Monthly Archives: December 2015

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Adventuring New Year’s Resolutions

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I’m chilling at the in-laws with a snoozing baby on my lap, browsing social media. The feeds are full of new year’s resolutions so I thought I’d write some for this blog. It will be interesting to look back on it on a year’s time to see what I’ve achieved.

1. Get out of Buxton more
I love Buxton, we’ve been here two and a half years, but to be honest most of that time we’ve spent in the town. As two full time working parents we’re often exhausted at the weekends so end up pottering around the Pavilion Gardens and local shops. That’s not a bad thing, but when one lives in the middle of the Peak District it seems such a shame to not be exploring it more! There are many small villages and towns which will be worth exploring.
My target? I thought this would help having one – 10 new places (villages / towns) outside of Buxton.

2. Get to know Buxton better
Ok, so this is a total contradiction of number one.. but bear with me. I’ve still yet to explore much of Buxton; I haven’t been to Pools Cavern (well I do live at least 10 minutes away…); walked up to Corbar Cross or around the Ring of Trees.
Target – 5 new places so I can be an excellent tour guide when people visit!

3. Explore using public transport
Toddler E is OBSESSED at the moment with going on a bus somewhere, though as car owners we don’t normally see the attraction. But to a young girl, going on public transport will be an exciting change to sitting in the car seat. An additional benefit is that it’s good for the environment.
My target in 2016 will be three different modes of public transport – I can think of a bus and train, there must be others?

4. Visit all the local National Trust places
We are members of the National Trust and the yearly fee is more than covered from when we stop off at places to break up long journeys to family and friends. We’ve visited the stunning Lyme Park numerous times, but from looking at the map I know there are others within an hour’s drive we have yet to visit.
My target will be to identify and visit all National Trust placed within an hour’s drive of home.

5. Seek out recommendations
In 2016 I will talk to more people, in person and online, to ask for recommendations of local places to visit. I search online and read what’s on guides, but nothing is as good as word of mouth. Through a friend I discovered the gem that is Pony Patch and I’m sure there’s tonnes of other activities or places to visit I just don’t know about. In 2016 I’ll be proactive asking for recommendations and connecting with new people online to broaden my knowledge of the local area. A target of 10 recommended places.

6. Be child led
My final resolution for 2016 (6 seems a neat way to tie this up) brings it back to the children and why I started this blog. I wanted to have some record of local adventures, at home and out and about. But, if toddler E or baby A don’t enjoy our adventures there’s not much point. I now have an energetic, enthusiastic and opinionated 3 year old daughter who is more than capable enough of deciding where we should go for the day. In 2016 I want to try and let her choose our direction of travel, every month of the year.

So, my first set of resolutions for a very long time. It’s helped me focus on getting out and about in 2016 and I can’t wait to capture our adventures. Where would you recommend we go?

Happy New Year and here’s to adventures in 2016!

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Christmas present thank you cards

Last year I made some lovely Christmas present thank you cards with toddler E, recycling wrapping paper. They are really easy to make and I was quite proud I had designed them myself!

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It’s a great activity to do on a wet and windy day, huddled inside warm – crafting 🙂

We used plain cards, a snowflake stamp and recycled Christmas paper for the background and to make stars.

First E used the stamper on the red paper we were going to use for the background, but you could just use large pens and make dots. I then cut it up into rectangles, a bit smaller than the cards. She added glue and stuck the background paper onto the card.

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Next she used glue and chose triangles to make the stars. She really enjoyed choosing the paper combination and seeing how triangles could make the stars.

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I wrote the thank you message inside the card and she drew a picture on the other side.

We really enjoyed making these and will do the same this year.

Here’s to our next crafting adventure!

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Pony Patch at Christmas

Festive horse rides for toddlers

Our toddler E LOVES horses; she’s a huge My Little Pony fan, so when we discovered Pony Patch is a riding school for children 2 years upwards we were sooooo excited for her!

Pony Patch (near Glossop) is a family business, that provides children age 2 and up with a non-pressured introduction to horses and horse riding.

The first time we went was just to have a try, at the weekends you can just turn up and ride during the drop in session .for a few pounds – much more reasonable than other places we’ve looked at.

For Christmas they put on special events. We booked in advance to go on the Christmas Groom & Ride and kept our fingers crossed the weather wouldn’t be too bad as the venue is rather exposed to the elements! We were lucky, it was a cold day but when we went it wasn’t raining.

When we arrived, our pony wasn’t yet free so E had a jump around on the bouncy castle – holding on to my hands as she jumped around. We had many giggles and it still makes me smile thinking about her laughing so much! By now it was getting quite cold so daddy took baby A to the Coffee Shop, it’s just next door in the Garden Centre at Wimberry Hill. Without the cafe to shelter in, it would have been too cold for us all to go.

The session started off with E brushing the horses’ body and mane, she had to use different brushes and concentrate hard! Then festive decoration, with an Elf ‘hat’, bows in the mane and sparkly painted hooves – though I think by this point she just wanted to ride the pony! The final touch was to sprinkle magic reindeer dust over her pony, Thia.

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Then we were ready for our 15 minute rein led ride out the paddock and down the lane. E loved every minute, she didn’t look happy though because she was so focused!

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E had such a fab time and I didn’t have to hang around in the cold for too long! Children get a one on one horse experience with a pony and someone looking after them. It’s a great way to introduce toddlers to horses, at an affordable price.

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After we went and joined baby E in the coffee shop, ate homemade cake and warmed up. I found a nice comfy sofa to feed baby A whilst E and daddy pottered around the garden centre. A lovely morning out, when it’s warmer we’ll be heading to Pony Patch again.

