Saturday, 20 September 2014

Our trip to the Lake District in pictures

We recently had a little family trip to the Lake District. We stayed in a little apartment in the centre of Windermere.

We were so lucky with the weather and had a lovely lazy time, going for walks and picnicking by the lake. The little man also had his first boat ride and first paddle.
 First view of Lake Windermere
 Trip on the ferry to Sawrey
Waking up to find a massive Indian procession gathered in the carpark at the rear of our apartment
 A beautiful display from the dancers in the procession
The boats on the waters edge at Ambleside
Bright blue skies and sunny days
Lake Windermere from above
 The valley looking down to the lake
Yeah, I'm very impressed with the scenery ... not
Sleepy seagull
The sun setting at Lake Windermere
Enjoying the grass and his plastic ground sheet! Strange child!
First time paddling at Lake Coniston
Throwing stones 
Across Lake Coniston
Cheeky chops covered in toast
First time on a boat ...
... the sun on his face, the wind through his hair ....
Watching a robin at the park in Grasmere
 Picknicking at Coniston
Coniston as the sun starts to set
Swans and babies on Coniston
Enjoying his picnic
In front of a rather misty Lake Ullswater on our way home

Haberman Dinosaur sippy cup review

Haberman are a brand I have only recently discovered though they've been around for over 30 years and whilst working with paediatricians and dental experts have created a variety of innovative and original feeding solutions for children. 
The brand is stocked across the high street in shops such as Boots, Morrisons and Sainsbury's.The available products range from breast pumps to sippy cups and beakers.   
Harberman have recently brought out a trio of Dinosaur sippy cups aimed at babies 6 months and above. Each cup comes in a bright colour with a dinosaur motif on the front. They have snap-on lids and a long spout which allows a baby to drink independently without getting soaked from any spilled liquid. Each cup has a leak proof valve which prevents water leaking regardless of which way up the cup is held.
I've mentioned previously that we've been using the Doidy cup which I still really like but it's not the most practical when we're out and about as it takes seconds for the little man to completely soak himself and everything round him. We need a cup that's not going to drip or leak as he insists on holding on to it, shaking it and banging it off anything close by. 
We were kindly sent the blue sippy cup to try out after it's recent launch.
The cup is extremely light weight, with wide handles which make it easy for little hands to grasp and hold. 
It's suitable for use from 6 months and costs a rather reasonable £2.95. The cup can hold up to 250mls of liquid and is dishwasher friendly and can also be used in the microwave if you remove the lid. 

This has quickly become the little mans favourite cup. He can easily and effectively drink from the cup and the bonus for me is the anti spill invention!

The cup is great and does what it's supposed too, the only issue I have with it, is the fact it's quite difficult to get the lid on and take off. I usually end up using my teeth. I know it's a good thing as it means it's less likely of coming off during use but it's a bit of a nightmare for an impatient Mammy!

*We were sent the cup for review purposes. Opinions are my own*

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Little Tikes exclusively at Asda

We're huge Little Tikes fans in our house, and the little man has a large collection already, but when we found out that Asda had introduced a new and exclusive range of bright, colourful and engaging toys we couldn't wait to try some out.

Little Tikes Hippo Piano Mate*
The brightly coloured hippo sits sturdily on the floor and is suitable from 6 months. It can be used in two different ways - simply as a piano or as a popping piano where the balls are spat out of the hippos mouth after popping round inside it's tummy. 

It has three chunky keys which light up and play music when they're pressed by little fingers. There's a wide hole on the top which the two accompanying balls can be fed back into.
The little man seems to really enjoy the Hippo Piano Mate, he prefers playing with the balls, throwing round the room and attempting to put them back into the hippo. He's mighty impressed by the fact they come out of it's mouth and hits the hippos head in anticipation.
I like the Hippo Piano Mate as despite it being a musical toy it doesn't have an annoying tune or a really loud sound so it's not too annoying for Mammy either.  It's a sturdy little toy which has already taken a battering from my over enthusiastic child and lived to tell the tale. It comes already pre loaded with AA batteries which gets another thumbs up from me, so no taking apart remotes and clocks to find batteries that might fit. 

After the success of the Hippo Piano Mate I picked up Little Tikes Al the Musicalligator on a recent trip to Asda while we were doing our food shopping. I love his name, I'm a total sucker for a pun! He is usually £14 but was on offer for £10. 

He's a brightly coloured alligator which dissembles into separate musical instruments (though I hadn't realised this until I brought him home). I did initially think he was just an alligator shaped musical keyboard.

His bits include a light up xylophone, castanets as his head, shaker feet and a tail that makes a noise when you rub a stick up and down it.

Someone seems to like Al! The little man is obsessed with the alligators tail and loves waving it round while hitting it with the stick.

Asda currently have a range of Little Tikes toys on offer, where you can pick up 2 toys for a rather reasonable £14. It's ideal for those huge Christmas shopping lists or simply to spoil your little person. 

*We were gifted the Hippo Piano Mate. Opinions are my own*

Sunday, 14 September 2014

An afternoon at Old Hall Farm, Bouth, Lake District

While we were in the Lakes another place we visited was Old Hall Farm - a traditional working farm set in a very scenic location. 

