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Sunday, 20 July 2014

More uses for a slow cooker than you needed to know

This is called 19 surprising non food ways to use your slow cooker, do people actually put their feet in them?

I find my slow cooker very useful but I think I'll be sticking to food uses for now, read how other people use theirs http://bit.ly/1nsNFSO

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Family Fun 19th & 20th July

The very adventurous Nisbah from Fiveadventurers joins us again with her weekend round up:

This weather again this weekend cannot make up its mind so we have tried to give you lots of different ideas to let you have family adventures regardless of the weather!
Saturday
tennisGreat British Tennis Weekend (throughout UK) FREE
Once again Tennis clubs throughout the country are opening their doors to let potential Andy Murray's have a try at Tennis.  Clubs are offering this throughout the country and to find your local club, use the link here.  I think it's a great opportunity to let youngsters hae a try at a new sport which is not as readily available through schools when compared with football and netball.  This is the last weekend that the sessions are running so try to make the most of them.

Eureka (Halifax)
As you can tell, I have a little soft spot for Eureka.  I have a love of interactive museums and any that do it well, as in the case of Eureka always deserve a special mention.  Starting this weekend and running over the entire Summer holidays is a focus on being different thing, whether it's an artist, musician or a story-maker.  Eureka are running a number of activities alongside their normal exhibitions to get the creative juices going in all of the youngsters who visit.  Details of the events running can be found here.

Who's Been Sitting in My Chair
The Horse & Boo Theatre in Bacup is staging the show, Whose Been sitting in My chair.  We have watched the show in Buxton and really enjoyed it.  Maya was only 3 at the time and it was a little confusing for her, the way the story was told, but for pre-school/reception aged children it is fantastic.  It is an imaginative take on the classic story and works really well on the stage.  As in the words from the story, it isn't too big, it isn't too small, it's just right.  For ticketing and pricing information, check here.  I would recommend it for any youngsters who love classic tales.
Pirates Day (Mount Park, Morecambe)mount park
Happy Mount Park is calling our swash buckling pirates and bounty hunters to take part in the treasure hunt at the park.  There will be a fancy dress competition, story telling and lots of other pirate themed activities.  There will be theatrical performances and music being showcased throughout the day.  the event is on from 12pm - 5pm.  I have lots of really good things about this park so it would warrant a visit in its own right but combines with a family event, it seems perfect for some family shenanigans.
Back to the Future Open Day (Stockport) FREE
Stepping Hill Hospital is opening its doors to the public to let them have a behind the scenes tour of a working hospital.  The theme this year is "Back to the Future" and there will be lots of entertainment and stands for all the family.  My pick of what is available is the behind the scenes tour of operating theatres, laboratory services under the microscope and the giant walk-through colon.  There lots more to do on the day.  It sounds like a very different experience and fun day for children.  No booking is required but it can be made, with details here.   There is also free parking available.

Caribbean Carnival of Manchester (Manchester) FREE
Plattfields Park in Manchester will be home to the weekend long event celebrating everything that is great about the Caribbean Culture, past and present.  There will be the procession that goes through Moss Side, Hulme and other areas with a number of floats for the parade.  On entrance to the park the visitors will be greeted with the sights, sounds and smells of the Caribbean.  There will be a number of designated areas and a number of live stages.  The event wants to attract the whole community to join in this celebration.

Family Fun Day (Lowry, Salford) FREE
The exhibition 'Here's One we Made Earlier' will be launched with a family fun day which is being held in conjunction with the BBC.  There will be lots of hands on activities, meeting a number of CBBC characters and the viewing of the new CBBC drama 'Harriets Army'.  It sounds like a great day out allowing visitors to be one of the first people to see the exhibition with a great family fun day, timings are 10am - 3pm.

Pedal Power (Manchester) FREE
The Museum of Science and Industry are opening their new exhibition on bicycles called Pedal Power.  Pedal Power celebrates everything that is great about the two-wheel ride from track cycling to the technology behind it.  There will be lots of different types of bikes being showcased and there is a mini Velodrome to let young scientists understand the science behind GB's recent successes.  The exhibition is free and the museum is open daily 9 - 5pm.
The Palace Theatre in Manchester is staging the successful Dinosaur Zoo show for the next couple of weeks (18th - 26th July).  The show sounds perfect for any dinosaur fanatic out there and is an interactive and informative show which lets the audience learn about the less well-known but equally ferocious dinosaurs from the southern hemisphere .  The show sounds less formal than a normal staged show and from reviews it sounds captivating for a young audience.  We are attending the Saturday matinĂ©e performance and cannot wait.  our little adventurers get excited every time I show them the videos.  Tickets can be booked here.

