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.

Hello June

June already! This year seems to be flying by. I am looking forward to the summer and hopefully some brighter weather. Who else is hopping for a summer like last year?

This month my family and I have some exciting things to look forward to. We’re off on our family holiday to Center Parcs Sherwood Forest and we can’t wait. We also have a friends wedding coming up very soon which will be a special day, one of my closest ad best friends is getting married to her soulmate and I’m a bridesmaid. I can’t wait to share her special day with her.

Also the summer 2019 Heartbreak Productions season has started and this month we’re off to see Gangsta Granny in Fletcher Moss park. We’re also looking forward to seeing The Showstoppers at the RNCM later this month.

We have been invited to the Messy Play launch party ‘Life’s a Beach’ in Stalybridge at the end of the month, the kids are so excited. Find out all about it here and there’s still tickets available.

We recently received the latest Buckt box so we have plenty to get booking for June, keep your eye out and check back to see what we get up too.

Best Bits of May:

The Tiger Who Came to Tea

Last month we all headed Oldham Coliseum to see The Tiger Who Came to Tea. The kids absolutely loved it, it really was a brilliant family show. You can read my review here, it is currently touring the UK.

The House on Cold Hill

Me and my husband attended the press night for The House on Cold Hill. I’d not seen a thriller on the stage before but it was fantastic! Check out the full review now.

Sweet Charity

Over the past year we have seen several family shows at the RNCM. Last month my husband and I saw Sweet Charity, a funny light-hearted musical which was brilliant. Here’s my review if you want to have a read.

Half Term

We spent some of the half term holiday at our family’s caravan close to Morecambe Bay. The weather wasn’t great on some of the days, we managed a few little walks and a trip to the amusement arcades. On a dry day we did make it to Grizedale forest for a fab family day out. The kids loved it, we did the Zog trail that’s on right now. Here’s more information.

Treetop Adventure Golf

During half term the whole family were lucky enough to be invited to come and play golf at Treetop Adventure Golf in Manchester. It was brilliant and we’ll definitely be back very soon! Here’s all the details.

BlogOn

Right at the beginning of May, I went to my very first bloggers event, BlogOn at Hotel Football in Manchester. It was great, I attended different talks from blogging experts about writing posts, creating websites and content, photography skills and much more. I was also lucky enough to meet other bloggers and content with lots of brands. Overall I had a fabulous day, check out some of the photos from my day.

Grizedale Forest and the Zog Trail

We have visited the Lake District many times over the years, more and more now we have children. When I first started Out and About Mummy, one of my first blog posts was about our favourite places in the Lakes to visit with the kids. You can have a read of it here.

Grizedale Forest

Over the bank holiday weekend we visited Ambleside and decided to spend the afternoon at Grizedale Forest. Grizedale Forest is a large area of woodland managed by the Forestry Commission about 30 minutes from Windermere. There’s lots of different paths and trails suitable for walkers and mountain bikers.

Facilities

There’s a large car park which is pay and display. You pay as you leave, either by cash or card but you also have the option of paying online up to 48 hours after you have left the car park.

The visitors centre, toilets, cafe and shop is all together only a short distance from the car park. There’s also a fab children’s play area close to the cafe great for all ages. Plus picnic areas too.

We popped into the visitors centre to purchase the children’s activity trail pack. Last year you may remember that we took part in The Highway Rat trail.

Zog Trail

This year it’s Zog, one of our favourite Julia Donaldson books! The activity packs are £3 and include a trail booklet, stickers, a mask, a pencil and an ‘animal reveal lens’. We headed to the start of the trail. Last year we had the pram, this year we didn’t. There are a few easy paths for prams and little legs and obviously the trail is on an easy path.

We followed the markers through the forest to find all the dragons in the story, trying to help Zog gain his golden star! The kids had a great time, they used the special lens in the pack to reveal hidden animals in the forest and took part in fun challenges along the way.

Sculpture Trails

On our walk through the forest, we passed many different sculptures as we explored. Our favourite ones are the musical trees, the kids enjoyed winding up the keys and listening to the classical music floating through the forest. There’s plenty to explore, we crossed bridges, found little houses, secret fairy dens, carved animals and much more.

The Potty Stage is Worse Than Nappies.

The potty stage is definitely worse than changing nappies in my eyes! I’m so glad that my son finally prefers the toilet and is fully potty trained.

A while ago I wrote about how I wasn’t ready to start potty training my twins.

Don’t get me wrong, I was super proud when Oscar decided he wanted to start using the potty and stop wearing nappies. It was his decision one morning and we just went with it. Oscar and Isla were three in March and both had no interest in learning to use the toilet or potty up until that point.

I saw no point in rushing it or trying to force it. Children all learn in their own time.

As soon as he put his mind to it he picked it up pretty quickly and was doing so well!

But he was scared of the toilet, so his blue potty had to come everywhere with us and I mean everywhere! When we went shopping or to school to pick up his brother the potty had to be carried. We even took it to our yoga class and play groups.