It cost £15 for entry for the three of us. Hubby and I were each £7.50 and the little man was free as he is under 5. Children aged between 5 and 15 cost £5. 

We weren't too sure what to expect as while we were in the Lakes we really struggled to get both internet on our phones or wifi, so we couldn't check reviews or details online. We only knew about the farm as we picked up a leaflet while we were out and about. 
The farm is located in Bouth, south of Lake Windermere, it's well sign posted but you do need to go up some narrow lanes to get there. There's a good sized car park and everything is suitable for pushchair access. 
It's a historic working farm with a variety of animals, including horses, cows and pigs. There's also a children's play area, and cute little tea room which you can visit without paying to get into the farm itself. 
The farm was pleasant enough but to be honest we found there was very little to do, despite the fact their website (which I managed to eventually have a read of when we got home) advertises various activities being available, including Jersey cow milking, ice cream making and animal feeding. We saw none of this taking place during out visit, or any option to as to do it.

As our son is very young that didn't bother us too much but if you visit with older children I think you may be a little disappointed and I think they'd get bored very quickly. 
There are cows, pigs, dogs, horses and ponies, a donkey and some pigs as well as chickens running round everywhere. You can also wander round the barns looking at the old machinery and farm equipment.
There's a barn filled with bales of straw and a tractor for children to explore and play on. The little man loved playing with the straw but was determined to eat it. 
The little man and his Dad were lucky enough to have a short ride on a small pony and trap. He couldn't have looked less impressed if he tried!
There's a little area for small children to play in opposite the tea room. It's really sweet with little diggers and tractors and there are picnic benches so parents can sit and watch.
We paid a visit to the Chicken Shed tea room which is lovely. You can have a quick cuppa or try some of their delicious home made scones with jam and cream. The prices weren't too bad, they were about average for The Lakes. I think it cost us around £10 for two cuppas and two scones. We sat outside and enjoyed the sun while we ate our scones and were pestered incessantly by a black Labrador who ended up getting half of our scones. I can imagine some wouldn't be quite so keen with a dogs head on their lap while the ate their dinner.

Overall I thought the farm was quite nice, small but a pleasant place to visit. The little man doesn't need to much entertaining so it was nice to walk round and look at the animals and let him touch things but I think older children would find it difficult to stay entertained. It kept us occupied for a couple of hours but with refreshments and entry it was quite expensive considering what we say.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

A day out at Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway

After our recent trip too Keighley and Worth Valley railway and enjoying it a lot we decided on a trip to Lakeside and Haverthwaite railway during our recent trip to the Lake District. I feel like I'm becoming some kind of train buff and railway enthusiast. Hubby has already suggested I need a notebook and anorak!
The railway is at the Southern end of Lake Windermere and is pretty easy to find. You can start your journey at either Lakeside or Havethwaite. We visited both prior to our journey and I would recommend parking and boarding the train at Havethwaite if you're visiting by car as the parking is much cheap and the cafe is a lot nicer than the one at Lakeside.
There are combination offers available with your train tickets. You can combine a trip on the train with a trip on the steamers on the lake, or a lake cruise at Bowness. There are a variety of other combinations you can choose too. Rather than a boat trip we decided to combine a trip on the train with a trip to the Aquarium at Lakeside as we'd never visited before.

It cost £25 for hubby and I, with parking at Havethwaite. It was free for the little man as under 5's travel for free. It's by no means a cheap day out, especially if you have children over the age of 5 or a large family.
The train was fine, there was plenty of room in the carriages but there are no obvious staff around to help you and we did struggle a little getting onto the train with the pushchair as the doors are quite narrow. Once we were on though it was fine, thankfully it wasn't too busy so we could watch out the windows and stand up without any problems.
The timetable for the trains is very regular though the journey only takes about 15 minutes, the stations are at Havethwaite, Newby Bridge Halt and Lakeside. You can stop at any of them but there's very little at Newby Bridge, we were told you can go for some walks nearby but as we had the pushchair we just gave that stop a miss.
The passing scenery is very beautiful and there are plenty of landscape photo opportunities along the route. I was grateful for the sunshine during our visit.
The journey is over very quickly though, and all of a sudden we were at Lakeside and it was time to visit the Aquarium. Sadly it wasn't great. It was quite small and all I could see were cobwebs! The little man did enjoy watching the fish swimming round though, especially in the glass tunnel that ran under one of the larger tanks.
I think we made a bit of a bad choice with our combination ticket. I think we probably should have just paid for return fares on the train rather than a combined one for the aquarium too.
After our trip on the train and visit to the Aquarium we headed back to Havethwaite on the return leg of the train journey. We ended up ordering food and a cuppa in the cafe. I was REALLY impressed. The portions sizes were huge (try a baguette) and it was delicious. The staff were really friendly and helpful too. Next time we visit the Lakes I think we'll pop there just to eat, it was that nice!
Havethwaite and Lakeside are both worth a visit if you're in the Lakes, but it's not really a purse friendly day out.