My Visit To The Deep, Hull’s Award-Winning Aquarium.

[Press Trip]

Last weekend I was lucky enough to spend it with 9 fabulous ladies and fellow bloggers on a Press Trip to the city of Hull arranged by Visit Hull and East Yorkshire. I’d never visited Hull before and knew absolutely nothing about the city.

I must admit, I’ve fallen a little in love with Hull and I can’t wait to return. I loved walking around the Old Town and I thought Trinity Market was brilliant! One place we visited and I will definitely be back with my children, was The Deep.

The Deep is Hull’s award-winning aquarium, only a 5 minute walk from the Old Town and the Museum Quarter. I have visited many aquariums over the years with my children and I expected this to be similar, what I found was better than any I have visited!

Firstly their motto is ‘For Conservation, Not profit’ and I was absolutely amazed with the entry price. For an adults ticket it’s £14 and a child £11, some of the big, well known aquarium’s charge much more than this! As an added bonus you only pay once, your ticket is valid for 12 months. So you’re able to visit as often as you like all year! Amazing! Price is definitely important to me, as a mum of 3 we try to look for days out that won’t cost too much.

At The Deep you can expect to discover over 5000 animals including turtles, sharks and penguins. There’s plenty of interactive stations, many for children and lots of daily shows to enjoy including penguin feeding and dive shows. When we return, my children will love the touchpool sessions where they can get hands-on with the starfish!

The most spectacular part of the aquarium has to be the viewing tunnels and the glass lift. Giant sharks and turtles as well as hundreds of fish would swim all around us and even over our heads! The colours from the tanks were amazing. The glass lift that makes you feel like your floating in the middle of the ocean was breath-taking. Did you know it’s the UK’s only underwater lift? There is also an option to take the 81 steps to the surface but I would highly recommend the lift!

Even though I visited without children, as a mum of three I couldn’t help but notice how child friendly The Deep was. From fantastic toilet facilities, a soft play area and plenty of interactive stations throughout the aquarium. I was impressed with the café, it seemed reasonably priced and offered a wide range of food. I also noticed there were indoor and outdoor picnic areas which I love. Being able to bring our own food to help with costs is great, especially for a family looking to save some money.

Me and my family will definitely be back, I can’t wait to spend the day at The Deep with my children. It will certainly be a family fun-filled day out! Check out my highlighted Stories over on Instagram for all the fun we had when we visited- #BlogOnVisits

My tickets to The Deep were arranged and gifted from Visit Hull as a Press Trip in return for an honest review.


Buckt Greater Manchester – My Favourite Activities So Far

You must have heard of Buckt, the UK’s first only tickets and activity subscription box by now? I’ve been lucky enough to be reviewing it for the past few months and I’ve decided to share with you some of my favourite activities I’ve completed so far.

Buckt is simple.

Each month you get 5 mystery things to do in Greater Manchester, the box is delivered straight to your door and is only £12.50 per person! There’s no extra cost, no contract so you can cancel at anytime! You then have 3 months to complete your activities so you’ll never be bored again!

Don’t forget, you can get 50% off your very first box using my exclusive code OUTANDABOUTMUMMY

So here’s a couple of my favourite activities, most of them are things I probably wouldn’t have ever done if it wasn’t for this subscription box-

Chill Factore Snow Pass. Most recently we got tickets to the Chill Factore. I paid for an extra ticket so my son could come too. We had a brilliant evening of sledging and Downhill Dounuts. There was no extra costs involved for clothing or boots, that was included.

Meditation Class. I took my sister with me to this class. I was a little wary but we went with an open-mind. The Kadampa Meditation Centre offers a quiet haven in the heart of the busy city centre. I felt my mind clear and its definitely something I’d do again.

Treasure Trails. Now most of you will know by now that me and my family LOVE a trail. We recently received the treasure trail tickets in July’s box so we decided on a treasure hunt for my son’s birthday. It was brilliant, we had to follow cryptic clues in our very own adventure! You can download a map for anywhere in the UK, perfect for your home town or even when your on holiday.

Virtual Reality. This was something I really wouldn’t have done if it wasn’t for Buckt as I’m not a gamer. However, I was so glad I did as it was so much fun! Me and my husband tried to beat each other in a range of games, including my favourite Beat Saber (which I won!).

