There’s something a bit special about going to the circus. Is it the Big Top, the Clowns, all the sparkly costumes or maybe the oodles of sweets and candyfloss that kids are given a free pass to stuff their faces with.
It was exciting to be invited along to watch the show. The last time I took Isabelle to the circus we were chased across a field by a horse and turned up wet and bedraggled only for Isabelle to sleep through the entire show. She was under two at the time so all is forgiven.
We spotted the Big Top and the excitement began. We went in through the Big Top which was quite dark with disco lights all around and loaded up with popcorn, drinks and candyfloss. There was no formal seating plan so you could choose where to sit yourself. We were lucky to get seats at the front in the middle so Isabelle didn’t need to sit on either of our laps which was nice.
The show which was an hour and ten minutes long was action-packed throughout with acrobatics using swings and ribbons to twirl and whirl through the sky, Mr. N the funny Clown, plate spinning, trampolining, and other shenanigans.
Mr. N the clown was so funny. Mr. N did lots of really silly stuff which the crowd, us included thought was really funny. He popped out between each act and had all the kids and adults enthralled in his funny antics.
When it was time to pick a helper from the audience he picked – ME – to hold a balloon above my head whilst he had a balloon arrow. Using the balloon bow he shot an invisible arrow that popped the balloon.
Later on in the show he picked on us again – Chris this time, was chosen to catch popcorn in his mouth which he missed. Mr N gave him another chance and when he went to throw the popcorn he threw the whole bucket over him.
We watched ariel acrobatics which was pretty amazing and similar on a swing.
At the beginning of the show, there was an act where a man and a woman took it in turns to go inside material tubes and each time they came out they were wearing different clothes. Isabelle’s face was complete and utter astonishment. She thinks that it would be cool for us to get some of the material tubes so it’s quicker to get changed.
The grand finale was called the Ring of Death which was an enormous wheel with two circles which two acrobats climbed inside and outside whilst it was spinning. I think I gasped the first time it whooshed round as I was sat completely in line for first squashing as it was so close. There were lots of open mouthes as it went around at speed with the two of them going around and around.
The time went really quick and everyone joined in clapping along and laughing. Isabelle loved all of the sparkly costumes that the ladies wore and her face said it all really. Isabelle left with a sticky smile and another memory stored away of a fun family day.
Visiting the Circus
Paulos Circus will be at Darts Farm in Topsham until Sunday 9th July when they will be moving on to Newquay.
Tickets are only £7.00 per person but if you have a look around there are lots of £2.00 off vouchers. This can be applied to all tickets purchased. For more details on where the Circus is visiting next pop over to the website www.pauloscircus.co.uk.
If you do get the chance to go we would definitely recommend it.
*we were gifted tickets to the show but all opinions are our own.
It’s come around again! May Half Term is almost upon us and again it’s up to us Mum’s and Dad’s to make sure our little lovelies have an action packed week whether it’s out and about or at home. Here are 15 May Half Term Events in Devon that will hopefully keep everybody happy.
The weather is slightly odd at the moment, with one day blue skies and sunny and the next day (or even afternoon) it’s pouring down with rain so we’ve found some indoor and outdoor suggestions.
1. Animal Encounters with Chris Johnson – Prickly Ball Farm – Monday 29th May 11am – 1pm
Pop down and meet some creepy crawlies with talks and show and tell. As well as this, take the time to visit the rest of the animals for a child friendly farm experience.
There’s loads of stuff to do at the Summer Fair. We went last year and had a great day. There are stalls, old fashioned carnival games, welly throwing competitions, food stalls and music. As well as this you can go around and meet lots of lovely donkeys. We took a picnic and the weather was lovely so we sat on the grass.
4. Tozers Charity Family Fun Day – Saturday 3rd June 10am – 3pm
There will be bouncy inflatables, fire engine, police car, food and drinks van. Get your face painted or a glitter tattoo. Buy from the many stalls selling sweets, arts and crafts and enjoy the various entertainers. Exeter City Football Club and Active Devon will be there with a 15ft inflatable target shoot and table tennis!! Guest appearance from Disney princesses, Spiderman and Minions and an opportunity to have your photo taken with your favourite character.
Get outside for some Muddy fun on the Bear Trail. There are a variety of obstacles to climb, zip wires, tunnels, swinging ropes, tyres and much more. See how much fun we had at The Bear Trail last weekend.
This is a drop-in event so no booking required. Pick up a RAMM Discover Arts Award log booklet in the courtyard and follow Alfie the Sparrow around the museum at your own pace to complete arty activities and challenges in the galleries. I highly recommend the cakes in the cafe for afterwards!
Who doesn’t love a trip to the zoo? We love a day at the zoo. A baby giraffe calf has recently been born which would be a lovely site to see as well. They also do a combo ticket (Zooper Ticket) with Living Coasts which will save you some money for two fab days out.
Trago has loads to offer including animal petting, rides, food stalls, a boating lake, Go Karts and lots of outdoor play equipment. They also offer an unlimited ride ticket which is £4.99 for adults and £3.99 for children under 8 making this an affordable day out.
27th – 28th May There will be a circus themed weekend with circus skills, workshops and shows including Spangles and the Clown.
To begin the long awaited school holidays there will be a circus themed weekend with circus skills workshops and shows on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th May with Alison Lewis and Spangles and the Clown. On Wednesday 31st children dressed as their favourite Superhero will get in FREE. Take part in bottle feeding, ferret racing, goat milking and pond dipping.
On Sunday the sun was shining and we set off down to Plymouth for the Spellbound Fairy and Goblin Festival for a day filled with fairies, storytellers, crafts, music, face painting, and much more…
The Soapbox Theatre
The Soapbox Theatre was created by a husband and wife team, Iain and Jacqueline who are both experienced theatre practitioners and community artists. They took over a semi-derelict World War II mustard gas decontamination unit (hmm I had to google it too) in Devonport Park, Plymouth. Huge efforts have been put into raising funds to develop this site through crowdfunding, grants, and the local authority. The passion and enthusiasm for this going forward is visible on both Iain and Jacqueline’s efforts to make this a festival to remember.
Iain explained the plans for the future which include a roof-top stage and amphitheatre which sounds like an amazing space for children and families to experience both watching shows and taking part in workshops and projects. Workshops and classes are available for all ages and capabilities making this a valuable asset to the local community.
The programme for the day was jam-packed full of activities and we wanted to experience as much as possible. We did what we usually do on a day out, and took a wander round to work out what we would like to do first, second, third, and so on.
The whole entire place, which was fenced off for the safety of the children was decked out with colourful lanterns strung from the trees, flags, and windsocks in bright colours. It was the perfect spot for the festival as it was set amongst a fairy village with houses, caravans, and a washing line full of fairy clothes.
There were tents set up all around for us ‘big people’ with various activities. The Big Top had various shows including The Fallen Cedars, Jazz singing, Elfic the Jester and his antics, and an amazingly fun Samba band who marched through the park and led a parade around the site.
First, off we watched a puppet show which including a smelly creature, a man and a walrus. It captured all the kid’s attention, especially with the mention of bird poo and bottom burping.
We saw Isabella Necessity Bicycle Storyteller whilst sat atop tree stumps.
We were amused by Elfic the Jester with his juggling antics.
There were various stalls selling all sorts of fairy paraphernalia. We bought a plant pot fairy house to make at home complete with Tinkerbell.
We tasted gorgeous fruit lollies and sat on the grass and had freshly cooked fire-baked pizzas (Chicken, pesto, and mozzarella).
Isabelle and I made fairy wands and a dream catcher using all kinds of tubing, ribbons, pipe cleaners, shells, string, pom-poms and glue. Whilst we were in the craft tent, Goblins were running amock and threw bits of mud and grass at us. They were dancing around, going through the bins, and generally causing trouble.
Isabelle was ‘Fairy Tested’ to determine if she was a genuine fairy or not with a special wooden dragonfly. She passed the test of course!
We both queued up for face painting but when it was our turn I felt mean taking up the make-up artist’s time whilst there were so many children waiting. I so wanted a glittery eye. Boo!
There were lots of areas for little ones to play including the Petite cafe and a soft play area.
Children and adults all lined up for the ‘Best dressed Fairy’ and ‘Best dressed Goblin’ and prizes were given to all.
We stayed until the end and we’re really pleased that we did. The Crooked Tempo Samba band played through the park and led a parade through the site with much bum shaking taking place.
What we thought
The Festival gets a huge Fairy Wands up from all of us. The day was filled with lots of fun and activities which were all included in the ticket price. The choice of food was extremely reasonable and very tasty. The atmosphere was very relaxed and everything was family-friendly. We even bumped into some family members so we had a bit of a catch-up sat in the sun.
Oh and did I mention that we go to meet the Fairy Queen herself.
Whilst the Spellbound Fairy and Goblin Festival has been and gone for this year, there are lots of activities, shows and workshops to take part in with the Soapbox Theatre so do make sure that you pop over to their Facebook Page for more details.
We’re lucky to have lots of lovely places to visit here in Devon. If you’re planning a visit or you’re looking for somewhere new to take the kids then have a look at our Devon Days Out for some inspiration.
*Please note that we were gifted tickets to the event in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
Isabelle and I had been looking at the pictures on Facebook at all the mud-covered adults and children. She thought it was ‘awesome and I wondered what on earth I should wear!
I opted for gym gear and trainers to make running, jumping, and climbing possible.
At this point, I should mention that the day before we went it absolutely bucketed down so it was definitely going to be an extra muddy day!
I am usually the bag carrier! Daddy is usually the one who does the physical stuff whilst I look after the bags/coats/picnic, but this time I decided that we were all going to take part and have some fun.
The Bear Trail was easy to find and there was ample parking when we arrived.
The carpark overlooked the trail where all the equipment was laid out in a wide-open space with plenty of grass space in the middle, perfect for picnics.
Isabelle was very excited (and Daddy too) and were raring to go. When we arrived there were lots of cars arriving for a birthday party. All nicely dressed. Big mistake!
Inside the Bear Trail.
Aside from the trail itself, there is a barn with inside seating, a kiosk selling hot drinks, sandwiches, cakes as well as freshly made wood-fired pizzas, changing rooms, toilets, and a shower area.
There is also a play area for the littles with a sandpit, but there is no age limit on any of the equipment. The ethos is that if you think you can do it – give it a go. You know your own child’s capability.
Not forgetting in the far corner there is a pen with some alpaca and ponies which when you’re having fun could easily be overlooked, but we went over and gave the ponies a stroke.
The trail has a selection of rope climbing frames, swing ropes, bridges, zip slides, tunnels, hay bales, stepping stones, tyres, and more, all with a huge puddle of muddy water either before, after or underneath.
Off we went, and at first, I think most people make some kind of attempt to stay out of the mud, but once you go in – you get stuck in. Isabelle had no hesitation and was a mud slick in minutes. Daddy closely followed whilst I lagged behind shop fresh clean.
After passing a fellow blogger who had got stuck in with her two boys I felt a bit of a wuss and with the help of Isabelle managed to get covered in mud. Squelchy feet and all.
You can go around the trail in order, but there were certain bits that we preferred so we made up our own route.
Some families set up picnics and had blankets and food laid out where the adults congregated and the kids were let loose to play. As it’s all open plan you can give the kids that bit of freedom.
We went around the trail for a good couple of hours before showering off and getting changed before being treated to a lovely lunch of a selection of wood-fired pizzas, cakes, and drinks.
About the Bear Trail
The trail set in Cullompton, Devon is about to celebrate its first birthday and was set in motion by Ben a former Army Man.
The trail is evolving and new obstacles are in the pipeline, as are better-changing facilities. We thought lockers were a good idea to eliminate the trips back to the car.
The trail is kept as basic as can be – no flashing lights, music, or bright colours. It’s all about getting outside and having good old-fashioned fun.
All the obstacles have safety nets but it’s very much up to the individual’s capability. Isabelle is six and was capable of taking part in every part of the trail and made the most of it.
