Fun in Matlock

A couple of days ago, The Boy and i found ourselves with an empty day ahead of us. As the weather was nice we decided to head to Matlock park for some Mummy/Son fun!

We parked in town (it was very busy as I hadn’t realised that the new M&S food hall was opening that day!), but we got a space and headed towards the park.

We love the park at Matlock. It’s a great size for the younger ones, and fenced in which is always a bonus with a curious toddler! We played on the swings, slide but this bouncy thing was the favourite!

There is a splash park in the main play area which The Boy wanted to go in, but mummy decided it was too cold! We will have to come back on a sunny day for that!

All that playing is hungry work! Matlock Market was on as it was Wednesday so we treated ourselves to a few treats including a delicious punnet of strawberries which didn’t even make it home! Despite the look on his face in this photo he really did like them!

No more photos Mummy!

It was lovely couple of hours in the sun. I’m so excited for more adventures while Girl is at school. He is becoming such fun to take out and very good company!

Linking up with

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Day out at Graves Park and Animal Farm

One of the best things about moving to a new area is the excitement of exploring your new surroundings. We have now been in Derbyshire for 2 months, and alongside the unpacking, sorting and meeting new people (well attempts to!), we have set aside lots of time for exploring and days out. This beautiful sunny patch we have had recently has been amazing for us as we have truly been able to enjoy all that Derbyshire and the Peak District has to offer!

Last week Little Lady and I decided we fancied a trip out and so we headed to a place close by that I had been told about – Graves Park in Sheffield. Its to the SW of the city so very handy for us. The journey only took us 15 minutes from Chesterfield which was great. When we got there we parked in the car park (40p per hour so very reasonable) and headed in to explore.


First we went to the Animal Farm which was free to get into which I thought was brilliant! We popped into the Visitors Centre and Shop and picked up a cup of animal feed for £1 and headed off to meet the animals.











LL is getting very brave when we go to farms and loves to feed the animals. She has learned to keep her hand flat and thinks its funny when the animals tickle her hand or dribble on her!! (Luckily there were lots of hand washing stations dotted around the farm!). She doesn’t seem to mind how big the animals are and gets quite annoyed when one tries to take over and stop the smaller animals from getting a share!




Of course there she was just as excited to meet the small animals too – rabbits, guinea pigs, ducks, chickens and chinchillas were among those we spotted. The hatchery was a highlight too and we saw some brand new baby chicks fresh from their eggs.



After a walk around the yard we headed down to the paddocks in search of sheep, goats, pigs, donkeys and deer. LL was carefully rationing the feed so we didn’t run out too fast – much to the disgust of some of the sheep who would have eaten the lot!



Back into the Barn and we found some young goats who came to play with us. Then it was off to see the baby piglets, some were tiny, only a couple of weeks old.
IMG_3251Another firm favourite with LL was the tractor in the yard which she could sit on and pretend to drive. She spent ages telling me about her journey around the farm, to feed the animals with the hay in her tractor.

IMG_3287After we had fully explored the farm we were feeling hungry so headed across the park towards the play ground and cafe. I wished I’d brought a picnic with us as it was a lovely day and there were lots of benches around the farm to enjoy your food but we hadn’t been that organised.

The cafe (on the other side of the park) was basic but reasonable and we both enjoyed our sandwiches. Once our energy levels were back up it was off to the park! There was a great range of play equipment for all ages and she had a great time!





Finally we wore ourselves out and headed back to the car – via one last walk through the farm yard. By this time it was close to 3pm and we had managed to be there for over 3 hours. The only cost is the car parking at 40p per hour (and lunch but next time we would take a picnic). Such a great, cheap day out and somewhere I will definitely be returning to!

Linking up:

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


Win a Day Out at Pennywell Farm with Britains

This competition is now closed and the winner has been notified
I’ve got a really exciting competition to share with you today in association with Britains and Pennywell Farm. Britains has teamed up with Pennywell Farm to offer 1 lucky family a free ticket to the farm plus a fantastic crop of Britains Farm Toys!

Experience the fun of farming at Pennywell Farm. This multi award winning farm has lots to offer to both children and adults. There’s a lot to see and do; along with the traditional farm animals, there are displays, activities as well as a play area. Why not take a trip on the Tractor Ride around the farm or ride the new Red Rocket? Or perhaps you might want to trot along to a pony ride? There’s lots to do whatever your age and whatever the weather at Pennywell – and it’s Devon’s Friendliest Day Out!

