Monday, 22 July 2019

Baby Shark Let's Go Hunt Game and Wooden Puzzle Review & Competition

There is no denying that Baby Shark took the world by storm last year, with people of all ages joining in and singing the Baby Shark song. It is one of those tunes that simply can't help but make you smile and the colourful shark characters certainly gained peoples attention.

We were therefore delighted when Spinmaster recently sent Riley some Baby Shark toys to review including the Pinkfong Baby Shark Let's Go Hunt Fishing Game and the PinkFong Baby Shark Wooden Sound Puzzle.


The Let's Go Hunt game was an instant hit with Riley who was drawn to it immediately by the packaging alone. The box is very brightly coloured and adorned with the Baby Shark characters all over the front. There is a clear plastic window which allows you to see the product inside and so you can instantly gain a clear understanding of exactly what is included, as well as seeing how the game can be played.

The game is extremely simple to set up and inside the box the following contents were provided:
  • 1 x Musical motorised game board
  • 15 x Fish
  • 4 x Fishing Rods
  • 1 x Instruction Sheet
Unfortunately batteries are NOT included so you will also need to ensure that you have 2 x AA batteries available before you can begin to play.


Once batteries have been installed then game play can commence, with the aim being to collect as many fish as you can with your shark themed hooks. Up to 4 players can take part at a time and each player can choose to use one of the coloured shark themed rods to collect their fish.

This may sound simple, but when you flick the switch into the on position, the board will start to rotate and the fish will begin to not only move up and down, but open and close their mouths too, making it a really fun and challenging game. The winner is the person who manages to collect the most fish and I will be honest when I say that my 6 year old managed to beat me every single time we played. Just look at his concentration face!


Another fun element is that the Baby Shark song is also played during game play. Whilst for me this quickly became very repetitive, my son Riley was in his element singing along to the tune whilst catching his fish. He thought it was hilarious and so much fun!

My whole family ranging from 6 to 39 enjoyed playing the game together and it certainly provided plenty of entertainment. The RRP of this toy is a really reasonable £9.99 and it is available in most good toy retailers including Smyths, The Entertainer and Amazon.


After the excitement of playing the Let's Go Hunt Game, Riley then took some time to play with the Baby Shark Wooden Puzzle. This is a really good quality chunky puzzle board which has a fantastic bright and colourful appearance.

It features five wooden sharks which represent Baby Shark, Mummy Shark, Daddy Shark, Grandma Shark and Grandpa Shark. These are all really nice sized pieces for little hands and really help with hand to eye coordination.


In an added twist, the puzzle also plays music (requires 2 x AAA batteries) and will sing the corresponding part of the song for each shark. So for example if you successfully place Baby Shark into it's shape then you will hear Baby Shark Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo! This makes the puzzle so much fun and Riley absolutely loved moving them through the air in a swimming motion in time to the music.

It is recommended for children aged 2 years+ and with an RRP of around £10 I think it represents great value for money. It's bright and vibrant colours, chunky wooden pieces and musical sounds make this a fantastic little puzzle which I am sure will be loved by children.

The Baby Shark Wooden Sound Puzzle is available to purchase in most good toy retailers including Smyths Toys, Argos and Amazon.


We also have a fantastic competition for the chance to win a Baby Shark Wooden Sound Puzzle. If you would like to enter then please read the terms and conditions and complete your entry using the gleam form below. Good Luck!

Baby Shark Wooden Puzzle

Terms and Conditions
  • There is 1 (one) prize of a Baby Shark Wooden Sound Puzzle as featured in this review
  • Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 years or over.
  • Competition closes on the 31st July at 23:59
  • A winner shall be drawn from all eligible entries within 7 days of the closing date and notified via email.
  • The winner will have 7 days to confirm their acceptance of the prize before an alternative winner is drawn from the remaining eligible entries.
  • No bulk or third party entries
  • The winner's details will be shared with the promoter for the purpose of prize fulfilment and permission shall be obtained from the winner prior to doing so.

*Disclaimer - We were gifted these items for the purpose of writing an honest review of the products. All opinions are my own unless stated otherwise. This post contains an Amazon affiliate link.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Dates for your Diary - Brand New Festival Coming to Chester this September - Deva Fest

Deva Fest is a brand-new music, food and lifestyle festival which is coming to the heart of Chester this September. Organisers have recently announced the full programme for this family friendly event which shall be staged across three days at Chester Lakes in Dodleston, Chester from Friday 6th to Sunday 8th September. Tickets are on sale now!

Friday's 'party night' will be open from 5pm to 11pm, whilst gates open on Saturday and Sunday at midday. The event promises fun for all the family with amazing attractions, traditional fun fair, local artisan food and drink vendors, and an all-star music and live entertainment line-up.


Deva Fest is a collaboration between lifestyle businesses We Love Good Times and Taste Cheshire bringing a celebration of the finest music, food, drink and entertainment to the Cheshire region.

A circus style 'Big Top' will house the main stage where visitors can sing and dance the weekend away come rain or shine.

The festival will kick off with a performance from one the country's most loved Um Pah bands The Bavarian Strollers, playing a set of their traditional and rousing anthems to get the party started on the Friday evening. The Friday night will be a celebration to the local Chester talent, with performances from local high energy rhythm and blues band Zoot Serious and The Bellyful of Pop, Lucy Bradburn and David O'Connor.

Saturday is carnival day promising a day of colour and fun for all the family including Carnival Day parades, and The Carnival Day Ball with TRIX.

Saturday's music line-up includes a headline set from Ivor Novello award-winning UK rock band The Feeling. Their smash hit album Twelve Stops and Home sold 1.5million copies worldwide including the singles Fill My Little World, Love it When You Call, Sewn and Never be Lonely.


Pop/rock band The Dunwells; emerging rock group Mississippi Riot; indie quartet Camens; music collective SWJ Group; 2017 XFactor contestant Russell Jones Jr; tribute act Foo Fighterz; and DJ Ally Kidd Cameron complete Saturday's music programme.

Sunday's 'Old School' theme will bring the finest dance classics to the stage. Symphonic Ibiza fuses a thrilling live symphony orchestra with high tempo beats from renowned club DJ Andy Joyce to reimagine 30 years of Ibiza dance anthems.

Add in dance legends K-Klass; Baby D; Capella; Shiva; Cream resident  DJ's Anthony Proby and Ed Mackie; Mark Radcliffe's UNE; and DJ duo Geddes and Gioia and it promises to be a neon filled, hands-in-the-air, glow stick waving party!

There will be plenty to keep the kids entertained with a whole host of family activities across the whole weekend. Visitors can enjoy all the fun of the fair with a wide selection of fairground rides and attractions, which are all included in the ticket price.

Aspiring young stars of tomorrow will not want to miss Diddi Drama. Let their creative talents flourish as they combine role play, movement and music to journey into the imagination in these exciting drama classes.

Laughter Tots will be providing themed Messy, Craft, and Sensory play sessions, where little ones will go on a magical adventure with bubbles, lights, songs and more. There will be a variety of sessions available for both walkers and non-walkers.

