Saturday, 13 October 2018

Harry Potter Studio Tour - Again

I'm back at the Harry Potter Studio Tour this time with 2 of my friends Suzanne and Steph.

Every time I go there's something new to see.  This time it was a celebration of the dark arts.  There were lots of different costumes on show.  Decorations from the Halloween ball and a full on battle in the outside lot on the bridge with the Death Eaters.  This was primarily for children to join in with but we all wanted to as well.  We had to do wand lessons and learn spells then battle with some of the death eaters.  We laughed so much and had a great time.  You're never too old.

Even though I've been many times before I still love it and still get all emotional.  I really do believe I should be able to go to Hogwarts and this is as close as I can get.

I couldn't persuade them to try the butterbeer but other than that they did everything.  We had several attempts on the train as we kept laughing and getting it wrong.
Our acting skills letting us down a little
They spent a fortune in the gift shop as did I.

I've said it before but if you're a Harry Potter fan you really need to go and to be honest even if you're not it's a great day out.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Flambards Theme Park

One of my favourite memories from my childhood is a day out at Flambards.  The first time I went I had my best friend Lisa with me, the second time I took my oldest daughter Shannon who is 25 now, went on my honeymoon
Libby with the Flambards Egg
 so it was lovely to go with my husband Jonathan and youngest daughter Libby.

The park is in a bit of a time warp but that's what makes it so lovely. 

None of the rides were busy and we had lots of fun on the log flume.  We went on it lots of times getting wetter and wetter which was great as it was a very sunny day.  We seemed to follow the same group of people round which culminated in a battle on the go karts.  Libby went on with her dad and they had a battle with the OTHER family.  It was very amusing and everyone spectating was getting in to it as well.  Lots of cheers when overtaking took place and booing at any questionable behaviour.  I'm very proud to say my team won and yes, it is important.  All in good fun though.

Next we went to the Victorian village with the chemist shop and the blitz experience.  So well done and so much information and still exactly how it was on my previous 2 visits.  I remember walking round the war time exhibit with my lovely dad and him reading everything on every board.  He sadly passed away a few years ago so was a lovely memory to have.
Flambards Theme Park
Lots of ice creams and a lovely lunch.  Every member of staff that we came in contact with were so sweet and kind. 

A really fantastic trip.  I look forward to taking the next generation.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Luxury Lodges - Clowance Estate, Cornwall

After our Butlins experience we were very relieved to arrive at our original accommodation the stunning Clowance Estate in Cornwall.

The luxury lodges are beautiful and have everything you need and more.  A bit of a hiccup at reception meant our lodge wasn't ready but they sorted it and we were eternally grateful to be somewhere clean.  There was a lovely welcome hamper full of goodies that was a nice touch.
Welcome hamper at Clowance Estate
We were situated at the top so had a lovely view down over the grounds and they were stunning.  We went for walks round the extensive lakes and played the giant garden games.  We played tennis, swam and Libby drove the car on the private land.  There are extra activities you can book such as Segway and archery.

Our only niggle was the hot tub was faulty and we spent most of the week unable to use it.  When we did it was gorgeous.

We had a lovely meal in the restaurant and the staff there were very accommodating.

What a difference to our previous choice.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Butlins - Minehead

I debated whether or not to include this but decided to. Here goes.........

We had a mid week break booked in Cornwall and decided last minute that we wanted to make it a full week.  Due to being so late we ended up at Butlins in Minehead.  It was quite simply the worst decision I've made.  It was awful.

Our first impression when we arrived wasn't great.  Security and large groups of rowdy people booking in.  We did our check in and went to our 'room' or more aptly bomb shelter.  The carpets were so dirty and sticky we never took our shoes off, the bedding was stained, the bathroom was unusable and the whole place smelt of sick.  We let reception know but nothing happened. 
We then went to the restaurant for dinner.  We had paid extra for the 'nicer' restaurant but it was awful.  A canteen with people barging each other out the way.  Undercooked food and dirty plates.

After this experience we were getting very disheartened so went for a walk to have a look round.  The main complex is like nothing I've experienced before.  The facilities themselves aren't bad but there were drunk adults (and in some cases teenagers) everywhere you went.  The main green outside by the high ropes was littered with people drinking, smoking and rubbish everywhere - it was only 6.30pm. 

