Monthly Archives: January 2016

The Deep (Hull) – Review

The other weekend we took a road trip to Hull to see some family and it was also an opportunity to visit The Deep.

My hometown is Plymouth, home of the National Marine Aquarium. We had planned to visit when we were there at Christmas time but didn’t get a chance, so needed a fish fix! I’ve grown up in seaside towns and miss sea air (nothing quite like it), waves and the sound of the sea. A trip to Hull and The Deep seemed the perfect antidote.

Having two young ones, even though it’s only a two hour drive away, we decided to stay at a Premier Inn in Hull. It’s quite a new one and were impressed (as ever) with the warm welcome, friendly staff and nice clean room. The bonus was parking on site and the location meant a short walk to The Deep or into Hull city centre.

On the Sunday, after a filling breakfast at Wetherspoons (where I booked the tickets online to save a few pounds), we managed to get to The Deep about 1030. The queue was quite long to get in, but only took about 5 minutes to wait. Whilst waiting we were given a form to fill in to sign up for gift aid and that meant we could return, for free, for a whole year. Not bad.

You have to travel to the top of the building to start the journey, the beginning bit toddler E wasn’t that bothered about, it talks about the creation of the earth, dinosaurs and oceans. She was more interested in getting to see some live fish!

Next we walked through to the Lagoon of Light where children could crouch down and watch the fish swimming about underwater or look over the tank, teeming with hundreds of fish. The shallow tank meant E could compare the view looking under water or from above – quite intriguing. We arrived just as there was a Touchpool session where you can get up close with creatures from the British isles shores. It was incredibly popular, but the guide organised us so every child (and interested adult) got to touch the animals. I carried toddler E and after showing her that mummy could touch a creature without losing a limb, she stroked a starfish and some crabs – rather cool!

image
The Lagoon

image

We continued to walk around, toddler E loved the large tanks of fish as she (sometimes) could get right up to the tanks to have a look. She was so excited, with her face beaming and shouting mummy or daddy if we didn’t walk quickly enough to see the latest animal she had found. In comparison, Baby A was non-plussed, she snoozed throughout the whole outing.

image

There were lots of other exhibits to see; ants crawling along a long rope overhead; an ice wall (easy to miss in the Kingdom of Ice corridor), super fast penguins (spot the blurry penguin in the picture) and some bright, colourful, deadly small frogs. A great range of interesting animals to see, but also lots of ‘informative’ exhibits which E just ran straight past. We would have preferred more animals!

image

Near the end there was also a soft play area, it was supposed to be limited to ten children but was heaving, so we walked on.

At the end there are two ways out going up past a huge 10 metre high tank; via a glass fronted lift or walking up stairs. There was a big queue for the glass elevator so we chose the stairs. Though the elevator is rather cool, if you go up the stairs you stop after each flight and can look into the tank – much more time to admire the fish! E was fascinated as you started looking at fish above you, then on the same level, then looked down and then the top of the water. Our favourites were the rays and the tanks biggest inhabitant, the sawfish.

image

image

image

image

We had considered going to The Deep’s cafe, but it was packed, so we walked back to the Premier Inn and had a quiet coffee in their lounge.

Looking at the brochure afterwards, we managed to see everything – in only 1 and a half hours. I’d have expected to be there for much longer, but with an excited toddler it didn’t take that long. I was glad we hadn’t made a special trip just to go there for the day.

It was good The Deep, we’ll visit again when we’re next in Hull – great for a morning or afternoon – just don’t expect to spend the whole day.

Here’s to our next watery adventure!

Nail painting for toddlers

Since Christmas, when E had her nails painted by her cool cousin, she has been OBSESSED with getting her nails done. Her nails had looked awesome (she had a spider painted on one – of course), but I was a little worried about what the paint was doing to her nails when a splash of varnish took off the top layer of my mum’s tablecloth…

Back in the day when I started my new job, after having Elizabeth, I had visions of painting my nails and looking like a ‘proper grown up’ in the office. I think I managed this twice (sleep always won as a priority)… But because I was breastfeeding and sticking my fingers in her mouth a lot to break her latch I wanted to wear some non (or low) toxic nail varnish. There’s lots of guidance out there about the gunky stuff in nail varnish and how it’s bad for you, so after some wider reading I decided to try the Zoya brand. Most of these brands are US based and they are hard to track down in the UK, in the end I bought some off Amazon.

When E wanted her nails done again (good to save this for a rainy afternoon) I dug out the three varnishes I have:

image

She was thrilled to have three to choose from, but disappointed no black to draw spiders.

I very carefully painted her nails, which was much easier once I put her hand on a surface (especially after I nearly dropped some on the carpet). Then it was my turn, she chose pink.

image

image

You’ll see the coverage on the matt colours is much better than the shiny pink. I think I’ll go for a matt when we do this again.

With nursery the next day I thought it best to clean her nails, but hadn’t quite thought things through about nail varnish remover that’s gentle. For next time, I’m going to get some gentle nail varnish remover, Boots stock an acetone free one.

An added bonus to this is she has to sit still for 15 minutes for the varnish to dry!

If she really gets into nail varnish, I’ll order some more – which I’ll just have to try out too.

It was fun painting nails with little E, but gosh she’s growing up fast.

Here’s to our next indoor adventure!

Mx

Minibugs – arm chair shopping

One of our FAVOURITE shops in Buxton is the awesome Minibugs. Not only do they stock amazing clothes and toys, but the lovely owners are ace, as today’s tale shows!

With a newborn baby, whom I feed on demand, we’re not always in synch with when the toddler wants to get out of the house. This morning, baby was snoozing (and due soon a feed) and toddler E was bouncing around the walls. We’d just tried getting E dressed and after trying to put the newly 3 year old in an age 4 dress that didn’t fit we decided shopping was required!

There’s a sale on at Minibugs at the moment so hubby and bouncy E Popped out to the shop, but I was left feeding the baby.

To ensure I was involved in the shopping decisions, the lovely Rachel at Minibugs helped hubby take photos to send to me so I could help. A small selection of the numerous photos:

image

image

image

In the end we chose 4 dresses, which cost around £12 – £15 each and were a real bargain. Don’t worry, there are still tonnes available in the sale so pop in to to shop or get online!

Ah, my new favourite type of shopping – personalised armchair shopping cuddling a newborn baby.

Here’s to our next shopping adventure!

Michelle x