Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Splash Park at the Embankment, Wellingborough

The Wellingborough splash park (also know as the Embankment splash park) is not far from Northampton and perfect to cool the kids off!  The splash park is a great FREE place to take the kids and a real asset to Northamptonshire.  It is open April to October.  For the most part it is only open on weekends but during the school holidays open daily 12 noon to 6pm.

It has water features, picnic tables and shelter from the sun,  Food and ice cream vans are usually parked nearby for refreshments.  There is free car parking, toilets and baby changing facilities.  Use postcode NN8 1LD to find the splash park.

Next door is a mini funfair (depending on time of year) with rides at £1 per token.

The website below gives you all the opening days and times if you want to check before visiting

Splash Park at the Embankment

Emma xxx

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Wellingborough Splash Park
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Welland Park in Market Harborough

Welland Park is a lovely area in the middle of Market Harborough.  As most parents will know finding a great park is a life saver.  This one has loads to entertain the kids including a big play area, a lovely cafe, toilets, tennis courts, skate park and FREE parking.

My friend recommended the place and we've been 3 times since.  I literally couldn't believe it had free parking.  There are 2 car parks located at Farndon Road and Welland Park Road both with 4 hour waiting limit.

I can highly recommend the café having been twice.  On my second visit they stopped serving food at 2pm so might be worth checking if you do plan on a visit. Their Facebook page states opening hours are 9.30am to 4pm and 10am on Sundays.

To find Welland Park you can use the postcode LE16 9DR but it is signposted.

For those that love running Parkrun is here every Saturday at 9am and it is a very popular place for dog walkers.

Emma xxx

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Wistow Maze in Leicestershire

**It will re-open in mid-July 2019 with a new design & theme**

We decided to visit Wistow Maze.  I'd heard about it last year but missed the opportunity as it is only open July until mid September.  This year it closes 17th September so you still have a couple of weeks to visit.

As the name suggest it is a maze.  It is made out of maize/sunflowers and cut down in October and fed to the cows.  It is a whopping 8 acres and the maize can grow to 8 feet tall so it really is a maze.  This year it is in the design of Sherlock Holmes to celebrate the 130th anniversary.

I think early in the season it is a little easier as the maize is not as dense or tall!  We found it very easy to lose our bearings and sadly did not complete all of the clues as my son wasn't quite as enthusiastic as the rest of us.

Wistow recommend 1 1/2 to 2 hours to complete the maze.  You have to collect 12 clues on route and at the end find your prime suspect.  You pop the name on a sheet and post in the prize box and someone will be selected at random.  There are 2 maps/quiz sheets which I didn't realise and the easier one would probably have suited my son better.

I loved it as did my 10 year old daughter and I would return.  Be prepared though as when we visited the paths were very muddy.  Also take cash they do not accept cards and the nearest cash machine is 1.6 miles away at the Co-op.

I would also check the website before you leave as on odd occasions they do close if the weather has been really wet.  Parking is free and buggies are allowed.  No dogs though.

At the start/finish is a small play area with some mini mazes and games and across the road a Rural Centre which has a café, garden centre, model village, art gallery and more importantly the toilets.

Child : £5.95 (13 & under) Under 2's Free
Adult : £6.95
Family Ticket : £24.00 (2+2) 

Opening time: 10am to 6pm with last entry and 4.30pm.

Address: Kibworth Rd, Leicester LE8 0QF, Life in the Mum's Lane - FacebookUK

Website: Wistow Maze

I think is a great family activity to get the kids outdoors and something a bit different.

I'll hopefully return next year.

Emma xxx

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Wistow Maze
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Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Time for Goodbye - Short Story

Time for Goodbye
“What do you mean you haven’t told her yet?” Jane whispered quietly “We are supposed to be going next week.” Jane sighed and shook her head. “I understand it’s difficult.” She continued softly “but it’s been months and I know you and Lisa need this to be over. Everyone can finally say a proper goodbye. It’s for the best and the cottage is booked.”

“I know. It’s just she rarely answers the phone now a days and I haven’t had time to pop over.” Brian replied sounding anxious.

They didn’t realise I could hear them. I closed my eyes enjoying the sun streaming through the windows and imagined I was at the seaside. I loved the sea, the crashing waves, and bracing fresh air. I hadn’t been in a long while come to think if it. Not since Harry became ill. I shook my head dislodging the thought and tried to relax and enjoy the sunshine again but the moment had passed. I felt a familiar lump form in my throat and my eyes watered.

