Thursday, 21 September 2017

London with kids - My top tips

London with the kids - My top tips

  • Plan your visit. Have a rough idea of what you want to do & order. We knew we were visiting the Tower of London so I found a hotel within a few minutes walk from there. 
Raven's at The Tower of London



  • Don't worry. I thought the children might find the rush & tube daunting but they were totally unfazed.

  • Rest. There's so much to do you can have the tendency to squeeze everything in but this just results in tired/grumpy children & no fun for anyone.

  • Premier Inn offer free breakfasts for children & have loads of locations with family rooms. We stayed at London Bank (Tower) hotel.

  • If you are able stay on a Sunday most hotels offer a better rate on this day.

  • A hop on hop off bus is a good way to see lots in a short space of time and save tired little legs.
Trafalgar Square
Big Ben (Elizabeth Tower)

View of the London Eye



  • Check for voucher codes at restaurants.  We went to Zizzi and saved £15 with an offer on their own website.  Can definitely recommend great kids menu and lovely food.
Lego Store - Leicester Square

National History Musuem

  • Rememeber there's loads of free activitiesHyde park with the Diana memorial fountion, play area and Serpentine.  The National history museum, Museum of London Docklands, The science museum, for Harry Potter fans visit Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross Station. Visit Covent Garden to see the street performers and watch the Changing the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace or simply stroll around taking in the sites,my son was thrilled to see Big Ben in real life.

Emma xxx

Turtle Bay Preview Night

I was lucky enough to be invited to the preview night for Turtle Bay on Tuesday.

It's opening this weekend after a £800,000 refurbishment on Gold Street, Northampton.

The building has been completely transformed and its so nice to see a new and exciting food outlet/bar in Northampton.  I loved the decor and all the fairy lights.



Whilst enjoying a fruit rum punch (amazing) & a saints inspired melon cocktail (my partner gave this the thumbs up) we got to sample some starters.


I got to try the very lovely classic beef patty and garlic & chilli pit prawns and my partner sampled the crispy whitebait and jerk glazed pit ribs which he said were really good.

We were then seated for the main event and tasted the famous one pot curry goat. I'd never had this before and really enjoyed it & would definitely order again. We also got to try jerk chicken and the supervital green salad.




After a strawberry daiquri and a pineappleade we got to try 3 desserts. The passion pie (similar to lemon meringue) was soooo good and I wished I could have taken a slab home!



The staff were enthusiastic and welcoming and Turtle Bay had a great atmosphere. I'm already planning our next visit with friends.



Turtle Bay Northampton

  • Email northampton@turtlebay.co.uk
  • Address Turtle Bay Northampton,
    2-6 Gold Street,
    Northampton Town Centre,
    NN1 1RS
  • Opening times
  • Sun:11:30-00:00
  • Mon-Thu:11:30-00:30
  • Fri-Sat:11:00-01:30

Thursday, 14 September 2017

October Half Term Halloween Fun 2017 - In & Around Northamptonshire

Cattows Farm
Heather, Leiceershire, LE67 2RF

Cattows PYO Pumpkin

Pick your own pumpkin farm.  Looks amazing with over 11, 150 seeds planted and 8+ varieties.  Pumpkins are available from early October.  Other activities will be available other details to follow.
You can meet & feed some of the animals & there is a tea room.
Open Monday to Saturday 9 - 5pm and 9 - 4pm on Sundays.
All our pumpkins are sold by weight. Typically an average size pumpkin would cost approximately £2-£3.50, with massive ones in the region of £8.


(I couldn't find one in Northamptonshire.  If you know of a PYO Pumpkin farm let me know).

West Lodge Rural Centre
Desborough, Kettering, NN14 2SH

West Lodge Rural Centre

Spooky half term 14th to 31st October.  Pumpkin carving (extra charge), Spooky walkway, Witch’s house tours, Spooky Tractor rides, Panto style ghost stories and all the normal farmyard fun.

Ghost hunt by torchlight: Saturday 28th October 6.00 - 8.30pm (separate event).

See website for all prices.

Mead Open Farm
Leighton Buzzard, LU7 9JH

Mead Open Farm

Freaky Funfest Fortnight from 17 October – 1 November.  Opens 10am last entry to the Farm will be 5pm, and the Farm will close at 6pm. Adult £12.95 and Child £11.95

Mini Meadows Farm
Northampton NN6 6HZ

Mini Meadows

Freaky Farm for Halloween (dates to be confirmed). Lovely little farm with large indoor sand pit and café.

£4 per adult and child. Under 2's free.  £2 per feed bucket. Opening hours 10am to 5pm.