Other highlights include The Carnival Day Parades (Saturday), Roman Gladiator Fights (Sunday), and bingo to an Ibiza soundtrack from Kev & Perry's BinGO Large (Sunday).


All this entertainment is certain to work up an appetite, and visitors certainly won't go hungry - or thirsty - at Deva Fest, where festival goers can enjoy some of the best food and drink the region has to offer with 50 local food and drink vendors hand-picked by curators Taste Cheshire.

Sample tastes and flavours from across the globe with the finest pies, meats, seafood, cheese and savouries all on offer. Wash that down with the impressive variety of gins of the world, flavoured vodkas, prosecco, cocktails, craft beers, and freshly squeezed juices - guaranteed to keep guests' thirst quenched.

For the authentic festival experience then there are also weekend camping packages available on the Festival field, plus a dedicated area for camper vans and caravans.

There will be a free shuttle bus running between Chester Railway Station and the festival site which is free for all ticket holders.

Principal organiser Phil Marston said: "We are very excited to be sharing details of the full programme. The line-up will provide a unique blend of entertainment with something for all ages and musical tastes, as well as many different experiences to enjoy.

"We have on-site camping as well and facilities for camper vans and caravans, so people from further afield, as well as locals, can come and experience this very special party weekend."

Taste Cheshire CEO Stephen Wundke said: "We have such an exciting event planned and we all agreed that Chester needed a chance to let its hair down with a cracking three-day party and that is exactly what we are bringing to Chester Lakes.

"Deva Fest will be a party of music, food and drink, Roman Gladiators, parades, fairground rides and lots of fun for every member of the family. We can't wait to bring it all to life."

We Love Good Times founder, Izzy Grey added: "Stephen and his team have brought us so many events over the years, with not just The Food and Drink Festival, but Chestival and so many amazing experiences so it is a perfect fit to grow Deva Fest into a major regional event."

Deva Fest comes to Chester Lakes from Friday 6th to Sunday 8th September 2019.

For more information or to book tickets please visit www.devafest.co.uk.


*Disclaimer - This is a press release provided by BEA. All information is believed to be correct at the time of publishing, but can be subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the events own website in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Aquabeads Box of Fun Safari Set Review and Competition!

If you are a regular reader to the blog, then you will know that over the past couple of years we have had the opportunity to try out some of the fantastic Aquabeads products available in the shops. All three of my children have grown up enjoying the range, with my youngest son Riley quickly becoming a huge Aquabeads fan.

One thing that has always impressed us is the evolving changes that Aquabeads have made to their products, whether this being a new theme, or the introduction of new tools, cases and accessories. Every set my children has played with seems to have got bigger and better each time, with the new Aquabeads Box of Fun Safari Set being no exception.

This fabulous box of fun offers excellent value for money and is jam packed with over 3000 jewel and solid beads. There is so much to make and do within this set and Riley couldn't wait to get the box open and start creating.


The set is well presented and comes in a fantastic blue box which is easy to carry using the handles either side. There is a large image on the front which provides examples of all the different animals that can be made and the monkey, flamingo and panda all caught Riley's attention immediately. The top of the box presents a full list of contents along with more images, so that it provides you with a clear understanding of exactly what is included within. There is also a clear safety warning that advises that the product is not suitable for children under 3 years.


We were amazed at just how much was in the box, with the full contents including:

  • 1 x Storage container
  • 1 x Bead Tray
  • 1 x Playmat
  • 10 x bead stands
  • 1 x water sprayer
  • 1 x template booklet
  • 1 x flip tray
  • Over 3000 jewel and solid beads in 24 different colours

Getting started simply involved unpackaging the beads, placing them in the bead tray and selecting which design you want to start with. Riley has been playing with these products now since the age of 3, so he knows exactly how to begin making them and enjoys a nice bit of quiet time to himself whilst working on his creations.


Riley first chose to make the monkey design, which was soon followed by the flamingo, parrot and koala bear. He sometimes likes to change the colours a little and so he also made a multicoloured elephant using different coloured beads along with a unicorn.

Once his designs had been completed he would spray them with water, which helps the Aquabeads stick together and you can then leave them to dry. This set also comes with the innovative new flip tray design, which means that you can immediately remove the designs from the trays without the need to wait, so that you can continue crafting straight away. Riley thought that this was a great idea and it meant that he could spend a good hour making his designs without the need to keep stopping in between.


We thought that the included stands were also a great idea and once the animals were dry they could be placed in the stands and used on the playmat which added another element of play to the set.

Overall we think that the Aquabeads Box of Fun Safari Set is absolutely fantastic. It has been our favourite set in the range so far and offers great value for money. There are so many choices of animals to make and Riley loved looking through them all and creating his favourites. We loved the introduction of new ideas such as the flip boards and stands and Riley loved being able to display all of his creations on the play mat.

This item has an RRP of £19.99 and is currently available to purchase from most good toy retailers including Amazon, Smyths Toys, The Entertainer and John Lewis.


If you are feeling lucky though, then we have a fantastic competition for our readers, to give you the chance to win one of these fantastic Aquabeads Box of Fun Safari Sets. If you would like to enter then please read the terms and conditions and complete your entry using the gleam form below. Good Luck!

Aquabeads Box of Fun Safari Set


Terms and Conditions
  • There is 1 (one) prize of an Aquabeads Box of Fun Safari Set as featured in this review.
  • Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 years or over.
  • Competition closes on the 15th August 2019 at 23:59.
  • A winner shall be drawn at random from all eligible entries within 7 days of the closing date and notified via email.
  • The winner will have 7 days to confirm their acceptance of the prize before an alternative winner is drawn from the remaining eligible entries.
  • No bulk or third party entries.
  • The winner's details will be shared with the promoter for the purpose of prize fulfilment and permission shall be obtained from the winner prior to doing so.
  • This product is not suitable for children under the age of 36 months due to small parts.
*Disclaimer - We were provided with a complimentary Aquabeads Box of Fun Safari Set for the purpose of writing an honest review of the product. All opinions are my own unless stated otherwise. This post contains an Amazon affiliate link.

Friday, 12 July 2019

Dates for your Diary - Hale Barns Carnival - 20th & 21st July 2019

The Carnival Countdown is now on, as Hale Barns Carnival returns with its biggest ever programme, taking place across the weekend of Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st July 2019 with plenty of activities for all ages.

The two-day festival, organised by Hale Barns Events, will feature more than 100 attractions including a traditional fun fair, falconry displays, supercars, sports, arts and crafts, artisan market and food village - complemented by an all-star live concert each evening to perfectly round off two fantastic days.

 This is the third annual Hale Barns Carnival and Hale Barns Events are once again inviting visitors to enjoy the daytime carnival atmosphere free of charge between 12pm and 5pm on both days. This complimentary admission is made possible thanks to the support of event sponsors retail giant B&M, Manchester Airport, and Benchmark Security Group.

The weekend's programme will open at 12pm on the Saturday with a special performance from the Manchester Survivors Choir on the B&M Stage. The choir is made up of survivors and people directly affected by the Manchester Arena bomb attack in 2017.