We took ourselves of for a walk along the beach.  This was lovely and there were other families clearly doing the same.

The next day we thought it might be a good idea to do as many paid activities as possible as these seemed to be empty.  We spent a large section of the day on the high ropes, crazy golf etc but you could not escape the dinking, smoking, foul swearing and general rowdiness.  There's something quite disturbing about an adult screaming obscenities at their young children and the children shouting them back. I went back to our bomb shelter and cried.  We looked at finding some other hotel but decided to stick it out. 

That night Libby was violently sick.  I suspect the food.  It really added to stench.

The next day we downloaded a treasure trail and spent the day in Minehead which was absolutely lovely.  We found lots of old fashioned streets, churches etc and sat at the top of the hill having an ice cream. 

When we returned to the holiday park Libby tripped at the gate and the security guard laughed at her and made fun of her.  Really sums up the whole experience.  Needless to say we left at about 5am the next morning and went on our way.

I'm sure Butlins has it's place but in my opinion after what we experienced I'd say it's somewhere back in the 1950s.  Awful awful experience

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Father's Day - National Space Centre

Happy Father's Day!

The daddy in our house has a serious interest in all things space and astronomical so we thought it was time to take him to the National Space Centre for the day and he had a fabulous time.

We arrived before it got too busy and entrance was smooth and fast.  The whole thing is set up into different sections on 2 floors with the planetarium in the centre.  We had a great time doing all the interactive exhibits.

Lots of learning about space both historically and in the modern day.  There are lots of replicas and real space debris and crafts.  There is so much to do its hard to remember all the bits we did.  We all loved the training to be an astronaut that after doing some tests tells you what your job would be on the spacecraft.  Lots of competition here to be the pilot - daddy won.
Daddy training to be a pilot
The planetarium show was really good.  We chose the one for older children but were still very disturbed by small children and babies messing about so a little disappointed but the overall show was excellent. 

You get to eat lunch in themed space booths which was fun and the food was really reasonable so again we were impressed.

We didn't manage to see everything as there is a lot to take in in one visit so we will definitely be going back.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Cotswold Wildlife Park - Giraffe Feeding Experience

Libby received a gift from her Gran to feed the giraffes at Cotswold Wildlife Park so we all went to watch.

The gift included entrance as well so we went nice and early and had a look at the different animals.  The rhino's are right in the middle with a really good viewing area all around their field.  They were out wallowing in the mud so great to see them. 

The walled garden area has penguins (dad's favourite), meerkats (Libby's obsession) and lots of other small mammels and birds. The gardens in this area are always beautifully presented with lots of colour on show.

We slowly made our way down to the giraffe house to meet the keeper at the allocated time.  He was ready and waiting and he was really friendly.  He included us all in the event and had us collecting large branches round the back of the enclosure to take to the feeding area.  Libby then had to reach the branches up to the two giraffes who stripped the leaves then grabbed the branch.  The keeper had to be extra careful to keep Libby on the ground as the giraffes are quite strong and kept lifting her off of her feet.  Very amusing.  Whilst the session was going on the keeper was giving us lots of information about the animals all over the park and the park itself.  He was very friendly and took extra time to answer all the questions Libby had.  She thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing and wants a return visit.
Libby about to be lifted high in the air
After the giraffe feeding we continued round the park having a stop in the play area and lunch in the main restaurant. The park itself has a lovely open relaxed feeling and welcomes dogs which is very unusual. 

Another lovely visit to Cotswold Wildlife Park.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Birmingham Think Tank

The Think Tank Museum in Birmingham is an interactive science museum.  Libby had been previously with friends and said it was good so off we went.

The museum itself is in a large modern building in the centre of Birmingham.

Overall we had a good morning there but it definitely wouldn't satisfy a full day out.  Lots of the activities are interactive so you have to wait quite a while for them to become free.  Plus you need a little bit of elbow power or you stand there forever.  I hate to say it but I've never come across so many rude children.

The activities were generally good fun but there seemed to be an awful lot of broken ones or ones with maintenance posts on them.  This was a real shame as you began to expect the machines not to
be working.

The robot area was really good and you could program the robot to do and say things whilst making it move.  We had lots of fun with this as you can imagine.

There were a lot of areas specially for younger children and a whole village set up for under 5s to play at. The outside area was good fun and lots of energy needed to work some of the exhibits.  We definitely enjoyed this more.