It’s an all-weather day out. If it rains, you get muddier!
The trail is open from 10 – 5pm. There are no time restrictions – you can stay all day.
Tickets are available at the entrance or online. If it’s the school holidays I would recommend booking beforehand to avoid disappointment.
Over 1 metre – £7.50
Under 1 metre – £4.50
Don’t wear your best clothes – they will get muddy.
Take spare clothes, shoes, towels and a bag to put all the muddy clothes in.
Food is available – the pizzas are awesome, but you can take your own. There are plenty of picnic tables and grassy areas to sit.
All in all we had a great day so The Bear Trail gets the thumbs up from us.
To celebrate their first birthday they are having a Colour Bomb Run where you will be showered with the colours of the rainbow as well as mud – This is taking place on 23rd July and booking is advisable.
For you lovely readers we can offer 5% off the usual ticket price if you book online. Just add the code: BLOG5 at the checkout.
Since getting the dog a couple of years ago we love finding new places to walk him and thankfully Isabelle loves a good walk as long as we have the following:
One of our fellow dog walkers recommended Fingle Bridge as a place to go with the dog and the littles. Lots of opportunities to paddle in the water, lots of mud to splash and splodge in, and being woodland lots of stones, twigs, acorns, and other things to fill our pockets with.
We started off at the bridge noting the HUGE pub with its lovely setting and garden.
What to do!
The route that we took was not the easiest of walks with lots of tricky areas, huge muddy patches (thankfully we all managed to keep our shoes on our feet) and narrow rickety steps to contend with.
This was great for Isabelle who at five is slightly more fearless than we’d like her to be.
Charlie (our dog) was amazingly well behaved and loved to explore his new surroundings. We kept our beady eyes out for families with food as unfortunately at only two he’s still a total scavenger and will gatecrash, steal and run!
Strangely there were canvasses dotted around the place which kind of looked a bit odd, but Isabelle quite liked looking out for them.
The walk took us a good couple of hours with a picnic stop along the way.
Isabelle found a walking stick along the way which she held onto until we found a waterfall so she sent it on its way out to sea and wonders what country it will end up in.
It was a lovely day and we ended it by visiting the pub at the start (Fingle Bridge Inn). We may even have to go back for the Duck Race which takes place in April/May of each year.
Leave a comment to let me know your favourite place to visit in Devon.
#whatwedidthisweek – It’s half-term and the alarm clock is set to OFF!
It doesn’t mean that we get a lie-in but it’s so much nicer not waking up to the sound of the alarm and having to immediately jump out of bed and get ready. Non-alarm days or weekends we’re usually woken up by Isabelle climbing over us so it could be a misplaced arm, let or elbow that awakens us.
It was a great start to the week as the sun was shining, albeit the wind was biting. Up we got at a leisurely pace and off we went to Wildwood Escot for a day of Creepy Crawly Welly Walking, walking in the woods, and eating flapjack (which I’ve posted separately about).
We were really lucky with the weather as the following day it poured down with rain so we headed off to soft play in Exmouth. If you’ve been to Exmouth before then you will know that when it’s cold – it’s flippin freezing there! Isabelle had a really lovely time. We bumped into several people from school including Isabelle’s teacher. It ended with the filling in of an accident form as Isabelle got herself a lovely slide burn on her back and her arm.
We finished off that day with MacDonalds and a trip to a local farm shop where the Ostrich took a slight liking to me and followed me backward and forwards. I tested this theory by running up and down and it copied me. I only received a couple of odd looks.
Wednesday we had a lazy day at home and made cupcakes and Carrot and Lentil Soup.
Thursday we met up with a dog walker friend who is hopefully going to have Charlie when we go on holiday in August. This will be the first time that we’ve left him so I’m a bit nervous as I don’t want him to think that we’ve left him. He had to meet the other dog that will be there at the same time as him to make sure that they would get along. I knew that Charlie would be fine as he’s such a friendly boy. He’s never shown any aggression to any other dogs or people and just loves to play so I knew that he would be fine.
