Strafford on Avon and the MAD museum.

Hi sorry I haven’t written for a while, In all honesty I haven’t had much to write. With summer on its way I thought some of you might be already looking for ideas to put on the summer plan – so here is one of my suggestions. If your children like Marbles then you may want to hear about this little Museum in Strafford. In short both boys are marble obsessed, so when I saw a leaflet for here and you could use Tesco vouchers at the MAD Museum I thought we would check it out combine with a visit to Strafford for the day.

It was worth a visit as in the boys opinion the MAD museum in Strafford on Avon was the best museum Ever!

We parked in the Park and ride, taking the bus into Strafford to avoid struggling with parking this was easy and good value.

The MAD museum is a small museum, however we did manage to wasted a couple of hours inside. Advertised as a mechanical Art and Design museum, with over 90 pieces of kinetic Art. In short our version of the museum there are several very interesting and large marble runs, with lots of buttons to push. Plus a area where you can build a marble run of your own which the boys enjoyed the challenge. It wasn’t quite what I expected from the advertising, I personally expected a bit more variety of what was on offer. However the boys were happy so I was happy, even if it was not quite what I believed it would be.

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Photo by Anthony on Pexels.com

The boys would of stay longer, however Mummy and daddy were marbled out! There is only so long you can look at and play with Marbles!

We combined our visit with a lovely walk along the river, a coffee and a trip across the river on the oldest chain ferry. The day worked out as a fairly cheap day out, Free tickets for the museum via Tesco, park and ride, coffee/ Ice cream and a free walk.IMG_1220IMG_1223.JPG

Enjoy emmas xxx

© 2019 by Emmas Creative Love. Powered by WordPress.com. All Rights Reserved.

 

Natural History museum at tring.

Another simple and affordable family day out idea which we have visited recently.

The Natural History Museum at Tring was once the private museum of Lionel Walter, 2nd Baron Rothschild; today it is under the control of the Natural History Museum, London. It houses one of the finest collections of stuffed mammals, birds, reptiles and insects in the United Kingdom, Stretched over several floors. Not as big as the museum in London however there are still plenty of different animals to see without having to take a visit to the city of London. It offers a few hours of entertainments for kids and the bonus is it is free to visit the museum which is located on Akeman Street, in Tring, Hertfordshire HP23 6AP. The museum has a free car park, a café and gift shop. If you wish you can combine it with a walk, coffee or lunch in tring or a visit to the local reserve.

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I personally don’t think tring is as good as the museum in London but it offers similar experience on a smaller scale without the hassle of going into London. I would say allow 1 to 2 hours depending on your own children attention span for the museum. They do provide free activity sheets and hold events though out the year – take a look at their website for more info. However the boys did really enjoy it for a few hours.

I personally would suggest going later in the day. The museum can get really busy first thing, especially on a rainy day making it hard to move around the museum and see anything. If possible leave buggies in the car as there is not much space to move around the museum at the best of times, due to tight space around displays.

Opening times: Mon- sat :10.00-17.00. Sunday :14.00 – 17.00

Enjoy emmas xxx

© 2019 by Emmas Creative Love. Powered by WordPress.com. All Rights Reserved.

 

Kite flying at Dunstable downs.

     If you are looking for another simple and affordable day out (a very nearly free day out – apart from the parking/fuel cost) I can personally recommend Dunstable downs (based on one of our family visit recently) it is somewhere different to go as a family, isn’t going to cost you the earth, if you are looking for an outdoor walk with children.

Dunstable downs sits at the highest point of Bedfordshire near whipsnade zoo, Is an extensive chalk grassland within the Chiltern’s area of outstanding natural beauty.  Offering a wind – swept ridge which provides ideal conditions nearly all year round for kite flying or a variety of air sports.  You can have a go at kite flying or just watch others have ago. take a walk along one of the footpaths which include circular walks, stand on top of the downs for a great view with a picnic or have a coffee from the café. The site is owned by the National trust, however you do not need to be a member as free for all to visit.IMG_20190309_151604.jpg

  • Non NT members £3.50 FLAT RATE parking allows you to park all day. (free for NT members – just remember your cards).
  • Kite flying  is all year around –  have a go or just watch (shop sells a great selection if you need one or forget one to take). I have yet to go when no one is flying a kite – There is always some to watch!
  •  The area is Dog friendly (even the café has a section for you to sit with your dog).
  • The national trust provide a Good informative website if you need anymore questions answered.
  • NT café and gift shop within the Chiltern’s gateway centre.
  • Cycling routes are available if you fancy taking your bikes.IMG_20190309_145117.jpgIMG_20190309_145113.jpg

Address: whipsnade rd. Dunstable, Bedfordshire, LU6 2GY.

