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Little Tikes UK Tiny Testers Competition

Dear mummy, this week Little Tikes UK are running their competition to find ‘Tiny Testers’ to product test their great range of toys! We’d love the opportunity to be Little Tikes Tiny Tester Bellaone of the selected few to have a good ol’ play with some of their great toys at their headquarters and write some reviews for them. The competiton closes on 30th September 2014 and we’re on the scrounge for votes.

We’d love to visit the UK Toy workshop on the 11th October and meet the elves.

We’re hoping our followers on Facebook, Twitter, Bloglovin and WordPress can help by voting for us. Please visit the Little Tikes UK website and help make our dreams come true.

I just need a great big thumbs up on my mugshot (gallery image). I’m under the ‘little explorer‘ category as it fitted my personality beautifully.

You all know how much I like to explore the great outdoors and make new discoveries.

Hopefully we’ll have some good news in October.

Please share and vote by clicking and registering below :)

https://www.littletikes.co.uk//tinytester/index/gallery/id/2873

Thanks Bella xx

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All the fun at the Dorset Steam Fair 2014

Dear mummy, it’s a Thursday and you’ve taken the day off work to join friends at the Dorset Steam Fair. This is our first trip to Tarrant Hinton, between Salisbury and Blandford. As we drive down into the valley we can see the whole site and it’s massive!! Motor homes and cars fill the fields and there is a small queue to get in. We arrive at 10:30 and black clouds are looming overhead.

Dorset Steam FairWe’ve been told that the site is muddy…well that’s an understatement, good thing we have brought our wellies.

It’s a bit steep to get in, £20 but worth it as there is so much to see and do. Huge food tents greet us and we enjoy a fresh farm grub. A pork and bramley pie goes down a treat with a Stowell cider and we listen to the fairground musical organs.

We walked up past the heavy horses pulling ploughs cultivating the fields and see old fashioned farm machinery in action, water pumps, hay barrel condensers, saw machinery and water coolers.

Mummy particularly liked the lace and basket weaving demonstrations. We walked through rows and rows of tractors from Austin to Leyland, some very old and some new.

We saw lots of military vehicles and even an egg cleaning machine!?! If you are a petrol head and love machinery then this is the place for you!Dorset Steam Fair 2

Navigating around the footpaths is difficult due to the amount of mud, it’s extra bad due to the heavy machinery and tractors whiDorset Steam Fair 3ch go up and down the routes during the event, causing large mud tracks and rivers.

We watch several couples struggle with buggys and it wasn’tDorset Steam Fair 4 great for wheelchair uses either.

It’s was like something from Glastonbury and we were thankful we weren’t staying all weekend.

It drizzled on and off all day but that didn’t dampen our spirits as we reached the fairground after seeing some steam engines.

Seeing all the steam machinery and the old fairground rides was one of our highlights.

They were so beautiful and well looked after. They would look amazing at night my mummy thought.

We jumped on the big wheel to get a look at the site and the view was amazing.

On our way back to the carpark we caught the last of the Monster trucks and the motorcycle jumpers.

Before we knew it was 5pm and time to go. No traffic on the way out or the way home which was good.

Was it worth the £20 entrance fee? Most definately! Along with the live demonstrations, shows, craft tents and one of the largest collection of steam machinery in the country it was a real feast for the eyes. We enjoyed a large fun fair, walked about the huge market and auto/machinery jumble sale and enjoyed the wealth of food outlets on offer.

A really great day out not what we were expecting and we were pleasantly surprised. The mud kinda added to the day as it really made us slow down and take in all the sights and added to the adventure. Next time we go we would love to bring the whole family, who knows we may even bring a camper van down and stay too!

Bella xx

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Monday, 8th September, 2014

I love you mummy

We’ve had a real day of it! I’m teething, I’m in mood. I’ve had no naps. I’ve tipped scrambled egg over my headScrambled egg on my face, lost a shoe and been a little madam. To make up for it, while on our trip to Cliveden today (National Trust). We sat on our picnic blanket. We had lunch and lay back looking at a tree swaying in the breeze. The sunlight was breaking through the leaves, twinkling in the sky like stars. I turned around to you and put on my best Barney voice and said…..I love you. My sing-song voice delivering those 3 magic words every mum wants to hear. For the first time I uttered those words. I know you think I was mimicking you, but I meant it.

I love you mummy.

Bella x

 

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Wellington Country Park Review

Dear mummy, we went to Wellington Country Park at the weekend and enjoyed the last Family Fun weekend of the summer season. We can’t believe we haven’t been here before as it’s right on our doorstep!

Wellington Country Park 2Wellington Country Park events calendar is jam-packed. Over the course of the year we’ve missed out on fairy parties, a teddy bears picnic, a pirate weekend, a Wild West weekend and other great activities. But we’re here now and determined to make the most of this last hot day of summer.

Entrance fee to get into the park is £9.50 in high season (from April to September) and £7.50 in the low season. It’s seems like a lot, but judging from the programme and map, you get what you pay for. 2 years and under go free (so I’ve still go another year to enjoy the park before I have to pay with my pocket-money!)