In the end we were desperate for him to just use the toilet as it wasn’t always easy to empty a potty when your in a car park or on the beach! Plus there was something about having to empty a potty that’s worse that changing a nappy, it turns my stomach haha.

Finally Oscar is happy to use the toilet, the accidents are extremely rare and he’s even nappy-less at night!

I’ve love to say ‘Yes! that’s it were done!’ But as you know, Oscar is a twin and his twin sister isn’t interested at using the potty or a toilet at all at the moment. So sometime in the near future, I’ll have to do it all over again!

Any tips to encourage a very stubborn little girl to use the toilet would be appreciated! Thanks for reading.

REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY: Pure Green Coffee Company

I love my coffee! I’d drink it all day long if I could, so as you can imagine I jumped at the chance to try some out for free in return of telling you guys all about the Pure Green Coffee Company!

There’s even a chance to WIN some for yourselves below!

I was sent a package of green coffee (28 bags) from the Pure Green Coffee Company. It’s advertised as a great tasting coffee made with herbs and natural flavours.

Green coffee that’s coffee in its pure, unroasted form contains high levels of a substance called chloro-genic acid, which can help to suppress the appetite, boost the metabolism and burn off excess fat, so it can be an excellent slimming aid.
However, people usually take green coffee in tablet form, because, to be frank, on its own it isn’t to every-one’s taste. That’s why the Pure Green Coffee Company set out to develop a range of green coffee products that retain the benefits of green coffee, but are a genuine pleasure to drink.
As well as green coffee beans, Pure Green Coffee 28 contains a careful balance of black roasted Arabica beans to maximise that familiar coffee flavour plus a range of other natural ingredients. These include nettle, dandelion, vanilla, raspberry and Coleus Forskohlii, an Indian herb traditionally used in ayurvedic medicine to aid weight loss.

The coffee is also vegan and gluten-free. I liked how it comes in individual bags to keep the freshness in. This coffee not only tastes great, but I love how it’s perfect for a detox. It can also aid weight loss alongside an active healthy lifestyle, reduces bloating and boosts metabolism. Pure Green Coffee 28 gives you an energy boost using natural caffeine and herbal ingredients.

GIVEAWAY

Are you a coffee lover too? Fancy trying this great tasting coffee that’s organic and natural? All you need to do is follow the link below…….

Pure Green Skinny Coffee 28 Day Program #6
https://js.gleam.io/e.js

 

Smyths Toys Will Be Giving Out Free Lego This Weekend!

FREE Lego this weekend? Yes you have heard that right!

This weekend, on Saturday 4th May, all Smyths Toys Superstores throughout the UK & Northern Ireland are hosting a free LEGO giveaway from 9am.

The freebie will be handed out throughout the morning, while stocks last, with some stores also being visited by some of kid’s favourite LEGO and Star Wars characters.

The exciting event has been organised to celebrate the arrival of new Star Wars and Marvel Avengers Lego sets in Smyths stores all around the country.

The freebies are limited to one per child, see the Smyths Toys Website for full details.

Local Smyths Stores:

Oldham
14-15, Elk Mill Centre Shopping Park
Broadway, RoytonOldham, OL2 5HX

Bury
3, Halls Mill Retail Park
Foundry Street, Bury, BL9 7AZ

Salford
Unit 6 West One Retail Park, Gilda Brook Road, Salford, M50 1ZD

Bolton
4, Middlebrook Retail Park
57 The Linkway, Bolton, BL6 6JA

 

Dino Ranger Treasure Hunt from Wonder Adventures

You must know by now how much my family and I love a treasure hunt? We’re always on the lookout for a trail of some kind wherever we go. They provide lots of fun and keeps the kids happy and entertained too!

Just before the Easter weekend, I was kindly asked to check out the Dino Ranger Treasure Hunt from Wonder Adventures. You will probably have heard of Wonder Adventures as I’ve luckily worked with these fantastic guys before at Halloween for the Hocus Pocus School of Wizardry and at Christmas for the Elf Adventure Challenge. Both brilliant events!

I jumped at the chance (obviously as I love a treasure hunt as much as the kids) as it sounded so much fun, this treasure hunt is described as Interactive Fun Themed Treasure Hunts for Kids.

Once you purchase the treasure hunt pack (I was gifted the Dino Ranger Treasure Hunt pack in order to tell you all about it), you get access to videos, clues, puzzles, songs as well as PDF instructions and printable certificates of completion.

There’s some prep work to do before you start the treasure hunt which was pretty simple. Beforehand I read the instructions and printed out the clue cards and bone puzzles.

As it was the Easter weekend, I also bought a load of chocolate eggs for the kids to find too!

Whilst Daddy entertained the kids I headed out to set up the treasure hunt. We were staying in our caravan over the Easter weekend which is by the coast, I thought that would be an amazing place for a dino treasure hunt so I headed to the beach.