Disney's Little Mermaid (Chorley)
Chorley's Little Theatre has staged the show all week and Saturday is the late day of the performance.  The show is based on the Broadway production so is a combination of the Hans Christian Anderson story and the Disney version.  Little Mermaid was always one of my favourite Disney movies and its not the often staged so would be perfect for any Ariel fans out there.  Family tickets are £22, for more pricing information and timings, click here.

Animals in the Park (Chorley) FREE
Astley Hall are again hosting an event where a variety of animals are brought into the park.  People can meet a variety of animals from miniature ponies, giant rabbits, lambs and a whole host of other animals.  The park and grounds are supposed to be very lovely so would recommend packing a picnic, meet the animals and let the children run around the grounds to burn off some steam.  Would be perfect for any animal fans :) More information is here.


Sunday
Family drama workshops (Manchester) FREE
Royal Exchange theatre in Manchester have monthly drama workshops for the family.  Working with Phil Cross, people attending will learn basic stage skills, team building exercises and this months focus is on expression, movement and confidence.   The event is free but it is ticketed so booking si essential.  The sessions are split into two categories:
Ages 4- 6 12 - 12:40
Ages 7 - 11 12:50 - 1:30pm

Skills Sunday (Manchester) FREE
The National Football Museum will be hosting a special skills session, every Sunday during the holidays.  The sessions are designed for the whole family and aim to improve your techniques, get healthier and be part od the world record attempt.  Classes are limited in size to 30 people sp arrive early so you have the chance to take part.

Fleetwood Festival of Transport - Tram Sunday (Fleetwood) FREEtram sunday
Enjoy a free, family day exploring trams in Fleetwood.  Visitors can enjoy rides on the heritage Trams between Fisherman's Walk and Thornton Gate throughout the day.  I love getting the children on as many different modes of transport as possible and the classic trams are great.  Last year over 70,000 attended and there will be lots for families to see and do include riding on segways, Scarecrow Festival and Fleetwood's lifeboat and crew will be there with loads of rides for children.  In addition, there is a Wyre Council's "Spare Parts" arts festival on the seafront including the likes of a JCB dancing.  Sounds like a great day out!

RNLI Open Day (St Annes) FREE
The Boathouse on St Anne's promenade is hosting the RNLI Open Day and Summer Fair.  There will be loads of activities on throughout the day, but the highlight will be the public being able to meet the crew behind the RNLI, seeing the Boathouse and being able to take a tour on the All Weather Lifeboat.  There will be lots of traditional fair activities running alongside this.  If the sun is out (forecast for Sunday is good) a picnic on the Beach and letting the kids get up close to a real lifeguards crew would be pretty fab.

Erth's Dinosaur Zoo (Hamley's Manchester) FREE
If you are unable to attend the show, the dinosaurs from the show are going to be attending s special event at Hamleys between 4:30-5:30.  But all little adventurers be aware, they are not as friendly as they seem!

Green Fayre (Beacon Country Park) FREE
Beacon Country Park's annual Green Fayre returns this weekend with activities across both Saturday and Sunday.  Set in the beautiful Becaon Country Park this event is the celebration of the countryside and countryside living.  The event will be open 11 - 5pm on both days and will be hosting a massive range of activities.  There will be a working woodlands area showcasing things such as willow weaving, coppice workers and wood carvers.  There will be a number of shows also on in the main area, from historical enactment to music.  For young children there will be a climbing wall, bouncy castles and have a go woodland sessions. There seems to be lots on in the event and I think its great that they are showcasing all the fantastic things that can be done in the great outdoors.  We will be attending this event on the Sunday, I think it will be a fantastic day out.

Moses Gate Country Fair (Bolton) FREE
Moses Gate Country Fair is back this weekend and should be a great day out for all the family.  There will be loads on to entertain young and old attending, so pack a picnic and have a fab day in the park and enjoy the delights of a local country fair.  There will be sports, funfair, donkeys and music.  What more could you ask for?