Isabelle had a playdate with a friend in the afternoon so I had a bit of a catch-up with sorting washing and a little bit of blogging.
Friday was another dodgy weather day so Isabelle invited one of her friends over to play. It was the first time that her room wasn’t turned upside down and inside out. They sat and played pony hairdressers.
On Saturday we went to the cinema to watch the Trolls movie which we hadn’t got round to watching due to illness/being busy. I gave her a choice of pic n mix or Ice cream, and she chose ice cream. She opted for a two-scoop tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. What flavour did she want? Phish Food, Caramel Chew, Double Chocolate Brownie? Nope, she wanted vanilla. Really said the man serving. You just want vanilla? He tempted her into having one scoop of vanilla and one caramel honey.
The film was fab so we need to get it on DVD.
Today we went to Budleigh Salterton Beach with the pooch. The whole beach is just pebbles, no sand.
It’s really difficult to walk on pebbles as they move so running is almost impossible.
Charlie wasn’t keen on the beach to start with, but I think it was because the waves were quite fierce and they make a lot of noise going back and forth over the pebbles. We walked down as far as the nudey beach, and thankfully there were no nudists for Isabelle to point at and laugh at (luckily for us).
By the time we made it off the beach, it felt like we were walking on fluffy clouds.
Wildwood Escot – We used to be frequent visitors of Escot when Ryan was younger so it’s nice to be invited to take Isabelle, especially as she seems to quite like mud, walking in mud, squishing in mud, poking sticks in mud……..just mud.
We started off in the Anglo Saxon Village which was really cool. It was all set out as a proper village with a kitchen area, bedrooms, fireplaces and is used as part of the Camp Wild setting which offers holiday camps for children aged 7 – 12 years.
The Welly Walk
This February half term they have Creepy Crawly Welly Walks running twice a day which is definitely worth going on. We had a lovely guide who showed us some rather strange-looking dried animals and skulls. Isabelle didn’t seem phased by the flat squirrel or hedgehog.
We stomped through the park to a pond where we dipped to see if we could find any creepy crawlies lurking underneath. We found some little ‘slug-like’ bugs on the leaves and further on we found some frog spawn which Isabelle thought looked like snot.
You know the saying that you learn something new every day?
Well at Wildwood Escot they have a deadly predator laying in waiting.
It doesn’t have claws, sharp teeth and it doesn’t growl.
It’s called Hemlock Water Dropwart and is poisonous if eaten.
We then took part in making mud creatures using mud, twigs, leaves, and anything else that we could find on the ground.
Isabelle made a squirrel, a squirrel house with a fire outside the front, and an antenna on the top for the TV.
It was amazing seeing all the other children using their imagination to make creatures including an alien and a fairy.
Exploring the park
After the welly walk, we went to explore the rest of the park. There are some amazing climbing trees with really gnarly intertwined branches.
It was a lovely sunny day but the wind was quite biting so unfortunately, we didn’t see the squirrels, but we saw the Lynx being fed by the keeper. There was one at the back, and we finally spotted the other one which was hiding in the giant tree trunk in its enclosure. They really are beautiful. I could just imagine one curling up on your lap.
The Wild Boar were all foraging for food and some were outstretched in the sunlight.
We went over to the Death Slide and Isabelle was really up for having a go. That was until she reached the top and looked over the edge, and then we came back down again. Ha ha. I was totally going to show her how it’s done but I had to help her back down the steps!
I really wanted to go and watch the Otter feeding, as they’re really interesting. They obviously know exactly what time feeding time is as they were all by the door that the keeper comes in whining in unison and running around as a group waiting for their food.
The otters were given a selection of food including turkey meatballs and cherry tomatoes which were thrown all around the enclosure so that they had to look for it. They work really fast at getting the food!
A hanging type basket filled with straw and bits of food was hung up so that they had to rummage through the straw to get the food. It was really funny to see them find something like they were dipping into a lucky dip, run over to the water to wash it before eating it.
We spent some time in the outdoor play area where there are plenty of things to climb on, and then had a go on the rope swing where I very nearly took out a child. Oops.