Enjoy emmas xxx

© 2019 by Emmas Creative Love. Powered by WordPress.com. All Rights Reserved.

 

Lego Discovery Centre- Birmingham.

Again another review based on a family day out, as we have been a bit lacks on our own art and crafts lately – focusing on playing in the gardens, walks, merccano and science kits. This time my review is based on our visit to The Lego Discovery centre in Birmingham. We visited one weekend before half-term on a 40% of voucher.I had heard very mixed reviews most negative to be honest so really was wary and not keen. However we decided that we would take a visit because the boys had been begging us for ages (thanks to the children ads on TV and there Lego obsession), it was indoor, so suited the cold weather and again we had a voucher that tempted us. We were pleasantly surprised (though not so sure if we had paid full price we would say it was not an overpriced day out). Both boys loved it even if it wasn’t quite mummy and daddy cup of tea!!022.jpg

Yes it was small and only takes a few hours, but numbers are controlled (make sure you pre-book on-line – we were glad we did, as when we arrived at 10 all tickets were sold out for the day). It was clean and well organised. Staffs were friendly, helpful and focused on their jobs. There are two small rides, that don’t really have a thrill factor to them, however the boys enjoyed and we took two rides on both.

We watched all 3 movies at the 4d cinema (The Lego movie – our favourite, Lego ninja and Lego knights) all were good fun and enjoyed. 025.jpg026.jpg

We also enjoyed a visit to the mini land, As adults we enjoyed looking at the actual model scenes, whilst the boys enjoyed playing with all the interacted buttons more. The boys then enjoyed building Lego cars to test on the test track. Meeting the Lego characters for photo’s, Playing in the soft play area. Our eldest loved and spent ages designing his own movie. 024

021.jpgThe boys gave the day out a 10/10. Mummy and daddy not quite as keen, however it was a good day out and in our own bias personnel opinion it did not live up to the negative reviews we had heard. Though despite this, be prepared it’s not a full day out at most 4 hours if being generous, I would only recommend if your child really loves Lego, aged under 10 at a push and you don’t have to pay full price to get in. Plus make sure you book on-line to avoid disappointment (most voucher codes can be added online).

Enjoy emmas xxx

© 2019 by Emmas Creative Love. Powered by WordPress.com. All Rights Reserved.

Green Dragon rare breeds farm and eco centre.

002.jpgA few week-ends ago, just before the snow we decided to visit Green dragon rare breeds farm and eco centre near Quainton in Buckinghamshire. Tempted by an advertisement on Facebook and prompted by the fact ‘kids go free’ with a paying adult in January (Making it £18 for 4 of us) and wanting to do something in the fresh air. We were really glad we did as we had a great few hours out hour.

The farm is fairly small but well-kept and offers plenty of hands – on experiences, talks and displays. We were very impressed by the staff, quite often you visit family attractions, where the staff are unenthusiastic, grumpy and put in minimum effort. This was far from the case, all the staff here at the farm were happy, chatty and informative, which is a real credit to them especially as it was absolutely freezing, a few hail storms and bitter in the wind. It was obvious that the staff enjoyed there jobs, all were really informative, friendly and answered our question with great knowledge.003

All the animals were out in the animal paddocks and barn, looked well looked after and were active, Despite it being freezing.  The boys enjoyed grooming a Shetland pony, holding a cockroach, watching a bird of prey show, digging in the sand pit for dinosaur bones, riding a pedal go-kart and playing in the soft play.  Apart from the farm animals, there is an indoor messy play barn, wildlife zone, exotic pets corner, peddle Go-karts, outdoor play area, indoor soft play area, picnic shelter, café and shop.004.jpg

If your Local, in my own personal opinion it is definitely worth a visit to this lovely well run farm for a couple of hours especially those with younger children. Depending on older children’s interest, some may find it to small or not big enough to hold there interest. This is my own bias review/opinion based on our own personal experience of a few hours there. We had a great few hours out, enjoying family time and was so impressed by the staff.

