure what to expect with a film based on an app but the film was pretty funny in parts, even for adults!

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I really like going to the cinema on a weekend morning as it’s usually full of other children so you know you that even if your little one talks it won’t be disturbing other peoples film experiences which is great as most people there will be understanding and have children themselves. The boy has been going to the cinema on weekends with one of us since he was about two and a half so he’s very used to sitting and enjoying a film, he takes after his dad who’s film mad!

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The family snack deal went down very well with everyone and at £9.99 for two childrens packs (with popcorn, snack and drink), a medium popcorn and two adult drinks I thought that was pretty good considering what you would expect to pay normally for each individual item.

Towards the end of the film I did take Flixster out for a little walk and then we watched the very end of the film from the exit corridor so that he wouldn’t be disturbing people, but it was only the last few minutes of a 90 minute film for someone who’s just turned two I don’t think thats bad. For the rest of the film he mostly sat watching and enjoying the big screen, it went far better than I had expected!

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After the film i could tell he was tired as it was hitting nap time so we popped him into the buggy and off he went to sleep as we had a little walk before lunch.

Lunch at Frankie and Bennys

Lunch was booked for Frankie and Benny’s which in the Printworks is almost opposite the cinema entrance. All the restaurants in the printworks look nice but I picked Frankie and Bennys as its somewhere I’ve not been for about 10 years. When I was dating hubby we went a few times but it never seemed to change much so I guess it sort of fell out of our radar. The boys had never been to Frankie and Bennys either so it was a nice treat for them.

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We were seated in a booth which was great for the children as hubby and I could block the exits and easily stop them from running around, sometimes when you sit at a table I seem to spend the entire meal repeating the words “please sit down”. The staff were very accommodating with the buggy too which was lovely of them, so we were able to have Flixster asleep next to us at the table whilst we had some food. He did wake later on in the meal and helped finish the chips and the dessert.

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The boy was super chuffed at his childrens menu, he loves being able to make his own choice of food and I love that he can feel grown up by reading and making his choices.

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Our waiter who if I remember correctly was called Janis was great with the boy, he really made him feel welcome which is lovely when you have children, you feel more relaxed about the meal and get to enjoy the family time together.

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As we were there at lunch time we choose our food from the lunchtime menu, I went for the fish with salad as I’m following a health eating plan at the moment and hubby went for burger. The boy also went for the build your own burger choice and decided to have it with cheese , bacon, ketchup and some fries and beans as side orders. We also ordered a starter of dough balls to share.

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I’m glad we did share them as there were lots to go round. Sometimes with dough balls at other restaurants you’d don’t get very many but I think the portion at Frankie and Bennys was just right.

My food was lovely and the salad was nice and fresh which to me is always a good sign, hubby said his burger was yummy and the boys plate was gobbled up pretty quickly and finished off by Flixster when he awoke from his nap! thankfully the soft drinks were unlimited refill which I prefer as you don’t have to worry about the cost or how thirsty you get, you know what you’re paying up front and theres no hidden extras when you get the bill!

The childrens’ meals came with a choice of drinks and as milk was on the menu thats what the boys ordered, milk lovers the both of them as they don’t like fizzy drinks.

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I skipped dessert but there seemed only one obvious choice for the boys to share and my boy had already spotted it on the menu! It was the Ice Cream Candy Shop, you do pay a little extra for it as its not part of the kids included desserts but   having seen the enjoyment my two had with it, I’d would treat them to it again next time. It does say great to share and I would say it was two much for just one of them so I’m glad they did share it between them. It came in a little wooden crate with a bowl of ice cream and various sweets to sprinkle on as well as a little jug of chocolate sauce. Upon seeing it for the first time the boy exclaimed “This is the best day ever!” which made me laugh quite a lot!

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It even came with a little paper bag to take any remaining sweets home which was a nice touch!

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Hubby choose the waffle and ice cream on recommendation from our waiter, he was not disappointed, I could smell how nice it was from across the table and sadly he had already tucked in before I got a photo!