Peter Rabbit Tea Partiespeter rabbit
Calling all Peter Rabbit fans, the world of Beatrix Potter in the Lakes are hosting a number of tea parties through the summer months.  There will be a lovely lunch of cakes galore, sandwiches and rolls.  Every child who attends will be given a present and a balloon and a special guest will read the Tale of Peter Rabbit.  The tea party cost also includes entry to the attraction so guests can learn more about the wonderful characters from the Beatrix Potter stories.  Heres a link to information about the cost, dates and timings, when we checked there was still availability for this weekend.  The event cost £7.50 per child and £11 per adult but for any fans of the books, the attraction is supposed to be a great day out.
Brockholes Nature ReserveJunior Bird ID (Brockholes Nature Reserve, Preston)
Join one of the experts of the reserve on a guided walk and learn about the different birds that live in the nature reserve.  The guide will be able to help give tips on how to identify birds and then will lead the group for a walk around to see what they spot on the day.  The event is aimed at children aged 7+ and all children need to be accompanied by an adult.  It is advisable to book in advance, the cost is £3 per person and the details are here.
We hope you all have an amazing weekend.  Please do let us know if you did any of the events and what you thought of them.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Andrew Flintoff Cricket Academy in Lancashire this summer

The Andrew Flintoff Cricket Academy comes to Lancashire this summer. It is a fantastic opportunity to learn from one of the greatest crickets stars in a fun & safe environment with fun, innovative and age appropriate coaching. The UK's largest and best coaching organisation for boys and girls aged 5-16. Every Academy features a visit from Fred or another international cricketer.

There are a choice of locations with day attendance or residential options Lancaster Day attendance for one week or same location Lancaster residential cricket academy

In Kirkham there is another cricket academy You can read more about what parents and children said after they have attended here


Sunday, 13 July 2014

Lantern & Larks Glamping in Lancashire



Mumsnet Lancashire review of Lantern & Larks, Bleasdale. 

I've always declined camping for a variety of reasons/excuses. I may be scarred by the memory many years ago of trying to find our tent in the middle of the night in a field of similar sized tents all I knew was the colour of it and they all looked the same in the dark! When we were asked to go Glamping at Lantern & Larks at their new site in Bleasdale I wavered, I have always said when my children asked about camping "When tents have kitchens and bathrooms I'll go!" - now I had to keep to my word. The children who historically asked are now teenagers aged 14 and 16. They were more enthusiastic than I was, even when I stressed hair straighteners would be useless there and WiFi was unlikely!

The directions to Bleasdale are easy to follow as long as you read right to the end and not presume you are there. The 'Glampsite' is situated down a private driveway with sheep on each side and green open spaces as far as you can see, the view welcomes you to your own piece of the countryside for the weekend. We parked up and met Jennifer - the site manager  for that day who showed us around and explained the workings of the stove and lighting provisions. The Lanterns and Larks website looks idyllic, solid furniture under canvas but you can't appreciate the size of the tents until you are there. There are 3 separate tents on site, each with their own generous space around them very different to our previous holiday experiences. 

Inside? Well, welcome to the tardis tent, to call it a tent doesn't do it justice, a canvas covered holiday cottage may be more apt. At times it was only the walls moving slightly in the breeze that reminded me of it's structure with it's solid furnishing and styled interiors it was so much more than I imagined. Whilst they look generously sized from outside the interior was perfectly proportioned 3 bedrooms, 1  double, 1 twin, 1 bunk, a kitchen area, a generous living space and dining table. Outside is a large decking area with cushioned seating and additional deck chairs with steps down to your own picnic bench area and fire pit.  At the rear of the tent is a zipped door which leads to the back door with room for boots and coats and leading to 2 separate rooms housing the shower room and toilet, the area is lit with motion sensor lights so even at night you can find your way.


Wheelbarrows are provided to help get luggage from the car -one wheelbarrow trip and loading up spare hands and we were all set. The storage within each room means you could easily stay for a week without having 'stuff' all over the place. The kitchen is well stocked with necessities and more. There was enough room for us all to be in there without getting in each other's way. Unsure of what to expect in relation to location of nearby shops we had brought our own food. There is also an honesty box for any essential you may have forgotten in such a natural environment I appreciated the trust put into people, there were personal messages written to acknowledge & thank for payment. The site manager visits each day and will replace batteries if required for the motion sensor lights and for the battery operated lanterns rechargeable batteries are exchanged at the honesty shop.

We decided on a BBQ for that evening and set about exploring the local area. We set off across the field instead of using the sensible slate paths provided with teen 1 and 2 clearing the pathway for us. We set off down the hill and aimed for the bridge ahead, down the hill which is steep in  places and younger children would need supervision. We could hear the trickling water in the distance, ahead there was a bridge across the stream teen 1 & 2 were equipped with wellies and waded in using sticks to check the depth of their steps ahead. Enthusiastic parenting aside, I stayed on the bridge and listened for large splashes in case they fell in!
We walked through the nearby meadow The noise of the crickets was amazing, such volume for something we couldn't see. The vastness of the open fields regressed teen 1 & 2  to enthusiastic children with their let's explore exclamations they set off up a steep hill climbing up they looked like they could reach the sky. Such beautiful surroundings within close walking distance we were reluctant to leave but realised it was so close to our tent we could easily go back. We had been provided with a fire pit for our stay which was to serve our cooking requirements for the evening, everything was cooked through much faster than our BBQ at home. We sat on the decking contemplating our holiday with the realisation we had only been there about 4 hours yet we had settled in and relaxed so much in that time, contemplation whilst toasting marshmallows comes highly recommended. We met the site owner who explained their consideration in opening up the land for holidays given the beauty of the area I can completely understand the reluctance in sharing.
We set off on another walk that evening heading up the lane and across fields, there were para-gliders in the far distance and rolling fields at one point we could see across to Fleetwood. We headed back as the sun was about to set we were expecting the temperature to drop but were unaware of how suddenly that happened. Battery lights are provided but we chose candle light.  Duvets and blankets are provided - it turned into an earlier night than we had planned to keep warm under all the layers.

