Friday, 1 December 2017

Haven Holidays Review

In the last 13 years I have become an expert Haven Holiday goer. My children love caravan holidays. Whilst it's not quite so relaxing for the parents as an all inclusive in Spain it definitely has its charms. My children love the characters, play areas, swimming pools & arcades that Haven offers so we keep going back. Caravan holidays are also great for large family groups and caters for everyone from babies to grandparents.

We have sampled 10 sites and had some amazing holidays.

We've been to -

Weymouth Bay
Devon Cliffs
Golden Sands Mablethorpe 
Combe Haven Hastings 
The Orchards Clacton on Sea 
Burnham on Sea
Church Farm Bognor Regis 
Wild Duck Great Yarmouth
Rockley Park 

My top 3 sites so far are.........
Rockley Park
Church Farm Bognor Regis
Wild Duck Norfolk 

Treehouse area at Wild Duck
Church Farm was our favourite and we've been twice but Wild Duck pipped it this year.   It has such a unique atmosphere and the main entertainment complex is lovely. The layout is great & I loved the woodland feel & water features.  It helped we had good weather so we enjoyed the outdoor pool & the kids loved the sand pit play area attached to The Sitting Duck (pub bit). My only minor grumble would be the club house got very busy so seating a large group was difficult. On this particular holiday we went as a family of 14! I would highly recommend this site.  The other plus point is it was quick to get to many attractions nearby & a lovely beach.  We had a lovely caravan which appeared brand new & the site was immaculate & included 3 separate outdoor play areas which the kids loved.

This was from 2011. Polly in her old outfit & my daughter clutching Anxious & Mr Rabbit (who's actually a girl)
Summer 2015 & my sons 5th birthday. Having a birthday cuddle with Greedy.
Rockley Park - April 2017
Easter 2014 at Burnham on Sea  - Bradley & Rory 

Littlesea October 2019
Hope you've enjoyed this post & it's inspired you to try a Haven Holiday site next year.

If you do go remember these few essentials -

Washing up liquid

Tea towel & sponge/scourer pad

Toilet roll

Tea, coffee, juice, milk

We always take breakfast bits so the kids can be feed & you haven't got to get dressed at the crack of dawn to go anywhere

2p's for the arcade slot machines

In colder months extra blankets, hot water bottle  (brilliant to warm children's beds) and possibly a portable fan heater.

If you would like to check out any Haven Holidays the link to their website is below

I have some Tried & Tested Reviews if you are interested in any further Haven Holidays information.

Happy holiday hunting.

What's your favourite Haven site?

Emma xxx


Monday, 20 November 2017

Santa Grotto Review - Enchanted Forest Weston Favell Northampton

On Sunday I was invited to try out the new Santa's Grotto at Weston Favell.

This year they have gone for an enchanted forest theme with 120 real life fir trees! Believed to be the first live forest to be created in an indoor shopping centre, you walk through the fairy lit forest to meet the one and only Father Christmas/Santa.  Little ones can meet Spud and Eve Weston Favell's own elves and spot the animals as they walk through.  There is a small craft area at the beginning for children to decorate a tag and write their wish list.

I loved the real trees but I did think they would be more spaced out creating more of a forest walkthrough but the effect is nice. The lights are lovely and staff really good.  Santa's cabin is really cosy & well decorated just as you'd imagine.  Santa was very authentic and little ones will love him. 

My 7 year old said he did a very good job even though he's Santa's helper and must have been trained by the real Santa well so praise indeed. (He believes the real Santa stays in the North Pole because he's busy but sends helpers to the grottos.)

It costs £4 per child and my children both received a book as a gift.  If you book online there is a booking fee.

I think it was good value for money and a nice experience.  After you can purchase the usual photos and key rings.  I bought the basic package for £10 as it was a nice photo and my 10 year probably won't come to a grotto again sob!

The Grotto is open from 17th November 2017 - 24th December 2017. 

