Have you been to the Donkey Sanctuary? We were there on Sunday for the Family Farm Day but unfortunately it poured down with rain. We did however, make a trip round to see the many donkey’s and grab an ice cream.
The Donkey Sanctuary was founded in 1969, by Dr Elisabeth Svendsen where she dedicated her life to rescuing abandoned and mistreated donkeys. You can read more about her amazing story and life’s work on the Donkey Sanctuary Website as well as info on how you can help.
During the School Holidays from 21st July – 3rd September 2017 they are running an Around the World Trail. You can pick up a trail sheet for £3.00 and can collect your ice cream prize at the end.
Entry into the Donkey Sanctuary is FREE as is the car park.
There are loads of donkey’s to see along many trails including the giant Poitou Donkeys.
Discover the path to the beach through the Field of Dreams or follow the guided walks.
Take part in the twice daily donkey grooming and lose yourself in the maze.
They also have a newly built restaurant called The Kitchen serving locally sourced hot and cold food to suit both adults and children.
All proceeds taken at the Donkey Sanctuary goes towards the work that takes place on site and worldwide.
As well as being family friendly, the Donkey Sanctuary is pram and wheelchair friendly. You can also take your four legged friends with you as long as they are on a lead.
The Donkey Sanctuary makes for a great chilled out day. Ruffle the heads of a donkey or two and make sure that you stay for feeding time where you will see all the donkey’s running and honking towards the food!
They also run events throughout the year so keep an eye on their Facebook Page for upcoming details.
Check out our #SchoolHols2017 page for more great places to go and activities to do in the South West.
#SchoolHols2017 -Exeter Royal Albert Memorial Museum
So far I’ve only posted about out-doorsy type days out but after we got drenched and had to camp out under a tree whilst it poured down I thought it would be a good idea to choose an indoor activity. We make regular trips to the Royal Albert Memorial Museum as they run lots of themed events throughout the year as well as all the great treasures to discover in the Museum.
What is there to do?
If you’re visiting with little ones don’t forget to pick up a Bee-Bag which is full of stuff to make the most of your visit to the museum.
For older children (7 – 14 years) you can pick up an explorer bag from the Garden Reception.
There are lots of interactive areas dotted throughout the Museum.
Here are a few of the activities on offer over the Summer Holiday’s:
2nd – 3rd August – Create a Neon Seascape – Draw an underwater world in neon crayons and fill it with fluorescent fish, sparkling starfish or luminous lobsters. Suitable from 3 years. This is a drop-in session.
Various dates in August – Little Explorers – A chance for under-fives to take a journey of discovery and take part in art and craft activities inspired by the museum’s collections. Pre-booking for these sessions are advised.
16th – 17th August – Make a Lego Aquarium – Who doesn’t love to play and create with Lego? Add to the display with your own underwater addition. Suitable from 3 years.
23rd – 24th August – Marine Masks and High Tide Hats – Make a hat and decorate it with seaweed and fish or a mask and turn yourself into a seahorse or an anemone. This is a drop-in activity and is suitable from 3 years.
Various dates in August – Lots of underwater activities – Made an under the sea scene on a lightbox, make a badge, use a microscope or magnifying glass. These are drop-in sessions so do pop over to the site for more details.
9th – 10th August – Suspended Sea Creatures and Meet the Curator – Make a realistic or imaginary underwater friend to dangle in a display from our cafe balcony. Take along your own beach finds and chat to Holly the Curator. Suitable from 5 years.
Don’t forget to pop into the cafe for some lovely cake.
Tuesday – Saturday 10.00am – 5.00pm.
Note (mostly to myself) that the Museum is not open on a Monday. Hand’s up how many times you’ve turned up on a Monday!
How much does it cost?
The Museum is FREE but some activities have a suggested donation, and others are bookable paid for activities.
What we think
We love the museum. You can go there for a quick drop in or take your time and spend the whole afternoon there. As it’s base in the centre of Exeter it can be a pit-stop for the kids after you’ve dragged them around the shops.
Don’t forget to leave us a comment and please check out our other ideas for days out and activities in the South West on our #SchoolHols2017 page.
