Who doesn't like sweet treats? I was glad to see the Great British Bake of back on our screens last night. I love to watch this show. I watch it every year and always say I will try and create some of things they make. (I haven't to this day).
I love to bake cupcakes. I don't bake anything else unless I am asked as Cupcakes are my thing. I love to try new flavours and take them in to work for people to try and give me feedback.
I actually discovered baking a few months before I fell pregnant with Rebecca. Up to that point I hadn't even given it a second thought. I purchased a cake making kit from Tesco to see how easy it was. I really enjoyed so I bought a few more before researching how to make from scratch.
I must try and bake some more. Due to the hot summer we had I stopped baking as working with buttercream in that heat is always a nightmare,
Anyway, I'll leave you with a few examples of what I have done.
There are two main coaster club in the UK - Roller coaster club of Great Britain (RCCGB) and the European Coaster Club (ECC). There are a few smaller ones but I am going to be looking at the two named.
We have been members of the ECC since 2001 and have been lucky enough to do some amazing trips. In 2003 we spent 9 days touring Spain and in 2004 a 14 days touring Germany. We have also spent a few days doing day trips to Blackpool, Thorpe Park, Chessington and Alton Towers.
We joined the RCCGB in 2017 so haven't attend a trip yet. We are considering the Blackpool Bash in April 2019.
Benefits of joining a club
1. New friends - we have met so many people over the years through the club, many who we class as friends.
2. Great Magazine - the ECC magazine, First Drop, is great and is a great lunchtime read.
3. Organised trips/events - most trip days start early and finish late. The clubs will normally have one ERS (Exclusive Ride Session) where its just the club members who get to ride and sometime a meal is also included.
4. Member discounts - both clubs offer discounts at various parks around the world.
I would say if you are a theme park lover then a rollercoaster club is well worth joining
Our local children centre ran a trip to Bournemouth so I booked Rebecca and I on. Rebecca hasn't really spent much time on a beach so with the lovely weather the UK was having I thought it was a good idea. Unfortunately, the weather had other ideas.
We had to get the coach at 7am. Its a 2 hour drive plus a stop enroute as the coach was full of families. We arrived just after 10am. It wasn't very sunny but luckily warm enough you could wear a t-shirt.
First stop was a visit to the Oceanarium. One of the reasons I wanted to go was to see the otters. I love otters - they are so cute.... There are lots of exhibits with lots of different species of fish. Only bug-bare for me was that the glass wasn't very clean so it was hard to see in to the tanks especially for the kids. We did get to see the otters so I was pleased.
It wasn't very expensive to get in. I paid £30 for 2 adults and 3 children which isn't too bad as we spent a good 1.5 hours in there. I would recommend a visit if you are looking for something to do.
After our visit to see the fishes we decided to have an early lunch. I had done some research and found a cafe on the pier. Instead of taking lunch we were going to buy it then have sandwiches on the coach on the way home.
Anyway, we headed over to the pier. It costs £1.20 per person to enter the pier or £3.80 for a family ticket (2 adults & 3 children).
The Rock Reef Cafe is located inside the building at the end of the pier, called Rock Reef. Inside is a large Click & Climb centre. Unsurprising the girls wanted a go but we told them they had to choose between that or the beach and the beach won.
The cafe is located up the stairs on the left hand side of the pay desk. Once up the stairs there is a really small seating area. We sat down had decided to have two pizzas between us. Including drinks (1 coke, 1 tea and 3 x Slushies) was £25. I didn't think this was too bad considering it fed all 5 of us.
After lunch we had promised the girls a go on the little vintage funfair. They all wanted to go on the Helter Skelter, carousel, muffin the mule and the small chair-o-planes. These rides were all done on a token basis. The small rides were 2 tokens per person and the larger ones 3 tokens (tokens are £1 each). Whilst the girls were going up to ride the Helter Skelter the heavens opened which resulted in us getting soaked. Because of the weather I didn't manage to get many photos.
After the fun of little fair we headed to the beach. We picked a spot near the pier and quite near to the sea so we could see the kids. Rebecca wanted to build sandcastles. I got her dressed in to her swimming stuff just in case. Turns out that was a good call as within 15 mins she wanted to go in the water.
The beach is lovely. Beautiful soft, clean sand and lovely clean sea. One thing I hate about beaches is shingle but Bournemouth doesn't have any so getting in to the sea isn't a painful experience.
