Its been almost a year since we last published a post on 2 Bottles of Milk, so where have we been?
Last Christmas I was so ill that I spent most of Christmas Day in bed asleep and it got me thinking about how hectic our lives were and how we needed to relax and let something rest for a while and that was unfortunately the blog! With everything that Leo had gone through and a new baby, as well as life in general it was the easiest thing to let go and allow more time for all the other stuff that was going on at that point.
Over the last couple of weeks I have been using #mysundayphoto to revisit some of the highlights of the last year. After a stressful year it’s has been nice to look at the good times we’ve had.
This week we are off to the woods.
Way back in January the boys and I took a trip to a local woods that I have frequented since I was a toddler. It is a lovely woods that has changed a lot over the years but is still a firm favourite of mine and now my family.
The above picture was taken of the boys whilst they were sitting on a carved seat. The woods are a managed woods and trees are periodically cut down and every now and then you come across a stub where it has been deliberately left and carved into a seat. Oliver in particular loved coming across these and climbing on them and pretending he was king of the castle.
Over the next last few Sundays of 2017 I am going to be using the #mysundayphoto posts to have a look back over our last year as a family.
We’ve had quite a stressful year and it is nice to be able to look back on the fun times we’ve had and the exciting events that have taken place in that time, such as the birth of our third son, George.
Starting us off is a trip to Disneyland
Back in the Summer we were lucky enough to get to go to Disneyland Paris for a few days with the rest of our family. In fact I posted a #mysundayphoto of our time there.
The above photo was taken in the Inventions Restaurant that is located within the Disneyland Hotel. We booked a character meal for the boys as we weren’t too sure how they would react seeing them within the crowded environment of the park, we needn’t have worried on that front.
The meal was a fantastic idea and time though as the boys really got to interact with five different characters from the Disney family. As you can see in the above photo of Oliver Mickey Mouse was one of those characters, along with Pluto, Donald Duck, Tigger and Eyore.
We would thoroughly recommend a character meal if you can stretch your budget, because although on the expensive side it was fully worth the money we paid.
Yesterday Oliver went on his first ever school trip to a local Farm and it’s got me thinking at how he is now growing up.
The thing is I don’t know if I’m ready for it. I can vividly remember him being born and bringing him home from the hospital and now he is venturing off on adventures with his pre-prep school.
When I went to pick him up from the school yesterday afternoon he was full of the excitement of spending the day with his teachers and friends and everything they had done at the farm, including seeing a Sheep race, and I am pleased that he is growing up and becoming independent. However inside there is a part of me that realises that this is the start of a long journey that eventually leads to him moving out and getting a place of his own.
Now I realise that, that is a long way off but it did dawn on me, as he was telling me all about his day, that he was starting to move away from being almost completely dependant on myself or Keighley.
Oliver starts Primary School in September and so I know that during his time there he will be having more day trips out and also trips out to friends houses and also trips out with friends. I also know that this is part of growing up and that every child and parent go through it. There is part of me though that has been taken by surprise by the speed it’s happened. As I said at the beginning of this post I can vividly remember Oliver being born and bringing him home from the hospital and also those first few days however over the last few months he has grown in confidence and character and now in experiences beyond Mum and Dad.
There is a huge part of me that is looking forward to what the next few months brings in terms of Oliver’s development but there is also a small part that is sad to see that development.
On Sunday 9th August we went to Marsh Farm for Kidsfest 2015.
When we arrived we had to queue to get in the car park a sign of how popular this event is. On entry to the Farm we were immediately greeted by happy staff who were only to willing to help you out if you had a problem.
Due to the size of the event we decided to have a look round and then go back to the things that appealed. We did stop however at the fire engines and police vehicles and Oliver got to pretend to drive a fire engine and Daddy a police van.
The emergency vehicles were right next to the kids soft play and café which was our next stop so Leo could have a bottle. Whilst in there Keighley was queuing up for drinks for us, Oliver went to play in the soft play whilst I fed Leo and kept an eye on Oliver.