The evening concerts are ticketed and gates will open at 6pm with concerts starting at 7:30pm on both evenings. All 100% of the ticket revenue will go towards community projects.

Evening performances includes 80s singing sensations Owen Paul and Nathan Moore from Brother Beyond; disco and soul legends Odyssey and The Real Thing; and a headline DJ set from Spandau Ballet's Martin Kemp.


Visitors enjoying the daytime carnival experience can look forward to High Jinx pop-up theatre. The 200-seater inflatable centerpiece will feature shows throughout the day, showcasing the wonderful talents of magician and illusionist Michael Jordan. Fans of stunts, tricks and acrobatics won't want to miss this highlight.

A huge host of live music and acts will take to the B&M Stage throughout the day on both the Saturday and Sunday and will include local bands, dance troupes, choirs and tributes.

Performers across the weekend include Bananarama tribute Nanarama; State of Quo, a tribute to Status Quo; Irish dancing; electric and acoustic group String Infusion; charting Country music star Danny McMahon; Scarlett Quigley from The Voice; Retro City Orchestra; The Urban Poet Ged Austin; and the Oxfam Fashion Show.


Cheshire's very own Vale Royal Falconry make a welcome return to educate visitors about British birds of prey and their habitat. The team are preparing impressive aerial displays to be shown across the weekend in the brand new event arena located in the centre of the showground.

Robinson's Brewery in Stockport will show their stunning Shire horses, where visitors can meet the horses and learn about Robinson's new breeding programme. From four-legged horses to four-wheeled supercars. Motor enthusiasts will be spoilt for choice with an impressive display of sports and classics cars, including James Bond's very own Aston Martin Db5 and the DeLorean made famous in the Back to the Future films.

Back in the centre arena, visitors can watch the incredible skills of master wood carvers while they work live and turn tree trunks into forest animals right in front of their eyes.

Seldon's Fun Fair return with traditional rides and experiences for festivalgoers of all ages. New for 2019, Kids Craft Clubs will be located across the site where youngsters can try their hand at SandArt and other craft activities.

A sports showcase is also a new interactive addition, with many local sports groups offering visitors a chance to get sporty and join in with mini challenges across the weekend. The Makers Market will host more than 50 talented artisan producers of arts and crafts, gifts, food and drink. Visitors are always bound to find something a little bit different and unexpected.


With so much to see, do and experience, visitors will work up an appetite and thirst - and they are sure to be spoilt for choice.

Hale Barns Carnival prides itself on its choice and variety when it comes to its Food Village. It's award-winning offering this year includes wood fired pizza, Belgium waffles, halloumi fries, and Greek souvlaki.

As well as taking along their stunning Shire horses, Robinsons Brewery will also be hosting its very own unique pub experience on the showground with pop-up bars and terraces.

The evening ticketed activity on Saturday and Sunday starts at 6pm, followed by live concerts from 7.30pm. Saturday evening's concert shines a disco and soul spotlight on Hale Barns with live performances from groups The Real Thing and Odyssey.

While on the Sunday there is an 80s-themed concert with performers Owen Paul and Nathan Moore, followed by headliner Martin Kemp with a Back to the 80s DJ Set.

Max Eden from Hale Barn Events commented: "We are ready to kick-start the summer and cannot wait to welcome visitors of all ages to Hale Barns Carnival. We have a tremendous programme lined up this year with plenty of activities on offer to keep everyone entertained throughout the entire weekend! Bring the whole family along and enjoy the wonderful carnival atmosphere!"

For further information you can visit the Hale Barns Carnival website or their social media pages on the following channels:

Website - www.halebarnscarnival.co.uk
Facebook - www.facebook.com/HaleBarnsCarnival
Twitter - @HaleBarnsEvents

Listing Details

Event - Hale Barns Carnival
Venue - St Ambrose Fields, Hale Road, Hale Barns, WA15 0HE
Dates - Saturday 20th July and Sunday 21st July 2019

Times - Free daytime activity on both days from 12pm until 5pm
Evening concerts - gates open 6pm / show starts 7:30pm

Tickets - Evening Ticket £25 / Adult Weekend Pass £45
Under 16's £10 per evening / Weekend Pass £15

Tickets can be booked online at www.halebarnscarnival.ticketline.co.uk or by calling 0844 8889991 (subject to per ticket booking fee).

*Disclaimer - This is a press release for an upcoming event from BEA. Details provided are believed to be correct at time of publishing, but are subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the events own website in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Friday, 5 July 2019

Stellar Cast Revealed for Cinderella at The Epstein Theatre This Christmas

Epstein Entertainments Ltd have recently announced the first wave of stars confirmed for their debut panto production, coming to The Epstein Theatre this Christmas. Audiences are guaranteed to have a ball when the greatest rags to riches tale opens from Friday 6th December 2019 to Sunday 5th January 2020 and tickets are on sale now!

Emmerdale's Sammy Winward; Benidorm's Crissy Rock; and Brookside's Sarah White are all set to appear in Cinderella at the Hanover Street venue later this year.

Sammy Winward, who trained at the Academy of Classical Dance and Stage and is most notable for playing Katie Sugden in ITV's Emmerdale, will lead the cast in the title role of Cinderella.

It is also certain to be a White Crissy-mas, with Brookside's Sarah White and award-winning actor and comedian Crissy Rock appearing as the Ugly Sisters.


Crissy's screen career began with an award-winning performance in Ken Loache's 1994 film drama Ladybird, Ladybird. The Liverpool native is also renowned for her role as Janey York in ITV's Benidorm, and most recently took part in The All New Monty: Ladies Night which saw a group of celebrities strip-off to raise awareness of the importance of early health checks in preventing breast cancer.

Crissy's stage credits include Escorts: The Musical, Dirty Dusting, Rita, Sue and Bob Too! and Achy Breaky Bride, and panto credits include Ugly Sister in Cinderella at St Helens Theatre Royal and Fairy Godmother in Sleeping Beauty at The Brindley.

Whilst Sarah White is best known for her character Bev McLoughlin in Brookside, where her controversial and dramatic storyline saw her have a baby with her boyfriend's son. Her theatre credits include Margy in The Morris at the Liverpool Everyman, Rita in three UK tours of Naked Truth, and Sheila in The Salon at both The Epstein Theatre and St Helens Theatre Royal.

Further casting will also be announced in the coming weeks.

Cinderella is produced by Epstein Entertainments Ltd, a joint venture between Chantelle Nolan and Jane Joseph from Regal Entertainments Ltd and producer Bill Elms.

Epstein Entertainments' debut production at the venue promises to be a festive extravaganza.

Producer Chantelle Nolan said: "We are very excited to finally reveal the first stars confirmed for our debut panto at the Epstein Theatre. Our beautiful leading lady, Sammy Winward, was on our screens in one of the UK's biggest tv shows and will dazzle as Cinderella.

"It was important for us to bring local talent to the Epstein stage and Crissy and Sarah are revered Liverpool household names. It promises to be a tremendous show for audiences young and old this Christmas."

Director Jane Joseph added: "It is an absolute joy to be returning to direct the Christmas panto at the Epstein Theatre. I directed my very first panto here in 1994 when it was The Neptune, so this venue holds a very special place in my heart. We have a fabulous show lined up for audiences this year so be sure to book your tickets."

Cinderella tells the story of a beautiful girl who is reduced to a life of servitude by her two ugly stepsisters. That is all set to change when an invitation to a grand ball at the palace arrives.

With a bit of magic and some help from her friend Buttons, Cinderella is transformed into the belle of the ball. But what will happen at the stroke of midnight?

Enchanted pumpkins, glass slippers, a sparkling fairy-tale carriage - Epstein Entertainments' version of this classic tale has something for the whole family.

Be sure to book your tickets early and get ready to be whisked off to the most lavish panto in all the land.

Listing Details

Show - Cinderella
Venue - The Epstein Theatre, Hanover House, 85 Hanover Street, Liverpool, L1 3DZ
Dates - Friday 6th December 2019 to Sunday 5th January 2020
Times - Times vary so please visit the Epstein Theatre website for the most up to date information.
Tickets: Various tickets available starting from £11

To book tickets please call 0844 888 4411* or visit www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk. Alternatively, you can visit the Epstein Theatre Box Office from 12pm-6pm, Monday to Saturday.

*Subject to booking fee. All prices include a £1 per ticket venue restoration levy.

Disclaimer - This post is based on a press release provided by BEA. All information is believed to be correct at the time of posting but can be subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the venues own website in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Friday, 24 May 2019

Our Visit to Enginuity - A Review

You may have read our recent blog post regarding a trip to Blists Hill Victorian Town, which is a great place to visit for some family fun. However, located just ten minutes down the road, another of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums, called Enginuity, also provides a great learning experience for families of all ages. Therefore whilst in the area, we travelled the short distance to Coalbrookdale, to see what Enginuity was all about.

This museum is great for some hands-on activities, as well as a great place to get creative and test out your design skills. There are plenty of experiments, puzzles and learning opportunities as you make your way around the attraction, which really makes learning fun and exciting.

On arrival we found there to be a large car park, so we were able to find a spot with ease and then had a short walk over to the entrance. You can see the majority of the displays as you arrive in reception, so my children immediately spotted some activities that they wanted to try.


The first activity Ben wanted to try was all about electrical energy. There were numerous different objects that can be found in most households and you needed to try and power them by spinning the handles fast enough to create energy. Each appliance required a different amount of energy and you could select a number from 1 to 8 to take up the challenge. Items included a radio, blender and even a television. Ben found this really interesting and kept trying to see how long he could keep an item working for.


Another favourite with all my children was the large water dam, which provided plenty of opportunities for water play, as well as a series of challenges. Ben particularly liked the area where you needed to shoot water from the pipe into an adjacent bucket, which would then gradually fill up with enough water to make it tip. The challenges also encouraged my children to work together in different areas, which they all found really enjoyable.


We all loved how interactive the majority of the exhibits were and 'The Boiler' seemed very popular with guests, including my son Riley. He loved putting the fuel ( plastic balls) into the boiler and then turning the wheel to create the energy and make the balls flow.


Riley's favourite activity was to build an arch, where you had to connect foam blocks together to make a freestanding arch. It was a little tricky and it did take three of us to complete this successfully. I will also be honest and say that the arch fell down literally two seconds after this photo was taken! I was quite annoyed with myself though that I hadn't noticed that the number 5 blocks were the wrong way round.


Just behind this arch, was an indoor soft play area for toddlers, which I thought was a great idea as it gave smaller children somewhere safe to play that was nice and quiet and away from the busier activities.

My daughter's favourite challenge was to try and build an earthquake proof tower, where using the materials provided you had to create a building capable of withstanding a simulated earthquake. The boards would remain still whilst you were creating, then once you were confident that your creation was finished, you simply pressed a button and the boards would begin to move from side to side. Despite Emma's best efforts, her building fell quite quickly and she became quite determined to make something that was strong enough.

After we had tried all the exhibits that were downstairs, we made our way up towards the mezzanine floor. As we walked towards the steps, there was a really interesting display of genuine Robot Wars vehicles, along with a video that showed them in action. My children had never heard of the programme before, so they enjoyed watching the display and having a good look around the robots.

On the Mezzanine floor there were more informative exhibits as opposed to hands on activities, so we took some time to read through some of the information that was on display. Riley particularly enjoyed the drawing area where there was a challenge to design a carrot powered rabbit vehicle for a bunny to travel around in. There were some clips on the board so that you could add your creation to the display and Riley loved having a look through everyone elses ideas and designing his own. All the tables were neat and very well laid out, so he enjoyed sitting there for a while so that he could draw and colour in his rabbit-mobile.


One really good aspect of this attraction is that it is very accessible. The majority of activities are all located on the ground floor and there is a large amount of space between each one, making it suitable for prams or wheelchairs. The mezzanine floor is also served by a lift if required.

Overall we really enjoyed our visit to Enginuity and I felt that the exhibits were suitable for the whole family to enjoy and not just the children. This meant that we were able to join in and have fun with our kids and help them solve some of the challenges. It was great to see them reading the information that was provided on the exhibits, which ensured that they were also learning whilst having fun with the experiments.

We visited for two hours, which was just the right amount of time to try out everything without rushing. We also combined our visit with a trip to Blists Hill Victorian Town in the morning, which meant that we had a full day out together as opposed to just a couple of hours and I felt that this worked really well. There was plenty to see and do and any staff that we came across were also really helpful. As well as being a fun place to visit for a couple of hours, I can also imagine that this is a great place to visit with schools or clubs, as it is ideal for an educational trip.

I also believe that Enginuity is currently undergoing a redevelopment of the site and are adding some new exhibits, so we look forward to visiting again in the future and seeing the changes that have taken place.

To find out more about Enginuity or any of the other Ironbridge Gorge Museums, you can visit their website or social media pages on the following channels:

Address - Enginuity, 10 Wellington Road, Coalbrookdale, Telford, TF8 7DX
Website - https://www.ironbridge.org.uk/explore/enginuity/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/theironbridgegorgemuseums
Twitter - @blistshill


*Disclaimer - We were provided with complimentary admission for the purpose of writing an honest review of our visit. Our visit took place at the beginning of May 2019 and as Enginuity is currently undergoing some changes, it does mean that exhibits may vary in the future from those featured in our review.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Thames and Kosmos Engineering Makerspace Alien Robots Science Experiment Kit - A Review

Last week we were sent an Engineering Makerspace Alien Robots Science Experiment Kit from the Thames and Kosmos range for the purpose of writing an honest review of the product. The brand was not one that I was actually familiar with prior to writing this review, but I have since discovered that they are very highly regarded in the toy and educational market, with an extensive range of more than 80 science kits on sale.

The Engineering Makerspace range explores the physics of force, motion, energy, levers and more, which means that children can build and learn for fun, as they play. The range includes Kinetic Machines, Geared Up Gadgets, Alien Robots and Off Road Rovers.

My eldest son absolutely loves anything involving science and technology. He has been involved with some great scientific experiments whilst in primary school, but cannot wait to improve his science and maths knowledge when he moves on to high school next year. This was therefore the perfect product for him to try out and really got his brain thinking as being powered by STEM it focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.


The Thames and Kosmos Engineering Makerspace Alien Robots Science Experiment Kit allows you to build 10 fun motorized models including a Walking Robot, a Flapping Bird and many more. It also features a battery-powered motor box which helps to bring the models to life.

The front of the box is really eyecatching with a large image of the Scorpion model on the front. There are also several further small images underneath this which show the motor and battery box, the Dragon Monster, Insectoid, Auto Robot and Frog Runner. This is great as it gives clear examples of some of the models that can be achieved. The top right hand corner clearly shows the age recommendation of 8+ which helps to clearly identify the suitable age range for the product.

The rear of the box features six further model images along with a picture of all the contents. I always like it when products do this, as it sets a clear expectation as to exactly what you will be receiving inside the box and doesn't leave it open to interpretation.


Ben couldn't wait to get started so he began to open the box and take out all of the contents, which he then laid on the table before he began. Initially he immediately thought that there were so many pieces that he wouldn't be able to do it, but when he started to look through the instruction booklet and saw how clear the instructions were, he was confident enough to give it a go.

Inside the box there were 30 different parts in varying quantities. This provided a total of 138 pieces along with the instruction booklet. This booklet provides not only the individual model guides, but also gives plenty of safety information, so it is important to read through this before beginning to build.

Ben decided to tackle the Scorpion first, which had really stood out to him on the front of the box. The guide images for the build are really clear and were much easier for Ben to follow than written words. He made one mistake when he got to part fifteen, but he soon realised his error and was able to figure this out and correct it with ease. This meant that he was also able to use his problem solving skills to find out where he had gone wrong.

Once he had put this right, he only had a few more steps until the model was completed. His elder sister had also become interested by this point, so she also helped him out with the final steps and it was great to see them working together so well.

It was then the moment to switch the Scorpion on which was loads of fun and it made us all jump as it began scurrying across the floor. We had expected it to be really slow, but it actually moved quite quickly and was quite loud too as the motor began to work. All my children then spent some time playing around with this and making it walk in different directions all over the kitchen floor.


Since then, Ben has gone on to build the Insectoid, Dragon Monster and Grabber Claw as he is working through the instruction booklet in order. He is now aiming to complete a new model every few days, which has made him feel like he has been given a new toy each week, even though they are all from exactly the same kit. You do of course need to dismantle the model to complete a new one, but this is also a fun process and Ben has enjoyed both elements of this.

Overall we all thought that this was an absolutely brilliant kit, that really encouraged my sons thought processes as well as giving him a great educational experience. He loved building the Scorpion and had a great sense of achievement once it had been completed and was so proud of the end result. He overcome some challenges in the build and was able to find out where he had gone wrong and rectify it, which helped him reach completion and also made the further builds easier as he learnt from his first mistake.

It quite literally kept him quiet for hours and he has since completed 4 of the models out of the 10. Therefore in terms of value for money (RRP £24.50) it is absolutely superb, as it is a product that can be varied and used over and over again. We have all been extremely impressed with this Thames and Kosmos kit and whilst I may not have known about them previously, they will definitely be my go-to brand going forwards when purchasing educational toys. In a word - FANTASTIC!

To find out more about the Thames and Kosmos range, then you can visit their website or social media pages on the following channels:

Website - www.thamesandkosmos.co.uk/product-category/engineering-makerspace 
Facebook - facebook.com/thamesandkosmosuk
Twitter - @thameskosmosuk
Instagram - @thamesandkosmosuk


*Disclaimer - We were sent this product on a complimentary basis for the purpose of writing an honest review of the product. All opinions are my own unless otherwise stated.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Dates for your Diary - The Countdown Is On Until Cheshire Fest 2019! 1st & 2nd June 2019.

The weather is getting warmer and the excitement is heating up, as Cheshire 2019 returns with its biggest programme of live performances, family fun and food and drink galore.

Taking place at the Manchester Rugby Club in Cheadle Hulme on Saturday 1st June and Sunday 2nd June, this years event promises to be the biggest and best Cheshire Fest yet, featuring a packed programme of family fun, entertainment, live music, food and drink.

The Cheshire Fest Main Stage will feature a fantastic line-up of the UK's best tribute acts across both days. The Fillers (The Killers) and Kazabian (Kasabian) will play on Saturday 1st June when the Big Hitters theme promises rock 'n' roll, indie pop and festival favourite inspired artists. They'll be joined by headliners Kings Ov Leon (Kings of Leon), along with The Phonics (Stereophonics) and Totally Tina (Tina Turner).

Meanwhile The Stones (The Rolling Stones) and Vicky Jackson as Pink take to the Cheshire Fest Main Stage on Sunday 2nd June for the Family Favourites line-up, featuring a whole host of all-time music greats for all ages. Get ready to dance as Bruno - A Tribute to Bruno Mars and Little Fix (Little Mix) perform. Critically acclaimed Queen tribute Flash close the weekend programme and will rock the festival ground to a memorable end.


 The all-new Acoustic Stage will complement the Cheshire Fest Main Stage programme. The new stage zone will be set amongst deckchair seating, hay bales and bunting, offer festivalgoers, the chance to chill-out in a relaxing environment.

Saturday's Acoustic Stage line-up includes Mancunian indie folk artist David Gorman; rising star Jess Kemp, whose music has been featured on BBC Introducing and Radio 2; the vintage sound of Chris Tavener; guitarist and songwriter Joel Gardner; irresistible indie, soul and funk from The Bright Black; indie singer songwriter Drew Selby; singer songwriter Lyza; uplifting indie band The Rosellas; the pulsating party sounds of Caroline Francess & The Lights; and the deeply personal music of singer songwriter Barratt; along with singer songwriter Jack Woodward, who released his second EP Higher to acclaim in 2018.

Jack Woodward returns to entertain The Acoustic Stage audience also on Sunday. He will be joined by acoustic singer Sam Lyon; John Dhali with his indie soul sounds; acoustic singer songwriter Jordan Philips; folk duo Waiting 4 Bob; Kieran Dobson and The State, inspired by Talking Heads, Nick Cave, and The Smiths; singer songwriter Charlie Airey; the heart-felt music of Manchester-born Paul Smith; the talented storytelling songs of Sion Jones; and energy acoustic trio Girls Bike complete the talented acoustic programme.

The event will be packed with fun for young festivalgoers as they sing, dance, and play all weekend at The Kids Stage and Play Park. Little ones will want to come dressed as their favourite characters as their heroes come to life. Disney legends Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Mary Poppins will perform classic songs and meet their young fans. And for kids that prefer capes and comic books, a cast of superheroes including the amazing Iron Man, massive green Hulk, and the caped crusader himself Batman will definitely attract crowds, with plenty of selfie opportunities guaranteed!

This year's Kids Stage boasts four incredibly talented young singers from The Voice Kids, witness the stars of tomorrow perform live in Cheshire over both days. The youngest jazz and blues artist in the UK, Astrid will perform, as well as Warrington-based Jennifer King. The Voice Kids' semi-finalist Mandy Scarlett and multi-talented Lola from Team Danny will also wow the crowds.


Street dancer Junior Frood is the UK Freestyle Champion, catch him on Saturday, whilst future stars Isaac Lancel Watkinson and Girl Talk perform on Sunday. Super talented Isaac plays a mean guitar and has a fantastic voice. Girl Talk are back by popular demand after their fab performance of 2017 - four bubbly, energetic girls who can sing, rap and dance.

More local talent comes from Aimz Bolly Dance, with their incredible Bollywood Dance performances and The 5 Star Unique Talent Theatre School both on Saturday, followed by the YBSD Theatre School on Sunday.

Endless fun activities and attractions will keep young festivalgoers busy throughout the weekend as they find themselves face to face with a Giant T-Rex; go hi-tech and walk in the boots of a Wild West sheriff or become a famous rock star thanks to VRYourself; or craft sand art and slime in the Craft Tent.

The Play Park is the perfect place to burn off that Summer excitement with inflatables from Bonkers World. The silent disco is also back by popular demand, with Shush having everyone dancing to music as they listen on wireless headphones. Bring the Fire Project will close the Kids Stage programme, treating audiences to a fantastic fire dancing finale.


All this entertainment and family fun will see festivalgoers work up an appetite, but they won't go thirsty or hungry at Cheshire Fest who have brought together the finest selection of local independents and quality festival traders. Street food from around the world will be complemented by real ales, craft beers, ciders, as well as a gin garden and a cocktail bar.

The Street Food Village will offer international cuisines, vegan and vegetarian options - something to suit everyone's tastes.

Local favourites Chilli Banana, which has bases in Bramhall Village and Alderley Edge, is one of the region's most highly regarded vendors of Thai and South East Asian food. While the infamous Porky Pig menu will be familiar with regulars to Old Trafford football ground and the Manchester food markets.

Flavors of Africa will offer rich and nutritious dishes; Cantonese and Schezuan Chinese dishes with a kick come from Panda Catering; traditional steak burgers and fish and chips from Oh So British; melt in the mouth snacks from Hoggie Hog Roast; choose your toppings from Wildfire Pizza; homemade delights and delicacies from the Eastern Mediterranean from Levant Street Food; while Turks Wraps offer charcoal-grilled chicken, halloumi wraps and kebab with sauces from around The Med.

A visit to Mashed Tea Tent will cleanse the palette so visitors can move on to sample sweet treats. Los Churros Amigos will fill the air with the sweet scents of its 100% vegan star-shaped Churros; Hanky Panky Pancakes is tempting with a feast of toppings and sweet sauces; Cheshire Bake House will offer more traditional desserts; with delicious smoothies from Straw & Spoon.

Where there's fabulous food, a diverse drinks selection follows. Cheshire Fest will host more than 100 real ales, craft beers and ciders produced by the best independent breweries across the UK and Europe. Hosted by Funky Brands, the extensive range will delight any beer connoisseur.

On the Saturday the spotlight will be on award-winning Tiny Rebel brewery from Newport, South Wales. Festivalgoers can meet the team behind Tiny Rebel at a special 'meet the brewer' event at Cheshire Fest on Saturday 1st June, where they will be showcasing 10 beers.

The Funky Brands real ale, craft beer and cider tents will also feature Kelham Island Brewery, Dark Star Brewing Co, Anarchy Brew Co, Cross Bay Brewery, Thornbridge Brewery, SeaCider, Ilkley Brewery, Oakham Ales, Fynne Ales, Lilley's Cider Barn, and Saltaire Brewery.

Festivalgoers looking for a lighter choice of beverage may be tempted by the Champagne and Prosecco Bar. Or if you're partial to a cocktail then you'll be well catered for. Renowned for its Spinningfields venue, The Alchemist will be on-hand with their pop-up cocktail unit the Alchemistress, offering some of its finest and quirkiest creations.

Relax in the oasis of The Gin Garden. Sponsored by Fever-Tree, there will be more than 20 gins available from the best distilleries. Enjoy a chilled gin and tonic near the Acoustic Stage.

Cheshire Fest 2019 promises to be the event to kick-start Summer, bring your entire family and join your neighbours for an unforgettable weekend.

For more details you can visit the Cheshire Fest website or their social media pages on the following channels:

Website - www.cheshirefest.co.uk
Facebook - facebook.com/cheshirefest
Twitter - @festcheshire

Listing Details

Event - Cheshire Fest
Venue - Manchester Rugby Club, Grove Lane, Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire, SK8 7NB
Dates - Saturday 1st June and Sunday 2nd June 2019
Times - Saturday 12pm to 11pm / Sunday 12pm to 11pm

Book online at www.cheshirefest.co.uk

Tickets
Child (aged 6 to 15): Single Day £8* / Weekend £12.75*
Adult (16+): Single Day £17.50* / Weekend £25.50*
VIP Tickets (18+, private tent and viewing area with washroom facilities, and a bottle of Prosecco on arrival) Single Day £50* / Weekend £90*

* Ticket prices are subject to booking and administration fees.


* Disclaimer - This is a press release from BEA.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Revisiting the Wonderful Blists Hill Victorian Town - A Review

Blists Hill is a beautiful replica of a small industrial town, that genuinely makes you feel as though you have travelled back in time. It is jam packed full of interesting exhibits, informative demonstrations and plenty of activities for families to join in with. It is a marvellous representation of the Victorian community, which makes it a fun and educational day out for visitors of all ages.

It is part of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums and we have very fond memories of our last visit to this attraction two years ago. We therefore decided to pay a return visit to this wonderful site, so that we could write an up to date review of the Blists Hill Victorian Town for our readers.

On the bank holiday Monday, we set off on the journey from our home in North Wales to Telford in Shropshire, which is a 90 minute drive. It was an easy journey that took us along some picturesque routes in parts, albeit with plenty of roundabouts, but we made good time and arrived at our destination for 11am. We followed the directions provided on the sat nav, however it was well sign posted from the main roads. Owing to it's popularity, there was a queue to enter the attraction, but visitors were attended to quickly and attentively. This ensured that no-one had to wait for too long before being able to enter and travel back in time to the Victorian era.


As we entered the street, my children immediately remembered the bank, so they insisted on a quick visit to exchange some of their coins. You can step inside the bank and swap modern day currency for older coins and then use these to purchase items in the shops. If you have any left over at the end of the day, you simply swap them back over before you leave. We think that this is such a fun idea and it really gets visitors thinking about the difference in value from years gone by. It is also interesting being able to compare the old style bank with today's modern facilities.

Located nearby was the chemist, which also features a small dental surgery inside. If you have a fear of the dentist, then Victorian dentistry would definitely not be for you, as there were a vast range of weird and scary looking instruments in use. The chemist displayed a vast collection of potions and lotions with bottles of all shapes and sizes. There were also some soaps and toiletries that were available for purchase which smelt really nice.


As we made our way along the street we searched inside the open shops and buildings. We found the post office interesting and there was a man sat outside making rugs and talking to visitors as they walked past. A beautiful horse was being led through the streets and Riley was looking forward to seeing more of the horses and other animals later in the day.

My children were very excited to visit the sweet shop again, which was definitely one of their highlights from our previous trip. There was a great range of sweets to choose from and you could choose to pay in new or old money, with the price list displaying both options.


Opposite the sweet shop is a wonderful photography suite which was my personal favourite from our last trip. Unfortunately we were on quite a tight schedule on this day, so decided to give this a miss on this occasion, but if you are a first time visitor, then it is definitely something not to be missed and provides you with a wonderful keepsake from your trip to Blists Hill.

For a very reasonable charge, you can dress up in Victorian clothing and have a picture portrait taken of you in traditional style. There is a large dressing room where you can select the clothes that you would like to wear, along with guidance and suggestions from a member of staff. Once everyone is dressed up, then you are taken through to a studio to have your picture taken against a traditional Victorian backdrop. Here is an image of my son Ben getting ready for his photo from our visit two years ago.


We continued our exploration around the site, before Ben requested a trip to the Doctor's house. As we entered, we were greeted by a lovely lady who welcomed us into the home and also then proceeded to talk to my children about activities that they may have done in Victorian times. Riley was very interested to learn more about flower pressing and he was shown how to do it, so that he could try it himself in the future.

We had a look in the waiting room and wondered how doctors managed appointments back then, prior to computers and modern technology.

Just past the surgery were some lovely farm animals, including pigs and chickens. Riley absolutely loves pigs, so he stood watching and talking to them for a while, before we proceeded to walk down the hill and past the G R Morton Ironworks.


Located at the bottom of this hill is a traditional funfair that both children and adults can enjoy, with a selection of fairground rides and stalls. There is an additional charge for these, but it is not overpriced and a go on the carousel costs only £1.50. In addition to the carousel there was also a swing roundabout, traditional swing boats and a coconut shy, making it a great place to stop and enjoy some Victorian fun. There are also some picnic benches and seating nearby, so it is also the ideal picnic area, with plenty to see and do.

Opposite the fairground is the old school house, where the very strict Mr Stern teaches his lessons. Visitors can attend the school at a time specified on the day and form an orderly queue outside before entering the classroom. When we arrived the queue was already very long, so we decided to walk round to the viewing windows instead, where you can see and hear everything that is going on inside. My children watched in amazement as visitors came in and took their seats, whilst Mr Stern shouted at them to be quiet and to hurry up so lesson could begin. The class then began by singing the hymn 'All Things Bright and Beautiful' under his watchful eye.


Ben said that Mr Stern was quite scary and was glad that he wasn't his real teacher, but he also found it really interesting how everyone immediately listened and behaved. We continued to watch the lesson for some time, before Riley asked if we could go and see the big boat, which he had remembered from our previous visit. We therefore made our way across to the big building, just a bit further down the path.

This purpose built building, houses what is believed to be the last known surviving Lower Severn Trow, which would have previously transported cargo along the River Severn. There is plenty of information and facts to read about the boat, along with a video that can be watched prior to climbing the stairs to the walkway. This allows visitors to get a marvellous view of the boat from all angles including a birds eye view from above. Both of my boys really love exploring boats, so they found this part of the attraction really interesting.


By this point we had started to get a little hungry, so we walked back up the hill to the towns main street to enjoy some fish and chips. I will be honest when I say that these are the nicest fish and chips that I have ever tasted and were absolutely delicious, cooked using the traditional method of beef dripping. We couldn't find any picnic benches available in the beer garden located next door, so we took our food over to some well placed rocks by the river and sat there whilst we enjoyed our food.

The Ironbridge Gorge Museums recommend that you allow at least three hours for your visit and I would definitely agree, although you could spend much longer there if you decided to take part in all of the activities and demonstrations which are available. The fairground is seasonal so only operates in the summer months, but there is also plenty of other things to see and do for the remainder of the year.

During our visit there was the opportunity to take part in some traditional maypole dancing, try out some candle dipping, ride in a horse and cart, experience the fun of the fair, enjoy a lesson with Mr Stern and also witness a good old sing song in the local pub.

The shops are full of interesting items as well as staff on hand to tell you more about how life would have been in the Victorian period. In the pharmacy you can learn all about the lotions and potions that were used, whilst in the bakery you can view them preparing bread for sale (which you can also buy once it is ready).


Overall we had a fantastic time and it is somewhere that I am sure we will return to again in the future. It is an attraction that is suitable for all ages and I love that fact that both times we have visited it has been a different experience and we have learnt something new. Days out as a family are often fun, but Blists Hill also has that educational element that all my children find really interesting.

There is no shortage of things to see and do and I particularly like how friendly and helpful the staff are around the town. Blists Hill Victorian Town has a wonderful atmosphere and a real feeling of authenticity. I would therefore happily recommend this attraction to families looking for a fun and informative day out together.

Attraction Details

You can find out more about Blists Hill Victorian Town by visiting their website or social media pages, which can be found on the following channels:

Address: Blists Hill Victorian Town, Legges Way, Madeley, Telford, TF7 5UD.
Website: https://www.ironbridge.org.uk/explore/blists-hill-victorian-town/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theironbridgegorgemuseums
Twitter: https://twitter.com/blistshill

Entry prices are as follows:

Adult Entry - £18.50
60+  - £13.50
Child with Gift Aid - £11.50

You can also purchase Annual Passport Tickets which includes admission to all 10 Ironbridge Gorge museums for 12 months. Further details on these can be found here.

Opening Times: The attraction is open 7 days a week from 10am til 4:30pm from 25th March to 29th September 2019.


*Disclaimer - We were provided with complimentary entry to the attraction for the purpose of writing an honest review of our experience. Opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. Prices/dates/opening times correct at time of writing but are of course subject to change.




Monday, 13 May 2019

Windermere Lake Cruises & The Lakeland Motor Museum - A Review

In a recent blog post, I reviewed our experience at the Treetop Nets located at Brockhole Visitor Centre in the Lake District. We had an incredible time and plenty of fun, but once our two hour session was over, we were keen to see what else there was on offer in the area, as well as having a little bit of time to relax.

It can often be hard to find an activity where the parents get a little bit of time to chill out, without the kids immediately declaring their boredom, but we found the perfect solution by combining a Windermere Lake Cruise with a trip to the Lakeland Motor Museum.

We walked the short distance from the Treetop Nets to the Brockhole jetty, where there was a Windermere Lake Cruises ticket desk to purchase your tickets. You can also buy them online if you prefer and then simply exchange your booking confirmation for the tickets on arrival. We did the latter and exchanged our online booking voucher for tickets with minimal fuss. I had printed a copy of the timetable off the day before, so that we knew exactly where and when we could catch the boats throughout the day.

We had a Freedom of the Lake ticket including Lakeland Motor Museum entry, which meant that it could be used on any of the boats for a duration of 24 hours and that we could also use it to visit the museum. However, if you did only wish to travel on a particular route, then you can buy tickets specifically for the journey that you require. There are a great range of ticket options available, along with the choice of adding an attraction for greater value for money. Attractions that can be added are the Lakeland Motor Museum, the Lakes Aquarium and the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Steam Railway.


There was plenty of seating for us to wait on until our boat arrived and then when it started to come into the jetty, all the customers began to form an orderly queue. On first glance it looked as though our boat was nearly full, so I was slightly worried about us being able to find seats altogether. Whilst it was busy, there were in fact still plenty of seats available on the upper deck, so my family and I sat on two rows upstairs, so that we could get a great view of the scenery.

We had decided that we would travel to Bowness first, prior to visiting the Motor Museum, so as our boat travelled on a circular route, this meant that we firstly had to travel to Ambleside, before returning back past Brockhole and onto Bowness. This was a really relaxing and enjoyable boat journey which had the most picturesque backdrop to our travels. The boat guide pointed out some areas of significance and also highlighted some peaks to us in the distance. My children really enjoyed looking out for wildlife, as well as trying to spot some of the hotels and landmarks that were mentioned on the journey.


As we continued our journey to Bowness, we passed numerous other watercraft all enjoying time out on the lake. This varied from yachts and motor boats to kayaks and paddle boards. Riley loved waving to everyone as they went past and it was great to see so many people wave back.

On arrival in Bowness, my children immediately spotted an outdoor stall selling ice cream, so we disembarked and had a little walk around the waterfront, before purchasing a cone each for us all. There was also a little arcade that we played in for a while, before we continued further up the road in order to explore some of the town.

We had last visited the area a couple of years ago, so Riley couldn't quite remember his last trip, so we walked up to the outside of the Beatrix Potter Museum and took him for a look inside the shop. Both my boys collect coins, so they were keen to see if they had any of the new Peter Rabbit coins on sale.


After we had spent a short time in Bowness, we decided to catch another boat and then continue our onward journey to the Lakeland Motor Museum. I had printed the timetable off from the website previously, but there were also plenty of leaflets and boards which advised when the next departures were. Our boat was already boarding at the jetty and fortunately there wasn't a large queue, so we were able to get onboard straight away and find some seats.

There was a choice of seating available and as the weather had become quite cold and overcast, we decided to sit downstairs for the next part of our journey. There were some long seats with tables in between, along with large picture windows at the side, so you could still see all the scenery as you travelled. A small refreshment shop was also located downstairs, so we enjoyed some hot drinks and snacks to warm us up.

All of the journeys that we had with Lake Windermere Cruises were really smooth along the water and not bumpy at all. I sometimes get a bit dizzy or light headed when travelling on boats, but these cruises were really relaxing and enjoyable and it was nice to be able to enjoy this time together as a family.

If, like us, you decide to visit the Lakeland Motor Museum, then you will need to catch a bus once you arrive at Lakeside. These run regularly and in time with the boat arrivals and departures, with the journey on the bus taking approximately 10 minutes. It is a great little service which makes exploring the area really easy.


On our arrival to the Lakeland Motor Museum, my children immediately remembered it. It has some superb displays and exhibits that my kids always find really fascinating. The museum itself is located within a converted mill and it boasts a massive collection of over 30,000 exhibits that cover a wide range of transportation from the twentieth century. As well as the main museum, there is also a separate exhibit in an adjacent building, that is dedicated to The Bluebird and the racing career of Sir Malcolm and Donald Campbell.

As we entered the main shop and reception area, my children were provided with some quiz books that they could fill in as we had a look around and they were really pleased to see that some of the questions were different from our previous visit. The quiz book encouraged them to read the information on the displays, which helped them to learn more and gain a greater understanding of the vehicle that they were looking at.

My eldest son found the original prices of the cars really interesting, so he downloaded an app whilst there, that allowed you to convert historical prices into the modern day equivalent. One vehicle originally cost £400 new which sounded so inexpensive, but once you converted this to today's money, it would have been the same as thousands of pounds.


There were some new exhibits in place that had arrived since our last visit, so it was great to be able to have a look at some new vehicles that we had not seen before. It is actually quite amazing how they manage to fit so many displays in one place. Everything is so well laid out and the route through the museum is really easy to follow. The extensive car collection covers a large time span and features some wonderful cars ranging from prestige and luxurious, to performance and iconic.


Along with the vehicles, there are also some really fun shop displays, as well as old vehicle and fuel station signs all adorned along the walls. As an added bonus there is also a small room upstairs that features some old arcade style games. Each of the games cost 20p to play and there is a change machine so that you can exchange a £1 for a few coins. My son Ben loved the Super Steer-A-Ball game and managed to get his timing to perfection so that he could complete the route successfully.

There was also a fantastic display of bicycles and motorbikes upstairs in what was quite a magnificent collection. With so many to look at and compare, it was really interesting to view some of the older and more unique designs that varied quite a lot to todays modern comparisons.


My youngest son Riley really enjoyed learning about the Bluebird and he even chose to watch the video that played in the exhibit, sitting nice and quietly and listening to everything that was being said in the documentary. He absolutely loves to learn and find out new and interesting facts, so he was amazed hearing all about the record attempts that took place on the lake. Another couple visiting actually commented on how well behaved and quiet he was, which was a lovely compliment to receive.

Once we had finished looking around all of the exhibits, we returned to the shop with our completed quiz books so that the children could claim their prize. They were all rewarded for their efforts with a lovely little medal, which Riley was particularly proud of, especially as he had managed to answer most of the questions all by himself.


Overall we had a fantastic time with both Windermere Lake Cruises and the Lakeside Motor Museum. The boats looked really well maintained and all the staff on board seemed very accommodating and friendly. A small refreshments bar on board ensured that we could buy some hot drinks and snacks, whilst enjoying a leisurely cruise around the lake. Riley absolutely loved waving to the other boats that went past, whilst Ben enjoyed looking for wildlife both in and around the lake. The on-board commentary ensured that we didn't miss anything of significance and this also kept the children interested as they tried to spot what was being described by the guide.

The Lakeland Motor Museum was well enjoyed by my children and although we have visited previously, they still found it just as fascinating as our previous visit. There were some new exhibits that we had not seen before and the quiz that children are provided with on entry was also different. My kids really enjoyed looking for all the answers throughout the museum and also had a great time playing on the vintage games in the upper floor. Both attractions were superb and it was a fantastic way to spend a relaxing afternoon together.

For more information on Windermere Lake Cruises or the Lakeland Motor Museum, then you can visit their websites or their social media pages on the following channels:

Windermere Lake Cruises

Website - https://www.windermere-lakecruises.co.uk/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/windermerelakecruises
Twitter - https://twitter.com/Windermereboats
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/windermerelakecruises/

Lakeland Motor Museum

Address: Lakeland Motor Museum Ltd, Old Blue Mill, Backbarrow, Ulverston, Cumbria, LA12 8TA
Website - www.lakelandmotormuseum.co.uk
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/LakelandMotorMuseum/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/LakeMotorMuseum
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/lakelandmotor/


*Disclaimer - We were provided with a complimentary Freedom of the Lake & Motor Museum Ticket for the purpose of providing an honest review of our experience. Opinions are my own unless stated otherwise.