We had the best nights sleep in such a long time, emerging around 10am about 12 hours after we had gone to bed! Dazed by the realisation we had spent so long asleep our thoughts soon turned to breakfast. We had a breakfast pack which is filled with essentials many of which are sourced locally and were there for us on arrival in the ingenious cool box filled with frozen (usually hot) water bottles they kept our food chilled all weekend despite the days being warm. The pack provided bacon, eggs, sausage, fruit juice, local marmalade and butter, bread, tea, coffee,sugar & cornflakes. The bacon & eggs alone would be worth a trip to Bleasdale for. As tempted as I was to attempt stove cooking we were too hungry to wait so used the gas hob, breakfast was devoured by all as we planned the day ahead. 
There are many nearby places to explore including Cobble Hey Farm & gardens, Old Holly Farm, Bowland wild boar animal park and an array of walking trials in different directions.



We were more than happy just to be in such a stunning location away from the usual distractions of day to day life. It was alien to be away from the usual tech and TV but so enjoyable to hear the soundtrack of sheep and birds and explore an area we haven't been to before. We live less than an hour away yet we could have been a million miles away, such was the relaxation and pleasure in being there. It was fantastic and much needed. The space on offer, I feel, adds to the relaxation also knowing any noise you make you do not have neighbours nearby helps when children are playing. We watched the children of neighbouring tents play with the wheelbarrows up and down the paths which looked great fun until we needed more logs and they still had the wheelbarrows.

We had a chat on what could be improved on, we struggled, I'm hoping next time we go  they will come and pack for me as I think the people behind the design of Lantern and Larks would have thought to pack trainers - they seem to have thought of everything else! Teen 1 thought WiFi and electricity, teen 2 said it was missing board games  which are available to borrow In the honesty shop along with ball games, we borrowed the badminton kit for games on the decking. We found the shower to be intermittent in hot water but adequate once you knew what to expect and preferable to walking over a field and joining a queue.

We wouldn't hesitate to return, the weather forecast for the weekend we went was mixed, the space on offer I feel helps cater for everyone whatever the weather, part of the decking area is covered so can be enjoyed regardless. We felt we had been away for longer than a weekend and we were sad to leave. Lantern & Larks are almost fully booked for the school holidays, they also have some great offers at the moment including a discount for parties of 4 or less for bookings made before the end of October. For us such an offer is perfect, more space on offer and a reduction in price, we would usually pay under occupancy  fees to enjoy a 3 bedroomed holiday stay.

We were the guests of Lantern & Larks  but all views are our own. Mumsnet Suffolk have  reviewed Lantern & Lark Sweffling Hall, Suffolk  here 

Friday, 4 July 2014

Guest blog: Weekend round up 5th & 6th July

Nisbah from Five Adventurers is sharing her North West round up again this week.

