It’s Daddy’s birthday tomorrow but I’ve got to work so we thought we’d have a day out today and have some fun.
The Donkey Sanctuary had their annual Summer Fair so we thought we’d head there for the day with a picnic.
It was completely heaving when we arrived.
There were loads of stalls, entertainment, and activities to do as well as being able to see all the lovely donkeys.
We went with family so it was really nice being able to spend the day together.
The boys had a go at welly wanging and Isabelle had a go at a human fruit machine. I so should have recorded it as there were hands sticking out of holes holding up fruit and when the bell rang, if they were holding up the same you won.
Isabelle won a knitted donkey on the tombola which she loved, and she then made a bear on a stall that was similar to Build a Bear.
We had a huge picnic and then Isabelle presented her birthday cake that she took ages to make yesterday. It was a Choca Mocha Cake (recipe to follow).
The place was packed and there were dogs everywhere. We didn’t think to bring Charlie with us, so we know for next time we visit.
After eating and listening to music we went for a walk around to see all the donkeys.
So what do you call a cross between a donkey and a horse?
A honkey or a dorse.
Well, it’s a mule actually. I didn’t even know that this was a thing until we saw two horses, and the keeper in the pen told us they were in fact mules. They don’t look very donkey-like, more horsey.
All in all, it was a lovely day and we’d definitely go again.
Happy Days Linky – I’ve done it! My first day in my new job is done and dusted. I found it quite unnerving going from knowing my stuff to being the new girl not knowing who to pay the tea fund money to. It went fine. I was useless but it was fine!
Sharknado 5 – One of my guilty pleasures is cheesy films featuring monster sharks, huge crocs, or such likes. Tonight is the premiere of Sharknado 5 so what better way to finish off my first day in the new job. If you haven’t watched them then you have to. My favourite film of all time has to be Lake Placid. Don’t judge me!
The funny things that Isabelle says – At six years old she comes out with some crackers in total innocence that have me snickering and face away laughing. On our dog walk, Charlie seems to like peeing in the river but he always cocks his leg towards long grass along the edges. Isabelle says “I think he does that because he likes the grass tickling his willy” whilst she eye-rolls and sighs ‘boys’!
Holiday – We can finally say that we’re going on holiday ‘this week’. There are clothes all over the house in bags and ready but not quite packed for the final pack on Friday morning.
We made it to Spain. The flight was absolutely fine. I set off the beeper so had to go in the machine and then be frisked. Here’s to a week off.
See you then.
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We lucky in the South West that there are oodles of amazing beaches to visit some of which could easily be mistaken for being abroad. As part of the #SchoolHols2017 I thought I would share some of the beaches that we visit. First up we have Teignmouth Beach.
What do you do at the beach?
The beach can be totally FREE if you want it to be or it could end up being an expensive day out.
Pack a picnic and invite friends
Take a ball/frisbee/bat and ball etc and make a day of fun games – split into teams and keep score
Take a portable BBQ – go late afternoon and stay until the kids are knackered.
Play park – There’s a great playpark which you could easily spend a lot of time in
Bucket and Spade – It’s amazing how many buckets, spades, shapes and rakes that accumulate from having kids. Pack it all up and let them loose to make sandcastles. Decorate them with pebbles, sea shells and bit of seaweed
Crabbing – take a bucket and a net
The Pier – Theres loads of amusements and things to do on the pier. Be prepared to have lots of change
Fish and Chips – Having fish and chips at the beach can be a real treat.
Crazy Golf – This used to be Ryan’s thing. Wherever we went we played crazy golf!
How to get there:
Living in the South West or visiting for the holidays then have a look at our oodles of suggestions for #southwestdaysout – Whether you’re looking for local attractions or fabulous beaches and walks.
We haven’t been for a while but Woodlands Family Theme Park is a really great place to take the kids. Although it’s a theme park there are loads of open spaces for the kids to run around.
What is there to do?