Wellington Country Park is located in between Reading and Basingstoke just off the A33 and close to the M4 and M3 motorways. It is a very large outdoor and indoor activity play centre with camping facilities, around a large lake.

Wellington Country Park logoIt includes an enchanted forest, adventure play trail, dinosaurs and BBQ & picnic  areas, a man-made beach area with diggers and a water pump, toddler play area and babies soft play area, mini golf and an animal farm, go carts and a nature trail…… Phew! That’s a lot of things to do at Wellington Country Park! There is also the Wellington Railway, a giant jumping pillow and a snakes & ladders slide area.

We start off in the reception area and sit in the large canteen to have our lunch, it’s a very spacious area with lots of scrummy food on offer. You are allowed to bring picnics and BBQ food into Wellington Park, just make sure you use the allocated areas. We were very impressed that they have BBQ areas, where families are gathered to cook and eat their scrum.

I have a fabulous fish and chips which I devour. Popping peas in my mouth till there’s no room to cram anything else in. It’s a great dinning area and also has a play area or ‘holding area’ as my mummy likes to call it, filled with toys to keep little ones amused while waiting for their food. This is a great idea and is sponsored by WOW Toys. It’s a cross between a soft play and massive toy box! Filled with cars and planes, which the kids go crazy for! (You can also buy the toys in the gift shop, which is a clever marketing ploy) children get to try before you buy so to speak. The toilets are clean and well stocked with oodles of baby changing facilities which is good.

Wellington Country Park lakeAfter our scrummy lunch we venture outside and are greeted with a fete. This is the theme of the weekend ‘family fun’. Bunting decorates the little grass lawn, there is a bouncy castle, a marquee and other stalls.

We head straight the toddlers outdoor play area, little plastic houses are littered around the woodchip area, with see-saws, slides, bouncing horses, swings and genius musical stepping-stones which I love! In the center there is a huge sandpit and I spend a great deal of time playing in here with my cousin who is a couple of years older than me.

We explore the craft area by the lake, which is another family fun feature of this weekend and make magic wands. It’s a great activity and we watch others making animal masks and cards. Lots of fun materials to use and I loved the pretty gems and feathers. Direct outside is the water and sand area, so we kick off our shoes and go to investigate. I love dipping my toes in the water and scrunching up the sand under my feet. Other children are playing with the water pumps and the diggers. It’s great fun.

There is a large hill and a viewing platform across the lake we has some stunning views across the park. I drag mummy and daddy up that hill several times and watch older children rolling themselves down it. Of course I want to copy them! But my mummy warns me that I’m too small before I launch myself down the hill, parents in tow.

Swiftly we move onto the next attraction, the Enchanted Forest, we walk across a bridge and past the greedy swans on the lake looking for crumbs and down the windy path. The adventure play trail follows the path and we all have a go. Wooden beams and Stepping stones, vertical bars and army style nets. Daddy helps me grip the bars and do chin-ups. I think he is more knackered then I am!

Enchanted forest at Wellington Country ParkSoon we are surrounded by large trees and mummy points out little carved wooden doors and windows on the trees. Shhhhh. My cousin tells me. All the fairies are asleep in their houses. Being the mischievous child that I am, I run around knocking on the doors. Making ‘knock knock’ sounds, my little fist curled up brushing the I immaculately painted doors.

This place is magical and we could stay in the forest all day. However, the dinosaurs have other ideas…… We can see their heads high above the trees. There are around 20 dinosaurs dotted around, they look very scared and life-like :) great for photo opportunities.

Wellington Country Park DinosaursWe swoop round and follow the path away from the dinosaurs after we’ve said ‘hello’ to every single one of them. Past the big kids play area which include huge slides and climbing forts. Just as I was getting despondent that I couldn’t go on anything, we spotted a hidden gem, a little hut which contain the best soft play area I’d seen in a while. We decided to check it out and it was empty, I has the whole place to myself! It was so clean and tidy. Everyone was impressed. While I played my cousin went to get her face painted.

When I had sufficiently played and tried myself out, mummy and daddy put me in the buggy and we went on a long walk to go and see the animal farm at the top of the site. It’s late in the day now and mummy is batting away Mosquitos which are trying to eat her.

Wellington Country Park AnimalsThis is due to the lake and walking past the woodland. We reach the animal farm just before it closes and see the sheep, rabbits, chickens and pigs wallowing in their muddy bog. My eyes are so tried and I’m trying to keep awake to see everything. There is a little brown cow called Bella which we see and as the light starts to go we head back to the entrance to say goodbye to our friends and family before we head home. Mummy later informs me that as soon as Daddy starts the engine I’m out like a light. It’s been a good day all round. Zzzzzz

To keep up to date with all the action packed activities that Wellington Country Park have on offer visit their website.

Hopefully next year we’ll be back to see the fairies, or maybe if I’m lucky we’ll be back on Hallo’welly’ween from 25th – 31st of October.

If you are looking for an action packed day, then this is the place for you!