Address for those unfamiliar with Weston Favell is -
Weston Favell Shopping Centre
Wellingborough Road

You can purchase tickets following this link -

Grotto Tickets

Opening hours are -
Monday to Friday
12.00pm - 6.00pm
10.00am - 6.00pm
10.00am - 4.00pm


9.00am - 6.00pm
24th December
9.00am - 3.00pm

Merry Christmas

Emma xx

Disclaimer: I received 2 tickets in exchange for this review.  I purchased the photos myself.  All opinions are my own & honest.


Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Ice Skating Guide for Northamptonshire

I LOVE ice skating in Winter.  I'm absolutely rubbish and hijack one of the kids push a long penguins but I just love it and its become a Christmas tradition as we've been for the past 4 or 5 years.  We usually go to Frost's in Woburn or Beckworth Emporium but there are others to try.

Whilton Locks Garden Village

Real ice rink with a team of trained ice stewards to ensure safety. Ice skating sessions start on the hour and last for 45 minutes. Free skate hire is included in the ticket price.

Available from 18th November to 3rd January 2018.

Whilton Locks, Whilton, Daventry, Northamptonshire. NN11 2NH 01327 843 100 

Whilton Locks Ice Skating

Planet Ice with locations across the country - Our nearest locations are Coventry, Milton Keynes and Peterborough

Ice skating venue with a special Christmas show (13th December at Milton Keynes), Christmas jumper party (22nd December at Milton Keynes) and opportunity to learn to skate all year round. They also offer younger child sessions for 18 month to 5 year olds.

Beckworth Emporioum

Enormous 715 sq m real ice rink which is indoors so you can skate whatever the weather.  Sessions last 45 minutes and start on the hour.  Lots of half price sessions available and special toddler times. 

Full adult price is £14, Child £10 and Push along penguin £4  Toddler session only have to pay for the adult which is £7 and FREE push along penguin.  You can also have a go at curling and new freestyle skating for experienced people.

Open 4th November to 7th January 2018

120 -140 Glebe Rd, Mears Ashby,  Northants, UK NN6 0DL Telephone: 01604 812371

Frosts - Woburn Sands

Open seven days a week from Saturday 25th November to Sunday 7th January real ice and outdoors. Peak Adult £11.49, Peak Child £8.49 Off peak can be £6.50 each.  Adult & Toddler (Under 4 years) £14.99
Skating sessions last 45 minutes and the ticket price includes your skate hire.

Newport Road, Woburn Sands, Milton Keynes, MK17 8UE Telephone 0800 954 9484

Finally not ice but snow!!!!

Snozone - Milton Keynes

Real snow and used predominately for Ski and Snowboarding but they do family sledging and snow fun for the little ones. 

Snozone Xscape 602 Marlborough Gate Central Milton Keynes MK9 3XS: T: 0333 0030 520

If you want to travel further afield there is loads of amazing locations in London the famous Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, Somerset House, National History Museum, Hampton Court, Canary Wharf and The Tower of London all turn into icy Christmas fun.  If you fancy something outside of London then Birmingham's Ice skating & Christmas Frankfurt market is a must. Finally a FREE event in Warwickshire Talisman Square, Kenilworth, CV8 1JB.
The free outdoor ice rink will be in Talisman Square from Friday, December 1, to Sunday, December 3, and will be free for the public to use. Skate hire is free too.


Saturday, 4 November 2017

Northants Panto Guide

Not decided on this years Panto yet then this might help you decide.

Royal & Derngate - Northampton
Starring musical and television star Paul Nicholas, Union J’s Jaymi Hensley and Three Degrees singer Sheila Ferguson.
8th December to 31st December Performances are 2pm and 7pm in the week and 1pm and 5pm at weekends. Check the link below for full details and prices.