Pennywell Farm offers a great day out for all of the family, but the farming fun doesn’t end there! Each winner will also receive a selection of Britains Farm Toys worth over £50. The Large Livestock Building (£24.99) comes complete with Yorkshire boarded sides and added height for extra machine manoeuvrability – very useful come feed time in the barn! The Massey Ferguson 6480 Tractor with Front Loader (£21.99) is a great addition to any farm, and the front loader is just the job when it comes to moving hay bales around. Winners will also receive a set of Friesian Cows and the all-important essential feeding Troughs (£4.49) and Big Square Bales (£4.49). It’s the perfect package for young farm hands to get their Britains Farm collection started and put into practice what they’ve learned on their day out at the farm park.

Britains Farm Toys are suitable for ages 3+ and will be available now in all good toy stores. Visit for further information.

For more information on Pennywell Farm visit or call 01364 642023.

How to Enter: To enter just leave a comment telling me your favourite farm animal! The competition will close at midnight on Monday 3rd September.

Terms & Conditions

  • Only one entry per person. Multiple, automated or bulk entries will be disqualified.
  • The winner will be contacted by email and must reply with name and address within 48 hours or the prize will be re-drawn.
  • Winners details will be passed onto the PR company who will be responsible for issuing the prize.
  • The winner will be selected at random from all valid comments received by midnight on Monday 3rd September.
  • Tickets are valid until 4th November 2012.
  • A family ticket includes two adults and two children.
  • Prizes will be delivered within 28 days.

Are we nearly there yet? Car trip ideas for the family

I’m really pleased to have joined the Sainsbury’s Bank Family Blogger Network (look I have a shiny badge in my sidebar and everything!) and to have fab Guest Posts like this one to share with you. I was not paid to host this post.

To paraphrase Ferris Bueller: family life moves pretty fast – if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

One of the best ways of taking it all in is to go on a family road trip – but where to go and how to go about getting there? Here are a few answers to both questions.

As always the devil is in the detail and planning and preparation are your best weapons. Consider the following to get the best out of your trip:

  • Planning – get the calendar out, sit down together and agree when a whole day, or even an entire weekend, can feasibly be spent away from home.
  • Make the time – if at all possible try to make it between spring and winter and at a time that everyone else in the country isn’t on the move or you’ll either be spending the whole time looking for shelter, or in the car.
  • Having agreed on a date – you’ll have to defend it vigorously from birthday party invitations or last minute social suggestions –and you need to settle on a destination.

The country
Buy the Ordnance Survey map for the area you’re interested in and plan your day(s). With a little map reading and calculation you could easily fit in a walk, a site of historical interest or a sporting activity. Use Google Maps and Google Earth to check the terrain and travelling times if your map reading isn’t up to scratch.

The beach
Living as we do on an archipelago dominated by a long, skinny mainland, we’re all pretty close to the sea. Even if you live in Northampton in the centre of the land mass you can be in Norfolk in three hours. So it is perhaps more accessible than you think.

Remember that you have to look for the best in what you see, not for what you feel ought to be there instead. So try not to bemoan the absence of rugged cliffs or golden sand but rather celebrate the haunting atmosphere or the post-industrial oddness of the parts of our coastline you can get to.

The city
For people living in the country the city can become a place to be raided – at great speed and with utmost seriousness – for Christmas shopping or essential supplies.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Look for the best in the city, the history, the life, the culture, the heritage, the traditions, the things that set it apart and from which it takes its identity.

Having settled on a destination and planned your trip, it’s a good idea to:

  • Vary the pace of the day and make stops that are good for the soul as well as for the body.
  • Assess any risks you’ll face – particularly when dealing with the sea. Tide times, weather and traffic are you main areas of concern, but also make sure you’re covered by adequate car insurance.
  • If you put the effort in at this stage you’ll have a memorable experience for the price of the fuel it will use to get you there and back.

Remember, you’re on a journey exploring, learning and laughing – together.

Author Bio:
Joel Dowling writes for the Sainsbury’s Bank Money Matters blog on subjects as diverse as music, motoring, finance and the family. He spends many weekends on the road with his family.

MAGMA launching at Paultons Park This Weekend

Last weekend we were lucky enough to be invited to the Press Launch of the new ride, MAGMA, at Paultons Family Theme Park. We had an amazing day and I have so much to tell you about the park but today I wanted to let you know about MAGMA, which opens this weekend!