“Hey Mum.” I heard Brian say as he eventually entered the room, “How you doing?” I smiled and nodded. He came over to the chair I was sat in and perched uncomfortably on a small footstool. “Jane is just making a cup of tea.” As he finished the sentence Jane appeared with a tray, three mugs and a plate of biscuits. She also had a bunch of flowers wedged under her arm and struggled to open the door. I’ve always liked my daughter in law, she’s kind hearted, and I can see my son clearly loves her but we’ve never really gelled. I’ve always felt she looked down on me and Harry a little. I remember when Jane and Brain married I fretted for weeks about my outfit. I feared I would show Brian up and didn’t want to appear dowdy in the wedding photos. Of course Harry said I was being silly and Brain wouldn’t care if I showed up in my cleaners smock. The day had been lovely and even I had been pleased by my appearance in the photos.  Harry had looked fabulous in his suit and we’d reminisced about our own wedding day. The sound of the tray being put down dragged me back to the present.

“Mum we wanted to talk to you about dad.” Brian said holding my gaze, “Do you remember me saying about going on holiday?” I shrugged feeling confused. What holiday? What did Harry have to do with it? I saw Jane and Brain exchange a worried look. I sighed wishing I could go back to my seaside dream. “I’ve booked it. We go next week. All of us.”

“Mary it will be lovely.  We can have a stroll along the sea front and spend some time together. I think it will do you the world of good. You’ve been cooped up a lot lately.” Jane smiled.  “I’ll help you pack. Just let me know what you want to take. It’s only for 4 days but will be great. The boys are excited. We’ll take Harry and say goodbye.” I understood what they were talking about now. Various friends had told me it was time to move on. People seemed to think I was living in the past. I had been withdrawn but liked being home with my thoughts. “We’ve been worried about you Mary.” Jane said softly and stroked my arm, “The children have missed you.” I missed them too but just seemed to lack the energy and motivation.

“Mum we all need to move on. Dad would hate this.” I knew Brain was right but I wasn’t ready. I wanted more time. Jane and Brian chattered on about times and places but I didn’t take much notice. Later when they had left I noticed Jane had stocked the fridge with four cooked meals all neatly labelled. It was kind of her as I hadn’t much felt like cooking recently and I realised I was fortunate that she cared.

The following week I was picked up and our holiday began. The children excitedly babbled in the back of the car. Both boys said they were happy grampy was coming with us. I had mixed emotions. Their happiness was infectious however and I began to feel lighter than I had in weeks. Once we arrived at Hollowell Shores the boys raced off. Both needed to get rid of some energy after being stuck in the car for several hours. Jane unpacked and I surveyed the little cottage. It was in a beautiful location. A small play area was a few feet away and you could see the sea in the distance. Seagulls squawked overheard. My daughter Lisa appeared and hugged me tight. Lisa and Dave (her husband) had travelled in another car and arrived a few minutes after us. “Isn’t it lovely? I wonder if the beach huts are still there.” She said kissing my cheek. “It’s lovely to see you mum. I’ve missed you.”

 The day passed quickly and as night fell I had the best night’s sleep in months. The sea air seemed to have cleared my mind. The following day we went down to the beach. The beach huts were still there and it was a beautiful day. The waves gently lapped the shore and the sky was dotted with white fluffy clouds. The boys raced off looking for crabs. “Mum I think dad would love this.” Lisa said sliding an arm through mine. “It’s hardly changed.” As I stood looking at the sea I realised it was time to say goodbye. I had been selfish in my grief and removed myself from my family. I had worn my grief like an invisible coat and as the sun shone I realised it was time to take it off. “You’re right love.” I replied squeezing Lisa’s hand.

For the first time in 9 months I talked about Harry. We had brought Lisa and Brian to Hollowell Shores many times when they were young and memories came to me in vivid flashes. I laughed and cried as I recounted stories including an unfortunate incident involving a fishing hook and trip to the local hospital. Brian fetched the urn from the car and we all stood on the beach our feet getting wet as we let the ashes scatter into the sea. “Bye Grampy.” Oliver said eyes watering.

“Don’t get eaten by a shark.” James said smiling and waving. We all stood peacefully for a few moments before James continued “Or a seagull. I hate seagulls.” I laughed and ruffled his hair.

We enjoyed the rest of our break and Brian enquired about the beach huts. We put our name on the waiting list and vowed to return every year to have a family holiday with my beloved Harry.

Sometimes - Poem

Sometimes you feel like you're winning,
Other times you are just staying afloat.
Sometimes your temper is fraying,
Others you can smile throughout.

"Don't do that."
"Get dressed."
"Let's go"
"Stop hitting each other."
"Eat your dinner NOW!"

Little battles everyday,
Little victories too.
Parenthood is definitely challenging,
Rewarding and a test.

A smile,
A cry,
A hug,
A scream.

A kiss,
A shout,
A cheer,
A blame.

Remember sometimes we are winning,
Sometimes we are just staying afloat.
Tomorrow is always a new day,
So don't beat yourself up or worry.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Lets talk swimming!

Let's talk swimming.  The school holidays are here. Many of us will go away. My kids love swimming and will go daily when away.  I'm not so keen but do the good parent thing and join in.

The reason is not the swimming suit shopping, wet hair, cellulite or big tum although they are all annoying.  NO its the bikini line issue!!!

How do people get such tamed and smooth bikini line areas?  Why do other women seem to be happy with their bikini line grooming techniques? Instagram, Facebook, TV ads and magazines all show amazingly confident women flaunting their usually flat tums, long legs, perfect tans and NO stray hairs.  I can live with the amazing bods but the bikini line leaves me baffled.

I admit it I'm shy/prude and the thought of a stranger waxing my bits leaves me feeling cold! I've never taken the plunge so have always had to resort to shaving or Veet.  Both are pretty crap and after a few days I have the feared regrowth which is not great on a 7 to 10 day holiday.

My saving grace has been a swimming costume with the little skirt bit, a little bit 50's and quite flattering.  Although that then comes with its own problem as once wet going to the toilet is like mission impossible.  Pulling the dam thing back up is like a workout class!

Please say its not just me.  Help!!!

Wicksteed Park in Kettering

Update: January 2019 Wicksteed are currently operating a limited winter package. You can grab a wristband for £7.50, and get to go on the following rides: Carousel, Sway Rider, Aviary, Meerkat Burrows, Crazy Golf, Astroslide, Drop Slide and Tree Top Walk.
New Clip 'n Climb is open and perfect for rainy/cold days.  £12 per session 25 minutes briefing and 55 minutes climbing.  Leap of faith is additional £2 for 2 jumps.

Wicksteed Park is an amusement park in Kettering and is one of the oldest theme parks in the UK.

I have been several times but went recently for my nephews 5th birthday and we had a fab day out so I thought I'd share my thoughts on the place.

You can purchase wrist bands or tickets depending on your circumstances.  We bought 40 tickets for £37 and topped up later with an extra 10 for £12.50.  We opted for this as my son wanted an adult for some rides and it meant we could mix & match.  My sister opted for wrist bands for her children at £19 each.  The wrist bands are slightly cheaper if you book online so if you visit check this out first.

The park opens at 10.30 but closing time varies depending on the season.

I would recommend this amusement park for anyone with primary school children.  Older children would probably get bored although may have fun if with younger siblings.

There are loads of rides and the website and signage around the park clearly shows height restrictions and how many tickets are required.  On average it is 2 tickets per ride/per person.

There is also a huge free play area with loads of swings, slides and climbing apparatus.

We took a picnic but there are plenty of places to eat including the new Peacock Place with play area/sand pit attached.

My children loved the Childrens lake, Mr Wicksteed cars, Snakes & ladders astroslide, Sway rider, Wicksteed racers and all apart from my daughter loved the log flumes.  The waterchute is the oldest in the world dating back to 1926!

We had 4 adults and 4 children and had a brilliant day.  We stayed for 5 hours and could have stayed longer but had other plans. 

Wicksteed also has camping and new timber lodges.  Camping is from £15 per night.  I cannot comment on this but if you would like more information click on this link
Stay with us

I can thoroughly recommend if you are in Northamptonshire. Lily rated 9 out 10 and Luke rated 10 out of 10!

If you are looking for more parks and playgrounds in Northamptonshire then check out my guide Parks and playgrounds in Northamptonshire

Emma xxx

Extra information

Tel: (01536) 512475
Email information@wicksteedpark.org

Address: Barton Road, Kettering, Northamptonshire, NN15 6NJ

Emma xxx

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Wicksteed Park
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