With the build up to the Summer holidays, there are loads of events on in the north west.  The weather may be unsettled but do not let that deter you.  Look below for some fabulous family activities both indoors and outdoors.  Enjoy.
The sporting highlight of this weekend is the Tour de France starting in Yorkshire.  There should be a great family spirit and atmosphere and I am sure there are lots of places which may be great for viewing the ride.  Here is the link to the official ride and route to help you plan your weekend.  My personal recommendation would be Bolton Abbey.
stepping stonesThis weekend the Bolton Abbey area will be placed close to the route the ride will take as the route goes near Skipton.  In relation to the route I would recommend that you ring the site and get further details to find out the easiest way to see the ride and the proximity to Bolton Abbey.  On the Bolton Abbey site they are running a few events to link in with the Tour de France, thcamping one sounds great.  We visited Bolton Abbey earlier this year and had a great family day out.  Bolton Abbey is home to beautiful woods for walks and exploring, a breathtaking priory, lots of stones for skimming and a beach, what else would you need?  But they also have some fantastic features such as the stepping stones (bring spare of clothes for smaller children as a few fell in!), and a gorge to name a few things.  The site charges £8 for parking, but the car can be moved between any of the three car parks.  We parked on the car park closest to the priory.  If the sun has its hat on, I would recommend packing a BBQ and parking in middle car park.  Once you have finished your BBQ you have the option of great walks to either side.  Its a great day out.
Saturday
The museum was featured in our things to do last weekend and it's made it on this weekend too.  Continuing with the Tour de France theme, Eureka are running a number of activities to get the family into the spirit of the event.  There are science of sports workshops, how athletes are able to use forces to achieve and better their personal bests.  There is a charge to enter the museum but a single day pass can be changed into an annual pass for free.  We have also found a 10% off code to make the visit a little cheaper, code is 125.
Dino Jaws 
dino4dinosdino 3My Raihan is dino mad.  He struggles to say lots of things but has mastered the names of over 10 dinosaurs.  Over in Leeds they have a new exhibition showcasing frighteningly life-like moving dinosaurs, with a  focus on the subject of dinosaurs and their food. Children can get involved in a number of things including digging fossil evidence and looking inside the heads of dinosaurs to see how their teeth and jaws moved together.  The exhibition is aimed at families with children aged seven and older, with some activities aimed at children aged four to six.  We are attending this exhibition this weekend and it sounds like a fantastic day out.  The exhibition runs from the 3rd June - 7th September and admission charge is £5.95 per person with children under 3 going free.    The exhibition is located in the Dock Hall opposite Royal Armouries in Leeds.  I would recommend (if you have the time) to also do a visit to the royal armouries which has free admission for all visitors and I have heard great things about it.

Stanley Park (Blackpool)

the-giants-are-coming-flyerStanley Park will be full with Giants on Saturday. Word Pool have organised a Family Day where the giants will be taking over.  Between 1pm - 4pm, you can use the map and enter into various lands.  Each lands has different activities and things to do.  There may also be a Gruffalo visiting.  Sounds like a great day out and coupled with the location at Stanley Park it should be fantastic!  The organisers have said the activities/walk around will take about 2 hours so if you want to do the whole thing, arrive before 2.
Mrs Dowson's Farm (Whalley)
Mrs Dowson's farm is a great farm to visit especially with young children.  Its priced perfectly for a half day activity (or longer if you should so desire) and is also regularly on Groupon too.  There's a great selection of animals and they have feeding times for the lambs etc so its great to let the children get involved.  This weekend in addition to the usual activities they also archery sessions provided by Blackburn Archery and a number reptiles for the children to hold.

Hansel & Gretel (Lancaster)imgres
This summer, Williamson Park will be hosting a number of traditional tales and start off the season with the retelling of the classic tale of Hansel & Gretel.  It sounds great with a magical trip through the woods, following the breadcrumbs with the story brought to life like never before.  It is recommended for children over 5 and I always thought the story was a little dark so may not be the best for young children.  I love outdoor plays after watching one in Melbourne.  Should be fantastic, link has the prices and timings.
Festival Market's Summer Family Fun Day(Morecambe)
There will be family friendly entertainment starting from 10am.  There are lots of activities planned from circus acts, a bouncy castle assault course.  The day looks really good, with free competitions, local schools doing dance performances and Lancashire Fire service will be at the event with a display.
Penny Farm Fun Day (Blackpool)
When looking for free things to do, I first came across Penny Farm in Blackpool.  The Farm is home to over 65 horses and the site is run by volunteers.  The farm looks great for a visit and visitors can look at the horses and also do a fun trail across the farm.  Seems like a fab day out and this weekend they have a flyball competition.  Visitors are allowed to bring their dogs on site and let them try the dog agility course, there is a children's fancy dress competition.
The old Granada Studio site in Manchester, will have live screening and intentional soccer matches throughout the world cup.  Tickets are free but booking is required (link is above).  There is also a high temp zone to get heart rate even faster.   There is a celebration of something Brazilian every day so have your Samba moves ready.  With the quarter finals on this weekend, I am sure there will be lots of fun activities on for all the family.
Playhouse, Lowry (Salford)war horse
As part of the children's book festival in Manchester, join the team for a family fun in the Playhouse.  Taking inspiration from the War Horse production come along and let your children make their own moving puppets.  The event is free, and booking is not essential, but it is recommended.  This would be a lovely activity for any horse lovers out there.  Plus the Quays are an interesting day out with lots to see and do.  You also have the option of arriving to the Lowry via the tram which lets the children have a try on another form of transport.