Enjoy emmas xxx

© 2019 by Emmas Creative Love.

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Marwell zoo

IMG_20181231_134648.jpgWe visited Marwell zoo near Winchester during the Christmas school holidays.  I thought I would share my own personal opinion on the Zoo based on our own experience – with you! We have visited the zoo previously as it is just under 1 hour from home and have always had a good day out, though seeing the animals has always been abit hit and mix. This visit was prompted by the fact we had two ‘kids go free’ vouchers and we wanted to do something in the fresh air so we thought we would take a visit.

We were really glad we did as we had a great day out. All the animals were out and active, unlike previous summer visits to the zoo. We saw every animal up close!IMG_20181231_150906.jpg

  Marwell Zoo is a well spaced out zoo and crowds are not ever a problem. Easy to find (lots of brown signs). It is a fairly big zoo (140 acres) for walking with young children however there is a free land train that goes around the zoo one way. I recommend using this where possible it relieves tired legs for little ones and keeps the interest going. There is also a proper rail train which you can pay extra for too, though I can’t comment on this as it has never been open when we have visited.

The zoo is open every day and has two prices throughout the year (there is a cheaper price to go in the winter months). Plus you do have the choice to pay with or without Gift aid ( a voluntary donation). There are animal talks, feeds, cafes, gift shop and playgrounds. Parking is free (always a bonus) in a big car park close to the park entrance. We always take a pack lunch and eat it in the indoor picnic room, so can’t comment on the café. The shop is near the entrance/exit, big and has a wide choice of gifts typically priced for a visitors attraction.

The animals you can see to name a few include Giraffes, Cheetahs, zebras, tigers, penguins, flamingos, rhinos, wallaby’s, reptiles, fish, insects etc.

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Despite mixed opinion on Zoo – I do believe animals should live in their own wild habitats. However I have two children (and myself) who love animals, and seeing them up close only helps increase that interest, love and knowledge. Plus I do appreciate that Zoo’s have changed there agendas in past years and the reality is that some animals will be protected from dying out due to programmes and funds created from/by Zoo’s.

Enjoy emmas xxx

© 2019 by Emmas Creative Love. Powered by WordPress.com. All Rights Reserved.

Fun with Ice.

Hi hope you all had a good week-end in the snow. Recently I saw this idea on a face book page and thought it looked pretty cool, so we decided to give it a go during the snow, doing our own version. It was a very  straight forward idea and easy to do, however our ice sculptures didn’t quite turn out as cool as the ones we saw on-line!

Take a look  at my project section or follow the link below if your interested to read more or want to give it a go.

Fun with Ice.

IMG_1169Enjoy emmas xxx

© 2019 by Emmas Creative Love. Powered by WordPress.com. All Rights Reserved.

 

The national history museum and the science museum.

   As a family we love to spend days out, spending valuable time together. Cost is always something we consider looking for either free or at the cheaper end of the scale. Over the holidays we visited The national history museum and the science museum in London. A trip we have done a couple of times now on a Sunday or a bank holiday to take advantage of the free parking. (London on the train is a shocking cost for a family of four and is an unrealistic cost for us personally as a family). However having spent a lot of my earlier years in London it is something I want my children to experience and both really enjoy visiting ‘the big smoke’.

   If you go early enough a free parking space can be found in London near most points of interests (9am-10am seem to be the best time to ensure a space – any later and it can be a struggle). Though in the past it used to be that you could park free all day in the same spot, however it is worth pointing out this time we noticed a lot of spaces had a time limit on them even on a Sunday/ bank holiday of 3 or 4 hours. We found a space for 4 hours near the museums, for us this was fine as the boys or my attention in a museum probably doesn’t stretch any longer. Plus on this occasion we had plan to only visit the museum. However if planning to visit for longer or getting the underground elsewhere it would be worth re- investigating in finding spaces that allow for longer.

    If you have Curious Kids of any age the National history or the science museum both at Kensington in London are a perfect place to visit. You can choose to visit just one or dip in and out of both as both our next door to each other. Entry to both of the museums is free (donations welcome) so a perfect activity to do when visiting London cheaply with children.  Though tickets are required for some of the events, activities, galleries and special exhibitions if you choose to visit these (we haven’t yet, so cant comment on these personally).

In the National History Museum children can get up close with nature and creatures. Next door in the Science museum without stating the obvious children can get up close to all types of science.