Bingo! I’ve played bingo as a kid with my grandparents but never for a night out. When I received tickets for a game of bingo, I was pleasantly surprised that with my Duo subscription I was able to take 4 people along! So me and the girls headed for a fun-filled night! Not only did we have the best time playing a very fast-paced game, food and drink was included in the ticket! No extra cost!

Once you receive your box it’s really easy to book your activites. You just follow the instuctions on your box. I have never had any problems with a booking and I would recommend Buckt to my friends and family.

I have been reviewing Buckt since it launched in Manchester. All comments and reviews are my own words. I am gifted my monthly box in exchange of sharing photos of the activities I complete.

Get Outside This Autumn With These Free & Fab Activities

Get Outside This Autumn With These Free & Fab Activities.

We love to be outside, the kids seem happier when they can run free! They love wearing their wellies and jumping in muddy puddles (like Peppa). It can feel like hard work getting out and about during the autumn and winter months but there’s still fun to be had outide! event when it’s raining!

Go For An Autumnal Walk

Simple but perfect for a winters day. My kids are happiest outside in their wellies! Show them some puddles and give them a stick and they’ll have lots of fun. My three love to collect things such as pine cones and conkers. We found loads of conkers the other day, here’s more information about conkers, where to find them locally and much more.

Try to make the walk fun so they don’t get bored. How about playing Eye-Spy as you walk? My kids like to spot things so for example how many horses will they see or how many Beech trees!

We love a ‘trail’, whether its a nature trail that we’ve made up (‘can you see a horse, some red berries and a stick etc) or a organised trail in a NT garden. We have taken part in loads of fab trails, from welly ones, hootys owl trail, reindeer trails and even a Lego trail!

Geocaching

I’ve spoke about Geocaching before (see here) and what makes it even better that it’s a free activity that can be done whatever the weather. Check out Geocaching online and I would recommend getting an app for your phone. After we got hooked, we decided to pay a monthly subscription (aorund £4.80 a month) for a premium app but you don’t have too. My eldest loves following the map and gets excited as we get nearer to the actual cache. We enjoy then hunting for whatever the treasure may be.

Make bird feeders

Why don’t you make some bird feeders next time your looking for an outdoor activity? Not only is it great for the wildlife through the winter, but it’s a fab activity for toddlers and making them outdoors keeps the mess outside too! Last weekend we made simple apple bird feeders with apples and bird seeds, the kids loved it!

We made some really easy feeders at forest school recently by threading cereal hoops onto pipe cleaners, which is also a great way to improve a childs fine motor skills. There are lots of easy ways to make bird feers.We like to use pine cones, it can be a little messy nut my little ones love it!

How To Make A Pine Cone Bird Feeder:

  • Tie a piece of string around your pine cone,
  • Mix lard or suet in a bowl,
  • Add bird seeds, raisins, grated cheese and peanuts with your fingertips (it’s a messy job!)
  • Spread the googey mixture onto the pine cones, trying to get as much as you can in the pine cones gaps.
  • Leave the cone to set in the cold for a while then hang up for the bird!

Play In The Garden or Local Park

Grab the coats, pop on the wellies and head outdoors! There’s some much fun to be had in the garden or park even in the winter!

  • Blow bubbles so the kids can catch them,
  • Set up an obstacle course,
  • Collect conkers,
  • Collect the brown fallen leaves and make a leaf man at home,
  • Play ball,
  • Pull weeds, do some digging and gardening (just don’t call it work),
  • If it’s been wet, jump in the puddles- kids love their wellies!
  • A favourite of ours – paint the fence with water! All you need is water and a paint brush!

Once we come back in from playing outside in the cold, there’s nothing like getting warm and dry with a hot chocolate, a film or a story and a cuddle on the sofa! Here’s a couple of our favourite rainy day activities that we like to enjoy once we’re indoors. Maybe snuggle up with a story, check out our top 5 autumnal story books for toddlers.


Our Top 5 Story Books For Pre-Schoolers This Autumn

Lots of parents of young children will be looking for some stories about Autumn. Why not head to your local library and check out some of the lovely autumnal stories?

We’ve packed up all our books about summer and put together this list of our top 5 favorite story books all about autumn. Have you read them all? What are some of your favourites?

