Our first Kite Festival!

As a family on a budget I am always on the look out for ways to entertain the kids and spend some quality time together for little or no money. We spend lots of time outside going for walks and to the beach and I am so thankful for where we live!

The other day I saw a Facebook post advertising a free kite festival in a nearby coastal town. I wasn’t sure about it at first as I have never been to a kite festival and wondered whether it would have enough to hold my kids attention for long. I decided to go for it though as it was completely free, sounded fun and the weather looked good for the day (always a bonus when it is an outdoor event on the beach)! I took my five year old son, eight year old daughter and seven year old niece (plus my youngest sister for some adult company)!

We travelled there on our local train and my wonderful gran had given us some money to treat ourselves to chips for lunch so we bought our chip lunch and headed quickly to the beach!

The kites were amazing! So many different kinds and something for all ages. The kids (and myself) were all completely enthralled by these beautiful kites flying in the sky. It is one of the quietest and most peaceful meals I have eaten in a long time! (Hey, maybe I should set up a few kites in the garden?……) They sat there watching the kites for a while before deciding to play on the sand. Next we headed to the bouncy castle, where for a small charge the kids could play on for as long as they liked! I was impressed with this – usually you pay a small fortune only to be told five minutes later that the time is up! This gave me and my sister some much needed time to sit and catch up whilst the kids were happily playing. Spending time with my youngest sister is very precious at the moment as she is hoping to head off to university in September – a university which is right at the other end of the country! I am going to miss her terribly – as are my kiddies!

 

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After we had spent a few hours at the festival we caught the sea ferry back home to our village which was quite honestly a perfect end to a very lovely day. The kids had a lot of fun and are already asking to go to the festival next year – I think that means that they enjoyed it!

 

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A Woodland afternoon!

Last weekend the beautiful sun had finally started to shine (hooray!) and me and the hubby wanted to take the kids out for a cheap afternoon somewhere. I had seen a free local Woodland  open day advertised in my facebook feed so we decided to head over there and spend the afternoon exploring the woods!

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When we arrived we were greeted by a very enthusiastic man from the Woodland trust who immediately dragged lined us up for the guided wood walk. (To say he was quick is an understatement – our wellies had barely touched the ground)! This did feel a little strange as we regularly go for woodland walks, so to be guided around felt odd! We did learn quite a bit though and the kids loved listening to the different birdsong. There was a man from the RSPB who helped the kids identify between the different songs. The children were also given guides for them to keep which helped them identify different creatures and different woodland trees.

After the walk we browsed the stalls, which included home – made jam and honey for sale, bat boxes, cakes and cookies (we spent a few pennies here!), kids lucky dip, pick a stick and face painting! Everything was really reasonably priced. The admission was free so you could spend as much or as little as you liked. My daughter wanted her face painted (my son is never too keen on this so decided against it this time). She chose to have a fox painted (keeping in with the woodland theme!) much to the lovely face painting lady’s horror. She said she had never done a fox before – we think she did an amazing job! My daughter loved it and got lots of comments afterwards!

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There was also a stall giving away free wooden bird boxes. I was so impressed! It’s not often in this day that you get something so lovely for free! You could choose to have a ready made one or one that needed building. We chose a bird box that needed building – Daddy was very eager to help the kids build it at home!

The kids loved helping Daddy make the bird box and it was a lovely activity to encourage them to work together. They are going to paint it together soon too, when we have the right type of paint so that it will last and look pretty longer!

We had a fantastic Sunday afternoon and I will certainly be looking out for the next one!

A wonderful day out!

I decided to take the kids on a day out yesterday as an Easter holiday treat. I decided to take them to one of their favourite places – Gypsy Wood, near Caernarfon in Wales. Gypsy Wood is a children’s activity park which isn’t too far from our home and since we visited just over a year ago, the kids have constantly wanted to go back! I went with my little ones, both of my sisters, my niece and nephew and my mum, so it was a real family day out!

As soon as you enter Gypsy Wood you feel like you have stepped into a magical wonderland! The park is always immaculate and is obviously well looked after. The staff are friendly and are fantastic with the kids, which is such a bonus in places like this!

There is a lovely model railway which the kids can control by pressing the different buttons. It is brilliantly interactive and hands on!

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Watching the trains!

The play equipment is excellent. There are ride on vehicles, slides, a zip wire, climbing frames, trampolines, see saws – you name it they have probably got it! There are so many opportunities for the kids to use their bodies to navigate the equipment – it is brilliant! My son especially loves the ride on vehicles and the huge amount of space he could ride them!

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There is also a little train that you can ride which takes you on a journey around the park whilst you try and spot the owls and fairies along the way. This was a big hit with the kids! (and was my favourite thing there too – Hey, it means you have a chance to sit down for five minutes! As a mum this is a huge plus)!

The displays of fairies, elves and other magical creatures are brilliant. They really make you feel like you are in some magical woodland. So much for the kids to spot and see!

There are also plenty of animals which you can buy bags of feed for an extra charge. My two year old nephew loved feeding the goats especially!

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My daughters highlight of her day was riding a donkey. As a huge animal lover this made her so happy. Her face whilst riding was a picture! One of those moments which will stay with me forever I think! (She used to be incredibly shy, so much so that some people believed she was selectively mute. Out of our family home she literally would not speak). Since moving to her present school just over a year ago, she has completely changed. Her confidence has grown so much and she converses to people she meets now – just like the lady in charge of the donkeys. She has always wanted to ride but has never had the confidence to do it, so this was quite a big moment for her. I felt quite tearful watching her. Sounds silly as it is something most kids do at a much younger age, but for me as her mum it was wonderful to see!

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There was also a place to practice long jumping which was good fun. The kids enjoyed a bit of healthy competition with their jumping skills!

I thought another lovely touch was the ‘giants’ footsteps. We followed the trail of footsteps which led you to a huge giants chair which you could clamber up and sit on. Really great fun for the little ones!

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Following the footsteps!

We had such a lovely day and enjoyed some hot chocolates from the little cafe to warm us up. If you are ever in the area I would highly recommend Gypsy Wood for a brilliant day out! I hope you are all having a fun Easter holidays whatever you are up to!