Here is what they have to say about the ride:

A family thrill ride, MAGMA stands at 25 metres tall and features smoke, light and sound effects to create an ‘eruption’ prior to sending riders high in the sky above, ready to face a sudden drop back into the mountain below. And, the entrance features a pre-historic surprise for its daring guests.

To ride MAGMA accompanied children must be at least five years old and a minimum of 1.1 metres tall. Those over 1.3 metres tall and eight years old or older may ride unaccompanied. The only question remains, who is brave enough to enter the caverns of molten rock and discover the Jurassic secret entombed below?  

Paultons commercial director Stephen Lorton says: “Having opened Peppa Pig World to much excitement last year we were very keen to make sure we continued to develop the park for visitors of all ages. We think MAGMA is the perfect addition to Paultons, building on our reputation as a destination for the whole family. We look forward to welcoming families with children of all ages for a fun-filled visit.”

There is a preview website at to really get you into the mood!

As Pumpkin was obviously much too small for the ride, I nominated Daddy to go and try the ride first! I’m a real scaredy cat with rides and wanted to see how he got on first! He loved it 🙂

Daddy enjoying MAGMA

The ride takes you high above the park and you can have a good look around at what Paultons Park has to offer. But then just as you are enjoying the view, the ride drops and you head for the ground! Don’t worry, I got my go on the ride too and screamed like a girl on every drop 🙂

Here are some facts about MAGMA.

  • Height – 24.95m
  • Weight – 30,000kg
  • Foundations – 100 tonnes of concrete
  • Capacity – up to 16 guests
  • Music – 16 individual soundtracks playing at any one time
  • Volcano was made using:
  • 10 tonnes of steel
  • 7 tonnes of timber
  • 500 litres of paint

Paultons Park is just off Junction 2 of the M27, near the edge of the New Forest. Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate. Paultons Park is open daily until Monday 1st October.  Check the website for full details and daily opening and closing times which vary.

I’ll be back with a full review of the park including the fabulous Peppa Pig World soon 🙂

Disclosure: We were invited to the press launch of MAGMA and received free entry into the park.

Our first Library visit!

Last Friday Pumpkin and I had a bonus day together as she had only just recovered from a sickness bug and hadn’t quite been clear for 48 hours so couldn’t go to nursery. We thought we would make the most of it and do something we had been meaning to for a while – we went to the local Library.

Pumpkin loves books and so do most toddlers I know! We have a huge pile of books at home (some bought new, others from car boot sales, charity shops and gifts). But we still seem to get bored of our books. We read them so many times and then want to move onto the next! Borrowing from the library sounded like a great idea.

I checked out our local library website and saw that Friday afternoon was Under 5’s Story Time so off we went!

Pumpkin already had a library card of her own which we were given when we went to register her birth when she was 2 weeks old! It hadn’t been used though so when we arrived I asked the librarian about what Pumpkin could borrow. It turns out we can borrow up to 10 books on her card – that’s more than I could carry! Better still, there are no late fines on a children’s ticket so if we are a few days late with the books we won’t have to pay. And the lovely librarian assured me that they are well practiced at repairing books so not to worry if something got damaged in our care! How fab is that?

Pumpkin could not believe her eyes when she saw all the books on the shelves. I think she was a bit overwhelmed and was wondering how quickly she could pull them all off the shelves! I let her play while I selected some books for us to take home. I was really impressed by the selection.

Then it was Story Time. The librarian sat on the floor surrounded by cushions and beanbags and we sat down to listen as she read some library books to us. There was a range of stories and Pumpkin really enjoyed it, especially the audience participation bit! We lasted about 20 minutes of the 30 minute session which didn’t seem to bad for a 16 month old!

Our library has become super modern since I last visited and we were able to use the self service book check out system. Easy peasy and very quick!

The four books we borrowed have been read several times each day since Friday and Pumpkin loves to put them back into the canvas bag I have designated as our library bag! We will go back in a week or two and change them for another 4 books so she always has a changing supply of books. Of course there is no reason that we can’t borrow the same book again in a couple of months if she finds any favourites (I Won’t Bite by Rod Campbell springs to mind!).

I plan to build trips to the library into our schedule more often and hope that it will help to cement Pumpkins love of books and carry it on through her childhood.

Check out your local library for free events, information and a range of services (while I was there I managed to borrow an Energy Monitor for free as I saw a poster!).

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