The house again breathed a sigh of relief as the kids have gone back to school after our half term holidays. We seem to have spent the holidays once again dodging storms and weather warnings, but despite this we’ve still managed to get out and have some fun.
Our first day of fun was at Lightwater Valley theme park near Ripon where we met my Sister and her children. We took advantage of their half term reduced admission offer where only parts of the park are open before it fully opens later in the year. There is still plenty to do and the kids were entertained for hours. Here are the top favourite things we love about Lightwater Valley.
1) All ages can have some fun! Despite us having an age range of children in our group from three-years-old to nearly nine-years-old all the kids were able to go on some rides and take part in the fun…Even the BIG kids found an excuse to try the chair-aeroplanes! Although I don’t remember them being as terrifying when I was little but put a brave face on for my Son who found the whole thing hilarious. I’m glad I had my Sister with us as it meant we could split up at times letting the big kids try things the little ones were too small for.
2) Angry Birds park: All the kids loved the climbing frames in the Angry Birds park and it was hard to drag them away from this area and there was so much to do. It was a popular area and trying to keep an eye on four kids running around was at times tricky as they all went off in different directions. With slides, nets and climbing they all had a great time on here.
3) Great Value for money: With our reduced admission it was great value for money and we found plenty to entertain us for a few hours. Having enjoyed the rides that were open and exploring the playground we then went around the Bird of Prey centre and even met a snake!
We had a great time at Lightwater Valley, both me and my sister visited when we were little 25 something years ago, so it was great to go back and see our own kids having a great time. We’ll certainly look into going again when the park fully opens for the season.
All views are my own and I’ve received no incentive to write this.
Last weekend my walking adventure was just me and my Son and again he chose where he wanted to go. We ended up on the moors again which I don’t mind as it’s good training ground with lots of undulating hills and rocky terrain. It was also a great opportunity for me to test out my new Buff that the people from Kitshack had sent me.
There had been so many to choose from on the website that I struggled to just pick one that I liked. There’s now a variety of styles, materials, uses and colours and you can even get reflective buffs which is a great idea if you go out running on an evening. There’s children’s version and you can even get a matching one for your dog!
I eventually picked an original buff from the adult Sport collection, it still has many uses and can be worn in several ways from a scarf, bobble, headband - the list goes on.
I tend to wear a scarf in cold weather but once I’ve warmed up a bit it usually gets discarded into the backpack. But would the Buff be any better and could a thin piece of material really keep me warm and do everything it promised? I tested it over a week on the school run, everyday use and also on a training walk across the moors in the wind.
I was surprised that despite the thin microfiber material that it was nice and warm as I had been worried that maybe I should have picked a polar fleece version. I liked this particular one because it can be used in either warm or cold weather. With a long kit list for my China Trek it’s an added bonus that this will be suitable in warmer weather as the material has moisture management that keeps sweat away from the skin. It also doesn’t take up any room and will be easy and light to pack and can be thrown into a backpack. I also like that it can be used as a headband or bobble as I never have one on me when I need one!
It was windy up on the moors and it was nice to pull this up and protect my face, pulling it up even further I can cover my hair and ears too.
All in all, it’s a great piece of outdoor clothing with the added bonus that its multifunctional. I wish I’d got the kids one too as I’m sure they would find them useful and it will stop them pinching mine!
We were sent a Buff to try from Kitshack however all views and opinions are my own.
The Air Hogs Batwing is a replica from the movie Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and enables the user to recreate for themselves the moves of the plane from the movie, outdoors.
As we opened the box there was a squeal from both my 8 and 5-year-old, it looks cool before you’ve even got it out of the box. The plane is quite flimsy but don’t be fooled by this it is a powerful little toy, but more of that later!
You do need 6 AA batteries so have these in stock if Santa is bringing the toy for someone, to charge you also need a micro USB lead to go in either your computer or plug adapter. My hubby is a tech geek so luckily we have lots of these things lying around but it’s something to bear in mind if you don’t. The hand controller has a handy lead stored under a little flap and easily plugs into the bottom of your plane, and you’re ready to charge. I was really surprised how quickly it charges which is great when you have impatient kids waiting to fly it! The batman logo flashes as it charges and stops when it’s done.