Books For Autumn

1. Autumn by Ailie Busby.

This is a lovely board book that teachers toddlers all about Autumn answer the changes this season brings including new the sensations, nosies and tastes.

2. Leaf Man by Lois Ehlet.

A beautiful book, idea for all ages. A man made of leaves blows away! Children will love trying to make their very own leave man when out and about. What do you think of our leaf man?

3. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson.

Perfect for any season and a firm family favourite in our house, but we especially love reading The Gruffalo in Autumn. As it gets darker outside and the leaves start to fall, we love to cuddle up and read this story about The Gruffalo in the woods.

4. Guess How Much We Love You In The Autumn by Sam McBratney.

We love the classic Guess How Much We Love You books. This Autumnal tale is seasonally themed and illustrated beautifully. Definitely a family favourite.

5. A Stroll Through The Seasons by Kay Barnham.

This lovely children’s book takes you through the seasons as we follow the wonderful changes from the dazzling summer sunshine to the vibrant autumn leaves.

I’d love to know some of your favourite story books to read during the autumn and winter months! Comments below or let me know via our social media pages.

10 Totally Awesome & FREE Things To Do In Your Garden This Summer

Check out these totally awesome and completely FREE activities that you and the kids can do in your back garden over the summer holiday.

1. Rock Painting

We love painting rocks and the bonus of doing it in the garden is less mess! Last summer we painted loads of rocks (some that we had found in our garden, others previously bought from a garden centre).

We then hid them in our local parks, we even found other people’s rocks too! Lots of fun! Any paint you have will do, you just need some sort of varnish to seal the paint.

2. Junk Modelling

We recently spent the afternoon Junk Modelling and my three loved it! They made a robot, space rocket and a fairy.

Over the last few weeks I started to collect our safe recyclable items, together with some coloured pens, bright paper and some sticky tape the kids had a blast! Doing it in the garden gave us more space and it was lots of fun.

3. ‘Paint’ The Fence

Oh this is such an easy one but it’s always a big hit with my kids. ‘Painting’ the fence! Sounds messy, but in fact you just give the kids some water!

I usually give each of them a bucket/tub of water and a paint brush/roller and go tell them to paint the fence. Hours of fun!

4. Ice Exploring

This is one activity we’re yet to try but I will definitely be giving it a go this summer. Place some little plastic toys in old ice cream tubs/Tupperware boxes and freeze.

When ready to play, tip the ice blocks into a large tray/tuff tray with other little toys, brushes, little tools and see how long it takes to get the toys free.

This sounds lots of fun and I know my kids will enjoy it!

5. Mud Kitchen

Hands up who’s kids love getting messy?! I know mine do.

There are some gorgeous mud kitchens out there that you can buy, but my kids play with a completely free ‘mud kitchen’ that works just as well.

I put compost into an old toy box we had. I gave the kids some toy kitchen pans and utensils from their toy box along with some toy animals, dinosaurs and fairies.

They had some much fun, my eldest even joined in when he got home from school!

6. Fairy/Dinosaur Garden

This is another lovely idea that I’m yet to try but will be doing. Using an old plant pot or even a patch of soil in the garden, place some fresh compost with little items that your children could collect before hand.

I always have a car boot full of shells, twigs, pine cones, pebbles etc, all these would be fab for your fairy/dinosaur garden.

Then place your children’s favourite little toys be that fairies or dinosaurs or something else. My three would love to do this and I can’t wait to try it!

7. Toy Car Wash

We have two second-hand Little Tikes cars in our garden that not only do all three love to ride in, they absolutely love washing them!

I give them all some warm soapy water and a sponge and they couldn’t be happily! Any toy will do, anything from small toy cars to dolls!

8. Car Wash

You could even take it a step further and let them wash the actual car! That’s a real treat for my three, haha.

9. Paint Car Tracks

My boys absolutely love this activity. We use cardboard we save from cereal boxes for example with some old toy cars.

The kids then dip the cars in paint before making tracks on the cardboard. Use different paint and different sized cars for lots of fun!

10. Obstacle Course

For lots of fun, use any garden toys and games to make an obstacle course for you and the kids. Balls, hoops, skipping ropes, buckets, scooter and even bubbles! Make up your own obstacle courses and race to see who can do them the fastest.

