Thursday, 15 October 2020

The crappy Christmas films guide

We all love Christmas films and watch the classics. Here's my list & brief review of crappy Christmas films. I haven't included the animated children films but love Arthur Christmas and I haven't included Love Actually as it's my ultimate favourite & no way crappy at all. I could actually watch it in the summer.

Christmas Eve with Patrick Stewart (2015)

Absolutely awful! Not Christmasy at all & quite boring. 6 different groups of New Yorkers stuck in elevators following a power cut.

Surviving Christmas with Ben Affleck (2005)

Good cast, Christmas lights, music but just didn't work for me. The plot is so unrealistic wealthy man pays random family for Christmas - so money can buy happiness? The last half hour was a bit better.

Christmas with the Coopers (2015) with Diane Keaton & John Goodman

I liked the idea, staging, music, modern feel but back story of the characters was weak so you don't really care. Also really disliked the narrator voice I don't think the tone/sentiment or something worked. Did have a tear at one point though so it wasn't too bad. P.s the decorations in the hospital are better than some houses!

Christmas Around the Corner (2018)

Features a bookshop called Fortenbury in Vermont, snow and decorations - heaven for a bookworm like me. Cheesily good.

Mrs Miracle (2009) with James Van Der Beek

Widowed dad of twin boys hires a nanny 'Mrs Miracle' who fixes everything naturally. Cute cheesy Christmas film although showing it's age.

Nativity 1, 2 and 3 (2009, 2012 and 2014)

Paul, a primary school teacher, is asked to produce the year's nativity play helped by Mr Poppy.  I'm sorry I know some people love these but my god the plot, acting and OTTness just makes my toes curl & I like Christmas films.

A Christmas to Remember (2016)

TV chef Jennifer crashes & wakes with amnesia in snowy Colorado. Obviously a kindly widower takes her in & they transform each others lives. Classic cheesy American goodness.

Christmas in Evergreen - Tidings of Joy (2019)

Evergreen the most Christmasy town around is searching for it's rumoured time capsule and a skeptical writer has come to town for a break and to get the story on the town's Christmas cheer. I actually loved this & want to visit! They always seem to be Vermont & Colorado. Do they really look like this at Christmas or will I be bitterly disappointed?

A Heavenly Christmas with Kirstin Davis (2016)

Eve Morgan a workaholic has an untimely death & is recruited to heaven. Guardian angel Pearl shows her the ropes and Eve is  assigned the case of Max. Watched this a while ago & remember the coffee shop scenes but can't remember how it ends. Will have to rewatch this year.

Miss Christmas (2017)

The tree finder for Chicago's famous Radcliffe Tree needs to find the perfect tree in 10 days. A letter from a boy promising his tree is perfect sends her to a small town but his dad is less than happy. Cutesy, Christmas loveliness. Who wouldn't want a job looking for the perfect Christmas tree in Christmas card perfect towns?

The Holiday (2006)

Two women from the UK/US swap homes for the holidays to get away from their relationship issues. However, their lives change when they meet and fall in love with two local guys. Full star cast. I haven't actually watched this for years & can't really remember it.

The Holiday Calendar (2018)

Bonnie from The Vampire Diaries who is a talented photographer stuck in a crap job receives a magical advent calendar that predicts the future.

Deck The Halls (2006)

I love this & watch it every year although it always seem to be on bad lists. A feud between Matthew Broderick and; new neighbour, Danny DeVito over Christmas lights.

The Christmas Chronicles (2019)

Kurt Russell plays an uber modern Santa & ends up on an adventure with Kate & Teddy Pierce on Christmas eve. A Netflix original that is getting a sequel. Yay!



Right after much deliberation I've decided to call time on Life in the NN Lane. 

I first started the blog as a creative outlet as I worked with data in an office. I no longer do that job and now work more hours.

Since my blog began more & more people are doing the same/similar things & I don't really feel like my ideas/posts/pictures etc are needed anymore.

Things never grew as I'd hoped and I no longer have the time or desire to move it forward.

I know coronavirus has exasperated this as I don't really feel I have much to say anymore. I'm feeling quite negative about coronavirus now & the limitations this is putting on our lifestyles. The rules no longer make sense to me. I work in a room with 28 people but can't have more than 2 people in my house as we are a family of 4! I don't want to pass this frustration or worry or negativity on so I'm constantly censoring myself. I actually wrote a poem back in April I never shared & it still rings true (I have been debating this decision for a while).