The toy is aimed for age 8 and it took the adults quite a few goes to get it flying never mind the kids. I would say that it is a toy that you need to practise and get the hang of, don’t expect to just get it out of the box and start doing cool moves immediately. That is part of the fun of it though, and my hubby and son were soon experimenting with the power thrusters and spin motion to see how that would affect their flight.
We had a few crashes, some more hilarious that others, I’m sure that plane kept making a beeline to crash into me!!! Would that ‘flimsy’ plane survive a few crash landings? It did and is surprising resilient having been crashed a few times and having a trip into a nearby garden. I was amazed at the height and speed you can achieve with the plane and this is down to the 2.4GHz remote control communication which provides high-performance, responsive control with up to a 250-foot range.
So here are our top tips and best bits!
Our tops tips are that you need A LOT of outdoor space, we found a nearby field without too many trees or overhead wires was the best.
There are little wheels to enable a run up takeoff but we found that someone holding the plane and getting the propellers up to speed before letting go worked best for us. It honestly gets easier with practice. If you do want to take off from the ground, you do need lots of run up and the surface needs to be very smooth.
The best bits are we love that the rear thrusters light up when you accelerate! It’s also quick to charge and despite a few crashes our little Batwing kept going. Handily in the box is spare propeller parts should your crash be a bit bigger.
Although not all our flights were successful we certainly had fun trying and the Air Hogs Batwing kept four adults and two kids certainly entertained.
We were provided with a Batwing for the purpose of this review, however all views are my own.
My 5-year-old Daughter is like most little girls and loves accessories and making crafty things, so she was thrilled when we were asked to review Gel-a-Peel, a craft gel that allows you to create your own jewellery.
As soon as she saw the box she couldn’t wait to get started and after a quick outfit change we were ready to go. Inside our box was three tubes of gel, accessories to make earrings and hair clips, cleaning tool, designer tips, templates and clear drawing sheet. The clear drawing sheet was folded to fit in the box and it did need a little persuasion, a lot of masking tape and some time under a heavy book in order for it to lie flat!
We picked an easy template to start with and both me and Daddy took it in turns to help our Daughter follow the guide to make a couple of bracelets. The gel flows easily and we soon had something resembling a bracelet and with a bit of confidence she was soon able to do it herself. She was a little scared of squeezing too much gel out and going wrong, but once the bracelet has dried you might find that if there wasn’t enough gel there it will be a bit weak at that point and break off.
Once dry the bracelets were easy to peel off with the help of the cleaning tool. What we liked about this craft was that it wasn’t too messy and once the gel has dried then you use the cleaning tool to scrape away the bits from the design tips.
My daughter loved her bracelets, although the parts where we hadn’t put enough gel did come away but she knows for next time to put more on. Despite being younger than the recommended age of 8 she was able to create something and I think with help most younger children would be able to follow the templates. She was proud of herself that she had made them and has big plans for next time on what else she is going to make. Perhaps I have a little jewellery designer in the making!
We were sent a box of Gel-a-Peel for the purpose of this review but all views are my own.
With a definite nip in the air and a kit list for my China trek I decided it was time to invest in some better coats for our family walks and start getting things for my trip.
I’d ordered us some coats from the Mountain Warehouse website but they were a little small for my kids. Luckily there is a store nearby and they were easily exchanged and I picked up some other bits I needed whilst we were there.
Now to test the coats with a grumpy 8-year-old and my little 5-year-old fashionista, would they both be happy at the same time?! Having had the lurgy we didn’t go on a massive walk so just ventured out a couple of times on a few shorter walks. The first short walk we went on was to some nearby woodland. The kids both looked smart in their new coats and both loved the trendy colour they had chosen.
The coats are waterproof and with adjustable cuffs and tapered seams there’s no way the autumnal rain is going to get in. My Daughter particularly liked the fleecy lining around the neck and kept snuggling her face into her coat.
As we made our way into the woodland we started our hunt for conkers, acorns and fallen leaves for an arty project we planned later. We soon filled a plastic bag we had taken with us and my Son found the pockets on his coat useful as he started stashing his acorn finds in them. Every good Autumn coat must have conker/acorn pockets it seems! We didn’t find conkers this time but will be on the lookout for them next time.