Coffee and cake are usually quite high up on the list of things to do on a day out but we opted for flapjack which was so yummy and chewy (big thumbs up).
Isabelle found a tree where there were loads of wine bottles hanging. We told Isabelle that that’s where the witches lived and that they hung the bottles on the branches when they finished the wine.
There are loads of picnic tables or open grassy spaces around the park which is what we would usually do in the nicer weather.
Wildwood Escot is the place for you if you like being outdoors where the kids can explore, use their imagination and play.
Wolves are moving to Wildwood Escot shortly which we can’t wait to go and meet. Wildwood Escot is a registered charity and your admission is treated as a charitable donation. You can support this further by adopting an animal to help ensure that the animals are cared for and fed as they should. It also ensures that the park can be looked after for years more enjoyment.
It feels like we’ve only just got back into the swing of things following Christmas, and yet another school holiday is just around the corner.
I’m really hoping that the weather is on our side as we have a couple of outside trips to go on. Worse case scenario we go armed with wellies, raincoats and umbrella’s. Sometimes you’ve just got to go for it.
Here are some of the things that have made our ears prick up:
This is a great place to take the kids. All week they have animal talks including Otters and Red Squirrels.
What’s on this week? Creepy Crawly Welly Walks, pond dipping and making animal dens as well as all the usual outdoor fun.
Children £8.00 (Under 3’s FREE)
What’s not to love about Crealy. There’s loads of stuff to do for all ages outside if the weather is nice, and if not you can hunch up with all the other mums and dads in the indoor play area and let the kids let off some steam. Meet the animals including Goats, Ponies, Monkeys and Meerkats. During half-term they’re running competitions for a chance to Win prizes totalling £5000 over the week. You can also camp, glamp or stay in a lodge in Crealy Meadows.
Children £6.95 (Under 92cm FREE)
Named as one of the ‘Top Ten Family Day’s Out in Devon’. This is a lovely place to take the kids where you can meet the donkey’s and stay for a grooming session along with talks about the work that they do (which is amazing). They have a maze and an outdoor play area, and I hear that the food is absolutely delicious.
They are offering a Dip and Dine offer with swimming, sauna and steam (adults only) and food in Amelia’s where they serve a selection of hot and cold food. We’ve done this before where we’ve had a swim and then a cooked breakfast which was lovely.
To launch the season’s opening, if you visit during 11th – 19th February you will be given a return ticket to visit as many times as you like during half-term. Take the little ones along for animal feeding, egg collecting, pond dipping, ferret racing and miniature pig racing. If you visit on 11th or 17th February Poco Drom will be playing which is always a treat.
A brand new adventure trail for kids and adults alike. The trail is for all ages and has a range of bridges, zip wires, stepping stones and ropes. If you’re kids like mud (who doesn’t) then this is great fun. Booking is advised.
Over 1 Metre £6.50
Under 1 Metre £3.50
There are loads of workshops during half-term week including animation workshops, Family Collage making and a Chinese Trail. Most of these are drop-in sessions but pop over the to website to check to avoid disappointment.
I’ve been meaning to take Isabelle here for a while now. Not only do they have lots of hedgehogs that have been rescued, but they have other animals such as goats, pigs and ponies. Get involved with feeding and petting the animals. This February entry is only £5.00 (including half-term).
Children £5.00 (Under 3’s FREE)
During February Half Term they are having a Beside the Seaside theme including a Shipwrek Train, a Beachside Scene, Puppet Shoes, Mac the Penguin, daily Animal talks and more.
Children £9.15 (Under 3’s FREE)
Who doesn’t love a trip to the zoo! As well as all the Fab animals, this February Half Term celebrates the launch of Cold-blooded Creatures 2017. There will be special talks, trails, Cuba the Croc mascot appearances and more!
Children £11.55 (Under 3’s FREE)
There are also lots of FREE things to do in the South West such as taking advantage of the many beaches. We love going to beach outside of summer time to find unusual things in the rock pools, and collect shells and pebbles . Put your wellies on, grab a bucket and a net and off you go.