I feel I have nothing to say.

No contribution to make.

I have no words of comfort.

I do not wish to share my worries.

So many questions.

So few answers.

My voice is getting quieter each day.

The world is of it's centre.

We are drifting in the sea.

We watch.

We wait.

We sit.

We listen.

We stay.

I'm not sure there's anything to say.

I've also disliked social media more since coronavirus began & as a blogger I need this for information and sharing my posts so a but of an awkward catch 22. I hate twitter, can take or leave Facebook & love Instagram but would prefer to have it private.

I'm obviously no longer visiting as many places due to covid and as my children are getting older park trips are decreasing.

However, I'm immensely proud of my park guide & the blog will remain for a while. I've already deleted Twitter and Pinterest and the rest will follow.

As a parting gesture I would love it if you could all sign the lido petition. Tell your friends, kids football team, brownies, scouts, school mums etc and sign & share some more. I really do believe it would be a positive for the town. The petition will remain as it's in my real name & not the blog. This is something I'd love to happen at some point in the future blog or no blog.

P.s remember to sign the petition!!!

P.p.s take care, stay safe and see you when my outdoor pool is unveiled (sign the petition) xxx

P.p.p.s - Writing this my laptop was running slow & the keypad stopped working which is another sign it's time to quit.

P.p.p.p.s - I didn't want to leave on a completely low note so there is a crappy Christmas films guide to read.  I LOVE Christmas films and sometimes the more twee and cheesy the better.

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Where to take children indoors during covid in Northamptonshire

In this strange new world it is a little confusing about what is and isn't open.  The rules, capacity, booking etc so I've done some research and put together this guide.  So where can you take the children indoors during covid in Northamptonshire? Read on to find out.

Boost Trampoline - Riverside

Open with reduced capacity & timetable but mini explorers & the after school club (4 to 6pm) slots are still there. 

Riverside Hub - Riverside

Open with reduced capacity only 1/3 allowed.  The sensory rooms remain closed. You must book a timed slot online to visit. Temperature check upon arrival if over 37.8 you cannot enter & can get a refund or arrange another date. They have installed 8 new hand washing stations. At night the building is sanitised with antibacterial fogging equipment.

Berzerk - Moulton Park

Reopened 2nd October. Phased opening currently Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 3 play sessions of 2 1/2 hours each.  9am to 11.30am, 12pm to 2.30pm and 3 to 5.30pm.  Cleaning in-between each session.  Cashless site.  You can just turn up.

Gravity Active Entertainment - Sol Central

Open with reduce capacity. All visitors to wear a face mask except when on the activities, eating, drinking. 

Caddy Shack - Sol Central

Whilst this may look more like a bar it does state it is family friendly.  It is open so why not try the 9 or 18 hole course?

Vue Cinema - Sol Central

Open but does seem to be offering reduced opening times.  The super saver deal is still in place £4.99 per person plus booking fee. Not much new out at the moment but take a look & see an old favourite.

Flip Out - Rushden Lakes

Open with reduced capacity. Only 1 spectator per household.  Temperature checks for all guests.

360 Play - Rushden Lakes

Open you must book online.  Temperature checks and reduced capacity.  Outdoor areas will remain open through autumn/winter to allow maximum fresh air & choice so the centre maybe cooler than normal (bring a jumper).  

Paradise Island Adventure Golf - Rushden Lakes

Open with reduced capacity & face masks to be worn. 

Rock up - Rushden Lakes

Open with reduced capacity and face masks to be worn. 


Open but you must pre book. 4 session times of 2 hours with 15 minute cleaning slot in-between.  9am, 11.15, 1.30pm, 3.45pm.  

Laser Zone

Re-opened 26th September.  10am to 6pm pre book only.  7 time slot available with 15 minute cleaning slot in between. 

Mini Meadows Farm 

Open and must pre book your ticket.  10am or 2pm time slots which are 2 1/2 hours long.  Reduced capacity and indoor play area will remain closed.  Face mask to be worn in all buildings but can be removed outside.  

West Lodge Farm

Open and must pre book your ticket.  Masks must be worn when entering the shop, adventure barn and restaurant.  All areas of the farm are now open.  

Rookery Farm

Closed. They have decided to remain closed until March 2021.