We spent around 2 hours on the beach. The wind really picked up and we started to have rain showers. The girls all asked if we could leave as they were feeling the cold. So we got them all dressed and headed to an arcade as they wanted to play on the 2p machines.
We walked along the front as I had seen an amusements building whilst we were on the beach. When we got there it didn't fill me with much confidence. It was very tatty and looked like it needed a good clean. Half the machines were empty which meant we couldn't really play much. After a quick walk around I suggested an ice cream may be a better idea, to which they all agreed.
After a quick ice cream we headed to the gift shop outside the pier entrance. Rebecca and I picked up a magnet for our collection. By the time we had done this it was time to go and meet the coach to go home.
We got back in Banbury just after 8pm where the rain greeted us once more. Overall we had an enjoyable day in Bournemouth and would consider another visit in the future.
We were invited to Weston to join family for family day. We had to get up early as we needed to be at Weston for 10am and it's a 2 hour drive from Banbury. We hit a lot of traffic on the M5 which delays us 45 mins.
When we arrived we headed over the Funland @ Tropicana as there were two coaster credits that we didn't have. Funland isn't massive. It has the 2 coasters, a pirate ship, dodgems, Waltzers, a carousel and 4 small toddler rides. It operates a token system. We purchased 20 for £20 and got 4 free. This was more than enough as we only wanted to do the coasters.
First up was the Wild Mouse. This was only 3 weeks old at the time we rode it. It has a very simple layout and one of the bigger coasters Rebecca has done. It was 4 tokens per person. Rebecca loved it, asking if she could ride again.
After the Wild Mouse we went over to get the 2nd credit a Wacky Worm. This is a very common children's coaster. This small coaster is 2 tokens as does 2 laps.
We had 8 tokens left so Rebecca and I went back on the Wild Mouse again. She even put her hands up. She really does love the coasters. (Which pleases us)
After that we headed back towards the pier. The rest of the family were still on the beach so we decided to get some lunch. We had seen a few fish & chip shops so Rebecca requested we go to the green one which was Famous Harry's.
We caught back up with family at Weatherspoons. They were going to mini golf which Rebecca hates so we parted ways again and headed to Grand Pier.
I had seen some vlogs from the pier so had a few ideas of what was inside. It's not that you see this for yourself that you realise how big this place actually is. There are a few rides and loads of arcade machines. Something I did note was that the claw machines are very cheap - they are only 20p a go or 6 goes for £1 which is the best price I have seen in the UK, We had a go on a few but we did go in with a budget
One of Rebecca's favourites is the 2p machines so we changed a few pounds and played on them for an hour. By the time we had done that it was nearly home time.
We had a fab time at Weston and will certainly consider going again.
We visited Gulliver's on Wednesday 15th August 2018. We went with the local children's centre on a coach trip.
We arrived around 1020 and the park was just in the process of opening. For those who haven't been to a Gulliver's park before, they do a little pre-opening show before the park official opens for 15 mins. A few characters come out and they do some signing and dancing. During this time, you are kept within the entrance area.
Once the park opened up we headed over the new JCB area which was Toy Land on our previous visit. They have installed a lot of digger themed items for the kids to explore and re-themed a few of the rides. A new drop tower has been installed, which is quite a good addition. That was the ride Rebecca wanted to ride first. This had a minimum height of 1.2m so we weren't sure if Rebecca would be allowed on or not. The ride op measured in 3 places and confirmed she was ok to ride. Rebecca loved it. This drop tower spins as it goes up and spins when it drops so it was something very different. The drops got me a few times.
We decided to have an early lunch at this point as the rest of the park didn't open until 1130. I really like the food options this Gulliver's. There is a food court under the castle where you can buy from quite a range - sandwiches, burgers, jacket potatoes and fish & chips.
Rebecca had a kids Chicken Nugget meal (nuggets, chips and drink) and I had a Cheese burger meal (burger, chips and cup of tea). This came to £11.45, which isn't too bad compared to some places we have been too. I did find it really filling and we didn't have another meal until we got home later that evening.
After that we did a few of the other rides that we had done before. Rebecca really wanted to do Twist and Joust, which is a family spinning coaster which is a lot of fun but the queue was way too long. Another problem was that it was only running with 10 of the 20 seats available so the queue was hardly moving.
