Down on the (Manydown) farm

Down on the (Manydown) farm.

Saturday, April 12, 2014.

Little lambDear mummy, it’s been murky all week and we’ve had more April showers to fill a whole year in just a week! It’s a big risk going to the farm today. We peer out of the window and the sun is shining and the clouds are thin and wispy.

Our bags are packed and we are on another adventure into the unknown. It’s the first time I’ve been to a real working farm!

We head just around the corner to Manydown Farm for their Easter Family Fun day. As it’s lambing season the farm is open with lots of activities for children to do. From crafts to sandcastle building, petting the animals to go cart racing, the whole family is excited to visit today. We even bring Grandma along to see the lambs and chicks, as she grew up on a farm, we knew she would like to see all the animals.

Tractor rideManydown Farm is based just outside Basingstoke in Hampshire. It has a lovely farm shop which sells yummy fresh food, locally sourced and is also is home to a great little gift shop. The staff are friendly and welcoming. It feels like a family run business! There is ample parking and a big white marquee directs us to the entrance of the farm. It’s a bit windy today and we feel it, being on top of a hill which overlooks Basingstoke.

Our first stop is the food tent where mummy and daddy pick up a burger and chips and I sit on mummy’s lap and enjoy some ham and a jacket potato. There are no high chairs which is a shame and I can see a lot of other babies in their push chairs eating. I’m happy to be sat like a big girl at one of the picnic tables. It’s too breezy to be sat outside even though the weather is nice.

Giant haystackAfter lunch we head to the massive haystack, it’s built like a pyramid and I can’t resist the challenge to climb it. However, I am too small for this task, so mummy and daddy have to help lift me up onto it. I walk precariously on the edge while mummy holds me. Eventually I flop down to sit on the warm hay.

The hay has soaked up all the suns heat and it feels toasty warm on my little bottom. I could sit here for ages and chill out.

Racing SheepDaddy wants to have a go on the go-carting so we trundle over to the far field, passing the racing sheep on the way! I know, strange, eh!? These sheep are VERY friendly…I think it’s because they want some of my grub.

Mummy makes a fool of herself on the go-carts (I thought they were only intended for children!?) however we see other adults on them. It’s hard work pedalling them around the go-carting track. My mummy is out of breath!

Meeting lambsNext we visit the lambs in the working farm yard. There are so many of them and they are very small. Some of them have numbers on the side of them. Bright markers in their woolly fleeces. We meet a very friendly orphan lamb and his handler. The orphan lamb is only 9 days old! He’s so cute! I can get up and personal with the little lamb and stroke his fleece. We have a staring competition and he wins when I look away. Other children take turns stroking him and we watch him have his bottle.

In the next pen the larger sheep are very rude! Bumping into each other to get to the food pellets we received at the entrance. Carefully mummy, we don’t want to give them too much! Greedy sheep.

ChicksWe go to the petting area of the farm, where farm handlers are surrounded by rabbit hutches and chirping chicks. We see children holding guinea pigs and bunnies. A farm worker hands me a small pot, inside it is a tiny yellow chick. It’s so soft and cute, I stroke it gently. Grandma and Daddy watch me like hawks to make sure I am gentle with this little bird. I’m fascinated by his small beak and fluffy wings. I can hear his friends and family chirping in their coop.

Our next stop is the woodland walk where I go for a little nap in my buggy and have quiet time. Mummy and Daddy admire the views and see more sheep and the Kune Kune Pigs. They read up about hedgerow life which surrounds the farm, by looking at the information signs that Manydown Farm have up around the walk.

Tractor ridesManydown Farm also has an Easter Egg Trail that you can follow when you go on the big tractor ride around the fields. This was great fun and Mummy had to spot and write down all the names of the eggs and hand her form into staff to be entered for the competition to win a free day out.

Her favourite named egg was Egbert. The man on the tractor was very friendly and funny.

Easter CraftingAs we are heading for the exit Mummy spots the crafting area in the white marquee. Picnic tables are set up and we see children getting their face painted and others colouring in white Easter Egg templates as part of a competition that Manydown Farm are running.

We decide to join in and mummy helps me with my design.

I’m sure we’ll win!! I manage to get colouring pen over my face, hands and even on my tongue, everywhere apart from the Easter Egg card which my Mummy keeps pointing to encourage me to colour in. Typical eh?!

DiggerA great day was had by all (including daddy in his digger!). All the other children we met had big smiles on their faces as well. The weather helped as it was dry and I bet this place is beautiful when it heats up a little, as it is a bit cold and windy up on the hill. This farm is so local to us I’m sure we’ll be back in the summer.


Bella x

Swimming with the fishys

Swimming with the fishys.

Sunday, Febraury 23rd, 2014.

How is it that I always sleep when daddy drives us down the M25? A good thing considering our journey to Brighton is quite long. The traffic isn’t too bad as we head early in the morning and by the time we get to Brighton the sun is out but it is VERY windy. Mummy and Daddy are using their anoraks as wind parachutes as we duck in between the lanes towards the seafront. I screw my face up as the wind hits it, luckily we see the pier and the giant wheel and know that we are nearly there.