Danes Camp, Lings Forum and Mounts Baths

These have all reopened.  General swim, 14+ swim and family friendly swims on offer. You must arrive wearing your swimming costume. Showers not currently available at Mounts.  Sessions must be booked in advance.  Sessions are 45 minutes at Danes Camp and 1 hour at Lings

Forum Cinema - Weston Favell

Open with reduced capacity.  Face masks to be worn.  Vending machines available for card only.  Must pre book tickets.  Non members call 01604 838 333 members can book online.  

Cineworld Sixfields & Rushden Lakes

Currently open and offering some films at £4 per person.  Will be closing soon.

Tigers Indoor Play - Daventry

Still closed.

Kids Play - Kettering

Still closed.

Cheeky Monkees - Corby

Open with reduced capacity 1/3 normal guests.  Must book time slot.  Temperature check on arrival if over 37.8 cannot enter & can get a refund or change date.  Face masks to be worn.  2 hour sessions and arrive 5 minutes before.

Gravity - Corby


Towcester Leisure Centre

The swimming pool is still closed due to refurbishment but the pool at Brackley reopened in the 1st September.

Splash Leisure Pool  - Rushden 

Swimming is open and lessons are on.  Have your costume on & arrive 5 minutes before your session.  Pre book.  

**Whilst you are here remember you can sign the Northampton lido petition #northamptonlidopetition **


Saturday, 19 September 2020

Fireworks Guide for Northamptonshire 2020

Sadly due to Covid most fireworks events are not happening this year so this fireworks guide for Northamptonshire 2020 will be a short.  I have included cancelled events for information purposes as you may not know.  My old faithful is amongst the cancelled list!

Fireworks Northamptonshire 2020

Parklands Community Centre - No longer going ahead and likely not to return due to funding, volunteers etc

Wootton Community Centre - Cancelled

Grange Park - Friday 6th November cancelled

West Lodge - Wednesday 5th and Thursday 6th November 4.30 to 6.30pm.  Ticket numbers greatly reduced due to covid. £5 per person, under 2's free. No fireworks but bonfire, sparklers, pig race, outdoor floodlit play area, barrel rides and cuddle corner is open.

Hollowell Bonfire Party - Cancelled

Santapod Fireworks Frenzy - Saturday 7th November 2020.  Main event 4 to 7pm.  Tickets not yet in sale.

Boughton - Cancelled due to covid.

Finedon Dolben Cricket Club - Friday 6th November 7pm 3rd year music, food and bar.

Rushden Hall Park - Saturday 7th November from 6.30pm. £5 adult, £3 child ad under 3's free advanced ticket price.  £1 more on the night. On sale at Nene Valley Scout Group and several outlets. **Cancelled updated 22nd Sept**

Barnwell Bonfire and Fireworks - Cancelled but planning a grand event for Sunday 7th November 2021.

Yardley Gobion Sports & Social Club - Confirmed no event this year.

Daventry Fireworks Display - Cancelled

Flore Brodie Lodge - Cancelled. Already booked for Sunday 7th November 2021.

Billing Aquadrome - Confirmed not going ahead due to covid 

Wicksteed - Confirmed not going ahead due to covid.

Further afield

Market Harborough Fireworks (socially distanced)

Thursday 5th November 5pm at the Showground. Limited capacity call 0116 233 7035 for tickets.  £9 adult, £6 child under 4's free family ticket £25.

Loughborough RFC Fireworks

Friday 6th November from 5.30pm.  2 displays one at 7pm and one at 8pm.  Capped capacity for social distancing.  £5 child, £8 adult, under 4's free family ticket £25.  Call 0116 233 7035 for tickets.

**Please note more may get cancelled depending on guidelines so check before travelling**


Pick Your Own Pumpkins in Northamptonshire

Pick your own pumpkins in Northamptonshire

Pick your own pumpkins has grown in popularity over the last few years & happily is still going ahead despite coronavirus. Most venues have implemented ticketing to allow for social distancing.

Saxby's Cider NN29 7HJ

PYO Pumpkin Picking on the farm. Choose your time & day. Ticketed event. Wellies might be required. 9.30 to 4pm from 17th October. £2.50 per car plus your pumpkin.

Welford Christmas Tree Farm
Entry free but ticketed in line with covid guidelines. 17th/18th & 24th to 31st October 4 time slots available 10am to 12, 12 to 2pm and 2pm to 4pm.