By the end of the meal we were all perfectly satisfied and came out having had a lovely family day together, the trip has proven to me that the Printworks is much more a family destination now, and I look forward to more days out there together in the future to try out some of the other restaurants although the boy is already requesting to go back to Frankie and Bennys!

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Thanks from us to the Printworks for inviting us to come and enjoy some family time together!

 

 

 

Last weekend we packed up the car with all the paraphernalia you need for a day out with small people and headed to our local ‘Pumpkin Patch’. We’ve never been before. My beautiful American friend Jenny from Let’s Talk Mommy has a yearly tradition with her children and when she was young of picking pumpkins. I guess over here in England its never been that popular before. When I was young pumpkins were of course available in the shop to carve and I remember buying one sometimes to carve. There was one year that my dad carved the pumpkin and my mum made a pumpkin pie…it was awful! I have since found out that pumpkin pie is in fact a delicious dish so I have no idea what my mum did that year!

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Before we had children I used to dread halloween, I hated being disturbed by trick or treaters so we’d always just go out instead to avoid it all! However once again children have changed me and I now look forward to the night. I love putting up the decorations and getting ready for all the little ones who come to our door to trick or treat. So this year I wanted to start a new tradition for our family and head out to the pumpkin patch. It was also a fab chance to get some snaps of the children. We have an SLR camera which I have mentioned before but we don’t use it half as much as we should so I jumped at the chance to take it with us a practise my skills (of which I have very little!).

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I love this shot of the boys going through the Maize Maze together, I try to get the boy to hold Flixsters hand more often now when they are walking, I especially love how Flixsters pointing at something in this shot.

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We loved spending time looking at the pumpkins growing in the field. Flixster mainly just loved the mud, touching the mud on the pumpkins and walking in the most mud possible. But he is only 18 months old!

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The sun was shining and he was enjoying himself!

There were quite a few rotting pumpkins which the boy loved, being a boy anything gory seems to fascinate him.

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I really loved the visit, being outdoors with the boys, running around, taking photos, looking at all the pumpkins. I think it’s something I’d really like to do every October to kick off our halloween celebrations. A new tradition in our house has started.

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This past weekend we decided to take a trip as a threesome to Blackpool Pleasure Beach (BPB). As Flixster is still so small my mum kindly looked after him while we went to have some fun with just the boy. The boy rarely gets any mummy and daddy alone time so we thought’s he’d enjoy the attention.
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I subscribe to the BPB newsletter and spotted an offer on tickets so I booked the day before we planned to visit. I booked unlimited ride wristbands for the 3 of us and it came to £51.   I was a little nervous about the weather but as it was the only day we had free this month and rain wasn’t forecast for all the day we wrapped up and took our chances with the weather.

I haven’t been to BPB in a long time, I have fond memories of days out there during my years growing up. I vaguely remember as a small child going in the fun house that was there with my brother and dad. It lately sadly burnt down.

When we arrived we were directed by one of the many staff outside to the ticket office where we could collect our prepaid tickets. We were attended to very quickly and back outside the main entrance within minutes with a map and ticket receipts in hand ready for a day full of fun!

Once through the turnstiles we headed over to the classic Alice in Wonderland ride. I have many pictures on this very bench over the years and this was my first with my own children! I think its a lovely reminder of the day you go to BPB!
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As it was already 11:45 by the time we had been on the Alice ride we made the decision to find some lunch. We are early risers in our house (4:50am in the usual time…yawn!) so an early lunch is normal for us!

A quick look at the map to see what was available and we made our choice to dine at Burger King. The boy has never been to Burger King but just a couple of weeks ago we drove past one and he very reasonably piped up

“Mummy do you have to be a king to eat at Burger King?” I’ve never told him what its called so he read the sign himself. I was so amused by his question that we promised to take him one day and today seemed like the perfect opportunity.
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He was thrilled with his cheese burger ,chips and milk, it came with and I spy book so that pleased him as well. We don’t do fast food often so it was a nice treat.