Oops I'm not very good at this weekly Happy List round-up. Some weeks are so samey and boring that there really isn't much to say about it.
However, the past week has had some silver linings so I thought I would share them with you.
Sunday I took Isabelle out to the river and did something that we did all the time as kids. We went fishing with a net and a bucket. Simple as that! The trick to fishing for little stickleback fish is to look for spots of water where the sun is shining in it. Unfortunatey last Sunday was quite overcast so we only managed to find one fish, a couple of little sticks (Isabelle thought they were fish) and a few tiny snails. She was a bit worried that we might catch THE Crocodile but we stayed away from the train bridge where he lives!
Monday – Monday saw the return of my part-time working hours so Monday signified the first child-free day in a long time. I worked on my blog of course after taking Charlie for a lovely walk. It was bliss and much needed.
Tuesday was a work day for me. As I'm just about to start a new job it feels odd that things that I'm doing now are my 'lasts'. I have three days left in my current job. It feels like the end of an era!
Wednesday – was Isabelle's last day in year 1. She's come on leaps and bounds in this last year. Her school report was great and she still has so much enthusiasm for school and learning. Off she went with the obligatory teacher present and a smile on her face.
Thursday – was a normal day until work was finished and we headed off to Princesshay Shops in Exeter for there Summer Eats event. We were treated to yummy cocktails from Coal (the Raspberry Collins was my fave), watched the chef from Cafe Rouge cook mussels in a state of art kitchen set up from Berloni and sampled some lovely food from the various restaurants. We tried these really lovely parcels filled with pulled pick which were amazing but I forgot to ask where they were from so I need to investigate that. As part of the event we were treated to a demonstration by the South West Lindy Hoppers. It was a lot of fun and I would have loved to join in but my little side kick wasn't having up for partaking.
Friday – was a great day in that it was the first day where we got up in no hurry at all. We had scrambled eggs on toast and did everything at a slow pace. Unit was much needed for both Isabelle and I. We walked the dog and then my mum came over later on.
Saturday – Daddy was home with us and after a leisurely morning both Isabelle and Daddy took Charlie for a walk so that I could get some work done. Ryan is off on holiday on Wednesday so I've been trying to get all of his stuff together .
Today I did the last of the holiday shopping which was a total fist pump moment. Yey me! I also watched Bad Moms for the first time whilst I did the ironing. I loved it! We also went over to my in-laws garden party where we stuffed our faces with cake and drank tea!
I think our favourite National Trust property by far is Killerton House. The grounds are beautiful and you can either take a short walk or a long walk dependent on your stamina or if you have little legs with you.
What is there to do?
The house and grounds are family friendly with baby changing and feeding facilities. You can take pushchairs into the house, but some of the off path walks may be a bit tricky.
There is a children’s play area and several interesting things around the grounds to climb on. Don’t forget to check out the Bear House.
It’s a great place to take a picnic but you can of course opt to go to one of their two cafes for refreshments.
You can also take dogs on leads (not in the house).
Take a walk around the house and discover the history and take part in the Builder Mouse Trail which area dotted throughout the building and see what jobs they’re doing.
They also have a Secret Supper Club which we haven’t experienced ourselves, but it sounds like a really nice thing to do.
10.00am – 5.00pm Every day.
How much does it cost?
What we think?
We love Killerton. Thankfully Isabelle likes to walk as long as there are interesting things to look at and do along the way. Killerton has everything you need for the perfect family day out so a big thumbs up from us.
Don’t forget to leave us a comment if you’ve been to Killerton – and if you’re looking for inspiration this school holidays then don’t forget to have a look at our #SchoolHols2017 page where we have lots of days out in the South West listed.
Have you found the Bear Trail yet? Do you like the outdoors? Do your kids like mud? Do the kids need to burn off some school holiday energy?
If it’s a YES to all of the above then you need to add The Bear Trail to your list of School Holiday activities.
Things to do!
Get the Kids Muddy!
Get the Adults Muddy!
There’s loads of climbing apparatus, stepping stones, wobbly bridges, rope bridges, hay bales, tyres to squeeze through, a mountain to climb and more……
Wear your oldest clothes and trainers and go and have some fun!