West Lodge Farm
17th to 31st October
Numbers are greatly reduced and tickets must be pre booked. Time slot will be given.
The Pumpkin Patch Experience! Choose a pumpkin from the Pumpkin patch, one of their Pumpkin Carvers will carve out the face ready for you to take home complete with tea light! Wand making, visits to Daisy the Witch’s House,  spooky walkway, tractor rides and ghost stories all included. £14 per child. £10 per adult. Under 2 is £5.

Mini Meadow Farm
24th-31st October 2020
Reduced capacity with social distancing and one-way system in place. Morning session 10am-1.30pm, afternoon session 2pm-4.30pm.

Normal farm entry plus £7.50 per booking which includes 1 x pumpkin to choose and carve in their pumpkin patch, and entry to the ‘trick or treat’ trail for the group. Additional pumpkins £3 each. All the animals can be seen too.

Overstone Grange farm
3rd October onwards weekends only until 23rd to 31st October. Special SEN sessions available on 4th, 11th & 18th 9am to 11am. Bale maze, bale tower and tractor tyre sand pit. Do not need to book but numbers will be monitored. Closes 4pm.

Smith's farm shop, NN6 8AA
Hoping to commence mid October to ensure the pumpkins are all perfect in time for Halloween!

Over the border

The Patch MK, Mount Mill Farm, Wicken.
21st to 31st 9.30 to 5pm
Due to covid must book a ticket so numbers can be monitored. Family ticket £5.95 plus £0.50p booking fee plus pumpkin price. Bale maze, bale swings, slide and spiders web.

Lillingstone, MK18 5AF
26th/27th Sept
3rd/4th Oct
24th to 31st
Maize maize, tractor ride. £5 per vehicle plus pumpkin cost. Pony rides additional £6. Must book to monitor numbers due to covid.


Sunday, 30 August 2020

The River Nene - My River Walks

I've always loved the water but favoured the sea to anything else.  The sound of the waves has always made me happy.  Now Northampton is just about as far away from the sea as you can possibly get so during lockdown I turned my attention to the River.  The River Nene has miles and miles of paths to navigate.  I have only scratched the surface and covered 12-15 miles but will explore further over time.  Below are the walks we have done.  I'm by no means a walking expert & apart from once forget to track the miles! For professional walks I would recommend Northamptonshire Walks 

During lockdown I think many others started to enjoy the river more.  We saw kayakers, wild swimmers and paddle boarders.  I have tried paddle boarding & most say I'm hooked.

The Embankment (Wellingborough) to The Arches

We parked up at the Embankment and walked left past the splash park & all the swans.  Carry on until you reach the train arches.  You can walk further but with a moaning child that was enough. Apparently if you carry on going you end up behind Rushden Lakes.

Bedford Road to Midsummer Meadow

Start at Northampton Active and follow the path to Midsummer Meadow. There are cafe's & play areas here too. The Outpost & Ark.

Riverside to Bedford Road

From Riverside if you go right you see Northampton Washlands.  You can happily walk round here or keep going and you will reach the Bedford Road and Brackmills.

Riverside to Billing Mill

Behind Boost at Riverside is a small marina.  There is a metal gate and if you stick to the left you will reach the Billing Mill via Billing Aquadrome.

Cogenhoe to Whiston Lock

We could not find the footpath from Billing Mill so walked the long way round and started at Cogenhoe Mill Caravan Site via a field.

Whitemills Marina to Whiston Lock

This was our 1st River Walk and was perfect weather & just lovely. We actually walked from Station Road in Earls Barton but you can park in Whitemills Marina and then stroll along the river. There is a lovely café here too (The Boathouse).

Station Road Car Park (around the bend from Whitemills Marina to The Old WaterMill (Hardwater Road)

The beginning of the walk is next to an aggregates quarry but once you are on the other side it opens up with wide footpaths & lovely views.

Stoke Bruerne

Technically not the River Nene as it is the Grand Union Canal (Northampton Arm) but is does join on. If you like locks this is the walk for you. We only covered a small section and I think we saw 7. 


Didn't walk but paddle boarded from Willy Watt Marina to the lock & back again.

Have you enjoyed some river walks in Northamptonshire? Where would you recommend?

Emma x

**Remember to sign the Northampton Lido petition if you are interested in the idea of getting an outdoor pool**


Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Northampton's Missing Lido

**Updated the petition is LIVE.  Please sign & Share**


If you follow me on Facebook you will have seen I'm currently a little obsessed with water.  I have been enjoying many River Nene walks with the kids, which are lovely, but the kids want to swim! Every summer I get frustrated by the lack of swimming/splash park venues in Northampton (Northamptonshire). For such a large shire (we have a population of 750,000) and being so far from the sea we have very little in the way of outdoor swimming establishments. I love the idea of resurrecting a lido and putting Northampton back on the outdoor swimming map!