After fuelling up we were back on our way to the intended destination of Nickelodeon Land! The first ride we came across was The Backyardigans Pirate Treasure. Its a boat ride that spins quite quickly forwards then backwards. The boats go up and down on a track. We hadn’t watched the ride before we jumped on so I told the boy it was slow (he says he doesn’t like fast rides). In all honesty I though it would be quite slow……it wasn’t.

He loved it.

All was fine! He even went straight back on with Daddy!

 

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The next ride we tried was Diego’s Rainforest Rescue. It was little hot air balloons that spin (by hand) and go up in the air. I’m not sure why I don’t have any pictures of that ride. It was fun but made us quite dizzy! So what do you do when you’re already dizzy? Thats right go on another spinning ride……!

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It was the boys choice to go on the Fairy World Taxi Spin next. It had a button which he loved that made the taxi go up and down. After it finshed we were well and truly dizzy and a bit fed up of spinning rides.
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So I took a chance and asked the boy if he fancied the Krusty Krab Order up, its a mini free fall ride. He said he did want to try it. I explained it went up and down quickly about 6 times and it might make his tummy go funny. He was keen to give it a try. I was nervous with this one as he’d been on the frog hopper at Alton Towers last year and didn’t like it. We sat down and got strapped in. He seemed to be fine. The ride started and he was looking the other way, I couldn’t work out how he was so I kept laughing to reassure him it was fun. It turned out he loved it and wanted to go straight back on with Daddy! It was a roaring success!IMG_4073 IMG_4081

The next thing we tried was Dora’s World Voyage, I stayed off this one as I’m not keen on the round boat type rides. Daddy took him on. Daddy came off saying it was a bit boring but the boy seemed to enjoy it.

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As we had done most of the rides that we could now in that area we chatted about getting a snack as it had been some time since lunch and we wanted coffee too! What better snack to have at an amusement park than some doughnuts. We went for a wander and on the way stopped to ride the Wonderpets Big Circus Bounce. The boy was giggling away on this because of the way it bounced up and down. I’m not sure daddy was that thrilled but he smiled all the same!
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On our quest to find doughnuts we can across the big guy himself and his best pal Patrick, we had to stop for photos!IMG_0189_2 IMG_0198_2

After hunting down some coffee and doughnuts to share (the doughnuts not the coffee!) we set out to explore some more of the park. Since I hadn’t been in a very long time (prob over 10 years ago) there have been some changes. There is now a new (well to me anyway) Wallace and Gromit ride. This proved to be a big hit with the boy. The ride vehicles are designed like slippers and you go through various scenes from the Wallace and Gromit shorts and films. It does feel a little disjointed as its not telling a story but the models are well done and theres a few surprises on the way.
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The boy absolutely loved this ride and we ended up going on quite a few times, we even had our picture taken with Gromit outside. He’s not seen most of the Wallace and Gromit films but is familiar with Shaun the Sheep (this has since changed and we’ve watched them all now thanks to Amazon Prime!)

 

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After convincing him to move on, the boys went off to try the cars. The queue seemed short but took ages to get a car as there were only 8 out on the track. I wandered around for a little bit waiting for them to get their turn and returned to watch when they were nearer the front. IMG_4119 IMG_4135

It was nice to watch them out driving together but the boy came back unhappy as there had been some discussion about the pedals or something, that I couldn’t understand! So we quickly moved on to another classic ride the river caves. I remember this from when I used to come in my teenage years. The sign says it was originally built in 1904. It predates the pirates of the caribbean ride in Disney thats for sure!!

IMG_4152Another hit with the boy and again we went on twice!

By now the day was getting colder again and the park was closing. We went back to see if I could have a ride on the new red arrows ride but it had already closed which was a shame as I wanted to try it but maybe some other time!

There was just time to ride the carousel and make our way back to the car. We’d had a ball and the boys hasn’t stopped talking about it since Sunday. He loved it. Anyone who will listen is told about the rides in minute detail. It always surprises me how much he takes on board.

The boy fell asleep in the car on the way home and was pretty much un-wakeable upon arriving home. I had to get him changed and clean his teeth while he was asleep. That is the ultimate sign of a great day out!

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