Either take a picnic or choose from their menu of panini’s, stonebaked pizzas or selection of cakes and drinks.
There is no age range, the idea being that if you feel able to take part then do it.
There is a smaller area for the littles to play but if they are feeling adventurous they can also take part in all of the equipment.
Once the kids have had enough (you can spend as long as you like) there are shower and changing facilities on site to get you to a respectable cleanliness before heading off home.
How Much Does it Cost?
Under 1 metre £4.50
Over 1 metre £7.50
It’s advisable to pre-book your tickets during the school holidays to guarantee entry.
10.00am – 5.00pm Every day.
We loved it! Daddy and Isabelle (6) were straight in whilst I needed a bit of coaxing, but once I got stuck in we were all loving it and got thoroughly muddy. We went on everything and there were no tears just tired happy mud smeared faces by the end of the day! The pizza’s are awesome too!
#SchoolHols2017 – The Orange Elephant Ice Cream Parlour
It's a given that we'll be heading to the Orange Elephant Ice Cream Parlour this school holidays.
We had Isabelle's 6th Birthday Party there last September. We took a huge picnic, played and then finished off with some scrummy ice cream with a selection of toppings.
If you haven't already paid a visit to the Orange Elephant then here are a few bits and bobs.
You must have seen the actual Orange Elephant if you've driven towards Torquay or Plymouth before you get to Telegraph Hill (we always look out for it).
Opening Times Every day 10am – 5pm until September
Entrance is £2 for adults and £1 for kids. Under 3's are free.
A family pass is £12.
Baby changing facilities are available.
Summer Meadow and Play area – There are animals to see such as cows, pigs and sheep as well as the Play area which has lots of wooden play apparatus as well as sand pits and open spaces (perfect for a picnic).
The Maize Maze – Find your way around the Maize Maze which is in the shape of an elephant. Split up into teams and see who finds their way round first.
The Ice Cream – The Ice Cream is amazing. There's a huge selection. Last year we tried a Lemon Sundae and a Chocolate Brownie Sundae. It was total heaven in a glass. For Isabelle's birthday we had a little girl who was dairy free, but she had a choice of several sorbets which was nice.
Is it worth a visit?
We would recommend getting the annual pass so that you can visit any time that you like. You would only have to visit a couple of times before you would have paid for it. You could meet up with friends and spend the day and take a picnic or you could pop along for a coffee and an ice cream treat.
How to get there
This is part of our #SchoolHols2017 series for things to do and places to go in the South West. We'd love to know of any great places you take your family to. Do drop us an email if you have any gems to share.
We were really pleased to be asked to review the Pipity Kids Travel Activity Case. We’re going on holiday next month and it will be Isabelle’s first time on a plane. The journey is relatively short as we’re going to Spain, but there will be plenty of opportunity for Isabelle to get bored so we’re going prepared.
What do you do on journeys to keep boredom at bay?
The last time we went away I put together a little bag for her to open once she was in the car which had a kids magazine, some colouring pencils, some snacks and a sticker pack which went down a treat.
We play all the usual games such as eye spy, count the number of (whatever colour) cars.
We also let her take her tablet with some of her favourite apps on.
The other week she had a little lego set in the car which was a disaster as she dropped some of the pieces which nobody could reach as we were driving along. I don’t think we’ll be doing that again.
Cue the Pipity Kids Travel Activity Case
Not only does this case look super cute with the star print which comes in a choice of Blue, Pink and Red, it as both a case handle and a detachable longer bag handle. It’s really well made from oilcloth to withstand the heavy handedness and has everything you need to keep a little one busy on a journey.
A Pencil for drawing and writing
A Set of 12 colouring pencils
A Pencil Sharpener
A pair of scissors
An Activity Book
The activity case has a built in easel with elasticated straps to keep your activity page in place whilst you colour it in.
Each of the activity books are packed full of exciting activities and games. Each page has a perforated edge so that you can easily tear the page out to use.
We love that these aren’t run of the mill activities, but cute puppets and games that you colour then cut out to create something to use.
We were sent the full collection of activity books which will provide many many hours of entertainment for Isabelle. These can be bought separately to top up as and when you need them.