Scarecrow Festival (Liverpool)
There will be a new family of scarecrows for everyone to come and say hello too.  The Centre will disaply all the entries to the scarecrow competition on display all weekend.  Entry is free and there will be free workshops for families to get involved in from den building to nature art.  Full details are here.
University of Liverpool Pop up Shop (Liverpool)
Liverpool University in conjunction with Liverpool 1 and calling all young explorers to take on the desert Island treasure hunt.  Setting off from the pop shop, explorers will need to do several challenge in search of Professor Fluffy.  You can download the map from facebook or collect it from the pop up shop.  To claim you photo in the Hall of fame, evidence of a successful completion of the hunt needs to handed in this weekend to the pop up shop.
Discovery Days (Hall i'th' wood)
Come along to the Hall i'th' wood museum for their free monthly family friendly activities.  No need to book, turn up between 1pm - 3pm,  Suitable for all ages.  I just found this museum this week and the venue itself looks stunning which I think warrants a visit.
Sunday
Picnic in the Park with Rock FM is an event for the whole family.  Pack a picnic and head to Astley Park from 11am - 5pm as Rock FM bring their fantastic family stage show to Chorley Council's annual Summer event.  It promises to be great day out with wandering entertainers, Alex from CBeebies, exploring Astley Hall and a whole host of other activities.  Also, if your family are into cycling then you can join the Great British skyride.  Should be a great day (especially if its sunny!!)
peter panPeter Pan (Lytham St Annes)
Lowther Pavilion is staging the classic story of Peter Pan.  The days activities start at 10, with a free activity workshop for all people attending the production at 4pm.  Tickets are £12 per adult and £7 per children.  The production is Page 2 Stage's new adaptation of the classic story.  It promises to be lots of fun with music, sword fighting and lots of laughs for all the family.  Lowther Pavilion is near the beach so you can pack a picnic and enjoy the scenery and have a stroll along the beach side.
Funz & Games (Manchester)
Frog & Bucket are hosting a family orientated comedy hour.  Phil Ellis brings his Edinburgh preview to the Frog & Bucket and there will also be an additional few acts.  It sounds like a fantastic idea and should have the whole family in fits of laughter.  Doors open at 2pm, and the show is suitable for children aged 8 and above.  Free entry for children and £3 for their  adults.  I think its a fantastic idea for families to go to a comedy show as many parents usually miss out because these shows are usually adult focused.  Lets hope this is the first of many.
Festival of Bowland, 50 things to do
The girlguiding community at Waddow Hal are holding an event to mark the Bowland Festival.  They are challenging visitors to try and experience 50 things in 1 day event. It sounds like great fun for young and old.  They have a whole host of ideas and things to try from craft to zip wires.  Booking is essential, please contact  Becky Allen on 01200 423186.  The cost is £5 per person 10am - 4pm.  My daughter is a Rainbow and recently went for trip here and said it was great.  For the cost it sounds like a fab day out.
Offers and things to book for future weeks!
I saw a few offers and ideas for next few weeks which require booking so I thought I would share them.
Dr Suess (Clitheroe)
Dr. SuessThe Grand theatre in Clitheroe are staging a production to allow youngsters to experience the magic and creative world made famous through the Dr Suess books.  We love these books and a live show would be captivating for any fans of the books.  The show is on Friday 11th 2014, 4:30-6:30 and tickets are £4 and includes food.  Would be a great start to the weekend!
Dinosaur Zoo
dino zoo
Whilst we are on the topic of dinosaurs, the Dinosaur Zoo will be showing in the Palace Theatre in Manchester from 18th - 26th July 2014.  The show looks great with lots of interaction between the children and the dinosaurs.  The show toured in 2013, and was a hugely successful.  We are taking our children to this show and thought we'd share this  for any other dino lovers out there!  I have put it on this weeks round up as I would recommend that you book early.
Gulliver's World
To mark the 60th anniversary of Swizzel's Love Heart's, Gulliver's world are giving entry to anyone who attend with the sweet for a reduced amount of £8 per person.  Seems a great deal.  The deal is valid for the 5th and 6th July and further details are here.
Blue Planet/South Lakes Zoo/Wellybobs Rock FM Offers are offering half price family entrance to these 3 attractions.  They are priced differently with Wellybobs being £9 per family, South Lakes Zoo at £24 per family and Blue Planet Aquarium being £26 per family.  Remember to print off the voucher if you buy through one of these radio sites.  Having been to all 3, they are all fantastic days out and for half price, these are deals not to be missed.
We hope that you have a fantastic weekend with your families.  Lets hope the sun decides to come to play too.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Guest post: Family Fun, ideas and events 28th and 29th June 2014

This weekends round up is brought you once again from the adventurous Nisbah at Fiveadventurers.com

This weekend it appears that our Indian Summer may be replaced with the typical UK summer weather of rain and clouds but here at FiveAdventurers we will not let this deter us from having a fab weekend!  There are loads of family orientated events on over the weekend throughout the north-west so I hope you have a lovely time whatever you decide to do!