Waddesdon Manor
Aylesbury, HP18 0JH

Waddeson Manor

Pumpkin carving and painting 21st to 27th October. 10am to 3pm.  £4 per child.  Normal admission applies.  They also have a spooky afternoon tea for kids (12noon to 5pm £10 per child must book) and creatures of the night trail. (10am to 3pm £2 per child).  Check website for all the details.



Castle Ashby
Northampton, NN7 1LQ

Castle Ashby

21st to 29th October 10am to 2pm
£2.50 per child and £5.00 for parking which includes admission.  This year it will be booking online only via our website to prevent over crowding. 
Follow the trail around the gardens to find the hidden pumpkins.  Find all the pumpkins to win a prize!



Evenley Woods
Evenley, Northamptonshire, NN13 5SH

Evenley Wood Gardens


From 25-29th October a Halloween extravaganza will take place in the woods. Venture through the woods and discover what is lurking in the undergrowth and hiding in the shadows?

For little ones go during the day for pumpkin carving and story telling.
On 28th & 29th October the wood garden will be extending its opening hours for a ghostly trail by torch light for an eerie evening of fun and ‘spookylumination’.

£5 adults.  Under 12 free and over 12 £1. Normal opening hours are 11am to 4pm.


Stanwick Lakes
Wellingborough, NN9 6GY

Stanwick Lakes

23rd to 30th Ocotber.  10 am to 4pm. Outdoor trail, creepy crafts and a lantern walk on 28th October 6-8pm (must book for this activity).  Normal parking charges apply and modest charge or donation for each activity.




Irchester Country Park
Wellingborough, NN29 7DL

21st to 31st Ocotber.  10.30 to 4pm. £2 per quiz sheet. Spooky creatures quiz.

This also applies to Fermyn Woods

Sywell Country Park
Northampton, NN6 0QX

Fri 27th Oct 10:30am - 3:30pm. Carve your own pumpkin to take home. £5 per pumpkin. Tools provided and assistance from an Education Ranger. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

This also applies to Barnwell Country Park 28th October 1pm.
And Brixworth Country Park Wed 25th Oct 10:30am - Thu 26th 3:00pm.  (event closed 12noon to 1.30 pm)



The above link gives all event details for Northamptonshire Country Parks.


Abington Park Musuem
Northampton, NN1 5LW

Abington Park Musuem

28th Ocotber 11am to 4pm.  Haunted Halloween £1 per child.


Wicksteed Park
Kettering, NN15 6NJ

Wicksteed Park

Wicky's little monsters ball.  Spooktacular dances and party games.  12 noon to 2pm.  £6 per child and £2 per adult.


Twinlakes Park
Melton Mowbray, LE13 1SQ

Twinlakes

14th October to 5th November opens 10am.  Free pumpkin carving for every paying child, available from 11.30am – 3.30pm, no pre booking required. Meet Marty the friendly monster and enjoy all the usual rides and outdoor play areas. Also Xtreme Scream on selected nights (not for under 12's).

Adult & child over 108cm online price £11.99, toddler 95ch to 109cm £5.99 and under 95cm free.




National Trust

National Trust

Nearest to Northampton are Canons Ashby, Lyveden and Stowe.
They each have a Halloween activity.
Canons Ashby NN11 3SD Pumpkin trail from 7th October 10 am to 3pm
Lyveden PE8 5AT Halloween trail from 21st October 11 am to 4pm
Stowe MK18 5EQ Halloween trail from 21st October 10 am to 5pm


Canon's Ashby




Halloween fun at Lyveden October 2016

Adults Only
Dr Frights Halloween Nights
Earls Barton, Northamptonshire, NN6 0EP

Dr Frights

13th Ocotber to 31st Ocotber. Prices vary from £15.95 to £25 so check website for full details.

Walk through indoor horror attraction.  There are no age restrictions however all attractions are intense, contain gore and have been designed to scare! It is aimed at a teenage and adult audience. Not recommended for under 12's. Under 15's must be accompanied by an adult or guardian.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Ecover Laundry Challenge

Ecover Laundry Challenge

Let's face it doing the laundry is not the most entertaining job but it has to be done.

I try to get mine done on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays so I don't feel like a laundry maid all week.  I love getting it out on the line when I can but with the weather changing my tumble dryer will be back in constant use.



You can't beat fresh bed linen although changing a king size duvet cover is always a workout!

Ecover has brought out a new scent lavender & sandalwood and it is lovely and I would definitely use again. Cruelty free and safe for sensitive skin so a winner all round.


This post is an entry for Britmums #EcoverLaundry Challenge sponsored by Ecover

Creating and Catching Memories While Travelling With Destination 2.

Creating and Catching Memories While Travelling.

What do you do with your holiday pictures? Do you upload to social media? Make a photo album? Frame your favourites? Or forget about them?