   There is so much of interest to explore in the galleries at both, they cannot all be done in a day! There is plenty of hands-on and interactive activities to keep children of all ages interested at both of the Museums. We always find something new each visit. Both my boys have different interests and likes so we tend to agree they choose initially two zones each then dependant on time we will visit extras.

   This time in the natural history museum my boys chose and enjoyed the interactive Dinosaurs (The big TRex was a hit unlike last time which scared my little one to a big uncontrollable melt down) and looking for scenes from ‘Andy dinosaurs adventures’. The clock can be seen in the front entrance for anyone looking for it. We missed it first time as it is quite hidden away among the crowds. My big tip would be to do the dinosaur section early as it gets busier as the day goes on. My youngest loved the Mammals spotting dolphins in the blue zone and then the bug zone offered lots of interaction with button pressing . Whilst the eldest really enjoyed reading in and exploring the volcano and earthquake zone the escalator though the earth core is always a big hit to get to these sections.

    At the science museum we always spend time in the space and vehicles section despite there being more to explore. The boys are quite happy just to do these two sections.

    To help keep costs down and due to the added complications of son with food allergies we always take a picnic for lunch. there is always somewhere to pop yourself down to eat inside or out (big picnic seating area upstairs in the science museum). Quite often we just take a breather on a bench for lunch between the two museums in the fresh air. There are several cafes if you would rather grab something to eat or drink.

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 The Basics:

Both Open daily: 10.00–18.00.
Galleries start to close 30 minutes before the museum closes.

Science Museum: Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2DD

The Natural History Museum: Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD

Enjoy emmas xxx

© 2019 by Emmas Creative Love. Powered by WordPress.com. All Rights Reserved.

 

2019

Well hello and a belated welcome to 2019 better late than never (still in January?). I hope all is going well so far. Apologies I put the website on a back bench for a while. Busy spending time with the boys enjoying Christmas, then trying to catch up with myself when they returned to school. A list of ‘must do one day’ jobs was getting slightly to long. I decided to hit it head on – so the crazy muddled mind could calm down. Not sure the mind has but some of the jobs have been completed. Finally I can right my first blog of 2019 be it not very exciting!

Don’t you just hate January! I am personally not a fan, Its cold and miserable! The cold, germs and dark seems never-ending. Not doing much to entice people outdoors. Despite trying to smile though it and be positive. No one seems to smile and grumpy people seem everywhere. Roll on summer!!!! Despite this we have kept ourselves busy in our own little world called family.

This has included exploring new puzzles, games (monopoly has been the big favourite), science and craft kits given to us as gifts. So yes we have been busy being creative, however not much to post on here as they have all been cheat methods. We now have a wooden plane, boat, painted money-box and universe mobile on display.

Shortly to follow will be a review on two of the places we visit over the Christmas holidays.

The national history museum and science in London.

Marwell Zoo,

Plus a simple no cooker recipe for a traditional ‘Rice Krispies treats’.

So as always please keep checking back, follow, comment, share or like.

Alongside this I will be adding the remaining photos for ‘elf on the shelf’ (I know that no one will be interested in this year as very late – It just never happened but they will be early for next year and not lost between now and then).

I promise to start blogging and placing more projects ideas as they happen on here again after the slow start to 2019 so keep your eyes peeled!

Keep smiling and think of the positives – summer will be here before we know it.

Enjoy emmas xxx

© 2019 by Emmas Creative Love. Powered by WordPress.com. All Rights Reserved.

Cookies and elf on the shelf ideas.

Just a quick one to say Hi and let you know I have just added Oatmeal cookies.to the projects section under simple Cooking with kids. These are really simple to cook and taste delicious. They also freeze really well if you fancy cooking them up and keeping them for a go to at Christmas time. Though in our house they are normally eaten before they cool down.

So Elfie and mischief have revisited us this Dec, So far :

Day 1: arrival via parcel delivery.

IMG_20171130_211426Day 2: The elf camera has been installed. (This has worked great on our eldest, for behaviour. However the youngest is completely freaked out by it).IMG_20181202_015030.jpgDay 3: Elfie and mischief have been drawing snowmen.IMG_20181203_004930.jpgTonight they will be at the bowling alley.

Enjoy emmas xxx

© 2018 by Emmas Creative Love. Powered by WordPress.com. All Rights Reserved.