Saturday
Lancashire Science Festival (Preston) Lancashire Science Festival is running from (26-28th June 2014). The event is held on the UCLAN, Preston Campus and Saturday scienceis the day aimed at the general public.  The University have lots of activities running throughout the day and my picks are "Joe Blows Stuff up", I think the title is pretty self explanatory and the shows are held at 11,1 and 3pm, meeting Titan the 8ft robot, and the zoo bus, which is a bus turned into a sanctuary for loads of different creepy crawlies and critters.  What a fantastic free event to take the children too and the lovely people at UCLAN have also provided free parking for all visitors on all UCLAN car parks.  It looks like a fantastic day out which should be a fab experience for all the budding scientists out there.

Visiting the museum is really high on my wish list but we haven't managed to make it yet.  We have realised that if you book on-line your tickets for the day are also annual passes so you can return as many times as you would like throughout the year for free.  I have heard fabulous things about the museum so an annual pass for the price of a single entry seems very worthwhile.  For the bargain hunters out there, here's a code for an extra 10% off code: 125.
However, this weekend the museum have opened the gardens (not the museum) to allow free entry so people can take part in the Halifax Family Festival.  There are a number of things that have been planned including silly street shows by Bell and Bullock and Maynard Flip Flap, pop-up story tent where you can create stories through live animation and a whole host of other activities.  Full details are here.
Eureka have also organised another event in the evening which is a drive in movie, a sing along version of the Lion King.  I have always wanted to go to these events, it is £25 per car, but for a maximum of 4 people, additional passengers or on foot viewers are charged at £6 per person.  If you are walking in, remember to bring your chairs and blankets.  Full details of the event are here.

Brockholes Nature Reserve (Junction 31 M6)
Brockholes Nature ReserveBrockholes is a fantastic day out, any time of the year. We went last weekend to do a mini best hunt.  At the moment, there are tiny baby frogs near the visitor centre which alone deserve a visit.  Our children were mesmerised by them, and they were very cool.  Throughout the Summer months, Brockholes have scheduled pond dipping sessions for all every Saturday.  The sessions are at 11am, 11:30am and 12pm.  The cost is £1 per person.  Having taken the kids to these sessions last year, they are definitely worth it, if for nothing else to let them have a go at a net and try and catch some creatures from the water.  The sessions last for approximately 20 minutes.  I would suggest you pack a picnic, and go for a walk around the fantastic reserve.  There are also three lovely playgrounds for the children to burn off some energy.  Car parking costs are £2 for the first two hours and then 35p for every additional 30 mins.  You should note that the Reserve have a car registration detection system so you will need to know your car registration number in order to pay the money at the machine.  Another thing to note is that the machines only accept coins or cards, no notes.

Parachuting Picnic Teddies (Wigan)
I always like to try out new parks and if this is coupled with an event then its even better.  Haigh Park in Wigan are asking children to bring along their favourite teddies and let the teddies have a go at parachuting.  After this there are a number of additional activities for the children to participate in including party games and a teddy trail.  Bring along a picnic and a blanket it should be a good day.  There is a cost of £2.50 for each child and booking is essential.

Lytham Club Day and Rose Queen Festival
This year marks the 120 years since the crowning of the first queen.  There will be a parade through the town and then the Rose Queens will the process down to Lytham Hall for the crowning and entertainment.  The committee behind the event have this year decided to change their focus as there will now be a number of activities which have all the family in mind, here is further information about the day.  There will be sports events for children, donkey rides and traditional games such as coconut shy's.  It should be a great day out.

Medieval Festival Weekend (Bolton)Medevil Festival
Come along and meet a real life settlement from 1311 in the Last Drop Village in Bromley Cross.  There will be knights to tell you tales and even knights having a war or two.  Activities include archery, display of arms and cooking demonstration.  Perfect if any children are studying about knights, medieval times at school.  The event is free to attend and there is plenty of free parking on site.

Teen Rangers (Thornton)
A lot of the things featured on this round up are aimed at families with younger children but I spotted this event for teens.  Young people aged 13-18 years old can help to manage the country and Wyre coast.  No experience is required and its an opportunity to gain new skills.