And were my kids impressed with their new coats? Yes, it seems they were, in fact they’ve hardly taken them off since we got them and are even wearing them to school. Warm dry kids mean our autumnal walks can last a bit longer and we don’t have to cut our adventures short because the rain has started. Now the lurgy has gone I can’t wait to get out and enjoy a longer adventure a little further afield.
I bought a size bigger than I usually would for my children. All views are my own and I’ve received no incentive to write this.
This week Hip2trek were invited to a Bloggers event in Leeds by Online Golf to have a day of fun and learn about getting kids into golf. Of course I’m interested in anything to do with getting kids active and outside so we were excited to go along and find out more. I do admit that I don’t know a lot about golf and still struggle with some of the terms, but I was hoping we would come back with some skills to tell the kids Grandpa about.
Once everyone arrived we were taken into a room set up with different games including a mini golf course. An expert talked to the assembled kids about how to hold the golf clubs and then we were set up into groups to compete against each other in a little contest, making our way from one game to the next. I was a little worried that with a room full of excited kids there may be some golf club wielding or balls flying everywhere but needn’t have worried! As every child had a go the experts were on hand to again show them how to hold the different clubs. All were enthusiastic and excited and couldn’t wait to get started. Not a stray golf ball or club in sight.
The first game my kids had a go at was chipping the ball into baskets on the wall. Well, that was the idea anyway! After a few goes my son was thrilled that he managed to get one of the balls in the basket, my Daughter had a good go and with a great swing managed to at least hit the ball. They were off to a good start.
Our next game was like skittles but using the golf ball to hit the pins down. My son loved this game but my Daughter found it harder to strike the pins. In this section the kids could also play a bowls like game trying to get the golf ball into a coloured circle to score some points. This was much harder and my son soon found out that an enthusiastic hit of the ball doesn’t always guarantee it making it to the right place!
Our final game was on the mini golf course and my Daughter went round this course quite a few times. To score points they needed to get the ball into the hole in two shots. My son did this several times and kept excitedly running to tell the expert, whilst my Daughter took more shots to get the ball into the hole she was determined to do it and not at all bothered that she hadn’t scored points. It’s the taking part that counts! Bless her.
After lunch the groups were free to play on whatever game they liked, my Daughter making a bee line for the mini golf course, before a contest between the two highest scoring children to win some goodies. The parents also got to take part in a contest and have a go on the chipping game and I even had a little go myself. Despite being left handed and using a right handed club I was thrilled that I didn’t completely embarrass myself and hit the ball. It was nowhere near the basket but never mind!
The kids had a great time and by the end of the day my Daughter was shattered. Here are some of the reasons Online Golf say why kids should get into golf:
Have I two next champion golfers? Well no probably not but I was impressed with how quickly they both got to grips with hitting the ball. We also have some new skills to show Grandpa!
We were invited by Online Golf for a day of fun and the kids received goody bags. All views are my own.
Hip2trek were invited by Wynsors World of Shoes to try their ‘Back to School’ shoe fitting service. Halfway through the school holidays I start to cross my fingers that both kids don’t suddenly have a growth spurt at the same time. It was with an exasperated sigh I realised that this summer both kids’ feet had grown. For school shoes I always get my kids feet measured properly, it’s a long time for those little feet to be in the shoes and during the school day I know they get up to all sorts! But can school shoes be affordable and fitted properly? Well yes it seems them can.
Wynsors have a ‘Back to School’ free shoe fitting service and are launching an initiative to encourage families to ensure that their children’s school shoes are fitted correctly. They are the only affordable footwear brand to offer this service in their stores. Affordable shoes that are fitted properly sounded great to me and I was eager to see what their range had to offer.
Once in the store both the Children’s feet were measured by friendly store assistants, both kids having been told to be on their best behaviour were a little quiet at first but the ladies soon brought them out of their shells. Once their size had been established the kids were taken to look at the shoes. I was pleasantly surprised at the range of shoes available and my son was able to find more than three pairs that he liked the look of. He was even happy to try on a pair of lace ups, something I’ve never been able to get him to try. We were told my Daughter has quite a high instep so some of the shoes she liked the look of once on just didn’t fit correctly. Had we not had her feet measured and checked properly I’m not sure that this is something I would have spotted myself. However, there was still plenty of choice for her and she was thrilled to find a patent black pair with flashing lights! Both children’s shoes were checked that the width felt correct and that there was some room for growth and no rubbing on the ankle bones. Two happy kids and a happy Mum that hadn’t had to sit on the floor cramming the next pair on them to see if those were the right size!