I have googled like a demon and we have nothing! We have the lovely Wellingborough Embankment Splash park and that is it.  There are obviously some private outdoor pools such as Overstone but nothing available to the public.

I honestly believe a Northampton Lido would be a huge benefit to the town.  With careful placement could also entice people to other places and create jobs.  There are 130 lidos in Great Britain which are surviving and some are absolutely thriving. I know it would need a huge cash investment but it could then be a real gem for the town.  Community events could be held, swimming lessons for kids and health benefits for all. Am I selling it to you? Would you be a local customer? 

Northampton Lido should we have one?

In my hours of research I found that Midsummer Meadow had a Lido from 1908 to 1983 when it was emptied and demolished.  The old site is now a car park. It would be an amazing place to have a new Northampton Lido.  People could be encouraged to walk into town via the River Nene.  In my wildest thoughts what about the old bus station plot? It would be accessible to all (as obviously not everyone drives).  Wouldn't be the prettiest location but could boost town footfall and actually use the current dustbowl. Another possibility is out of Northampton itself and to Daventry which used to have a popular outdoor pool and was also turned into a car park! Maybe one of our existing venues such as Wicksteed Park or Billing Aquadrome would like to invest and open an outdoor pool.  Billing Aquadrome used to have one and Wicksteed used to have a paddle pool both have sadly been demolished.

A heated pool would secure the most revenue as would be used even on colder days but obviously has a higher running cost.  Most are open from March to October but many, especially in London, operate all year.

I checked the Northamptonshire County Council website and you can petition but you need to be very clear. A full council debate would happen if you get 2.5% of the population to sign (based on 2001 census).  I couldn't find the 2001 population figure and no idea why they base it on those records but based on the current population of 750,000 it would need 18,750 signatures. Do we think we could get that many people interested in a Northampton Lido?

For now with no outdoor swimming pools available I'll leave you with a list of our nearest.  Obviously in the current climate not all are open.

Eversholt Swimming Pool, MK17 9DS. Volunteer run, heated, seasonal, parking on site and snack kiosk.  Approx 29 miles

Woburn Lido, MK17 9QG.  Independent trust, heated, seasonal, parking opposite at village hall and snack kiosk. Approx 29 miles

Woburn Lido
Credit Woburn Lido

Woodgreen Leisure Centre, OX16 0HS.  Corporate run on behalf of council, heated, seasonal, parking on site and snack kiosk. Approx 33 miles

Hitchin Swimming Centre, SG5 1HA.  Corporate run on behalf of council, heated, seasonal, parking on site and cafe. Approx 43 miles

Chipping Norton Lido, OX7 5BZ.  Volunteer run, heated, seasonal, limited on site parking but several free public car parks in town and cafe. Approx 44 miles.

Peterborough Lido, PE1 1YY.  Corporate run on behalf of the council, heated, seasonal, parking on site and cafe. Approx 43 miles.


Thursday, 23 July 2020

New to running or want to start - What do you need to know

Hello.  If you are expecting expert advice this is not the running guide for you.  If you would like a few pointers from a slightly overweight 40+ mum of two then read on.

Running seems to be the new thing (along with paddle boarding) as a positive consequence of lockdown.

I have ran/jogged/walked on & off for years and have had many failed attempts at the C25K programme.

In September 2019 I joined a running/jogging club called Abington Park Joggers and loved it.

I am by no means a natural and still get terribly out of breathe & very red faced but my new motto is anything is better than nothing.  I'm a slow runner & at times it has been discouraging & that is why I'm writing this post.

A 8 minute mile or a 12 minute mile is still a mile.  Walk, jog, run, sprint.  It is still running.  It still counts!

Since March my running club has been unable to meet but I made myself go out alone and keep trying.  For me in lockdown it 100% helped my mental health. It was the only time I was alone.  I loved being outside.  It was quiet.  It helped combat the increased baking & eating!

Some of my running club has exceled in lockdown but I have definitely found it tougher.  I can't complete a 5K without walking anymore but do you know what it doesn't matter.

If you took up running in lockdown carry on.  If you want to start do it.