Here’s to our next festive adventure!

Michelle x

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Buxton Opera House: panto

Our first outing to a Christmas panto

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I was so excited to take toddler E to her first panto – Aladdin – at the majestic Buxton Opera House.

After a dash through the Pavilion Gardens, we arrived at the theatre with minutes to spare. But there was still time to buy a magic wand, there were a few to choose from and E went for the really REALLY colourful one.

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This year’s panto is Aladdin, a classic tale, fun for all the family. It started off with a loud bang and lots of boooos from the audience when the baddie Jafar appeared on stage (he played the audience superbly and was my favourite!). E was scared and cuddled into me (I was glad I had bought her a ticket for £2 which let her sit on my lap, rather than her own seat). But, by midway through the first act she was starting to shout along with everyone else.

The interval was a welcome break for my lap and then on to the excitement of the second act, which (no spoilers) included a magical ride, some topical costumes at a space party and a great ‘it’s behind you’ scene. With music and songs throughout, the panto was great entertainment for all – with enough innuendoes peppered through to amuse the adults. It’s running until the 2nd of January, so if you don’t have tickets hurry up! Here’s a video with a taste of what you’re missing:

We thoroughly enjoyed the show, but as E found it a bit loud next time I’d consider taking her to the quieter show they put on for autistic children.

Here’s to our next Christmas adventure!

Michelle x

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Peak Rail: Santa Special

Steam train fun meeting Santa

Yesterday our family and friends braved the winds and rain to visit Santa, who travelled on a Peak Rail steam train specially to meet the children! Much fun was had by all…

On a wet and windy afternoon
We hurried to Peak Rail
We had special tickets to meet a man
Dressed in red, who said ho ho ho

We climbed on board and found our coach
And settled in our compartment
A cosy space for adults and bairns
With festive decor throughout

The elves came round and gave out gifts
Festive candy canes for smiling children
Mulled wine and mince pies
For slightly frazzle parents!

The train took off – choo choo it went
And entertainment began
Balloon animals, magic tricks
And festive Christmas songs

And then in the distance we heard a ho ho
And a smiley beared man appeared!
It’s Santa said the children
And they were grinning ear to ear

He asked if they’d been good
And their Christmas present wishes
Then came the gifts for all the children
Train, doggy and soft toys

We waved goodbye to Santa
He had many children to meet
And the entertainment continued
As the train steamed on and on

Much fun was had by all
A festive magic treat
We’ll come next year, we all agreed
On Peak Rail’s Santa Special

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A magical festive ride, which we finished off with a meal at the Grouse and Claret. Booking recommended as it was packed!

Here’s to our next Christmas adventure!

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Banana chocolate oat cookies

Cooking soya, dairy and sugar free cookies

After a hectic morning at Buxton’s great soft play, Little Rascals, it was time to stay indoors and keep out of the cold.

I came across a great (and easy!) recipe, on the fun blog Snotty Noses, I thought it would be fun to try with toddler E. I’m not the best cook (my husband would say that is an understatement) so simple recipes are key.

I adapted the original two ingredient recipe:

Ingredients
2 ripe bananas
130 g porridge oats
20 g soya and dairy free Plamil chocolate drops

Method
Mash the banana, mix with the porridge oats and add the chocolates. (The original recipe says to wizz the ingredients in food processor but I don’t have one so couldn’t!)

Grease a baking tray and measure out 12 heaped teaspoons, putting them on the tray and squishing then down.

Cook at 180° for 25 – 30 minutes.

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The result were some very moorish cookies. If we’d used riper bananas I think they would have tasted sweeter, so the chocolate helped. Also a rather healthy treat as low sugar!

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We will be cooking these again when we have over ripe bananas.

Yum!

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Hiding from Desmond

Sundays are often about chilling indoors, particularly when the Peak District is recovering from being hit by Storm Desmond.

When you live in the middle of fabulous, fantastic moors you need alternative indoor activities when you just can’t face the great outdoors in all weathers.

It’s quite old school, but today we ended up spending about 3 hours making jigsaws. What started off as one, turned into making all of them in the cupboard! I was very impressed with E’s concentration levels. She was very proud of her final display.

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We seem to have plenty of jigsaws (and or receive many as gifts), but if you want to stock up I’d recommend:

Minibugs: Djeco
Our favourite children’s shop in Buxton stock the wonderful Djeco toys, high quality that are designed by artists and all beautifully made. Our favourite jigsaw is the gorgeous Leon the dragon, if you don’t have one buy it before it is discontinued!

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The Works: a family discount store; you can shop locally or order online. Their stock changes frequently and you can pick up a set of jigsaws from a few pounds. The transport jigsaws (large and small) are from The Works.

Supermarkets: most large supermarkets stock children’s jigsaws, we bought our Frozen set at half price.

Charity shops: with children’s jigsaws you can do a quick count to check all the pieces are there! My mum bought the Spot set from a charity shop, reminds me of helping my younger brothers making their jigsaws.

I now want to get out my jigsaw collection, but I don’t think toddler E will have the patience for a thousand piece set.

Happy hibernating all, here’s to our next adventure!

Michelle

Where has the time gone?

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Image by CityGipsy11

Wow, looking at my blog gosh time has flown since I started it with the determination to record days out with baby E.

I started off well… and then I went back to work!! I managed to post a few times and wrote lots and lots of posts in my head – I wonder if other people do that?

News is that baby E is now very much a ‘big girl’, and we have a brand new baby A who joined the family a few weeks ago!

I’ve time off work again and am determined to capture our adventures parenting in the High Peak.

Here’s to our next adventure!

Michelle x