Horse Riding Lesson (Warrington)
Bring your children along and meet the wonderful ponies at Croft Riding Centre.  Each child aged over 4 years old will be given a free riding lesson with the qualified instructors from the centre. Booking is essential and the contact information is here.  The horse riding session could be coupled with a pick your own fruit side trip to Kenyon Hall Farm 

Manchester Armed Forces Day (Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester)
There is a full day of activities planned to pay tribute to current members of the armed forces and Veterans.  There are many activities that will interest families including a display of military vehicles including a Jet Provost cockpit, a climbing wall and face painting.  There will also be a picnic style eating area.

Sunday

Children's Book Festival
The festival is running for a fortnight and two events which look great and are free are the following:

Ordsall Hall Museum
Ordsall Hall, Salford have an event in which the children will learn to make a book, hear stories from times gone by and if they are really lucky to meet some of the characters who used to live in the hall.  The event is on between 1:30-3:30 and is free to enter and no booking is required.
theatre
The Great Story theft (Royal Exchange)
A staged adventure aimed at 2-7 year olds.  The show is meant to captivate the watchers imagination, navigate over wonderful landscapes and discover strange creatures.  There is good availability and the shows are scheduled for 11:30 am and 2pm.  It is free to attend but booking is essential, further details of the show are here.


Omskirk Tennis Festival
As tennis fever grips the nation, there is a one day family tennis event in Ormskirk.  The event lets families have a try at the game, fun 
tenniscompetitions including testing your cardio tennis but also making things such as a bird feeder from a tennis ball.  There are lots of activities planned so would make a great day out for any budding Andy Murrays out there. Whilst on the Tennis theme, there is again the Great British Tennis weekend as featured on our round up last weekend.  Click here for further details


Caribbean Carnival (Preston)
carnivalThis year is the 40th anniversary of the Caribbean Carnival and the parade will start and finish at Moor Park in Preston.  The Parade starts at 12 and there are lots of activities planned including arts and crafts and a children's funfair.  More details are here.
We hope the above has given you some inspiration for the weekend.  We would love to hear what adventures you all did!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The Love of Books - Independent Booksellers Week 2014



When I asked my daughter if she wanted a shopping trip ahead of her birthday she asked if we could do a book shop trail. The hours we have spent browsing over the years has fed her love of books well. Across Lancashire we are fortunate to have a great range of independent book shops. We have to put Storytellers Inc in Lytham on our list, it's run by a  mother & daughter partnership with  mum Carolyn looking after the business and general running of the shop and daughter Katie being the creative input with literature knowledge and running outreach schemes with some local schools.


They are a specialist children’s bookshop stocking a wide range of beautiful books for children of all ages including teens and young adults.  Many new titles are added to the stock every week and they search out quirky and unusual books often from smaller publishers to provide a unique range and choice. The book stock is complemented with selected toys, puppets, gifts, cards and wrapping paper.  As well as the main shop area they have a workshop area where  book clubs  are run and story based  events are held on a weekly and monthly basis.  Their ultimate secret weapon that makes us unique is the secret reading den, with bean bags and decorated in an Under the sea theme complete with a cuddly octopus, a crab, a seahorse, a lobster, a stingray and not forgetting the great white shark! 

Storytellers Inc are holding a range of events for Independent book week


  • SALLY GREEN at Storytellers Inc. Lancashire
Thursday 3rd July, 19:00
Debut Author of Half Bad

  • JUNIOR BOOK CLUB at Storytellers Inc. Lancashire
Saturday 28th June, 14:00
Discussing Junes books, Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo and K.G. Campbell
& The case of the exploding Loo by Rachel Hamilton

  • DEBI GLIORI at Storytellers Inc. Lancashire
Monday 30th June, from 11:00
Bloomsbury lustrated Window plus signing and story time with the Author and Illustrator of Dragon Loves Penguins

  • MIFFY STORYTIME AND ACTIVITIES at Storytellers Inc., Lancashire
Tuesday 1st July, 11:00
With Milk Juice and Biscuits!
www.storytellersinc.co.uk

  • WE’RE GOING ON A BEAR HUNT PARTY at Storytellers Inc. Lancashire
Wednesday 2nd July, 14:00
Celebrating 20th Anniversary of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury

·         CLARA VULLIAMY at Storytellers Inc. Lancashire
Saturday 5th July, 11:00
Illustrator of th accliamed Dixie O’Day books.

  • LAUNCH OF BUILD YOUR BABY LIBRARY at Storytellers Inc., Lancashire
Tuesday 3rd July, 10:00
For mums with babies under 1


One for the adults

·        LAUNCH OF A NEW FICTION BOOK CLUB FOR ADULTS hosted by Storytellers Inc.,
Monday 30th June, 10:00, 14:00 & 19:30 at various locations
Reading Life after Life by Kate Atkinson