My basic pointers are - 

  • The One You Couch to 5K app is fab.  I like lovely Laura. Week 1 is 60 seconds running with 9 seconds recovery walk x 8. Week 2 90 seconds running x 6. Week 3 90 seconds & then 3 minutes running x 2.  As you can see it builds up gradually & each step as built it rest walks.
  • You do not need fancy trainers that cost £130.  Just some supportive running trainers are fine.  Mine are Nike & were £55.
  • Ditto you do not need fancy running tights (leggings to you & me).  I have a variety but prefer Nike and Primark. The Primark ones are the comfiest (good high waist) and my Nike full length have a secret pocket at the back for my key & great for colder months as have a slight lining.
  • Strava is a fab app for recording routes, times, distances etc.  It's free although you can pay to upgrade if you want super fancy data.
  • Map my run is also good but I swopped to Strava as it links to my Fitbit.
  • You do not need fancy headphones.  I use my daughters Smiggle ones.
  • Do get a head or chest torch for darker evenings.  I got a cheap one from Ebay £8.20.  I prefer a chest torch.
  • Join a running club if you need extra motivation. There are loads but mine is Abington Park Joggers & they meet on Wednesdays.
  • Just go.  I know sometimes you really won't want to but go.  
  • If you stop, sit, walk, turn around & go home it still counts.  You moved.
Unironed t-shirt, smiggle headphones but still running

Just for some guidance as I struggled to find times & everyone else seemed amazing.  Here is some of my data.
  • I have done 3 official park runs and my times were 37.03, 36.38 and 36.28
  • In March my average pace was 12.31 per mile 
  • By best this year was 10.34 per mile
  • My best 5K is 35.39. My aim is to get under 35 minutes but I'm putting zero pressure on myself.
  • My runs currently consist of 2 ish miles running 1 ish mile walking & that's fine.  
I hope this helps, inspires or just gives some information for any new runners.

Let me know how you get on.

Emma xx

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Walks & Open Spaces in Northamptonshire

For years I have focused on parks with play equipment as my children love a swing & zip wire! However with coronavirus and lockdown play areas have become out of bounds & many people have stayed closer to home. As we are now able to drive & lockdown is easing I thought I'd share some walks & open spaces in Northamptonshire.

I've been trying to find lesser known quieter spots for our family walks & much needed PlayStation/YouTube breaks.  Often these lesser known places have no cafes/toilets etc so are not recommended for lengthy stays.  Obviously the country parks are great & we all know & love Sywell, Brixworth, and Irchester etc (and they have toilets!) but I've tried to focus elsewhere as there have been reports these places have been very busy.

Northampton Washlands (behind Riverside) is a vast open space with the River Nene flowing along side it.  There's a small marina and often horses, sheep and ducks/swans/geese.

River Nene (Brackmills) further up from the washlands you can walk along the Nene.  We walked in a loop going past Northampton Active.  You can walk all the way to Midsummer Meadow but the 9 year old wasn't quite up to that!

Upton Country Park can be busy but is a big space and the lesser known area away from the car park/football pitch is much quieter. There are currently sheep in one of the fields and is flat & perfect for buggies and bikes. There is a car park available.

Brampton Valley Way. This is a 14 mile stretch taking you all the way to Market Harborough.  We have only visited a small section but loved it.  I can recommend Draughton Crossing car park to Kelmarsh Tunnels.  Last year we also walked from The Windhover for a couple of miles & then had a break at The Brampton Halt which will be open again later in the summer (hopefully!) Several free car parks are dotted long the walk.  

Bradlaugh Fields which is not really so unknown anymore but depending on the day/time can be very quiet. 

Irthingborough Lakes is a lovely quiet spot & you can walk all the way to Rushden Lakes quite easily and grab a takeaway drink & sit on the boardwalk before your return journey (top tip from my sister).

Harlestone Firs is one of my personal favourites grower in popularity you can still easily find pockets of complete solitude and perfect on a hot day as lots of shade from the trees. Free parking is opposite.

Villages we have some beautiful villages in Northamptonshire which are perfect for a stroll away from the hustle and bustle. We visited one yesterday and found a stream for the kids to paddle in & very few people.

A few of these places do not have specific car parks so take care parking, make sure you read the signs and don't obstruct roads/paths etc.

Have fun, take care & stay safe in this crazy new world.