However the fire alarm went off and Oliver went into panic mode meaning he couldn’t find his way out. My sister in law went into get him out but couldn’t find him. By this point Keighley was getting panicked and so was I to be honest. My sister in law took Leo out the building and I went round to get Oliver, however a member of staff ran past me straight up into the soft play and brought him out in seconds. I can not praise him enough for his speed.
Following our eventful bottle break we went out onto a huge field with loads of different activities and a couple of stages one with dancers on and another with a local radio on which also hosted Mr Bloom of Cbeebies fame.
Whilst we watched Mr Bloom we ate lunch and decided what we would do next. Once we had finished we headed for the bouncy castles, now a firm Oliver favourite.
There were around ten different bouncy castles so many Oliver was on and off so quickly and on to the next one, although he does love the ones with slides on.
Being a farm we obviously expected to see animals and lots of them and this was our main disappointment of the day, yes they had the odd sheep, cow and pig but not anywhere near as many as you’d expect. They also had a couple of Lama and rabbits but not much more. I don’t think it helps that I remember Marsh Farm when it was a proper working farm and it seems to now have become a bit to focused on the other parts beyond the animals which is all well and good but also disappointing.
That being said we had a wonderful day and we would go again but this time we would be aware of the lack of animals.
Would we recommend Marsh Farm and Kidsfest to other people yeah we would for both. Kidsfest was so big that Oliver found it overwhelming as there was probably a little to much to do for younger kids but as for Marsh Farm as a day out then yeah we enjoyed the animal aspect and the bits they had but just be aware of a distinct lack of animals considering the name.
Thursday 7th May Keighley and I took Oliver and Leo to the Essex Police Museum in Chelmsford for a morning of fun and games. It was for Oliver more then Leo but Leo was as good as gold the whole time, he seemed to love watching the older kids do the bits they were doing.
When I booked it over a week before we were given the choice of times to go and chose later in the morning so we knew Oliver would be more receptive to the stuff going on. We arrived around ten minutes before it was all due to start and after we’d paid our entrance of £2 we were told we could have a look round as they were waiting for the last of the kids to turn up. As we moved past the entrance we were greeted by a small museum that was part of the basement of Essex Police Headquarters. This however gave the museum a feel of intregue that some museums pay a fortune to get. The museum is laid out in two largeish odd shaped rooms with the first one having a tiny room off of it which was a recreation of a cell that was used in Essex which included a door used for over a hundred years in police station in Essex. There was also an original mockup of a pelican crossing which was used to teach children road safety in the 1950’s which still works and we could press the button and wait for the green man. In the other room was a giant wooden police box with a working phone inside the three other sides of it were magnetic boards with puzzles and letters on. Finally there was a crime scene set up set in the 1970’s and you had to discover the evidence of the crime.
Once the last of the people had turned up the curator got under way with a nice game of cops and robbers, there was a poster of a town with cops and robbers in and the kids had to find the robbers in the picture, at first Oliver was a bit shy but started to participate towards the end of the activity. The next task was a fun one and one Oliver was very good at. Around the museum there had been put a load of robber pictures stuck to various exhibits and the kids had to go round with a bucket and find them and stick them in their bucket. Oliver loves hide and seek at the best of times so this for him was fantastic. He led his mum round the museum and found a fantastic nine. The next task was a hand eye task within which the kids had to match the keys to the locks on a chest with ‘stolen goods’ inside. Oliver tried his best but needed mummy’s help with this but managed to match his key to the correct lock.
Inside the chest was a bag of ‘Swag’ which was used for the next game of over and under. The kids had to pretend they were robbers and then take the bag of swag over the police tape then under a piece of string with a bell on it. Finally the curator read a story to the kids. It was then time to go.
To be honest the £2 entrance fee was so cheap that it was a fantastic morning out for Oliver he came away with a cops and robbers poster and so sheets to colour as well as his fingerprints on a sheet with the date we went on so that will go in the family album soon.
The Essex Police Museum is open on Saturdays from 10 am till 4 pm and is free entry but they seem to do numerous events through the year aimed at children and adults.
If you live in Essex and drive it is well worth a visit to one of these special events.
Has anyone else been to a museum that is good for kids? If so we’d love to hear.