Also in the Pipity range is the Pipity Portfolio which is an expanding file where all of your kids creations can be kept safely together. These are also available in the matching Pink, Blue and Red Star design. I initially thought that the portfolio was for us parents to keep the creations safe which do tend to rack up, but I was quickly corrected by Isabelle that it was so that she could keep the things that she had made so that she could play with them.
Pipity was founded by Kate who was inspired by her own happy childhood memories of cutting and sticking and creating wanted to give her own three children the same experience. The Pipity has everything to spark the imagination and keep little hands busy.
Watch our video which shows you what you get in the Pipity Kids Travel Activity Case.
What we thought.
As a mum I think the Pipity is pretty awesome. Isabelle loves all things crafty and I know this kit will keep her happy and busy during any journey. The case has everything you need so no scrabbling around for things or having to add extra bits to my bag. It also gets a huge thumbs up from me personally as Pipity is a Devon based Independent Business which I love to support having been there myself.
Isabelle was so excited when the Pipity came out of the box. Before she even opened it she was doing her catwalk walk as pranced up and down with the case hanging off her shoulder. She’s going to love carrying this herself. She loved all of the activities, with the puppets and dolls being her absolute favourite. I should post the outtakes of the video that we did as she spent way too long messing about with the scissors (why do kids love scissors so much) AND the bendy ruler cracked her up.
This is a total winner for both of us and it will be coming with us to Spain next month!
We were squealy excited to be sent a further Mila & Pheebs Kids Activity Box through the post. Crafting definitely plays a huge part in our lives. Making something together post dinner time has become a bit of a regular routine for us which gives us something nice to do after work/school.
I didn’t tell Isabelle that she was getting another box as she drives us totally insane when she knows something is coming through the post. She thinks that it’s going to appear at the door five minutes after it’s been ordered. It was a lovely surprise when it arrived, and I think I was just as excited to know what was inside as Isabelle was.
I did wonder whether this box was going to beat the previous Activity Box that we received, but we weren’t at all disappointed.
What was in the box?
Safari Criss Cross
Safari Colouring-in sheets
Safari Dotty Art
Safari Memo Pad
Safari Greeting Cards
Safari Foil Stickers
Parrot Collage Kit
Isabelle’s favourite piece in the box was the scissors. She was so excited to get her own pair of scissors. Doubly so that they had monkeys and bananas on them!
So over to Isabelle who will walk you through what she got in the box.
As you can see, she was thoroughly impressed with all of the things that she got in the box, especially the monkey scissors.
I’ve sneaked the colouring sheets and activity sheets to put away for Isabelle to do on plane when we go on holiday next month.
There isn’t a single thing in the box that Isabelle wasn’t excited about or looking forward to making.
Value for Money
There are various options for the subscription boxes as well as various payment options. As well as the monthly subscription boxes you can get one off themed boxes including Birthday, Superhero, Unicorn and Fun on the Farm just to name a few.
If my convincing isn’t enough, pop over and check out their social media:
My Happy List – last week I didn’t post anything as it really was a week of slog at work and not much else.
However, this week has been a bit less stressful.
Sleep – I’ve slept a lot better than usual this past week which is always something to feel happy about. This was a big deal especially since Chris has an awful cough and he’s been hacking away most of the night.
New working hours – i was a bit worried about changing my hours at work as three days seems like the best work/life balance and my new job is four days a week. However, given that this is going to be a different job completely I’m up for the challenge (and I have been working full-time for the past year). I have also wangled a Friday off which fits in better for childcare.
Holiday Shopping – we’ve done a bit more holiday shopping this week and I’ve actually bought some swimwear that doesn’t make me want to throw-up!
Park Day – we went to my brothers yesterday and took the kids to the park. It was lovely just sitting in the sun whilst the kids played. Now that they’re eight, six and six you don’t have to chase them round the park and help them on and off stuff. It also meant I could have some baby cuddles from my nephew. ?
Dog walking – I love walking Charlie, preferably on my own. I can walk and think, or not. He has no expectations or demands, just walking. I can see my old age in front of me where flashes of 100 stray dogs and no people spring to mind. Ha ha!