Family Days Out

A Beach and Inflatable Play Park at Lee Valley

If you’re planning your diaries for the school summer holidays, you might want to include a visit to the Lee Valley White Water centre. Just 5 minutes from the M25 in Hertfordshire, this top notch white water sports centre was built for the Olympics, so it’s probably the best place in the UK for canoeing or rafting adventures. (You can see my white water experiences over on Space In Your Case). But the water isn’t the main reason you’ll want to go this summer. Unless you have older kids with a fancy for it. Lee Valley White Water have installed …

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Climbing the O2 Dome – what to expect when you climb the millenium dome

We’ve had a couple of big birthdays in our family recently. Just before Christmas, I made a big song and dance about turning 50. Ok, so really it was all an attempt to justify the complete wardrobe haul spending spree I went on. Call it mid-life crisis, if you will. I don’t care. Once you’re 50 it’s ok to stop caring what others think, right? Anyway, it was great, we celebrated in New York – well, mid-flight en-route to the Big Apple, to be exact, but who’s counting? Oh yeah, right. That would be me. Anyway, again… my brother and I …

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Kidzania London review

A review of Kidzania London, where the kids are in charge of learning about real life on the job.

If you have children, Kidzania must be on your radar. Mine had been begging to go for a while, so over the half term holidays we booked in, and I have to tell you, they were really excited, especially my eldest, who was looking forward to the independence of forging her way in a mock-up of the real world. Billed as a ‘real-life role play experience,’ Kidzania offers children the opportunity to get a feel for what it might be like to take on over 60 different workplace roles, earning money in return for tasks completed. Here’s what to expect …

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Meet Meerkats: Fall in Love (review of Paradise Wildlife Park)

The meet the meerkats experience at Paradise Wildlife park is a very special treat

Have you ever been this close to a meerkat? I snapped this picture over the half term holidays at Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne, and I wasn’t using my zoom lens. I was actually sitting on the stump right next to these two guys as they got up close and personal after their feed. Aren’t they adorable? The Bug has long been a fan of meerkats. My self-professed ‘next David Atteborough’ boy loves anything about animals and nature, and whilst he might struggle to remember what 7 x 6 is, the space in his brain reserved for creature trivia is …

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Skydiving without Fear

I swore I'd never go skydiving, but an indoor skydiving session with my kids almost saw me signing up for the real deal! Here's what we thought of iFly at Milton Keynes

Indoor Skydiving with iFly I swore I would never go skydiving. We’re pretty adventurous in our family, and between us we’re up for most things. But jumping out of a plane? No. Not for me. My daughter claims she would, and also thinks that bungee jumping is something everyone should try. (Also not happening in my lifetime). My son is the most sedate amongst us, and probably won’t be testing my parental panic meter with daredevil activities any time soon, but with a husband who’s planning to throw himself off a mountain for his 50th birthday, it’s fair to say …

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Travel: Piran Meadows – Luxury Family Fun in Cornwall (review)

Piran Meadows resort and spa is a wonderful mix of family fun activities, and complete relaxation

Luxury (noun): two pillows per person.   Hoseasons Cornwall Piran Meadows Review When I walk into a bedroom which will be mine for the duration of my holiday, and see abundant pillows, I know I’m on a luxury trip. There’s usually a TV on the opposite wall, and I know I will sit, plumped against my copious pillows reading my book, or watching a movie with my family. Luxury. So it is at Piran Meadows, in Cornwall, a small resort in White Cross, not far from the glorious beaches of Newquay. And of course, that’s not the best part. It …

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Dinosaur Takeover at Whipsnade Zoo

The otters at Whipsnade are usually out and on form

Yesterday we went to the zoo. The Bug turned 9, and his birthday wish was a trip to the zoo. Not a surprise. He is obsessed with animals. He longs to be the next David Attenborough, and I know better than to question his knowledge of the natural world. His school report this year said: Evan has particularly shone during science lessons on animals this year, his subject knowledge is amazing and he has enjoyed sharing weird and wonderful facts with the class. Proud mother alert. So it wasn’t a surprise that Whipsnade zoo was his choice. What I didn’t …

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Where to see Bluebells in Hertfordshire

Photographing in the bluebells at Ringshall

Ringshall, 2008. It’s been years since I updated our photo albums. Since the Bug was born, in fact, and I somehow lost a whole section of time in my day. It was something I always pushed to the bottom of my list, from where it nagged me weekly. For seven years. Last week I finally began the process of sifting through old images on old laptops and even older hard drives; and I found this picture of my daughter, aged 4, in the woods at Ringshall, on the Ashridge estate. It’s not the perfect photo – I don’t do Photoshop, …

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Days Out: What to expect when you visit Tower Bridge London

Great places to visit in England: The view from Tower Bridge is spectacular - if you dare to take it in!

A heart-stopping view from Tower Bridge When you step on the walkway of Tower Bridge, you might wonder what’s in store. It’s a bridge, admittedly a pretty cool, rather iconic bridge, but still, it’s just a bridge, right? We had travelled into London for a rare family day out (rare because it’s unusual to find all four of us without plans on a weekend day), with the goal of exploring the Tower of London. We hadn’t bargained on the queues though, had set off a little late, and required stops for toilets and coffee along the way. We decided the cost …

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3 Things to do with Kids at Half Term in London

As the half-term holidays loom, frazzled parents know that unless they keep children busy and having fun, a week off can easily turn into a struggle to get through till term starts again. But it doesn’t have to be like that, provided you have a few plans to keep them active and engaged. Here are our tips for things to do with kids at half term in London. Scroll down for a list of ideas from elsewhere around the UK. Things to do with Kids at Half Term Try a Freaky Rivet day out Freaky Rivet is an organisation dedicated to …

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Theatre: A Curiouser Alice in Wonderland for teenagers

A new kind of Alice In Wonderland in London examines teen issues in the digital world - review

  “I totally, utterly hate being me!” Not something we’ve heard yet here, but at 11, I’m aware that this statement is a possible assertion for my daughter at some point in the next few years. Just before Christmas we went together to see at the National Theatre, to discover what might be lurking round the corner of her teenage years. The first thing to say about Damon Albarn’s musical adaptation of the Lewis Carroll classic, is that it’s not suitable for children under the age of 10. It says so on the website, and it’s true, not just …

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Travel: an Incredible Day aboard the Thames Clippers

Seeing London from a boat's-eye-view gives you a whole new perspective on the capital

  Yesterday we spent the day on the river Thames. I say we spent the day; in actual fact we spent just two 30 minute trips on the Thames, and filled the rest of our time on its banks, enjoying some of the things that – despite living a 20 minute train ride away from the Capital – we’ve never bothered to do before. It was such a fun day, that we will definitely be going back. We were invited as guests of MBNA Thames Clippers, to experience their fleet of boats that transport both tourists and commuters across London. …

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Expressions #14: Extreme thrills on the Flowrider!

The happiest girl in the world on the Flowrider!

 Thrilled. Just look at that happy face. She’s a thrillseeker, my daughter. She does have a safety gene that kicks in occasionally, but if an instructor tells her what to do and says it will probably be fine, she is first in line to give it a go. I love that about her. Actually Daddy works on the Marketing team at Thorpe Park, and had been considering installing a Flowrider continuous surfing wave at the park, so he booked us all in to check it out. Immediately we arrived, I knew that myself and the Bug would be sitting it out with a …

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