Emma xxx


Saturday, 2 May 2020

Binge Watch List

Binge Watch list
Since most of us have a lot of time on our hands at the moment I thought I'd share some of the things I've been binge watching.  I'm not normally a massive TV person & stick to my Holby City, Call the Midwife, Great British Bake off, Strictly etc but these a regular weekly shows on at certain times of the year.  In the last 6 weeks however I have really got into boxsets and these are my recommendations.

Manifest (Sky)
Flight 828 reappears 5 years after disappearing & many of the passengers start to hear voices & see things. 2 series so far & there will be a third.  16 in the 1st series and 13 in the 2nd.  About 50 mins each. 
Good, different to my usual thing, slightly repetitive "Have you had a calling?", easy to watch.

After Life (Netflix)
Tony had a perfect life until Lisa (his wife) dies. A dark comedy with loads of touching moments. You'll laugh & cry. 2 series both 6 episodes each and 25 to 30 mins.
I had never heard of it but saw a Netflix advert & gave it a whirl. Loved it & watched the whole thing in a week. Does mention suicide & cancer so not for everyone but so well done. Ricky Gervais at his best.

Back to Life (iPlayer)
36 year old Miri is starting life again after an 18 year prison sentence. Only 1 series and 6 episodes 25-30 mins each.
Found this via Graham Norton & loved it. Quirky, funny with some touching moments.

Save Me & Save Me Too (Sky)
Teenage Jody goes missing & her family go to extreme lengths to find her. 2 Series and 6 episodes each abour an hour each.
Lennie James is an amazing actor as Nelly (Jody's biological dad). Dark, gripping and a great cast.

I haven't binge watched these as up to date but Ru Paul's Drag Race (Netlix) about 100 episodes if you go back to the beginning and Killing Eve (iPLayer) series 3 has just started on BBC1 are both a great watch too.

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Church Farm Haven Tried & Tested

Church Farm is a large Haven site.  The site has direct beach access (shingle/pebbles) but this is quite a long walk depending on where you are located on site but a lovely addition to the site & dog friendly. Church Farm's Mash & Barrell has an enormous outside decking area overlooking the outdoor pool & if the weather is good a perfect place to sit & soak up the sun.  Younger children can run around & use the play area/sand pit & older children can use the outdoor pool with you nearby. When we visited the indoor soft play area was small but may have been updated.  There is a golf course & crazy golf on site, tennis courts and all the usual Haven activities like football, archery, aqua jets, water walkers etc.

Credit Haven Holidays
I would recommend visiting the following places whilst visiting:

Hotham Park in Bognor Regis a short 10-15 minute drive takes you to Bognor.  My kids loved this park with play areas, carved satues scattered about, mini railway (summer months only), crazy golf and cafe. You could also pop to Bognor Regis beach whist you were here.

Littlehampton seaside town with Harbour Park (funfair), skate park, spots for crab fishing and plenty of fish & chip shops. You can even catch a ferry.

Peppa Pig World an hour drive away is Paultons Park otherwise known as Peppa Pig World.  No other words needed if you have a Peppa Fan!

Wild Duck Haven Tried & Tested

Wild Duck in Norfolk has a slightly different atmosphere to most other Haven sites due to its woodland location. The main complex layout is lovely with water features and bridges.  The Sitting Duck (pub facility) is separate to the main arcade/evening entertainment space.  This has a sand pit area which is a huge hit with the kids.  There is a large wooded play area a few metres away and a treehouse on the other side of the park.  The indoor pool is basic but a good size.  We preferred the outdoor pool which was lovely & warm with beach hut style changing facilities and a play area outside.

Wild Duck Haven Review

Wild Duck really is a unique Haven site which we have enjoyed twice. For a mini tour video and idea of the layout watch below 

Nearby I would recommend the following places:

Gorlestone beach massive sandy beach which is quieter than nearby Great Yarmouth 

Bewilderwood amazing outdoor climbing and exploring adventure play.  We loved it here.

Africa Alive a zoo as the title suggests themed on Africa.  A walking safari set in 100 acres and famous for its big cats. Just a warning no elephants!

Norfolk broads the famous Norfolk broads is perfect to get out on a boat.  We had a mini 2 hour adventure & loved it.

Pleasurewood Hills a brilliant theme park perfect for the whole family. Only 8 miles away and a fantastic fun day out.  There are plenty of thrill rides for the teens Wipeout is not for the faint hearted! 

Rockley Park Haven Tried & Tested

We have visited Rockley Park Poole twice and both times luckily enough to have AMAZING weather and the best time.

I can 100% recommend Rockley Park although if you have mobility issues it might be a problem as it is quite hilly.