The Deco - Northampton
Peter Pan
Starring Coronation Street’s Nick Cochrane as Smee, Voice finalist Lydia Lucy as Wendy, Grange Hill’s Colin Ridgewell as Captain Hook, From the West End Chris Wills as Peter Pan and Northampton’s own Naomi Wilkins as Tiger Lily.
8th December to 30th December times vary call or click below for details 01604 491005

Peter Pan

The Looking Glass Theatre - Northampton
Beauty & The Beast
31st December 2017 at 2pm
An interactive performance in traditional pantomime style, filled with songs, actors, puppets and audience participation.
Tickets: £10 (adults), £8 (child/student/senior citizen)
Family Ticket: £32 (2 adults & 2 children), £38 (2 adults & 3 children) or £44 (2 adults & 4 children) 01604 472029

The Castle - Wellingborough
The Wizard of Oz
Starring Chris Stanton and Gabrielle Green both from CBBC programmes.
13th Decmeber to 30th December please contact the Box Office on 01933 270 007 or email  to enquire about prices and how to book or click in the link below

Wizard of Oz

The Lighthouse - Kettering
Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs
Starring Matt Lapinskas, best known for EastEnders and Dancing on Ice and Natasha Gray from Emmerdale as the Wicked Queen.
8th December to 31st December times vary so check out the link below

Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs

The Core- Corby
Wind in the Willows
Not a normal panto but something to get you into the Christmas spirit especially for a younger audience as approx. 1 hour long. 
7th December to 30th December times vary tickets £9 to £14.50 dicounts for groups of 8.

Wind in the Willows

Milton Keynes Theatre
Starring Brian Connelly and Gok Wan!
9th December to 14th January 2018 tickets from £14 to £40.90 check website for details



Thursday, 26 October 2017

West Lodge Rural Centre Review

I love West Lodge and have been several times but never actually wrote a review.  West Lodge Rural Centre and Farm is in Desborough, Kettering and is a brilliant day out for the family.

West Lodge Rural Centre

They have events throughout the year so check the website for details.  We paid £7.45 each to enter and £1 each for the spooky tractor ride.  It is slightly cheaper if you book online and there are family of 4 tickets which work out at £6 each and under 2's are free.

West Lodge has animals, pig racing, petting corner, a huge outdoor play area, cafĂ©, various walking trails and the new indoor play area.  It caters for all weathers with the new indoor play area although its obviously nicer when the sun shines.  We were there for nearly 6 hours and the kids loved it.  The barrel ride is always a big hit and they can go on as many times as they are happy to queue.  We also loved the walk to the witch's house in the woods and spotting the fairy doors along the way.

West Lodge Rural Farm

As it was the Halloween event pumpkin carving (additional fee), wand making, spooky stories, spooky tractor ride (£1 per person) and scary walkway were all available and great fun.  We took snacks but food and drink is available including freshly made baguettes and jacket potatoes from £3.95 and meals from £5.95. They also have a children's menu from £2.99.  They usually have a good cake selection too but sadly at 2pm they had all gone apart from one sad looking slice of dried chocolate cake boo!!!  So had to make do with a cup of tea and hot chocolate instead and luckily the kids were happy with the bits we'd brought in.

West Lodge Rural Farm Halloween

I can 100% recommend West Lodge for a fab family day out for all pre schooler and primary school age kids.  If you want to see a bit more then check out my short video.

Emma xxx

Why not join me on Facebook

For more days out ideas click on the link below for an interactive map and reviews.

Days Out Now

West Lodge Rural Farm
Pin It!


Turtle Bay Northampton Review

On Wednesday we were lucky enough to go to Turtle Bay for a 3 course meal.  I'd been to the preview evening so knew the food would be good but was excited to be able to try a full meal and rare weeknight outing away from the kids.

I was surprised to see it quite busy at 7pm on a Thursday but we were seated and served quickly.  I love the low level lighting and fairy lights and think it creates a lovely atmosphere.  Sadly we had just missed the 2 for 1 cocktails so check out the times before you book if you are a cocktail fan.