I couldn’t fault our shopping experience, the store assistants were friendly and the shoe fitting service felt professional and staff were knowledgeable. The shoes my children chose are both smart and good quality. With a wide choice of lunchboxes and backpacks you can get kitted out with what you need to get your child ready to go back to school.
We were invited to an exclusive shopping experience by Wynsors and my children both received school shoes and goody bags in exchange for an honest review. All views are my own.
Having walked along the Cleveland way we finished our walk at Scarborough Castle to find it under siege!
The Castle is an English Heritage site and over the August holiday they have been having living history events. The weekend we visited the action was set in 1645 as the Royalist army defends itself from the Parliamentary army.
We could wander through the encampment set in the grounds of the castle and see the troops ready themselves for the siege. Performers played music from the period, there were people weaving baskets, cooking and writing and a ‘Surgeon’ gave a talk about the medical practices of the time. Fun and informative although medical treatments in those days sounded very gruesome. I’m glad I wasn’t around needing hip surgery in those days!
We visited a similar event here last year and my eldest was eager to again join in the children’s drill. The children were first given a demonstration on how to use a pike and then they all had a go, all roaring fiercely! I think last year’s sword fighting with a very enthusiastic performer was more engaging for my son but he still had fun this time and said it was awesome. Boys and weapons! My little lady decided she would sample the ice cream delights from the café on site, although she had her eye on the chutneys and jams that were also available to buy.
We watched the attack of the siege beginning with the call to surrender, lots of booing from the audience and a commentator telling us what was happening. Adding to the atmosphere were a few bangs from the guns.
In between activities going on we wandered around the castle and the grounds climbing to the top of the ruins and looking at the fabulous view up the coast. It was very breezy and after a picnic we made our way back through the castle and back down the hill to start the walk back along the coast.
We all enjoyed our few hours inside the castle and enjoyed the living history event that was put on.
We paid £19.50 for a family ticket. All views are my own and I received no incentive to write this.
Make sure you read till the end of the review for your chance to win a Happy Families game!
When I told my kids 8 and 5 that we were going to be reviewing a special game with our name on it they were so excited! The postman couldn’t come quickly enough and they were eager to open the colourful box that came. As well as the cards the pack has inside a piece of wrapping paper with the Lewis name printed all over it, a great idea if you intend to give this as a present.
The game is a new up to date edition of Happy Families and there are 24 different special edition surnames. Each picture card has the Lewis family at different events for example at Christmas or Easter, or at different stages in their life so there is a Lewis toddler group of cards. The groups have four cards and the idea of the game is collect all the cards from that group. The cards have fun colourful drawings on them and an interesting Lewis fact. You can either play ‘Happy Families’ which is a UK game or the US version which is called ‘Go Fish’ and there are handy cards that give the rules and instructions. We decided to try ‘Go Fish’.
We go out most weekends for a walk and always take a picnic so this time we took the cards too. Sat by the river we all had fun looking through the pack. Each group has a number and different colour so despite my 5 year old not being able to read all the scenarios she wasn’t left out of the game because we could go by number or colour. We loved the Lewis facts we found on the cards, there was our surname in how it would look in morse code and sign language. We sometimes were either laughing at the pictures on the card or busy reading out the facts that we forgot whose turn it was to go next! The kids especially liked Mr Lewis having a barbeque. There looked to be a lot of smoke and burnt things, just like Daddy!
We all really enjoyed playing the game and the kids are eager to play again, it’s an easy game to play and made all the more entertaining with having our name on it. Small and easy to pack in the rucksack I can see the Happy Families game coming out on more of our walks, and the kids have already planned to take it camping with us in a few weeks.
Don’t forget to enter for your chance to win!
We were sent a Happy Families game to review but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
I'm a 'thirty something' Yorkshire Mum of two, recovering from two hip arthroscopies and hoping to get fit for a new challenge. My aim is to also get my kids out into the countryside and get fitter as a family. Follow my blog about hips, trips, training and getting my kids outside!