Vertigo – New for 2017 (I’m not sure I would be brave enough to go on this) – Minimum height 96cm (accompanied) over 106cm can ride on their own
Sea Dragon Swing Ship – Minimum height 110cm (accompanied) over 125cm can ride on their own
Rock n Roll Tugboat – Be prepared to rock, roll and spin! – Minimum height 90cm (accompanied) over 105cm can ride on their own
Bumper Boats – Get competitive with a go in the bumper boats – Minimum height 90cm (accompanied) – over 140cm can ride on their own
Seascape Mirror Maze – Be prepared for a unique experience. Imagine the deepest abyss in the ocean. You’re not sure what’s real, Secret Passageways stretch before you forever. This is the baffling Seascape Mirror Maze where Monstrous Sea Creatures mysteriously grow and fade. The Quest is to find the elusive Sea Spirit. Children must be supervised
Dolphin Toddler Play – For children under 110cm. Lots of fun stuff for the littles to do including a camper van slide
Jumping Pillow – Minimum height 90cm (accompanied) – Over 120cm can ride on their own
Tractor Ride – Climb up the life-sized tractors and drive around our very own farmyard. Enjoy looking at all your favourite noisy farm animals as you drive past them
Pedal Town – Let the kids get carried away racing against each other whilst you can sit and watch
Safari Adventure Golf – Who doesn’t love a game of mini golf. This 18 hole course has loads of fun features to entertain the whole family
Meeks Retreat – Meet the Meerkat family
Big Animal Barn – Here you will find Charlotte the Shire Horse, lambs, calves, goats and ponies
Pigs Palace – Who doesn’t love a piggy or two
Reptile House – A fave as these are animals that you are unlikely to come across in every day life so are a bit more interesting. They have a Dwarf Caiman Crocodile, iguanas, bearded dragons, turtles, terrapins and a black throat monitor as well as a selection of snakes
Rabbit and Guinea Pig City
Nocturnal House – Do you know what a sugar glider is? You will also get the opportunity to meet raccoons, chinchillas, dwarf mongoose, Egyptian long-eared hedgehogs, rats, and gerbil
Goat Mountain – I’m like a magnet for goats. Maybe it’s my smell but they always follow me or try and eat my clothes
Outdoor Paddocks – Meet the alpaca and emu, llamas and Manx sheep
Parrots Paradise – Full of gorgeously bright coloured birds
Chicken Run – See how many different kinds of chickens you can spot
New Babies – If you’re lucky you may see a baby or two
Titan the Robot – 15th August 2017
He’s worked with stars including Rihanna and Will smith and will make 3 appearances during the day where he will perform some street theatre, comedy, and music.
Fizzpop Science Workshop and Show – 11th & 18th August 2017
They will be making gooey slime and teach you about friction, from rubbing your hands together to *Dalek Plungers we learn how friction is helpful for us to ‘get a grip’. They will also demonstrate how they can remove friction by adding blasts of air, allowing us to float a willing volunteer around the floor with their very own hoverboard!
Meet the Woodland Superstarz – Throughout the School Holidays.
Emazad the Magician and Friends – Watch him entertain the kids with his balloon skills – Various dates throughout the School Holidays.
Haldon Forest is one of our go-to places when we don’t have anything else planned. We can take the dog as well which is an extra bonus and Isabelle loves it.
What is there to do?
Go and explore the woods and use your imagination. Try this one on your little ones – If there is a fallen tree with the roots all showing we tell Isabelle that it’s a troll’s house and they’ve popped out for a bit. In other parts of the woods where the Go Ape bits are we tell Isabelle that they are tree people flying through the trees.
She’s nearly seven now so although she knows that the ‘tree people’ are actually people on zip wires, she’s still happy to go along with the troll houses so we’ll go with that.
Follow one of the many trails that they have. Our usual trails are the Butterfly Trail and the Discovery Trail which are the easy routes. There are plenty of things to do along the way such as huge pipes to make your own tune on, huts, and lookouts. The last time we went there horseriders passed us which was nice to see.
Pick out good sticks, leaves, and stones. Play hide and seek and shout to hear your voices echo.
The Gruffalo Trail – Download the Gruffalo Spotter app and have fun spotting the creatures from the Gruffalo and then meet the Gruffalo and Stick man at the end of the trail.
Take the bikes and follow one of the bike-friendly trails.
Go Ape – This is one for kids over 1 metre and there are various different adventures available.
Segway Trails – Suitable for kids over 10 years old. These look really cool but we’ve yet to have a go on them.
Once you’ve finished you can pop into the cafe for refreshments and maybe an ice cream or cake.
How much does it cost?
Visiting the forest is FREE but there is a charge for parking which you can find the info on the Forestry Commission Website.
Get a Gruffalo Activity Pack from the Rangers Office packed full of cool stuff to make your experience in the woods cooler – just £3.00.
We’re long overdue a trip to Morwellham Quay. The last time we went we had to stop half way there as Ryan felt car sick and he used his Nintendo DS as a sick bucket. It’s fair to say that the DS died a gruesome death that day. However, all was not lost as we had a fantastic day.
What is there to do?
Ride the Copper Mine Train – Take a ride on the train and admire the view before entering the George and Charlotte copper mine.
Traditional Crafts – Watch local Craftsmen working in the forge or pottery and rope making in the village.
Chocolate Making – Discover where chocolate came from and how it is made. Take part and make your own chocolate treat.
Victorian School – Experience school life in Victorian times including the strict regime and punishments.