Bella x

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Idle Cans and my funky festival cart

Dear mummy, we are excited about this next post. Some of you may be aware from twitter that we recently commissioned the talented Idle Cans www.idlecans.co.uk to decorate our festival cart after seeing an exhibition in Basingstoke.

All our own work BasingstokeIt all started over a month ago, when we visited Basingstoke Festival Place shopping centre, and saw a really cool pop-up art gallery.

The shop was run by local artists in Hampshire as a way of showcasing their work to the masses.

It’s a fantastic way of bringing art to the retail sector and gives people the opportunity to purchase some great one-off pieces.Funky children's festival cart

The gallery features Illustrators, street artists, sculptors, furniture designers and fine artists.

We particularly liked Kev Munday’s artwork and he uses different types of media to display his graphics.

He has just finished decorating great-grandfather clock! You can find the pop-up shop at www.allourownwork.co.uk and on Facebook.

Idle CansIdle Cans had been recommended to us as the perfect artist to embellish our festival cart which we bought off Amazon for the bargain bucket price of £30!

Considering it’s at least £60 to hire one at a festival, this was a real bargain.

We purchased it to carry stuff from the car to the camping site at Just So Festival and also to cart me around in during the event, as an alternative to a buggy.

Carts are great to wheel over hard terrain due to their large wheels and sturdy chassis. So we contacted Idle Cans to get a quote. He replied back very quickly and professionally with a reasonable quote to cover the cart with his custom artwork. He’d never done anything like this before and was up for the challenge.

So what and who is the mysterious Idle Cans? Idle Cans is infact a Graffiti and Street Artist called Nzie, who set up Idle Cans Ltd 2013 nearly 10 years after his arrest for graffiting trains and public walkways.

He wanted to do something positive with his talent and to set a good example to others.

Fist bump with NzieSince 2003 he has been promoting the positive side of his art and is now a legal street artist running kids workshops in schools, helping paint local government murals and using his skills to bring joy to many children’s lives. What a great turnaround!

You can see his work at http://www.idlecans.co.uk

We delivered the cart to him in the pop-up gallery and within 2 weeks it had been completed!

Very speedy! We were amazed at the results. The design brief was to create a woodland scene on the sides and to commemorate my first camping and festival experience.

He had personalised my festival cart with my name and added little toadstools and woodland animals. It looked very Disney but in a funky street style way. We were very impressed by the artistic drawings and the spray paint finish.

We got so many lovely comments from the gallery staff when we came to pick it up and mummy and daddy towed me through Festival Place to give it a test drive. When we were at the Just So Festival, loads of people stopped to stare in awe and we had some lovely comments on the design. I got a high-five from Idle Cans and must have been his youngest customer.

Idle Cans festival cartWhen we got to Just So Festival, a lot of other families had their own personalised carts but mine stood out a mile.

Idle Cans did a fantastic job on it and we would recommend his services to anyone looking to personalise a festival cart, or commission a funky bit of street art.

He is very talented and looking at the other artwork he does that boyz got skilz.

Thank you Idle Cans for my beautiful cart :) We can’t stop raving about it enough! I’m sure we will attend many more festivals with it and will be a part of my memories growing up. A future family heirloom? I think so!

Bella xx

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Finkley Down Farm in the rain

Finkley Down Farm in the rainThis is the second time we’ve visited Finkley Down Farm. The first time we spent the whole day exploring it in the hot sunshine. So today made a change….it’s raining.

Finkley Down Farm is not just a place where you can see animals they also have a wicked soft play centre, catering from Finkley Down Farm, Andoverbabies up to teens.

There are 5 separated areas and we spend most of our time in the baby and toddler areas, building bricks and running around on slides and playing with the sensory toys.

The perfect thing about it is that mummy and daddy could enjoy a cuppa while I played.

The soft play centre was immaculate, so clean and very well looked after compared to some of the centres I’ve been too. The cafe was reasonably priced and had a great selection of food.

There was more than enough seating available. The toilets were cleaned regularly and staff were mopping up muddy footprints.

I got taken into the larger kids play area with my God Daddy and his son and we played on the slides and climbed. This was all before we’d even seen any animals!

The entrance fee is £8.95 for an adult (free for me), so pretty steep, but on a good day there is a wealth of outdoor activities taking place like sheep racing, an animal petting area, pony rides and a huge adventure playground (this justifies the cost). On a rainy day though we explored the indoors and spend over an hour playing in the soft play areas then visited some animals for a couple of hours.

We saw the tortoises, snakes and spiders (much to my God Daddy’s dismay) the ducks and the rabbits and even saw giant pigs. It was a great opportunity to get out of the house and I loved playing in all the puddles and holding the umbrella. On a rainy day you wouldn’t automatically think about taking a child to the farm, but it was nice and quiet which meant no queues and we could get up close to the animals and I practically had the whole soft play center to myself!

We are now seriously considering a yearly membership to Finkley Down Farm in Andover. This place is great in all weather! For more information visit www.finkleydownfarm.co.uk

Bella x

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall