Showing posts with label activities. Show all posts
Showing posts with label activities. Show all posts

Saturday 15 April 2023

(AD) The Messi Training System Foldable Goal - A Review

My son Riley has recently been participating in football sessions at school which he has really enjoyed being involved in. We are therefore always on the look out for games, aids or training equipment that can help him improve his soccer skills. When we were recently asked to try out the Messi Training System, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to help him with his target practice and enhance his sporting abilities, whilst also giving us the chance to have some family fun in the garden.

On opening the box we found 1 x Messi Foldable Goal, 1 x Messi Ball and a Pump. Assembling the product was a very simple process and it was also so easy to fold up and put away after we had finished playing. On first glance the goal appears very small and is 90cm in length, 61cm in height and 59cm in depth. However, the whole point of this goal is to improve accuracy and the compact sizing definitely helps with that. 

We tried practicing a few different skills and created our own games to play in order to enhance Riley's concentration and coordination. Firstly we played a game where we had to dribble the ball across the garden, then make an attempt on goal. We placed a marker on the grass and would move this back gradually so that we were eventually shooting from a few metres away.

The next skill we practiced was headers, which we all initially found quite challenging. This created plenty of laughter as the ball kept going in all directions, but after plenty of practice we each managed at least one goal which was loads of fun.

One of the main benefits of the Messi Training System, is its portability and the fact it can be folded up to be enjoyed anywhere. You can take it the beach or park which means you aren't limited to using this in just one space and you can carry on practising your skills wherever you may go.

Overall we found The Messi Training System to be a great way of improving accuracy and we love the fact that we can take it to the park or on holiday with us. It is a great way to encourage sport and fitness and can definitely help with football skills. It is suitable for ages 4+ and available to purchase now at Argos, Amazon and other toy retailers.

*Disclaimer - We were gifted The Messi Training System for the purpose of writing an honest review of the product. All thoughts and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. This post contains Amazon affiliate links which means that I may receive a small commission should you choose to make a purchase after following a link. 

Saturday 9 April 2022

(AD) Getting Creative This Easter with Plasticine - A Review

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

I have so many memories of playing with Plasticine as a child. It was one of my favourite creative activities and I was always excited when my childminder brought out the big Plasticine box after picking me up from school. My friends and I would all make different creations and play scenes and we would often try and make items that were based on the topics we were learning in school, just so we had an excuse to take our little models into class the next day to show the teacher.

Plasticine is a timeless classic and is the ideal modelling compound for children, due to it being soft and easy to use. It is recommended for children aged 5+ and it can be used in a wide variety of ways, that are sure to inspire artistic creativity.

When my family and I were recently offered the chance to review a selection of Plasticine products, I jumped at the chance to be involved and all the memories I had quickly came flooding back. Whilst Plasticine is wonderful for getting your children to be creative, it can very easily be enjoyed by adults too, so we had a lovely Easter themed afternoon where my kids and I tried out all the items and came up with some wonderful creations.

The products we received were Plasticine Uber Tubes, Plasticine Tower Blox, Plasticine Toolz Box, Plasticine Fluro and Plasticine 24 Colour Max. My youngest son couldn't wait to get started so we began opening all the items whilst beginning to think of what we would like to make together. My other children and my husband also had their own ideas so we split the colours and items fairly between everyone to ensure that everyone had enough of each colour along with some tools.

The Plasticine Tower Blox Set is fabulous and contains absolutely everything you need to create plenty of items or characters. The box is well presented and we loved the bright and bold colours. It is the ideal starter pack as it includes 10 different colours, all with their own funky storage tubs, 10 cutters, 2 modelling tools, a roller, a mat and an instruction sheet.

The Plasticine Uber Tubes was my son's favourite pack as this included 16 different colours of plasticine which provides you with plenty of creative opportunities. Again the packaging was bold and bright and I liked the fact that you could clearly see what colours were enclosed. Riley loved the characters on the front of the pack and thought that the sheep was really funny. Inside the pack we also found tools, a mat and a roller.

The Plasticine Toolz box is the ideal introduction to Plasticine, along with the Plasticine Fluro and Plasticine 24 Colour Max as all of these items offer excellent value for money and are also the ideal starter size packs. The Plasticine Toolz Box contained 4 small shaped cutters, 1 roller, 1 modelling tool, 7 colours of plasticine and storage tray. Riley loved being able to carry the box around and I liked the fact that it made items easy to store away when not in use.

The Plasticine Fluro pack includes 130g of plasticine in funky neon colours and is presented in the same shape and style as how I remember it being as a child. The Plasticine 24 Colour Max pack has 24 strips of different colours along with an ideas sheet to help give you some inspiration. I feel that these three items together would also make a lovely birthday gift due to their affordable price.

Riley spent ages putting all his creative ideas together and he was amazed at how easy it was to use and mould into the shapes he wanted. If something didn't work out quite the way he had planned, then he was able to reshape it and try again without worrying that it may have gone hard or that he couldn't use that piece again. The beauty of plasticine is that it can be used numerous times, as it never dries out, meaning that there are so many creative possibilities.

My daughter and I decided to make some Easter bunnies, but initially I wasn't too sure where to begin. I got some inspiration for the body shapes from some of the idea sheets that were enclosed with the products, whilst my talented daughter just began creating from scratch. I ended up becoming very invested in my miniature project and I found the tools really useful for helping me with the smaller details. I ended up making the white bunny in the picture above (which I am very proud of), whilst my daughter made the grey bunny, carrot and basket of eggs. 

Riley wanted to work with more rounded shapes, so he opted to make some Hot Cross Buns and an Easter Chick. For only nine years of age, I think he did very well and I thought his Easter Chick turned out extremely cute.  He also found it useful using the roller and the tools to help him with the finer details and he was really pleased with the final outcome.

Overall we had a lovely afternoon playing with the Plasticine. We came up with so many creations and really enjoyed helping one another and working together on some of the pieces. We love that the unused plasticine can be stored neatly in the blox cubes and we have used the tool box to store the tools along with some of our creations to keep them safe. My son has already decided that we are going to try and make zoo animals next time which sounds like a great idea. I think that the products are superb and also offer excellent value for money. I would therefore happily recommend these products to others and we will definitely be building on our plasticine collection going forwards. 

The Plasticine range of products are available to purchase at Amazon.

To find out more about Plasticine and the other products in their range, then you can visit the Flair Group website, or their social media pages on the following channels:

Instagram - @flair_gp 

*Disclaimer - We were gifted these items for the purpose of writing an honest review of the products. All thoughts and opinions are our own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

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.

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 22 March 2019

Mud & Bloom Subscription Box Review

Mud & Bloom are a fantastic subscription box company, that inspire children to get creative and develop their love for nature and the environment. Each month, subscribers can receive a box that is filled with fun activities and best of all, they can also fit through your letterbox, so there is no hassle of having to wait in for a delivery.

Each box contains everything that you need for some fun nature themed tasks, as well as providing very clear instruction sheets, nature news and educational games to help children learn to identify animals or objects in the world around them. When we were therefore offered the opportunity to review their February box, we jumped at the chance and Riley waited excitedly for his box to arrive in the post.

The boxes are aimed at 3-8 year olds, however my 11 year old son was also keen to take part, so my two boys aged 6 & 11 opened the box together. Inside our box was a whole host of activities, which have not only been created by qualified teachers, but they also support the National Curriculum with influence from Forest School, Steiner and Montessori education.

Our box contents included:
  • Make Ice Decorations Activity Sheet
  • Grow Your Own Aubergines Activity Sheet
  • Make Your Own Kite Activity Sheet
  • Grow Cosmos Flowers Activity Sheet
  • Flower Spotter Guide Sheet
  • February's Quiz Sheet
  • Compost Pellets
  • 2 x wooden sticks
  • Kite Material (Square Paper)
  • Twine
  • String
  • Paper Ribbons
  • Nature News Sheet
We also needed several other items for our activities which were not included, but are easily found around the home. These were an egg box for planting seeds, a cardboard toilet roll for the kite and a shallow dish for the ice decoration.

The Nature News sheet explained to us what was happening in February and highlighted what the first flowers were that we could expect to see growing at this time of year. It also advised that we might also start to notice leaf-buds on trees and this inspired my youngest son Riley to try and notice things on our walk to school. We didn't see any tree leaves starting to grow just yet, however we spotted plenty of daffodils and daisies.

There was also a Bird of the Month featured in the news section which for February was the Blue Tit. Riley enjoyed learning all about this beautiful bird and liked the blue and yellow colours of its feathers. We learnt a new fact that none of us had known, which was that the Blue Tit bird likes to drink milk, as well as eating insects, caterpillars, seeds and nuts.

Once we had read through the Nature News, we began our first activity. There was a bit of a debate between the boys as to which one we should attempt first, but in the end it was the Make Your Own Kite activity that won. 

I began reading through the instructions and made sure that we had everything that was required. The square paper, string and ribbons had already been provided, but we also needed scissors and a cardboard tube. Once we had found these additional items we began to make our way through the 6 step process of creating our very own kite.

We began by taking the paper and folding it along the pre-printed dotted lines as directed in the picture provided. We then made three holes in each of the folded triangles on the paper. These holes were for the string and ribbons. My eldest son was able to do this on his own with supervision, but younger children would definitely need assistance with this to do it safely. We then tied the string through the holes, winding the end of it around the cardboard tube. After this, we added the ribbons to the tail end through the remaining hole. 

It was really simple to create and something that we would have never thought about making ourselves before. We took the kite to a local field to get it flying and then experimented with the string to see how high we could get it to fly. It was lots of fun and great to have something that the children could play with once it had been made.

The next activity we chose to attempt was Grow Your Own Aubergine. Rather than simply telling us how to do this, the card also provided plenty of information all about aubergines. We learnt where they originally came from, how long they take to grow and how they are most often cooked and eaten. For this task we needed Organic Aubergine Seeds, Organic Compost Pellets and a plant label which were all provided. Additional items such as an egg carton or yoghurt pots were also required to plant the seeds.

Firstly we filled a bowl with warm water and placed two pellets in it. You then leave them to grow for around 10 minutes until they have completely expanded. My boys found this part interesting in itself and couldn't understand how it became larger. Once they had finished growing, we tore the netting off each one and poured them into two compartments of the egg carton. We then placed one seed in each pot. Ben labelled them up and we moved them to somewhere warm with natural light. The seedlings have not started to appear on ours justyet, but it has been less than the guide time of two weeks, so I will update this post accordingly once that time has passed.

The instructions advise that once they have become to big for their pots, then they need to be moved to larger ones that are approximately 5 inches deep. Once they have filled these pots, then they can be moved to their final positions and add support sticks if required. We cannot wait to see and eat our aubergines once they are fully grown.

We then moved on to planting our Cosmos Seeds. The seeds, compost pellets and label were all provided, but we did need either an egg carton or yoghurt pot for planting. We chose to use the opposite end of the egg carton to where we had planted the Aubergine seeds in the previous activity. These flowers grow to be a beautiful mixture of white and pink flowers, which can be up to 60cm tall. As with the aubergine seeds, we followed a similar routine with preparing the compost and then planted our seeds approximately a quarter of an inch down. We labelled them and then placed them in a warm place. We are hoping to see the seedlings appear in the next couple of weeks and the boys have been taking it in turns to water our seeds regularly.

At this point we decided to take a little break from the activities and attempt the quiz instead. All of the quiz questions were based around what we had learnt from the Nature News and the boys really enjoyed trying to remember the right answers to the questions. I am proud to say that they both scored 5 out of 5.

Our final task was to Make Your Own Ice Decorations, it wasn't frosty on the day that we received the subscription box, so we waited for a couple of days to see if the weather changed. During this time we collected some small leaves to put in our decoration, as well as finding some shallow lids and bowls to help with the creating process.

The weather didn't quite get chilly enough, so we decided to make use of the freezer instead, so we placed the leaves and stems we had collected on our lids and poured water over them. We then placed half of the loop of twine into the water, with the remainder of the loop over the side. It was then left in the freezer overnight. When Riley woke up in the morning he was very excited to see his ice decoration and we hung these on some branches outside.

Overall we really enjoyed all of the activities that came in our February Mud & Bloom Subscription Box and think that it is a great way to get children learning more about nature. A single box costs £9.95 with no long term committment and this can simply run on a month to month basis, which I think is value for money. Alternatively there are a range of plans which helps to reduce the monthly cost even more and further details on these can be found here:

For further information on Mud & Bloom you can visit their website or social media pages on the following channels:

Twitter: @mudandbloom
Instagram: @mudnbloom

*Disclaimer - We were provided with a complimentary Mud & Bloom subscription box for the purpose of writing an honest review of the product. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday 30 April 2018

A Family Ski Lesson with Snozone in Castleford, West Yorkshire! - A Review

Last year we visited Snozone in Milton Keynes to experience a family sledging session. We saw some amazing skiing and snowboarding during our visit and we left extremely impressed with the facilities that were on offer. Before we had even left our sledging session, we had all agreed that we would love to return to Snozone in the future to enjoy a family skiing lesson.

This weekend the attraction launched their Snozone Summer of Snow Party, which provided us with the perfect opportunity to return and put our skiing skills to the test.  The party featured prizes, children's activities, freestyle demonstrations and special offers, as well as some FREE face painting and badge making. If that wasn't enough the restaurant was offering an amazing range of Tapas dishes, food and drink and Snozone had also teamed up with partners Andorra, Tog24 and Crystal Ski to provide both guests and members with some great deals.

Snozone is a family friendly attraction and snow sports facility. It currently has two venues in the UK with one being based in Castleford, West Yorkshire and the other in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. Each site provides real snow slopes for skiing and snowboarding as well as offering snow experiences such as sledging and family snow play sessions, making it the ideal place to learn, develop and have some fun. They were also voted the Best Sporting Venue 2017/2018 by the School Travel Awards, for excelling in learning outside the classroom for school children.

We couldn't wait to visit again, though this time we chose to visit their Castleford site instead, which was 1 hour 25 minutes away from our home in North Wales. It was a really easy drive along the M62 and as we got closer, there were plenty of signs to show us where to exit. As soon as we left the motorway, we could see the huge Xscape building in the distance and the kids started to get really excited as we drove nearer.

On arrival, we were surprised to find that it was free parking. The Xscape building also houses many other entertainment venues and restaurants, so we were quite shocked that there was no charge to park. We made our way through the main entrance and followed the overhead signs to Snozone, where we were then welcomed at the reception desk.

We provided our reference number and the Snozone representative brought up our booking details. She told us the name of our instructor and wrote down our clothing sizes so that she could go and get some appropriate warm ski wear for us. You can bring your own ski clothing or you can hire it for a cost of £9.99 per person. Due to hygiene reasons, you must provide your own socks and gloves, but should you forget these, then they are available to purchase from the Snozone shop. This can obviously increase the cost of your visit though, so its best to try and remember to bring them with you.

Once we had collected all our clothing, we made our way over to the changing rooms. There are numerous individual changing cubicles, along with a further two communal changing areas for males and females with toilets. We chose to use the individual cubicles which were located next to the lockers, where you could leave your possessions for safe keeping. These required a £1 coin, but this was refundable.

Now that we had our clothing on, we headed to the equipment hire desk where we were provided with boots. I would recommend going one size up to your usual shoe size for comfort as they are very tight fitting. You are advised to only wear one boot to begin with, as you then return to the desk with your other boot so that the skis can be adjusted to fit. I will be honest, I found the process of getting all my gear on quite a challenge and the instructor ended up helping me fasten my boots in the end. Luckily he was lovely and was more than happy to help.

The booking confirmation advises to arrive 45 minutes before a ski lesson and initially I thought that this was a very lengthy amount of time, but really it was actually extremely accurate. We arrived at 9:45 and were only just ready in time for our lesson start time of 10:30 so I would definitely say that you need to make sure you follow the information provided to ensure that you have plenty of time to get all kitted out.

Our instructor Adam, had already found us at the waiting benches whilst we were getting our boots on and our first impressions of him were great. He introduced himself to all the children and took note of everyones names. He asked a couple of questions about which members of our family had been skiing before and how confident we were. In turn I asked him a couple of questions too about how long he had been teaching for and when he first started skiing. I also explained to him that I had a fear of heights and of hurting myself, so was probably going to be a terrible student to teach. Adam was really reassuring though and rather than just laugh at me, he did his absolute best to encourage me right from start to finish. If I could have hand picked an instructor, he would definitely have been my choice. Great with the kids, patient, knowledgeable and friendly.

We waddled out to the nursery slope, I say waddled and that's because we all took a bit of time to adapt to the heavy boots, as well as carrying the skis. Once we were on the flat, we were shown how to clip into the skis and began with attaching just one ski to the boot. We then got used to them by going up and down on the flat imitating riding a scooter, to get used to the sensation of the skis gliding on the snow. My five year old son Riley had been very nervous prior to the start of the session, but he was absolutely loving it as he slid along the snow.

Our next step was to get clipped into both skis and then slide across the straight. Ben, Emma and Mr F have all been skiing before, but this was a completely new experience for Riley and I. It took a little bit of getting used to, though somehow I managed to maintain my balance. Once we had mastered the fine art of sliding, we were then shown how to open and close the skis in order to add some control to our movement. We were only approximately 20 minutes into the session when we went half way up the nursery slope and made a gentle slide down. The rest of my family found this super easy, but I will admit that I was so worried about taking a tumble.

Once everyone had accomplished that step, it was time to make our way to the top of the nursery slope. Again everyone but me found this remarkably easy, as you simply had to hold onto a rope which then pulled you to the top of the slope. I managed to hold the rope fine, but my release wasn't the most perfect and I needed the help of trusty Adam to get me to the flat section at the top.

Adam then explained that he would go down the slope with each of us one at time, so that we could get a feel for it first. I was amazed at how comfortable Riley was with Adam and was so proud when he made his first attempt to ski down the snow. The smile on his face once he had done this was fantastic and certainly a memory I will treasure.

As our family grew in confidence Ben, Emma and Mr F all made their way down the slope unaided numerous times gaining a little more speed and control on each occasion. Mr F did slightly misjudge one attempt though and ended up in a heap alongside the crash barrier, but this was all good fun and he was able to laugh it off and get straight back up to try again. Practice makes perfect as they say!

Towards the end of the session, Adam lay some cones out on the slope and my family took it in turns to steer around the cones with the skis and control the direction that they wanted to go. Ben in particular seemed to find this really easy and I was amazed when Riley also managed to do this too, with the added help of the instructor. I was so impressed with the skills that all my children showed during just a one hour session, it was definitely a proud mum moment.

The hour lesson had literally flown by and we all really enjoyed it. As we returned our ski equipment to the hire desk, Adam filled in some ski lesson cards and ticked off each skill that we had managed to achieve during the lesson. You can bring this card with you to any subsequent lessons and each time you complete a section it can be signed off by the instructor. I thought that this was a really good idea, as it makes it clear what you are capable of, but also what skills you need to achieve in the future.

We thanked Adam for his time and made our way back to the changing rooms to get back into our normal clothes. Despite the fact it is cold on the slopes, we were all really hot due to the amount of exercise we had just done, so it is clearly a great way to keep fit too! I later learnt that you can burn up to 400 calories an hour on skis or a snowboard. We were all thirsty so went to purchase some drinks before continuing to enjoy some of the other activities that were available.

We made our way up to the restaurant, where a lovely lady called Jill was offering free face painting for the children. She had some pictures available that you could choose from, but Riley had decided that he wanted to be Gecko from PJ Masks. Rather than just say no, Jill very kindly brought up a picture on her phone instead and used that for an idea to paint Riley's face. I thought that this was really kind of her and Riley was absolutely delighted. Emma then opted to have a snake and Ben chose a shark, both of which were fantastic.

Next to the face painting table, there was another area to make some badges. This was being ran by Louise who again was absolutely lovely with the children. Throughout the whole day, we were all made to feel so welcome and my kids really enjoyed doing this activity with Louise. There was a selection of pens, stamps and crayons to help create your chosen design and it was a really fun thing to do to end our day.

The restaurant had a great selection of food and drink on offer and in addition to the normal choices, there was also a fantastic tapas menu, that the chef had put together specifically for the Summer of Snow party. This was £16 for 6 dishes which were designed for two people to enjoy together. We had eaten a large breakfast that morning, so we were not hungry enough to sample this, which is a shame as the food smelt absolutely delicious and we would have loved to have tried this out.

Overall we had an absolutely fantastic day at the Snozone Summer of Snow Party and despite our lesson only being an hour long, we spent a total of four hours there enjoying the surroundings and activities. There is a large picture window in the upstairs restaurant so it was nice to observe some wonderful skiers making their way down the slopes. It is a really family friendly venue and all the staff that we met were brilliant with the children which is always reassuring. Our skiing lesson was really enjoyable and I couldn't have wished for a better instructor.

A lot of people may consider skiing or snowboarding to be a Winter activity only, but if anything Summer is the ideal time to learn, due to it being a quieter season. It is a great way to stay fit and active and due to the fact that Snozone are open 364 days a year, it makes it a great all year round activity to enjoy as a family or as an individual. My children are now keen to progress their skills, so there is no doubt that we will be returning to Snozone very very soon!

Important Information:

Milton Keynes address - Snozone Xscape, 602 Marlborough Gate, Central Milton Keynes, MK9 3XS

Castleford address - Snozone Xscape Castleford, Colorado Way, Glasshoughton, Castleford, West Yorkshire, WF10 4TA.

Telephone number - 0333 0030 520

Website - The Snozone website provides the most up to date information on pricing, lessons, courses, bookings and events. I would therefore always recommend visiting the attractions own website before visiting. Their website can be found here:

Alternatively, you can follow Snozone on social media. Their social media channels are:

Twitter - @snozone_uk
Facebook - SnozoneUK
Instagram - @Snozone
YouTube - SnozoneVideos

Disclaimer: We were invited as guests to the Snozone Summer of Snow Party Weekend and received a complimentary family skiing lesson for the purpose of writing an honest review of our experience. All opinions and photographs are my own.

Thursday 5 April 2018

Our Visit to The Ice Cream Farm in Tattenhall, Cheshire

The Ice Cream Farm is an award winning attraction, based in Tattenhall, Cheshire. It is extremely family friendly and offers numerous activities for all ages to enjoy. There is plenty of fun to be had both indoors and out, making it the perfect place to visit in all weathers and of course there is an amazing range of ice cream flavours to choose from in the purpose built Ice Cream Parlour. My family and I decided to visit over the bank holiday weekend and explore exactly what was on offer.


The day before visiting The Ice Cream Farm, I spent some time on their website to do some research on the attraction and find out exactly what was available for children to enjoy. I found the site to be very well designed and user friendly, with easy navigation menus, clear pictures and ample information provided. We had visited briefly a year earlier for Mother's Day, but this had been a last minute decision with no pre-planning and we only had an hour available before my son was due at a birthday party later that afternoon, so we didn't get the chance to experience everything or take a good look around. I therefore wanted to make sure that I had all the facts this time including opening hours, activity costs and also a little bit of history about the attraction.

Whilst exploring the site, I came across the Book Your Play section, which is a really clever and simple idea. Basically this page allows you to pre-book a time slot for some of the most popular activities at the attraction, to ensure that your child can have a turn and avoid any disappointment. You still pay for the activity on the day, so there is no payment required upfront to pre-book your slot and it is as simple as selecting a time and entering a few details.  You then receive email confirmation of your reservations shortly after. I booked times for Honeycomb Canyon, Gemstone Cove and Scoop. Despite the wet weather we have recently been experiencing, I realised that it was still very likely to be busy due to it being Easter weekend, so I thought that this convenience was an excellent idea. Bookings cannot be made more than 7 days in advance and can also not be booked on the same day, so would recommend visiting the website a couple of days before visiting.

The website also provides clear information on each of the activities available, with descriptions, age guidelines, prices and maps all available to view. This ensures that you can have a very good idea of what to expect prior to arriving and plan ahead for your fun day out.


The attraction was well signposted from the main road and small brown tourist signs continued along the country lanes leading to The Ice Cream Farm. It was really easy to find and took us approximately 25 minutes in total to get there. As we arrived the main car park looked full and the cars in front of us all made their way to the overflow car park situated just slightly further down the road. My husband decided to try his luck in the main car park though and sure enough he managed to find a space just opposite the entrance.

There were families everywhere and I was a bit worried that it was going to be far too busy inside, but we made our way in past the reception desk and into the outdoor play area. I had a brief interaction with the reception staff who both seemed very friendly and welcoming. My first impressions were that it was packed, however once we had passed through the main arrival area, it seemed much more calmer and quieter and I didn't feel it was too crowded at any other point during the day. I think that this is due to the fact that the attraction has a very spacious layout and with so many activities to choose from visitors ended up being well spread out throughout the site.

The PlayPass

The Ice Cream Farm is a free to enter attraction and you then only pay for the activities that you participate in once inside. This means that if you simply want to pop in for an ice cream, then you can, without having to pay a hefty entrance fee. The activities are then all individual priced at an average cost of £3.75 each.

If you are planning on taking part in everything that is on offer, or intend to become a regular visitor then there are savings to be had by purchasing The Play Pass. These come in 4 different values which are The Blue Play Pass (£15), The Red Play Pass (£25), The Yellow Play Pass (£50) and the VIP Pass (£100). These work as follows:

  • The Blue Pass offers 5 plays which therefore reduces the cost of an activity to £3 each. 
  • The Red Pass offers 10 plays which therefore reduces the cost of an activity to £2.50 each
  • The Yellow Pass offer 25 plays which therefore reduces the cost of an activity to £2 each
  • The VIP Pass offers an incredible 100 plays which therefore reduces the cost to only £1 each!
I think that these offer great value for money. We had a £50 play pass and even after my three children had tried out quite a few of the activities available, we still have 12 plays left on our pass for when we return another day.


Our first activity was Scoop, where you have the opportunity to steer and operate real JCB diggers. Riley absolutely loved picking up and collecting stones and then operating the lever to move and drop them in another location. This seemed a really popular activity and rightly so as it was lots of fun. There was a small queue when we first got to Scoop, but they have four diggers in total and each session is timed, so we didn't have too long to wait.  I think my husband enjoyed this just as much as Riley!

Our next activity was Honeycomb Canyon which is a large indoor sand and water play area, which is also believed to be the largest of its kind in Europe. It is a huge area, full of sand pits, play areas, water and splash areas, which provides plenty of entertainment for children. One thing I was impressed with in Honeycomb Canyon was the safety aspect, as you need to sign your child both in and out of the play area before being able to leave. This is therefore very reassuring to know that they are playing in a safe environment that they couldn't walk out of unnoticed.

My son Ben enjoyed the wooden play area located at the far end of Honeycomb Canyon. The mini climbing wall and sliding rails provided him with plenty of entertainment in between playing in the sand and water zones. It was nice and warm inside, so it was good to have an indoor activity to enjoy away from the cold outside. With plenty of padded seats located around the site, it also provided a place for adults to have a sit down and both my husband and I enjoyed a cappuccino from the self service coffee machine, which was lovely.

Riley absolutely loved the water play areas where you could fill tanks, control water channels and also release water all over the floor. I was really impressed by how clean and well maintained the whole area was and again it was reassuring knowing that my children were playing in well looked after surroundings.

The water play areas featured many levers, wheels, taps and objects that you could twist and turn, whilst the sandpits offered building opportunities, spinning wheels and climbing areas.

After an hour of play in Honeycomb Canyon, we had all worked up an appetite and decided that it was time to sample some of the ice cream. We were shocked at just how many flavours there were to choose from and The Parlour was absolutely huge. The kids took a while to pick from the range on offer, but eventually managed to make their choice. There was a large queue when we arrived, but The Parlour was well staffed so we were served with a smile in less than 5 minutes.

Between us all we had Vanilla, Oreo, Mint Choc Chip & Creme Egg flavoured ice cream and all the children chose a chocolate tipped cone. I felt that the prices were very reasonable and I was also impressed by the amount of seating available for guests.

After we had finished our ice cream, my children enjoyed playing outside in Daisy's Garden which is a wonderful play area full of tunnels, playhouses, swings, slides, trampolines. It even features a magical Ice Cream Tree which delivers a surprise every half an hour in the form of an ice cream mist that floats up into the air and onto the waiting guests below. My youngest son Riley loved this and kept pretending that it was snowing!

It wasn't long before another activity caught our eye and the children requested to go on the quad bikes over at Silvercone. These are token operated and the tokens can be purchased from the kiosk opposite for £1. Adults are allowed to accompany smaller children, which means that younger children who may have difficultly steering, don't need to miss out on the fun.

After much debate over who was the quickest, my children managed to agree their positions and took their place on the podium. Riley was absolutely delighted to have come first!

Time had literally flown whilst at the Ice Cream Farm and before we knew it, we had already been there several hours. There was a break in the rain and so we decided to go and hunt for some gemstones, which was an activity all of my children really enjoyed. For a small charge you are provided with a pan and a small jewel bag, which you can fill with gemstones that you are allowed to keep at the end.

Riley soon got the hang of panning for gemstones and began to fill up his little jewel bag quite rapidly, much to his delight. Emma and Ben also had great success and they loved looking at all the different colours and matching them up to the Gemstones of the World poster on the wall to see what they were called.

Once we had finished panning for gems, we took a walk over to the farmyard area. The main walk around this area had been closed off which I assume was due to the heavy rain making the path muddy and unsafe. The yard was still open though and the children were able to see some donkeys, pigs & sheep, as well as some newly hatched chicks in their incubator.

Unfortunately we ran out of time to enjoy all of the activities, however the kids didn't mind as this means that we will have to return very soon in order to enjoy the rest. The crazy golf looked great fun, as did the Fun Factory which is an ice cream themed adventure play barn. Emma was also keen to try out the Jelly Drop which is a large 7 metre inflatable slide.


In addition to the Ice Cream Parlour, there are also several other dining options where you can purchase some hot or cold food and drinks. The first is The Pantry which offers a 180 seater food and drink area, with a very tasty looking menu. It features plenty of family favourites including Steak Pie & Chips, Sausage & Mash and a range of burgers, as well as some light bites, baked potatoes and a wide choice of sides. A childrens menu is also available, with meals starting from only £2.95.

During weekends and school holidays, The Pit Stop is also available which offers Pieminister Pies, Pizzas and Hot Dogs as well drinks and snacks.


My children always love to have a look around the shops at attractions and The Ice Cream Farm was no exception. I always set them a budget each, which seems to work well for us and prevents any arguments if they know exactly how much they have to spend before shopping. The Impulse Emporium has a wide range of products on sale ranging from the weird to the wonderful. There were items to suit all budgets and I was impressed by the amount of products available at what I consider to be 'pocket money priced' items. My children managed to find plenty for sale for under £3 and each of them managed to pick something that they liked with minimal fuss. The lady at the till was also very kind and polite and also went that extra mile by offering to take my children's rubbish as they opened the packaging for their toys no sooner had I paid, which I thought was very kind of her.

Our Opinion

Overall we had a fun and entertaining day at The Ice Cream Farm and it is somewhere that we will definitely return to in the very near future. I love the fact that it is a free to enter attraction and that you only pay for the activities that you use. All the staff that we encountered were friendly and polite and despite the majority of staff being quite young, they all seemed well trained, knowledgeable and comfortable in their roles. The ice cream in The Parlour was absolutely fantastic and with so many flavours to choose from, there is definitely something to suit all tastes. I was very impressed with the cleanliness in all areas, which must be hard to keep on top of in such a busy attraction, yet this is something that The Ice Cream Farm seem to do extremely well. We are hoping to return in the next few days, so I will be sure to update this blog post with information on the other activities that we try.

Would we recommend The Ice Cream Farm to others?? Absolutely!!

Attraction Details

Address: The Ice Cream Farm, Newton Lane, Tattenhall, Chester, Cheshire, CH3 9NE.
Telephone: 0800 133 7000
Facebook: The Ice Cream Farm
Twitter: @theicecreamfarm
Instagram: @theicecreamfarm

Opening Times: 09:30am to 5:30pm daily. Closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.

*Disclaimer: We were provided with a Play Pass for the purpose of providing an honest opinion about our visit and experience. Thoughts, opinions & photographs are my own unless otherwise stated. Information provided is believed to be correct at time of writing, but would always recommend visiting the sites own attraction to obtain the most up to date information.