The Brewery – Sample Beer and Cider from the brewery and learn how it’s produced.
Victorian bakery – Learn the traditional techniques, knead some dough and make your own bread roll.
Mining Copper – Smash a rock and see what riches you can find.
Panning for Gold – Kids love this traditional way of searching for precious metals.
The Garlandstone – Step on board one of the last cargo vessels built in England.
Play areas – Let off some steam in the kids play area.
Dress like a Victorian – There are loads of costumes for both adults and kids to try on which is a lot of fun.
10.00am – 5.00pm
Dogs are welcome and there is wheelchair access, but there are lots of cobbles.
Children under 3 years old: FREE
Children 3 – 16 years: £8.95
Family Ticket (2 adults & 2 children): £34.95
If you book your tickets online there is a 10% discount.
Happy Days – Monday started off with a grey sad-looking sky so I suggested a trip to the museum or the library. Isabelle fancied the museum with a Trip to the park on the way. We got ready in such a leisurely manner that it was almost lunchtime before we left the house. I was going to make a little picnic but there’s a great chip shop near the park so I thought we would be naughty and get some chips and eat them in the park. This part went so well. We got the chips and found a picnic table at the park. Isabelle ran off to the play equipment whilst I went to the bin where I was mugged by a seagull who was determined to get the chip wrappers. The seagull won!
We had a play on the equipment for less than 10 minutes before the heavens opened and it poured down with rain. Parents and kids all ran off in different directions looking for shelter. We started off under the slide but big blobs of water started to drop through the gaps so we had to run to a big tree to camp under until it stopped. Isabelle thought it was hilarious! When it finally got to drizzling we decided to make a dash to the museum – which of course doesn’t open on a Monday. We ended up at home wet but happy!
Tuesday was a workday for me and Isabelle was at Nanny and Papas. I did the final bag check for Ryan. It’s the last time I’m going to see him before he sets off on a plane to Spain tomorrow. I’m going to miss him but on the plus side, there will be snacks in the cupboard for the rest of us!
Thursday I was a bag of nerves as it was my last day in my current job. I’m going to miss my job! I’m going to miss my colleagues and I’m going to miss my desk. They made my last day lovely and I walked out with a smile on my face.
Friday Isabelle and I spent the day together. We took Charlie out for a walk and played games. It was my leaving do in the evening so I ate, drank and laughed the night away.
Saturday Isabelle went to the cinema kids club to watch Sing and later on we went to a reptile birthday party where we met all kinds of animals including a baby skunk, a tenrec and a tagu. The tagu was enormous but it was so so beautiful. We even touched a snake!
We’ve been to the Miniature Pony Centre quite a few times over the years, but we never get bored of it. There’s plenty to do and lots of open spaces for kids to have fun.
What is there to do?
Animals – Despite the name, there are lots of other animals as well as the ponies. Pop into the paddock where there are loads of ponies roaming around that you can stroke. See how many different colours and size ponies you can spot. If your kids take a real shine to the ponies they can take part in a Pony Care Day where they learn to look after a pony.
Birds and Poultry – You are most likely to be greeted by a peacock when you arrive at the Pony Centre as they wander around freely. There are also aviaries dotted around which are home to cockatiels and various breeds of chicken.
Miniature Donkeys – It’s not just miniature ponies at the centre. They also have miniature Mediterranean donkeys who love to be stroked and cuddled. If it rains, you will find the donkeys in the barn.
Baby Animals – Lots of babies have been born this year including foals, piglets, lambs, and chicks.
Pets Paddock – Here you will find some of the smaller animals including rabbits, guinea pigs, and creepy crawlies.
Heavy Horses – The Miniature Pony Centre is home to Buster the Shire Horse and Harris the Suffolk Punch. These are enormous beautiful animals who are usually in the barn, but if you’re lucky they might be in the arena.
Lionhead Rabbits – These are lovely rabbits with a furry mane. We had one and he was so soft and fluffy.
Giant African Land Snails – Eeek!
Giant Millipedes – kids love these. Isabelle has held quite a few of these.
Stick insects – See if you can spot them in amongst the branches.
Skinny Pigs – I only found out about these a few months ago. They are totally cute and totally bald!
As well as the animals there are indoor and outdoor play areas. Plenty of picnic areas and open spaces to sit on the grass.
Pony Rides – This is lovely to do if you get the chance and suitable from ages 3 – 10 years. The riders are suitably matched with a pony and are guided by the experienced staff. There is an additional £2.00 charge for this.
There is a lovely cafe where you can buy hot and cold food as well as drinks, snacks and ice creams.
Dogs are not allowed in the Pony Centre but they do provide free kennels.