Instead we headed back to the top area of the park to do the small wild west themed area (Junior Discovery cove). Whilst on our way there Rebecca found a play park and wanted to go and play. She had a good 15 minute run around before I got the "Can I have an ice cream now?" question.
By this point it getting close to our home time so I told Rebecca to think about what ride she wanted to go on. She chose the Crazy Crane drop tower by the entrance to the park. We headed over only to find the queue was really long and I didn't think we would make the coach if we queued up for it.
We ended up heading in to gift shop for a noisy. There is a lot of Gulliver's stuff - cups, stationary items and cuddly toys mostly but there is a lot of other toys in here so avoid if you don't want lots of "I wants".
Because Rebecca didn't make the last ride I said she could have a Mr. Whippy ice cream which we couldn't find earlier on in the park. These were massive and at £2.50 i was quite surprised. After we had eaten our ice creams we bought a bottle of water each for the coach and headed out of the park.
Overall we enjoyed our day but I feel Gulliver's was way too busy and couldn't cope with the crowd's that were there. We had 5.5 hours in the park and only did 5 rides in that time which is a bit disappointing, however we did go in the height of summer.
We will return but not until next year and most definitely not in the summer holidays.......
We paid £11.45 to get in (1 x 5 year old and 2 adults). This isn't uncommon for most soft play centres now to charge for adults. I don't have that much of a problem with it as we can use the frame with the kids.
Upon entering I was quite surprised at how big the place was but also disappointed by how small the play frame was. I was expecting some much bigger for the entrance price. As expected there was a small 2 storey play frame for those over 1 metre, a small car track, a climbing wall (which wasn't available), a large 3 storey playframe for those under 1m, a large baby area, a sports area plus a few arcade games. As with most soft plays they have a cafe and party rooms available.
Rebecca loved the cars that they on a little track under the right hand side of the main play frame. I think she spent most of her time here in the end. There is a sign at the entrance gate saying that shoes must be worn in the area. Now we hadn't notice it as there was a group of adults standing in front of it. It wasn't until Rebecca came back and said she has holes in her socks and I went off to investigate did I see the sign. So, if you are going, make sure you put shoes on your kids if they are using the little cars!
We did decide to eat lunch while we were here. The menu was actually quite reasonable. You could choose from a range of sandwiches, Jacket potatoes, salads, Burgers or Hot dogs plus a selection of sides. They also offered a kids lunch box which had a drink, Sandwich, crsips and piece of fruit in.
We also purchased a round of drinks (Tea, Coffee and a Slushie), a bowl of curly fires (to share) plus two small pre-packed cakes. The total cost was just under £25. There aren't many places you can buy lunch for that so I thought it was quite good value.
We spent a little over 2 hours at Big Sky and Rebecca certainly enjoyed it. I don't think we would be in any rush to go back at any point. I think the small playframe really lets this place down.
Overall it's a nice play centre to the kids to burn off some energy but a bit on the pricey side for what you get.
Who doesn't love afternoon tea right?
I must admit, I've put off having one as I am a fussy eater and don't like a lot of the fillings used in an afternoon tea. But, I have decided I at least have to try them. I doubt very much they will kill me if I do that.
Anyway, I was looking for themed afternoon teas. Nothing really fancy just something simply, that if we didn't like it, it wouldn't be the end of the world. I did a google search and a place called Spangles in Leamington Spa came up. I had a look at the website and found there were lots of different themed afternoon teas planned. After looking for a while we decided we would give the "Wizard" afternoon tea a try. Rebecca had just started to get in to the Harry Potter films so felt it was quite fitting.
Above: Some of the afternoon options
Around 20 mins later the food arrived. We had 2 adults and 1 child's afternoon tea.
The adults ones contained the following:
Bottom Tier: 3 sandwiches and a cheese wand
Middle Tier: Scones with Clotted cream & Jam, Bertie botts every flavour jelly beans and a Golden Snitch (ferrero rocher)
Top Tier: Sorting hat cupake, Chocolate covered oreo with a chocolate frog and a chocolate moose.
The children's one was the same except for the fact the sandwiches were plain ham and cheese.
Being a fussy eater, I only ate one of the 3 sandwiches. The one I did eat was very nice. The scones were good it was a shame that the clotted cream and jam were in packs rather than little pots (that might be me expecting a bit too much). The sweet treats were all very good and enjoyable.
There was also a range of Harry Potter props and dress up so Rebecca had a great time dressing up and pretending to be him.