Brighton Sealife CentreBrighton SEA LIFE centre sits right next to Brighton Pier and is a busy spot for tourists. It used to be called Brighton Aquarium and was built in 1872 and is the oldest operating aquarium in the WORLD! Woweee this place is old! Like a museum for fishys!

It’s very scenic and close to everything in Brighton, if you have a buggy you can enter it via the beach level next to the Giant wheel. It looks small from the outside but don’t let looks deceived you! It was massive inside 🙂

Victoria ArcadeThe SEA LIFE Centre took ownership of it in 1990, and because of their stance on conservation, research and their breeding program they rehabilitated and relased two trapped dolphins called Missie and Silver who were performing there before SEA LIFE took over. It’s a very educational visit, even for someone as small as me.

I like looking at all the pretty colours in the Victorian Arcade where I saw a Thornback Ray and touched a StarFish at the Rockpool 🙂 Seeing all the fish float past us is truly a wonderful experience and I spend my time trying to catch them through the thick glass.

OctopusWe left our pushchair at the buggy park in the entrance. While mummy changed me daddy had a look in the educational room where he found out more about the SEA LIFE Conservation Trust.

We went to see the Octopus Garden which was a new feature introduced last year. These creatures looked very funny and I was fascinated by the large Giant Pacific Octopus making calls to home! It reminding my mummy of ET phoning home….

Eating at SealifeRight in the centre of the Victorian Arcade is the cafe where we stopped for a bite to eat. While I was eating so were the Rays behind us as it was there feeding time too. The SEA LIFE staff were very knowledgable and friendly explaining the orgins of all the marine wildlife.

Even though it was busy, watching the fishes was a very calming experience.

Ocean TunnelThe best part for me was the Ocean Tunnel underneath the Ocean Tank and Auditorium, we were very lucky as the crowds hadn’t yet gathered there so it was quiet and we spent a great deal of time in there watching sharks and sea turtles swim past.

The only thing we didn’t do was the Glass Bottom Boat as I was a bit young for that and mummy and daddy wanted to give me something to look forward to for our next visit to Brighton.

Pacific SeahorseMummys favourite room was the Kingdom of the Seahorse. She loves Seahorses and I can see why! there are nearly 50 species of Seahorse, from the smallest at 1cm to the largest called the Big Belly Seahorse at 30 times bigger!

Interesting fact – The Latin for Seahorse is Hippocampus which means Horse Monster!

We only saw a couple. Mummy was especially taken with the Pacific Seahorse who was sleeping and had attached himself to a bit of coral. He was very brightly coloured!

Pouchlings Mei TaiCarrying me started to become hard work and mummy and daddy’s arms were aching so mummy carried me in her Pouchlings Mei Tai for the remainder of the visit which was great as I could see better and was at adult height looking into all of the tanks.

Mummy gave daddy a mental high five for this as I was getting tired and it gave me a rest so they could continue enjoying all the sights of the Aquarium.

We spent 2 hours in there completing my Log Dive Book full of stamps of my discoveries. This log book is a lovely keepsake to help me remember the days adventure and inspired me and my parents to take a closer look at Marine wildlife and conservation.

FishysThe ‘Five things to do at home’ part of the Guidebook was very eye-opening and informative and we would recommend a visit to SEALIFE Brighton to anyone! There are so many activities for children to take part in and so many things to see… That’s why we will be going back for many years to come.

Bella xx

I can have a dark side too…

I can have a dark side too…

Saturday, February 22, 2014.

*Cue Star Wars Theme*

Dear mummy, in a galaxy far far away, Storm Troopers were landing at Winchester Science Centre. Daddy is a MASSIVE Star Wars fan so we head down to check them out. I must admit even mummy was impressed by their fantastic costumes and friendly attitude and she’s a die hard Trekkie!! UK Garrison played great characters and were happy to lark around with us little kids and the ‘big’ ones! 🙂

UK Garrison dress up for fun and are volunteers that give up their spare time to raise money for children’s charities and to spread the love of Star Wars! Sounds like an ace way to bring joy to people. They certainly made our day 🙂

Darth Vader and buggySo who did we see? My mate Darth, he doesn’t say much but was charming as ever – in a Simon Cowell kind of way 😉 I was quite intimidated by his size. He was the tallest person there and had a massive head and it was funny seeing him scaring all the children. But he stopped to push my buggy – legend.

Daddy was star stuck and is bit of a geek so we stopped for a photo, even the guy in the background wanted to get in on the action. I was quite taken with the storm trooper when he wasn’t looking, however every time he looked at me I would shy away. I was creeped out by his scary eyes!

Eventually I turned to the dark side, walking towards daddy and the the crew at UK Garrison. One little robot that I felt comfortable with was R2-D2 and I was fascinated by his flashing lights and turning head. He made me laugh when he whizzed past me.

Thanks mummy and daddy for taking me to Winchester Science Centre. More adventures here to follow when mummy lets me write them up 😉 Bella x

Dark side