Turtle Bay Northampton

Whilst perusing the food menu I had a Bay Bramble cocktail which tasted like a grown up Ribena and I can definitely recommend and Stuart decided on a pint of Red Stripe. 

For starters I chose the Classic Beef Batty and Stuart ordered the Crispy Chilli Squid.  Stuart said the Chilli Squid was excellent and would definitely order again.  Mine was good but I would try another option next time.

For the mains we both went for one pot options.  I had the Curry Goat which was amazing but slightly too hot for me.  The rice was cooked perfectly and I was really glad I tried it having never eaten goat before going to Turtle Bay.  Stuart ordered the Bajan Beef Cheeks which he said were brilliant and the beef was melt in the mouth.

We decided on another drink and I tried a Raspberry Reggae Rum which was also delicious but the Bay Bramble topped it for me and Stuart had another Red Stripe.

Finally we looked at desserts.  I love Lemon Meringue so I had to try the Passion Pie which was amazing!!! Stuart decided not to have a dessert but was tempted by the Fresh BBQ Pineapple.

We had a great night and will definitely return with friends soon.  My only criticism is that the tables do not have cocktail lists so you need to ask for one each time you want to order a new drink.  This is a minor point but is something they could maybe add.  Our service was great and I think Turtle Bay is a brilliant addition to the Northampton dining scene.

For all food and drink options click on the link

Turtle Bay Menu

Disclaimer:  We were given a 3 course meal and 1 drink each in exchange for this review.  All opinion's are my own.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Santa Grotto Guide for in & around Northamptonshire

Here it is my Santa Grotto Christmas Guide for in & around Northamptonshire.  I've tried to include the big names and some more local events.  I'm sure more will be announced so I'll add to this as & when I can. I'll add as many as I can to my Facebook page so why not give me a like. Life in the Mum's Lane - Facebook

Merry Christmas!

Weston Favell Enchanted Forest Grotto
Northampton NN3 8JZ
18th November to 24th December

Enchanted Forest Grotto

The Enchanted Forest Grotto - will consist of 120 real life fir trees surrounding a traditional Santa’s cabin. Visitors will be introduced to the centre’s very own elves Spud and Eve who will welcome them to enter the world of Enchanted Forest to follow a trail of seek and find adventure. £4 per child plus booking fee.

Santa Special Trains
Northampton & Lamport Railway
Pitsford and Brampton Station, Pitsford Road, Chapel Brampton, NN6 8BA
26th November to 24th December

Northampton & Lamport Santa Special Trains

Come along to visit Santa in his Magical Grotto and then take a train ride along the Northampton & Lamport Railway from Pitsford and Brampton station.
Trains start at 10:30 then at 30 minute intervals until 15:30.
Every child will receive a present from Santa, a soft drink and biscuits. Every adult will receive a glass of sherry (or soft drink if preferred) and a mince pie.
Prices range from £5 to £14 depending on date & age. Check website.

West Lodge Rural Centre
Desborough, NN14 2SH
26th November to 24th December

West Lodge Rural Centre

Christmas experience includes Nativity plays, elves village, Santa, animal petting, Xmas photo booth, barrel rides, groom a goat & more.
Children £9.25 to £9.75 Adults £4.75 to £5.25. Family tickets available.

Billing Garden Centre
The Causeway, Great Billing, NN3 9EX
Yet to be announced

Stoke Bruerne Santa Cruise
2nd December to 24th December 

Santa Cruise

Depart from The Boat Inn, Stoke Bruerne for a 1½ hour cruise. £15 per person. 
Includes: Mince Pies, Soft Drinks, Tea/Coffee, Christmas Crackers, A present for each child and Pass the parcel will be played on the outward journey
To Reserve Your Seats Please telephone 01604 862428,
or email or

Riverside Hub
7 Carousel Way, Riverside Park, Northampton, NN3 9HG

Riverside Hub

Lasts over an hour and is only £9 per child (in addition to our usual Hub admission fee). There is no need to book in, as the events will be running throughout the day.

The events run every day from 2nd to 24th December between 9.30am and 6pm
I would suggest calling to check before arriving.

Frosts Garden Centre - Woburn Sands
Woburn Sands, Milton Keynes, MK17 8UE

Frosts Garden Centre

5th November to 24th December  £14.99 per child £4.99 per adult.  45 minute session. Loads going on at Frosts including ice skating, Christmas afternoon tea and Christmas paws!

Wyevale - only certain stores will have a grotto Our nearest appears to be the Podington branch NN29 7HS.

Wyevale Garden Centre

Saturday 18th November to 24th December. Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday.  Check website to confirm opening dates & hours.
Plant and grow a real magical mini Christmas tree to decorate and take home, plus receive a present from Santa. 30 minute session. £10 per child.

Breakfast with Santa is available at the Newport Pagnell Road branch NN4 6HP. Enjoy a delicious breakfast and then meet Santa, children decorate a festive biscuit and then choose their very own present to take home. Prices range from £4.50 to £10 per person.

4 Clayfield Close, Northampton NN3 6QF


Santa's grotto 15th December ONLY 9am to 5pm £2 per child. Normal entrance fees apply

Santa Workshop Grendon Hall
Grendon Hall, 67 Main Road, Grendon, Northamptonshire NN7 1JW

Santa Workshop Grendon Hall

2nd to 24th December
Interactive Christmas theatre experience and a visit to see Santa in his drawing room with his Naughty and Nice book! Due to the personalised experience booking online in is essential.
£15 to £20 for 1 hour experience. Under 2's free.

Christmas shopping & Santa Grotto
Kisle,The Playing Fields,  Beech Lane, Kislingbury, NN7 4AL
3rd December ONLY 12 till 6 (Santa 1 till 4)

Charity Christmas Fayre & Santa
Holcot Village Hall
10th December ONLY 2pm to 6pm

Delapre Abbey Christmas Fair
London Road, Northampton, NN4 8AW
16th December ONLY 11am to 4pm
A festive fair at Delapre Abbey with craft stalls, a food fair, Santa's Grotto, reindeer and carols sung by a local childrens' choir.

Sunnyside Generous George
Kingsthorpe, Northampton
9th December 11am to 3pm and 10th December 12pm to 4pm.
Meet Santa and his Reindeer. Balloon modeller and face painting. £5 a ticket per child which includes all of the above as well as a present from Santa, tickets on sale now from the bar.
Santa's Grotto (The Yards)
10 Market St, Kettering NN16 0AH
30th November to 14th December
£5.50 for one child and £10 for two 30 minute session. Create a craft item, juice, cookie and present from Santa.
Available to buy on or call Laura on 07709769382 to book

Welford Christmas Tree Farm
Portly Ford Farm,  Northampton Road, Welford,NN6 6JF

Welford Christmas Tree Farm

Santa will there the first 3 weekends of December - 2nd & 3rd, 9th & 10th and 16th & 17th - from 1-4pm. All profits raised are given to charity.
Tickets will go on sale on the 18th of November from 9am book by calling the farm on 01858 657008 or by visiting in person - these will be on a strictly first come first served basis - tickets cost £5 per child
Reindeer will be there from the 27th of November until 21st December.  Free children's arts and crafts area.

Whilton Locks Northamptonshire
Whilton, Daventry, Northamptonshire. NN11 2NH

Whilton Locks Garden Village

Starts 18th November Available from 11am until 4:30pm.
Price £9.99 per child and includes a gift.  Whilton locks has loads of festive things going on ice skating, Elsa, breakfast with Santa and carols. Check website for details.

Emma xxx

Important: Please check the details before attending in case any information has changed.  I would hate for anyone to arrive and be disappointed.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Fireworks in Northamptonshire 2017

Billing Aquadrome
4th November 8pm to 11pm
Food available at the venue.

Santa Pod Raceway Firework Frenzy
NN29 7XA
4th November 2pm to 8pm
Live action including Podzilla the Monster Truck, Stunt Display, Drifting, Huge Bonfire, Fun Fair, catering and bar facilities. Price is per car max 5 people. £25 on the gate and £20 in advance.

Wicksteed Park
4th November 5pm to 11pm
£5 on the night £4 online
Free disco on the pavilion after the fireworks

Silverstone Fireworks and Stunt Show
Sunday 5th November 5.30pm to 8pm
NN12 8TN
Your tickets will include:
- Roving seating in Luffield and Woodcote grandstands
- Free parking
Adult tickets are £12 and children aged 15 & under can attend for free. Get your tickets now:

Rushden Hall Park 50th Firework Display
NN10 9NG
Saturday 4th November 4pm to 6pm
Family fun at Nene Valley Scouts 50th firework event. Live music, competitions and a firework extravaganza to amazing music and light display.

Superhero vs Villians NB's
Duston Mill, NN5 5HS
£5 per ticket
Fairground attractions, Hog roast, Live music.

Flore Fireworks
Brodie Lodge Playing Fields
Friday 3rd November 3pm to 6pm
Raising money for Flore Scout Group.

Boughton Pocket Park Bonfire Night

Saturday 4th November - Gates open 4.30pm Fireworks 5.30pm
Food, beverages and glowsticks sold in aid of the Boughton Pocket Park. Tickets available from 15th October.
£3.50 in advance £5.00 on the gate
Please E-mail

Parklands Community Annual Fireworks

Saturday 11th November

The fireworks will be going off at 7pm. Doors will open at 5. There will be fair rides, food, refreshments and we have flashing novelty lights for sale. The bar will SHUT while the fireworks are on and open again when they finish. Free event donations welcome.

Hollowell Bonfire Night

Saturday 4th November 5pm to 11pm
£1 per person. Bonfire lit at 7pm and fireworks at 7.30pm. No sparklers due to field usually being used for sheep. Small funfair, beer tent and food available plus some steam engines.

Northampton Council 
Saturday 4th November
FREE event 
LED glow and fire show at 5.45pm, with live music. The fireworks display will follow from 7pm and the event will close around 8pm.

Barnwell Fireworks Display
Fireworks due at 6.45
Tickets Adults £5 children £4 under 5’s free
Loads of FREE parking
Barnwell Village Hall, behind Montagu Arms, Hemmington Road, Barnwell  PE8 5QD

Yardley Hastings Village Bonfire & Fireworks
6.30pm - Judging of the Guy competition - bring one along!
6.45pm - Bonfire lit
7.00pm - Firework display
Refreshments available plus Licensed Bar
Tickets on the door: Adults -£3, Children - £1, Under school age kids free.

Roade Firework Display
Funfair from 6.00pm, bonfire from 7.00pm and fireworks going from 7.30pm.
Entry just £3 for adults and £1 for children under 16.
Roade FC ground, Main address Hyde Road, Roade, Northampton NN7 2LX


So you want to be a teaching assistant?

So you want to be a teaching assistant. Here's the good, the bad and the ugly!

Image result for teaching assistant


  • Obviously you get loads of holidays!!!
  • Every day is different.
  • You can be creative.
  • The days whizz by as you are so busy.
  • Fab teachers and support staff.
  • The hours.
  • The feeling you are helping.  Be it teaching the children to read, spell, add or just to be more confident and happy.


  • No days off when you fancy.  So no afternoons off for a hairdresser appointment or shopping trip.
  • Days are set to a timetable so might be strange if you are used to planning your own day/time.
  • The pay Boo!


  • Happily not much at all. Hurrah!
  • Holiday in term time costing the earth......It's not fair.  We should be entitled to a discount card.
  • Whispers *the odd annoying child* Not really they are all angels!
Emma xxx