I still love real photos & photo albums. The kids love browsing through them and remembering key holiday memories and places we have visited.


In a recent survey 29 per cent admit to leaving snaps on the computer. A further 29 per cent admit to not doing anything with them at all while over 14 per cent go as far as putting them in a separate folder on their phone.

When it came to making hard copies of the images, only 12.5 per cent of holidaymakers make the effort to get them printed. The remainder of us either create an album on our phones or share them on social media.

Why not do something with your special travel snaps? And then plan your next holiday adventure?

Destination2.co.uk has loads of long haul travel ideas and over 70 years experience. I would love to visit Mexico and Bali once the kids are a little older.  For you adventurous travellers you might want to take your little ones now and have a truly magical holiday to frame.

Destination 2 - Destinations

https://www.destination2.co.uk/


Friday, 1 September 2017

The Clown is in Town - Prologue


A while ago I wrote a short story inspired by my love of Point Horror and the remake of IT.  As its now finally being released I thought it would be a good time to share.  Here's the prologue hope you enjoy!

Prologue
The party had been great.  I smiled and smoothed down the hem of my little red riding hood skirt remembering my brief flirtation with Riley Roberts. Oh my god that boy was fit.  I was so glad Shannon had convinced me to buy the outfit. I laughed to myself remembering the afternoon at the fancy dress shop. We’d gone to Mr Ben’s fancy dress shop after school and screamed with laughter trying on the different outfits.  I’d almost wet myself. We’d taken so many selfies and posted them to Instagram I’d felt like Kim Kardashian and never had so many comments.  Riley had commented on the link to my little red riding hood outfit which had instantly made that the outright winner although I’d had reservations.  My mum thought it was cute but my dad hadn’t been so impressed. It was a little on the short side and the corset top enhanced my waist making my modest chest look huge.  For a fancy dress outfit though the material was quite good and the cape was a brilliant cover up which had been required when Barry Marshall had perved all over me. Hearing some sort of bird hoot I was dragged back to reality and increased the pace of my walking.

I could kill Shannon. I glanced around anxiously, for the first time realising walking home by myself was probably not my greatest idea.  Although I knew the walk well, in the dark everything looked different.  I squinted at a shadow by the bench, was someone waiting. Panic began to rise and I quickened my pace.  The shadow swayed and I held my breath.  Oh my god it’s a tree branch I am such an idiot! I should have just text my mum for a lift. I pulled out my phone checking the time 11.47 pm my dad was going to go mental. My curfew was 11 pm and I was still a 10 minute walk from home. I was surprised he hadn’t called me. I checked my phone but I had no missed calls.  I’d hoped Riley might offer to walk me back as we live on the same estate but I knew my hopes were dashed once Chloe got her nails into him.  I can’t work out if he actually likes her.

Shannon is usually with me but was currently sucking the face of Sam Carter and I’d got fed up of waiting and left. I was also a little jealous.   Sam wasn’t my type although he was cute but I’d really hoped something more might have happened with Riley and I felt like a gooseberry.  Sam had said he’d make sure Shannon got home ok.  To be fair Shannon had offered to leave and we’d not actually agreed to go home together. Sam had convinced her to stay and she’d been easily swayed I thought grumpily.

I was just rounding the corner into the estate when I noticed a guy from the party.  It was the clown guy. The costume was wicked but slightly freaky. The clown mask had pointed teeth and the face was long making it look as though it was melted. The costume was brightly coloured and he had an afro wig on.  He even had long red shoes which must have been a nightmare to walk in.  “Hey good party wasn’t it?” I said smiling.  He didn’t reply so I carried on.  “Do you live near here?” Still no answer.  I started to feel uneasy my heart rate increasing. Realising I didn’t actually know who was under the mask I began to walk faster knowing I was nearly home. Why had I left without Shannon? Why hadn’t I just text my mum or dad? They would have picked me up even though I’d be grounded for being late again.

I heard footsteps behind me so began to run.  I was nearly home it would be fine. Just a few more metres.  Realising it was quiet again I looked behind me and no one was there. The clown guy obviously was just a jerk and wanted to freak me out.  I stopped slightly out of breath and looked around properly.  No one was in sight.  Bloody hell maybe I’d imagined it. I’d always had an active imagination and the late hour and sneaky vodka and redbull I’d drunk earlier had maybe left my brain supercharged. I sighed feeling stupid and felt my phone buzz.  A text message glowed in the gloom.

Ring a ring a roses,

People will bring posies,

Bless you bless you,

As you fall down.

What the bloody hell did that mean?  I spun back round and the clown was inches from my face. I gasped as he raised something above his head. Thunk! Then nothing.