The site has everything you would expect from a Haven site.  Swimming pools, arcade, play areas, Mash & Barrel, Live Lounge, crazy golf and trampolines (these are paid for activities).  Rockley Park also has its own beach access which is a huge selling point.  Sometimes these beaches can be a bit disappointing but Rockley Park was lovely.  Safe and clean with a harbour, café and play area.  You can participate in watersports (paid activity) do a spot of crab fishing.

Rockley Park Review

The swimming pool was a hit with the kids with a water slide and small splash park.  I thought it was a tad small but it was perfectly adequate and in the warmer months the outside area will be open so everyone can spread out a little more.

Rockley Park has a lovely lay out and is one of the few sites where you do not need to access the arcade to get to other facilities.  It looks fresh and clean and I liked the beachy look of the main complex.

Rockley Park Review

Whilst in Poole my top things to do nearby are:

Bournemouth Oceanarium only about 25 minute drive away this Oceanarium has a vast array of creatures.  Sharks, turtles, stingrays, jellyfish, penguins and the cute otter family. £8.50 per child and £11.95 per adult.  Family tickets are available for reduced prices.

Corfe Castle nearby National Trust property which is also approx 25 minute drive.  You can climb & explore the old castle, enjoy a cream tea at the onsite cafe (amazing scones!) and see the steam train pass by.

Crab fishing at Rockley Park beach My kids loved this.  Minimal cost & onsite.  We spent hours here crab fishing, collecting shells and paddling in the sea.

If you enjoyed this Haven Tried & Tested Review check out my others.

Emma xxx


Sunday, 8 March 2020

Gravity Entertainment Northampton Review

Gravity Entertainment in Sol Central is the newest trampoline park to the scene and today we went to see what it is all about.

Located right by Vue Cinema the striking orange & purple colours mean you cannot miss it.  Smaller than I thought it has a brilliant mixture of equipment & quite a few items that it's rival Boost doesn't have.

Upon entry you can complete your waiver at one of the screens and validate your car parking ticket.  Socks must be worn & are £2.50 per pair.  Each child is given a coloured band to correspond with their time slot.  A health & safety video must be watched which included a warm up routine which I thought was good although the teen wasn't so sure.  It is £11.95 per child but online prices are discounted by 15% so £10.16 which is therefore comparable to Boost which is £10. They also operate parent & toddler off peak sessions which is £6.  Family tickets are also available for £39.99 or (£33.99 online!) this is for 2 adults and 2 children or 1 adult and 3 children.

My kids loved the climbing wall & ball bit (this was their favourite section).  The wipe out machine was a big hit and my son liked the mini football zone and befriended a younger child and they happily charged about.

The café has all the usual hot drinks and amazingly has waffles! I love waffles and they are rarely on offer. As we went at 11am I didn't try one but they looked immense.

The kids rated Gravity Entertainment 9/10 and both want to go back. I know there was some early feedback and some improvements have been made.  The slush machines were moved and hand dryers fitted.  The toilets still smelt of fresh paint! I think Gravity Entertainment is a huge positive for Sol Central and it is great to see the building filling up with businesses again.

More picture over on Instagram Instagram - Life in the Mum's Lane

**We were gifted 2 tickets in exchange for this review.  We paid for our own socks & drinks.  All opinions are my own.**

Thursday, 27 February 2020

Abington Park

Abington Park is Northampton's oldest and most popular park. It contains a museum, sports facilities, 6 all weather tennis courts (£6 per hour) a cafe, lakes, and a garden for the blind. It is an amazing focal point and used by many groups such as running, boot camp and Pokémon hunters!

There is a band stand where live music is played on Sundays during the summer, a large play area and church.  Lots of events are held throughout the year such as Race for Life, Fun Fairs, and National play day.

I love Abington Park but I am finding the play area could do with a few larger pieces of equipment for the older children like a zip wire, larger climbing frames or obstacle course (similar to Stanwick Lakes) as it does not suit teens who have outgrown the equipment. 

Abington Park

The museum was recently renovated and is a lovely old grade 1 listed building and usual open hours are 12 to 4pm and admission is free.   The museum plays host to lots of events recently the vegan fair was there in February, March brings the vintage & daft fail and April is 3d animal model making, playful puppet craft and Easter egg trail.

There is no parking but there is always room on one of the many streets the encompass the park such as Abington Park Crescent, Christchurch road or Ardington Road.