I placed some chocolate eggs with the puzzle pieces and a clue cards and put them into their hiding places and waited for Daddy and the kids to join me on the beach.

I logged into my account in order to access the videos and the kids watched the Ranger explain what they were going to do. The videos were fun, full of singing and dancing, the kids especially enjoyed learning the Dino Rap song!

These treasure hunt activities are truly unique and brilliant fun for children aged between 3-8.

What’s In The Buckt Box This Month?

By now you must have heard of Buckt Box?

Buckt is the UK’s only tickets and activities subscription box. Every month, Greater Manchester subscribers get 5 mystery things to do in the region delivered straight to their door in one of the Buckt Boxes.

From cinema tickets to sumo suit wrestling, restaurants to rage rooms, each box is crafted by their expert team and includes an eclectic mix of the brilliant and bizarre, as well as the tried and tested.

On average, the boxes include tickets and activities that would cost around £40-50pp if bought separately. So the Duo Package I received would be worth £80-100, but costs just £25.

The business, which is inspired by the idea of a bucket list, aims to help subscribers tick something off their list, to go on an adventure and to fall in love with something new. Step out of your comfort zone, explore your city like never before, and take on a selection of exciting activities with a Buckt Box.

Over the last few months, my family and I have enjoyed so many exciting and new activities, many that we would never have tried if it wasn’t for Buckt! My husband and I had an evening AxeThrowing which was so much fun and harder than it looked! My son has had some drum lessons which he loved. I have taken my sister to a meditation class which was an amazing experience.

With last months box, I was able to take 3 friends along with myself to BJ’s Bingo in Leigh. With the booking, we got a game of bingo, a meal and a drink.

We had a fab evening! BJ’s Bingo was easy to find and they have a large car park. When we entered we had to become members which literally took seconds. The friendly staff explained everything to us which was great as this was a new experience for most of us.

We pre-ordered our meal just before we started playing bingo (which was included in the booking), they have a fab range of main meals and the food was really good. There’s also a range of drinks to choose from which were included.

I’ve played bingo before (as a child at home) but this was so much fun and really fast paced! We had a lot of laughs but also took it seriously. I came very close to winning – maybe next time as we all want to go back!

I can’t recommend Buckt enough and if you want to try a box out for yourself then now is perfect as you can get 50% off your first box with the code OUTANDABOUTMUMMY

* I have been lucky enough to be sent this Buckt box free of charge in return of honest reviews and posts via social media in order to spread the news.

 

Our Top 6 Story Books for Pre-Schoolers To Read This Spring

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

We’ve packed up all our books about winter and put together this list of our top 6 favorite story books to read during spring. Have you read them all? What are some of your favourites?

Books We Love To Read At Spring Time:

Don’t Wake The Bear, Hare! by Steve Smallman and Caroline Pedler

Oh no! It’s the Spring Party today! The animals tiptoe past with party cakes and wobbling plates until SOMEONE makes a VERY loud noise… Uh-oh! Have they woken the bear?

This is a favourite in our house, we love the rhyming story and the colourful pages. A lovely tale about all the animals working together to get the sping party ready. A fun book also about friendship.

For Everyone To Share by Gillian Lobel and Daniel Howarth

When Little Mouse ventures out of his nest for the very first time, he just can’t believe his eyes. There are so many incredible sights and sounds! But what is this amazing place, he wonders and who is it for?

This lovely story book celebrates the wonderful world around us, you and your children will follow Little Mouse on her adventure on a lovely spring day! Meet the blues sky, the beautiful sun, buzzy bee, beautiful butterflies, birds and flowers.

Hooray For Hoppy! by Tim Hopgood

‘Hooray!’ said Hoppy. Learn about all 5 senses with Hoppy the Rabbit as he discovers the first signs of spring.’

This bright and colourful book follows Hoppy wake up as spring arrives! You and your little ones will love celebrating all sights and smells of spring.

What The Ladybird Heard by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks

Two crafty robbers, one tiny ladybird and a whole farmyard of fun! Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len have a cunning plan to steal the farmer’s fine prize cow. Bu they reckon without the tiniest, quietest creature of all: she has a plan of her own.’

Your little ones will love this wonderful rhyming, colourful book full of farm animals. It’s perect for spring.

WOW! Said The Owl by Tim Hopgood

WOW! Said The Owl. Wake up to a world full of colour with the little owl that stays awake all day. 

This is another beautiful book full of colour, flowers, butterflies and even rainbows. A lovely book to get you in the mood for spring.

Peter Rabbit- Postman Peter based on the tales of Beatrix Potter

An exciting tale with real mail! What will Peter do when he opens a letter that he shouldn’t and discovers a dangerous plot to eat poor Jemina Puddle-Duck for dinner?

My children love this book as they can interact with it, theres 6 envelopes inside for them to open. I love to read Beatrix Potter books in the spring time, the stories are full ofthe countryside and wild animals. Perfect.