Take turns in making the courses different and have lots of fun! Change the game depending on the age of the kids, last Easter my eldest coveted the garden in colourful balls. Then he gave his younger brother and sister a bucket and shouted which coloured balls to collect. They loved it!

Our visit to Speke Hall

My family and I love our National Trust membership. We have had our membership for several years now and we definitely get the most out of our membership.

We have a couple of favourite places to visit locally like Dunham Massey and Quarry Bank Mill, plus a little further afield like Wray Castle and Fountains Abby.

When we go on holiday we try to find a National Trust site to visit as there’s always something to see and do.

This week I took my younger pair to Speke Hall close to Liverpool, another one of our favourite places to visit, especially with the kids.

It talks just under an hour to get there which is perfect. We arrived and received a friendly welcome, showed our membership card and received a children trail map- The Green Man’s Spring Trail.

We love a trail so we set off straight a way to find all the wooden-faced forest friends in the trees.

Speke Hall is perfect for families! The trail took us through the ‘Childe Of Hale Trail’, a permanent trail in the trees. Here we hear the story of the giant that lives in the woods, we search for his missing buttons and bows, we tiptoe past his house not to wake him and we take a seat in his giant chair!

My kids love this part of Speke Hall! The trail lead you to some musical instruments, handmade by the giant using very large vegetables! We always have lots of in this part of the woods, it’s definitely a favourite part for my three children.

As you pass this you come to a woodland play area including a wobbly bridge, zip wire and plenty of den building. We continued though the woods, a few weeks back and the forest would have been filled with Bluebells (another reason we love Speke Hall).

We spot more faces in the trees as we walk through the woods, passing the gorgeous Bell Tree. The path soon leads us out of the woods and back unto the path towards the Hall.

At the moment the Hall doesn’t open on a Monday or Tuesday but we enjoyed just walking around it and looking at it. How beautiful does it look?

We stopped for a picnic next, there’s plenty of places for a picnic at Speke Hall. There’s lots of grassed areas plus plenty of picnic benches. There’s two cafe and (only open on busy days) an ice cream hut selling Cheshire Farm Ice-cream.

Before heading to the maze we had a lovely walk around the kitchen garden. This garden is beautifully well kept, full of colourful flowers and fruits and vegetables. We took our time walking around looking at the different things that were growing, my two were fascinated especially with the apples in the trees. We also found the final face in the forest.

The kids love the maze at Speke Hall. It’s quite a big maze with bridges and steps, plenty of room to play hide and seek or just trying to beat your other family members to get back out of the maze!

The kids also played in the playground before we visited the cafe. I treated Oscar and Isla to an ice cream lolly to their delight whilst I enjoyed a coffee and a scone. It was delicious.

There’s plenty to see and do at Speke Hall. Throughout he year they have lots of events on, many for families including outdoor theatre and cinema, Tudor events and plenty more events.

Finding a little me time to actually read a book…

If anyone ever asks if I have any hobby I always say I like reading. Before my twins were born I would read several books a month, I actually love to read! I love to read a mixture from ‘chick-lit’ to drama, historical stories to thrillers.

The truth is that in the last 2 maybe 3 years I haven’t read a single book! I suppose I blame being a busy mum to three children, there’s always something that needs doing. I would feel guilty sitting down to read a book.

Mums are busy. During the day I’m either with the kids or at work so I can’t read a book then. When the kids are asleep then there’s housework and obviously my writing.

We recently went to Centre Parcs and I decided before hand I was going to read a book! I was taking a week off from ‘blogging’, so that meant I wasn’t writing any new content so I should be able to read a book….

I downloaded the Free Book Of The Week from the Apple Store onto my IPad and instantly fell back in love with reading.

I quickly finished my first book in years and have already started my second book.

Yes I’m still busy but I’ve decided to make a conscience effort to take some time out each day, even if it’s 10 minutes to read a few pages.

Taking those few minutes to myself, doing something I enjoy feels great. Everyone deserves a little me-time, especially us busy mums!

Do you like to read? What are you reading at the moment?

The free book I downloaded was Hell Bay by Kate Rhodes. I’ve started the second instalment Ruin Beach.